Saturday, 3 May 2008

Oh. My. God.

Thanks, of a rather shaky, sort go to Juxtabook for this one. If you go to the Penguin Classics site, you too can register for a free Penguin Classic, the only minor catch being that you have to review it on their blog within 6 weeks of getting it.

Oooh, I thought. Free is always good, and free books are always better. If I am really spectacularly lucky, I might get Dickens' Dombey and Son which I don't appear to have, and neither does any book shop around here. I might even get one of the Greek and Latin authors, whom I almost certainly would have read already, which would make the reviewing task a bit easier. There are hundreds of things I would like to get.

No. I have "The Sickness Unto Death," by Kierkegaard. I looked it up in the hope that though complex (Kierkegaard's concept of despair) it might be short, but no. 265 pages. Blimey. I have not read anything even remotely similar since I tried and failed to read Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship as a student. You must read this, I was told. Shallowness was my all, even then. You must be joking, I thought. Where's the P G Wodehouse?

I am essentially a pragmatic soul, and philosophy is something I struggle with. I told my husband about my new and exciting book experience. "Have you read any Kierkegaard?" I asked. "Yes", he said. "But not that one." "I'm not going to enjoy it, am I?" I said. "No," he said. And added "It'll be like wading through cold suet."

Pollyanna though I undoubtedly am, I'm struggling, I am, to find a good side to this, but I am a good Protestant girl, brought up to believe that difficulty is good for one so I hope the Kierkegaard will polish my shallow soul up.

7 comments:

Terry said...

Love that Kierkegaard, the founder of modern thought.

Sickness Unto Death is one of the hardest books though, before reading it, I recommend Works of Love in order to understand SUD.

Juxtabook said...

I now feel guilty!

Jane said...

Terry - thank you for your recommendation. My first, ignoble, reaction, was that this now means I have two of them to read. Obviously my soul needs more honing than I had thought.

Juxtabook - don't! Not your fault. Blame Penguin. I'm sure the allocation of books is random, but I think there is a certain wry satisfaction in giving a pony book specialist Kierkegaard.

Juliet said...

Hmmm. I got Balzac's History of Thirteen. Not quite the sort of thing I'd usually curl up with of an evening for a bit of relaxation before falling asleep. But the lottery aspect of the giveaway was quite clear, so be it on my own head for rushing to sign up, I suppose. I fear you have picked a considerably shorter straw than mine. But, chin up, think of your soul and keep a grip on that work ethic!

Jane said...

Juliet. Well quite! I think it's the lottery thing that's so fascinating - what will you get? What I have is about as far out of my area of comfort as it's possible to get. Balzac is a little chin-stroking too.

But I do think it is good for me to have to read something I wouldn't normally touch. We'll see. My husband suggested I write it as Bridget Jones meets Kierkegaard. Mentions of God: 2. V bad.....

ros said...

I think that you have just made me relieved to be getting Nietzsche! At least mine is short(er).

Jane said...

Ros - ooooh. I'm not sure that yours is a lot better, though I am a little bit envious that you have less pages (my soul - it still needs work). My book hasn't appeared yet. Has yours?