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.
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.
Caliban: Heroic Anti-Colonial, Or Savage Rapist? Prospero: Pathetic Bookworm, or Forebearing Sorcerer? Best Be Gonzalo.
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 […]
The Hottest Day of the Year: In A Place Out of Time, Women Oppress Each Other, Repress Themselves, And Finally Break Free
Richard Powers’s The Overstory Is an Unflinching Examination of Nine Humans’ Fight for Forests
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 […]
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.
The first third of The Sellout’s 288 pages is hilarious. After that, Beatty recycles himself… I would’ve enjoyed getting to know Foy Cheshire, the leader of the faux-intellectuals and the book’s chief antagonist. As it is, Foy remains a theatre-mask… The Sellout is excellent, but not great. Mesmerised by its brilliantly coloured flat characters, it the novel misses opportunities to humanise its characters.
1984 predicts the charismatic authoritarians, bigoted nationalists, and media-suppressing demagogues who lead the world today.