Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good-bye, Lisbeth Salander

It's been more than 3 years since I last read and wrote my thoughts on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. So it's been more than 3 years since I was first floored by Stieg Larsson's talent and thought how unfortunate that we'll never read more of his works.

In the 3rd and last book of Larsson's Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Next, it seems that the author went all out to give Lisbeth Salander a grand farewell. However, I found myself wanting that it somehow lacked the thrilling action elements present in the 1st and 2nd book. We saw Salander fight it out in the first 2 books. In the 3rd, she's mostly in her hospital bed, with only a PDA to keep her connected to the Internet.

I was surprised with a number of things as I was reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. It turned out to be your 'thinking thriller', filled with lengthy expositions about the organization that played a large role in Salander's circumstances. There's also a good number of characters to keep track of, and the Swedish names does get some getting used to. I was surprised that the one person whom I thought would face Salander at the conclusion is murdered early on.

One thing was not very surprising though -- how you know that Salander would be acquitted with all the charges against her. Considering the sheer number of people who seem to be at her side knowingly and unknowingly, her vindication seems a foregone conclusion. Still, it was very satisfying to read her enemies brought to their heels in a fascinating courtroom drama. You can't help but smile.

Of the 3 novels, I especially love The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Perhaps it was the novelty of getting my hands on Scandinavian crime fiction for the first time that made me really like the novel. Or maybe it was the novel's closed murder room mystery that worked for me. I love murder mysteries and the 1st book was a brilliantly conceived one. Nevertheless, it was a treat to finally finish the trilogy, even though it took me a few years to get to it.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is one 'talky' novel. Lots of dialogue is found on the page. Larsson's characters have well-developed voices, making the dialogues easy to follow. And you have to hand it to Larsson for making sure to tie everything together in the end. By the close of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Salander is redeemed in every aspect, perhaps even in her personal relationships. Farewell, Lisbeth Salander. I'll miss you. I'll miss the girl who kicked ass.

Read this book if:
  1. Scandinavian crime fiction is your thing.
  2. You are a completist. You just have to read all the books that make up a trilogy or a series.
  3. You can't get enough of Lisbeth Salander.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My one doorstop for this year

I haven't been reading doorstops lately. Just one look at these books, with their thick spines and pages running to more than 600 pages or so, is enough to make me feel all cringe-y.

But this year, the book club has chosen The Count of Monte Cristo as its book for June. Now, dear reader, I have yet to read a novel by Dumas, and I've heard several bibliophiles mention that this book as a favorite. This got me to thinking: I might as well read the unabridged edition, no?

So bring on those 1,000 pages! I could surely use a challenge, not to mention lots of caffeine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Being a genius is so overrated

Let's go back 50 years, shall we, dear reader? Back in 1959, Daniel Keyes wrote a novella entitled Flowers for Algernon, and it won the Hugo. A few years later, in 1966, Keyes expanded the storyline of this short fiction into a full length novel. That novel won the Nebula. Reading Flowers for Algernon for the first time this year, I am completely in awe how such an SF novel could still feel relevant.

Some SF novels don't hold up too well after several years. Besides appearing charmingly dated, they don't have that edge to them anymore. Flowers for Algernon is an exception, I think. With its themes of bioethics and one's place in society, it still makes for fascinating reading. I guess one major reason for its apparent timelessness is that it doesn't have heavy SF elements -- no flying saucers, no society on the brink of intergalactic warfare, no technological breakthroughs that are hard to swallow.

The novel focuses on one Charlie Gordon, one who has a neurological condition that resulted in his having an IQ of only in the 60s. For most people, Charlie is an idiot, and they take advantage of him because of it. Things start to change when Charlie decides to take part in an experiment that aims to increase his intelligence. This experiment does sound promising, after a mouse named Algernon was given the same treatment with remarkable results.

So Charlie is given the treatment and pretty soon, his intelligence soars! First he learns to correct all the spelling and grammatical mistakes in his journal. Then he learns more than 10 languages and delves into a wide variety of disciplines, from linguistics to the hard sciences. It's only a matter of time before he even becomes more intelligent than the scientists who conducted the experiment on him.

