55. Under the Net by Irish Murdoch (256): This was a charming story about the difficulties and joys of relationships between people and the insufficiency of language as a tool for communication. There's also some stuff about the satisfaction of physical work as opposed to intellectual work which can feel empty. I can relate to both concepts/feelings I enjoyed the whole book immensely. My understanding of some of the complex ideas in it would have been enhanced further if I knew more about metaphysics. Behind the cut are some I definitely need to read more of her stuff.
Discussion between Anna and Jake on Love: "The talk of love means very little. Love is not a feeling. It can be tested. It's not the emotional straining and scheming for possession that you used to think it was."....Jake: "But love is concerned with possession, If you knew anything about unsatisfied love you know this....Anna "Unsatisfied love is concerned with understanding. Only if it is all, all understanding, can it remain love while being unsatisfied."
"We all live in the interstices of each others lives, and we would all get a surprise if we could see everything."
A guide: "I often used this method for deciding difficult cases. In stage one I entertain the thing purely as a hypothesis, and in stage two I count my stage one thinking as a fixed decision on which there is no going back. I recommend this technique to any of you who are not good at making decisions."-Jake
pg. 59 etc.: Can one talk without uttering falsehoods...Describing a conversation...futility of language..."one makes far too man concessions to the need to communicate."-Hugo Hugo-"The whole language is a machine for making falsehoods."
pg. 98 Leftist politics "It's the whole framework that's at stake. What's the use of preventing a man from stumbling when he's on a sinking ship."-Lefty...Jake "Because if he breaks his ankle he won't be able to swim."
Night Swimming in the Thames crazy drunken adventures talk of philosophy
casus belli defined?
pg. 180 the importance of money "selling out" etc.
pg. 208: intellectual v. physical work: ""I enjoyed this part of the day too. By this time I could combine a considerable feeling of tiredness with a feeling which was always entirely new to me, that of having done something. Such intellectual work as I have ever accomplished has always left me with a sense of having achieved nothing: one looks back through the thing as through an empty shell; but whether this is because of the nature of intellectual work as such, or whether it is because I am not good, I have never been able to describe."
Jake's referring to conversations as interviews.
impossibility of knowing other human beings: "When does one ever know a human being? Perhaps only after one has realized the impossibility of knowledge and renounced the desired for it and finally ceased to feel even the need of it. But then what one achieves is no longer knowledge, it is simply a kind of co-existence; and this too is one of the guises of love."
After the somewhat heavy thinking required by the last book, I decided to read a few YA books.
56. The Graveyard Book (320, YA): The first time I tried to read this book a few years back I was in entirely the wrong head space for it and only got about 2/3 through. I needed to approach the book with a child like sense of wonder to properly enjoy it. The last 1/3 of the book also really picks up. This is my favorite of Gaiman's work for kids that I've read. I think it's going to make an excellent movie.
57 to 59. The first three books chronologically in the Chrestomanci series (a series I adored in middle school. The next book in the series (which I missed the first time around)is the Magicians of Caprona, available as an audio download from the library.
57. The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones (230, YA): A good reread. This one or Witch Week (not in the series proper but in the same universe is my favorite of all of them. The parallel worlds concept is fairly well done.
58. Conrad's Fate by Diana Wynne Jones (375, YA): This one just came out a few years ago so it wasn't around the first time I read the series. I didn't like this one as much as some of the other. It ran on a bit too long in places, and there wasn't enough focus on Chrestomanci. It was definitely worth a read though.
59. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (218, YA): A good reread.
Back to adult books!
60. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: A Novel by Stieg Larsson (465): I've been avoiding this book since it came out in the U.S. last year or the year before. It seemed like one of those books that got great reviews (hype) from everyone, but that I would dislike. I was absolutely wrong. It's been a long time since I've stayed up to read a book. I started reading around 11:30 pm and read until 3 am with a few breaks. I started on page 25 and got to page 305 before not being able to keep my eyes open any longer. I then finished the next 160 pages after getting up this morning. The mystery is fantastic, the writing awesome, and the characters scintillating. I can't wait to get the next book in the trilogy from the library.