Tag Archives: Books

Philip K. Dick dreams of bookstores

20 Oct

A few weeks ago, I wrote about books appearing in dreams. Recently, I have been reading Philip K. Dick’s novel Valis and last night I came across this:

“The Empire never ended,” Fat quoted to himself. That one sentence appeared over and over again in his exegesis; it had become his tag line. Originally the sentence had been revealed to him in a great dream. In the dream he again was a child, searching dusty used-book stores for rare old science fiction magazines, in particular Astoundings. In the dream he had looked through countless tattered issues, stacks upon stacks, for the priceless serial entitled “The Empire Never Ended.” If he could find it and read it he would know everything; that had been the burden of the dream.

What is striking to me is that I have had similar dreams of looking in bookstores for some important book that would clear up the great mysteries of life.

My guess is that “The Empire Never Ends” is a reference to Asimov’s Foundation series, which first appeared as a serial in Astounding Stories.

61 Books in a Year

26 Jul

Ken Norton explains how he did it:

When I analyzed my reading habits, I realized that despite only finishing five or six books a year, I was already spending a big portion of my evening reading: social media, the news, Silicon Valley think pieces, and my Pocket backlog. Some of it would be worthwhile, but I wasn’t deliberate in how I chose to spend my time (ahem, Wikipedia wormholes). Junk reading, like junk food, is momentarily satisfying but terrible for you in the long term. I didn’t need to read more, I thought, I just needed to read healthier.

He has four other suggestions. I wonder how much of my reading is junk reading? There are certain blogs I look at everyday, but I think I mostly profit from that. I don’t spend time on Twitter or Facebook, but I do spend a lot of time reading newspapers on my Kindle. Norton seems to have the same issue:

I’m still a news junkie when it comes to politics, but I’ve metered the time I spend reading the news (primarily to keep my blood pressure down). I subscribe to important publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post, and I try to pepper short bursts of news over the course of the day. I also don’t load news or articles on my Kindle.



“50 Cultural Icons on Their Favorite Books”

23 Sep

From Flavorwire.

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.

Tales from my library: Raymond Smullyan

2 May

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:

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I have also been working through his book  Set Theory and the Continuum Problem



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Tales from my library

30 Jun

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.



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