The Reading of Books #2

So it is time to update my book reading thingy. I’ve been reading a few, so time for a little update.

James Joyce – The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man 

Though I’ve got most of them on my bookshelves, have visited the house and all, I’ve not read all the works of Mr. Joyce. In fact I only read ‘Dubliners’, so the stream of conciousness was a new thing for me. I’ve read some of the modernist writers, but Joyce stands apart acording to most. It is true that when we follow the adventures of Stephen Daedalus, we are forced to either like or dislike the character, which in my opinion has a huge impact on the enjoyment one might take from this work.

There’s the typical disdain of Joyce for Irish society woven into the story. Anyone who doesn’t pick that up, while reading  Joyce, is clearly missing the plot. The style is quite dense at times, comples and hard to grasp. One has to quite get into the book to enjoy it. I’ll be taking some time before I set my teeth into ‘Finnegan’s Wake’.

Noam Chomsky – Class War: The Attack On Working People

I’ve always had an appreciation for Chomsky but never actually got around to reading, in this case hearing his words. I was not disappointed by this recording of his speech, which takes the working people as the core topic of a century old class war. Now, don’t start with saying Chomsky is a communist (which he may be in some ways, it’s not the point of his speech, in which he’s trying to show the wrongs of a capitalist institution in the USA. He’s not offerin a bright sided commie alternative, he’s plainly saying what is wrong wish sharp and pointy remarks about this system. I would recommend this to anyone who can appreciate good speeches and has a bone to pick with capitalism without morals (is the opposite even possible? I don’t know…).

Francis Fukuyama – The Origins of Political Order

I know Fukuyama from his ‘End of History’ work, which left a big enough impression on some people that made my secondary school books to be mentioned in there. The philosophical connotations of his words immediately hit me there and then, simply because they were so strong and correct. In this book, Fukuyama takes on history and politcical orders and he does it with that same charm and flair I think. The man goes from the Chinese state to the early Mamluks, India, France, England, Denmark and Russia.

The book is full of sharp analyses, but also witty and shocking anecdotes about emperors, kings and other nitwits that made their states collapse by being stupid and making silly exceptions. Fukuyama manages to bring a very complex and deep analyses back to words that anyone can understand. These are the kind of books people should read before they start having opinons on whatever stuff. Really impressive and well worth a read if you can actually handle it. It is a lot…

Not that much this time. Still reading some stuff though:

Charlotte Bronte – The Professor
Daniel Kahneman – Thinking Fast and Slow
Haruki Murakami – 1q84
Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities


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