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Ideological silos, blocking people on Twitter, and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South

Ideological silos, blocking people on Twitter, and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South

If you're new here, why not subscribe to our email updates or follow us on Facebook? You can also add us to your Google Reader. Thanks for visiting! A week or so ago, I read with distinct amusement the commentary of two Twitter friends who were attending the Malcolm Gladwell lecture at Book Expo America. Each was live tweeting the event, and in verbose, manic...

Hipsters, irony and The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

Hipsters, irony and The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

“If [the myth of Sisyphus] is tragic, that is because its hero is conscious. Where would his torture be, indeed, if at every step the hope of succeeding upheld him?” writes Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus, in which he grapples with whether–and if so, how–it’s possible to exist in a life that is without meaning. However, it’s in...

Separating the author and the work: on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita

Separating the author and the work: on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita

Over the course of my last few reviews I’ve been considering the role of the author as narrator and as character, and the degree to which authorial insertion is, to the mind of the reader, assumed to be inalienable. In large part this has been inspired by the narrator character–who is, perhaps, the author himself–in Milan Kundera’s The...

Writers, writing and Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle

Writers, writing and Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle

  When reading PG Wodehouse’s Love Among the Chickens recently I was struck by the narrator’s curiosity regarding “to what extent the work of authors is influenced by their private affairs.” These words resonated with me as they were the third time in as many books that I’d come across a similar sentiment; the other books...

Thoughts on Love Among the Chickens by PG Wodehouse

Thoughts on Love Among the Chickens by PG Wodehouse

Love Among the Chickens is my first foray into the work of Wodehouse; and as a fairly early work, it’s one of Wodehouse’s first forays into Wodehouse as well. A deliciously written farcical novel, it brings together the seemingly dissimilar worlds of writing and chicken farming—which prove to have a lot more in common than one might first imagine,...

Friend-zoning and Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons

Friend-zoning and Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons

  Earlier this morning I read that the term “friend zone” is set to enter the OED. It’s a term that I stumbled over only relatively recently, probably within the last few months or so, and it’s only after spending some time thinking about and reading up on it this morning that I managed to pinpoint exactly what about it bothered...

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