This is a pleasantly deceptive textbook. It entrapped me with its breezy tour of the English legal system, making it all sounds exciting,
fun and, most of all, manageable. Well, the funsies didn't last. Further textbooks came with an ever increasing page count and some pretty
tough material. But now I'm invested and munching through it. I look back to The English Legal System with nostalgia. Oh the sweetness and ease
of it! I felt like I didn't even need to specialise, I could just become an expert in the entirety of the English legal system, handle all
case law that has been generated over the hundreds of years and certainly become Lord Chief Justice in a year or so. Hah. Hah.
What is cool here that the author of the anthology - Alberto Manguel - is as interesting as the stories themselves. And the
stories of course are great, because fantastical literature might very well be the most important genre of them all. Anyway, Manguel
prefaces each story with a wonderful introduction. Some are exceedingly clever, some are biographical tidbits about the author of
the story, some are Manguel's memories or thoughts, but there's always a creative freedom that, along with the story itself, just
blows my mind. Bonus: Manguel, like me, is a die hard fan of the Arabian Nights. I am a little bit in love.
There were aspects of this that I enjoyed (the portrayal of France pre-revolution was excellent!) but overall this is not one my favourites
by Dickens. It's hypersentimental, with three of the main characters constantly make tearful proclamations of virtue to each other,
and the ending is syrupy as hell. The introduction by George Woodcock is interesting but when I read that the magnificent genius
of Dickens was stifled by his 'dull and phlegmatic' wife, I smell a rat. Well, here's something else I liked: there's a pervasive
feeling of evil rising, and an inescapable doom fast approaching, and that was really cool too.
Well, I wept like a baby. It is my special ability, my extra efficient emotional drainage system, but still. I do feel kinship with
Amanda Palmer on various levels and so the empathy flowed. The book is ostensibly about learning to ask for things you need, and I
guess it is about that too, but it's primarily an autobiography. It's not all sad - There were hilarious moments too, Amanda's
drunken 'I'M DEPRESSED AND WANT TO HAVE A BABY' act in front of her label exec in order to get them to release her from the contract
was just brilliant. This book inspired, and will continue to inspire me, because I'll be damned if I won't reread it.
I have empathy and respect for the character's feelings. My animal friend recently died as well. I feel the feels. And yet I don't
dig this book. Apart from the fundamental underlying humanity there's little I like about the dude. He's a freelance writer in L.A.
He's got money to throw at his grief. He watches TV shows, drops Valiums at trendy restaurants and and goes to Starbucks on a Grindr
date. Why should I care? I don't. Furthermore, the writing is mostly bad. "________ was like _________. _________ was like ________."
You can't do this shit unless it's ironic and even then it's highly inadvisable. I don't know, it's just a limp lettuce.
I've picked this book off a guy I used to know. I had just read another book (The Secret History of the World) that belonged to a
person from the same
friend drunk group and it was positively mad, so I expected The Cosmic Serpent to be mad too. I mean, look
at the title. But Narby is an anthropologist who does the most amazing thing: he shows how shamanic knowledge, gained through an
altered state of consciousness, is correspondent with what our scientists know about DNA. Only, you know, our science took until 50s
to discover DNA. There's much more to Narby's findings and they completely blew my mind. Meticulous referencing too.
Francis goes to Antarctica hoping to escape the 'radiowave chatter of the mind' and I have always wanted to do the same. Reading this
book was my opportunity to stop sadly scouring BAS vacancies every few months and find another way to the continent. It sort of worked.
Luckily to me, Francis is curious, eloquent, adventurous and completely disinterested in his actual job. Instead, he talks about his
solitary walks, the changing seasons and the penguins. There are some tales of early explorers but Francis is more preoccupied with
their state of mind than their achievements. Which suits me just fine. I really enjoyed this, might read again sometime.
It feels wrong to read poetry in translation. That's why Baudealaire is postponed indefinitely 'until I learn French properly' (jamais!).
That's why I own a biography of Rimbaud but can't bring myself to read his writing. It's a stupid affectation. So when I started on
Modern Russian Poetry, it was like pulling teeth. Then I got into the groove. Some of it is really beautifully translated ('but if men
check it on its road,/askew it sounds the alarm, there in mid-spin;/and often/very often/the heart explodes,/though no one hears the crack
of doom within.'). I guess my middle ground is: it's a different thing. And a different thing can be a great thing.