I feel that the novel's thesis has something to do with the sum total of our experiences and our natural abilities that make us unique individuals. Charlie becomes highly intelligent, but he's awkward at having relationships with women. He also finds it difficult to make moral decisions. It's as if his intelligence has now become a burden.

Things suddenly go bad when Algernon's condition declines. If Algernon can suddenly lose all its intelligence quickly, then surely Charlie would lose his too. It is this downward turn that makes Charlie look for his parents who have abandoned him to a mental institution when he was just a child. His meeting with his father is bittersweet. And when he meets his mother and sister in his childhood home, it is heartbreaking. Yes, Flowers for Algernon, can be one of the most heartbreaking novels that you'll ever come across.

I am glad that I finally picked this book up and read it without any expectations whatsoever. While it did win both the Hugo and the Nebula, I'm not at all familiar with the SF genre for this fact to have any significant merit. I admire Keyes for having written such a timeless novel. A lot of people consider this work a classic, and I think this thinking is justified. Call it a cliche or whatever, but Flowers for Algernon is one novel that tugs at your heart.

Read this book if:
  1. You have a particular attachment to small mammals.
  2. You aren't afraid of crying buckets.
  3. You're comfortable with your IQ level.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The bookshelf project #32

This week's pictures of bookshelves are from Jack, one of the readers of this blog, whose comments I always find really interesting and insightful.

As Jack's bookshelves almost cover an entire hallway, it was difficult to get a complete picture of everything. But Jack did attempt to capture overviews. When I first saw the pictures, I drooled.

So let's look at Jack's bookshelves in more detail, shall we, dear reader?

Figuring prominently in his shelves is a space devoted to items from Jack's days at the navy.

Cool games at the left side

A stereo with a wonderful steampunk feel to it

More games and books at the left side

Jack's extensive jazz and blues music collection

Jack's collection of the works of Salvatore.
He mentioned that he doesn't ever loan these. :-)

So what do you think of Jack's bookshelves and collection, dear reader? I am so envious of the wooden bookcases! They're very classy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't let the cover deceive you

First, this isn't really a hardcore love story, despite the screaming red cover. Second, being a work by Alain de Botton, it's more of a philosophical discourse than fiction.

While de Botton does present a male (the unnamed narrator) and a female (Chloe) character, he simply makes use of these characters as evidence, if you will, of what happens when two people have a connection and fall in love.

In the book, we examine why people are inexplicably drawn to one another, go through the motions of a relationship, have trivial and significant arguments, drift away, cheat on one another, and sometimes fall out of love. The chapters are something like theses on love and its many aspects -- intimacy, seduction, and even 'romantic terrorism'.
Love had to be appreciated without flight into dogmatic optimism or pessimism, without constructing a philosophy of one's fears, or a morality of one's disappointments. Love taught the analytic mind a certain humility, the lesson that however it struggled to reach immobile certainties (numbering its conclusions and embedding them in neat series), analysis could never be anything but flawed -- and therefore never stray far from the ironic. [page 194]
This slim work of 'fiction', the debut of Alain de Botton, is not to be missed. While some of the sections may make your eyes glaze over, the novel's ideas about this complex emotion are fascinating to read.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Age is not just a number

If there were such a thing as a cure for aging, would you take it? Imagine yourself looking exactly the same for several years, unhampered by wrinkles, age spots, back pains, etc. Sounds tempting, right? Such is the premise of Drew Magary's Arthur C. Clarke-nominated novel, The Postmortal.

In 2019, a gene therapy process has been perfected, one that allows your body to stop the aging process. This cure for aging does not guarantee that you'll live forever though. People who have the cure administered to them can die from fatal diseases and gunshot wounds. One John Farrell decides to take this cure and write about his experiences.

In The Postmortal, we get to read the entries written by Farrell. I guess that's why Christopher Priest lambasted this book for being backward looking, which isn't common in the SF genre. Farrell's entries begin at the time he got the cure to several decades after when society has broken down because of the ramifications of the cure.

So Farrell, a lawyer, gets the cure, specializes in divorce law, witnesses a terrorist bombing that kills his roommate, and ultimately becomes an 'end specialist'. Cut to several years when basically everyone has had the cure. Of course, population has increased, and the government has employed people called end specialists who are tasked to kill people with death wishes. It's a dirty job that Farrell excels at.

