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The Portable Nietzsche
Just finished reading "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," this weird hybrid of philosophy, biography, myth and poetry. The cross-breeding (or -bleeding) of genr ...more
Aug 19, 2009
Aug 19, 2009
Ministry of Moral Panic
There is a deftness of touch, a sureness of intent, a knowingness of accomplishment that makes it hard to believe that Ministry of Moral Panic is Aman ...more
Aug 19, 2014
Aug 24, 2014
Virginia Woolf
Hermione Lee's Woolf is a major Modernist who in conscious reaction against Victorian society and in artistic competition with other modern writers (K ...more
Aug 23, 2011
Aug 24, 2011
Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings
Finally finished reading Shahnameh today, the Persian Book of Kings, translated by Dick Davis. Arranged like a royal chronicle, the book falls into tw ...more
Nov 26, 2010
Nov 26, 2010
The Game of Boxes: Poems
Of Catherine Barnett's James Laughlin Award-winning book, April Bernard, one of the three judges, wrote, "With subtle and cumulative force, The Games ...more
May 23, 2013
May 27, 2013
What to Listen for in Music (Revised Edition)
A basic and helpful introduction to music for someone like me, i.e., no music training beyond playing the pianica in primary school, and strumming the ...more
Oct 03, 2009
Oct 05, 2009
Du Fu: A Life in Poetry
Like all the other Chinese scholars of his time, Du Fu aspired to serve the court in the country's vast bureaucracy. He was passed over again and agai ...more
Jun 27, 2010
Jul 08, 2010
The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art
In this work of philosophy, Danto wishes to define art, and to show why contemporary art, having attained self-consciousness, is asking the same quest ...more
Nov 26, 2013
Nov 26, 2013
Iphigenia / Phaedra / Athaliah
For no reason given by the play, Venus tortures Phaedra, wife to Theseus King of Athens, with a passion for her stepson Hippolytus. She struggles val ...more
May 10, 2009
May 10, 2009
The Anarchists: A Portrait of Civilization at the Close of the Nineteenth Century
The Anarchists is the first of a pair of books that Mackay himself called propaganda, not novels. (The other book is called The Dreamseeker.) The pole ...more
Oct 31, 2012
Nov 01, 2012
True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell Under the Sign of Eliot and Pound
It is nearly impossible to summarize True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell Under the Sign of Eliot and Pound. Its method is ...more
Mar 23, 2010
Mar 23, 2010
The Ascent of Man
Based on the BBC television series of the same name, The Ascent of Man charts the development of human civilization through the lens of scientific pro ...more
Jul 04, 2009
Jul 04, 2009
The Art of Struggle
I vaguely heard of Michel Houellebecq before stumbling on his book of poems in the Labyrinth Bookshop. I did not know that he wrote poems, as well as ...more
Apr 2013
May 10, 2013
Between Stations: Essays
I knew from his poetry that Boey is a restless traveler, but I did not know how restless until I read his recently published collection of essays Betw ...more
Feb 15, 2010
Feb 16, 2010
Notes from Underground
I swear that I have tried to read the great D many times, but failed every time to get past Chapter One. I thought that the slimness of Notes might h ...more
Aug 27, 2013
Sep 03, 2013
Kafka on the Shore
**spoiler alert** In alternate chapters, two plots that begin far apart come together. In the first, Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old abandoned by his ...more
Jun 08, 2014
Jun 09, 2014
The Scarlet Letter (Wordsworth Classics)
Of Fatality

To be perfectly honest, I would not have stuck with The Scarlet Letter if it is not reckoned generally to be an American classic. The actio
Jul 13, 2008
Jul 10, 2008
Close Calls With Nonsense: Reading New Poetry
Over the New Year weekend, spent on the bus and in the Woodstock home of D and T, who kindly took in a pair of holiday orphans, I read Close Calls wit ...more
Jan 02, 2011
Jan 02, 2011
Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche
I'm planning to visit Japan in August and so when I found Haruki Murakami's work of journalism Underground at Kramerbooks in D.C., I bought it immedia ...more
Jan 05, 2014
Jan 05, 2014
Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Written with a full appreciation of Roosevelt's accomplishments and a frank understanding of his flaws, Traitor to His Class is an engrossing read. Th ...more
Mar 25, 2014
Mar 25, 2014
Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family's Feuds
This is a biography of Emily Dickinson and a book about who gets to say who she was after her death. On the Life, Gordon is at pains to dispel the leg ...more
Jul 10, 2012
Jul 12, 2012
Norwegian Wood
Death is not the opposite of life but a part of it. This is what Toru Watanabe, the protagonist of the novel, learns from the suicide of his best frie ...more
Mar 14, 2014
Mar 15, 2014
Strangely compulsive an experience it was to read so many Houllebecq novels one after another within a month. I hardly know what drew me along. His br ...more
May 23, 2013
May 23, 2013
The Foucault Reader
After encountering the critical thought of Nietzsche, I have wondered how to apply it to social and political problems. Foucault shows one way of doin ...more
Feb 10, 2014
Feb 15, 2014
The Annotated Lolita: Revised and Updated
**spoiler alert**
The novel begins and ends with "Lolita" but it is really about Humbert Humbert and his attempt to fix, in writing, the sublime effec
Aug 08, 2010
Aug 10, 2010
Ocean Vuong's poems are quieter on the page than his dramatic reading style may suggest, and the poems benefit from their quiet inwardness. Burnings i ...more
Jun 04, 2011
Jun 05, 2011
A Perched Privacy

I finish reading this novel feeling exalted and cowed by what a man may accomplish in a work of fiction. Human relationships, so vari
Nov 23, 2008
Nov 23, 2008
Selected Poems
The Play of the Universe

From a deep appreciation of the varied imperfections of earth, Tagore's poems yearn for the single, perfect ineffable. The nar
Aug 16, 2008
Jul 22, 2008
Self Portraits: Tales from the Life of Japan's Great Decadent Romantic
Translated by Ralph F. McCarthy, Self Portraits: Tales from the life of Japan's great decadent romantic comprises 18 short stories by Osamu Dazai. The ...more
Jun 21, 2014
Jun 22, 2014
Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus
A thought-provoking set of essays. The main writer Donald Low is persuasive about how widening income inequality in Singapore is destroying the social ...more
Nov 29, 2014
Nov 29, 2014
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