What Books Aren’t You Reading

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

What books aren’t you reading?  I am not reading several books.  

War in a Time of Peace (Bush, Clinton and the Generals) by David Halberstam

I know this is a decent book, as it is written by Halberstam.  As well, perhaps there is a glimmer of our upcoming wars when this book was written which would be interesting as it is Halberstam’s take.  

I bought this book at my resale shop for one dollar.  For awhile it sat on my nighttable, then moved to the side of the bed with other stellar intentions, then finally to the chair near the bedroom where it occasionally gives me twinges of guilt.

Lenin’s Tomb (The Last Days of the Soviet Empire) by David Remnick

Actually, I read this book sometime ago.  It is a great book. However, either my mind is not as sharp or I have become lazy – I can’t get through it, though there are some passages/chapters I peruse occasionally.

It is now on the side of the bed.

Reader’s Digest Complete Do-it-yourself Manual for Home Repair

This book was a gift from prior male companion some time ago.  Please if I wanted to read it, I wouldn’t have been dating a carpenter who was also a master electrician.  Did he think that now he wouldn’t have to do any work around here.  He didn’t and as I said, “prior.”  It’s in the basement next to the washer and miscellaneous sad tools   in case I ever use them.  The real toolchest is in the garage should one of my friends ever feel the need to tighten a screw or something.  So far, they haven’t.  

The Energy of Money (A Spirituial Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment) by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D.

I gave up on personal fulfillment when I was 10 and didn’t get a dollhouse for Christmas.  (Yeah, I’m shallow.)  This book will prolly go to the resale store.  I can’t bring myself to throw books away.   It’s under the chair.  

TuneSmith (Inside the Art of Songwriting) by Jimmy Webb.  Someone told me this is a great book about music.  Wichita Lineman is supposed to be a marvel of songwriting and I agree.  But for some reason, I can’t get into it.  It is on the nightstand so maybe it has a chance.

The Iliad by Homer (Robert Fagles)

Another book I’ve read partially in the past.  Powerful – everything you need to know about the world and writing about the world.  I’ve studied it in several university courses but never read it completely through in a few sittings that weren’t years apart.  I want to, of course.  But it is harrrrd.  It is on the side of the bed – but I am determined before my dotage.

Friends have mentioned it glorifies war.  No.  It does not.  It gives hard, sharp images of battles, yes. Men die in agony in battle not in glory here.  But why would anyone want to go to war after reading those passages unless they were the Achilles type.  Since high school I’ve been in love with Hector.  And I always will be – even with this passage:

All this weighs on my mind too, dear woman.

But I would die of shame to face the men of Troy

and the Trojan women trailing their long robes

if I would shrink from battle now, a coward.

Yeah, he’s a guy.  Though perhaps he fixed something around the house before he went into battle.


The Politics of Rich and Poor – Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath by Kevin Phillips

A prescient book. Can’t finish.  What I’ve read – so informative.  Is it me?  Maybe if I’d had to study it in a polysci class, I would have finished it.

Anyone here think it is still relevant?  It’s on the night table – I have hopes.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

Please don’t make me.  It’s on the chair.  I live for that breakthrough day that someone will borrow it and not return it to me.  I had to read parts of it for a literary criticism course.  More than enough.  My sympathy is with the whale.


Oh this list is depressing and getting too long.  Many of you may have fallen asleep while reading this, or perhaps your head hit the desk as you nodded off.

Any books you guys keep around for future reading?  Can you beat my record of 30 years on Moby Dick?



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    • Edger on September 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, by Alan Watts

    THIS BOOK explores an unrecognized but mighty taboo – our tacit conspiracy to ignore who, or what, we really are. Briefly, the thesis is that the prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination which accords neither with Western science nor with the experimental philosophy-religions of the East – in particular the central and germinal Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism.

    This hallucination underlies the misuse of technology for the violent subjugation of man’s natural environment and, consequently, its eventual destruction.

    We are therefore in urgent need of a sense of our own existence which is in accord with the physical facts and which overcomes our feeling of alienation from the universe.

    full .pdf here (118 pages)

    At Amazon.com here

  1. it looked like a code as follows   I wanted this to be private but what the hell. Everyone I ever had a kerfuffle with seems to be gathered here. They don’t get apologies, they know why.


      At first I only half considered you criticism because I thought I could pick and choose what I wanted to improve and actually do more of what I was doing.

      Then I reconsidered and realized that I shouldn’t expect anyone to approve or agree to my standards. I thought that my way was the  only way to communicate in words but it was not a patient or caring way. I apologize and thank you for being brave enough to do what I asked. It was wrong of me to get defensive. I apologize and thank you.

       I am all for struggling things out. I hope we can put this behind us and start over.

  2.  and true!

    Why is that there is this in-built sense of guilt for books “to be read?”  I have quite a few myself!  Some with only the prefaces read, and those you just “can’t get through! And “old books” that still remain — can’t dispose of.  But as you say, the intentions remain — from year to year, and sometimes, years!  

    • David R on September 23, 2010 at 5:30 am

    I’ve also been working on Thucydides as well.  What strikes me most about those works is how little mankind has changed, for all of the thousands of years and the differences in culture and technology between the ancient Greeks and ourselves.  The insight gleaned into human thought and behavior still holds as true.

  3. Goodness knows I’ve taken more than one whack at it, and reading Marx usually isn’t a problem for me, but I get six or seven chapters into Capital, totally mentally exhausted, and realize I’m still in introductory material, and I concede defeat.  Presumably I’ll be not-reading Capital for the rest of my life.  

    From the Thesis on Feuerbach:


    The highest point reached by contemplative materialism, that is, materialism which does not comprehend sensuousness as practical activity, is contemplation of single individuals and of civil society.


    The standpoint of the old materialism is civil society; the standpoint of the new is human society, or social humanity.


    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.

    • Xanthe on September 24, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    You’re a carpenter, aren’t you?  I hope you are helpful around the house of your significant other(s).

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