Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The last book I'll read this year: Peter Sloterdijk's 'Globes'

I haven't kept a list of the books I've read this year but I know what will be the last I'll read (as I've just finished reading it): the second volume of Peter Sloterdijk's Spheres trilogy, Globes.

At 1,019 pages it is a veritable breeze-block of book. However, while somewhat time-consuming, it is lucidly written and so full of illustrations that the 1000+ page count is in fact somewhat illusory. Moreover, much of the final chapter has previously appeared in another book: In the World Interior of Capital (sections 1-10 and 13-30 of Interior appear in Globes).

While meandering and ponderous in places, the journey is well worth enduring. It is a quite monumental achievement, the purpose of which one only really begins to glimpse towards the end of volume 2.

The book is obviously unsummarisable and so I won't bother. However, I'll be looking forward to the third instalment, whenever Wieland Hoban gets round to finishing that translation (he does a very good job, by the way). I have a copy of the third volume in French but am only planning on reading snippets of it in that format. With my language skills, reading the whole thing would take me up to this time next year!

Next up, if my brain can handle it (it's sore), is Isabelle Stengers' Thinking With Whitehead. I've made two attempts at this book in the past and failed to make it more than half way through. It isn't the kind of book one can read a bit here, a bit there. It demands sustained periods of close attention, which I've struggled to find the time/energy/wherewithal for. I perhaps wasn't ready for it in the past but I'm feeling confident this time around!

3 comments:

  1. http://www.wnyc.org/story/barry-eichengreen-great-depression/

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  2. I am just embarking on this book, having really enjoyed 'Bubbles', and having grappled with the wonderful references Latour makes to it in his Fourth Gifford Lecture (my favourite of the six, by the way: so well delivered). One thing I would add is the production quality: I love to hold such beautiful books in my hand, especially given the POD stuff that (unfortunately) we have to put up with now when we spend our money on amazon!

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  3. It certainly is a beautifully crafted object. Re-reading the sections that I'd already read in 'World Interior' was much more enjoyable with the illustrations.

    I've seen those POD books turning up in university libraries, which is an obvious false economy. They'll be turning to dust in ten years.

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