To celebrate world book day, I have decided to share a few of my favourites in various categories. Feel free to leave me any suggestions as I’m always looking for a good read.
Novels (Classics) -The Brother Karamazov
Dostoyevsky is a genius and deserves mention on any list. All his works have value, but the Brothers Karamazov is his magnum opus. A true masterpiece.
Novels (Modern) -Blood Meridian
Cormac McCarthy is in my opinion the greatest living author. His understated and minimalist style hides layers of meaning and reading his best work can be an almost spiritual experience. He has written much great work, but none better than the bloody western Blood Meridian. The novel is essentially a gnostic text, and contains far more meaning than it seems at first glance. A book that rewards analysis.
Drama – Macbeth
I don’t need to discuss Shakespeare’s merit, it was simply a case of picking one of his works. Macbeth deeply affected me the first time I read it and nothing has matched it since. It’s quite incredible that one man was able to transmit such genius to paper in one life time.
Science – Wholeness and the Implicate Order
At times difficult but always rewarding, this is Bohm’s argument for his conceptionof a holographic universe, a theory which attempts to unite discoveries in quantum physics with general relativity.
Philosophy – Parerga and Paralipomena
It was extremely difficult to narrow it down to one book in this category, but no one packs so much wisdom into such a small space as does Schopenhauer. His larger works of metaphysics, the World as Will and Idea is also well worth reading, and the Penguin condensed version of his essays is a good alternative, but his first collection of essays is a fantastic read from the first to last page. You cannot read Schopenhauer without leaving the wiser.
Honourable mentions: Pascal’s Pensees. Whitehead’s Process and Reality. Berdyaev’s The Divine and the Human. Spinoza’s Ethics.
Classics – The Odyssey
I love Homer, and choosing between the Iliad and The Odyssey was extremely difficult, but the latter was a more enjoyable read. The Penguin Classics version of it is a great translation and has become something of a classic itself.
Poetry – The Collected Poems
This one is simple, W.B.Yeats is and will always be my favourite poet, and any collection of his work is worth reading. Honourable mention to T.S. Eliots Four Quartets.
Religion – The Upanishads
I considered the Tao Te Ching, The Bhagavad Ghita and a number of writing’s by mystics, but the essence of all is best contained in these founding texts of Hinduism. I simply could not do the wisdom and beauty contained in the Upanishads justice, so I won’t try.
Economics – Progress and Poverty
Henry George’s argument for a single land value tax is still a convincing work. Rarely is a work of economic’s enjoyable but somehow George pulled it off. It is said Tolstoy spent his final moments preaching the value of Georgism to those present at his death bed, so it’s power to persuade is evident.
Politics – Men Among The Ruins
While Revolt Against the Modern World is considered Julius Evola’s magnum opus, I prefer this work. This is Evola’s meditation on the future of Europe in the wake of the second world war, and it presents a good summation of Evola’s thought.
History – Inside the Third Reich
I’m not sure what made this work so enjoyable, but Speer is always honest and eloquent, no one else paints so vivid a picture of the nature of the Third Reich or of Hitler as a man.
Other – The Perennial Philosophy
I wasn’t sure where to fit this one in but I feel it deserves a mention. Aldous Huxley condenses the essential teachings of the world religions through the medium of the wisdom of their greatest adherents.