It's not just the plot of The Postmortal that makes it a very interesting read. I got hooked because of the many situations that it presents and the questions that left me thinking. If I got the cure and was married to someone, would I also get a divorce after a few years? After all, one couldn't imagine living with the same person for several decades, yes?

And what about if I know someone with a death wish, would I be willing to do the deed myself? After all, that overpopulated world would surely benefit from one less mouth to feed, no? And if I were a doctor, would I be giving the cure to someone who is, say, 80 years old, knowing that that person would stay 80 forever? Or would I just give him a placebo and let him go through his natural course of life?

The world that Magary conjures in The Postmortal is fascinating in a disturbing kind of way. Even though no one younger than 26 is allowed to get the cure, we know that there will be deviations. Here we see babies who will forever be in liquid food just because their mothers don't want them to grow up. We read about 'barely legal' prostitutes, the Chinese government which has never allowed the cure and opted to tattoo on babies their birth dates just to monitor if they do get the cure, and over-the-top parties to celebrate one's getting the cure.

I loved The Postmortal. Aside from being a thriller, it's also a thinking novel. It made me reflect on a lot of issues such as what happens if society gets whatever it wants and if people did really live for a long time. I hope it wins the Arthur C. Clarke award.

Read this novel if:
  1. You like your thrillers to be thinking novels too.
  2. You'll read anything that's nominated for an Arthuc C. Clarke award.
  3. You know that age is more than just a number.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My book porn

If there's one thing I'm serious about collecting, it would have to be the books published by the New York Review of Books (NYRB). NYRB titles are an eclectic sort -- from novels, essays, travelogues, biographies, poetry, and what have you. Plus, they look good on one's shelf.

We all have our favorite imprints. For classics, I just love Penguin and Oxford University Press (OUP). But the titles that NYRB publishes are those that have been forgotten by many.

Because of NYRB, I have been able to read Tove Jansson's wonderful novel for adults, The Summer Book, Elaine Dundy's hysterically funny The Dud Avocado, the original version of Collodi's Pinocchio, Alberto Moravia's haunting novel about marriage entitled Contempt, and the stories of Daphne Du Maurier collected in Don't Look Now, among others.

Some of these titles are very little known, dear reader. Nut now, readers are rediscovering the novels of Gregor von Rezzori, Victor Serge, Glenway Wescott, and Sylvia Townsend Warner, to name a few. You gotta love NYRB because of that. They've managed to bring back outstanding works of the past century much to the delight of readers.

Here are some NYRB titles that I absolutely loved. Don't you just love the covers? Simple and elegant at the same time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's going on?

A good friend, Don, remarked that there has been a string of bookshop closures in Manila lately. Don works in the US, so I was quite surprised that this observation would be coming from him and not from one who's actually living and working in Manila (i.e., me). It got me to thinking though -- yes, this observation is unfortunately true.

Yesterday, during lunch time, I decided to check out the bookstore near the office only to find it's closed down. And the bookstore that our book club has been terribly fond of, Libreria, closed its doors finally last month. Ayayay! Is it the end of the world as we know it?

And if bookstores aren't closing down, they're downsizing. The Powerbooks in Megamall moved to a location that's just about a fifth of its original floor area. Its flagship branch in Greenbelt, which originally had 2 floors, now just has 1, with the other floor now carrying office supplies. The area of Fully Booked in SM North was halved recently. The one in Rockwell was also downsized several months back. And what's the deal with the branch in Greenbelt? Are they downsizing as well?

So Don asked me: Are people just not buying books anymore? Is readership down?

Well, yes, I think people have not been buying books lately, at least not physical books anyway. In our book club, for instance, more and more people have the books of the month loaded to their ebook readers. (Which made me ponder if the bookmarks that the moderators are giving away are moot.)

So I don't think that readership is down. If anything, I believe that people are reading more stuff now than ever. I would like to think that people still get legal copies (e.g., from Amazon, B&N). But with all those file-sharing sites, they're just not shelling out cash anymore. Why spend your hard-earned money on something when you can get it for free, no? Sad, really.

