Five Books Newsletter 16

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Dear Five Books reader,

I hope you've already had a chance to visit the new site at ( and browse some of its sections. There is something there for everyone, so if your Dad, like mine, loves World War II, you can browse here ( . If you have a friend who loves historical fiction or chick-lit, you can browse here ( . Click on any book for a brief description, a direct quote from the interviewee who recommended it.

Below, our weekly book selections, and a link to this week's new interview, which was on Existentialism.

Have a good week!

Sophie (

This week's interview

Sarah Bakewell on Existentialism

Existentialist philosophy isn't about bringing despair and angst into our lives, it’s about discovering our inner freedom, explains the author of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne (

Books of the Week "If your goal is to actually raise your happiness level, then this is the best book to read."

Jonathan Haidt on Happiness ("Infinite Jest is the major American novel of the past 25 years. It's the book on which his reputation will rest, and I think people are going to read it for a long time."

Chad Harbach on Novels with Sporting Themes ("There is something unusual and special about Green, Schwarz, Witten. It was a book very much of the moment, and yet a classic – the words instant classic spring to mind."

Steven Gubser on String Theory ("George Eliot was not only a great novelist, but a fine philosopher."

Rebecca Goldstein on Reason and its Limitations ("He feels Russia has been poisoned by the Soviet past and until that poison is out of the system it is going to be sickened by it."

Edward Lucas on Putin and Russian History ("I’m not sure we could have had Hannibal Lecter without Patricia Highsmith."

Simon Brett on Whodunnits ("Carl Trocki explains how economically central opium was to the building and maintaining of the British Empire."

Julia Lovell on the Opium War (

Quote of the Week

"It’s very unfashionable to say it and women like yourself don’t want to hear it, but I’m telling you something that is absolutely certainly true: Bridget Jones is a hell of a lot more unhappy than her grandmother."
Oliver James on Why We Live in a Mad World (

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