Britannia S1E1

britannia_1

CAIT: How many are there?

DIVIS: Around twenty thousand, with more on the way.

CAIT: How do you know?

DIVIS: Because I went to the underworld and I spoke to some people I know there, people who can see everything, and they told me.

CAIT: You went to the underworld.

DIVIS. Yesterday. It’s a long story. One I am forbidden to tell you.

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The shape of power is always the same: it is infinite, it is complex, it is forever branching. […] The closer you look, the more various it becomes. However complex you think it is, it is more complex than that. Like the rivers to the ocean, like the lightning strike, it is obscene and uncontained.

– Naomi Alderman, The Power (2016)

Books Read in 2017

My Favourites 

Austerity Britain: 1945-51 by David Kynaston

Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar by Tom Holland

Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves by Sarah B. Pomeroy

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

 

Everything Else

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart

Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD by Martin A. Lee

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood*

Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett*

A Brief History of Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice by Jack Holland

Call for the Dead by John le Carré

Churchill and America by Martin Gilbert

Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky*

The Darkening Web: The War for Cyberspace by Alexander Klimburg

DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You by Misha Glenny

The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters by Tom Nichols

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers by Frank Trentmann

The Establishment And How They Get Away With It by Owen Jones

The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us by Richard O. Prum

Experiments in Ethics by Kwame Anthony Appiah

The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease and the End of an Empire by Kyle Harper

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel Dennett

The Gathering by Anne Enright

Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman

The Happy Atheist by P Z Myers

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky

The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers by Thomas Fleming

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë*

The Liar by Stephen Fry

The Meaning of Human Existence by Edmund O. Wilson

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill

No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

The Nuremberg Trial by Ann Tusa and John Tusa

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Dave Grossman

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

Otherness by David Brin

The Periodic Table by Primo Levi

Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West by Tom Holland

Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope

Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It by Evan Davis

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis*

The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

Smut by Alan Bennett

Solar by Ian McEwan*

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society by Cordelia Fine

Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977–2002) by David Sedaris

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives by Sarah Williams Goldhagen

What Algorithms Want by Ed Finn

What If? The World’s Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been by David McCullough et al.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Words on the Move: Why English Won’t – and Can’t – Sit Still (Like, Literally) by John McWhorter

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë*

 

*Reread

New Year’s Resolutions

I, too, dislike them: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.
Reading them, however, with perfect contempt for them, one
discovers that there is in
them after all, a place for the genuine.

– from “Poetry” by Marianne Moore

 

(1) Read more contemporary poetry.

(2) Write five poems a week. Show them to no one.

(3) Read more philosophy.

(4) Seek out the company of those to whom philosophy and poetry are important.

(5) Read more fiction.

(6) Watch less TV.