I was pleased to see that Louie CK admires Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums. This list was compiled before Robin Williams died and he endorsed Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, another work that I have loved.
The books of philosopher, mathematician, magician, musician, Raymond Smullyan are priceless. If you are not familiar with his work, his autobiography is good place to start.
I own many books by Smullyan. Including these:
I have also been working through his book Set Theory and the Continuum Problem
Don’t get me wrong, I love my e-reader (I use the Kindle Fire). I like the fact that you can carry an enormous library with you that you can access at your convenience and the fact that you can download many books in the public domain for free. I also like the way you can adjust text size, making it possible to read on the treadmill.
But, I remain attached to the physical book. Physical books have features that e-books have not been able to duplicate. They are easier to skim and navigate. E-books still lack an effective means of making marginal notes. Beyond this, each physical book has a history that links you to previous readers.
A couple of years ago, at the Chautauqua Women’s Club flea market, I picked up a copy of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. I am not sure what possessed me to look at it, after all, I already owned both a physical copy and an e-book version.
When I flipped through it a small Polaroid photo fell out of its pages. It was photo of a man (a previous owner, perhaps) smoking a joint.
To protect his privacy I won’t display his photo on the Internet. But, once I saw it I knew I had to own it. The book had a history. One that I found irresistible and now book and photo sit on my bookshelf in Chautauqua.
I know that Hesse is one of those authors whose work your supposed to outgrow. But I continue to admire him. I am especially moved by Journey to the East, a book I find profound and deeply affecting.