Reading Corner

Last updated on August 1, 2015.

What’s great about standing on the shoulders of giants, is that you don’t have to reach very far to get at high places.

Books In Progress

  • The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde
  • Death By Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Common Sense by Thomas Paine
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Cień wiatru by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • Life of Pi
  • The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Completed in 2015

  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Completed in 2014

  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Pierwsze Koty Robaczywki by Karina Bonowicz
  • Kometa nad Doliną Muminków by Tove Jansson

Completed in 2013

  • Moral Panics by Kenneth Thompson
  • Lying by Sam Harris
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
  • Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
    “If I convert it’s because it’s better that a believer dies than an atheist does.”
  • The Missionary Position by Christopher Hitchens
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  • The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris
  • Coming up for air by George Orwell
  • Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • A Thousand Farewells by Nahlah Ayed

Completed in 2012

  • Alchemia kariery by Jacek Santorski and Grzegorz Turniak
  • The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Złodziejka Książek by Markus Zusak
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
    (Burgin and O’Connor translation – it’s far superior to any other I picked up.)
  • Breakfast of Champions (ISBN 0-385-33420-) by Kurt Vonnegut
    1492. “The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions and millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which the sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them.”
  • Women Not Wanted by Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk
  • Hitch 22 by Christopher Hitchens

Completed in 2011

  • A Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Rework by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel
  • Merde, Actually by Stephen Clarke
  • Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  • Opowiadania by Marek Hłasko

Completed in 2010

  • Payback by Margaret Atwood
    (ISBN 978-0-88784-810-0)
    “Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and a friend / And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.” (Shakespeare)
  • Lust in Translation by Pamela Druckerman
    “This practice [infidelity] is still so common that men who pay girls rent in exchange for sex are dubbed “minister of housing,” those who pay for school and university are referred to as “minister of education,” and of course the “minister of communication” loads airtime on their cellphones. (Men who buy food are known simply as “lunch boys.”)”
  • Power Friending by Amber Mac

Completed in 2009

  • A Year in Merde by Stephen Clarke
    “Paris is, I was beginning to realize, a bit like an ocean. An ocean is a great place to live if you’re a shark. There’s loads of fresh seafood, and if anyone gives you shit you just bite them in half. You might not be loved by everyone, but you’ll be left in peace to enjoy yourself.”

Completed in 2008

  • Juicy Pens | Thirsty Paper by Sark
    “How bad can you get? Let yourself write something really bad and boring. This puts you past your fear of writing ‘badly.'”
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
    This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped its shells, were destroyed by the war.
  • I’ll Tell You a Secret by Anne Coleman
    “I feel as if I’m advancing towards a cliff and I’m going to fall over it. I can’t stop what is going to happen. It’s my doom…”
  • New Rules (ISBN 978-1-59486-295-3) by Bill Maher
    No McDonald’s in hospitals. You’re doctors. You’re not supposed to be in the “repeat business” business.
  • The Varieties of Scientific Experience
    (ISBN 978-0-14-311262-4) by Carl Sagan
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (ISBN 978-1-57912-474-8) by Oscar Wilde
    There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us. It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.
  • Breakfast of Champions (ISBN 0-385-33420-) by Kurt Vonnegut
    1492. “The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions and millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which the sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them.”
  • In Defense of Atheism (ISBN 0-14-305057-5) by Michel Onfray
    Human credulity is beyond imagining. Man’s refusal to see the obvious, his longing for a better deal even if it is based on pure fiction, his determination to remain blind have no limits.
  • The Screwtape Letters (ISBN 0-06-065293-4) by C.S. Lewis
    “If people knew how much ill-feeling Unselfishness occasions, it would not be so often recommended from the pulpit.”
  • The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
    (ISBN 978-0-676-97800-1) by Naomi Klein
    “We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.” — George Orwell
    There were no colours…
  • Timequake (ISBN 0-425-16434-9) by Kurt Vonnegut
    “At 2:27 P.M. on February 13th of the year 2001, the Universe suffered a crisis in self-confidence. Should it go on expanding indefinitely? What was the point?”
    Trout’s Genesis

Completed in 2007

  • God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (ISBN 0743422000) by Kurt Vonnengut
    “Everything was beautiful. Nothing hurt.”
  • American Fascists (ISBN 0-7432-8443-7) by Chris Hedges
    Tolerance is a virtue, but coupled with passivity is a vice.
  • God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens
  • Slaughterhouse-Five (ISBN 0-440-18029-5) by Kurt Vonnegut
    So it goes.
    Miraculous long steel tubes.
  • Brave New World (ISBN 978-0-307-35654-3) by Aldous Huxley
    Happiness is a hard master – particularly other people’s happiness.
  • A Clockwork Orange (ISBN 0-14-118260-1) by Anthony Burgess
    Choice is a wonderful thing. ‘What’s it going to be then, eh?
  • SHAM (ISBN 978-1-4000-5410-7) by Steve Salerno
    How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless
    My beliefs stand affirmed: Self-Help in general is a New-Wage religion, polytheism in clever disguise.
  • Fahrenheit 451 (ISBN-13 978-0-345-34296-6) by Ray Bradbury
    “Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there’s your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more.”
  • The Plague (ISBN 0-140-01472-1) by Albert Camus
    On one level, the book is a straightforward narrative – on another, a symbol of the Nazi occupations. A classic, winner of the 1947’s Prix winner.
  • Breaking the Spell (ISBN 0-670-03472-X) by Daniel C. Dennett
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four (ISBN 0-19-818521-9) by George Orwell
    “It is a great book, but I pray I may be spared from reading another like it for years to come.” — Fredric J. Warburg
  • The God Delusion (ISBN 0-618-68000-4) by Richard Dawkins
    A catalyst for my recent obsession with biology, theism, and philosophy. Read twice in six months since release.
  • Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
    Quick read with a self explanatory title.
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
    Short classic for a quiet afternoon, well worth the read.
  • The Devil’s Chaplain by Richard Dawkins
    A collection of essays, forewords, and letters by Dawkins.
  • End of Faith (ISBN 0-393-32765-5) by Sam Harris
    Brings up good issues, although I disagree with Sam on how to resolve them.
  • Larry’s Party by Carol Shields

Completed in 2006

  • Oryx and Crake (ISBN 978-0771008689) by Margaret Atwood
Posted at June 3rd, 2007.

2 Responses to “Reading Corner”

  1. Annie says:

    I found you by accident. I have one question. Have you ever been to Hergest Ridge?

    I searched you (or rather I found you), because I miss walking on that hill. I live maybe fifteen miles away, but (because of reasons) I haven’t been there for a while now, and you have a page called Hergest Ridge, but I think you live a lot further away, but maybe I’m wrong. I suppose I have a spirit of place query.

    And maybe a message to – if you can go there. It isn’t much, but its lovely, perfect, special. So one day (or maybe I got you wrong) and in which case everyday …. just go …..

    Annie xx

  2. Arthur Brash says:

    Annie: the name is inspired by an album title, and Mike Oldfield named the album after the hill. I think it’s only right that I should visit a place that is the namesake for the blog – and, your describing it as lovely, perfect and special ads to the grounds for visiting it. :) It sounds like you took with you something very amazing from Hergest Ridge – I imagine it a place where ideas and dreams made small by the everyday stretch out their cramped bodies and seek for our attention with new vigour.

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