The Pink Jumpsuit – Emma Neale

This is a collection of evocative, affecting, poetic, imaginative short stories. (Extremely short: microfiction, I think it’s called.) Some are slices of life, some are magical, some are funny, but they are all beautiful and satisfying to read.

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Reservoir 13 — Jon McGregor

This wonderful novel opens on New Year’s Day, and a girl has gone missing: the whole village has turned out to search for her. It seems that we are in for a missing person mystery, or possibly a whodunit. As … Continue reading

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The Imaginary Museum — Ben Eastham

This is an essential essay on contemporary art. The author takes us on a tour through a fictional contemporary art museum containing real artworks. He talks a bit about the works, offering insights that allow us to appreciate them more. … Continue reading

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300 Arguments – Sarah Manguso

Think of this as a short book composed entirely of what I hoped would be a long book’s quotable passages That’s one of the “arguments”, which neatly describes the book. It’s easy to review a book like this: all I … Continue reading

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The Stanley Parable

This is the best computer game ever. And it’s much more than just a game. The Stanley Parable is a unique and brilliant game which is not a game. No guns, fast cars or abstract puzzles: the entire game is … Continue reading

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Mystery & Manners – Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Conner was a 20th-century American writer who* I discovered through a cryptic reference in the computer game The Trolley Problem. This book is a posthumous compilation of her non-fiction writing, including some lectures she gave about writing (one of … Continue reading

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A Children’s Bible – Lydia Millet

One of the blurbs describe this as a “funny dystopia” and I can see why, though I feel that would be a misleading way to describe the book. The setup is not dystopian – it seems to be the present … Continue reading

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The Trolley Problem

The Trolley Problem is a famous ethical dilemma asking whether we should cause something bad to happen in order to prevent something worse. If a runaway trolley is about to run over 5 people, is it morally right to divert … Continue reading

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The Gift of the Gab – David Crystal

This is a pretty good guide to effective public speaking – its centrepiece is a very detailed analysis of Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” speech from 2008. Actually I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would – … Continue reading

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War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy

The War is Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812, which disrupts the Peace of Russian high society in Moscow, Petersburg and various country estates. We follow several aristocratic families as the war begins, gets worse, turns around and finally ends. … Continue reading

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