Though I’ve been busy beyond busy, I’ve also tried to keep to reading one hour a day. Mainly because time spend reading is never time lost. Here’s what I read lately.
Chris Guillebeau – The Happiness of Pursuit
I am particularly excited to tell you about this book. You might have read my blogpost ‘Ashley‘, which was my action inspired by reading this book. Also, this book inspired me to start my dream of interviewing a band from every country in the world. So, what is this book actually about and why am I so wildly excited about its content?
Chris Guillebeau travelled the whole world, looking to visit every single country. So he did and met along the way a lot of other people chasing dreams. He also blogged about it and started looking for other fanatics. The book describes the motivations and sense of purpose that are part of chasing some big idea. Some crazy dream that others find totally insane and mad. Without ever saying: Hey, here’s the definition of that ‘Happiness of Persuit’., Chris Guillebeau describes it. He makes the love and passion behind dreams tangible and relatable. I talked to people around me about this book and I noticed some people just didn’t get it. They thought a guy running 40 marathons in one year was just sick. I don’t, I get it and I’m eagerly looking for my true, big goal in this life.
Plutarch – The Age of Alexander
I’ve always had a love for history books. If you like to read those, the classics are always a great vantage point. I’ve started reading Herodotes once before, but that book unfortunately started falling apart slowly so I never finished it past a certain amount of chapters. I did however listen to the book at some point in my life so that was interesting. When I started getting into the Roman Empire again a short while ago, Plutarch turned out to be the obvious choice for the job. I enjoyed reading this book, though its dence writing is slow to get through.
If you take your time however, this collection of biographic stories is a treasure of information and knowledge about our ancient past. Plutarch decided to write about combinations of figures., like Julius Ceasar and Alexander The Great, to legitimize the Greek era in the light of the Roman. Penguin publishers decided to cut them up due to time areas. Which might seem like an odd choice, given it kinda takes apart the integrity of the original work. Still, the decision seems to be legit. This way the publisher was able to release the works in a chronological order. Ever tried to read Conan The Barbarian? That can teach you something about the value of chronology… Wise lessons and vanity, the work is full of it. This is definitely worth the time of someone who loves history and the epic quality of some people in our past.
Seneca – On The Shortness of Life
After reading the Penguin Great Ideas book by Hannah Arendt about Eichmann, I got particularly interested in this series and ordered the first three books. Seneca was number one. Now obviously Seneca was not unknown to me obviously, having read about him and his place in history many times. This book however, never really relies on the cultural components of its time. The ideas about life that Seneca puts forward in his writing are easy to relate to. For example, he suggests one should not waste time on meaningless activities and that time spend studying philosophy is time used best.
The book contains two other essays, both are to be read like you read a very long letter. It is as if Seneca wishes to speak to us as readers, through this long letter, as if he is speaking to you like a teacher speaking to a student. It feels very much like being absorbed into an intriguing lesson and that is why this book is so good. I probably will try to read it again. I was very tired when reading it and I could not fully appreciate the long lessons about life, the universe and everything in both their elaborate description as well as their beautifull form.
Flowers & Moynihan – The Secret King: The Myth and Reality of Nazi Occultism
Boy, what a topic to write a book about. I was sceptical about this book at first because Moynihan is not the most clear cut figure. In fact, I consider him highly dubious in both his ‘academic’ way, but also in his personal politics. Though for the actual ‘reading’ part a lot of this book is simply useless, it offers a wealth of information on a topic that is very often shrouded in nothing but myth and obscure references to Guido Von List. The writers explain why most of those stories are bogus and end up with one figure that actually could be the source of most of these mythical accounts of what may have happened in Himmlers castle.
The figure in question is Karl Maria Wiligut. A peculiar soul who never wrote much and what he wrote was hard to obtain. The book is in that sense more a resource for these writings. The introduction tells more about what is actually the basis for focussing on Willigut and in the apendix one can find notable interviews. For those fascinated with the topic, this is, next to Goodricke Clarke’s ‘The Occult Roots of Nazism’, an essential read.