The Books On My Table

  1. Virginia Woolf: A Writer's Diary
  2. E. M. Cioran: Anathemas and Admirations
  3. William Hazlitt: On the Pleasure of Hating
  4. Machado de Assis: Epitaph of a Small Winner
  5. Julio Cortazar: Hopscotch
  6. Du Fu: A Life in Poetry
  7. Fernando Pessoa: The Book of Disquiet
  8. The Best American Essays 2009
  9. Michael de Montaigne: On Friendship
  10. Yasunari Kawabata: Palm-of-the-Hand Stories
  11. James Wood: How Fiction Works
  12. Adam Zagajewski: Without End
Virginia Woolf's diary is an unavoidable choice of reading: I have to read her every morning as one would read the daily newspaper.

The newest book in the list is the one by E. M. Cioran. I don't have that many philosophical books in my personal library. Most of them, the likes of David Hume or Kant or Hegel or even Derrida, are too intellectual-minded for my taste. I have no need for their jargons and systematic reasonings. In my readings, I only seek to better understand life and myself. And the philosophical books that best serve this purpose are those that are poetical and imaginative and, in Cioran's case, displays an idiosyncratic vision of life.


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