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Showing posts from August, 2011

Books of Note

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Not surprisingly, like a lot of John Darnielle’s music, particularly those songs on the album The Sunset Tree (Pale Green Things springs to mind and is very much worth listening to), his writing only slowly reveals itself and its narrative direction. Not in any turgid or tedious fashion, but rather in an unhurried, gentler and more thoughtful way. Universal Harvester rolls gently along its path with only a few disconcerting and probably deliberate hiccups. It starts in Iowa in the 1990s with a young man, still living at home with his father but unable to leave because of the weight of his mother’s death, years before, in a car crash. The trauma tethers Jeremy and his father together like the gravitational pull of a dead star in a comfortable and predictable but numb orbit, but it’s never something that either of them can discuss openly.
Jeremy works at a VHS rental store, so we’re assuredly early-Worldwide Web era. His job is simple, repetitive, and keeps him and his father in entertai…

Darker Than Amber by John D. McDonald *SPOILER ALERT!*

I was looking about the internet, bookless as I was at the time, for the line that opens this particular Travis McGee novel (#7 no less). For those who are interested, it starts "We were just about to give up and call it a night when somebody dropped the girl off the bridge". However, I found the most entertaining review, positively apoplectic in its febrile biliousness, posted on a random websitewhich rather than make me blanche at the suggestions I enjoyed reveling in the debasement of women by proxy, made me want to tell everyone about it. Therefore, rather than come up with my own rather insipid review, I've nicked this one instead. Full credits go to Amanda, whoever she is, and if she should stumble across this wholesale theft, perhaps she'll get in touch and I can tell her how much fun I had reading it. Enjoy.

's review
Jul 15, 11
bookshelves: crap
Read from July 10 to 15, 2011


Holy shit snacks. I can't believe I read the whole thing.

First off, let&…

Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt

Unfortunately it's been that long since I've been motivated enough (or not distracted sufficiently) to attempt to deal with the once again steadily increasing backlog of paper currently causing my wife to slowly begin hating the sight of my face, that I've nearly forgotten just what it was I wanted to tell people about the late Tony Judt and his "thought-provoking polemic" (thanks Chris Patten c/o The Observer). I'm sure it was considered and erudite whilst lacking succinctness, as is most of the dribble currently blotting my online copy book.

Of course, temporal distance is not the only problem. For what Judt does in his collection of related essays (or is it one long essay? Damn those extra tequilas of my misbegotten youth and their brain-cell damaging fun) is basically moan about what's wrong in the world, harping on about developing a new discourse that allows Americans to join in the debate surrounding representative forms of governance and their imp…