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Never Read Passively

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
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


Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov, Jeremy Irons This is by far the most disturbing book I have ever read. I almost stopped reading several times in the beginning and I'm still not sure that I should have finished it, I did though, and found a book that I, like many others I'm sure, hate to love.The writing is amazing. It is a perfectly told story. A disgusting story, but told so flawlessly, with such suspense, such humor and details as to make it feel almost luxurious to read.Here's a bit of dialog from one of my favorite scenes:"Down!" I said — apparently much louder than I intended."You need not roar at me," he complained in his strange feminine manner. "I just wanted a smoke. I'm dying for a smoke.""You're dying anyway.""Oh, shucks," he said. "You begin to bore me. What do you want? Are you French, mister? Wooly-woo-boo-are? Let's go to the barroomette and have a stiff —"He saw the little dark weapon lying in my palm as if I were offering it to him."Say!" he drawled (now imitating the underworld numskull of movies), "that's a swell little gun you've got there. What d'you want for her?"I slapped down his outstretched hand and he managed to knock over a box on a low table near him. It ejected a handful of cigarettes."Here they are," he said cheerfully. "You recall Kipling: une femme est une femme, mais un Caporal est une cigarette? Now we need matches.""Quilty," I said. "I want you to concentrate. You are going to die in a moment. The hereafter for all we know may be an eternal state of excruciating insanity. You smoked your last cigarette yesterday. Concentrate. Try to understand what is happening to you."He kept taking the Drome cigarette apart and munching bits of it.And that's how the story is. It's a story about a monster told from the perspective of a monster. It's really not a life-changer (if it is, I don't even want to know about your life) but it's an indulgence in dark, demented thinking and fine, fine writing.