History of Evil in the Occident – M. Faucheux (2004) Book Review

Is there a propensity for evil in the Western culture? How is “evil” defined? How is “evil” sanctioned and how does it shift, from era to era? What other phenomena enable “evil” to manifest? Is there a gender-specific type of “evil” that we can pinpoint in Western history? These were the questions that I sought answers to when reading this book. Sadly, none were answered. In fact, if you read the table of contents, you already know everything this book has to offer.


The author gives no new insight into the “evil” phenomenon, and goes about piecing together historical facts so well known, they’re self standing. But he does so with a sadistic attention to technical details that makes me believe Michel Faucheux, the author, missed his calling.

Continue reading “History of Evil in the Occident – M. Faucheux (2004) Book Review”

The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance (Book Review)

Although I had a hard time imagining ancient knowledge in distress, on a ledge, waiting for a saviour :), I wanted to love this book so, so badly. And in a way, I do love it. But this book suffers from arabicentrism much like European history of science suffers from eurocentrism, and it fails to be convincing on 3 important points: Continue reading “The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance (Book Review)”

Rory Gilmore’s Obituary: What Happens When Writers Cross to the Other Side

If Gilmore Girls was your favourite dish, then Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life would have to be that same dish with tons of salt, pepper, and bitter lime randomly added to it. It overkilled. I grew up watching Gilmore Girls in a house with four women, lots of glitter, noise, both good and bad, and tons of jumping up and down. I was in high school when I discovered it, and continued to watch it  almost daily throughout college. I suffered alongside the global fan base through the 7th season and was over-the-moon excited while waiting for the revival. And after watching it, I felt completely betrayed by the storyline and felt that the Palladinos have successfully killed Rory, albeit leaving the story wide open for future episodes. But was it worth it? (Spoilers will follow) Continue reading “Rory Gilmore’s Obituary: What Happens When Writers Cross to the Other Side”

Franny and Zooey (1961) B.R.: Or How to Achieve Inner Peace, Without Going Crazy

In this skimpy looking book – in the words of JD Salinger himself, Franny Glass acts all weird in the weekend of the Yale game. Dizzy, feverish, and obsessed with a tiny book that she can`t put away. Zooey Glass, on his side, walks around with a theatrical adult air about him, ruminating over a letter refolded one-too-many times, and both come together at their home in New York, in November 1955.

As you will immerse in the life of the Glass family, a family of five boys and two girls, all former prodigy children, it will be easy to get carried away by the playfulness of JD Salinger`s style. But in essence, this book is not about family, breakdowns, suicide, or just an impeccable exercise in short-novel writing. This book is about the quest for transcendence. As Buddy Glass puts it, this book hinges on mysticism, in the most clever and addictive way. Continue reading “Franny and Zooey (1961) B.R.: Or How to Achieve Inner Peace, Without Going Crazy”

“Other Voices, Other Rooms” (1948) Book Review: About Coming-of-age, the South and Living with Ghosts.

“Other Voices, Other Rooms” takes us prisoners in the life of Joel Knox, a 13-year old American boy, himself a prisoner in post-colonial Alabama. Do you remember what was like when you were thirteen? The hazed dreams, the enthusiasm, the confusion, the need to stand out, the need to belong, the fearfulness, the anger… We all had our own coming-of-age (did we?) and in Truman Capote`s first published novel we get a taste of a very particular one.

Joel Knox was twice orphaned by fate, and once redeemed – or so it would seem. Continue reading ““Other Voices, Other Rooms” (1948) Book Review: About Coming-of-age, the South and Living with Ghosts.”

Cinderella, Retold: Sexism, Body Shaming & the Threat of Fairy Tales.

How enchanting is Cinderella, is it not? The classic girl-meets-boy tale in which, through a touch of magic, the life of our persecuted heroine changes forever. But Cinderella, considered under its historic trajectory, hides a tale of class distinction, body shaming and impossible beauty standards. A grimmer tale that is still dangerously relevant today.

Thousands of versions of Cinderella have been documented around the world and two basic elements help folklorists pinpoint the story: (1) a heroic girl orphaned by fate and persecuted by her stepmother (2) is recognized with the help of her shoe by the prince. In fact, the version that is most popular in Europe today is the version adapted by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé (1697), later retold by Grimm Brothers in Kinder- und Hausmärchen (1812). Continue reading “Cinderella, Retold: Sexism, Body Shaming & the Threat of Fairy Tales.”