An exploration of the aesthetics of cuteness

The answer to why dogs and tiny horses can be used in therapy for PTSD and why cats rule the internet lays squarely in the pulling power of cuteness. But why do we find things cute and what are the commonly shared criteria for cuteness all over the world? According to psychologist Dr. Sandra Pimentel,…

Te Ao Maori and the aesthetics of cosiness

An indepth exploration of the aesthetics of cosiness

There’s a lovely subreddit I recently found called Cosy Places, which calls for people to submit their log cabins, hideaways and cosy loungerooms. This is a veritable treasure trove of different ideas for cosiness. Someone even parsed the photo content in the subreddit and came up with the recipe and criteria that make up a…

Experience the Perfect Soothing Tokyo Lullaby: Book and Bed

<3 The Internet: Recommend me a book

Stuck on what to read next? Hate judging books by their covers? Then the Recommend me a book app will delight you. The app takes you headlong into reading the first few pages of a book without knowing anything about the author, title or context of the book itself. This allows you to gain some traction and…

Book reviews

Book Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Hi, my name is Nao. I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is? Well if you give me a moment, I will tell you. A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me and every one of us who is, or ever was, or…

Book Review: His Bloody Project by Graeme MacRae Burnet

His Bloody Project by author Graeme Macrae Burnet recounts the story of the triple murder and subsequent trial of accused 17 year old crofter Roderick McRae, who brutally slays three people in his remote village in 1896. Roderick lives with his family in a tiny croft on a property and land owned by the laird. His…

One Year Wiser by Mike Medaglia http://mikemedaglia.com/

Book Review: One Year Wiser by Mike Medaglia

Imagine if you will, a delightful and timeless book of wisdom that fits into the palm of the hand or your handbag. A hardback that looks at first inconspicuous and unimportant. And yet on opening this book you will unlock a treasury of wisdom that's beautifully illustrated on high quality paper. One Year Wiser by…

Book Review: 'Industrial Scars' The Beautiful Toxic Scars of the Earth

Book Review: ‘Industrial Scars’ The Beautiful Toxic Scars of the Earth

What happens when humans burn too much waste and destroy the planet? Modern Art. Photographs of the aftermath of environmental devastation aren't normally considered art. However photographer J Henry Fair has reimagined the decaying and suffering environmental landscape in the aftermath of human abuse in his mesmerising book entitled Industrial Scars. Fair wanted to poignantly…

Book Review: The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

Book Review: The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing is a mixture of reportage, biography and creative non-fiction. Weaving together strands of history, philosophy and art, Laing explores one of the last taboos of humanity which is loneliness. This is an alarming and at times uncomfortable book to read if you have been or are now lonely. Yet…

Book Review: 'Les Diners de Gala' Salvadore Dali's delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Book Review: ‘Les Diners de Gala’ Salvadore Dali’s delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Salvador Dalí isn't generally remembered for his culinary prowess. Although he was a secret admirer of gastronomy for all of its transformative and monstrous properties. In his rare and 1973 cookbook Les Diners de Gala, just reissued by Taschen. the late iconic artist celebrates dream-like and surreal flavour combinations. Chapter titles include Prime Lilliputian malaises’ (meat)…

Famous fairytales reimagined as buildings

Federico Babina: Famous fairytales reimagined as buildings

Insanely creative Italian architect and illustrator Federico Babina has immortalised artists, musicians, films and even countries as mid-century buildings, but he has turned his hand towards fairytales in this collection. The fairytale universe is reinvented to incorporate elements of timeless 50's and 60's building design so that it imparts personality and new dimension to the…

Book Review: To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Book Review: To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Eowyn Ivey is a master craftswoman and her sentences are smooth and flowing like treacle. Her debut the Snow Child was one of my favourite novels. It told the magical tale of a child that emerges out of the icy Alaskan tundra and provides an ageing couple yearning for a baby, with the promise of…

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Scottish writer Alan Warner's novel Their Lips Talk of Mischief is a boisterous, vigorous and energetic novel about two literary wannabes (Lou and Douglas) living in a glum 80's Thatcherite slumland in Britain. The pair share an interest in Lou's enigmatic and sexy girlfriend Aoife. Thus develops a complex menage a trois that follows. The year…

Book Review: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Book Review: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Peter and Beatrice Leigh are a childless 30-something British couple who are devoutly evangelical Christians and are living in a Britain of an imagined near future. In this imaginary Britain things look largely similar to how they are right now, except that there's a colony of humans living on a faraway planet called Oasis. These…

Book Review: Winterwood by Patrick McCabe

Book Review: Winterwood by Patrick McCabe

This was an unusual little book. I think many people will be familiar with McCabe from his other incredibly popular and critically acclaimed work of literally fiction, the Butcher Boy which was published back in 1992 and subsequently turned into a film. This was the story of a confused and wayward young boy who unwittingly…

Book Review: The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber

Book Review: The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber

I had the pleasure of meeting Michel Faber at the Auckland Writers Festival this autumn. He's a reserved, humble and softly-spoken fellow who was gobbled up by the overly bold interviewer, someone far less important, whose name escapes me. Faber brought with him onto the stage a pair of dainty red women's shoes and only…

Book Quotes that will give you an insatiable desire to read the whole thing

If you're not already a complete recluse and homebody like I am, you will be after reading these book quotes, which are succinct, powerful, compelling and just amazing. There is no need for literary context here, each quote possesses a standalone brilliance that makes it irresistible. Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it…

Back in the 'noughties' there was a landmark book (Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander) which lampooned all of the pop culture stuff that white people like. Of course, six years on some of these things have changed. Yet a lot still remains the same and speaks volumes about how race, nationality and class all inter-relate.…

The Soul of the World: David Foster Wallace http://wp.me/p41CQf-Ikf

The Soul of the World: David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace combined his phenomenal intelligence and gift for writing with a high level of self-awareness, and a deep awareness of the brutality and enormity of the world. He had an almost omnipotent ability to understand and communicate about what it means to be human in his iconic books. Like most highly sensitive people…

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

William McIlvanney or Willie to his nearest and dearest was single-handedly responsible for the genre of Tartan Noir, the bleak and rainy Glaswegian streets, grisly crime screnes steeped in whisky and venomous characters that were the stomping ground of characters like Inspector Laidlaw (changed to Taggart for the famous TV show). All other Scottish crime…

Book Review: Fools Assassin (Part 1 of the Fitz & the Fool Trilogy) by Robin Hobb

Book Review: Fools Assassin (Part 1 of the Fitz & the Fool Trilogy) by Robin Hobb

A bit of background: I came very late to the party when it comes to fantasy fiction. A devoted fan of Game of Thrones on TV, I nonetheless found this far too violent, ruthless and bloody to become fully enveloped into the fandom and to read George R.R Martin. So it was a massive surprise…