A Tale of Two Christmases, or An Amazon Carol

I've been dealing with the annual conundrum of what to get my brothers for Christmas. I'm bad at this, so bad that they often don't receive anything until sometime in January. My only consolation is that they're nearly as bad at it as me. So imagine how happy I was when, about a week ago, … Continue reading A Tale of Two Christmases, or An Amazon Carol

Circe by Madeline Miller

First, I should say that this was just (as in this week) voted "Fantasy Book of the Year" on Goodreads. Second, the readers there got it right. In Circe, Madeline Miller delivers the full package. Compelling characters? Check. Excellent storytelling? Check. Powerful, subtle, simple yet elegant prose? Check. Compelling characters? What, did I say that … Continue reading Circe by Madeline Miller

The Migratory Behaviour of Joggers

Photo by Mat Fascione CC BY-SA 2.0 Friends at County Durham College of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fine Arts have tipped me off to another incredible breakthrough. An AI developed at CDCAAHFA has become the first non-human being (with the possible exception of Richard Dawkins) to have a scientific paper published in a peer-reviewed journal. … Continue reading The Migratory Behaviour of Joggers

Investigating Poplar Culture (yes, I mean poplar, as in the trees)

Photo by Zohairasad CC BY-SA 3.0 Time for another excerpt from Grad Bernart’s research notes. This week, his sanity is tried by a poplar grove. Here goes: “After my experiences with the rowans and ash coppices, I approached the poplars with decidedly low expectations. I can say only that, once again, I was surprised. Not … Continue reading Investigating Poplar Culture (yes, I mean poplar, as in the trees)

Sense of Self in an Ash Coppice

Last week, we saw how the rowans provided the key to Grad Bernart’s deciphering of the language of the trees. This week, we begin to discover just how weird trees are, as Bernart describes his encounters with an old ash coppice. (If you’re not sure what a coppice is, here’s a link to Wikipedia.) From … Continue reading Sense of Self in an Ash Coppice

The Psychology of Trees: Part 1, the Rowan

Photo by Mr Xerty at Unsplash I’ve got another update on Grad Bernart’s research notes. After his initial horror at the trees’ slaughter of one another, the grad seems to have come to terms with their violent natures and continued his study of tree language and behaviour. Here is an excerpt from his conclusions: “At … Continue reading The Psychology of Trees: Part 1, the Rowan

“The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson

"NO LIVE organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream." With an opening sentence like that, how can you not read this book? And it just gets better from there. First published in 1959, The Haunting of Hill House has … Continue reading “The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson