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6 posts tagged with "literature"

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Book review: “In Search of Lost Time”, fifth volume

· 8 min read

Is it me, or is this getting a bit better?

Still too damn long and still too damn detailed. And too damn overemotional (the amount of stress it can still cause grown-up Proust that one time that his mum didn't show up in his room to kiss him good-night that summer evening when he was a little kid!). And too damn posh and affected.

But on this fifth volume there were a dozen pages here and fifty pages there that were real engaging or real funny. And a few memorable quotes and brilliant reflections on life and love (of which I share a few at the end of this post).

Marcel Proust (Wikimedia Commons)

“Love, what is it but space and time rendered perceptible by the heart”

«Y: El Último Hombre»

· 2 min read

Pillé este tebeo de la biblioteca municipal un poco al azar (mis hijos solo quieren que les lea sus libros, y no son muy pacientes cuando yo me paseo por los estantes de adultos). Hojeándolo rápido, el dibujo no me pareció sobresaliente; y la premisa se me antojaba un poco infantil, un poco rollo pulp. Creo que me decidí a sacarlo prestado sobre todo porque me impresionó y me intrigó la cita superlativa de Stephen King que ponen en la portada («la mejor novela gráfica que haya leído jamás»).

Ha sido un gran descubrimiento.

How to read: meticulous selection and much persistence

· 9 min read

It is very rare that I disagree with Morgan Housel — I identify with his ideas about well-being, learning, and money. But this time, I have to.

A few days ago, he wrote (my emphasis):

“A book you’re not into after 10 minutes of attention has little chance of a happy ending. Slam it shut and move on. You’re not a failure if you quit a book after three pages.”

According to Housel (I haven't been able to verify the quote), Charlie Munger once said:

“Most books I don’t read past the first chapter. I’m not burdened by bad books.”

Admittedly, Housel is in good company: other very smart intellectuals that I like and follow seem to agree with this strategy. Tyler Cowen said (NB: seventeen years ago):

I start ten or so books for every one I finish. I don't mind disliking a book, and I never regret having picked it up and started it. I am ruthless in my discards.

Naval Ravikant says:

“I feel no obligation whatsoever to finish the book. If at some point I decide the book is boring […] I just delete it. […] Don’t feel the obligation to finish any book. Don’t treat it like a linear tome or treatise that has to be read in order and the way the author intended beginning to end.”

Well, I disagree with them all!

Photo of a pile of thick books

Books and bad feminism

· 8 min read

Let's talk about one of my favourite things in life (books) and one of my least favourite things in life (contemporary mainstream feminism).

To do any kind of analysis of the world of books we can start by dividing it into three main areas, or groups of people involved: writers, readers, and publishing houses. The first two groups are self-explanatory. The last group comprises all professional activity bridging the gap between the person who writes and the person who reads: publishers, editors, proofreaders, translators, marketers, etc.

A Girl Writing; The Pet Goldfinch by Henriette Browne

What are the sex imbalances in those three areas?

Let's review some facts.

Mis subrayados en el libro segundo de los «Ensayos» de Montaigne

· 20 min read

(Ver mis subrayados en el primer libro y en el tercer libro.)

Todo lo que he resaltado mientras leía el segundo de los tres tomos que componen los Ensayos de Michel de Montaigne, probablemente la obra de no-ficción más importante de la literatura universal.

Ideas que me hicieron sentir reivindicado en alguna convicción mía previa, ideas que me hicieron gracia, ideas que me inspiraron, o ideas que me espantaron.

Retrato de Michel de Montaigne, fecha desconocida (Wikimedia Commons)