700 year old emoji

I'm reading Purgatory by Dante, and came across this passage: The sockets of their eyes were gemless rings; one who reads omo in the face of men, could easily have recognized the m. My eyes widened a bit and I thought, that can't possibly mean what I think it means. But I checked the historical …

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Inferno, by Dante Alighieri

Possibly due to my lack of college education, I've for some time been under the impression that many of these very old texts are read only for education purposes, and not for enjoyment. So when I came across a copy of Inferno in a Goodwill, and looked at the first couple pages out of curiosity, …

After Nature, by W.G. Sebald

I've never been able to 'get into' poetry before. Now I'm thinking I've just never been introduced to the good stuff, because this book has really grabbed me and made me want to seek out more like it. The book contains three prose poems, or rather, three parts. Part one is about the 16th century …

Austerlitz, by W.G. Sebald

Another stunning novel by Sebald, and this is the first of his to approach anything like a plot. As with all of Sebald's books, the themes are on memory, and the Holocaust. Of all his books I've read so far, this one most directly addresses the two. The narrator, who as usual is a maybe/maybe …

The Emigrants, W.G. Sebald

Much like the others I've read by this author, this book deals heavily with memory, loss, and--more directly than the others--the holocaust.¬† The narrator recounts his experiences with four characters, in four sections of the book. Each character is an emigrant from Germany, and each, in some way, seems to want to forget some aspect …

The Handmaid’s Tale: a negative side of human adaptability

I finished this dystopian classic by Margaret Atwood and was both impressed and frustrated. I was impressed by how believable the story was. In the afterward the author talks about how she took great care to put nothing in the book that hadn't already happened somewhere in history, and no technology that didn't exist. She …

How to recover confidence…

Have you ever read something so good, so skillfully subtle and thoughtful and emotional and striking and shocking and beautiful, something that pulled at your mind and heart so softly and strongly that you wonder how it can possibly exist? That makes you wonder if it even does exist in this same, perfect way for …