What are YOU reading? …and other musings

Face portion of a casual photo at a meeting.
Image via Wikipedia

But enough about you.

Today while I walked KaCee the Wonder Dog along side the Dam Road I listened to most of the Werner Erhard CD: Transformation: The Life And Legacy Of Werner Erhard.  (Listening is almost the same as reading, and listening about Werner is valuable literature indeed.)  It was poignant, moving, profound.  I recommend the CD movie.

I’ve been listening to Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg for the umpteenth time (probably the 3rd).  This is an audiobook so I’m getting closer to actual reading.  The author makes his point, IMO, but I’ve had my fill of both liberals (who in the current economic environment hasn’t) and fascism.  If I get through this 3rd listen it will have to sit on the back shelf for quite some time.  I’d actually like to get a print edition so I can pick and choose excerpts to read.  I do recommend this book, particularly the early chapters on Mussolini and Hitler.  (Then there is alway dear old Woodrow Wilson to ponder.)

Speaking of print editions, I’d like to obtain and read again The True Believer by Eric Hoffer.  The used paperback edition I originally bought and read disintegrated not unlike the mission message (should you choose to accept it) on Mission Impossible.  This book of cogent aphorisms would have been a much better foundation for Ann Coulter’s DEMONIC than The Crowd by Gustave Le Bon, which I’ve been reading a little bit of, except that I find the aphorisms tooo insubstantial, pseudo-scientific, and biased.

I’ve also been reading a bit of How The Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis.  Published in 1890 it reports on tenement conditions in New York City in the 1800s.  Some photos are included also.  I’ve found old books to be valuable in providing a closer perspective to the times they report about.  I couple of books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in that genre are GOD’S GOLD; THE STORY OF ROCKEFELLER AND HIS TIMES by John T. Flynn and The History of the Standard Oil Company by Ida M. Tarbell.  (Many of these old books can be obtained FREE (and legally) on the internet.)

Another old work I recently perused is the first portion of John Ruskin’s lecture Sesame: Of King’s Treasuries from his series Sesame and Lilies.  (Free link previously provided.)  Who can help but to savor such prose as:

“It is the gratification of vanity which is, with us, the stimulus of toil and balm of repose…”

“We want to get in good society, not that we may have it, but that we may be seen in it; and our notion of goodness depends primarily on its conspicuousness.”

“When you come to a good book, you must ask yourself, “Am I inclined to work as an Australian miner would? Are my pickaxes and shovels in good order, and am I in good trim myself, my sleeves well up to the elbow, and my breath good, and my temper?””

“And therefore, first of all, I tell you, earnestly and authoritatively (I know I am right in this,) you must get into the habit of looking intensely at words, and assuring yourself of their meaning, syllable by syllable – nay, letter by letter. For though it is only by reason of the opposition of letters in the function of signs, to sounds in the function of signs, that the study of books is called “literature,” and that a man versed in it is called, by the consent of nations, a man of letters instead of a man of books, or of words, you may yet connect with that accidental nomenclature this real fact: – that you might read all the books in the British Museum (if you could live long enough) and remain an utterly “illiterate,” uneducated person; but that if you read ten pages of a good book, letter by letter, – that is to say, with real accuracy, – you are forevermore in some measure an educated person.”

Hmm.  What else am I reading.  I briefly started, then lost in the literary maelstrom swirling about me, OPAR by Leonard Peikoff.  I’m reading various Ayn Rand essays (The Nature of Government for example, which IMO should be read into the Congressional Record, but I digress) to sooth my fevered brow during these tumultuous economic and political times.  I’m working on The Great Courses “Turning Points in American History” and “Secrets of Mental Math“.  I think I’m reading too many things, though I frequently read 2 or sometimes 3 books concurrently.

Have my Six Degrees of Separation led me back to Werner Erhard yet?  Well then, perhaps I’ll listen to the remainder of the Transformation CD in bed.  That should round out my day.

(P.S.  What ARE you reading??)

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