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Philosophical novels, anyone?

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YamataNoOrochi
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Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby YamataNoOrochi » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:12 am

Does anyone really enjoy reading philosophical/ spiritual novels such as those by Haruki Murakami and 'Temple of the Golden Pavilion' by Yukio Mishima, or sci fi like Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny? I find that when I have read something like that, even though some like temple of the golden pavilion can be a bit slow and heavy because they are so saturated by philosophy and not much actually happens and the plot is stretched out, they are really rewarding, and when I finish one I feel that I have really gained something - that it was worth reading. I love getting that feeling when I finish a book.

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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Unilisia » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:16 am

No, never heard of either of those. But next time I go to a book store I'll look for it, if I cant find anything better :p
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Buffett and Colbert » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:17 am

As far as philosophy goes, I tend to stick to non-fiction and basically hundred page Op-Eds.

But of course, you could say any book with a story line is philosophical, as they (or at least the good ones) are based on a philosophical idea, or point and build from there.

EDIT-- I like conspiracy stuff, if not sci-fi such as Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Historical fiction is always my favorite.
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Braaainsss » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:47 pm

Buffett and Colbert wrote:As far as philosophy goes, I tend to stick to non-fiction and basically hundred page Op-Eds.

But of course, you could say any book with a story line is philosophical, as they (or at least the good ones) are based on a philosophical idea, or point and build from there.

EDIT-- I like conspiracy stuff, if not sci-fi such as Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Historical fiction is always my favorite.


You should read Foucault's Pendulum, by Umberto Eco.

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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby La Habana » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:54 pm

Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. Best. Book. Ever.
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Buffett and Colbert » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:54 pm

Braaainsss wrote:
Buffett and Colbert wrote:As far as philosophy goes, I tend to stick to non-fiction and basically hundred page Op-Eds.

But of course, you could say any book with a story line is philosophical, as they (or at least the good ones) are based on a philosophical idea, or point and build from there.

EDIT-- I like conspiracy stuff, if not sci-fi such as Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Historical fiction is always my favorite.


You should read Foucault's Pendulum, by Umberto Eco.


I'll look for it!
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby YamataNoOrochi » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:17 pm

I was not aware that zarathustra was a novel. I do have crime and punishment, but still need to get round to reading it. I strongly recommend Murakami's 'wind up bird chronicle' - I started with that one, and could not put it down - 'kafka on the shore' and 'hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world' are brilliant too, but wind up bird seems to be more about a spiritual journey. the other two are as well, but to a lesser extent.

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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby La Habana » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:35 pm

YamataNoOrochi wrote:I was not aware that zarathustra was a novel.


Have you ever read it? :roll: I have read it at least 3 times, and it certainly seems like a novel to me.
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby H N Fiddlebottoms VIII » Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:35 pm

Nausea would count, right? I quite liked that one, "I think, therefore I am a mustache."
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Belschaft » Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:44 pm

It's a fictional account, so I guess More's Utopia counts right?
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby North Occidentia » Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:06 pm

La Habana wrote:Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. Best. Book. Ever.

. . . for mopey, pseudo-intellectual high school loners, that is. That goes for all the pop philosophy Ayn Rand drivel, too. It's alright, though. I think most of us go through that phase. If you have to read any objectivist trash, opt for Atlas Shrugged. Be forewarned: it's still one of the worst thought out and written things I've ever read, but I loved it at the time, for some God-forsaken reason.

My recommendations (of ones I've read):
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a pretty easy read, but it covers a lot of epistemology and philosophy of science.
The Brothers Karamazov is perhaps the most essential philosophical novel I can think of that I've read.
Fahrenheit 451 is kind of elementary, but is a fun read, anyway.
Herman Hesse novels are also good, but I have to admit that I've never read a whole one (just translated sections of Siddhartha and Steppenwolf for German classes).
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Rhods » Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:03 pm

Read: Crime and Punishmet, The Idiot, The Brothers Karmazov, Deamons, The House of the Dead and Poor folk, and Notes from the Underground. All are by Fyodor Doestevesky, theyre all rather dry ad heavy but if you get into it or if yor read mo than one at a time oyu start to notice how doestevsky's supporting characters are all conected with all of his other novels. Also the murder bits and thoughts in the broters Karmazov and Crie and Punishmet are dreadfully dark...and enjoyable.

