Posted on April 04 2018
Welcome to BooksActually's series of MBTI 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’s focus is the ISTP type (Introvert, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving). The ISTP Type are natural engineers – they love getting their hands dirty, understanding the world through firsthand experience, and building their own gadgets. Intellectual independence – the freedom to follow their sense of curiosity – is important to ISTPs. Despite their pragmatic streak, ISTPs often have an excellent sense of humor. They often enjoy jokes, although their love of horseplay may lead them to trample over social conventions at times.
Our two recommended titles this week both appeal to an ISTP’s love of bold humor and thoughtful wit. Buy these books through a discounted bundle here!
Book I: A Dog's Heart by Mikhail Bulgakov
Bulgakov’s novella should not be disdained for its short length – under its witty and entertaining exterior lies an ambitious work of masterful satire. Usually interpreted as a comment on Soviet Russia’s Communist revolution, the plot of A Dog’s Heart sounds absurd enough – in Moscow, a successful professor conducts a daring scientific investigation by grafting a dead man’s testicles onto a stray dog. What follows next is both amusing and pathetic, as the dog gradually transforms into an unscrupulous distortion of the New Soviet Man.
The humor within A Dog’s Heart is intensified through an unnerving dissonance between the ludicrous events that unfold and the deadpan voice used to describe them. Clearly a work of Russian literature, the distinct obsession with narcissism and self-pity is animated beautifully through dialogue. Ultimately, A Dog’s Heart is a read both agonizing and amusing, from its juxtaposition of animal nobility and human indignity, to its forceful images of bathos. Charming yet profound, it offers moments of recognition and reflection to every reader.
Some quotes from the book:
“Nobody should be whipped. Remember that, once and for all. Neither man nor animal can be influenced by anything but suggestion.”
“All the words he used in the beginning were gutter words. He heard them and stored them in his brain. Now, as I walk in the street, I look at dogs with secret horror. WHo knows what is hidden in their heads?”
“Kindness. The only possible method when dealing with a living creature. You'll get nowhere with an animal if you use terror, no matter what its level of development may be. That I have maintained, do maintain and always will maintain. People who think you can use terror are quite wrong. No, no, terror is useless, whatever its colour – white, red or even brown! Terror completely paralyses the nervous system.”
Book II: Loud Poems for a Very Obliging Audience by Ng Yi-Sheng
Loud Poems for A Very Obliging Audience is a compilation of some of Ng Yi-Sheng’s best spoken word pieces – created for and performed at numerous poetry slams, readings and theatrical events.
True to the title of this collection, the poems within are bold and unapologetic. They grapple lightheartedly with some of the hairiest themes in Singapore’s social landscape, ranging from queer rights to the Singaporean culture of stifling pragmatism, from unity amongst the races to the entitled attitudes of modern youths.
Within each line, be it ‘Aiyoh! Singapore is being attacked / By a fifty-foot pregnant lesbian!’, or ‘Singaporean men are just not sexy enough’, there is humor, grace, and courage enough.
Some quotes from the book:
"Listen up, Singapore! / If SDP doesn't have a gay agenda, / Never mind: I have one."
"Dear Citizens, / On behalf of the President of the Republic of Singapore, / On behalf of the Cabinet, the Members of Parliament, / The Ministers, Prime, Senior and Mentor, / On behalf of your CEOs, your middle managers, / Your bishops and muftis and guru pandits and cell group leaders, / On behalf of your parents, and the hundred generations that came before them, / I do hereby grant you the licence, / O citizens, / To be free."