Dogs: A Philosophical Guide To Our Best Friends by Mark Alizart

The Blurb On The Back:

Man’s best friend, domesticated since pre-historic times, a travelling companion for explorers and artists, thinkers and walkers, equally happy curled up by the fire and bounding through the great outdoors: dogs matter to us because we love them.  But is that all there is to the canine’s good-natured voracity and affectionate dependency?

Mark Alizart dispenses with the well-worn cliches concerning dogs and their masters, seeing them not as submissive pets but rather as unexpected life coaches, ready to teach us the elusive recipes for contentment and joy.  Dogs have faced their fate in life with a certain detachment that is not easy to understand.  Unlike other animals in a similar situation, they have not become hardened, nor have they let themselves die a little inside.  On the contrary, they seem to have softened.  This book is devoted to understanding this miracle, the miracle of the joy of dogs – to understanding it and, if at all possible, learning how it’s done.

Weaving elegantly and eruditely between historical myth and pop-culture anecdote, between the peculiar views of philosophers and the even more bizarre findings of science, Alizart offers us a surprising new portrait of the dog as thinker – a thinker who may perhaps know the true secret of our humanity. 

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Narcocapitalism by Laurent de Sutter

The Blurb On The Back:

What do the invention of anaesthetics in the middle of the nineteenth century, the Nazis’ use of cocaine, and the development of Prozac have in common?  The answer is that they’re all products of the same logic that defines out contemporary era: ‘the age of anaesthesia’.  Laurent de Sutter shows how large aspects of our lives are now characterised by the management of our emotions through drugs, ranging from the everyday use of sleeping pills to hard narcotics.  Chemistry has become so much a part of us that we can’t even see how much it has changed us.

In this era, being a subject doesn’t simply mean being subjected to powers that decide our lives: it means that our very emotions have been outsourced to chemical stimulation.  Yet we don’t understand why the drugs that we take are unable to free us from fatigue and depression, and from the absence of desire that now characterises our psycho-political condition.  We have forgotten what it means to be excited because our only excitement has become drug-induced.  We have to abandon the narcotic stimulation that we’ve come to rely on and find a way back to the collective excitement that is narcocapitalism’s greatest fear. 

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Three Days And A Life by Pierre Lemaitre

The Blurb On The Back:

Antoine is twelve years old.  His parents are divorced and he lives with his mother in Beauval, a small backwater town surrounded by forests, where everyone knows everyone’s business, and nothing much ever happens.  But in the last days of 1999, a series of events unfolds, culminating in the socking vanishing without trace of a young child.  The adults of the town are at a loss to explain the disappearance, but for Antoine, it all begins with the violent death of his neighbour’s dog.  From that one brutal act, his fate and the fate of his neighbour’s six year old son are bound forever.

In the years following Rémi’s disappearance, Antoine wrestles with the role his actions played.  As a seemingly inescapable net begins to tighten, breaking free from the suffocating environs of Beauval becomes a gnawing obsession.  But how far does he have to run, and how long will it take before his past catches up with him again? 

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