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Reads & Challenges Archive > Anastasia's 2015 reads

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message 1: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments I will not do any particular challenge this year, I'll just keep track of my reads :)

message 2: by Anastasia (last edited Jan 27, 2015 05:11PM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 1) La nascita della filosofia by Giorgio Colli ("The Rise of Philosophy", a possible translation) 4/5

It's not the usual introduction to Ancient Philosophy, it deals with a particular kind of knowledge which is earlier even than Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes, who are the first so-called philosophers for the conventional storiography about the subject.
It concerns the ambiguous answers of the Delphic Oracle and what kind of primordial knowledge they represented, Apollo and Dioniso and their figures as bearers of a particular - sometimes clearly distinct and sometimes not (here there is a critic to Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy) - side of Greek's thought, and so on.
It's such a good book in this particular point of view, here in fact I've found the most fascinating paragraphs about Heraclitus's fragments I've read so far (and I'll surely read the essay concentrated on Heraclitus by the same author).

message 3: by Anastasia (last edited Jan 27, 2015 05:15PM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 2) Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot 4/5

Well, I'm a fan of T.S. Eliot and a cat lover, so clearly I was born to love this book. :') It is so cute and creative.

message 4: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 3) Black Box by Jennifer Egan 3/5

Jennifer Egan is such an interesting author, I remember with a great pleasure my read of A Visit from the Goon Squad. But this literary experiment is humbler than the quoted one and more reduced (obviously), and its effects on me are not so memorable..but it is still nice as a short story.

message 5: by Anastasia (last edited Jan 27, 2015 05:41PM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 4) Introduzione a lo stoicismo ellenistico by Margherita Isnardi Parente ("Introduction to Hellenistic Stoicism") 4/5

The most interesting theory of Hellenistic Stoicism is about God and Fate and the related Ethics. A page which talks about it is I'll paste in the spoiler tag the parts about it:
(view spoiler)
The books itself as a dedicated essay to this specific philosophical current is sufficiently detailed and absolutely clear for a student. It is also perfectly readable to those who are simply interested in the subject. :)

message 6: by Anastasia (last edited Jan 28, 2015 06:35AM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 5) The Egg by Andy Weir 4/5

Clever, but following the excessively enthusiastic reviews it could look like a stroke of genius. A bit hyped.

message 7: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 6) Profilo di Aristotele by Enrico Berti (re-read) 4/5

An excellent essay for its purposes.

message 8: by Overbooked ✎ (new)

Overbooked  ✎ (kiwi_fruit) | 473 comments Anastasia wrote: "5) The Egg by Andy Weir 4/5

Clever, but following the excessively enthusiastic reviews it could look like a stroke of genius. A bit hyped."

I felt the same about this book, Anastasia

message 9: by Anastasia (last edited Jan 31, 2015 05:31AM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments Kiwi wrote: "Anastasia wrote: "5) The Egg by Andy Weir 4/5

Clever, but following the excessively enthusiastic reviews it could look like a stroke of genius. A bit hyped."

I f..."

The Martian is far more noteworthy than this short story!

message 10: by Anastasia (last edited Jan 31, 2015 05:50AM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 7) The Symposium by Plato (re-read) 4/5

My God, I studied it so much in these last months that I know all the book by heart! I could use it as a lullaby in the future.
The most important thing I've learnt: to understand deeply the importance of Plato one must read his dialogues, in this particular literary form a fundamental point of all Plato's intents comes to life, something that a textbook will never give for the same subject.

An extract from Diotima's speech about immortality and love:

"For love, Socrates, is not, as you imagine, the love of the beautiful only." "What then?" "The love of generation and of birth in beauty." "Yes," I said. "Yes, indeed," she replied. "But why of generation?" "Because to the mortal creature, generation is a sort of eternity and immortality," she replied; "and if, as has been already admitted, love is of the everlasting possession of the good, all men will necessarily desire immortality together with good: Wherefore love is of immortality."
All this she taught me at various times when she spoke of love. And I remember her once saying to me, "What is the cause, Socrates, of love, and the attendant desire? See you not how all animals, birds, as well as beasts, in their desire of procreation, are in agony when they take the infection of love, which begins with the desire of union; whereto is added the care of offspring, on whose behalf the weakest are ready to battle against the strongest even to the uttermost, and to die for them, and will, let themselves be tormented with hunger or suffer anything in order to maintain their young. Man may be supposed to act thus from reason; but why should animals have these passionate feelings? Can you tell me why?" Again I replied that I did not know. She said to me: "And do you expect ever to become a master in the art of love, if you do not know this?" "But I have told you already, Diotima, that my ignorance is the reason why I come to you; for I am conscious that I want a teacher; tell me then the cause of this and of the other mysteries of love." "Marvel not," she said, "if you believe that love is of the immortal, as we have several times acknowledged; for here again, and on the same principle too, the mortal nature is seeking as far as is possible to be everlasting and immortal: and this is only to be attained by generation, because generation always leaves behind a new existence in the place of the old. Nay even in the life, of the same individual there is succession and not absolute unity: a man is called the same, and yet in the short interval which elapses between youth and age, and in which every animal is said to have life and identity, he is undergoing a perpetual process of loss and reparation -- hair, flesh, bones, blood, and the whole body are always changing. Which is true not only of the body, but also of the soul, whose habits, tempers, opinions, desires, pleasures, pains, fears, never remain the same in any one of us, but are always coming and going; and equally true of knowledge, and what is still more surprising to us mortals, not only do the sciences in general spring up and decay, so that in respect of them we are never the same; but each of them individually experiences a like change. For what is implied in the word 'recollection,' but the departure of knowledge, which is ever being forgotten, and is renewed and preserved by recollection, and appears to be the same although in reality new, according to that law of succession by which all mortal things are preserved, not absolutely the same, but by substitution, the old worn-out mortality leaving another new and similar existence behind -- unlike the divine, which is always the same and not another? And in this way, Socrates, the mortal body, or mortal anything, partakes of immortality; but the immortal in another way. Marvel not then at the love which all men have of their offspring; for that universal love and interest is for the sake of immortality."
I was astonished at her words, and said: "Is this really true, O thou wise Diotima?" And she answered with all the authority of an accomplished sophist: "Of that, Socrates, you may be assured; -- think only of the ambition of men, and you will wonder at the senselessness of their ways, unless you consider how they are stirred by the love of an immortality of fame. They are ready to run all risks greater far than they would have for their children, and to spend money and undergo any sort of toil, and even to die, for the sake of leaving behind them a name which shall be eternal. Do you imagine that Alcestis would have died to save Admetus, or Achilles to avenge Patroclus, or your own Codrus in order to preserve the kingdom for his sons, if they had not imagined that the memory of their virtues, which still survives among us, would be immortal? Nay," she said, "I am persuaded that all men do all things, and the better they are the more they do them, in hope of the glorious fame of immortal virtue; for they desire the immortal."

