So here’s a sobering thought: in the year 2018, I read a grand total of 15 books.
Yes, you read that right. 15 books. It’s a number so astonishingly low you would be forgiven for thinking that I in fact died in February of the previous year, and have spent the remaining time haunting the library and bewailing the fact that when I try to pick up a book now it just passes right through me, which incidentally is the feeling I get whenever I try to muster the enthusiasm to finally read Ulysses. Continue reading →
It’s December, and you know what that means – Sara’s going to turn up out of the blue with a long-overdue blog post!
As you know from my recent (and by ‘recent’ I of course mean ‘from-two-months-ago’; doesn’t everybody?) Versatile Blogger post, I am terrible when it comes to blog awards. And although it’s a bit late and I really don’t deserve it for leaving this so late, I wanted to respond to the little squid’s nomination for the Real Neat Blog Award. Thank you, and I’m sorry it took me three bazillion years to respond (actual count of the time that has elapsed since the nomination).
Okay, I’m the worst when it comes to these things. Carolyn very kindly nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award two years ago (yep, two years ago). I think it’s fair to say I’m stretching the definition of ‘versatility’ to the limit by applying it to the presupposed time limit that usually applies to these things.
Although I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are fascinated by the many nuances of the field of Artificial Intelligence – the myriad applications of this new technology, the ethical issues, the many ways in which AI has already begun infiltrating our lives in subtle ways – I think I’m not wrong when I say that most people will pick up this book with one simple question on their minds: viz., what is the likelihood that we will be wiped out by evil killer robots within the next ten to fifty years; and, if we are, will they at least be sexy killer robots à la Battlestar Galactica, or will they be more like Arnie in Terminator (i.e., terrifying)?
This book does discuss the possibility of killer robots, of course. Its conclusions on the topic will not leave the technologically paranoid quaking in their boots, but the more sensitive reader may nevertheless finish this book with a slight sense of diffuse dread, because Walsh makes clear that even though robots probably won’t want to kill us out of hatred or spite (yay), they might do it… well, accidentally (erm… yikes?). Continue reading →
Jillian tagged me for the Classics Book Tag – thanks, Jillian! So, let’s get on with it. Also, please enjoy this completely unrelated but extremely pretty stock photo I’ve included, mostly because I’ve pretty much tapped out Unsplash’s supply of book-related stock images.
1. An over-hyped classic you really didn’t like?
Le Mort d’Arthur. It’s basically 400+ pages of dudes in chain main slicing one another’s bodily appendages off as if they were made of butter. Pass. Continue reading →
2017 has dawned with the words ‘dystopic future’ hovering on more than a few people’s lips. ‘Dystopia’ and ‘utopia’ are loaded terms, of course – one man’s ‘post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland created by the greed of power-hungry and irresponsible capitalists and world leaders’ is another man’s ‘strategically-managed relocation solution with wonderful future prospects following the end of the nuclear winter’, although I’m not sure I’d really want to meet the person who thinks like that.
Amidst all this talk of a dystopic future, where greedy capitalists have succeeded in grinding down the poor and middle classes and filling the rising oceans with plastic and ring-pull cans, 2017 seems like a good time to revisit the origins of the terms Utopia, and consequently Dystopia. I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like Thomas More’s 1516 work Utopia, which gave us the term and presented us with one of the earliest examples of a utopian text, is still remarkably relevant today. Continue reading →
Happy belated Mother’s Day, Mums! Hopefully your kids remembered that Saturday was the big day, and bought you lots of nice presents and didn’t forget, like Steve always does. Nice job, Steve.
(Full disclosure: I did forget.)
So to make up for it, Mum, here are ten memorable mothers from literature for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. Thank you for having all the qualities of the good ones and none of the qualities of the bad ones. Continue reading →
Last week’s Top Ten Tuesday was all about things that will instantly make you want to read a book. But I love this week’s topic even more: things that will instantly make you not want to read a book. Advance Warning: This topic will require the use of frequent 30 Rock GIFS. Because Tina Fey gets it, man. Continue reading →
Right. I didn’t have a whole lot to say about Howards End, so I decided to go away and read some reviews to see what other people are saying about the book. And it seems like all the reviews, positive or negative, seem to more or less agree on a few main points:
1. The novel is about class. Some other stuff too, but people mostly seem to agree that it’s about class. Because there’s three families, and two of them are rich enough and marry one another, and one is not. This is all very sad and tragic and allows Forster to make some profound comments on the way that class works in the twentieth century. Don’t ask me what they are, I just know they’re profound. Continue reading →