NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy: you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com.
I always feel that it's cheating to read a book about an author or thinker rather than going straight to the source. Cliffnotes are an abomination; I'm even suspicious of biographies and encyclopedia entries. This is why I had to buy a second bookshelf to house all those ridiculously large books by dead philosophers. Source-snobbery aside, I do think Will Durant is a genius at distilling impossible ideas to their essence and explaining them with a clarity that does not in any way diminish or dumb them down. Sure, his book is frustratingly broad, and since it was written in the 1920s it lacks a handful of vital philosophers like Wittgenstein and Heidegger, but it's the one I'd recommend in a heartbeat to anyone wanting to know more about philosophy but unsure where to begin, or to someone like myself who has read a fair bit of the originals but only half understands.