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List of Bookmarks

So I finally have all the books I own in one physical location. There’s ~100 of them. My stock of physical books actually peaked in the mid-2000s, at ~500, before I left Britain for the US. The appearance of e-books and transportation costs-forced elimination of my more r-selected books has steadily whittled down that number, and it probably reached its trough around 2016. Since then, they have started creeping upwards again, and will probably continue to do – though at a low rate, since I only really buy high quality books or books that get signed by authors I respect. Meanwhile, the size of my ebook collection on Calibre currently stands at exactly 1,522 (most of them pirated from Genesis Library) and jumps up by 100-200 books with every year.

Anyhow, here’s my most “powerful” bookshelf:

In case you’re wondering – yes, the Arthur Jensen/Indian cookbook pairing is there on purpose.

***

This might also be a good place to plug one of the best Twitter threads of The Previous Year. Bookshelf aesthetics matter.

 
• Tags: Books, Humor, The AK 
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  1. Serrice says: • Website

    If a man doesn’t have a hardback copy of Lord of the Rings on his bookshelf there’s something seriously wrong. Good to see Albion’s Seed there, fascinating book.

    Was Unz’s book worth the read? I’ve only read his articles and find his style somewhat laborious.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  2. Mr. XYZ says:

    [MORE]

    Anatoly, off-topic, but I have a question for you–did you ever acquire either a US Green Card or US citizenship?

    I’m curious about this because I want to know if you have the ability to move back to the US at will or if you will need special permission to do this in the event that you will ever actually want to do this.

    Also, I applaud you for being such a strong Russian patriot that you moved back to Russia. Personally, I would be extremely hesitant to move out of the US–and I say this as someone who has US citizenship and who certainly plans to keep his US citizenship forever.

    AK: Thanks, but I don’t comment on overly personal matters. Long-standing, and I believe reasonable, policy.

    • Replies: @Spencer
  3. songbird says:

    Bad popular books are an interesting phenomenon. TV is so passive it is easy to understand why there is bad TV. But with books you got to move your eyeballs. And it is one thing to read a bad book, but another to praise it on social media.

    Moldbug is right: I think there may be convergence with politics.

  4. Dmitry says:
    @Serrice

    Was Unz’s book worth the read? I’ve only read his articles and find his style somewhat laborious.

    Of what I saw of his articles here, his writing was muddled, crazy and uneducated nonsense. I guess Karlin has to be politically correct with his website host and probably it is tactless to post this.

  5. Anonymous[679] • Disclaimer says:

    I have to roll my eyes at Moldbugman’s thread, honestly. Yes, of course normies use books as props to signal their intelligence and taste (or lack thereof from our perspective) rather than as sources of knowledge and insight. This is a vice and a folly, but it is in no way confined to them. Adherents of every ideology like to find opportunities to mention all the sophisticated and challenging books that they’ve read, in the (usually largely subconscious) hope that it will win them status points.

    This is a forlorn hope, because, for better or for worse, it is not all that impressive to most people, even to intellectuals, that your eyeballs have scanned the pages of a book, even one that is difficult to read. Mentioning or demonstrating this fact will not win you nice things from other people. (As opposed to, for instance, having made a skillful play in a sports game, which is intuitively considered worthy of high respect by most people.)

    Thus, I believe that dorky Harry Potter readers get a better return on their investment of time by endlessly rereading their favorite children’s/YA series than many literati/would-be sophisticates do from reading writers like Dostoevsky, Joyce, Foster Wallace and Faulkner. The former are at least genuinely motivated by sheer enjoyment of the novels they read; the latter are largely motivated by the desire to be able to say that they’ve read “classic” authors. (There’s a certain paradox in that the authors whom it is least enjoyable to read for most people are often the authors whom it is thought most prestigious to have read.) I suspect most readers of “high-brow” fiction would enjoy watching movies or playing video games more, and would ultimately be able to derive from them the same substantive lessons about the human condition. (Mark Twain quipped that “A classic is a book everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”)

    Richard Spencer wrote an insightful essay on football fandom in which he observed that watching football is so dangerous because it is passive, sedentary, pointless consumption of entertainment that deceives men into thinking that they are accomplishing something masculine by watching and cheering on the achievements of other men. That is to say, the ultimately humiliating condition of defining yourself by being a “big [sport/team] fan”—bragging about the time you spend sitting on your butt watching TV—is thought of as being more macho than other such forms of sedentary consumption.

