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
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Douglas R. Hofstadter
Perfect Wrong Note - Learning to Trust Your Musical Self
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The Prince
Niccolò Machiavelli
The Varieties of Religious Experience
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Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
G. Lee Bowie, Robert C. Solomon

Penrod

Penrod - Booth Tarkington, Jonathan Yardley This is one of the funniest books I have ever read. The only way to do it justice is by quoting it:After Penrod (the 11 year old hero of the story) blurts out something he might have kept to himself:Nothing is more treacherous than the human mind; nothing else so loves to play the Iscariot. Even when patiently bullied into a semblance of order and training, it may prove but a base and shifty servant. And Penrod's mind was not his servant; it was a master, with the April wind's whims; and it had just played him a diabolical trick. The very jolt with which he came back to the schoolroom in the midst of his fancied flight jarred his day-dream utterly out of him; and he sat, open-mouthed in horror at what he had said.More philosophizing about the mind of the 11 year old (after a tar fight):Perhaps middle-aged people might discern Nature's real intentions in the matter of pain if they would examine a boy's punishments and sorrows, for he prolongs neither beyond their actual duration. With a boy, trouble must be of Homeric dimensions to last overnight. To him, every next day is really a new day. Thus, Penrod woke, next morning, with neither the unspared rod, nor Mr. Kinosling in his mind. Tar, itself, so far as his consideration of it went, might have been an undiscovered substanceOn the hot days of summer:Their elders should beware such days. Peril hovers near when the fierceness of weather forces inaction and boys in groups are quiet. The more closely volcanoes, Western rivers, nitroglycerin, and boys are pent, the deadlier is their action at the point of outbreak. Thus, parents and guardians should look for outrages of the most singular violence and of the most peculiar nature during the confining weather of February and August.In addition to being hilarious, Penrod paints a great picture of small-town America at the turn of the 20th century. My opinion may be biased by the fact that I'm proprietor of a delightful 7 year old boy, but with that in mind, this book definitely made to to my all-time favorites list.