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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby YamataNoOrochi » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:57 am

Rhods wrote:Read: Crime and Punishmet, The Idiot, The Brothers Karmazov, Deamons, The House of the Dead and Poor folk, and Notes from the Underground. All are by Fyodor Doestevesky, theyre all rather dry ad heavy but if you get into it or if yor read mo than one at a time oyu start to notice how doestevsky's supporting characters are all conected with all of his other novels. Also the murder bits and thoughts in the brothers Karmazov and Crime and Punishment are dreadfully dark...and enjoyable.


Yes, I really should read Dostoevsky - I have Crime and Punishment, but I have so many books to read, fiction and non-fiction. Non-fiction philosophy (ish) things I am reading are Hagakure (nearly finished it), I have already read Book of Five Rings and I'll read The Live-Giving Sword next. I find these books fascinating - though I do not practise any at the moment, martial arts interest me, but you do not have to be a martial artist or a swordsman or a samurai fan to appreciate them and find these views useful - though usually samurai related, they can be applied to other situations too. The good thing about Hagakure is that each chapter is made up of lots of anecdotes and quotations, so it's convenient to just pick up and read in fragments.

I also have Tao teh Ching, but have not read any of that in ages. Need to finish it. I will also be starting Confucius' Analects soon.

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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Lirbetas » Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:04 pm

If you enjoy Philosophical novels, would you happen to be interested in philosophical works by subject (in other words speaking about a specific topic)? If so I have a good site for PDF file books (yes it is free) -

http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/jimspdf.htm

Check out the works by Voltaire, Mark Twain (his essays, I do not really enjoy his books), Plato, and my personal favorite Arthur Schopenhauer (in particular I loved his Essays Volume Four Studies in Pessimism).

Do any of you have any free websites containing similar works, or that you might recommend?

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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Lycandom » Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:29 pm

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a good one. They're right it is dry, but a good read.

Try Sophie's World a novel by Jostein Gaarder (1991). It was originally written in Norwegian, but was translated into English.

Synopsis: Mostly consisting of dialogues between Sophie Amundsen and a mysterious man named Alberto Knox, interwoven with an increasingly bizarre and mysterious plot, Sophie's World acts as both a novel and a basic guide to philosophy. It is essential a history of philosophy. If you love philosophical stuff it is a great one to read.

Side note: It was adapted into a Norwegian movie, but I don't believe it was dubbed in English or has subtitles in English. :(

Another one would be A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. This novel and the movie both include a lot of violence including sexual crimes, so be forewarned it can be disturbing.

Two films made based on it:
- 1965 film by Andy Warhol entitled Vinyl was an adaptation.
- 1971 film A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick.
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Meridiani Planum » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:30 pm

YamataNoOrochi wrote:Does anyone really enjoy reading philosophical/ spiritual novels such as those by Haruki Murakami and 'Temple of the Golden Pavilion' by Yukio Mishima, or sci fi like Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny?


Sure, my favorite philosophical/spiritual novel is Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.

Also, while they are usually not spiritual, I like dystopian novels in general.
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YamataNoOrochi
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby YamataNoOrochi » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:09 am

Talking of dystopia, I really need to read some Kafka, especially after realizing how much of an influence he is upon 'kafkaesque' favourites of mine such as Park Chan Wook and Murakami

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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby North Occidentia » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:21 am

YamataNoOrochi wrote:Talking of dystopia, I really need to read some Kafka, especially after realizing how much of an influence he is upon 'kafkaesque' favourites of mine such as Park Chan Wook and Murakami

Try The Trial. There's also an Orson Welles movie version that's really exceptional.
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Rejistania » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:38 am

I can recommend The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas since it is able to fit a plot into all the philosophy. ;)
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby La Habana » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:43 am

North Occidentia wrote:
La Habana wrote:Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. Best. Book. Ever.

