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

Blood Meridian

Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy I started hating this book early on. Just coming off reading Hemingway's sparse and beautiful prose, McCarthy's heavily metaphorical style, obscure vocabulary and dense sentences were maddening. I wanted to be able to just read the story without having to re-read it, without guessing who was saying what and without looking up words. I didn't start the book expecting Faulkner and as such, it was frustrating. Eventually though, I resigned myself to the style of the book and began to appreciate it.Blood Meridian is apocalyptic, as is The Road, the only other book by McCarthy that I've read. BM (ha) isn't, however, set after a fictional apocalyptic event. It's the Southwest and Mexico 150 years ago. It almost has a historical feeling to it that is hard and uncomfortable, it has you constantly questioning "is this really how it was?" I don't know the answer to that, but for the sake of humanity, I hope it's that BM is far, far from the truth. I prefer the old West of Gus and Call from Lonesome Dove; rough, dangerous and perverse but not undistilled evil. The characters of are all thoroughly depraved, each in their own special way. At times they're insightful, but never lovable. Seeing them all hung by their necks would be a relief, and the sooner the better.What's to like about the book? It has no good guys, it shatters the romanticism of the West, it is gory and violent and hard to read. All that doesn't leave much, but still I found that at times I was blown away. Some of the insights; the judge's transhuman-like abilities, his commentaries on war, power and the human condition alone make it worth reading.The romantic in me wants to say that it's the very bleakness that makes Blood Meridian so compelling. It's this unflinching look at the dark potential of humanity that triggers such a strong disgust reaction that it makes the latent evil in each of us feel foreign and remote, and as a result, reinforces a love for life, for beauty and preservation over destruction. Is that what McCarthy intended? Probably not.