    Likewise, I think that reading books is dangerous, because the powerful cultural association between advanced literacy and high intelligence disguises the fact that reading fiction is ultimately, for most people, a form of passive entertainment that accomplishes nothing. It’s fine to spend some time doing that, but I think it’s important to recognize that accomplishment, not consumption, is the ultimate source of happiness. The modern emphasis on identities created as passive consumers of entertainment (reader, gamer, cinephile, et cetera) is a significant source of unhappiness.

  6. Dmitry says:

    Some interesting books… I wonder about Davydov book on Witte-Stolypin – not to read it, but a short review or summary of what are the findings.

    And this “The Age of Em” book – from what I saw on him before watching YouTube, the author Hanson seems a little insane.

  7. Spencer says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    [MORE]

    AK: Thanks, but I don’t comment on overly personal matters. Long-standing, and I believe reasonable, policy.

    Out of curiosity, are you gay or asexual? You never talk about women. Do you have a girlfriend? Are you looking for a wife? Do you want to have children?

    These questions I would like to ask Nassim Taleb as well. But with him it’d end quickly with him blocking me. A man without a woman is seen as suspect.

    AK: I am not particularly interested in posting about my Tinder adventures.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
  8. Yevardian says:
    @Anonymous

    Sorting books by colour though? Really?

    Is Dostoevsky really considered highbrow though? If take out the ideological verbiage, he’s basically a thriller written.

  9. Dmitry says:
    @Anonymous

    roll my eyes at Moldbugman’s thread

    It’s just typical interior decoration of women. Maybe it’s showing a bit too much conspicuous consumption. The Caitlin bookshelf of hardcover books would cost around $3000 or more? She spends more on this than a Dior handbag.

  10. Anonymous[679] • Disclaimer says:
    @Yevardian

    That’s the kind of silly cosmetic thing (from a man’s perspective, at least) that women enjoy doing. My point was that Serious Intellectuals don’t actually derive that much benefit, personally, from suffering through their “favorite” novels,” which should temper their criticisms of others’ reading habits. “People who live in glass houses…” and all that.

  11. Anonymous[679] • Disclaimer says:
    @Yevardian

    Dostoevsky is certainly considered high-brow in the English-speaking world. (See for instance Professor Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux’s reverential descriptions of his wisdom.)

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  12. @Anonymous

    Solid, counterintuitive comment.

  13. Dmitry says:
    @Yevardian

    Sorting books by colour though? Really?

    Just girls being cute, no?

    Is Dostoevsky really considered highbrow though? If take out the ideological verbiage, he’s basically a thriller written.

    It’s a good point. But the thriller aspect (addictiveness) of Dostoevsky, is not a bad thing. It’s the classic literature that teenagers can be addicted to. At school, kids are actually reading his books for class and getting addicted.

  14. Dmitry says:
    @Anonymous

    Dostoevsky is “high-brow” also in Russian.

    I have not read a lot of his writing, but what I remember was interesting and also entertaining (addictive).

  15. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Likewise, I think that reading books is dangerous, because the powerful cultural association between advanced literacy and high intelligence disguises the fact that reading fiction is ultimately, for most people, a form of passive entertainment that accomplishes nothing. It’s fine to spend some time doing that, but I think it’s important to recognize that accomplishment, not consumption, is the ultimate source of happiness. The modern emphasis on identities created as passive consumers of entertainment (reader, gamer, cinephile, et cetera) is a significant source of unhappiness.

    I once read a noted scholar who cautioned against voracious reading because it dulls the mind.

    “The mind is dulled, not fed, by inordinate reading, it is made gradually incapable of reflection and concentration, and therefore of production; it grows inwardly extroverted, if one can so express oneself, becomes the slave of its mental images, of the ebb and flow of ideas on which it has eagerly fastened its attention. This uncontrolled delight is an escape from self; it ousts the intelligence from its function and allows it merely to follow point for point the thoughts of others, to be carried along in the stream of words, developents, chapters, volumes…

    …Better go out of doors, read in the book of nature, breathe fresh air, relax. After the requisite activity, arrange for the requisite recreation, instead of automatically yielding to a habit which is intellectual only in its matter, which in itself is as commonplace as gliding down a slope or climbing hills aimlessly.”

