Currently reading

The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers
Ayn Rand, Tore Boeckmann, Leonard Peikoff
The Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco
Ghostwritten
David Mitchell
To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon, Daniel J. Boorstin, Gian Battista Piranesi, Hans-Friedrich Mueller
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Douglas R. Hofstadter
Perfect Wrong Note - Learning to Trust Your Musical Self
William Westney
The Prince
Niccolò Machiavelli
The Varieties of Religious Experience
William James
Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
G. Lee Bowie, Robert C. Solomon

Child of God

Child of God - Cormac McCarthy Imagine being a fly on the wall at a dinner party hosted by Vladimir Nabokov (RIP) with Cormac McCarthy and Eminem as guests. Three guys who have faced their demons and lived to share them with the world. I don't know what they'd eat, but I bet their post meal conversation would be enough to shrivel your little tiny black fly wings.It's been argued that the purpose of literature isn't to make you a better person, but that it is to help you understand yourself. If that's the case, it puts an interesting perspective on books like this that expose the darkest side of humanity. Child of God is a story that was written by a guy who is just as human as I am, and who was brave (if bravery is what you'd call it) enough to not run from his most depraved thoughts, and instead do what to me seems incredibly counterintuitive, and put them on paper for the world to see.I feel like McCarthy has, in a sense, allowed me to dip into myself and understand, or possibly remember, that buried deep down in me there are two sides, one good and another that is in no abstract way, bad. And that as a result of a million things, conscious choice being the least of them, I have lived up to this point avoiding for the most part the evil side. I'm not patting myself on the back. The more I think about it, and when I read books like Child of God, the more certain I feel that a large part of who I am, who we are, is determined long before we draw our first breath.The implications of that statement are as big or as small as you want to make them. I am still not sure what it means, and I'm not trying to take any political or sociological or any other -ical stand. That's simply the way things are. I don't think realizing that necessarily changes the way I will live my life and it probably doesn't mean I am any better or worse off than I was before I read this, except that I have benefited by getting a glimpse of humanity that I would not have dared to dig up for myself.So, I'll leave writing about subjects like mass murder, incest, rape and pedophilia to our dinner party guests and try not to judge them too harshly for dwelling on them, and at the same time, try not to judge myself too harshly for reading them, and, though I don't like saying it, enjoying it.