Microreview: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The gist

The title of the book is a bit misleading. This book is not about not giving a f*ck at all, but rather about being selective about the f*cks you give. It reads a bit like a stand-up piece on the art of saying no, accepting the temporary nature of your existence and enforcing your core values with your behaviour.

It combines personal anecdotes with snippets of stoic teachings, zen buddhism and psychology. It’s a very gentle introduction to taking up responsibility for who you are and who you want to become. If it feels too light and “fun”, it is because it is. For a deeper lecture, refer to some of the books mentioned in here. “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker or “Mediations” by Marcus Aurelius are both recommended for a deep dive.

Verdict

I totally recommend it if you haven’t read anything remotely similar before or you want to be mildly entertained. But if you are familiar with the concepts mentioned, you can safely move along to more comprehensive readings on the subject.

Martian Landscape

The Martian Chronicles

“Do you ever wonder if–well, if there are people living on the third planet?’ ‘The third planet is incapable of supporting life,’ stated the husband patiently. ‘Our scientists have said there’s far too much oxygen in their atmosphere.” – Chapter ‘Ylla’ from “The Martian Chronicles”

What better way is there to start a book than by denying the existence of its readers? Especially when this literary trick accurately marks the ironic absurd that consecrates Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” not as an encounter between the human and alien races, but as a cheeky and silly human monologue whose puniness contrasts deeply with the magnificence of the universe. Continue reading…

Ophelia

Hawthorne’s Short Stories

While reading Hawthorne’s short stories, I noticed a deep tension between knowledge and beauty, as if they are two antithetical principles that automatically cancel eachother and cannot coexist. In my opinion, Hawthorne identifies beauty with a heightened kind of knowledge that opposes the earthly one: it is the latent and chaotical knowledge of the unmanifest, a sacred knowledge that reflects the fragile balance of the universe and one which cannot be grasped by the “scientific” mind. Continue reading…

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf

Children’s and Household Tales

Long story short, I’ve been missing my literary self. That’s why I’ve taken up a course in “Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World” this summer. It’s being offered through Coursera, under the University of Michigan. Since I’ll be going through a lot of nifty literary pieces anyway, I though I should  post them on my blog as well, to have them here for the whole eternity. Or at least until the Internet breaks down. Nevertheless, my first assignment – a little bit of good ol’ food for the childish soul inside me – Grimm’s “Children’s and Household Tales” or simply fairytales. I have chosen to focus on the symbolism of eating in some scarce 300 words. Enjoy below.  Continue reading…

The Alarm Clock - by Diego Riveira

Time in Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf admitted that life reflected in fiction is not a regularly patterned universe with an objective existence, it is a state of mind.

Life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.

Because existence is not objective, it cannot be absolute. And even time, as thoroughly interwoven into the fiber of being, cannot be absolute itself.  This is why all of Virginia Woolf’s novels are, in one way or another, experiments upon the concept of time. Continue reading…