My friend Vishy gave me A Chinese Garden of Serenity for Christmas. It was such a nice surprise to open the package from India and see this book, because it showed so much thought. Vishy had seen my posts on the Tao Te Ching and the meditation retreat, and thought I’d like this book. He was […]
How do you tell the story of a remote injustice to a jaded world? You could make a documentary, or interview the survivors and write a 15,000-word magazine exposé. You could petition the authorities to commission an official enquiry, and ...
How would you like to read a book that reacted to your emotions, and changed its storyline to give you exactly what you wanted? It sounds bizarre, impossible and faintly terrifying, but according to this article in NewScientist magazine, it’s ...
As well as The Chinese Garden of Serenity, Vishy also sent me What Sport Tells Us About Life. Again, it was a thoughtful gift. Although I don’t tend to write about sport on here, I’ve always enjoyed watching cricket, and Vishy ...
The phrase “halcyon days” has always meant nothing more to me than general nostalgia. Since moving to Crete, and more particularly since spending winter here, I’ve learned its original, much more specific meaning. Winters here are very mild compared to what I’m used to from London and New York. It’s around 15°C most days, although […]
What a difference a title makes, or even a subtitle. The version I read, the US edition which I received as a review copy, had the subtitle “A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy.” This irritated me throughout the book, because I kept expecting Sudhir Venkatesh to “go rogue”, and he […]
If you’ve ever wondered just how far government agencies will go to keep us safe from ideas that they find dangerous, this account of the US government’s sustained attack on the singer Paul Robeson will make fascinating reading. Robeson never participated in or advocated violence or crime, and yet he was placed under continuous surveillance […]
I’m always a bit suspicious of those “Best books of 2013″ articles. I read lots of them anyway, and carefully note down all the recommendations, but still I can’t help wondering how people can pronounce judgement when they can’t have read more than a tiny fraction of the thousands of books on offer. So these […]
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- On showing up 27 June 2013
- Ebook vs print sales 31 October 2013
- What is it about water? 26 May 2013
- The limits of automatic recommendation systems 12 December 2013
- 2013 reading highlights 31 December 2013
- The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov 3 April 2014
- The Future of Books: Reactive? 10 March 2014
- What Sport Tells Us About Life by Ed Smith 3 March 2014
- A Chinese Garden of Serenity by Hung Tzu-ch’eng 22 February 2014
- Halcyon Days 31 January 2014
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