… my desk is once again filled with philosophical texts. It might be hard to find a common theme in the stack of books in front of me, but I guess they all in some sense could fit on a shelf labelled “philosophy of life” – or maybe: getting old (with grace) is the least common multiple I’m looking for – .
First the Jungians came knocking on my door, actually they already appeared a year ago – through the shape of James Hollis. Lately I have been reading several books by Thomas Moore.
Then came an odd one; an Australian eco philosopher, Glenn A. Albrecht, with a book called Earth Emotions: New Words for a New World. I’m not sure how I came to pick up this one, I have an interest in nature writing, but eco philosophy … anyways, I’m listening – .
Yesterday my pile of books grew by about a meter when I received a copy of The William H. Gass Reader, which is not a philosophical text per se, but which is nevertheless stuffed with theory & philosophy. Over 900 pages long, it will probably stay with me for a while.
The first part of the book is called: “Fifty Literary Pillars, texts influential to my work”. As a reader I fell in love with the text immediately. Just listen to this: Plato can sometimes be sourly scary, but Aristotle is solid, forthright, sunny. He might even be right. Isn’t this just wonderfully conceived?!
In addition to the already mentioned I am also working my way through two memoirs; Marina Benjamin’s The Middle Pause and Samantha Harvey’s The Shapeless Unease. And I also did not manage to not start reading Terry Tempest Williams newest work EROSION: Essays of Undoing.
My brain might have felt more at ease if I focused on one book at a time, but this is real life, not utopia …
… and anyways; books seem to have a mind of their own –
William H. Gass was born in Fargo, North Dakota. He is the author of seven works of fiction, nine books of essays, and a book of conversations. Gass was a professor of philosophy at Washington University. For most of his life he lived in St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife, the architect Mary Gass. William Gass died in 2017.
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I have read Hollis, Moore, and Albrecht and I can imagine you would find threads of synthesis among them despite their disparities. I have only read Gass’ short stories– In the Heart of the Heart of the Country — but now I am intrigued by his essays and non-fiction, which is wonderful, since I have begun this new year with little enthusiasm for reading (not sure why, just ennui). Once again thank you for showing me the way toward good books to read! And yes, Aristotle IS indeed much “sunnier” than Plato!
Dear Ann, I read «On Being Blue», without liking it, but I love his «50 Literay Pillars», you can read some of the text here:
Much food for thought here, but that’s no surprise. I’m sorry to say that the only author here I’ve read in any depth is Terry Tempest Williams, who’s a favorite, especially since I moved west. And one book at a time? Impossble! 😉
I first encountered TTW in «When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice», it made me want to read everything she has ever written. It’s a kind of magic, finding voices like hers in a world of constant noise of insignificant utterances –