    -Antonin-Gilbert Sertillanges, La Vie Intellectuelle, son Esprit, ses Conditions, ses Méthodes

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  16. Dmitry says:
    @Anonymous

    Schopenhauer was famously critical of people reading too many books, and the above writer sounds like rephrasing of the comments of Schopenhauer.

    But Schopenhauer’s warning, is relevant only for 19th century and 20th century people. Today, it seems ridiculous.

    The problem of our time (and I include myself as an example), is that we read not enough books – one of the sad symptoms of our generation’s laptop and/or iphone induced ADD, is that we have difficulty anymore sitting still with a book.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Tusk
    , @E
    , @Bardon Kaldian
  17. Sorting books by color is very inefficient. You have to remember what color a book is in order to find it.

    The only color sortilege on my shelf is most of my yellow springer mathematics books are together.

    Two full shelves of books with pink covers is suspicious.

  18. De gustibus…. Pity I have, mostly due to financial reasons, so few paper books-real stuff…

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  19. Tusk says:
    @Dmitry

    “They monopolise the time, money, and attention which really belong to good books and their noble aims; they are written merely with a view to making money or procuring places. They are not only useless, but they do positive harm. Nine-tenths of the whole of our present literature aims solely at taking a few shillings out of the public’s pocket, and to accomplish this, author, publisher, and reviewer have joined forces.

    There is a more cunning and worse trick, albeit a profitable one. Littérateurs, hack-writers, and productive authors have succeeded, contrary to good taste and the true culture of the age, in bringing the world elegante into leading-strings, so that they have been taught to read a tempo and all the same thing — namely, the newest books order that they may have material for conversation in their social circles.” – Schopenhauer, On Reading and Books.

    He is most certainly correct, people these days spend time reading whatever modern tripe the NYT or other such outlets pander. Over 3 million copies of Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ have been sold, and it is the best selling book on Amazon. I doubt that more than 25% of people will even finish it, but of course it is fashionable to have it and to tell others “oh yes I’ve bought it but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet!”.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  20. Mr. XYZ says:
    @Spencer

    Actually, AK did talk about dating Asian women in the past. He also said that he has no attraction to Black women.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  21. Max Payne says:

    I just assume all of them are like this:

    Like normal people.

  22. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr. XYZ

    Actually, AK did talk about dating Asian women in the past. He also said that he has no attraction to Black women

    Um, this is like every white guy. NE Asian women are the most desirable and black women the least. Karlin is literally surrounded by a billion high-IQed epicanthic beauties (China, Mongolia, Sakha, Korea, Japan) who love white men. He’s got no excuse for not settling down and raising a family. And having a lot of high-IQed Eurasian children to help Mother Russia.

    • Replies: @Mr. XYZ
    , @melanf
  23. Mr. XYZ says:
    @Anonymous

    Anatoly Karlin previously expressed displeasure with the idea of having Russia’s cognitive elite be composed of an ethnic group other than Russians, though. He said that it isn’t a good idea for a country’s cognitive elite to be of a different race or ethnicity than the rest of this country’s population.

    Also, personally, I prefer Anglo-Saxon women.

  24. E says:
    @Dmitry

    The problem isn’t so much in the books, as in the “consumption”. Certainly a good argument can be made that the internet and its ever-shorter chunks of content, and endless pathways to ever-more addictive content, have made things even worse. I do notice that I start thinking smarter in everyday life if I’ve spent a week reading scientific articles, versus if I’ve spent a week reading political tracts online. But it’s even better if I go somewhere outside by myself and have time to really think (starts really making a difference after about an hour or two), or even to converse with myself. That’s when I stop living life on autopilot and start making actual plans to change things. Better yet if there’s some stimulating nature, which is difficult as I live in suburbia.

    The comment from Anonymous[679], and the quote from Antonin-Gilbert Sertillanges hit home for me.

