Posted on May 10 2018
Welcome to BooksActually's series of promotions, centering about the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types. Each week, we will upload reviews for 2 recommended reading titles targeting a specific personality type.
This week, our focus is on the INTP type (Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving). INTPs are quiet, introspective souls who pride themselves on their intellect. Logical and insightful thinkers, they love ideas and tend to be bookworms. Often lost in their own thoughts and imaginations, INTPs can appear dreamy and detached in day-to-day life.
This week, we are recommending two titles that appeal to an INTP’s need to reflect on and understand the world around them. Both are deeply philosophical works that frame our world – be it nature or society – through new perspectives. Buy them through a discounted bundle here!
Book I: The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino
Italo Calvino’s The Complete Cosmicomics is a collection of charming and diverse short stories. Each is preluded by a short snippet of ‘scientific’ fact: something as innocuous as “At one time, according to Sir George H. Darwin, the Moon was very close to the Earth.” From these sparse facts, Calvino weaves a dream-world of fantastic cosmologies and distorted Physics – “There were nights when the Moon was full and very, very low, and the tide was so high that the Moon missed a ducking in the sea by a hair's-breadth; well, let's say a few yards anyway. Climb up on the Moon? Of course we did. All you had to do was row out to it in a boat and, when you were underneath, prop a ladder against her and scramble up.”
The stories are diverse in scope – from tales set in a time before time, to the perspectives of a mollusc, to a series of nostalgic musings on the nature of signs and language. Though inspired by dry fact, Calvino’s powerful storytelling brings each abstract concept to life through his inventiveness and humour. Every story is narrated by a mysterious, semi-anthropomorphic ancient alien. Somehow, without even employing a single human character, Calvino has managed to weave a profound narrative that celebrates the human experiences of discovery, creation and wonder.
Some quotes from the book:
“I knew that signs also allow others to judge the one who makes them, and that in the course of a galactic year tastes and ideas have time to change, and the way of regarding the earlier ones depends on what comes afterwards; in short, I was afraid a sign that now might seem perfect to me, in two hundred or six hundred million years would make me look absurd.”
“If one starts to draw comparisons between what is and what is not, it is the poorer qualities of the former that strike you, the impurities, the flaws; in short, you can only really feel safe with nothingness.”
Book II: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange is set within a nightmarish vision of humanity’s future, and seems to take place in an eternal night. Within this darkness violence dominates the streets, the young prey on the old, and the state emerges to be as morally corrupt as the people beneath it.
A Clockwork Orange is told through the eyes of Alex, an anti-heroic youth who gleefully robs, rapes and slaughters while guiding us through the ominous social landscape. The story accelerates towards a problematic form of moral habilitation inflicted upon him by the state, after which he morphs from the roles of criminal to victim, from butcher to prey.
Alex narrates his exploits not in our familiar English, but in Nadsat, a teenage slang that borrows strongly from the Russian language. Through Nadsat, the book’s linguistic landscape becomes as surreal, harsh and ambiguous as its social one.
Some quotes from the book:
“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?”
“Oh it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder. Oh, it was wonder of wonders. And then, a bird of like rarest spun heavenmetal, or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now, came the violin solo above all the other strings, and those strings were like a cage of silk round my bed. Then flute and oboe bored, like worms of like platinum, into the thick thick toffee gold and silver. I was in such bliss, my brothers.”