Richard O. Prum, an avid bird watcher by training, has revivified the debates around evolutionary biology in his new book The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World -- and Us (2017). Prum's thesis is that too much attention is bestowed on Darwin's (overwhelmingly) misunderstood theory of natural selection … Continue reading Beauty for the sake of Beauty
I'm only about sixty percent through The Woman in White, but it has been seeping into my dreams. The suspense thrums along, traveling under the pages, complete with peaks and troughs, but ever present and quietly escalating. The "horror" that Laura Fairlie and Marian Halcombe endure under the tyranny of Sir Percival Glyde and the odious … Continue reading a reading update: The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
Author Marilynne Robinson is a true lover of words. In a recent New York Times Book Review essay, she divulged her love of the essentials of words, particularly in Emily Dickinson -- a poet of "parsimoniousness". As Robinson admits, with writing, she is drawn to that movement toward essentials, away from all secondary definitions, all … Continue reading Marilynne Robinson on “the dance with language”
I'm quite content to mimic some readers, Virginia Woolf included, and take pride in my seemingly serendipitous and spontaneous choices of books. I like to think that books have a way of coming and going in your life, knowing full well though, that books can mean different things to people at any stage of their … Continue reading Bibliotherapy and whether reading can making you happier
Arundhati Roy's non-fiction pieces are smart, polemic, and courageous. In her fiction, Roy tackles family dynamics, but her non-fiction tackles governments and big institutions alike. In her book The Cost of Living, there are two essays, one on Big Dams, titled "The Greater Common Good", and other other, titled "The End of Imagination" is on nuclear … Continue reading Arundhati Roy on “the only dream worth having”
I just finished reading Thackeray's most well-known novel Vanity Fair. The question as to whether Thackeray's Vanity Fair is a feminist novel has been sticking in my mind for a while now? And even further, so what constitutes a "feminist" novel? Thackeray's portrayal of women, complicated women makes for a good case: wily Becky Sharp and gentler … Continue reading Was William M. Thackeray a feminist?
This week's inspiration comes from a slim, but dense book by the philosopher and lover Alain Badiou - a borrowed read from some friends who I traveled with and lent to me (merely to lighten their loads but also to inspire). It's called In Praise of Love and it is a thought-provoking and relatively quick read. … Continue reading Alain Badiou, philosopher of Love