    I do try to create (mainly comics and music) rather than just consume, and it IS often more satisfying, and certainly will leave more to remember me by than my collection of “books I’ve read” or “pseudonymous internet comments”. It’s definitely more satisfying if done collaboratively with other enthusiastic and talented people. But it’s a constant struggle to tip the balance more in that direction.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  25. Mr. Hack says:

    Hey Anatoly – you’ve only shared 25 books here with your readers (excluding the e-books) of the 100 in your ‘powerful’ hard copy collection? Why not review the one about the ‘Black Hundreds’, so that we can get a better idea about what makes you tick?…

  26. Mr. Hack says:
    @E

    What types of of ‘comics and music’?

    • Replies: @E
  27. @Yevardian

    Is Dostoevsky really considered highbrow though? If take out the ideological verbiage, he’s basically a thriller written.

    Well, off the top of my head, here are some authors (fiction & other types) who considered Dostoevsky to be among the greatest masters of the written word, ever:

    Robert Louis Stevenson
    Nikolai Berdyaev
    Lev Shestov
    Stefan Zweig
    Maksim Gorky
    Franz Kafka
    James Joyce
    Marcel Proust
    Thomas Mann
    Anna Akhmatova
    Aleksandr Blok
    Sigmund Freud
    Henry Miller
    Knut Hamsun
    Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Samuel Beckett
    Andre Gide
    Martin Heidegger
    Oscar Spengler
    William Faulkner
    Albert Camus
    J.P. Sartre
    E.M. Forster
    Virginia Woolf
    Francois Mauriac
    Paul Claudel
    Georges Bernanos
    Arthur Koestler
    Norman Mailer
    Jean Danielou (cardinal & theologian)
    Saul Bellow
    Andre Malraux
    William Gaddis
    Pio Baroja
    Rene Girard
    J. M. Coetzee
    George Steiner
    Mikhail Bakhtin
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Joseph Brodsky
    Czeslaw Milosz
    Isaac Bashevis Singer
    Ralph Ellison
    J. Carol Oates
    John Updike

    • Replies: @utu
  28. This reminds me of an interesting phenomenon. There are a number of book review channels on YouTube who collectively call themselves “Book Tube.” These are dominated by young women, often distractingly pretty, who babble on about their favorite YA books. They videotape themselves in front of their book collections which are almost always sorted by color. They usually give positive reviews and when they don’t they apologize profusely to both the authors and fans of these particular books. If they find a book “problematic” however they can be quite vicious. I got a kick out of one of them excoriating Chuck Palahniuk’s “Pygmy” for its use of insensitive racial stereotypes. I consider that kind of review a powerful recommendation.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  29. melanf says:
    @Anonymous

    Karlin is literally surrounded by a billion high-IQed epicanthic beauties (China, Mongolia, Sakha, Korea, Japan)

    In Russia, Dating an Asian or Black girl is technically difficult. In St. Petersburg, blonde girls are about 50 times more numerous than Asian girls, and about 10,000 times more numerous than black girls. Moscow (where Karlin live) should have the same situation.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  30. https://konmari.com

    A Japanese lady named Marie Kondo has become an international cultural sensation through preaching the magic of tidying.

    Her exceptionally simple system begins with the premise that you discard everything which fails to spark joy, including books. This has sparked rage from internet females who use books as fashion accessories.

    I read her book (quick read) a few weeks ago, and it’s quite good. I’ve moved thirteen times in my life, so I already don’t have many physical books. Now I have even fewer.

    Aside from POWERFUL books, I like hanging onto coffee table books, reference books, illustrated cook books, and Tintin. A lot of coffee table books are surprisingly good. I read a turn of the century coffee table book about the Deer Valley ski resort and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    As for the internet ladies who collect books as fashion accessories and sort them by color, they should be shot. If you wish to use books as decor, you need leather bound books: https://www.eastonpress.com

    Or better yet collect first editions.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  31. @melanf

    In St. Petersburg, blonde girls are about 50 times more numerous than Asian girls, and about 10,000 times more numerous than black girls.

    Pity it isn’t googol times…..

