“Right now I’m working on Walden, and next on the list is On the Road. I was wondering if you could recommend anything like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? What are you reading?”
Philosophy mixed with narrative and stream of consciousness is an enlightening mix. Robert Sullivan wrote this awesome book on Rats that I read a few years ago and still fondly recall on occasion. I recently searched for more works by the author and found a book on Thoreau, I have not read it yet but I would recommend it — I bought the book and am waiting to read it later this year. On a related note, there is a skit on the show Portlandia that pokes fun at the Rats premise, and it made me re-think why I liked the book.
If you are looking for an insightful personal journey, AJ Jacobs continues to craft elaborately profound self-experiments. His latest book Drop Dead Healthy serves as a lighthouse in the foggy realm of health. After reading this I am more confused about what to eat and how to exercise while at the same time I feel more skeptical, apathetic and confident. Eat for joy and energy and be energetic and joyful about eating. Play and move like a rambunctious child and you will be as nimble and resilient as a child. As we age we find more ways to avoid falling down.
If you want straightforward philosophical exercises, then Intuition Pumps will do the job. Dennett is an associate of Hofstadter and one of my favorite authors. The Atlantic recently featured a fascinating article on Hofstadter and it ties into the Book Talk that I am hosting on the MTI News blog. Surfaces and Essences elegantly connects the dots and argues that metaphor or analogy is at the heart of knowledge and communication. The book builds from idioms to E=mc2 from the letter “A” to the entirety of the universe in one loopy cycle.
What are you reading?
PS The author of that recent Hofstadter article has more content on a blog and the artist responsible for the MTI News header image has a marvelous collection of art work: check-out James Somers and Robert Gonsalves.