Candide - Voltaire

This book is meant to make fun of Leibniz. It's fairly funny and I enjoyed it as a teenager, before I was familiar with Voltaire's other works.

Leibniz has a spotty record as a philosopher, but his contributions to mathematics go far beyond the calculus you normally hear about. His fingerprints are all over pure math and formal logic and computer science and computer hardware and engineering in general. Next time you're in an airplane and it doesn't crash, thank Leibniz twenty times over.

Voltaire, on the other hand, was a rich, sarcastic dickhead whose rants against Jewish and Black people were extremely racist even by the standards of the 18th century. Screw this book.



More English Fairy Tales - Joseph Jacobs

I was looking for a neat little traditional poem that Wordsworth mentioned, and Google gave me this extremely lively mix of familiar and less-familiar stories. Jacobs does an excellent job of finding good stories and retelling them in his own voice.



The Clouds - Aristophanes

Socrates farts.



Prometheus Unbound - Percy Shelley

This painting accurately represents the pain of the boredom I felt when reading this book. I can't believe someone read Prometheus Bound and thought this was the direction the story was supposed to take.



So The Wind Won't Blow It All Away

It's his most beautiful novel, the complete product of all his years of excellent prose and poetry. It's also painfully bleak and morbid in a way even his darkest books hadn't been.



The Robbers - Friedrich Schiller

Romanticism was an extremely successful love letter to failure.



Wait Until Spring, Bandini - John Fonte

Miserable people doing miserable things and feeling miserable about it.

This book gets thrown around by people who like Bukowski. I'm not a huge Bukowski fan, but I find his books more readable than Fonte, just because Bukowski knew when to occasionally crack a joke or give a character a charming quirk.

Loving the graphic design, though. Look at that up there.



History and the Historians of Medieval Spain - Peter Linehan

This mess of a book is badly in need of an editor. The name alone hints that the author couldn't decide what book he was writing.

His observations on history are mainly uninteresting. His observations on historians range from boring to catty.



The Persians - Aeschylus

Xerxes is a funner character when he's not so sad and pathetic.