Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

My Reads

Posted by Jerry on September 15, 2006

Since I’ve moved here to India, I have mostly spent the little spare time I get off-work either in reading or writing. Thus, in the process, astonishingly enough, I have finished reading a good bunch of books–much more than I used to read back when I was in Chicago.

There, my time was spent enjoying my life with my love, enjoying my work, walking around the beautiful city, eating at different restaurants, drinking at the same ol’ bars, watching exciting new movies and funny TV shows, etc.

Here, my time is spent working nine hours everyday, spending around two hours in travel time each day, working even on alternate Saturdays, reaching home so late that I get only enough time to have dinner and read a book or write something on my blog. There’s no time to go out with friends (even they have similarly scheduled lives), there isn’t much to see in this city choking with human bodies, unsightly architecture, rude and filthy people, and heavily polluting vehicles. Even the movies that come out here are a disgrace (not to mention, the “moral police” of India closely regulating the kinds of movies that get released).

Anyway, my original intent in writing this post was to discuss the positive aspect of my situation here; I have enjoyed reading most of the books I bought. Here’s the list of the books I’ve read in my six months of being here, and my 1 to 5 star (*) rating for each of them:

The Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, edited and introduced by Robert Denoon Cumming: *** It’s an English compilation of Sartre’s original essays and large excerpts from his works. Earlier, I had read so much about Sartre through secondary sources; so, now having read his original essays, I’m able to properly know what his positions are. Needless to say, I disagree with him.

The Virgin Philosopher’s Series: The Essential Hegel; The Essential Marx; The Essential Nietzsche; The Essential Kant; and The Essential Hume: *** I read all of these little “90-minute reads.” They are written lucidly and sprinkled with some humor and fun. It makes chewing on the dense ideas of these philosophers slightly less tiresome. After having read through them, I was quite shocked at what these philosophers were advocating in essence; a utter detachment from reality. Hegel’s mystical and arbitrary dialecticism, for example, can arguably be seen as the cause of much of the evils of anti-semtism and Communism through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. And let’s not even talk about Marx!

The Argumentative Indian:** a decent compilation of essays by Amartya Sen. Though, I believe his writing style wasn’t too encaptivating, and neither were some of the arguments he puts forth in his essays particularly believable. But I’m glad to have read it.

Ayn Rand at 100: * A disaster of a book.

Timequake: * A post-modernist style by Kurt Vonnegut. A very interesting concept for the story, of reliving moments in life. It had the potential to raise and tackle so many profound and confounding issues regarding free will, predestination, causality, human consciousness, morality, etc. Unfortunately, due to an imbalanced emphasis on humor and satire, I felt this book was intellectually flat. I got bored of the book easily and quit it midway. I doubt that I’ll revisit it sometime, but oh mabe.
Maximum City–Bombay lost & found: ***** a great book on Mumbai. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but it has been a thrilling fantastic read so far. So many things about this city that I had no clue about! Beautifully written, evocative, and captivating. It was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and winner of the Kiriyama prize. “A tour de force,” “a seething, rumbling, deeply compassionate break-dance of a book,” “stunningly written.”

Foucault’s Pendulum: I’m reading this one currently.

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3 Responses to “My Reads”

  1. Nisha Rebello said

    u better don’t stop writing.. it feels good to read your blogs … i take time from my busy schedule to read it so don’t stop blogging … even if it means blogging once a week or once a month ..

  2. Gordan Davis said

    “Ayn Rand at 100: * A disaster of a book.”

    Could you elaborate?

  3. Ergo said

    Yes, Gordon, I will elaborate… in a separate post, I intend to provide a brief review of the book.

    Nisha,
    Glad to know that my writings on this blog have secured your attention. It is primarily for my own pleasure that I write–because I like writing, and because I like people to know about what I have written. So, as long as I enjoy this process, I see myself continuing to blog. So, don’t worry! 🙂

    P.S. Nisha, are you in Canada right now by any chance??

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