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Posts about reading (old posts, page 4)

We Need To Talk About the British Empire


It’s an Audible Original.
And it’s “free”, if you are an Audible member.

A look into what Empire means today.
It’s a series of engaging podcast episodes on what being a part of the British Empire meant/means for its subjects and its descendants, with stories from across the globe.

My only quibble being they did not go deep enough.
The people being interviewed are mostly, subject descendants of British origin (and not as I would expect, an actual survivor from the partition or someone here in India, or Somali coast or Sierra Leone.)

No one knows much of the aftermath of Partion and there’s a lovely little story, tightly told that illustrates the horrors of the period.
Somalia was used, abused, robbed of all they had and then left to find for itself.
Bunce Island, in Sierra Leone was home to a slaver’s bay, where the island hosted a prison for the captured natives who were branded and sold as slaves and a golf course for the gora sahibs.

What struck me (from the interviews and some of the reviews) is that the British have no clue of the generational ramifications of their actions.
They think that enough time has passed by, it’s all water under the bridge and we ought to have picked ourselves by our bootstraps by now.
I realise why Tharoor demanded reparations.

At about three hours, it’s well worth a listen.


A Tale of Two Cities

Just the two popular ones here …
Dickens writes such fluid prose here, I would quote the whole book.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.


It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.


Orwell’s 1984

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face … forever.

That, probably is the quotable line, I found.

The book’s terrible, and I hated the story (too bleak, too dystopian).
The only reason for its popularity is that events in real life, are proving Orwell right.

Butterick’s Practical Typography

In my youth, I came across the work of Robin Williams.
No, not that one.

She introduced me to the beauty of CRAP.
And the fact that the PC is not a typewriter.
But most of all, she introducted me to the beauty of type and design

Fonts, and line spacing and kerning and everything else lovely, about the written word.

And now if you want all that wisdom distilled, into a short, opinionated, beautiful web series, look no further than Matthew Butterick’s, Practical Typography.

The content is freely given, and the book is reader supported

What is typography?
What is type composition?
How do you format text?
Are there two spaces after a line? Or one?
What are the best fonts to use, instead of tired old Times New Roman?
How do you layout your page for a letterhead? a research document? a presentation? a résumé?
And why in God’s name, does typography even matter? Isn’t print dead?

Answers to these, and many more questions in the book.
If you want your prose to look polished, you owe it to yourself to read it.


The Picture of Dorian Gray

Word for word, the most epigramatic book I have read.
Short, sweet and beautiful words and lines and dialogue.

Here’s a few.

The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.


Experience is merely the name men gave to their mistakes.


Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.


Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.


Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.


There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.


Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.


Man is many things, but he is not rational.


People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity.


We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.


We live in an age that reads too much to be wise, and that thinks too much to be beautiful.