10 June 2010

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, an Inquiry into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig

I first read this book about 35 years ago. I had forgotten great rafts of it, and much of what I remembered was inaccurate.

There are many paragraphs devoted to discussion of philosophy--of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle--that are very dense and not easy to get through. Perhaps they didn't sink in the first time, or perhaps they were skipped over; the reader has been guilty of that type of behavior before.

What sticks with me now is Pirsig's description of the state of mind, the "right attitudes" one needs in order to carry out the task, motorcycle maintenance, which is of course both object and subject, both metaphor and literality. May we all enjoy such attitudes.

If you click on the title of this entry it will take you to a 2006 interview of Pirsig by Tim Adams of The Observer.

I read this book online, this time. There was no "online" the first time.

07 June 2010

Some things to read in the near future

One of the few things that makes me feel like I want to go on living for a long time is the evanescent list of books and authors I've yet to read.

  • Roberto Bolaño: 2666, The Savage Detectives, and more.
  •  Lords of Finance, by Liaquat Ahamed
  •  Let's get print copies of That Old Cape Magic and Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo.
  • Jeffrey Archer
And then there's the books to re-read.
  • Herman Hesse
  • Thomas Mann
  • Trevanian
  • and always, always Mark Twain 
  • and James Joyce