Richard Lloyd Parry | London Review Of Books | 1st February 2014
Extraordinary essay on the Japanese way of death. In the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami, which killed 20,000, survivors "described sightings of ghostly strangers, friends and neighbours, and dead loved ones. They reported hauntings at home, at work, in offices and public places, on the beaches and in the ruined towns. The experiences ranged from eerie dreams and feelings of vague unease to cases of outright possession"
Jonathan Galassi | The New Republic | 8th February 2014
Gabriele D’Annunzio, writer and libertine, is remembered today, if at all, as "the very personification of Italian decadence, a creature of unembarrassed and unbridled appetite". His radical political posturing enthralled Marinetti's Futurists and prepared the way for Mussolini's Fascists. Hemingway called him "a jerk". Lucy Hughes Hallett's new biography argues that he was, for all his faults, a "major poet"
Kathryn Schulz | New York | 10th February 2014
Review of Elizabeth Kolbert's The Great Extinction, which "makes a page-turner out of even the most sober and scientifically demanding aspects of extinction". For "a work of what we might term mid-apocalyptic nonfiction", her book is "remarkably restrained". She explains, as a matter of fact, that humans are destroying themselves and their planet. "She declines to tell us how to feel about it or what to do"
Sam Leith | Guardian | 8th February 2014
Orwell's essay on his prep-school days, Such, Such Were the Joys, is "sodden with self-pity". The tales of squalor and violence are straight out of Dickens. Indeed, they are hard to credit — perhaps because Orwell made them up, for literary or political purposes. "There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that Orwell's account of his prep-school days was – how to put this? – a load of utter bollocks"
Joe Queenan | Wall Street Journal | 7th February 2014
"The US is addicted to advice. Americans honestly believe that someone out there knows how to fix all our problems. Maybe Oprah. Maybe Dr. Phil. Don't smoke. Don't text on I-95. Don't allow your teenage son to disappear into his bedroom for the next decade. Exercise 30 minutes a day. Why, then, are so many of us miserable, bankrupt, overweight chain smokers with horrible, illiterate kids?"
Thought for the day:
"A Freudian slip is when we say one thing and we mean a mother" — Rob Long
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