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Philosophy Through Thursday

June 11, 2009


There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)

But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect souffle. Rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.

What niche books do YOU read?

I always thought that it was normal to seek out books that explored philosophical questions the way Hesse,  Sartre, Kafka, Vonnegut and others did in their writing. I would talk at length about how the book I was reading at the moment was so utterly fantastic and why my conversation partner had to read it.They would smile, nod, and shift away soon after that.

It occured to me, a few years ago, that other people value books for something called a plot. That is, a story’s significant trend of moving externally forward rather than simply inside of itself. Perhaps it was my mother entering theological school as I was entering middle school, a great time to begin an adventure into deeper things. Or maybe it has simply been something I have built my way into, tiny event after tiny event over the years.

I do, now, in conversation, try to pick books that fall somewhere in the category of “normal book” rather than someone’s personal account of their feelings regarding the universe but there is nothing that makes so giddy as discovering the publication of some grand new thought or idea cleverly disguised as fiction.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2009 2:07 pm

    Let me tell you that while a book with a plot, good or bad one, is certainly lots of fun, there is NOTHING in the world like some theory, philosophy, and actually learning while reading.

    Since I’m still in school and a sociology major I run to “normal” books quite often to give my brain a break but I miss the real books all the time!

    Happy BTT
    I played too!

  2. June 11, 2009 4:18 pm

    At one I was reading Nietzsche and found that I was getting suicidal. I threw it away!

    Booking through niche

  3. June 11, 2009 6:38 pm

    I’ve read bits and pieces of Kafka and Sartre, but would like to read more.

  4. June 14, 2009 2:31 am

    I adore Kafka.

    It is true that even among readers, it is unusual to find people who read ‘heavy’ books. I love books that having something to say about the human condition.

    Nothing against fluffy reading, but not as my total reading diet. So far this year, I’ve read The Fountainhead and Catch-22.

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