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Book Reviews

A Wartime Memoir: Hungary 1944-1945 (by Alaine Polcz)

This is an autobiographical and historical account of the terrible experiences that the author went through during the Second World War in Hungary. It’s narrated in retrospective which I particularly appreciated as I could get to know the author’s thoughts from a point of view after the fact as well. It’s a raw, sad and often overwhelming read. It was difficult not to pause every few pages to take a break, breath and reflect on how horrifying war is. At a certain point, when I… Read More »A Wartime Memoir: Hungary 1944-1945 (by Alaine Polcz)

Opium – Selected Stories (by Géza Csáth)

This collection of stories was written between 1905 and 1912 and explores some of the darkest sides of human life. The author, Géza Csáth, was born in Hungary at the end of the 19th century. Amongst other things, he was a short-story writer with a short life – he died when he was just 31 years old, shortly after the end of the Austro-Hungarian empire and after escaping from a psychiatric hospital. I’ve read that he had developed an addiction to morphine to deal with… Read More »Opium – Selected Stories (by Géza Csáth)

The Feeling of What Happens

The Feeling of What Happens

This book was, for me, revolutionary and revelatory as it significantly contributed to helping my quest for something I had been keeping asking myself for a very long period of time – who are we? Many self-help books out there say that we are our awareness – the ability to observe our body and what happens within it, including our thoughts and emotions. Thoughts and emotions are just products of our minds. Let’s explain this concept by adopting the opposite approach as these books do:… Read More »The Feeling of What Happens

I Think Therefore I Am

I found this book in the bookshop of the British Museum. I read the first two lines and I was hooked. It’s about the history and the thoughts of the most well-known philosophers. It does this following a chronological timeline, from the Presocratics, and specifically from Thales of Miletus (c. 624 – c. 545 BC) who, according to Aristotele, was the first real philosopher, right up until those of recent days. The very fact that this book ranges over some two and a half thousand… Read More »I Think Therefore I Am

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

This book sets out to tell you how to relate to life’s adversities, especially to those little things that we let grow inside us until they become a big deal. For a good part of it, I was unsure whether I was going to give it three or four stars, the reason being that I mainly liked it, because I believe the advice is very effective and practical, but, at the same time I felt it was lacking something. In fact, this book helps you… Read More »Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

This Book Will Make You Think

This Book Will Make You Think

While I was visiting the bookshop at the British Museum, I came across this book with such an intriguing and promising title. One of the things that makes me consider a book a good one is that it makes me think, so boom! I wanted it. It’s a very brief introduction to some philosophical thoughts. Each chapter starts with a famous quote, which is then followed by a short section that covers historical information and the background of the philosopher who came out with that… Read More »This Book Will Make You Think

The Diary of a Bookseller

The Diary of a Bookseller

As happens most of the time, I had some expectations when I started to read this book – I was expecting an engaging story to develop throughout the daily life of a bookseller. I don’t know, something like the film “Notting Hill” :-). However, it’s a work of non-fiction and I only realised this after having read the first few pages. Had I not had any such expectations, I’d have probably enjoyed it more. So, it’s not the author that disappoints, rather, it’s just that… Read More »The Diary of a Bookseller

A short history of nearly everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything

What a journey I’ve been on! In less than 600 pages, I’ve fast-forwarded through the history of the world and of the human species, from the Big Bang to our recent days through most areas of science. This ambitious masterpiece was very informative and written in a conversational style. In fact, I felt like I was sitting in an armchair, by the crackling fire, with a glass of red wine in hand, in the company of a very knowledgeable friend who was explaining to me… Read More »A Short History of Nearly Everything

The food of love

The Food of Love

I feel uncomfortable writing a bad review as I don’t want to disrespect all of the effort the author put in, especially if it’s their debut novel. So, after reading the first few pages, when I was already feeling a bit suspicious that this wasn’t going to be a good read, I remained hopeful and kept reading. However, it turned out that my initial instinct was correct. The story itself was not that bad and it had potential, had it been written differently. Here are… Read More »The Food of Love

Humand Kind

Humankind

Do you think humans are selfish, untrustworthy and dangerous creatures? If so, do yourself a favour and read this book. The core message in this book is that most people, deep down, are good-hearted. A perfect read in the current times. The author, Rutger Bregman, is a historian whose optimism is energising. He tells lots of effective stories and provides evidence from psychology, sociology, anthropology and archaeology. He starts developing his theory with a view on the “philosophical boxing ring” that sees two opposite opinions… Read More »Humankind