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

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange - I haven't seen the movie and don't plan on it, but the book is great. Before reading it, I didn't know much about it except that it was "crazy" and apparently something that teens read in High School then immediately put down and go out and either form a punk band or get a tattoo or dedicate their life to writing. Generally books with that reputation (On The Road, Atlas Shrugged, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance etc.) just don't appeal to me that much (OK so I liked Atlas Shrugged as well). Despite the reputation, A Clockwork Orange was absolutely worth the read. I might even dedicate my life to writing.The audio version I listened to was narrated by Tom Hollander, my new favorite narrator. His performance is flawless. At the end of the Audible version there are a few sample chapters narrated by Burgess himself but not even he can hold a candle to Hollander's performance. It is wonderful. I didn't, for better or for worse, find the ultraviolence as offensive as its reputation suggested. Maybe it's because just I'm coming off reading Lolita, or maybe it's because the violence in ACO, while the acts are horrendous, is not described explicitly . Whatever the reason, it didn't seem all that controversial to me.The main philosophical issue is interesting: the merit and humanity of doing good of free will versus being compelled to do good. Looking into the mind of a kid who feels absolutely no desire to do good and no remorse for doing bad is disturbing and intriguing as well-- Alex is not your typical protagonist. There are some beautiful descriptions of music and at the end some fairly touching moments. Still though, my favorite parts weren't the story or the philosophy, they were, like, the language and dialog, oh my brothers.