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.


Unknown 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 Badger 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 Badger 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 Badger 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?

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