My Favorite Books, Arranged by Category
I explained in an earlier post how I will stop reading a book if it is boring or poorly written. There are thresholds for each. I could probably create an equation. I can stomach a boring book when the writing is really good. For example, I don't much care for the boozy sex stories Bukowski likes to tell, but he will regularly describe something that will make me drop the book in wonder or laughter. Bukowski's great writing makes up for his content. With the book I am currently reading, Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee, it's the opposite. The content is great, but the writing is uninspired. It's an information grab.
Rarely can an author do both. For me these authors are Eric Berne, William James, and Graham Harman. Maybe there are a few others. The ones who can do it all are rare. They will also vary from reader to reader based on personal interest and preference.
This list of my favorite books changes like the seasons. I will go through periods of interest in logical empiricism where I fall back in love with philosophers of cognitive science such as Owen Flanagan and Francisco Varela. There are periods where I need a reminder of how expensive my education was, and I pull out the Heidegger and Husserl books. And so on. As I said, it's like the seasons. And, just like ordinary seasons that have surprise days thrown in, I will sometimes wander into my office at midnight with a stack of books I am suddenly no longer interested in, and exchange them for where I imagine my interest is headed.
What follows are the books that are like my oldest and dearest friends.