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Procrastination Corner: Editors’ Top Picks #4

Every fortnight the Tharunka editorial team compiles the best media we’ve been avoiding and/or complementing our studies with. Have fun!

Books 

Axel: The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992) is, if you’ll excuse a broadly Germanic swearword, a fucking phenomenal novel. It’s set at a fictional liberal arts university in New England and basically a bunch of Ancient Greek students get way too involved in their field of study and people die for it. Which, in assessment time, is a mood. This is my second time reading it, and it’s amazing – the writing is so rich and it’s just at that cusp of pretentiousness where I’m pretty sure it’s a satire, but then it might be genuine, who knows, and it’s a fun time.

Henry: I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1950). I’ve always been a fan of the simultaneous clarity and subversiveness with which Asimov weaves insights from philosophy and metaethics into his science fiction stories. It’s astonishing that this compilation of stories was written just years after the Second World War, well before anything resembling modern computers. In particular, ‘Evidence’ is about a principled lawyer defeating a dangerous populist in an election for public office. ‘The Evitable Conflict’ is a reflection on what priorities we want to programme into our algorithms, and how they might get away from us. 70 years on, these early thought experiments are somehow even more relevant than ever. 

Jack: Book 3 of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura. A poem about the nature of the universe, written by Roman poet in lovely dactylic hexameters. Wonderfully esoteric and experimental in its language. 

Jo: Still reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and oh boy is it a slog. #GirlBoss  

Movies/TV shows

Jo: I May Destroy You, an incredibly moving (and incredibly intense) 12-part series about sexual assault and consent, is the brainchild of British actress/ writer/ director. producer Michaela Coel, known for her previous show Chewing Gum. An unmissable piece of TV, although obviously please note a heavy trigger warning for sexual assault.

Axel: Shakespeare and Hathaway (currently available for free on ABC iview) is such a fun time. It’s a relatively standard crime show, but like, wholesome. Frank Hathaway and Lu Shakespeare are private investigators in an unrealistically beautiful part of London, where absolutely everything is linked in some way to William Shakespeare. Their secretary/assistant/resident undercover spy, Sebastian, is a recent Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts graduate, and each episode he goes undercover in various costumes and accents before returning to being a quaint little drama queen of a twink, and honestly he’s a mood.

Podcasts/Music

Jo:  Currently falling asleep every night to the Normal People score by Stephen Rennicks. The piano heavy music is so soft and sweet and feels like falling in love. https://open.spotify.com/album/3WsKQ06VJYFnl5msx295V9?si=-fvE25qMSDyoWMlcFxnO0g

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