Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Still Further Conversation about Reading Challenging Books . . .

Challenging books Our current conversation has had 7 installments; beginning on September 12th and continuing on September 14th17th19th21st, 24th, and 26th—each installment powered by one or more reader comments on the previous installment…

This has been the longest conversation since this concept of encouraging reader engagement first moved me to change the way I was blogging… ( Please Note: back in the “old days” and now, I’ve used re-blogs, to varying degrees, to give me time for my fiction writing… )

I began this blog in January 2011—I began the Blog Conversations last March—I’m still getting used to the new format; but, I’m glad we’ve been discussing Challenging Books now for 8 posts :-)

If you want to peruse the way I used to conduct my blogging—a “reportorial” style—scroll all the way down the left sidebar to the widget called “Archives by Month & Year” and select any period before March 2018…

Also, I find it interesting that, with all the books discussed here as Challenging, there aren’t that many I’ve read…

wondering if our readers could say the same thing

And, here’s a comment that was left on the post on the 19th (after we’d moved a bit forward in the discussion…) by one of our more prolific commenters, an author/publisher from Germany:

“‘The Scarlet Letter‘ was my subject for final exams in my English class at university. I didn’t think it was ‘difficult’, but ‘challenging’ is a good term to describe it. There are so many layers of meaning; and, not all of them are easily accessed by a young person.”

Haven’t read that book… Still, our friend’s comment could stimulate rereading formerly challenging books at a later age…

The most recent comment in this conversation was from a man who blogs at M.C. Tuggle, Writer; and, he talks about a book I’ve read and deeply appreciated ( Click the image up there for a choice of editions, with worldwide shipping… ):

“A difficult book I ultimately found rewarding was ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid‘ by Doug Hofstadter. Not only is it long, but its summarization and commentary on modern physics and the possibilities of AI are serious and in depth. It took me three readings to ‘get’ it. Hofstadter keeps it entertaining by presenting his ideas through the quirky adventures of Achilles and his friend Tortoise.”

For me, the whole book was a thrilling adventure—Challenging, to be sure; though, those quirky adventure tales as well as his examples of self-referential sentences ( “I think the first word in this sentence is egotistical.” ) are standout features for me…

Here’s a self-referential poem from the book:

“Meaning lies as much
in the mind of the reader
as in the Haiku.”

And, in case you’re of a mind to read an excellent, challenging book that is “…a wonderful exploration of fascinating ideas at the heart of cognitive science: meaning, reduction, recursion, and much more.”; and, which I can wholeheartedly recommend to every serious writer ( if you really want to stretch your mind in its understanding of its own workings ), here’s a link to a bunch of quotes from the book

And, for the first time in one of our Blog Conversations, I’ll offer a short video—Mr. Hofstadter ( quite the young Polymath ), pondering what could be considered the Evolution of Humanity…


What are some of your reading challenges…?

What are some reading challenges you enjoy dealing with…?

What are some challenges that drive you crazy…?

How about reading challenges your friends or acquaintances reveal…?

Perhaps you’ll share challenges you used to have but you’ve overcome…?

Reminderit only takes one comment to keep this discussion going………
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
Our Blog Conversations are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—the rest of the week, I share valuable posts from other blogs

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

One response to “Still Further Conversation about Reading Challenging Books . . .

  1. Pingback: Blog Conversation about Reading Print Books or Ebooks? | Notes from An Alien

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