    • Replies: @melanf
  32. anon[393] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    HMM ok I’m just a steamfitter with an eighth grade education and yeah that gives me e bit of an inferiority complex among college boys that has occasionally been expressed in peacocking books, So sure its well known books have always been a bit of a status symbol because they allege all sorts of things that might no be true, The worst is supposed to be that you didn’t read them all not that you couldn’t afford them so stole them that I think is actually lauded.The name dropping doesn’t get you anywhere its the idea dropping being able to pull from memory appropriate quotations or ideas and apply them in novel ways is what get one status points and for good reason.Now of course we all know this depends on your opponent erh audience its easy to impress some and extremely difficult to impress others there’s an element of luck in it as we all know and todays university grads have read nothing so even a steamfitter like myself can often score high off them with a really spotty repertoire.But thats a parlor game we all play it and know it and know its limitations. It tells us a little about who we are dealing with which is important on how to proceed with a conversation but it hardly means what you say.
    First of all foster wallace and dostoevsky in the same sentence? and a sentence that declares no one enjoys reading the “classics” WTF are you a retard? Of course we enjoy reading the classics that’s why they are classics. Maybe youre a post computer age idiot with the ADD that it destroyed all your brains ability to concentrate for more than a tweet. Those of us of a certain age read dostoyevsky and defoe dante under the covers by flashlight till the wee hours of the morning in our pre teens,We loved these books we still love them and so we collect them and fetishize them as emotional touchstones and many of us found we were alone with this passion for a long time maybe some of you were lucky enough to go to college and spend all day reading and never really liked it or read stuff you didn’t want to read that hardly makes Proust shite it makes you shite for wasting your life on shite and pretending to be an intellectual when your just a pedant.FUCK YOU ASSHOLE I may not have red every book I own I buy too many books and have too little time but I love my books and love reading what i really wish i didn’t do because it really doesn’t enrich my life like classic books is read faggot millenials on blogs who to quote sorta bible shakespeare faulkner vonnegut and probably a dozen others noneof which you have obviously red or if did had the capacity to appreciate are full of sound and fury and signify nothing. You’re all so full of jew jizz in your brains from birth you cant do nothing but scowl and critique useless generation

  33. melanf says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    In St. Petersburg, blonde girls are about 50 times more numerous than Asian girls, and about 10,000 times more numerous than black girls.

    Pity it isn’t googol times…..

    Well, in the smaller towns (like Tot’ma or Koslan) girls-blondes in an infinite times more numerous than black girls.

  34. Not that I’ve given much thought to it, the phenomenon of women’s book clubs is actually intriguing. Since most fiction readers past their 30s are women, this could be logical. Also, they like to keep up with trends. They rarely read “established” authors.

    Probably the fiction menu has to be progressive, anti-racist, anti-patriarchal, multi-cultural, anti-fascist, anti-colonialist, anti-genderbinarianist, ….

  35. E says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Don’t want to get doxxed, sorry. 🙂
    I like the freedom of using a pseudonym here.

    The comics are technically good but I take too long on them. Not superhero stuff. Planning to publish a book when I’ve done enough, reserve tables at some independent comics festivals to promote. I avoid doing anything about “current events”, since that causes a work to become dated faster. The comics communities have gotten taken over by SJW and LGBTQ increasingly over the past 5 years, but I figure there’s still room in there for other stuff too. I should be fine as long as I avoid talking about politics and make nice.

    As for music, I play a few instruments and write. Some of it is published. Some of it premiered in nice concert halls. It is not serialism (can’t bring myself to write it, though it’s popular with the elites here).

    How about yourself?

  36. Mr. Hack says:

    I wasn’t trying to dox you, but have a genuine interest in music and comic books (graphic novels too).
    My CD collection is roughly 5o% classical music, the rest being an eclectic mixture of jazz, pop, new age, international. Most recently, I’ve been revisiting the Talking Heads and David Byrne, Pink Martini & Espranza Spaulding. As for comic books, I no longer collect them and have sold off my half assed collection of silver age Marvel comics (some 300) to a serious collector, before my last house move. I do occasionally take out graphic novels and comic books at my neighborhood library, and am not loathe to visiting local comic book stores, to see what’s new. As a kid, I would occasionally try writing and drawing some strips, mostly macabre noir stories, like in ‘Creepy’ or ‘Eerie’ (long gone now, I believe). Thorfinnsson has sparked my interest now with ‘TinTin’. 🙂

  37. Dmitry says:
    @Tusk

    Schopenhauer has written hundreds of comments on these topics.

    In the 19th and 20th century, his views were plausible for the literate part of the population.

    But by the 21st century, these views becomes mainly irrelevant, as reading books at all is only a small minority of the literate population today after finishing school – while consumption of text on the internet is much more common.

