Showing posts from April 14, 2024

The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan: book review

The Hearing Test  by Eliza Barry Callahan Overview: The unnamed protagonist suffers sudden hearing loss right as she's preparing to leave for her friend's wedding in Venice. She'd built a life as a freelance composer creating scores for film and TV and had just moved apartments when suddenly the auditory world around her becomes augmented. This short novel follows the protagonist through a year of her life in the aftermath. From seeing doctors on both coasts to a trip to Italy with her mother to navigating feelings for an ex, she has to redefine the contours of her new life. Overall: 4  Characters: 4 The protagonist of the novel is likable enough. We don't get to know her on a particularly substantial or deep level, but I enjoyed probing through her random thoughts and various entanglements as she confronted a major life change. Because the book is only 163 pages, there's a sense that the novel really only skims the surface on a number of fronts, but I didn't mi

The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality by Amanda Montell: nonfiction review

The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality  by Amanda Montell Overview: "Magical thinking" is the belief that particular words, thoughts, emotions, or beliefs can have a material difference on the outcome of our actual lives–that our thoughts have particular influence on the world around us. It's a common trait among kids, and, more detrimentally, goes hand in hand with mental illnesses like OCD. It is also, as Montell points out, largely promoted by the internet. While not solely focused on magical thinking, that is a solid starting point to explain this book which uses both linguistic and sociological frameworks to capture the weird ways that internet culture messes with our brains and influences our worldview. If you are hyper-online, you'll probably find this to be a real gem. Overall: 4 Notes: Instead of a comprehensive overview of the book, for this review, I wanted to discuss a couple chapters that stood out to me.  The book opens with a dis