Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation

A book that should be a mandatory read for grammar police, not because it will serve as a bible for their war on error, but because it will be so frustrating for them to agree with. Take for example the word “decimate”. This is used improperly to refer to “destroying something or a large portion… Read More »

Books That Changed History

Books like this, including the books highlighted in this book, are one of the reasons why it still makes sense to read a printed publication. Yes, you can probably get all the same information online (or even in PDF), but you will not have the same experience of viewing the scrolls and fragments in full… Read More »

The New York Times Book of the Dead

The biggest book I’ve ever read (quite literally) except for encyclopedias. It is massive tome – 600+ pages in fine print on a foot-long page. But do not be daunted by the scale of things. If you set aside 15 minutes or so during your break to read the obituaries in random order (obviously you… Read More »

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

The author laments that there are too many “how-to” books in the marketplace, so instead he exalts us to think of this book as a new genre altogether – a “when-to” book: when to change careers, deliver bad news, schedule a class, end a marriage, go for a run, or get serious about a project… Read More »

Understanding Imperial China

I listened to the audio version of this course and it was a bit hard to follow at times because the narrator’s pronunciation of certain Chinese names is way off (I don’t blame him) and I had to guess who he is referring to, based on my prior understanding of Chinese history. Every subsequent occurrence… Read More »

The Conspiracy Against the Human Race

I have not read Thomas Ligotti’s horror stories. Maybe I should. While I cannot determine if his flair for horror writing translates well to his philosophical musings, the dark pessimism that permeates this book is so strong that it will leave casual readers feeling depressed long after they have finished reading it.

Autopilot: The Art & Science of Doing Nothing

A lot of scientific and historical facts are explained in this book, which makes it a bit boring to read, a fact not helped by the extremely dry writing style. My brain went autopilot and skipped many paragraphs. There’s nothing smart about how the author tries to stitch together too many concepts and topics in… Read More »

Milk the Pigeon

The writing style and chapter format are typical of books in this genre, like the liberal use of crude language in a vain attempt to sound “brutally honest” instead of relying on genuine insights to do so. Assumptions, generalisations, stereotyping, and sweeping statements are also liberally sprinkled throughout the book. The tone is presumptuous and… Read More »