William Empson was a noted British literary critic and poet. (Interestingly, he was apparently drummed out of Magdalene College, Cambridge, for the shocking crime of having condoms in his room. That’s their loss.) He went on to distinguish himself for writing and for exceptional and insightful literary criticism. His most influential work was his first, Seven Types of Ambiguity, written at the tender age of 22! It’s a classic for a reason; he sets for himself the monumental task of understanding how poetry “works” — why, when done well, it moves us and sticks with us even though it was written in eras long past?Read More
Pumpjack Book Reviews
When not writing, we are usually reading. And sharing our perspective on those books. Check out our About page to find out how to suggest a book for review consideration or to provide one of your own. #bookreview
I picked up this collection because I wanted to (finally) understand the famous line in Rilke’s first elegy:
“Have you imagined Gaspara Stampa intensely enough so that any girl deserted by her beloved might be inspired by that fierce example of soaring, objectless love and might say to herself, "Perhaps I can be like her?"
Each chapter, organized around a color, is a collection of quiet revelations. Color me charmed.Read More
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is A consequential meditation on beauty trapped in the disfiguring mask of a predictable and amusing thriller.Read More
In a world gone mad, as we sit around our garbage fires eating rat kebabs, those of us who read this book will keep saying “told you so” until we’re driven from the camp into the shambles of society. Terrifying, and highly recommended reading.Read More
A terrific page-turning thriller that busts genre boundaries and, with a substrate subtly contrasting scientific and mythological world-views, sparkles with existential depth.Read More
The myths and legend of Rasputin are familiar — a sexually insatiable Svengali/charlatan/holy man with dark, hypnotic powers and a miraculous (or possibly fake) healing touch who became a confidant of, and pseudo adviser to, the tsar and tsarina.Read More
I Am Drusilla by Lucille Moncrief is an intense gem of a story—short, fast moving and thoroughly entertaining. I read this Kindle Single in less than an hour and it nicely filled the otherwise dull period between waiting, boarding and the take off of a plane.
Chopping down the tree: the book is part history, biography, an ode to science, a survey of current microbiology and, most importantly, a treatise on what is, at its essence, cellular existentialism.Read More
Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots by Kate Devlin is a mostly pleasant but somewhat superficial romp through an interesting landscape of sex dolls and the (mostly) men who love them.Read More