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An Ottoman Traveller, Evliya Çelebi – Dankoff & Kim, trans. ed.

Undoubtedly, the most amazing parts of Dankoff and Kim’s volume are Çelebi’s accounts of the late medieval Europe. It is written with an incredible degree of confidence, bordering on arrogance, of a devout Muslim.

Books on the Making of the Modern Middle East – Rogan, McMeekin, Hardy, Wheatcroft

We are now witnessing a harvest of new history books on the making of the modern Middle East. Four are chosen for a critical review below. They are works by experts, well-researched, and highly readable and infinitely more obje...


Dombey and Son – Charles Dickens

His boy had faded into dust, his proud wife had sunk into a polluted creature, his flatterer and friend had been transformed into the worst of villains, his riches had melted away, the very walls that sheltered him looked on hi...

The Map and the Territory – Michel Houellebecq

The future of post-industrial Europe, the art market and what it says about our cultural situation, the loneliness of modern European societies, and much more.


The Nigger of the Narcissus – Joseph Conrad

One of the best and most terrifying descriptions of a storm at sea. Incredible metaphors and mastery of the use of language.

Number Zero – Umberto Eco

Eco's most recent novel tackles on a conspiracy to keep Mussolini alive and what it leads to; the real way in which news is fabricated and journalistic influence used. Very entertaining.


Baltasar and Blimunda – José Saramago

This is a most beautiful novel, a great love story developed against the background of the construction of the wonderful palace-monastery of Mafra.

The Baphomet – Pierre Klossowski

God isn't taking in any more souls, so the spirits are piling up on earth. Theresa is one of the blessed, but she has been granted a dispensation to hang around looking after the soul of her former confessor.


419 – Will Ferguson

“But don’t be fooled: 419 is a business. It brings in hundreds of millions of dollars a year. It’s bigger than Nigeria; it’s as old as sin. As old as desire. These 419ers, they prey on people’s dreams.”

Ferdydurke – Witold Gombrowicz

A novel about the debilitating influence of convention could hardly be a conventional novel. It is idiosyncratic to the point of an obsession. It novel illustrates that behind the scrambled surface a profound artistic and philo...