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Why I hate Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” Review 

Why I hate Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”

4/10 Originally written in Portuguese, Paulo Coelho’s book follows the journey of an Andalusian shepherd  from Spain through North Africa to the pyramids of Egypt. This had become a highly popular book during my time at university – and still is – so I became inclined to read it. However, without sounding like too much of a Hipster, the last time I read a popular book (The Kite Runner) I was left very disappointed. In some ways, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I previously read Paulo Coelho’s Veronica Decides to Die which…

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Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism by Vladimir Lenin Review 

Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism by Vladimir Lenin

6/10 I have never read a book full of so many enigmas. It is interesting, for example, that Lenin should come from an elite family and aspire to expose capitalism and the bourgeoisie. At the same time, doing so propelled him into further international attention and advanced Lenin’s power as leader of the USSR. So perhaps this book is not as selfless as it appears to most Leninists. Leninism vs Marxism One of the stand out features of Imperialism is the path through which Lenin takes the Marxist vision. Whereas Karl…

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The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli Review 

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

8/10 Machiavelli. A historian, diplomat, writer, politician, activist, philosopher. What an incredible life this individual lived, fortunate enough to be a part of the Renaissance period. Born in 1469, Machiavelli was made Secretary to the Second Chancery of Florentine in 1498 after the infamous Medici family were forced out of power due to an invasion of French troops belonging to King Charles VIII. In 1512, the Medicis returned to Florentine with the backing of Pope Julius II, displacing the current government and forcing Machiavelli once more out of his position. *** It is…

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The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939 by E. H. Carr Review 

The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939 by E. H. Carr

9/10 This book is incredible – in fact, many people suggest that it should be required reading for all politics students. Edward Hallett Carr was an English diplomat, historian and journalist, and lived an incredible life. After graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge, he joined the Foreign Office to pursue diplomatic work, getting particularly involved in Anglo-Russian relations. His notable books are What is History?, A History of Soviet Russia and The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939. For many, The Twenty Years’ Crisis is a neoliberal book, though I seriously beg to differ. In the book, Carr analyses the “peace” between World War…

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The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus Review 

The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus

9/10 I tried beginning this book three times; the first time in a hostel in the middle of Mostar; but I simply could not get my head around it. I couldn’t tell if this was because of the incredibly intellectual nature of the author or because of the editor’s job in translating the text from French to English. However, when I did finally get round to reading and understanding The Myth of Sisyphus, I opened my mind to a new way of understanding society that I had been previously blind…

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The Dice Man by Luke Rinehart Review 

The Dice Man by Luke Rinehart

7/10 ‘The rules are all around you. The rules that stop you seducing your neighbour downstairs, that stop you hitting your boss, that stop you leaving your family and leaving the country. The rules that stop you living’. The Dice Man is a much appraised book published originally in 1971 at a time when literary satire was derived from the humanistic psychiatry work undertaken in the 1960s and 70s. The meaninglessness of contemporary American life was a popular issue with many authors who became noted for their irony and black…

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The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet Review 

The Devil in the Flesh by Raymond Radiguet

9/10 In this work of art, Raymond Radiguet asserts himself as that postmodern writer par excellence. The Frenchman demands respect from his reader, assuming from her or him a certain knowledge of the First World War. This allows Radiguet to delve into his masterpiece (yes, masterpiece) without the unnecessary – and often ineffective – descriptive jargon usually associated with semi-autobiographical novels. In this respect, this book appeals to me more than the brilliant, semi-autobiographical affair accounted for in The Great Gatsby a couple of years later, though I am aware that Fitzgerald’s descriptive tone…

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Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky Review 

Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

8/10 Though I love to read, a technologically ever-changing environment of distractions occupying one’s time with leisurely activities and entertainment for fixes to overcome boredom often leads one to start numerous different books on-the-go despite finishing very few of them. Of course I am talking about myself. When I’m too busy, I cherish moments to read, and when I find myself with the free time I longed for, it’s difficult to maintain the consistency to see a whole book through. It’s a feat in itself for the books that I…

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