For non-fiction, a favorite author is Daniel J Boorstin. His trilogy... The Discoverers: A History of Man's Search to Know His World and Himself (1983)
The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination (1992)
The Seekers: The Story of Man's Continuing Quest to Understand His World (1998)
is incredibly thorough and well written in the sense that he ties as much of the content together as possible.
For something outside of the western patriarchy... a friend gave me a copy of A Personal Anthology by Jorge Luis Borges and this book is interesting because each short story or poem is translated by a different person. Here is one of the first poems that stood out to me...
Composed in the early 1960s, here is the last stanza of that poem:
His great-grandson is writing these lines
and a silent voice comes to him out of the past,
out of the blood:
“What does my battle at Junín matter if it is only
a glorious memory, or a date learned by rote
for an examination, or a place in the atlas?
The battle is everlasting and can do without
the pomp of actual armies and of trumpets.
Junín is two civilians cursing a tyrant
on a street corner,
or an unknown man somewhere, dying in prison.
Su bisnieto escribe estos versos y una tácita voz
desde lo antiguo de la sangre le llega:
– Qué importa mi batalla de Junín si es una gloriosa memoria,
una fecha que se aprende para un examen o un lugar en el atlas,
La batalla es eterna y puede prescindir de la pompa
de visibles ejércitos con clarines:
Junín son dos civiles que en una esquina maldicen a un tirano,
o un hombre oscuro que se muere en la carcel.
Oddly enough one of the books I've found enlightening is Living Alone and Loving It by Barbara Feldon, that's right good old Agent 99 from Get Smart. There are some slightly dated oblique references (e.g. the whole it's ok ladies you can want sex) but it is a nice simple book about how to live alone. I'm totally not the target audience (i.e. male and married) but I found her advice on how to deal with lonliness very useful.
It can be a bit difficult to get a print copy but the link points to the archive.org copy you can borrow provided you like reading with their interface or are stuck with adobe fucking edition software.
Anything by Joseph Campbell or Ralph metzner and I'm about to finish Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance it's really wild. Women who run with the wolves by Clarissa pinkola estes p.H.D. is so phenomenal!
im heavily into psych/philo i travel with an ereader. download all of my books online put them on ereader and it stays charged for like a week of regular use. i can reccommend alot if your still interested but the ereader was one of the best decisions ive made.. 350 books on something the size of a piece of paper.. and free.
Used National Geographic mags are absolutely great for scientific and cultural education.
The writing is concise, and the photos are often worth 10,000,000 words.
They're cheap, too. usually 25 cents each or less.
The reads are pretty condensed and don't pack much more than solid information or insights.
The captions are typically excellent.
They also make for good historical reference.
Other mags are good, too, & usually cheap, as well often easier to replace than books.
Any good education is practical, in the sense that it can be used, so if you are going to self educate, make sure you know what you love and what you want to know, and what you want to do with what you know.
The first $50 in donations go towards paying our monthly server fees and adding new features to the website. Once this goal is reached, we'll see about feeding Matt that burrito.
Buy Matt a Beer
$35.00 of $75.00
Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully this will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
Feed Matt a Burrito
$35.00 of $100.00
Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
Finance the Shopping Cart
$35.00 of $200.00
Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.