Dry November: Day 27

November 28, 2018

Tonight was my monthly book club. The discussion was on Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, which I enjoyed. The book takes a number of unexpected turns, and while the characters are not the most developed, the story is compelling, and they are after all figures in a tragedy. The discussion was polarized; some people found the writing cliché, the characters flat, the story melodramatic, while others found many of the scenes (including the radicalisation and the events in Karachi) quite plausible, the topic timely and interesting, and the writing engaging. There are provocative parallels with current politics, and a few others examined the book’s interesting re-interpretation of Antigone.

I didn’t drink at book club, though I’d started to avoid that this year after a few rants (one after Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City, which I loved, but in part it’s about Warhol, whom I don’t). At this point my longing for alcohol has gone. Even when we’re out, the desire for it is minimal, just a slight twinge when someone asks if I want anything from the bar. I’ve gotten used to the feeling now, and for the first time I can imagine a life completely without it. I think I’d be a better, wiser person. It’s good to know that it’s a mere month’s perseverence to break a fairly strong habit, though in fairness I had already mostly restricted myself to weekends this year.

Otherwise, I’m excited to have a site for my new endeavour to increase engagement, Through a Glass Darkly. Our new thinking is that we’ll spend a month or two on a broad question or topic, with people treating it from different angles and different areas of expertise. I’m looking forward to getting more people involved, and to the conversations to come.

Bryan Kam

I'm Bryan Kam. I'm thinking about complexity and selfhood. Please sign up to my newsletter, follow me on Mastodon, or see more here.