Author Archive

Eyeless in Gaza

The last of the books gifted to me last December, Eyeless in Gaza was my latest exposure to the works of a writer who has never failed to inspire me. Indeed, Island, Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell were among the books that most shaped my perception of life during my undergraduate degree over 15 years ago. I’d always intended to read…

The Newtonian Casino

With the almighty power of hindsight, I realise this book is more about slow progress and steady determination over an extended period of time, polar to the world of flashing lights and speed into which it first plunged me. Perhaps the juxtaposition of styles between the first two chapters was intended to highlight this difference between the Las Vegas lifestyle and that of the scientists attempting…

The Glass Bead Game

This is a book in which you have to immerse yourself. You can tell that Hesse was a devotee of meditation, as that is exactly what this whole story appears to be: a measured, thorough yet contemplative epic, not rigorous or over-dramatised. It is as if the reader eventually has to submit and merge into the author’s own trance, in which he is considering the substance of academia through a projected…

The Carbon Fields

What immediately grabbed me about this book was that, from the outset, it courageously extended a single, elegant solution to all the problems faced, or caused, by the meat and dairy industries: a return to the use of grassland. For such an accessible resource to represent a cure-all for so many issues in our over-complicated industrial world seems akin to someone finally inventing the perpetual…

The Hobbit

I’m amazed that many of the events in this book slipped so easily from my memory, as this read-through has scored them there indelibly. The forest, the mountains, the lake – it is the first book I have read for some time that captures such a sense of location, as if I’d been walked through the land by a professional cinematographer. That it achieves this using such uncomplicated, plain words is a…

Babbitt

A writer with enough skill and acute observation can write about absolutely nothing and make it interesting, but our modern culture batters us with a deluge of drama.  When nothing happens for long periods of time, even a superbly written nothing, our attention can easily drift.