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

Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad I first read this waaaaay back in my first semester of college in English Lit 101. The theme of the class was "Apocalyptic Literature." I think what I got from it at the time was something like "river...natives...crazy guy...movie made about book." I probably wrote a five paragraph essay about it. I've been sort of curious about it since then and picked up again, it's a quick read.It's hard not to wonder what you'd do if you were in Kurtz's situation. Up a river in the Congo, suddenly finding yourself free of any social mores and among a primitive people who alternate between worshiping you and wanting to kill you. The Thames couldn't feel further away and the allure of the jungle is strong. I don't know. I can see myself going native.These are some of my favorite quotes:Supernatural fear in the darkness of the Congo:...then the usual sense of commonplace, deadly danger, the possibility of a sudden onslaught and massacre, or something of the kind, which I saw impending, was positively welcome and composing. It pacified me, in fact, so much that I did not raise an alarm.On the lure of being a white god in the jungle:But both the diabolic love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul satiated with primitive emotions, avid of lying fame, of sham distinction, of all the appearances of success and power.Dying:I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable greyness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamour, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid scepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be.