What is "Metaliterature"? It is literature about literature, in this case, views, reviews, and thoughts provoked by stuff I've read. I'm hoping this might be a chronicle of the brain of a life-long reader as guided by intertextual coincidence. If you like what you read, read what I like.
Currently domiciled in the Vale of Glamorgan.
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If you can save any of them, my books can be found at Oxfam, Albany Road, Cardiff.
I am moved. Both in the literal, location-swapping sense and in the lesser used (by me) "Jimminy-H-Cricket What Have I Done?!" emotional meaning.
Gone is the old, mouldy and crumbling but generously proportioned flat, replete with ample bookshelves and free-standing storage facilities plus laundry room and three (count 'em, three!) toilets. Our new abode is the snug, warm, dry conveniently located two bed terraced house of our dreams, with one minor** drawback - no space for our combined collected (and also slightly mouldy) reading history.
I clearly hadn't thought this through. When packing books into boxes (many, many boxes) we paid no heed to the relative floor spaces of future and erstwhile dwellings, including whether there would actually be enough space to unload the boxes, let alone unpack them. Once the move was under way, it quickly became apparent that once the furniture was in place, boxes of books would not fit. Not that many anyway. Therefore, I spent a very cold and miserable evening in the back of the transit opening boxes and dividing books into discrete piles:
5) Advanced proofs (not for resale or distribution)
The horror etc.
It transpires that only 1 in 7 books made it into piles one and two, a state of affairs which took me by surprise. I had expected it to be much, much more difficult to select books that I would not keep, and indeed, piles three and four were growing alarmingly quickly. Pile five was also on the colossal side.
In fact, once the task was done, I felt a strange kind of relief bordering on the cathartic. My wife was the same once she wielded Occam's Razor on her collection.In the end we managed to accommodate our entire remaining combined collection in two wall alcoves in our downstairs living/dining rooms (floor to ceiling naturally). What the fuck we do with new books is a question I will not entertain until it arises (probably in about 30 minutes time when I accidentally browse some of my favourite independent book retailers' websites).
Zombie sex abounds.
So, if you're near Oxfam on Albany Road in Cardiff, it might be worth your while to pop in and see if they actually put my near complete Cartlon Mellick III collection on sale. I can confidently predict that Baby Jesus Butt Plug might be a difficult sale in a Christian charity shop. Incidentally, if you pick up anything with a dedication "To Gareth", I would also like to apologise if the author has followed it up with any personalised abuse. Or, in the case of Rolf Harris, a Rolf-a-roo.
Lastly, I am left only to say that normal service will resume shortly. As predicted my original time frame was overly ambitious, and it is likely that Christmas will pass before the next review appears. Thank you for accepting my hiatus and coming back to read more. You will not**** be disappointed.
*NB The post title has absolutely nothing to do with the album Triumphant Return from the Christian metal band Whitecross, released on January 31, 1989 which reached #13 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Christian Albums chart and also won a Dove Award for Hard Music Album of the Year for 1989. I have no time for Christian metal.
**Only minor if I were to follow my own advice, and that of the Bible*** in so far as it's time to put away childish things - which the informed reader will clearly understand means MAJOR
***Sorry to any secular readers for the continued Christian references. They are accidental and in no way represent my own views on spirituality and organised religion, which are mired in a gleeful and sadistic ignorance. As Father Jack might say, "That would be an ecumenical matter."
Many (many) years ago, when I first read War With The Newts, after scouring the Waterstones' internal database (whimsically named Ibid, and from which one could print the details of books onto the till roll in light- and so it seems, time-sensitive purple ink which, on the inches thick ream of leaves I printed for future perusal, faded within a few months rendering my catalogued wish list so much locker mulch) for authors with a suitably Czech-sounding name, having put away an entrée of my first slim Hrabal, a palate-cleansing Kundera and in need of a meaty Moravian main course, I think I might have completely and totally missed just how funny it was, bloated as I was by the doughy and Victorian-sounding translation and the rather unlikely ideation of the future political terroir of mankind and their unusual amphibian slaves and, latterly, sappers, the newts.
How's that for a sentence David Foster Wallace? INTERROBANG.
Well, there's no chance that Čapek's typically Czech…
Trav is back, still grieving the loss of some chickadee or other whose death almost knocked him off his game, but not too shook up to set himself up with a few more lucky lovelies whilst tripping his way through another overly complicated and rather sordidly underwhelming plot. This time, some bikers are making dirty movies with minors on the set of a future classic hot-air-balloon movie. Travis falls into the action because a rich old geyser carks it in unusual circumstances and it affects the trust fund of a former marina-mate. And hirsute intellectual Meyer wets his pants towards the end.
You may sense a fatigued, sardonic note in my precis. It's not that I don't still love John D., it's just that after embarking on the long game that is reading the entire Travis McGee oeuvre, I'm approaching the end and it feels long overdue. It's been fun, it's been enlightening, but it's also been a schlep. With the realisation I might now have fewer years left to me …
If there was a comfort-food version of a book for me, then this would be it. It's funny, touching, humanistic, and features so many quotable quotes that its trim 120 pages could be represented in its entirety on some such authors' quotations page.
We're introduced to Tiny on the occasion of his mother's death, lured into a treacherously fatal situation by, of all things, a duck, while her 4-year-old son sleeps in the car where he wakes to a terrifying solitude. Meanwhile, we're treated to a potted but entertaining history of Granddaddy Jake, Tiny's grandfather, into whose care by fair means or foul (no pun intended) he is finally placed. But the titular Fup duck comes along only once Tiny is fully grown (and how!). A lost and lonely duckling, much like Tiny, she's discovered shivering in a freshly dug post hole, which betrays the attention paid to it by Tiny's nemesis, a wild hog called Lockjaw, who enjoys tearing up Tiny's fences just as much as he …