Novel coronavirus novels that have remained unwritten
But what if writers of earlier generations had written their works during the spread of COVID-19? How would it have affected their novels? Here, in no particular order, are some ruminations.
The very large pleasures of very short works
While a majority yearns for the immersion that a full-length novel can deliver, such immersion can also be provided by stories that are shorter than usual.
Stoicism and its Contents: Why this philosophical discipline still matters
Over the years, especially in times of turmoil, countless people have found comfort in the lessons and lives of the Stoics. But, as Sellars emphasises, the real benefit arises only if we incorporate these ideas into our daily lives.
Ten words to understand China
Many contemporary Chinese writers have offered us a window into the country’s lived reality. Among them is novelist Yu Hua whose work, from early avantgarde to grotesque realism, critiques China’s development from the Cultural Revolution to its modern-day variety of hyper-capitalism.
When words wear masks: A new lexicon for a new normal
It can take some skill to understand what individuals say and what they mean.
Book review: A French novel of bleak interior and exterior landscapes
'Winter in Sokcho' is yet another reminder that when it comes to fiction, short narratives can penetrate states of mind more deeply than longer ones.
How re-reading reveals more about the reader than the book
Re-reading can tell us more about ourselves than about the book in question. In a larger sense, it can also reflect how times have changed.
Books not to read before you die
Reading at whim will make you stumble across books you really like, which will lead you to more books, which will lead to yet more.
Book Review: Jerzy Kosinski’s 'Being There', and how we interpret the way leaders speak
The glee with which Kosinski skewers the pretensions of movers and shakers is infectious, and it is evident on almost every page of the book.
We’re all living in the world of Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’
It’s the victimisation at the heart of an utterly ordinary situation which makes ‘The Lottery’ so unnerving, and which caused its first readers to react the way they did.
Writers on the state of being in limbo
The current lockdown limbo brings to mind a sentence from Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum, a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”
Meaningful engagement: Listening to audiobooks during a lockdown
Narrators, clearly, have an outsized role to play in one’s enjoyment of an audiobook.
Book review: A Spanish novel of uncanny events that resonates with our time
The Pied Piper’s tale is among those that come to mind when reading acclaimed Spanish author Andrés Barba’s new novel, A Luminous Republic, in an English translation by Lisa Dillman.
Fight against coronavirus: On heroes, and whether we need them or not
Heroes allow the rest of us to avoid responsibility. It’s easier to sit back and watch others do what needs to be done. In a deeper sense, when rugged individualism is cheered, structures that promote privilege remain ignored.
What to read during a pandemic, including books not about pandemics
Here are some suggestions that span different subjects and states of mind, for those who want to spend some time away from the current scenario or simply put it in context.
Coronavirus pandemic: Dealing with an infection of conspiracy theories
All of us, to varying degrees, interpret ambiguous events in the light of what we already believe. It’s useful to scrutinise our assumptions and check if we’re being prudently paranoid, or letting our predispositions get the better of us.
Travelling vicariously during a period of self-isolation
These books, in various ways, bring out what Thomas Swick once identified as the seven joys of travel - Anticipation, movement, break from routine, novelty, discovery, emotional connection, and heightened appreciation of home.
Reading Don Delillo’s 'Cosmopolis' during social and financial uncertainty
The novel met with decidedly mixed reviews when it was published in 2003, but it can be rewarding to re-read it now in the context of all that has happened since.