One day, maybe I will get the Kindle or Nook or whatever. But for now, I'll do business with the few bookstores that we have. I don't want these places to go the same way that record bars have. I love them bookstores, and I feel that they've loved me back.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Yes, you can eat your books now too

Last month, I was invited to the surprise birthday party for a good friend, Iya. Of course, being prepared for the occasion, I came with an empty stomach. Aside from the sumptuous buffet laid out for us, look what they've come up with -- a birthday cake with edible books!

And it wasn't just the cake that was bookish. Iya's husband and friends also had these bite-sized chocolates with book covers on top as giveaways! I thought that these were just plain milk chocolates, but inside the chocolate coat were truffles!

Ah, dear reader, the chocolates were heavenly! Pure bliss in every bite! Each guest was allowed to get one piece, but I think I got 7! (I hope no one noticed during the party.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A very heartbreaking love story

Hmmm . . . love stories. Just the thought of holding a book about love is enough to make my teeth ache. It's a good thing that I didn't know that Madeline Miller's debut novel, The Song of Achilles, is rooted on love, and a very different kind of love at that.

The Song of Achilles, at its core, is about the bond between two men -- Patroclus and Achilles. The novel opens during Patroclus's childhood, when he was exiled to the land of Phthia. The son of a lesser king, Patroclus meets Achilles during his exile, for Phthia is the land of Peleus, an honorable king and the father of Achilles. It is in Phthia where Achilles decides to take Patroclus as companion. Patroclus even follows to Mount Pelion, where he and Achilles are taught by the centaur Chiron.

Of course, as the novel is rooted in mythology, there will be prophecies. And one such prophecy is the death of Achilles after he slays Hector in the siege of Troy. Achilles, having been known as the best of the Greeks, take part in the campaign to get Helen and return her to her husband, Melanaus.

We all know that Achilles dies, but Miller chooses to focus instead on the sacrifice made by Patroclus. In Patroclus, we have a character who embodies the concept of unselfish love. He knows that Achilles will die, he knows that there can be no redeeming aspect in the war against Troy. Still, Patroclus does take part in the battle, causing him his life and Achilles's despair.
He weeps as he lifts me onto our bed. My corpse sags; it is warm in the tent, and the smell will come soon. He does not seem to care. He holds me all night long, pressing my cold hands to his mouth. [page 340]
The Song of Achilles is one tender love story involving two very different characters -- Patroclus, the disgraced and clumsy son of a lesser king, and Achilles, the golden hero and the son of a goddess. I'm not sure if this romantic concept is based on the Iliad, but I couldn't care less. The novel is such a joy to read.

The author has a background on Latin and Ancient Greek, and she's been known to make modern adaptations of classical tales. Yay! Maybe this means that she'll be writing another captivating novel soon! But for the meantime, I think I'll be reading the Iliad, after having been inspired by The Song of Achilles.

Read this book if:
  1. You love mythology.
  2. You want a different take on the siege of Troy.
  3. You're into debut fiction.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Many an opinion about this book

It's true what they say about the classics, you know. The first time you read a classic, you wonder if you'll read another contemporary novel again. The second time you read it, you find the work richer, more textured, discovering just a little bit more or what makes this novel timeless.

I feel that Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth, which a lot of people consider her best work, is perfect for a book discussion. When I read it more than 15 years ago, I marveled at Wharton's beautiful prose and her keen ability to portray New York society. I've reread it in time for our book club's March discussion, and it turned out to be a more rewarding experience.

Yes, it's not the type of book that you would buy at a bookstore, unless you're a literature student. This is unfortunate, for the book raises a lot of interesting questions that would serve as fodder for a very lively book discussion.

Was Wharton writing a novel about Lily Bart, the heroine who seems to make one wrong decision after another? Or was she providing us a portrait of New York society at the turn of the century? Were Lily Bart's actions a product of her upbringing or were they a result of the circumstances thrown her way? And what about that ending, huh? Did she or didn't she?

