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

Sartor Resartus (Oxford World's Classics)

Sartor Resartus - Thomas Carlyle, Kerry McSweeney, Peter Sabor Sartor Resartus, which means "The Tailor Re-tailored" is ostensibly a book on "The Philosophy of Clothing" by a German author, Herr Diogenes Teufelsdrockh. We're told that this is the English translation from the original German. But, this is much more than a translation. The translator feels that in order to make the book more accessible to his English audience, he should include copious commentary and background. In the end, not only do we get the the translation of the original along with the editor's commentary but we also get a biography of Teufelsdrockh assembled from the strange and seemingly random contents of six sealed paper bags which the editor has come into possession of, and which he plans to deposit later at the British Museum.This is all great, except that Teufelsdrockh is fictional along with the German version of the book and the six paper bags. So it's a fictional translation by a fictional editor of a fictional book that turns out to actually be a rather hilarious semi-autobiograhical portrayal of Carlyle and his thoughts.At times it's parody of Hegel, at other times it's religious and existential musings then later it's political and philosophical commentary. All that alone would be enough, but couple it with Carlyle's brobdingagian (big) vocabulary, his dream-like writing style and now obscure references to historical and contemporary (for him) events and you get a fascinating book that is unique in many ways.I thought it was funny, insightful and memorable. I loved the writing style, and though it took me several months to read it, it was worth the effort. You can find it for free on Google Books, Gutenberg etc.Here are a couple of existential quotations from the book:Are we not Spirits, that are shaped into a body, into an Appearance; and that fade away again into air and Invisibility? This is no metaphor, it is a simple scientific fact: we start out of Nothingness, take figure, and are Apparitions; round us, as round the veriest spectre, is Eternity; and to Eternity minutes are as years and aeons. Come there not tones of Love and Faith, as from celestial harp-strings, like the Song of beatified Souls? And again, do not we squeak and gibber (in our discordant, screech-owlish debatings and recriminatings); and glide bodeful, and feeble, and fearful; or uproar (poltern), and revel in our mad Dance of the Dead,—till the scent of the morning air summons us to our still Home; and dreamy Night becomes awake and Day?Motivational:'So bandaged, and hampered, and hemmed in,' groaned he, 'with thousand requisitions, obligations, straps, tatters, and tagrags, I can neither see nor move: not my own am I, but the World's; and Time flies fast, and Heaven is high, and Hell is deep: Man! bethink thee, if thou hast power of Thought! Why not; what binds me here? Want, want!—Ha, of what?Do stuff!A certain inarticulate Self-consciousness dwells dimly in us; which only our Works can render articulate and decisively discernible. Our Works are the mirror wherein the spirit first sees its natural lineaments. Hence, too, the folly of that impossible Precept, Know thyself; till it be translated into this partially possible one, Know what thou canst work at.