message 11: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 8) Phaedrus by Plato (re-read) 4/5

Is this the real life
Is this just fantasy? ♪

It has something in his praise of the "divine madness" that is so beautiful to read that for a moment I was almost moved.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Wow, so much philosophy! I am ashamed to say that I haven't opened a philosophy book since high school, even though it was one of my favourite subjects.
Have you ever considered studying philosophy in university?

message 13: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 9) The Concept of Time by Martin Heidegger (re-read) 4/5

It can be a good start to read Heidegger's philosophy: it deals with concepts that will be analyzed too in the monumental Being and Time, but in a "lighter" and more accessible way.
The pages about the difference between the standard time of everyday life and the autenthic time of an existence which doesn't escape from itself are inspiring.

message 14: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments Giorgia wrote: "Wow, so much philosophy! I am ashamed to say that I haven't opened a philosophy book since high school, even though it was one of my favourite subjects.
Have you ever considered studying philosophy..."

I'm reading all these philosophical texts because I study Philosophy at university! :-D

message 15: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 10) My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike by Joyce Carol Oates 3/5

I've empathized with this family in total disrepair and I was interested in reading it, but ultimately I've not read it with enthusiasm. So, I appreciate its message (particularly about how we can be blind in our need of self-satisfaction, which is followed deliriously with that typical obsession for a recognition in a competitive jungle), but I was not really feeling into the story..

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Anastasia wrote: "Giorgia wrote: "Wow, so much philosophy! I am ashamed to say that I haven't opened a philosophy book since high school, even though it was one of my favourite subjects.
Have you ever considered stu..."

Haha, there you go!

message 17: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 11) Betwixt and Between by Albert Camus 4/5

Full of vividness. The youngest Camus really deserves a read.

message 18: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 12) Gesture and Speech by André Leroi-Gourhan 4/5

Totally out of my usual genres (André Leroi-Gourhan is a paleontologist), but studying it for an exam has been an interesting experience. It helped me to look at the history of human evolution with an improved perspective.

message 19: by Anastasia (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 13) Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History by Jan Patočka 4.5/5

Beautiful collection of amazing essays. Extremely fluent to read (or maybe I'm saying this because when I was reading it I finished the second read of Being and Time..) and extremely interesting in their survey of the historical meaning of the human being.

message 20: by Anastasia (last edited Mar 07, 2015 02:01PM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 14) The Duel by Anton Chekhov 4/5

This is the first book I read by Cekhov. I liked its atmospheres, the sensation that behind the fact that nothing is really happening there are many background noises which will explode in a final and clear blast. I liked also Cekhov's irony and his sympathetic approach to his characters.

message 21: by Anastasia (last edited Mar 07, 2015 02:21PM) (new)

Anastasia (universe_beats) | 401 comments 15) Ion by Plato 3.5/5

Not comparable to Phaedrus and The Symposium. I don't share Socrates's thoughts about the rhapsode, who can be compared to the more actual actor. The rhapsode/actor in fact is not possesed of divine forces when he recites (and so, following Socrates, it wouldn't be technically able of doing nothing, because it is not even conscious of its own activity). He's the one who has the most improved control of its body in order to play the same part many times with plausibility. My professor has said a thing that I share: one can not be happy every night in order to recite an happy state of mind. Clearly there is an extremely conscious technique behind, not an istintive identification.
The interesting point is that even Plato is aware of it, because it makes Ion says that he must earn money in its recites and for doing it it must "control" the emotions of his public. If they will not laugh or cry, he will not earn his money and he will fail. There is a control.
Another contradiction of Plato, but reading him is always interesting especially for that, for the fact that nothing is really dogmatic and he always leaves space for a dissonant angle.

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