As expected, I was fascinated to hear the thoughts of the members of the book club on Wharton's novel. Some couldn't stand Lily, other wanted to be her. Others who wouldn't touch a classic with a 10-foot pole ended up liking The House of Mirth. Some couldn't even finish it. There were several opinions about the ambivalent ending. I prefer the ending though. It gives me something to ponder.

So, dear reader, if you haven't read The House of Mirth yet, I suggest you go grab a copy. You're in for a delightful reading experience. For the meantime, let me share with you some pictures.

I facilitated a card game for the book swap.
I was inspired by the games of bridge that Lily Bart participated in.

I counted 24 participants! Woot woot! (3 members not in this picture.)
Twenty-four is quite manageable a number, I think,
as compared to the 30+ who showed up during last year's The Woman in Black discussion.

R designed these 6 bookmarks, with each showing 6 of the book's themes:
private, husband, gossip, downfall, lush, pretty.
(Photo courtesy of R)

I also gave away 4 bookplates to each participant.
R also designed these.

A good book club friend, Iya, helped me with book plate production.
She also packaged each set in ribbons and charms.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The book about my favorite TV show

I don't watch that much TV. However, for the life of me, I got hooked to 'Downton Abbey'! Maybe it appealed to my being an Anglophile. Or maybe I just love those period dramas.

So just imagine my surprise when I found this at the bookstore. In my mind, I was doing my happy dance! I couldn't care less if it were overpriced. I just had to have it!

The book's behind-the-scenes material is such a joy to go through. It offers a glimpse not just of the actors who play the different characters but also the creators and the production staff who make all of 'Downton Abbey' such a joy to watch.

And speaking of characters, the book made me realize that there are more characters downstairs than upstairs! See the character map below.

One of the things that endeared me to the show was the elaborate costumes. These pieces are so detailed down to the last stitch. And the book shows us just how difficult assembling these clothes to fit the actors.

Of course, the set design is exquisite as well. Just look at the nitty gritty of Mrs Patmore's kitchen! It must have taken a lot of work for the production design team to gather those antique set pieces.

The World of Downton Abbey also touches on the different themes that the show touches on. One of my favorite characters is the first footman, Thomas Barrow. Here's his dashing self beside a discussion on homosexuality.

I am really impressed with the dedication of every person involved in the show. Even applying on makeup is a rigorous process.

But what really makes the book a good purchase is the wealth of information regarding what goes on off camera.

If you haven't seen an episode of 'Downton Abbey', then I think you're missing out on good TV. If you end up really liking the series, you'd understand why I bought The World of Downton Abbey on a whim.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Daniel O'Malley's debut novel, The Rook, took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting to like it that much, considering that I'm not really into the fantasy-action-supernatural genre. This was an impulse purchase. Normally, I Google the books that I've been meaning to buy, checking out what other people say about them. However, The Rook floored me. I was extremely entertained by it.

O'Malley, in the opening chapter of the novel, presents us his heroine, one Myfanwy Thomas. (The w is silent and the f hard, rhyming with Tiffany.) Myfanwy awakes with no recollection of her own self and with dead bodies in latex gloves lying around her. The opening statement is enough to arrest you:
Dear You,

The body you are wearing used to be mine. [page 1]
It turns out that Myfanwy's former self was anticipating this memory loss and has decided to write letters to her new self to explain what she is and what she does for a living. Through these letters she discovers that her official title is Rook Thomas and that she's part of an ultra-secret organization called the Checquy Group, which is made up of retainers, pawns, and the Court. The Checquy apprently handles troublesome supernatural cases. She also learns that she has powers to control the people around her, and that her touch can be fatal if she wills it. Nevertheless, the new Mywanwy is peeved to find out that, despite these powers, her old self was a meek persona who was more comfortable dealing the Court's administrative functions instead of doing 'field work'.

The concept of the Court is particularly intriguing, as it is rooted in the game of chess. We have pawns who do the dirty work under the supervision of the Court. The Court itself is made of 8 individuals with supernatural abilities: 2 rooks, 2 chevaliers, 2 bishops, 1 lady, and 1 lord. Reading each of the characters that make up the Court is a delight. Rook Thomas's counterpart, Gestalt, is 1 individual that commands 4 bodies. One bishop is a vampire. And the Court's very regal lady can enter your dreams.