. . . for mopey, pseudo-intellectual high school loners, that is. That goes for all the pop philosophy Ayn Rand drivel, too. It's alright, though. I think most of us go through that phase.


In fact I am studying a broad range of books on existentialism as part of my Philosophy Masters Degree at University, so give that 'pseudo-intellectual high school loners' bullshit a rest, its tragic when people like yourself point the finger at people like me and think 'I know what sort of person that they are', when, in reality, you haven't got the faintest idea who I am, and what I am reading the book for.
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Bnq » Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:59 am

I would recommend anything from Thomas Pynchon and Salman Rushdie. That is, if you like postmodernism and (pop-)cultural references mixed with allusions to philosophers from Socrates to Foucault... My respective favourites: Against the Day from Pynchon and The Satanic Verses from Rushdie.
If you're looking for a less recent writer: Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (be sure to get a full-text version or, even better, a critical edition).

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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby Aidsboat » Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:51 pm

"Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein is mind-expanding, read it when I was 12 or thirteen and totally formed my thoughts on spirituality and sexuality. Its the best book ever(in my humble opinion :) ).

"Brave New World" is amazing. The predicions Huxley made in the 1920's are astoundingly accurate. Orwell based the famed "1984" on this book: it's twice as interesting and twice as accurate.

"Faust" is the basis for all modern thought of "selling you soul." Freaking Awesome Concept, and he did it first, started as a German folk legend, so there's no real single auther, just German to English translators.
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby North Occidentia » Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:28 pm

La Habana wrote:
North Occidentia wrote:
La Habana wrote:Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. Best. Book. Ever.

. . . for mopey, pseudo-intellectual high school loners, that is. That goes for all the pop philosophy Ayn Rand drivel, too. It's alright, though. I think most of us go through that phase.


In fact I am studying a broad range of books on existentialism as part of my Philosophy Masters Degree at University, so give that 'pseudo-intellectual high school loners' bullshit a rest, its tragic when people like yourself point the finger at people like me and think 'I know what sort of person that they are', when, in reality, you haven't got the faintest idea who I am, and what I am reading the book for.

I think the original poster just wanted books to read for his personal enjoyment. Naturally, a student of philosophy has to cover everything important, and Rand and Nietzsche are important. I'm sorry if I judged you personally.
When I read TSZ, I agreed with it's philosophy, but did not find to be very enjoyable. It reads like the King James Version of the Bible, except anti-theist and MUCH shorter. Hm. I guess some might consider the Bible a philosophical novel, too?
Ayn Rand is just an awful writer. She is somehow convincing, though. She made an Objectivist out of me by the end of "Atlas Shrugged!" Then I went on to read more about Rand, Objectivism, and philosophy. It didn't take long to realize that it's so poorly thought out and unrealistic that it's actually kind of funny.
Nevertheless, even if you end up not liking any book, or if it's poorly written, it will expand your knowledge, provided you do not take it as gospel and that you read critically.
So, yes, read Nietzsche and Rand. Just don't expect to have much fun doing it!
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby New Crannada » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:14 pm

If The Art of War and The Prince count as philosophical, I'm in.

As far as contemporary fiction goes (or semi-contemporary), I'm a big fan of Saramago. I like that he throws his characters into ridiculously unorthodox or even apocalyptic situations and then lets them hack their way through to a satisfying conclusion. I also like the stunningly graphic nature of some of his finer works (Blindness, specifically).

Orwell had a few interesting novels and novellas, even if I'm not one to agree with his personal political stance. Down and Out in Paris and London was a wonderful piece of work, while Animal Farm is one of the best pieces of political satire in the history of literature, as far as I am concerned.

I sort-of-like Salman Rushdie, and I'm kind-of into Milan Kundera, as well.
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Re: Philosophical novels, anyone?

Postby History land » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:20 pm

I have read Atlas Shrugged and will be reading The Fountionhead next I like Ayn Rand`s Books

I also like Geroge Orwells Books
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