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I’ve gone off fiction. That is a sweeping statement, so perhaps I should hedge my bets and clarify a little. I’ve gone of gritty, realistic fiction; set in the real world, with tight storylines, credible characters and tragedy anticipated in every page. They do not have the grip that I could rely on to be evoked by such works. I say this as someone who consumed Tom Clancy popcorn by the thousand page load.

My taste is developing a more escapist bent. I wish to read more alien works, things that are so distant from Earth that they become avenues to open the mind, not to explore the grim steps of mans mortal path. I suspect that JRR Tolkien is partially to blame, but I have had a strong interest in science fiction for a long time, and having last year read a huge pile of Drizzt et al, the trend has perhaps been accelerating. It will be a matter of finding the right quality of fantasy and science fiction writers.

The gap has been filled by non-fiction for now. For the first time in a long time, the UN Security Council, and institution I used to be obsessed with as a geeky MUNer has regained some interest for me, and I have been putting the vast archives of HKU to good use to supply me with some materials to build up my understanding of its role, decisions, actors, informal organisation and limitations again. The Public International Law course at Kings actually turned out to be of some use, as what could have been a demanding text which fuses many concepts of international law and institutional practice is instead quite easy sailing.

The other alternative that I have been contemplating is a return to philosophy. I spent a long time in the second year, especially at its end in reading what are the fundamental works. I worked my way through a substantial chunk of Plato’s dialogues, and though I wouldn’t pretend to remember them, I had the foresight to take, and hang on to, decent notes, which makes the dialogues substantially more accessible to me then they would have been otherwise at the second time around. I’m not entirely sure I’ll return to philosophy, but I may be inclined that way, and I shall see as it were whether I go that way again or not.

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