Real Poetry

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Archive for the category “Summer Reading”

Summer Reading (Book 2) – Walt Whitman’s America

So as I talked about before, I went to check out Walt Whitman‘s birthplace on Long Island last week.  The house itself was cool to see, but I found the small exhibit concerning the nine different iterations of Leaves of Grass the most interesting portion of the tour/visit.  So much so, in fact, that I bought myself a biography to start reading for this summer.

A Statue of Walt Whitman admiring a butterfly

I’ve never read a biography before, so this is a new type of reading, but so far it has really held my interest.  I’ll openly admit both before reading what I’ve read so far and visiting his birthplace, I really had little knowledge of Whitman or his writing.  For those who don’t know already, I’ve learned that Whitman was not only a poet but also worked with newspapers and for a few years was a school teacher around Long Island.

I’ll save more of my discussion of this book for after I finish it this summer and write up a review.  I hope everyone out there is doing well and enjoying their summer.  Stay cool everyone whose around a heatwave like myself today.

Stephen R.

Summer Reading (Book 1) – The Nicomachean Ethics

Have you ever had those one, two, three, or hell, every book assigned for a class that in all honesty you never really sat down and read?  (Thanks Sparknotes)  This usually happened to me towards the end of a semester, when the course load was really just too much to warrant reading through another ethics or philosophy book in what little spare time I had.

What does that have to do with this particular post?  Well as you may have guessed from the title, I’m starting a new self-challenge of sorts.  Namely, I’m going to be reading a fair amount, and I want to share what I’ve read sporadically in the coming months.  My first book is one I took off the shelf recently to show my little sister how difficult the readings can be in college.  Surprise, surprise however, I found that I not only understood the random passage I turned to in Aristotle‘s The Nicomachean Ethics, but I also found it both compelling and interesting.  I decided then and there that I needed to actually sit down and read through the damn book I couldn’t have been bothered with during the class it was assigned in.

That said, I have been sporadically reading through the introduction for the book (A somewhat long but I believe necessary summary of the book as a whole), which is made a little more difficult since I’m also reading two other books at the moment.  I may post sporadic updates or interesting tidbits I find when reading through the text in the coming weeks.  For now, I just wanted to share the concept of living in the mean, as I understand it thus far.

Aristotle argues that the goal for humanity is to live a good life.  To achieve this good, man has to find happiness, which can be attained through either “sensual enjoyment, political achievement, or intellectual contemplation.”  I’m not here to start writing some formulaic essay, but I do want to say that for me the intellectual contemplation is the most easily relatable for writing.  Aristotle stresses famously the ideal of living in the mean of life in each of the areas of potential happiness, which can differ greatly from person to person.  For myself, both reading and writing are two areas of life that I sometimes struggle to hold in balance.  Maybe you can relate to some extent.

Now, I don’t want to discuss this concept at length without first reading more of the text.  I just wanted to share what I’ve learned so far.  I know that this will be very applicable to my writing practices by the time I’ve finished, at least I hope this winds up being worthwhile.  We’ll find out.

Hope you all are happy and healthy,

Stephen R.

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