Sunday Morning: One of the books that got me through college

I used to love wandering the stacks back a million years ago when I was in college. (“Internet”, at that point, meant only “email”. “Email”, at that point, only meant “writing letters but it’s free but they have to have an email address too.”)

I found some serious treasures on those shelves but the best book I stumbled across was a book of philosophy from the late 50’s written by Walter Kaufmann. “Faith of a Heretic“, it was called. Well, I recognized Kaufmann as the guy who translated Nietzsche (and did a dang good job of it, by all accounts) and since I liked reading his translations, I figured… hey. Why not give the guy’s own philosophy a shot?

Holy cow, this book shook me to my foundation. I don’t want to say that it saved my life (my life was never in any real peril) but it brought so very many things into focus and gently pointed out so very many things that I had only been fumbling toward until that point. I immediately went out and bought my own hardback copy. And then, sadly, I found someone else who needed to read it so I gave it to them. Then I went out and started buying softback copies whenever I could find them. When Amazon rolled around, it made finding copies easier, but there were problems with that too… since the book was out of print, the price was subject to fluctuations. Sometimes you could get a mass market paperback copy for around five bucks (and I bought three or four copies at a time when that was possible) and sometimes you couldn’t find anything for under $30.

Well, a few years back, its price was having its ebbs right around the time I stopped running into people that needed to read it… so I had a copy collecting dust on a bookcase and I didn’t really think about it. Well, I was lucky enough to meet someone who needed to read it and I asked Maribou to check the price of the books on Amazon to I could replenish my stash.

AND IT IS BACK IN PRINT!!! (Apparently, it’s been back in print since 2015.) So we bought a couple of copies of the new one. I don’t know whether I’m going to give the new one to the person who needs it or the old copy. Both have upsides, I guess…

Anyway, it’s a book on Philosophy, Western Religion, Eastern Religion, Existentialism, and just muddling through. An absolute tour de force and its one that I can open at random even today and find something to chew on. And I’m so pleased that it’s back in print.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?

(Featured image is “Stacks and Tree House” by Shannon Hauser. Used under a creative commons license.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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8 thoughts on “Sunday Morning: One of the books that got me through college

  1. I owe somebody here a thank-you, but I don’t remember who. I have a weakness* for scary vampire novels. Some time back someone recommended Robert McCammon’s They Thirst, and I read it as bedtime fare over the last couple of weeks. The ending was weak, but the middle parts were on a par with King’s Salem’s Lot for making me consider going to sleep with the light on**.

    * Somehow, part of me deep down believes that vampires just might exist. No idea why. Doesn’t apply to any other supernatural critters.

    ** I was in my early 20s when I read Salem’s Lot the first time. Finished in bed at 2:30 one morning. Turning off the light meant having to go across the room to the switch and then getting back to bed in the dark. Opted to leave the light on.

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  2. I’ve been reading _Revenant Gun_ seemingly forever, through no fault of the book. I think it’s a combination of me seasonally acking brains (and thus consuming lighter fare – the very fluffiest of my podcasts Netflix shows instead) and me really not wanting the series to be over…..

    It’s a really good series!

    But start with _Ninefox Gambit_.

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  3. For me, “Dubliners” by James Joyce played a similar role to what Faith of a Heretic seems to have played for you. Obviously, it’s not a work of philosophy, but it’s one of those books that really affected my life in many, sometimes inscrutable ways…..which is strange because I’m not Irish and I haven’t particularly enjoyed Portrait of an Artist or Ulysses (never tried Finnegan’s Wake). I’m actually re-reading it now.

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  4. Not anywhere near as heavy in terms of reading, but the book I keep losing after loaning it out is “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimon.

    Just finished Season 3 of Amazon’s “Man in the High Tower”. It is not the book, but the first 2 seasons gave me some hope right after the 2016 election, and the writing is really good – so many themes of interconnection, redemption, twists of fate, the good and evil in all of us. Season 3 did not disappoint, but it did end on cliffhanger that will have me eagerly anticipating the next season.

    I also got “Cranky Ladies of History” from my Mom. Just started reading it, but the first couple short stories in the anthology are good.

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