This is one of the books my partner dragged home and I was going to take it to a charity shop. Instead, it ended up in the bathroom and
eventually got read while sitting on the toilet. Now it's definitely going to the charity shop. The stories and anecdotes are interesting,
but the commentary made me squint and frown. It yearns for the golden age past and badly misreads some very uncomfortable situations in our
history as examples of great dignity. There's a sprinkling of sexism, a dash of nationalism, a dollop of militarism and the soup is ruined.
Despicable people seeing an opportunity to clean up their brand a little should not be seen as examples of selflessness and courtesy. Ever.
I went through such a kaleidoscope of feelings towards Plath when reading this book. Love, contempt, pity, admiration, it just kept changing.
It felt almost wrong to read her journals, and it was surely criminal to publish them, because something this honest and personal shouldn't
ever be shared without the author's consent. Introduction by Ted Hughes off-putting: patronising as hell. Loved that Plath shares my views
on the academia: "teaching is a smiling public-service Vampire that drinks blood and brain without a thank you". Such a complex portrait of
a person overall. So much unhappiness and misdirected feeling. Damn. Would probably read again.
Mixed feelings about this one. The first part of the book I found a bit contrived, Hofmann's erudition wielded like a
blunt weapon. The second part - in my opinion, much better - is about his relationship with his father (hint: father was/is
a bit of a dick). There is contempt and humour, and underneath the stoicism, a desperate desire to be loved which feels honest
and brings up a lot of emotion. Not in a simplistic way, it's still clever and well crafted. So quelle surprise! that my favourite
poem comes from the first part after all. It's called Eclogue and it has sheep bleating like eminent victorians.
I visited Kingsley Hall about 4 years ago and knew of R.D.Laing before that, but only got round to reading something
by him now. It's fascinating how his ideas about schizoid worldview are also, to a great degree, applicable to healthy people.
I came to Divided Self with a view of studying schizophrenia and instead ended up studying myself. Laing's approach was a big
step away from 'us and them' and towards 'mental-health-as-a-spectrum'. I'm not surprised he inspired so many psychiatrists.
What a wonderful, empathetic man. Can't wait to read his more 'out there' books.
I've realised I have four copies of Dorian Gray in two languages (and they are located in two countries). I try to reread this
book every so often, profylactically. To me, what it says is: go for theatrical decadence and artificiality and live the way
you like despite what is 'normal', but don't go too far down believing your own bullshit or you'll come a cropper. It reacts against
prudes, squares and hypocrites, but also against narcissism, good advice and the substance implied in what is merely style. It
has Wilde arguing with himself. It leaves no moral highground. That's my reading, anyway.
I liked the open and honest tone of this book, and the author clearly has useful knowledge to impart. What I liked less was
that due to poor editing it feels like a quick and careless job. I don't get it. There are four editors and a proofreader listed
but the book is full of spelling and logic mistakes, clumsy language, annoying product placement and comparisons that don't quite
work. I will be referring to this book in the future, I just wish it had all the padding removed, which would cut it down to quarter
of its size. Bonus: it cites Paul Ekman a lot, and I was fascinated by FACS when I was 19, so might look it up again.
This brings up all sorts of fears for me. Burroughs is clearly a very capable writer. In parts Naked Lunch is really funny,
especially if you have hung out with addicts or like bizarre comic books. What pisses me off here is that the author has gone on
a trip, typed it up as it was coming to him, then did bugger all in terms of editing. And a drug trip, even of an educated and
insightful mind, is not that interesting in itself. Now I want to meet someone who loves this book and can make a good case for it.
It could happen? I reread Naked Lunch because I had liked it as a teenager. Turns out I just liked how subversive it was. Damn.
Checkbox read for at least three fields: psychology, literature and kink. It's got its kicks and it's a nice tale, if you
ignore the musings on gender roles that would resonate well with the incel 'culture'. But overall, it's neither a very fine
example of writing, nor a legitimate introduction to BDSM. It's an unfortunate story of a guy who has a fantasy, but doesn't
know about roleplay and instead tries to make it real. However, he can't control reality, especially when another person is
involved, and it backfires badly when he ends up in an abusive relationship. Woe. Nice obsessive descriptions of furs, though.
I found it informative overall, and it did make me rethink how and when I argue. Although probably wouldn't read again.
The author is a conservative - a rather sane conservative, but still a conservative - and while it was a good idea to expose
were points of UGH, SERIOUSLY. My greatest issue with this book is that it seems to write off the post-truth society to a
philosophical shift in thinking, the advance of technology and an erosion of trust. Can we dig deeper in that erosion of trust?
Or perhaps look at the economical factors? Happy people don't tend to lean to extremes.
Take me home