When Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was first published in 1886 it became an instant sensation, eventually selling over a quarter of a million copies in less than two decades and inspiring countless adaptations (stage versions began happening almost immediately after its publication). More than that, the concept of a man split, and eventually destroyed, by the darker side of his personality has become a staple of fiction, to the point where “Mr. Hyde” is synonymous with anything that reduces us to our most basic, animalistic needs.
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Walter Mondale’s memoirs, The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics, provide a hint of how things might have been different had he won the 1984 Presidential race against Ronald Reagan.
Among the many ways in which our world might have been better, there is at least one way in which it might have been worse: It is unlikely that a Mondale presidency would have witnessed, or encouraged, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Communist enslavement and Cold War it symbolized.
I usually avoid talking about the book review process as part of my reviews. I also try to avoid using “I”. But in this case, I find it necessary.
I had great hopes for Videogames and Art, edited by Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell and the editorial teams at Intellect and University of Chicago Press. The cover offered a promising abstract of wireframes and printed circuits with some sort of connected activity generating a mass of three-dimensional connective tissue spewing from the circuitry.
To my mind, there are two main categories of Beatle fans. There are the certified fanatics; those fans who can tell you exactly when and where John and Paul first met, Ringo’s mother’s maiden name, and can recite every lyric on every album verbatim. Then there are the more casual fans; people who regularly listen to Abbey Road, and who may have even seen Paul in concert, but have neither the time nor the inclination to join the ranks of the obsessed fanatics with an appetite for the most obscure of Beatles trivia.
In view of his recent health problems, I was drawn once again to the wonder that is the story of Nelson Mandela’s life, but instead of reading his autobiography I decided on a new release that is perhaps even more personal. Consciously titled Conversations With Myself, is a book made solely of Mandela’s letters and recordings. Reading it feels a bit like spying on someone’s private diary, full of moments that differ on importance but end up providing a truthful portrait of a man who refuses to be viewed as a legend.