Friday, 29 April 2011

Books Read Feb - April 2011

Kavanagh & Cowley - The British General Election of 2010 (2010)
J. Bronowski - The Ascent of Man (1973)
Stanislaw Lem - The Cyberiad (1967)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Crime and Punishment (1865-6)
Aldous Huxley - Brave New World (1932)
Franz Kafka - Metamorphosis and Other Stories (to 1924)
Tom Perrotta - Election (1998)

April hasn't exactly ended yet but I'm not going to be finishing any other books over the next 30 hours, so am posting now.

Have been reading relitavely little owing to the fact that I have been focusing most of my intellectual energy on applications, interview preperation, financial reading and (as of ten days ago) studying for the professional exams and I can only take in so many words per day. Fortunately the situation seems set to change and I shall once again have the time and energy to properly engross myself in leisure reading.

My enthusiasm for reading hasn't diminished, though parts of it have transferred to other topics for the time being. Business becomes rather amusing when you appreciate that it is, ultimately, a study of human interaction, and that even the most obscure figures and subtle percentage points changes are nevertheless aggregates of real and essentially logical individual human activities, and that government legislation does make a difference.

That said, I still generally find the imaginary worlds of Lem more absorbing. Having read some Kafka recently I can see their is some weight to the interpretation of Lem as essentially being 'Kafka with a sense of humour'. I've mentioned this before, but I am surpirsed when people see 'comic' writing as somehow being juvenile, picking out easy truths and ironies and lacking any 'real understanding'. For me, humour is understanding. A joke is shared because two people (or in this case the author and the reader) as both understand the situation already - they don't need to labour on it, as it's all blindlingly obvious to them. To 'get' a joke is to 'get' the situation! That said, there's a big difference between, say, satire and wordplay, whether printed or in conversation.

Having almost exhausted the Lem works we have in the house I think I shall study Borges. I've found his work too ethereal in the past, but tastes change and I shalln't base my opinion on just one book (Book of Sand) anyway.

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