Philosophy

Sophrosyne by Marianne Apostolides

Sophrosyne by Marianne Apostolides

Marianne Apostolides's most recent novel, Sophrosyne, is a downward tumble into the mind’s rabbit hole. Apostolides examines human nature, the connections and distinctions between intellect and feeling that affect the people around us, as well as our presence in, and outside of, any particular moment. Sophrosyne is powerful, stimulating, expressive, and introspective. I found myself reading and rereading several passages—pages, even—as I coursed through the book. I was able to lose myself while reading out loud in a crowded space, as if speaking to her characters and Marianne Apostolides herself. Sophrosyne is a haunting tale caught somewhere between that of Albert Camus’s The Fall and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower—it is demanding of care and intention.

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Walter Benjamin and the Media by Jaeho Kang

Walter Benjamin and the Media by Jaeho Kang

I’m lucky: book reviewers are only really expected to write about the content of the books they review. They almost never have to write about what it was actually like to read a book. That is, they don’t have to talk about how they read a book, how it felt to see printed letters on a mass-produced page, or how they thought their understanding may have differed had they, say, read the words on a computer, or as scrolling credits at the end of a movie, or scrawled in pen on some bathroom stall (a very erudite bathroom stall). It’s simply beside the point. Because we already know what it means to read a book. Or at least we think we do.

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A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros

A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros

A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros is an insightful stroll through meadow lanes and Alpine forests; a compilation of miniature glimpses into the lives and habits of Nietzsche, Rimbaud, Thoreau, Rousseau, the Cynics, Nerval, Kant, Baudelaire, and Gandhi, and more. The focus of Gros’ explorations remains on-the-go, not unlike many of the figures that we are asked to follow, and such escapades into the walking habits of these long-gone men, whether across mountain ranges or through the city streets of Paris, illuminate the importance of the walk to such figureheads of Western thought. 

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