Category Books

Resolution for 2019: Read More Books

Lately I’ve noticed that I have less and less patience for reading. I used to read a couple of books a month but in 2018 I only read one or two and those I found tedious. By November I noticed in myself a true aversion to reading. To combat my rapidly shrinking attention span I’ve […]

Male Power Fantasies

Fiction is shot through with male power fantasy from Hercules to James Bond. What would you do if endowed with great strength, cunning and (while we are at it) good looks? Why, kill my enemies and bed dozens of women, of course. But there is also something about male power fantasy that resists facility. There […]

Tom Wolfe RIP

Tom Wolfe is dead at the venerable age of 87. The Bonfire of the Vanities or even A Man in Full could not be written today. They would: Be condemned as racist / misogynist / whatever, and Not be funny. They would no longer be satire but straight up reporting. We all have become characters […]

Reading Xenophon’s Anabasis

The first book on my summer reading list is Xenophon’s Anabasis, the story of a Greek mercenary force trapped deep inside Persia after their employer Cyrus is killed, and who have to fight their way back to Greece. It is a great read, but it is also disorienting at times. The Greeks are the forefathers […]

Summer Reading

School’s out for the summer so I’ll have a bit more time for reading. No, that isn’t quite true, I’ve had time for reading all winter, but not having classes, papers and projects hanging over my head frees up some emotional energy to do mental work for its own sake. Last summer I read some […]

The religion of empathy

I’ve been thinking back on P.K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. In the film version (Blade Runner) you sympathize with the androids: they are dangerous and resentful of humans, but it really isn’t their fault, they are like wild animals. If a disoriented bear gets lost in a city, you can feel sorry for […]

Repost: More Reader’s Digest Condensed Poetry

Here are the rest of my favorite condensed poems from Reader’s Digest, complete with footnotes!   Thanks to Reader’s Digest, I was able to read a hundred or so poems by Mr Tennyson this afternoon, and I’ve learned to love the ethereal beauty of Victorian poetry. Thank goodness I have the annotated version, or it would have […]