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Starofflorida

Putting The Head In Meathead

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As well as trying to increase my total in 2013, I have made a considered effort to get back into reading something a little more highbrow then Men's Health and Muscle & Fitness (not srs, luv u always Mr Wieder).

 

I thought I would post some of the books I have read over the year and some thoughts.  You will note I have a strong philisophical/religious theme.

 

Man's Search for Meaning (Frankl): An outstanding read that I recommend to anyone approaching a fork in the road.  Written by Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Victor Frankl, it is part Holocaust memoir, part meditation on why some are survivors while others are not.

 

In Consolation to his Wife (Plutrach): The best book I read this year.  A beautifully written meditation on the Stoic philosophy and its interplay with life.

 

Letters from a Stoic (Seneca): A series of letter written around the time of Christ by philosopher/politican Seneca.  You can see the birthplace of the Christian philosophy in Seneca's writings.  A very good place to start for those wishing to understand Stoic philosophy.

 

A Confession (Tolstoy): Despite being the most successful writer and thinker of his time, Tolstoy was in existential crisis.  His intellectual shift away from his Christian roots had left him emotionally unanchored and empty.  Tolstoy uses A Confession to understand why religousity is so important to people. 

 

The Death of Ivan Illych (Tolstoy): A meditation on death.  Beautifully written (of course) with a great stylistic shape.

 

Leviathan (Hobbes): A mediation on the construction of a nation, the formation of rights owing and rights owed.  A very dense read and not one that could be named as a page turner but an important piece for those wanting to understand how and why a nation is formed.  I don't fully agree with Hobbes' judgement surrounding the need for strong centralised (monarchial) power although I look through the lens of democracies forged in the cruciable of the French Revolution and

American Independence.

 

The Rule of St Benedict (Pope Benedict XVI): The Christian Monastic system is an importance piece in the development of modern society and the Benedictians were the most successful in the era bridging the birth of Christianity and the Enlightment.  This book contains the rules for self-discipline written for aspiring monks but with plenty of wisdom for the lay person. 

 

The Old Man and the Sea (Hemmingway): I re-read this about 25 years post my first reading.  Where before it was a pretty short book (cool!) about an old guy going fishing it is now is a metaphor for perseverance against the futility of life.

 

Hemmingway's Boat (Hendrickson): I am a fan of Hemmingway and this was an interesting read using Pilar as the lens through which to view Hemmingway's life.  Sometimes the device was a little forced but an excellent read all the same.

 

Thus Spake Zarathustra (Nietzsche): Most commonly know for the "Ubermensch" and "God is Dead", Nietzsche uses the device of a philosopher narator Zarathustra who is preaching the overturning of current (Christian) mores to allow the "growth" of man into something greater than man.  The Ubermensch is when man attains ultimate self-mastery which makes the Nazi (ab)use of the leitmotif ironic... "I was just following orders". 

 

Feel free to post good reads for my 2014 program.

 

I already plan to read (well, finish) Ethics (Aristotle) and Ethics (Spinoza).

 

 

 

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You've probably heard of it, or even read it, already, but I think you'd like Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

 

I read The Old Man and the Sea a few years ago and I really liked it, though I saw it as a way of showing how beautiful and fulfilling life can be even in it's simplest forms - or rather, beautiful and fulfilling because it's so simple and pure.

 

A Confession and The Death of Ivan Ilyich are on my list as well. I'll give In Consolation to his Wife a shot as well, any recommendations as to which one I should read first?

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You've probably heard of it, or even read it, already, but I think you'd like Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

 

Seconded.  I'm partway in, and it's quite good so far.  

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Its what set me on my path of reading more Stoic philosophy

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http://classics.mit.edu/Browse/index.html

 

Here's a site for a lot of classic authors ranging from Epicurus to Sun Tzu translated to English.

 

 

 

Marcus Aurelius' Meditations gets a vote from here too. Read it during the Christmas Holidays almost in one go.

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