Reading is important, and I've been doing it more than writing, and I'm sorry. Here's what the fuck I've been reading. I'm tempted to write quirky, one-sentence (or even more quirky, one-word) reviews of these books, but I won't. I know how to write a complete sentence, and this isn't twitter. Some of these I haven't actually finished yet, which I'll indicate.
The Sickness Unto Death by Soren Kierkegaard. This is a real fun book, all about depression and its different forms. I like it a lot. I started reading it when I was single, for obvious reasons. I'm still not done with it (even though I'm six months into a relationship) mostly because it lost its appeal as I got less depressed. However, understanding depression makes being sad so much more fun. In fact, I could write a whole essay on why being depressed is a great thing. It makes one more skeptical, more reserved, more cautious, more thorough. I find myself, when depressed, much more willing to spend several hours writing. (You will also note that I have stopped updating this site very often, mostly because I'm not single.) While Kierkegaard's offerings are a bit dated, the general resonance feels right in the sense of varying gradations of despair and its utility.
On the Pleasure of Hating by William Hazlitt. All I will say is that I'm planning on writing a sequel.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. This was recommended to me by multiple friends, and I don't mind being a guy on the subway reading it for all to see. I find its characters largely redundant, its themes trite, its capacity for interesting plot devices negligent, and it sounds like it was written by a sixteen year old in some 18th century version of MTV's Undressed. I can appreciate it for that, though. I haven't finished it, but I've heard the ending a million times, and I keep reading mostly because I've been likened to Mr. Darcy. Which I still have not determined is a compliment or not.
Confessions by Saint Augustine. There's not much to write about here other than I'm happy rock stars existed in the 4th century, and I'm happy they wrote memoirs.
The Sprawl Trilogy by William Gibson. I burned through all three of these books in about two weeks and I can't believe I never found them sooner. I've recommended them to all of the computer geeks I know who feel too high on their own programming prowess and need to be brought up high on those feelings and then brought back down to the reality of it through this fiction. That probably doesn't make sense, but reading them (the first one especially) made me feel good about knowing things about computers, and then it made me feel depressed for knowing things about computers. In a good way. Gibson's outlook on the future is how I would feel it to be: grim, dirty, wasteful, taken advantage of. However, I don't think there will be nearly as many intelligent people, I think there will be far more useless consumers creating a new economic sea of virtual capital (which won't mean anything in our decreasingly material world, and unfortunately also won't mean anything in our increasingly virtual halves).
The Myth of Sisyphus and The Fall by Albert Camus. I have a stack of existentialist stuff I haven't gotten into yet, but I chipped away at it by starting with Camus. I really liked The Stranger awhile ago, so I knew I'd probably like more of his work. I've always been a big fan of Camus because he says quite simply that in the face of nothingness we cannot give up or treat it differently than any other challenge: we must revolt, we must seek out our own meaning, and for that it is all the more important. The Fall was especially interesting and mysterious, in a style that I kind of want to copy.
Demian by Herman Hess. Good stuff, and I like it when metaphorical realism bends into more pure surrealism halfway through the book. Because why not? Reality needs a little sprucing up anyway, especially if it's the reality of pre-WWI Europe. Painting it as a mystical time before the Great War is an awesome way to juxtapose it against the rigid morbidity of war. The book itself barely mentions the war, but it had been released just after WWI, so describing it wasn't even necessary. Out of that context, the ending to the book is a bit wandering. If you think about what happens "after" the ending, where it leaves off historically, it draws the whole narrative out a bit broader in thematic scope.
The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I haven't finished this yet, but so far all it seems to be about is gay men in early post-colonial England. Very gay men.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. So a guy turns into a bug. Why is this one of the more important works of world literature? I mean, sure, the guy turns into a big bug. But I didn't need to read the whole thing to get that idea hammered into my head.
Freakonomics by Steven & Stephen. I could hardly stand reading this book. Have you read it? In between chapters they put in articles about themselves and how awesome they are. I mean yeah, behavioral economics is neat, but do they have to be such cocks about it? Do they have to be so self-congratulatory about it? I almost put it down when I read about how "oh man I was sitting with all these famous cool people at harvard and they were like MAYBE YOU'RE COOL and I was like WHOA I'M COOL? FUCK YEAH I'M COOL". Ugh. What's worse than analysts and statisticians who like to nitpick everything are critically-acclaimed analysts who think they're going to change the world by telling us we like things we're used to. That's not really much of a revelation, and you're not awesome for thinking about it. Finding the hidden side of everything? The majority of the book is actually about stuff that isn't really hidden, it's just shit that nobody really cares about and shouldn't really care about. On, you mean the whole No Child Left Behind thing was a bad idea, and it made teachers cheat to save their jobs? Why not write a book about it, great, big news. Why don't we try doing something about it instead of patting ourselves on the back for being so analytical. The book would've been better if it had been a Bill Nye the Science Guy episode.