Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Books Stacked to the Ceiling

My to-read stack of books is not literally stacked to the ceiling, but I have added a few new titles.

I'm reading Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein. It's a fun overview of philosophy as demonstrated through jokes. For example, to reveal the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, the joke goes like this:

A New York boy is being led through the swamps of Louisiana by his cousin. "Is it true that an alligator won't attack you if you carry a flashlight? asks the city boy. His cousin replies, "Depends on how fast you carry the flashlight." Get it?

I had a philosophy class at Purdue years and years ago, but the only thing I remember about it is that the professor had an affinity for the South West, and he wore lots of turquoise and silver jewelry. Also, he was unusual for my little hometown, and I liked him for that. I think approaching philosophy with a light-hearted book like this silly one suits me.

Once I'm finished with that, I'll launch into Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter. Its subtitle is The Untold History of English. I've only read the introduction, but I'm already excited to get into the book itself. After spending over a year watching Latin immigrants struggling to learn this hodge-podge language, I think this might help me see why they find it so nonsensical with the nouns and verbs and adjectives in the wrong order.

After that, we'll dig into a little work of fiction, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, and then we'll see about giving Anna Karenina another crack, as in cracking the paperback spine because the darn thing is so big. I swear, I don't like to sound like a numbskull, but I just can't work up the attention span to read that book for more than a few minutes at a time. All I can think about is all the pages still left to read. It's shameful, I know, but this is the state of things in my middle age.

Can you think of any other books I should add to my reading list? Short ones?


savannah said...

currently residing on my bedside table:

my life in france julia child

blackwater, the rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army jeremy scahill

dry storefront no.1, the secret life of the natural history museum richard fortey

finding naouf zoe ferraris

the pyramid,the frist wallander cases henning mankell

and about a dozen others, so i'm not a good one to suggest another title because i can't seem to finish any! xoxoxox

(it's a large round table and far to accommodating when it comes to books, magazines and my laptop!)

Lulubelle B said...

Philosophy through jokes sounds interesting. I'm remined of the Kevin Kline character in A Fish Called Wanda who thinks he's soooo deep, but he's really just wrong.

A short, light book recently enjoyed is "The Uncommon Reader" by Alan Bennett. It's about Elizabeth II and a mobile library. It was a good break between some of the heavier stuff.

There's also "The Dangerous Husband" by Jane Shapiro. Lightly funny and ironic. A tale of a contemporary marriage - not "chick lit".

dive said...

You know better than to ask me to add to your reading list, Robyn. Besides, I won't do that until you've finished Anna Karenina (I'll be asking questions afterwards).

Alifan said...

Ha ha... no good asking me Robyn as Dive says I only read non books...with pretty covers......well apart from a few ...Rebecca..Bleak house ..The Mayor of Casterbridge.. as I have to read a proper book every 4 non books....see he is trying to educate me!!!at my age...

savannah said...

*sigh* i really do need to reread my comments before i hit publish, sugar! *glaring typos*

MmeBenaut said...

Ah, "Blackwater" that Savannah suggests, I read many years ago and still have it on my bookshelves somewhere.

I have so many on my reading stack too and find the same problem with attention span - mostly because I feel guilty reading when I have so much else to do like housework, cooking, gardening, ironing, cat stroking, etc. etc. You know the feeling ...