Tuesday, February 14, 2006

St. Augustine's fear

I have loved books all my life. I still remember how that passionate and enduring love affair begun. I was around five years old as I got an obsession to go to Lietsalan sivukirjasto, a little local library to explore it. My mother kindly went with me few times a week there. I always carried tons of new books home with me. During the next few years, those books of sci-fi, mystery, fantasy, religion, occultism, philosophy, science, etc., opened a whole new magical world for me. I can’t overestimate how much those books contributed to the development of my thinking and worldview... And I have been on that magical mystery tour ever since. The magic of Óðinn, that of galdr, verbal magic, is truly powerful.

The last three books that I have added to my own library have been Aino Kontula’s Rexi on homo ja opettajat hullui!, a real-life horror diary of a Finnish teacher, The Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy edited by Edward Craig, and Zygmunt Bauman’s excellent and very thought provoking Sosiologinen ajattelu (Thinking Sociologically). I got Kontula’s book just today. I am going to dive into it’s world later today and to really enjoy it. Based on my professional interests and on what I have heard about the book I am pretty sure it is going to be a blast... big time.

St. Augustine wrote sometime somewhere that he is afraid of a man who has read only one book during his life. I don’t know if I would feel the same way about such persons (I think I have never met such), especially if they are from areas where reading skills and books are luxury. But I need to say that a thought of an individual in the Western world without any interest in books sounds odd to me... But then, I have my very biased perspective of a booklover.

What are the last three books you have been reading?

12 Comments:

Blogger Ensio Kataja said...

From one booklover to another...

Here's the last three books I have been reading:

- Against the Machine: The Hidden Luddite Tradition in Literature, Arts and Individual Lives by Nichols Fox

- Forgotten Fatherland: The Search for Elisabeth Nietzsche by Ben Macintyre (available in Finnish as Herrakansa viidakossa)

- Vikingarnas språk by Rune Palm.

All three are fascinating, thought-provoking works, highly recommended.

6:46 pm  
Anonymous Athanaton said...

Ever watch that utter rubbish on MTV, 'Cribs', or any other contribution to that genre? Those few times that I have accidentally watched such nonsense, I've never spotted one bookshelf in any of those 'cribs'
And to think that some boast of never having read a book in their lives... A deplorable state of things indeed.

Last three books: Dwellings of the Philosophers, Fulcanelli; Transcendental Magic, Lévi; Goddess Hekate, Ronan (ed.)

6:50 pm  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Dear Ensio,

I need to get my hands over the Fox book... as an old Aldous Huxleyan, that would be a good read for me...

Also the Forgotten Fatherland would be very interesting to digest... I was looking for it in a rush today, but ended up finding "Rexi on Homo ja opettajat hullui!" instead. I am sure I will real "Herrakansa Viidakossa" sooner or later, though.

Reminds me of Manni's "Zarathustran Varjo"... a really brillian Finnish interpretation of Nietzsche's philosophy. It was also a major source for me when I was preparing for my lecture on Nietzsche in my high school time...

:RtR:

T.

8:24 pm  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Dear Athanaton,

"Cribs"! :D

You are killing me with just one word! :D

T.

8:27 pm  
Anonymous Lloyd Chute said...

I love books enough that I converted one of the bedrooms of my home into a library. I put in adjustable shelves, gave it an eastern motiff, and made it a comfortable place to retire to read.

My last three books, actually, I am reading them all at the same time, are The Book of Ogham by Michael Kelly, Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, and for the second time The Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution.

8:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading the following books: Futhark and Runelore by E. Thorsson and Hold 'em poker by David Sklansky.

After these books my plan is to start reading James Chisholm's The Eddas: The Keys to the Mysteries of the North.

10:39 pm  
Anonymous Karin Kosina said...

A passionate and enduring love affair? Oh yes, same here. I couldn't have said it better myself (and probably would have said it worse). You have an uncanny ability to put my own thoughts into words that continues to mystify me...

The last three books I've been reading:

* Runelore by Edred Thorsson

* The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore

* Unspeak by Steven Poole

The first one I assume needs no introduction here. :)

The second one, The Meme Machine is an intriguing outline of a relatively new scientific theory regarding the evolution of mankind, the basic tenet being that there is a second replicator governing the evolution of homo sapiens in addition to genes: memes (~ ideas, concepts). Before you dismiss it as a new packaging for the old nature-vs-nurture debate now, it really isn't. The new approach lies in the treatment of memes as self-replicating entities, much like genes, that themselves follow the laws of Universal Darwinism and contribute to the development of man in a "co-evolution" with genes. Very fascinating, and highly recommendable.

The third one, Unspeak, is a book I found by coincidence(?) browsing the bookstore at Oslo airport, looking for reading material for my flight home. "Unspeak" is the author's term for language used as a "weapon", a way of shutting down arguments before they happen. Most of the media coverage about the "war on terror" falls into that category, but there are also other examples. (For instance, did you notice how the term "global warming" has more and more been replaced by talk about "climate change" - the latter being Unspeak, a consciously chosen formulation that implies that it's really something happening by itself)?

Unspeak is certainly one of the most insightful and eye-opening books I've read in a long time, and a must-read for anybody fascinated by the power of language.

11:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three books:

Psychopath's Bible by C S Hyatt - a revelation, amazing & disappointing, yet often the same words come under all three headings

Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - vastly superior to Atlas Shrugged, which was itself pretty darn good philosophically if a little simplistic in it's business world portrayal

Chronicles of Morgaine by C J Cherryh - ancient Sci-Fi but a central character of the true LHP mould

Karl

11:59 pm  
Anonymous Thomas Fiddler said...

These are the last three books that I have read.

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, by Daniel C. Dennett ISBN: 068482471X

The Runes Workbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Learning the Wisdom of the Staves, by Leon D. Wild
ISBN: 1592230423

Not a new read but it is, I feel, one of the most moving and captivating plays ever composed.

Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostrand ISBN: 0553213601

1:20 am  
Anonymous Joan said...

I recently finished Robert K. Ritner's "Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice". It is very worth its expensive price. In addition to learning more about how the Egyptian mind saw things, it advanced my own magical understandings.

I read a good bit of P.D. Ouspensky's "In Search of the Miraculous", but didn't finish it. I did finish Kathleen Riordan Speeth's book "The Gurdjieff Work", so I have a fair idea of his ideas, anyway.

Next, I have several books by Egyptologists arriving from Amazon:

Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt: The One and the Many

Akhenaten and the Religion of Light

History of Ancient Egypt: An Introduction

I don't know which one I will read first. Probably 'The One and the Many'.

3:58 am  
Anonymous Petri said...

Books, what's that?

Here's an honest answer... The last Ebooks I've read are a recent issue of _Elle_ magazine (though I just look at the pictures); some pdf I found on the net called _177waystoburncalories_ (man I'm getting fat); and something I already seem to have deleted called roughly _lighting the nude_ (neat book with nude photos and schemas on how the lighting in the picture was achieved).

Books are dead! Long live books! I guess I need to write one, too. ;)

8:56 pm  
Anonymous Steven A. McKay said...

Some interesting books here!

My personal last three:

The Runecaster's Handbook by Edred Thorsson

Lords Of The Left Hand Path by, er, Stephen Flowers

The Last Battle by CS Lewis

Again, the first two need no introduction I'm sure!
I actually just re-read the entire "Narnia" series of books for the first time since I was a child and, again, enjoyed them all immensely. I'm surprised there wasn't a public outcry from middle (Christian) Britain when these books were first published!

9:39 pm  

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