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Some Books I Want To Read: Osamu Dazai, Better Than Food Book Reviews, and Some Film Recommendations

Updated: Dec 27, 2023


#1: Some Books I Want To Read

Written by Ayesha

4 books that are on the top of my list to read (and buy) next:

1. The Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai

While Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human portrays the life of a young man, The Setting Sun, conversely, focuses on the life of a woman and her family. Her alienation and pursuit of meaning against the backdrop of a fading aristocratic family.

It seems like a nihilistic odyssey of the post-war era in Japan. One that returns to the duplicity of human nature and loss of morality.

The existentialism of which is palpably felt when you read this quote from the book:

“To wait:
In our lives we know joy, anger, sorrow, and a hundred other emotions, but these emotions all together occupy a bare one percent of our time. The remaining ninety-nine percent is just living in waiting.
I wait in momentary expectation, feeling as though my breasts are being crushed, for the sound in the corridor of the footsteps of happiness.
Oh, life is too painful, the reality that confirms the universal belief that it is best not to be born.”

2. Existential Monday: Philosophical Essays by Benjamin Fondane

Fondane was a literary critic, poet, existentialist philosopher, and filmmaker. Existential Monday is advertised as an unconventional, daring, and multi-layered pursuit of the limitations of philosophy.

But what really caught my attention is the fact that Benjamin Fondane was a friend of E. M. Cioran, who is also a Romanian philosopher. Though Cioran roams the lanes of existential pessimism, nihilism, and human suffering.

Here’s a passage from Fondane’s book:

“It would be vain to ask where boredom takes up residence; it is nowhere to be found in the existent. And yet the boredom occurs, it covers and exhausts the existent to such an extent that one could rightly claim that the existent has vanished and only boredom exists.
What is it? The feeling that the non-existent has of its existence - or rather the feeling existence has that it does not exist?”

3. The Peregrine by J. A. Baker

No introduction. No quotation. Just watch this review of the book. This is all the motivation you need to read this book:

“I fucking loved this book.” - Clifford Sargent.

4. Memories of My Nervous Illness by Daniel Paul Schreber

This book has a message for the world: not only to expose the nature of the illness that Schreber had suffered but, more importantly, to pass on some kind of cloudy divine revelation. The writing comes straight from the borderline between sanity and madness. Based on jottings made at the peak of his illness, the book was put together when he was approaching recovery.

He wanted it to become known, and so it has; because in its vividness and abundant detail it touches on so many of our assumptions about reality, about the structure of our perceived world, its space and time, and objective identity.

Schreber in his suffering and insanity saw all these dissolve away, and re-form into the stuff of myth and nightmare.

A book so good, the following passage sent shivers down my spine when I first read it. Still does.

“A fundamental misunderstanding obtained however, which has since run like a red thread through my entire life. It is based upon the fact that, within the order of the World, God did not really understand the living human being and had no need to understand him, because, according to the Order of the World, He dealt only with corpses.”


#2: Film Recommendations

1. Tran Anh Hung’s The Scent of Green Papaya (1993)

2. Eric Rohmer’s La Collectionneuse (1967)

3. Nobuhiko Obayashi’s Labyrinth of Cinema (2019)


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