I am back at it again. This time, I didn’t really remove a considerable number as is obvious but you know what? It’s okay because those are the books I am still interested in despite it being a while since I gave them a serious thought. I am slowly going through my physical TBR and it is helping in keeping these in.
The Creator and the Rules
- Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
- Read the synopses of the books.
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
- Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!
The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman
Arthur Herman has now written the definitive sequel to his New York Times bestseller, How the Scots Invented the Modern World, and extends the themes of the book—which sold half a million copies worldwide—back to the ancient Greeks and forward to the age of the Internet. The Cave and the Light is a magisterial account of how the two greatest thinkers of the ancient world, Plato and Aristotle, laid the foundations of Western culture—and how their rivalry shaped the essential features of our culture down to the present day.
Plato came from a wealthy, connected Athenian family and lived a comfortable upper-class lifestyle until he met an odd little man named Socrates, who showed him a new world of ideas and ideals. Socrates taught Plato that a man must use reason to attain wisdom, and that the life of a lover of wisdom, a philosopher, was the pinnacle of achievement. Plato dedicated himself to living that ideal and went on to create a school, his famed Academy, to teach others the path to enlightenment through contemplation.
However, the same Academy that spread Plato’s teachings also fostered his greatest rival. Born to a family of Greek physicians, Aristotle had learned early on the value of observation and hands-on experience. Rather than rely on pure contemplation, he insisted that the truest path to knowledge is through empirical discovery and exploration of the world around us. Aristotle, Plato’s most brilliant pupil, thus settled on a philosophy very different from his instructor’s and launched a rivalry with profound effects on Western culture.
The two men disagreed on the fundamental purpose of the philosophy. For Plato, the image of the cave summed up man’s destined path, emerging from the darkness of material existence to the light of a higher and more spiritual truth. Aristotle thought otherwise. Instead of rising above mundane reality, he insisted, the philosopher’s job is to explain how the real world works, and how we can find our place in it. Aristotle set up a school in Athens to rival Plato’s Academy: the Lyceum. The competition that ensued between the two schools, and between Plato and Aristotle, set the world on an intellectual adventure that lasted through the Middle Ages and Renaissance and that still continues today.
From Martin Luther (who named Aristotle the third great enemy of true religion, after the devil and the Pope) to Karl Marx (whose utopian views rival Plato’s), heroes and villains of history have been inspired and incensed by these two master philosophers—but never outside their influence.
Accessible, riveting, and eloquently written, The Cave and the Light provides a stunning new perspective on the Western world, certain to open eyes and stir debate.
I absolutely do not remember anything about this book and why I added to my -to read list on Goodreads. So it has to go because even after I read the synopsis.
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
“But you do,” he went on, not waiting for contradiction. “You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it …”
Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George.
Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?
I still have the physical copy and I am still interested in it so it stays!
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
‘Some things are just sitting there, minding their own business, waiting to be discovered. Like America. And other things are probably better off left alone’
Nine-year-old Bruno has a lot of things on his mind. Who is the ‘Fury’? Why did he make them leave their nice home in Berlin to go to ‘Out-With’ ? And who are all the sad people in striped pyjamas on the other side of the fence? The grown-ups won’t explain so Bruno decides there is only one thing for it – he will have to explore this place alone. What he discovers is a new friend. A boy with the very same birthday. A boy in striped pyjamas. But why can’t they ever play together?
BACKSTORY: Read an interview with the author JOHN BOYNE and learn all about the Second World War in Germany.
I still have the physical copy and I am still interested in it so it stays! I guess, I am just not prepared for the heartbreak is all.
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
A beautiful new limited edition paperback of Snow Falling on Cedars, published as part of the Bloomsbury Modern Classics list.
David Guterson has written a well-received collection of short stories, The Country Ahead of Us, The Country Behind, and is a regular contributor to Harper’s Magazine. In this novel he has acknowledged his debt to ten years of high school English teaching, and especially to his annual task of introducing students to Romeo and Juliet and To Kill a Mockingbird. Echoes of both are found in this book, the ta!e of a community undergoing a trial which questions the whole basis of their justice, and love story across a divided society. Yet Guterson’s work is unmistakably his own, original, memorable, capturing time and place in a poetic and reflective style that is always deeply moving.
On San Piedro, an island of rugged, spectacular beauty in the Puget Sound, a Japanese-American fisherman stands trial, charged with cold-blooded murder. It is 1954 and the shadow of World War II, with its brutality abroad and the internment of Japanese-Americans at home, hangs over the courtroom. Ishmael Chambers, who lost an arm in the war and now runs the island newspaper, is among the journalists
covering the trial that brings him close, once again, to Hatsue Miyamoto, the wife of the accused and Ishmael’s never-forgotten first love. As a heavy snowfall impedes the course of the trial, the whole community Is faced with the ambiguities of justice, the racism that persists even between neighbours, and the necessity of individual moral action, despite the indifference of nature and circumstance.
I still have the physical copy and I am still interested in it so it stays! I guess, I keep waiting for the weather to be cold to read this one and considering where I live, I might have to compromise and just read it it’s relatively colder than usual.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
Northern Lights introduces Lyra, an orphan, who lives in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined. Lyra’s search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and turns into a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. In The Subtle Knife she is joined on her journey by Will, a boy who possesses a knife that can cut windows between worlds. As Lyra learns the truth about her parents and her prophesied destiny, the two young people are caught up in a war against celestial powers that ranges across many worlds and leads to a thrilling conclusion in The Amber Spyglass.
The epic story Pullman tells is not only a spellbinding adventure featuring armoured polar bears, magical devices, witches and daemons, it is also an audacious and profound re-imagining of Milton’s Paradise Lost. An utterly entrancing blend of metaphysical speculation and bravura storytelling, HIS DARK MATERIALS is a monumental and enduring achievement.
I still have the physical copy and I am still very interested in it so it stays! I am hoping that next year will be the year for this one. Who really knows though?
Books Removed in this Post: 1/ 5
Total Books Removed: 20/ 394