Posts tagged non-fiction

The Unsaintly Side of Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi is one of those people whose position as a hero of history is assured. He overcame the most powerful empire on earth with the power of nonviolence. He is immortalised through his quotable epigrams like “Be the change that you want to see in the world” and “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they… Read More

Inside the Syrian Conflict With Jonathan Littell

Homs is one of those places that, like Aleppo and Kandahar and Mosul, has become a byword for suffering. For years it appeared on the nightly news with images of corpses, rubble, wailing widows and intrepid reporters ducking as a shell lands close by. In my childhood, Beirut and later Sarajevo were similar shorthand for misery, along with Belfast during… Read More

Chernobyl Prayer: Svetlana Alexievich’s Heart-Breaking Oral History

When I visited Belarus last year, I thought I’d read some Belarusian literature, and what better writer to start with than Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. Alexievich’s Nobel win was unexpected because her books are non-fiction, a kind of oral history (although as this New Republic article points out, she takes considerable liberties with the… Read More

February Reading Roundup

After a slow January, I hit my reading stride in February. We stayed in Croatia all month, with just a quick side trip to Slovenia, so I had plenty of time to read and catch up with writing too. Here’s a quick roundup of the books I read last month. Paradise Rot by Jenny Hval We’ve all met people who… Read More

January Reading Roundup

Better late than never! Here’s my reading roundup for January. It was a month in which I did a lot of travelling, driving from Greece to Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and now Croatia (via Romania again and a brief stop in Serbia). So I didn’t spend as much time reading and blogging as I wanted to, but I still managed to… Read More

“Rogue” sociology?: Floating City by Sudhir Venkatesh

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 never did. He perhaps got… Read More