I happened to catch an encore airing of Philsophy Talk’s annual Summer Reading Episode a few weeks ago which gave me some fresh recommendations, such as The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, which I am definitely planning on checking out soon.
One thing one of the featured guests said was that he considers books like friends, and you can be reading multiple books at any given time, and can pick which book you want to “hang out with” while you’re at the beach, and which book you want to “have a deep philosophical conversation with” when you’re feeling serious, just as we choose to hang out with different friends and acquaintances depending on the event or our mood.
With that in mind, allow me to share my current social circle…
This is the mature established writer friend who I’ve been seeing and on and off for nearly a year now. She kind of drones on and on but she inspires, giving me perseverance and igniting my imagination at the thought of past art movements, the fragile and temperamental nature of artists’ friendships, and bad-ass stories of driving through the French country side, picking up displaced WWI soldiers and taking them back home.
This is my young crazy sceney lesbian friend who’s a live wire of love, lust, and experimentation. She simultaneously fascinates me and makes me happy to have a steady job and no drinking problem, but once I start hanging out with her, it’s really hard to stop!
This is my middle age friend who has really good ideas, but her extreme world view and wacky wording makes it a little difficult to get what she’s saying. It seems like she’s speaking about things that have accumulated here on planet Earth, but she could possibly be talking symbolically and creating some great sub-structure behind her seeming narrative. I like hanging out with her in principle, but my mind kind of starts drifting when she starts talking…
This is my dearest friend. He helps me understand why the world is so messed up and why so many people live in poverty. He is really easy to understand and his intensity and intelligence is astonishing (maybe makes me a little jealous). It takes a lot of energy to hang out but I am sure we will be life-long friends because he’s one of the people who continually inspire me to live a humanitarian and environmentally responsible life, no matter how inconvenient or expensive.