Candide - Voltaire

After a long long time I read a book that cracked me up in so many ways. Candide (or Optimism) is the story of a naive boy of that name who learns the true nature of the world and the rather messy life that we live in. It relives in hyperbole the horrors of the 18th century world. It is basically a blatant satire, to the point of shamelessness, at the philosophy of the 'good' and 'simple'. It ridicules almost all cultural aspects of its time and blasts away simplistic reductions of various peoples of the world.

Written in the 18th century, it is refreshingly politically incorrect. Reading it reminds us how our current world is taking away from us the freedom to express any idea no matter how outrageous it may be. How the pressure to conform to a unified moral code is stifling discussion and just plain old fun.

If you buy this book make sure you by this edition. It has an outstanding reference section. Most of the book will be lost without that.