What I’ve been reading

1. John Carey, William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies.  The subtitle gets at the point and I still can't finish his other books.  Much of his life he wasted in a state of repression.  Alcohol and boarding schools play roles in this story.  Recommended.

2. Why Europe: The Medieval Origins of its Special Path, by Michael Mitterauer.  How many of the preconditions for the European miracle were in place by the Middle Ages?  This isn't a fun book (translated from the German), but specialists should pick it up.  Here is one very serious review of the book (JSTOR).

3. Being Wrong: Adventuers in the Margin of Error, by Kathryn Schulz.  Why do we so enjoy being right and thus so often end up being wrong?  This is a good book for many people, but if you've been following Robin Hanson, you won't find it novel or rewarding.

4. Debra Satz, Why Some Things Should Not be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets.  How many books are there now on this topic?  Lots.  How many of them take seriously the notion that our moral intuitions can be badly misguided for judging the operation of an impersonal market economy in the modern world?  Not so many, though all seem to think they do.  

5.  Let me get this straight.  You, the beautiful and brilliant Hannah Arendt, are courted by a German philosopher, he writes lots of gobbledy-gook, becomes a Nazi, refuses for decades to apologize for his complicity, and, after the war, you dedicate books to him and arrange for translations of his work?  Here is a new book on this romance, Stranger from Abroad: Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, Friendship and Forgiveness, by Daniel Maier-Katkin.  Is there perhaps a word missing from that title?  Who is it that buys the Heidegger-Arendt books, men or women?

6. Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart.  I didn't like his previous two books and I usually dislike pomo novels about cool-talking young people in major U.S. cities.  Still, the flood of very good reviews nudged me to read this and I'm glad I did.

Comments

Re: William Golding - have you tried reading The Spire? It's my favourite... a fascinating character study of obsession, and an attempt to imagine how phenomena that we understand through the lens of science might have appeared to the medieval mind. For example, how might you understand the process of bulding a cathedral without the concepts of Newtonian physics?

Phew! "Pomo" looks v. similarly on the screen to "porno"---I was worried.

Reading the biography of William Golding finally let me realize why I hated Lord of the Flies with the loathing passion. In Golding's world, men are monsters, but at least they get to have personality, agency and a role beyond "object of desire" and "caretaker of men". When I discovered that he was an admitted rapist at a time when no support was available to reconcile that with his self-image, suddenly his hatred towards, reliance on and dehumanization of women makes perfect sense.

Easy peasy. Heidegger had Game.

This is from the abstract of the Satz paper"

"Some work, especially work that does not interfere with or undermine their health or education, may allow children to develop skills they need to become well-functioning adults and broaden their future opportunities. Other work, including child prostitution and bonded labor, is unambiguously detrimental to children."

Do I really need to read an academic paper to know this?

ps to Pensans - so is economics, but it occasionally makes for a useful tool for understanding the universe that we inhabit.

Arendt has an essay titled "Heidgegger the Fox," which I think summed Heidgegger up well. Arendt's infatuation with the man reflects a fatalism of which all highly intelligent people should beware.

Tyler, give it up. We all know you don't actually read all these books you claim to.

Men will buy the book about Arendt because we want to know what makes the smart ones tick.

You, the beautiful and brilliant Hannah Arendt, are courted by a German philosopher, he writes lots of gobbledy-gook, becomes a Nazi, refuses for decades to apologize for his complicity, and, after the war, you dedicate books to him and arrange for translations of his work?

Originally read as:

You become a German philosopher, write lots of gobbledy-gook, court the beautiful and brilliant Hannah Arendt, become a Nazi, refuse to apologize for your complicity for decades, and this woman, after the war, dedicates books to you and arranges for translations of your work?

It looks like Tyler has been taking some Hansonian pointers from Professor Hanson on the signaling of sexism.

I also suspect that he spent more time writing and editing this post than he spent "reading" the actual book.

Hi Tyler...im guessing you are both a voracious and fast reader...re: speed, do you mind me asking what your rough words per minute is? i really wanna increase my speed and looking for ways how...think mine is circa 250-300 wpm...

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