Skip to content

More Dreamworlds (this time for Shepherd: Favourite Reads of 2023)

A Thousand Ships, Natalie Haynes

Natalie Haynes is a European scholar and classicist with a mission: bringing the heroic women (and goddesses) of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece to life, as never before. In this episode Helen of Troy (was, Helen of Sparta), stolen beauty at the centre (through no fault of her own), of a catastrophic meltdown in ancient Asia Minor, hardly gets a mention. Haynes confesses she just couldn't bring the “Illiad's” (Illium is another name for Troy),Trojan War Macguffin to life. The other women and goddesses in this story, raped, kidnapped, robbed of their children; given voices by the poet called Homer, more or less ignored by every scholar since, are all of them brilliantly portrayed in Haynes's version.

Doughnut Economics, Kate Raworth

Okay, consider the economics of planet earth as a ring doughnut. The outer surface of this doughnut is our planetary boundaries, which we mustn't breach because if we do our living world goes straight to hell (we are close!). The inner surface is human social foundation; the needs of all the humans, and all the systems of the living world that we depend on, being met. Doughnut economics is when economic entities of all persuasions (governments, neoliberal billionaires, minor Tik Tok entrepreneurs; you and me) work with this model, and no other, in mind. Tricky, very tricky . . .

I had no idea I could understand a work like this, until I tried. Don't know if Raworth will save the world, but it's a very thorough, very interesting & informative read.

“Remembrance Of Things Past”, Cixin Liu

A fabulous, Asimov-style three-volume spectacular that takes you to infinity and beyond . . .

I'm unconvinced by the English title assigned to this superb blockbuster. For me, Liu Cixin's original title, (Earth's Past) works fine, for an epic that journeys into the fartherest possible future & yet is haunted from the start by the terrible events of China's “Cutural Revolution”. Even if you know nothing about the history of modern China, you will come to realise, as you journey through the stunning distances in time and space, and the amazing realities that open up, why it's Earth's past we're asked to consider, & it's nothing to do with Marcel Proust, or a Shakespeare sonnet.

Brought to you by


No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.

Form options

Submitted comments will be subject to moderation before being displayed.