Narrative arcs: a funny and simple explanation by Kurt Vonnegut

Narrative arcs: a funny and simple explanation by Kurt Vonnegut

This amazing explanation of narrative arcs by Kurt Vonnegut had me laughing out loud. To actually be present at this lecture would have been totally awesome. This video is great starting point for narrative structures and point of view, although really only the tip of the iceberg of a very gigantic topic. I hope other…

Book Review: The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Book Review: The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore

"It was hard to be a tsar. Russia is not an easy country to rule. Twenty sovereigns of the Romanov dynasty reigned for 304 years, from 1613 until tsardom's destruction. by the revolution in 1917" The Romanovs were actually the most spectacularly successful empire builders since the Mongols" , So begins an epic 300 year…

Book Review: The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Book Review: The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

^ Contains no spoilers  Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez is more known for his stunning works for fiction. However this short novella his first published peice of work is non-fiction. Garcia wrote this essay in a series of newspaper articles in Bogota over 30 years ago. He tells the dramatised story of a sailor Luis…

Book Review: The Tender Bar by JR Moeringer

Book Review: The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer

Full disclosure, I find all of my books second hand in a charity shop which is particularly full of a lot of good quality books that are at least decade old. Thus I came upon this little gem which was published in 2005. A NYT bestseller (a stamp of approval I think actually bears to…

Book Review: How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger MD

Book Review: How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger MD

With its rather dramatic title 'How Not To Die' is a timeless guide to a lifetime of good health. Although there's a lot of these dietary and nutrition books around, none are as stuffed full of scientific references and scientific evidence as this one. In fact a whole third of the book is dedicated to…

Book Review: Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

Book Review: Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

The narrator of this novel is an elderly Eileen who looks back on her mis-spent youth in 1964. This book is the blackest kind of noir, but does away with the usual noir narrative tropes. It tells the story of Eileen's entanglement with the enigmatic and beautiful Rebecca who is more a mythological figure than…

The Sensual World of Polish Poet Anna Świrszczyńska

The Sensual World of Polish Poet Anna Świrszczyńska

Anna Świrszczyńska, also known as Anna Swir wrote poems in direct, evocative language that spoke passionately and directly to the heart. She wrote affectionately about the female body, love, pain, loneliness, terror, war, childbirth, child-rearing and the passing of time. She focused a lot on the flesh - its elasticity and potential while young, along…

Book Review: Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini https://wp.me/p41CQf-HI

Book Review: Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini

A surreal art book that redefines the meaning of imagination. Codex Seraphinianus has a lot in common with other bizarre books like the Voynich manuscript. This new edition by Italian publisher Rizzoli was republished in 2013. It has been redesigned by the author Luigi Serafini with includes new illustrations. The fascination and curiosity for Codex…

Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Ancient Word of the Day: Chrysalism

Chrysalism The strange and cosy combination of tranquillity and protectedness experienced when safely indoors as a thunderstorm breaks overhead. The sensation of warmth and well-being induced by listening to waves of rain pattering onto the roof. Originally coined by the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.   

Travel: Eileann Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Ancient Word of the Day: Kawaakari

Kawaakari (Japanese) The glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk, the gleaming surface of a shadowed river (Japanese 川明かり). Kawaakari can refer to the reflection of the moonlight off flowing water, or the gleam of late sun at dusk. Obumbro (Latin) To shadow over and over: to make dark with shadow; to…

What do the longest living people in the world have in common?

Ancient Word of the Day: Rema

Rema (Shetland Scots) The mirror-calm surface of the sea on a calm day. A body of water with a surface as smooth as cream. Comes from the Scots word "reyme", meaning "cream"). Rjómalogn (Icelandic) Cream-calm, used to denote  profoundly tranquil weather or sea. Arafin (Welsh) Calm or slow weather in Welsh. blikkstille./ blekkstille (Norwegian) A…

11 Archaic Words That Deserve Full Revival

Here are eleven words that I have collected in much the same way as other people collect smooth stones from a riverbed or iridescent shells from a beach. With so many words and shells floating around, how can you be sure that you have the prettiest ones? Here are eleven of my favourite ancient words,…

Book Review: Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It by Geoff Dyer

Book Review: Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It by Geoff Dyer

In this travel memoir by novelist Geoff Dyer  I read this book waiting to be immersed into the world of the travel. Although sadly I found the result rather disappointing to be honest. He is a great writer don’t get me wrong - I loved his novel Paris, Trance in the past. This was a…

Ancient Word of the Day: Hibernal

Ancient word of the day: Flukra

As the southern hemisphere turns now towards the colder months we are all finding comfort into our nests and getting cosy for the winter. In New Zealand and the southern parts of Australia we are experiencing snow in the alpine regions. So it seems appropriate now to talk about the many ancient words for snow.…

he Act of Love by Howard Jacobson

Book Review: The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson

Written in a highly addictive confessional style, The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson traces the inner life of London antiquarian bookseller and closet sexual pervert Felix Quinn. In this intense novel, Felix takes the reader to the edge of sexual adventure. This is a strange romp in the mind of a guy who cannot…

Book Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Mathew Thomas

Book Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Mathew Thomas

We Are Not Ourselves is the story of an Irish-American family, and the life of the protagonist Eileen Tumulty, which is shaped largely by her marriage to academic Edmund Leary and son Connell. Eileen comes from a hard-drinking, hard-living Irish working-class background. As a child she’s scarred by alcoholism and attempts throughout the book to…

Book Review: The Book That Takes Its Time, An Unhurried Adventure in Mindfulness

Book Review: The Book That Takes Its Time, An Unhurried Adventure in Mindfulness

Part workbook, part guide and part creative journal, The Book That Takes Its Time, An Unhurried Adventure in Mindfulness is a hardcover containing paper-based goodies, such as booklets, postcards and whimsical little notes you can write to yourself.  https://vimeo.com/240654543 Written by Irene Smit and Astrid Van Der Hulst, the creative directors of cult creative magazine…

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

This is a riveting read from one of the leading lights of modern psychology, Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol. The book’s main premise is that 20,000 years ago our brains were 10% larger than what they are today. And that the reason for this is primarily the influence of social practices, culture and…

Book Review: A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Review: A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

* No plot spoilers in this review  A Death in the Family is Book 1 of the My Struggle six part autobiography of Karl Ove Knausgaard. This mammoth six part memoir really grabs a hold to the marrow of his family, friends and sexual relationships - the blood and bone. A Death in the Family…

Book Review: Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg https://wp.me/p41CQf-KRb

Book Review: Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg

*Contains no spoilers Born and brought up in Sweden, Karin Altenberg moved to Britain to study in 1996. She holds a PhD in Archaeology and is currently senior advisor to the Swedish National Heritage Board and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. Island of Wings is her first novel. It's the dazzling and…