This actually wasn't a section I had planned on. But I figured it was time to finally add something to the "More" section of the site. And since I didn't quite feel like rambling about my favorite food (which I'm not even sure I have), favorite wine region(Saint-Emilion), or handle for fencing weapons (Zivkovic KII) I decided, as I started reading something new last night, that this would be something to put here. I'm not planning on turning this into a blog (most of my thoughts would not be that interesting), but I do find it interesting and informative to see what people are reading and why, so here are some of my thoughts. I wouldn't necessarily call all of these "light reading," but none of the books below are being read for a specific project at the moment, so in some ways they bear a family resemblance to "light reading."
I just started reading Umberto Eco's The search for the perfect language, (Blackwell, 1997) which is, well, about what it says it is. It's a book on the history of ideas - in the case, the idea that there was, in some primordial time, a perfect or ur-language. The history of the idea of the perfect language is caught up with questions of meaning and metaphysical secrets. If - or so my understanding goes - there was a perfect language, it must have been god-like, or at least close to it, so we can understand Great Things if we can recover the perfect language. I usually enjoy Eco's work - both fiction and non-fiction - so I'm hoping this continues the trend. Some of it can be heavy going. I don't think I ever finished Kant and the Platypus. (As I recall, Peirce's semiotics can be rough going, especially early in the morning, and there wasn't nearly enough about platypuses (and no, I'm not serious about the platypus comment).) At any rate, Eco's work is almost always worth the effort. I'm counting on this one being so as well.
I'm also working on Quentin Skinner's Visions of politics, Volume One: Regarding Method (Cambridge UP, 2002). This one is a set of essays on "the theoretical difficulties inherent in the pursuit of knowledge and interpretation" (according to the back of the book). Basically, he looks at the issues and questions regarding knowing others and their ideas in different times and cultures. How, for exmaple, can we understand what a particular author or group of people meant, thought they were doing, etc.? There are quite a few parallels between what historians (or at least certain types of them) try to do and what anthropologists try to do when we seek to understand meaning in different cultures. So I find that reading philosophically informed history, or historically aware philosophy is often a very useful past time. I don't always agree with what Skinner says (although most of the time I do) but he is good for making you think.
Finally - at least for now - I'm re-reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera. What can I say? What do I need to say. It's simply my favorite novel. If you haven't read it, go and do it. Now.