THE BOY WHO BELONGED TO THE SEA

It’s not often that I pick up books on a whim, but there was something in the cover of The Boy Who Belonged to the Sea that brought me to think, “yes, I should definitely buy this and read it as quickly as I can.” Is it the lone seagull? The blending of the plain…

The Road to HOMO DEUS?

I’m a big, big fan of Sapiens. The first of Yuval Noah Harari’s trilogy-of-sorts is a wondrously accessible yet thoroughly analytical exploration of how Homo Sapiens got to the 21st Century, identifying the key ingredient for success: our ability to tell stories. For Harari, human stories come in many forms; a multinational corporation is just…

Feel THE POWER of Naomi Alderman’s Writing

I don’t normally read fiction. For some reason, I’ve mentally associated films with fiction and books with non-fiction. Books are for facts. Analysis, typically political. Or, if they must tell a story, it must be a story well-known and well-told – a classic, like Lord of the Rings, or Fifty Shades of Grey. Nonetheless, I…

WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER

The word I associate Ta Nehisi-Coates’s writing with is ‘ethereal.’ Throughout his work, Nehisi-Coates conjures up myth and mysticism within his subject matter, be it casting Michael Jackson and Kanye West with divine providence or evoking the pride and power which he feels in being “the progeny of slaves.” Myth is infantilised: “I know now…

FALL OUT: The Tory Civil War Begins

I published my review of Tim Shipman’s All Out War back in November, as the British state grew incomprehensibly gridlocked and the spectre of a no-deal Brexit began to loom larger. Over two months on, we’ve hit January 2019 – the effective shutdown of governance continues, and a no-deal Brexit seems all but inevitable. These…

How to THINK LIKE AN ANTHROPOLOGIST

Back in secondary school, I had a teacher who was fond of saying “Geography is everything” (three guesses as to what she taught). I was always slightly dubious that one discipline could encompass everything, least of all one which, at that point, was still just studying mountains and the weather. Cut to today and I’ve…

Looking at the FOUR FUTURES of Earth

Have you ever read a fan theory? I’ve had the misfortune of reading (and having written) plenty. With geek franchises dominating the global cinema scene, fansites regularly run stories about the latest theories to get more than three upvotes on Reddit, banking on humanity’s seemingly endless yearning for understanding the future of what they care…

It’s NARRATIVE POLITICS, Stupid

Back in 2016, as Trump and Brexit tore across the western world, I was struggling to understand. Why had these forces become so powerful now? What were the campaigns doing which were proving so effective? Specifically, what were the losing campaigns – Remain and Hillary Clinton – not doing? Around the same time, I was…

Let Me NUDGE You to Read This Book

For someone who reads a lot, I’ll be the first to admit that it takes me a hell of a long time to read some of my books. I bought Nudge in October 2017, alongside five other books (two of which remain unread) and only finished it relatively recently, despite its easy page count of…

Journey to the UTOPIA FOR REALISTS

As I recently wrote in my review of Doughnut Economics, an entire literary market – largely of the left-wing variety – has sprung up to capitalise on the post-economic crash confusion left in the wake of 2008. Academics, journalists and politicians are all racking their brains for big answers to even-bigger questions, praying that confounded…