Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome, by E. M. Berens
After reading Stephen Fry’s take on this genre, it was refreshing to read a more classic take. Highly recommended. I was fascinated by this kind of stuff when I was young. Is adulthood mostly us trying to recapture those days?
I reread this book this month. Nabokov’s protagonists are always fascinating. The one is Despair, Hermann, is almost tragic in how desperately he hides from reality. In this he is like that other great unreliable narrator, Charles Kinbote from Pale Fire. And when people in the real world laugh and point a finger at this naked emperor, he chooses to recede into a reality where his garments are the finest, his wit awes his friends, and his intellect outwits the police.
You are never really certain if perhaps, deep down, he knows but continues to pretend. The monster gets his comeuppance and descends into despair. His fine plots are tangled. For all the world he is a bumbling crook but in his mind he is inches away from the perfect crime, bested only by bad luck.
I signed up for Scribd this month and the selection is such a nice change from Kindle Unlimited. The number of books I read this month shot up as a result. I had a similar experience the last time I used it too. Reading on the small phone screen is the only drawback.
I also went to my favourite book store (Blossoms) after nearly a year. So a great month overall.
The Enchanter: An Adventure in the Land of Nabokov, by Lila Azam Zanganeh
An exquisite love letter to Nabokov’s works. Emulates his luminous, mad style very well.
Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk
Our great depression is our lives.
Reread this. Immensely quotable book.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli
A light overview of physics. Does not go too deep so might be good for folks who are dipping their toes in this genre.
Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living, by Fumio Sasaki
A light look at the minimalist movement from a Japanese blogger.
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made, by Jason Schreier
Somehow this was more forgiving than I expected, of the grind and hell folks in the videogame industry go through. The author hand waves it away as something people do out of sheer passion. I can understand that from the small indies working away for years on a tight budget, but I wonder if that holds true for the entire industry. Nevertheless this was an interesting peek behind the curtains of game companies small and large.
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World, by David Epstein
Well this was preaching to the choir as I consider myself a bit of a generalist. Most of the book quotes success stories, which makes for nice reading but I guess if you look for something you’ll always find examples supporting your cause.
The larger point is that we don’t know what we want to do unless we try it, so the general recommendation is to sample widely and not be afraid to be a late bloomer.
The Tangled Lands, by Paolo Bacigalupi, Tobias S. Buckell
Four short stories by the two authors, all centered around a world troubled by poisonous brambles that grow and spread whenever its people use magic.
I’ve read and liked Baciagalupi’s dystopian science fiction before.
I have fond memories of this book: I won an abridged copy as an award in school, way back in IInd standard. So I was not ready for how BIG the original version is. So most of this month went in reading this enjoyable revenge tale.