    For example, Schopenhauer says:

    One can never read too little of bad, or too much of good books: bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind.

    Let’s include today the fact we read on the internet.

    If we have a scale of good to bad, with quality rating from 1-100.

    Most articles on websites like this one, are intellectually at the level of 2/100 .

    Michelle Obama biography is probably 10/100.

    Harry Potter would be 30/100 by comparison.

    And then if your bookshelf is only David Hume, Thucydides and Plato, then maybe you are going to 90/100 quality.

    For a normal person, who is consuming text at 2/100 “click bait” articles of the internet. For them to start reading even 30/100 Harry Potter, is already a very significant elevation of the soul.


    To return to Schopenhauer:

    “To buy books would be a good thing if we could also buy the time to read
    them…”

    This was very true in the past.

    But it has to be updated in the 21st century – “To buy books would be a good thing if we could also buy the time to read them… and the attention span and self-discipline to read them.”

    “It is the same in literature as in life; wherever we turn, we at once encounter the incorrigible rabble of mankind, everywhere present in legions, filling and defiling everything, like flies in summer. Hence the immense number of bad books, these rank weeds of literature, which deprive the wheat of nourishment and choke it.”

    This was in 19th century, when books were a primary form of communication, but books and literacy were only accessible to a minority of people. (Schopenhauer could not imagine how well insulated he was then from rabble, compared to today).

    In the 21st century, through mass literacy and the internet, we have complete immersion in rabble.

    If you want to escape rabble views, and learn what non-rabble people thinking – it’s ironically in the bookshops.

  38. @Yevardian

    Dostoevsky created the trope in detective fiction of the guy who thinks he can demonstrate his superior intelligence, at least to himself, by murdering someone, outwitting the cops and getting away with it.

    Whereas in the real world, dumbasses in major American cities like Baltimore, Detroit and Chicago commit perfect murders every day, given all the unsolved homicides in those communities.

  39. Dmitry says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    I also don’t buy many physical books, but neither do I read electronic books.

    My impression when I see as part of your bookshelf “The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy” and “The Cambridge Companion to German Idealism”

    – I imagine a very civilized person. Do you recommend these books?

    But then when I see too many books about the “multiverse” and paranormal, my prejudiced assumption seeing people with these kinds of books is that they might be eccentric/crazy…

    The last book I bought was in London, some months ago, below – it’s old and outdated American behaviourism, but I have read the first two chapters and it is entertaining and easy to understand.

    Even if I don’t read anymore chapters, people will think I am clever when they see it on the bookshelf.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  40. Dmitry says:
    @Fidelios Automata

    These are dominated by young women, often distractingly pretty,

    Yes it seem only girls are making videos about books.

    In Russia at least, also the teenage, trashy YouTubers are now promoting books – which they obviously don’t read themselves.

    I don’t remember YouTube was like this 10 years – so it’s a positive development when Orwell’s 1984 is promoted even in such an advertising way.

    They usually give positive reviews and when they don’t they apologize profusely

    Don’t they have sponsorship with the publishers? So they are paid or receive free books at least? I don’t think this is bad at all though. If bookshops and publishers are advertising in social media… this is good. Hopefully reading can become more fashionable…

  41. I have c. 9,000 hardcopy books in my home library…

    almost all re the 1914-45 Catastrophe,

    c. 10% narratives, 90% firsthand accounts, in a half-dozen languages,

    and all organized via chronology, with subsections:

    for instance, the “1914-18/British Army/firsthand” shelf includes c. 200 books, alphabetized by author….while the “1939-43/Italian Air Force/in Italian/firsthand” shelf includes only an unsatisfactory 6 items…but more will soon be obtained.

    I’ve only read/translated about half these books, but

    love them all dearly. Oftimes

    I walk slowly along the shelves, caressing the multi-colored spines.

    • Replies: @Philip Owen
  42. @Dmitry

    I’ve heard of Quine, but haven’t read him.

    Sure, I read from time to time good New age & paranormal stuff; it relaxes me. Also, the subject of life after death is nothing exclusively “paranormal” or newagey. It is about one of the central themes of all religions, so it depends who is the author.

