Oops, it’s already mid-year and I realised I never posted the following up. I actually read the following books late last year but never got around to finishing up typing out my reviews until…well, a few weeks ago :3 Luckily I did keep notes around the time that I read the following books so I have some recollection of my thoughts and reactions to reading them 😛 But as you may notice, this is a non-fiction edition of a mini reviews post. Included in this batch are:
The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics
By: John B. Judis
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
What’s happening in global politics? As if overnight, many Democrats revolted and passionately backed a socialist named Bernie Sanders; the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union; the vituperative billionaire Donald Trump became the presidential nominee of the Republican party; and a slew of rebellious parties continued to win elections in Switzerland, Norway, Italy, Austria, and Greece.
John B. Judis, one of America’s most respected political analysts, tells us why we need to learn about the populist movement that began in the United States in the 1890s, the politics of which have recurred on both sides of the Atlantic ever since. Populism, on both the right and the left, champions the people against an establishment, based on issues–globalization, free trade, immigration–on which there has been a strong elite consensus, but also a strong mass discontent that is now breaking out into the open.
The Populist Explosion is essential reading for our times as we grapple to understand the political forces at work here and in Europe.
I picked up this book exactly because of what was going on late last year and how the word “populism” was being thrown around, both in Europe and North America. It’s pretty informative if you’ve never heard of the term and the history behind the political concept and how it’s evolved over time. It was also informative from an economical-political viewpoint in understanding what’s going on with the rise of these nationalist groups. It was a good refresher, but I was expecting more in-depth analysis on the subject and its ramnifications. Despite the blurb mentioning the European Union, I thought it could’ve been more comprehensive with the European side as the book was discussing the United States more. It also doesn’t touch too much on these groups’ social context and their impact post-elections especially in the case of Trump (though it does touch on immigration in relation to jobs/the economy) but I suppose you’d need to loo elsewhere for a more detailed discussion. Nonetheless the book was a good starting point on the subject matter.
Strange Shores (Inspector Erlendur #11)
By: Arnaldur Indriðason, Victoria Cribb (Translator)
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
A young woman walks into the frozen fjords of Iceland, never to be seen again. But Matthildur leaves in her wake rumours of lies, betrayal and revenge. Decades later, somewhere in the same wilderness, Detective Erlendur is on the hunt. He is looking for Matthildur but also for a long-lost brother, whose disappearance in a snow-storm when they were children has coloured his entire life. He is looking for answers. Slowly, the past begins to surrender its secrets. But as Erlendur uncovers a story about the limits of human endurance, he realises that many people would prefer their crimes to stay buried.
I posted about this book on Instagram but I bought this book whilst I was waiting at Keflavik Airport in Iceland for my connecting flight. I think I’ve seen his books in passing before but I never read them so I decided to pick one up. Of course, doing things backwards as I do, I started with the last book in the series, lmao. But the premise of this book interested me the most from the others available so there you have it 😛
The Illusion of Separateness
By: Simon van Booy
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
In The Illusion of Separateness, award-winning author Simon Van Booy tells the haunting and luminous story of how one man’s act of mercy on a World War II battlefield changes the lives of six strangers across time and place. From wartime Britain and Nazi-occupied France, to modern-day Los Angeles, the characters of this gripping novel – inspired by true events – include a child on the brink of starvation, a blind museum curator looking for love, a German infantryman, and a humble caretaker at a retirement home in Santa Monica. Whether they are pursued by old age, shame, disease, or regret, these incandescent characters remain unaware of their connection until seemingly random acts of selflessness lift a veil to reveal the vital parts they play in each other’s lives.
At long last I read Everything Beautiful Began After (review) earlier this year and absolutely adored it and didn’t want to wait long to read another book by him. I heard great things about this book from other readers about this book so after a brief deliberation I decided to pick this book up next.
Time for another round of mini book reviews (the first of two this week, actually). Included in this batch are:
By: W.B. Yeats
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
W. B. Yeats was Romantic and Modernist, mystical dreamer and leader of the Irish Literary Revival, Nobel prizewinner, dramatist and, above all, poet. He began writing with the intention of putting his ‘very self’ into his poems. T. S. Eliot, one of many who proclaimed the Irishman’s greatness, described him as ‘one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them’. For anyone interested in the literature of the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, Yeats’s work is essential. This volume gathers the full range of his published poetry, from the hauntingly beautiful early lyrics (by which he is still fondly remembered) to the magnificent later poems which put beyond question his status as major poet of modern times. Paradoxical, proud and passionate, Yeats speaks today as eloquently as ever.
I’ve come across W.B. Yeats every now and then but never actually picked up a collection of his poetry to read. It was interesting to read this collection because you could trace out his progression as a poet over time, the different formats that he used. I have to say though I very much prefer his earlier works to his later works; I feel with the later works I need to be in a better mood to really sink into them.
Doctor Strange: The Way of the Weird (Vol. 1)
By: Jason Aaron, Chris Bachalo (Penciler and Colorist)
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
Only Doctor Strange can protect our world from the darkness beyond — now, witness the full toll that constant struggle takes on Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme! Every spell cast comes at a cost, but what happens when Strange falls behind on his tab? Find out as the good doctor wakes up somewhere very odd, nearly naked — with no spell books, no weapons and no memory of how he got there…or why all the monsters are chasing him! And as a new visitor to Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum learns one wrong door can lead to oblivion, a magic circle of Strange’s friends and allies are about to face their greatest threat. Dark forces are destroying everything mystical in the multiverse, and their sights are set on this dimension. Magic’s days are numbered, and Doctor Strange is not ready!
Collecting DOCTOR STRANGE (2015) #1-5.
I had been eyeing this collected book since 2015 but it took me forever to get around to it…Actually it took watching the 2016 movie (review) to prompt me to pick it up at long last! Not knowing too much about this Marvel superhero coming into the movie, I figured starting with the New 52 story was a good entry into the character’s story.