As I was reading The Rook, I realized that it reminded me of many pop cultural references. The varied abilities of the Court alludes to the X-Men. The school were students are trained call to mind Professor Xavier's School or, at the very least, Harry Potter's Hogwarts. The cases that Rook Thomas gets involved in, with the many instances of slime and ectoplasm appearances, is like The Ghostbusters. Add to that the bureaucracy and the efficiency of the organization, and you also get James Bond or Mission Impossible. The apparent 'spoofiness' of the novel never goes overboard. It's a fun read, I tell you.

So back to Rook Thomas. It appears that the Court has been infiltrated and that the former Rook Thomas has unearthed it. It is this mystery, this unravelling of the conspiracy if you will, that propels the story. It's a wonder to read the various letters that the old Mywanwy wrote for her new self, which are interspersed into the main storyline. O'Malley's novel is also very funny. If you like wry British humor, you'll be hooked with The Rook.

I was initially turned off by the book's length. (The hardback is close to 500 pages!) But The Rook's taxi-meter pace works to the reader's advantage. It's hard to put down a novel when each chapter has an action scene involving a flesh-eating blob, a hatching of a dragon gone wrong, a house overran by a religious cult which is in turn overran by ectoplasm, among other things. Oh, the wonders never cease.

A caveat: The Rook might just be the first in a trilogy or a series. While the main story does come to a close, it isn't as clean and complete as some people would have it. It seems O'Malley has set the stage for the next novel. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it would be as enjoyable as his first.

Read this book if:
  1. You know that there just might really be an organization that protects us from supernatural creatures.
  2. You can suspend your disbelief for extremely outrageous stuff.
  3. You like chess.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Catching up on one's reading this Holy Week

Here in the Philippines, the days of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are public holidays. This year, aside from these two days, we also get Easter Monday off. That's 5 whole days of no work, dear readers! Woot!

This year, I didn't make any plans of going to the beach or to any other vacation hotspot. I've simply decided to stay at home and read, read, read. So after trawling through the local bookstores, I've come up with my reading plans. 5 whole days of reading! Woot woot!

Our book club is set to discuss graphic fiction for this month, so Clowes's most famous work, Ghost World, and Powell's Eisner award-winning work, Swallow Me Whole, were no-brainers. And I've heard so much of The Song of Achilles and The Orphan Master's Son, two novels published this 2012, that I just have to get myself copies. I'm reading The Song of Achilles now and I have to say that I can't put it down. Woot woot woot!

Magary's novel, The Postmortal, was just shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award this year, much to the chagrin of Christopher Priest, the author of The Prestige, who only had bad things to say about the novel. I love Priest, but I also love the underdog. Ergo, I have to read The Postmortal, which is about a dystopian world where a cure against aging has been found. I love the premise already! Woot woot woot woot!

And a lot of people have asked my why I haven't read Flowers for Algernon and the Kama Sutra. Okay, I'll read those too. Throw in a thin NYRB work, Novels in Three Lines, and I'm all set to go. Woot woot woot woot woot!

Ummmmm . . . this post has far too many 'woots'. But I don't care! I have a book about 'Downton Abbey'! Woot woot woot woot woot woot!

Happy Easter, everyone!
Happy reading!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Philosophy lite

Every once in a while, I crave for something high falutin, something that will make my head spin and make me realize (further) how little I know. And if there's one subject that never fails to instill a feeling of mental inadequacy, it's philosophy.

I don't get Schopenhauer. I have no idea what Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra was all about after I finished it. I find Foucault's work esoteric, to say the least. Aristotle and Socrates are a blur.

Thank goodness for Alain de Botton! He's managed to make philosophy very interesting and relevant. I've discovered his works just this year, after braving a few minutes at the Philosophy section in the bookstore. To say that de Botton's works are accessible would be an understatement, for I've devoured his books in just a few hours.

So yes, I am loving the de Botton lately. His books have managed to surprise me with their practicality. I never knew that philosophy touches several aspects of one's life -- from travel, to the workplace, to one's reading choices, and even to architecture.

I can't wait to share my thoughts on each of de Botton's work to you, dear reader. Stay tuned!