Category Archives: essays

Notes From No Man’s Land by Eula Biss

“Our willingness to believe the news is, in many cases, not entirely innocent.” In my weaker moments, those moments when I have desired nothing so much as the comforting thud of an enveloped book arriving through my letterbox, I have … Continue reading

Posted in essays, non-fiction, race | 5 Comments

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

I hadn’t planned to read this book. I have a friend who sent me a copy and as I’m trying to keep on top of any ‘new’ books I acquire (not adding to the TBR list) and as the gift … Continue reading

Posted in essays, non-fiction | 4 Comments

Upstream by Mary Oliver

“And this is what I learned: that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion, that standing within this otherness – the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books – can re-dignify the … Continue reading

Posted in essays, nature, non-fiction, poetry | 12 Comments

Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole

There are moments in reading which elevate the experience beyond mere enjoyment to something more. I find in such moments a suspension, a feeling as though I am levitating above a great, vast plain of possibility and I know that … Continue reading

Posted in Art, essays, politics, travel, writers | 2 Comments

Absence of Mind by Marilynne Robinson

I’ve probably mentioned now and again how much I admire Marilynne Robinson. She’s not a prolific writer, but she’s a brilliant one. Famous for her books centred around the fictional town of Gilead: Home, Gilead and Lila, as well as … Continue reading

Posted in essays, neurology, non-fiction, psychology, religion, science | 5 Comments

Letters to Poseidon by Cees Nooteboom (translated by Laura Watkinson)

A collection of very odd symptoms sent me off to the GP on Thursday, and I came back with a diagnosis of shingles, an instruction to rest along with some anti-virals with a dosage strong enough to sink a whale. … Continue reading

Posted in comfort books, death, essays, memoir, philosophy | 9 Comments

Living, Thinking, Looking by Siri Hustvedt

You might be thinking that I’m a little bit obsessed with Siri Hustvedt by now, and you would probably be right. This is how I like to roll with my reading. I read a book and then it reminds me … Continue reading

Posted in Art, essays, health, medicine, neurology, non-fiction, psychology, Siri Hustvedt | 3 Comments