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Book review

The Illicit Happiness of Other People (2012) is a Tragicomedy Illuminated by Subtle Psychosocial Analysis

*Illicit* is a satirical social commentary, a tragicomedy of self-sacrifice, crime, transcendence, and tragic redemption set against the insistent grime of a lower-middle-class family stranded between failure and social injustice on the one hand – and resilience and love on the other.

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Book review

Milan Kundera’s Slowness (1995) Is A Lucid Distillation of Philosophy and Subtle Psychological Observation

*Slowness* juxtaposes stories and characters, deftly interwoven, in a structure light and airy, never feeling crammed. It is informed by, and engages with, a deep philosophical and literary heritage. The thesis of Slowness is that we moderners have lost the gift for slow living, and thus for remembering. We live fast, therefore we forget – or is it the other way around?

Categories
Book review Cognitive Science Science

The Third Chimpanzee: A Critical Retrospective

Amidst a global renaissance of xenophobia and antiscientific fundamentalism, Jared Diamond’s book is a valuable reminder that man is after all an animal shaped by his ecology.

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Book review

David Copperfield: Wise Friends, Unconventional Families, Reimagining Reality, the Dangers of Infantilising, and the Power of Circumstance

In David Copperfield, Dickens paints pictures of sage friends and family; reimagines the family unit; warns us of the dangers of overindulging children and infantilising adults, recreates aspects of his own life that he was dissatisfied with — and explores the power of circumstance in shaping human nature.

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Book review

The Tempest

Caliban: Heroic Anti-Colonial, Or Savage Rapist? Prospero: Pathetic Bookworm, or Forebearing Sorcerer? Best Be Gonzalo.

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Book review

The Ocean At The End of the Lane is An Intriguing, if Unsubstantial, Magic Realist Fable

The Ocean At The End of the Lane (2013) is the first I’ve read of Neil Gaiman. I begin with my usual caveat: this is a speculative novel, and I seldom like books in this genre. I’ve begun trying it regularly, and I liked this book better than some others I’ve tried recently. Still, if […]

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Book review

The Hottest Day of the Year

The Hottest Day of the Year: In A Place Out of Time, Women Oppress Each Other, Repress Themselves, And Finally Break Free

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Book review Environment

The Overstory

Richard Powers’s The Overstory Is an Unflinching Examination of Nine Humans’ Fight for Forests

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Book review

Brecht. Anne Frank. Harper Lee. (Three Book Reviews)

Parables for the Theatre: Two Plays by Brecht In college I’d heard of Brecht’s penchant for theatre that broke the fourth wall; a decade later, this two-play volume I read this month was the first Brecht I read. My experience reading drama is limited. I’ve read the classical Athenians, and some Plautus; Shakespeare, and a […]

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Book review

Shakespeare’s Sonnets: the TL;DR version. Love, art, and mortality.

Always wanted to read Shakespeare’s Sonnets, but never had the time? Fear not. I impersonate Shakespeare to tell you the story of sonnets’ love triangle. The Poet, the Fair Youth, and the Dark Lady. I bolster my summary with ample quotations, and attempts at humour. The Sonnets explore every facet of desire: yearning, sexual desire, jealousy (of rival lovers and of rival poets), love-madness and insomnia, tranquil admiration, breakup and reconciliation.