So I read Zorba the Greek, as per David Hill's suggestion. It was alright. I was interested in discovering that grand new land of living for the sake of experience, but Zorba's world was just mostly dull and uncertain. The main character did a good job of glorifying some dancing, some womanizing, and some moodiness, and the book was altogether a fairly enjoyable read, but it was lacking in beauty, grace, the usual characteristics necessary for a great work, etc.
Recently, however, I read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, and it was fantastic. I quote,
"Oddly enough, she was one of the most thoroughgoing sceptics he had ever met, and possibly (this was a theory he used to make up to account for her, so transparent in some ways, so inscrutable in others), possibly she said to herself, As we are a doomed race, chained to a sinking ship (her favourite reading as a girl was Huxley and Tyndall, and they were fond of these nautical metaphors), as the whole thing is a bad joke, let us, at any rate, do our part; mitigate the sufferings of our fellow-prisoners (Huxley again); decorate the dungeon with flowers and air-cushions; be as decent as we possibly can. Those ruffians, the Gods, shan’t have it all their own way,—her notion being that the Gods, who never lost a chance of hurting, thwarting and spoiling human lives were seriously put out if, all the same, you behaved like a lady. That phase came directly after Sylvia’s death—that horrible affair. To see your own sister killed by a falling tree (all Justin Parry’s fault—all his carelessness) before your very eyes, a girl too on the verge of life, the most gifted of them, Clarissa always said, was enough to turn one bitter. Later she wasn’t so positive perhaps; she thought there were no Gods; no one was to blame; and so she evolved this atheist’s religion of doing good for the sake of goodness."
But it's great-- all of these characters judging and critiquing each other according to their own personal convictions. Confusing and considerate and delicious. A famous book, so you've probably already read it; but if you haven't yet, I thoroughly recommend it.
Also: how is everyone? So far this summer I spent a month in Rome with some buddies: James Foster, and the crazies Tiffany Li and James Tsay. I haven't been reading all to much, but I did get to Camus' The Plague (which was interesting but didn't measure up to The Stranger or The Fall, although that might have been due to the translation), among some other good reads. I went rock climbing outdoors the other day, but mostly I do random things that my mom wants me to do.
A Sound of Thunder - Ray Bradbury The Myth of Sisyphus - Albert Camus All You Zombies - Robert A. Heinlein The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka Zorba the Greek - Nikos Kazantzakis The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand Wise Blood-Flannery O'conner