Despite the challenges, I consider myself to have been very lucky this year. I have lots of reasons to be cheerful. One of these is that I have reliable sources of book recommendations. So many people have made such excellent book recommendations that have I haven’t yet read them all. And the lockdown is the primary reason I was able to read as many as I did.[Read more…] about Book of My Year
It should be a simple thing, to know which is my favourite book that I have read this calendar year.
Because I keep an idea of my favourite books over time, a relative assessment always brings with it the question of absolute best. Absolutes refer to testable truths but what is truth?
I tend to read a lot of books about science. The extraordinary thing about reading recent books on science is the number of times that you read phrases like ‘no one knows if this will prove to be the case’. I find this uncertainty very reassuring. The demand, indeed the onus, on us all is to keep reading to keep learning.
Today is a day for us to recall that there are myriad writers incarcerated in many intolerant countries. Perhaps more significantly, The Day of The Imprisoned Writer is also a commemoration of the writers killed since the previous year’s Day of The Imprisoned Writer.[Read more…] about Imprisoned Writers
The ant has made himself illustrious
Through constant industry industrious.
Would you be calm and placid
If you were full of formic acid?
‘Life tripped me up’ is a line from a poem dictated in Turkish over a phone line from a prison, a series of which have held the poet since he was 21.
Participation in a protest over the government’s treatment of Kurds sent him into a cell as a young man. He confessed to crimes he had denied before torture that has left him scarred for life.
His pre-trial detention lasted for twenty-two years before his sentence to life imprisonment was confirmed. He wrote recently that he ‘can’t touch or communicate with other people or animals’.[Read more…] about Life Tripped Me Up
You can’t read I Will Never See The World Again without being affected by it. I challenge you to read what Ahmet Altan has written especially if you worry that you have become desensitised by the descending spirals of ever worsening news. Perhaps you are inured, worrying that you have a heart of stone. He writes with such elegance and equanimity that I am certain your heart will flutter several times.
Even those of us who are empathy-challenged will be troubled by many aspects of this book.[Read more…] about Authoritarian Ignobility