Two Books I Won't Be Reading

Home Two Books I Won't Be Reading

I just can’t stop buying books. What’s wrong with me? Oh, right, I forgot, I’m crazy. Here’s two out-of-print books I won’t be reading (in their entirety, I’ll probably scan and browse) anytime soon.

The Writings of Martin Buber

I like to tell people I’ve read Buber’s big deal I and Thou and then quickly admit that, actually, I’ve read only half. I’m not sure I can think of a quicker introduction to Buber that does justice to him. He’s hard to read. Poetic, brilliant, dense. Always trying to explain something that you suspect he doesn’t fully understand himself. In fact, It would surprise me if he did fully understand what he was writing about.

The Writings of Martin Buber comes with some bonus material: a clipping from a yellowed newsprint magazine summarizing his ideas of The I and Thou relationship that’s been used as a bookmark. I feel like Indiana Jones when I find stuff like this in books. An actual holy relic.

The Portable Swift

Another author who’s had only half of his great work read by me, Jonathan Swift. Like a billion other kids I read a heavily abridged and edited (probably sanitized) Gulliver’s Travels. Like many other famous English works, that’s not even it’s correct title. The actual title is so long I’ve copied it from Wikipedia even though it’s right here in front of me on my desk, Vol. IV of the Author’s Works Including Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and Then a Captain of Several Ships. Ah, the world before marketing. Today it would probably be titled, “Lem”.

I’ve been somewhat interested in reading the original version of Lem for a while. I won’t read it until I’m terribly interested. More pressing in my desires is Swift’s Modest Proposal. A satirical essay, apparently the satirical essay, that’s been somewhat influential over the years. Well, It’s been influential on me, at least. It’s method of argument, as described to me in High School, has been my starting point for debate and has led me to great success, laughs, and only a few minor threats of bodily harm. I hope it meets my expectations.

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