It had been a while since I’d read anything by Nietzsche, but I revisited him this week and did not have the reaction I’d expected. I know I’ve read Twilight of the Idols before, but I couldn’t remember much about it, although I do remember enjoying On the Genealogy of Morality.
I thought I’d enjoy re-reading him. I didn’t. While he’s very good at pithy aphorisms, there’s a sense of superiority that never used to bother me but now really does. He is so very sexist; more than just “Well he lived in sexist times,” but in a way that reads as degrading. Read more
I have been in love with Søren Kierkegaard since I was seventeen years old. I read The Sickness Unto Death, and then Fear and Trembling and The Book on Adler, and I was hooked. Never before had I read anything which had chimed so perfectly with who I am.
I revisit Kierkegaard frequently, and my favourite book of his remains Fear and Trembling. However, I didn’t read Works of Love for the first time until about five years ago. I re-read it this week, and it reminded me just how much I love Kierkegaard’s writing. Read more
I had a double-edged reaction to Minding Spirituality by Randall Lehmann Sorenson when I read it the other day. On the one hand, I am very interested in the interplay between spirituality, meaning, psychology and mental health.
On the other, it sometimes felt like this book tried too hard to be an impressive feat of intellectual prowess, rather than simply commenting on the (very interesting) themes it contained. Read more
Following on from yesterday’s best fiction post, here are the best non-fiction books I read this year. (Note that not all of these were published this year, that’s just when I read them.)
The following are abridged reviews; where there’s a longer version on the blog, I’ve linked to it.
The past week can mainly be summed up by this picture:
Robin Lane Fox, Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford and Reader in Ancient History, University of Oxford, has recently released a new book about Augustine. I picked it up the last time I went into Waterstones, because it had a pretty cover and because I find Augustine’s views generally interesting.
Winner of the Wolfson Prize for History 2015, the book charts Augustine’s life up to and including his writing of the Confessions. It compares and contrasts his path with those of other thinkers of his time, including the pagan Libanius.
A couple of interesting thoughts about human spirituality and the beginnings of religion, from The Beginnings Of Religion by E.O. James.
A couple of weeks ago, two of my friends came over for dinner. One is a committed atheist, the other a vague Christian. And me, a… well, a scar.
The conversation turned to religion at one point, and my atheist friend said that she didn’t understand how anyone intelligent could possibly believe in a god. How she is stunned to see scientists and people like them expressing beliefs in entities whose existence can’t be empirically proven.
The Occult Tradition by David S. Katz is a book I read a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed, mainly because it didn’t just discuss dubious claims of current witches dating back their ancestry to ancient Egypt, but took an in-depth look at ‘occult’ concepts in a very literal sense – in the sense of discussing hidden or obscure material.
A lot of the book focused on Jewish and Christian mysticism, which was interesting because again this isn’t something that’s always heavily discussed in books on occult themes.
Tattoos, I have found, tend to have quite a polarising effect. I have several of them (23 at last count), mostly in places that are openly visible (hands, arms, fingers, neck).
People either love them or hate them: rarely do I meet someone who doesn’t have an opinion on whether I’m “ruining my body” or “making meaningful art”.