Books! What are you currently reading or just finished?


Oh, Eichmann in Jerusalem; that was the second of Arendt’s writing that I read – after Men in Dark Times. Upon seeing that I was reading the latter, my physician recommended the former if I wanted “my mind blown and constantly punched in the gut.” He was not wrong. I would recommend, if you haven’t read it, Arendt’s The Human Condition as well, which stands as, I think, her most mature and complete writing on politics, economics, and the state of humankind.

As for your slate of readings, I’m glad to see you survived the succession of Eichmann, The Prince, and Republic with psyche intact – no small feat! I have yet to pick up Popper, though; any thoughts on his writing?


I don’t love Popper’s writing, but I was recommended this so many times in a row I had to read it. I’m not convinced it is in the same class as the others.

I’d rate the Prince, Eichmann, and Republic in my top books of all time, but not Poverty.

Thanks for the Recce on The Human Condition.

I’m reading Bateson’s Mind and Nature right now which is… odd. I like the cyberneticists’ programme a lot (though it gives me chills where it went in Chile among other places) and I like the idea of ‘a list of things to think about thinking, about thinking’ if that makes sense. Like Waddington’s Tools for Thought and similar books it is kind of a checklist that there is a common toolkit for the mind, maybe. Or maybe not. Bateson’s style is a bit off-putting at times, very terse and some odd explanations here and there.


I just finished one straw revolution - which I’m sure has been discussed to death here. I’m keen to learn more about permaculture/forest gardens/natural farming - does anyone have recommendations?


There are several ongoing discussions:


plus the occasional book comes up here of course.


Impulse! is putting out an unreleased Coltrane quartet album at the end of the month.


I just started reading it so I’m not far in yet, but I definitely recognize myself in the author’s descriptions. Various incidents and difficulties I had from childhood through literally today, keep coming to mind and they make total sense in this light.

I mean, I definitely am an introvert, and I probably do have generalized anxiety disorder if not other issues besides. But most of the difficult stuff is related to “this is too much, I need everything to be calm for a bit” and I think if I frame things that way I can deal with them better.

A couple of weeks ago I went for a float in a sensory deprivation tank, and aside from the back pain I brought in with me, I really enjoyed it. But coming back out into the world again – bight sunlight, traffic, etc – was a really rough time and I kind of broke down. Now I have a much better understandnig why, and I’ll give myself more time to adjust next time I try it.


I could have sworn somebody recommended this one in this thread, but now I can’t find it in a search.

Since I’m between projects and kind of contemplating the next one, it seemed like a good time to read it. I agree really strongly with some parts of it (working on quantity over quality for a couple of years did wonders for my quality and helped me find “my sound” and focus) and a lot of the rest is giving me something to mull over.


A possibly stranger origin story than what is in the comics.


No exactly a frenetic page turner. But I have enjoyed reading about fish tank ecology. Using the info in here to plant out a no CO2, no filter, no ferts tank shortly.


“A devastating picture of American unreality.”

Also Thomas Pynchon’s favorite novel when he was at Cornell:


I just finished Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day which was very good and so sad.


I’ve been thinking about re-reading that. I remember enjoying it, but not ‘getting’ quite the hysteria. Maybe I’d have a different perspective on it now though…

Speaking of Pynchon, I’m trying “Gravity’s Rainbow”, my first of him. I got “Mason and Dixon” too to check out, but I have a feeling GR will wear me out and I’ll need a break. Maybe the Can or Keith Rowe bio as a break :slight_smile:


Love Gravity’s Rainbow. It’s been 18 years since I read it — I got 2 other people to read it with me at the same time — we’d do 50 pages a day and then each person was tasked with figureing out a subset of the references to explain to everyone else.

One guy figured out all the organic chemistry, someone else tracked all the military history and I had to figure out the occult / esoteric stuff.

Without that support system, i’d probably recommend reading it once for the pure quality of the prose, then reading it again with the Gravity’s rainbow companion to help decode it a bit.

Fun times!


My impression so far is that a lot of Pynchon’s references are just nerdy jokes, which is kind of part of the fun. Although it is really cool to see him make invoke all kinds of random, specific knowledge time and again and then do the digging to find that he’s good for it.

50 pages a day is no mean feat! When I was reading it in winter 2017 somebody offered to buy me a donut if I finished the book by the end of the month, so of course I had to.


Ha, yeah, I’m happy if I get 15 done before I’m mentally exhausted and I know I’m missing a ton. It doesn’t help that the World Cup is cutting into my morning reading time.

It’s nice to know there’s a companion book though. That’s a good idea. Speaking of, I just got some sort of ‘notes on Blood Meridian’ companion and I’m thinking about re-reading that one with that little partner to expand my appreciation. Just need to be sure I’m ready for the psychic trauma.

Gravity’s Rainbow is just weird and hard to follow but I’m gradually starting to make sense of the narrative as I acclimate to his writing style. So it’s making a little more sense.


Definitely a weird book.

Just remember the man wrote technical manuals for Boeing and was ingesting a ton of LSD around the time he wrote it — hopefully that puts things into perspective. . .


Ha! Of course he was! This makes so much sense! I wanna reread it with this in mind now.

I wish I knew of the companion book before reading it. English isn’t my first language so it sure wasn’t an easy read! I also wish someone gave me a donut afterward, seems fair!

I’m now reading bleeding edge and althought I’m enjoying it, after gravity’s rainbow it kinda feel like a letdown.


along the lines of Pynchon and other 60s/70s experimental/postmodern novels, I highly recommend checking out Motorman by David Ohle and Log of the S.S. The Mrs. Unguentine by Stanley Crawford. both incredibly strange, moving (short) works.


There is also NOG from that era of weird lit.

Pynchon wrote of it: “Wow, this is some book, I mean it’s more than a beautiful and heavy trip, it’s also very important in an evolutionary way, showing us directions we could be moving in — hopefully another sign that the Novel of Bullshit is dead and some kind of re-enlightenment is beginning to arrive, to take hold. Rudolph Wurlitzer is really, really good, and I hope he manages to come down again soon, long enough anyhow to guide us on another one like Nog.”


ha, I was gonna mention Wurlitzer too. Flats is probably my favorite of his.