    On the other hand, books on multiverse & many worlds theory (different things) are either popular science or a more serious approach to this scientific subject (Hugh Everett, John Wheeler, Leonard Susskind, Steven Weinberg, Andrei Linde, …). You don’t have to read them. Just check, for instance, these two titles:

    http://gen.lib.rus.ec/book/index.php?md5=96C481B825A0FF7B94158DE5D77220B4

    http://gen.lib.rus.ec/book/index.php?md5=879CEDF782B5AD4922EFB375CB7438EA

    or

  43. doomanon says:

    >Meanwhile, the size of my ebook collection on Calibre currently stands at exactly 1,522 (most of them pirated from Genesis Library) and jumps up by 100-200 books with every year.

    Mind sharing them? Or at least the metadata.db file?

  44. utu says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Not Tolstoy, Nabokov, Hemingway…

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  45. @utu

    True. Just, Hemingway was ambiguous & more indifferent, while Tolstoy thought that Dostoevsky was overrated (along with Dante, Shakespeare, Aeschylus, Goethe, etc. etc.), while Nabokov’s attitude can be described only as obsessionally hostile, something unhealthy about it.

    Conrad hated Dostoevsky, as did Lawrence, but they didn’t think he was overrated, just, say, unacceptable or too different. Hesse was irritated by him & though he should be taken only in small doses.

    On the other hand, Brodsky summed up contrary attitude in his reply to Susan Sontag: Susan- from Dostoevsky came out Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”. From Tolstoy- Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind”.

    • Replies: @AP
  46. @Dmitry

    This is good. Just, I wonder what his thoughts would have been while rotting in a Laogai camp. After all, Chairman Mao had had similar ideas…

    It is evident that to read too many books is harmful. We shouldn’t read too many books. We should read Marxist books, but not too many of them either. It will be enough to read dozen or so. If we read too many, we can move towards our opposites, become bookworms, dogmatists, revisionists. Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty did pretty well in his early years, but afterwards he read too many books, and he didn’t make out well so more. He died of hunger in T’ai Cheng.

    Schram, S.R.: Mao Tse-Tung, 1967.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  47. @Haxo Angmark

    I thought that I had a problem. I have about 2000 surviving.

    Why do we keep books? I have purged the boring ones (excepting good reference material) several times in life. My children read a few but mostly Sci Fi and Terry Pratchett. They’d buy me one for Christmas and read it themselves first. No children and they are taking their time about it. Some of the stuff is inherited back to the 1780’s. Any point to them? That said I cherish my GG Grandfather’s 1855 Illustrated London News, the year of the Crimean War. Tells it like it was!

  48. Dmitry says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    I think Schopenhauer’s views were a result of intelligent reflection and not expression of a desire for a control mechanism by dictators, which would be the motive for Mao’s views.

    However, history has buried Schopenhauer’s comments in this topic – they are irrelevant. In the 19th century (albeit limited for a literate minority of the population) books were the equivalent of films, television series and YouTube today.

    Literate people were possibly reading too many books in the 19th century, and their own inner voice was inundated by the authors’.

    Today, we are inundated by YouTube and developing ADD from social media. Just to turn off the laptop, turn off the phone, and read a book, is already quieting down the soul, as well as elevating the intellectual level of voices we are listening to.

    • Replies: @Hyperborean
  49. AP says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    K. Leontiev disliked Dostoyevsky also.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  50. @Dmitry

    Today, we are inundated by YouTube and developing ADD from social media. Just to turn off the laptop, turn off the phone, and read a book, is already quieting down the soul, as well as elevating the intellectual level of voices we are listening to.

    I think Twitter is a particularly pernicious medium, as it encourages people to shorten their thoughts and explanations (although this is partially avoided by long-threads).

    Social media generally is harmful due to its tendency to trigger shortcut dopamine rushes.

    I think attention spans are the most important for reading. Even if people are just reading a midbrow novel, simply practicing maintaining their attention on a single thing by reading for an hour or two every day will be beneficial.

    I confess, however, that I have the improper habit of not reading any physical book for weeks and then reading a lot in a single setting. I have been trying to break this habit by reading for some time every weekday after-before school work for the past few months.

  51. @AP

    Well, he understood that Dostoevsky, despite all the fuss, was not a Christian at all.

    • Replies: @AP
  52. AP says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    IIRC Leontiev contrasted Dostoyevsky negatively with the Ukrainian writer Vovchok:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marko_Vovchok

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