Reading progress update: I've read 74 out of 440 pages.

At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails - Sarah Bakewell

Right, the chapter on Husserl was interesting. I had heard of him but haven't read anything by him or about his take on phenomenology. 

Having read a little more about his thoughts, I'm wondering how his ideas of phenomenology (I'm sick of typing this word already) have influenced Jaspers. Unfortunately, this isn't an area that is being discussed as the book swiftly moves to Heidegger, whose bad-mouthing of Husserl (while Husserl promoted Heidegger) has done nothing to improve my impression of him.

 

Bakewell does an excellent job at trying to explain the inexplicable Heidegger to the reader. Heidegger's own phrasing is absurd - his point being that he needs the reader to start thinking in terms that are new and not packed with conventional meaning. The problem for me - as a non-Heidegger-wired regular person - is that using language-constructs that people are not familiar with to prove a point fails in its object to communicate an idea. 

Unsurprisingly, thinking back to my own reading of Heidegger's Being and Time many years ago brings up memories of wanting to throw the book in the river. At least thanks to Bakewell's book I now know why it was such a difficult read.