Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My reading.

For the past few months I was trudging through The Brothers Karamazov, and now that I've finished it at a snail's pace (This is one of my favorite books, but I wasn't giving enough time to my reading of it) I've decided to increase my amount of reading and spend more time in that activity. Right now I'm reading five books: Paul Tillich's Dynamics of Faith, Paul Muldoon's Moy Sand and Gravel, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings, Kafka's Short Story Collection by Norton, and The Courtier and the Heretic:Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World, by Matthew Stewart.

I'm making good progress and am really enjoying each of these books. Only one have I read before--The Lord Of the Rings (LOTR)--and, really, I threw it in for the pleasure of reading something just for fun.

Tillich's Dynamics is a wonderful read so far. I've always been drawn to Tillich's work, but never actually read anything of his the whole way through. So this is my challenge now. Patrik at God in a Shrinking Universe has been doing an awesome series of posts on Tillich and these have really peaked my desire to read more of him. I find Tillich a bit esoteric though and generally I have to read each chapter a few times before I 'get' it. This is more than likely because I lack a background in systematic theology--so I feel as if, at times, I'm sort of starting from scratch. Tillich begins with a discussion on what faith is. For Tillich, Faith is a "centered act"--"Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned."

Paul Muldoon is a master of the English language and Moy Sand and Gravel includes some his greatest poetry. I find him to be a fascinating person--even though I really don't think there is much comparison between Muldoon and Heaney (not b/c of talent--but there styles are very different). Because of his use of Irish names, his play with language, history and many other obscurities, it can be a little difficult to keep up with him in some of his longer poems.

With my back to the wall
and a foot in the door
and my shoulder to the wheel
I would drive through Seskinore.

With an ear to the ground

and my neck on the block I
would tend to my wound in
Belleek and Bellanaleck.

With a toe in the water
and a nose for trouble
and an eye to the future
I would drive through Derryfubble

and Dunnamanagh and Ballynascreen,
keeping that wound green.

The only Kafka I've read before this new collection of short stories is the Metamorphasis and that was in high school. I'm really enjoying these short stories and find Kafka a master of storytelling. Lot's of Freudian oddities going on throughout these stories--and all-in-all, I love reading them. I'm looking at these stories with a critical eye - trying to remember my Lacan and Freud.

The Courtier and the Heretic is a well written and rather easy to read book about two of the most important philosophers for the modern age. I didn't have much knowledge of the basic philosophy of either Spinoza or Leibniz, but the book does a great job of introducing the reader to the tenents of their philosophy while keeping a storyline going as well.

I'll be sharing more from my readings after the Thanksgiving holiday.


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