I’m kind of fascinated by the First World War, which I think of as a catastrophe unparalleled for its combination of massive scale and utter pointlessness. I particularly recommend Adam Hochschild’s book To End All Wars, one of the most fascinating history books I’ve ever read; and Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory is a film I can always watch again, as is Paul Gross’s Passchendaele. I’m commemorating the centennial of the war’s inception by listening to music of George Butterworth (1885-1916), who, as far as I know, was the most well-known composer who died fighting in it, leading his men in the Battle of the Somme. Although tomorrow I’ll probably also listen to the lovely Fourth Symphony of Albéric Magnard (1865-1914), who died when his house was burned by German soldiers. I have kind of a thing about works written during that war as well, such as the Concord Sonata, Socrate, and The Planets.