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."
Argh, Neil Gaiman blah blah, waffle waffle, and so on. There, that’s out of the way. I can’t help but equate the resurgence in popularity of the Norse mythos, Icelandic sagas, and Skaldic and Eddic poetry in all their new televisual, literal and figurative forms, to the similarly resurgent popularity of comic-book- and super-heroes. In fact, they’re two sides of the same interrogative coin: one asks, “How did we get here?” whereas the other asks, “Who can save us?” for the world needs heroes, and people to blame. I will leave it up to you to project your own personal Them into the nice Them-shaped gap that leaves behind. You may think it very necessary and timely to have brought out such a book. Alternatively, you may be suffering from hero-fatigue and see it as all a bit unnecessary. Or you may have been seduced by the big hammer on the cover and the lovely tactile matt-finish cover. In any case and in my own humble opinion, other than talk William Warder Norton into springing for a lov…
I can hold nothing against or up to either Neil Gaiman or the late Terry Pratchett. In respect of their fans and their work, my problems are mine and mine alone. In general, both are of the highest standard. In context however, I can only judge Pratchett’s early work, such as Truckers, The Carpet People (currently reading to my four-and-nine-tenths year old who is loving it) and The Light Fantastic etc. (all of which I enjoyed as a very young teenager). Post-Carpe Jugulum I have read exactly diddly squat, and the stage plays and TV adaptations have passed me by without so much as a flicker of interest. Whereas Gaiman continues to intrigue, chipping away at my natural scepticism with his charm and wit and style and great children’s books, and I did enjoy Stardust the movie, for the most part because of Robert De Niro, and also in spite of Ricky Gervais. Of course, were they to collaborate on a novel (not De Niro and Gervais; that would be one to avoid), then I would expect the world to…
Before you start, read this disclaimer: Fans of Neil Gaiman beware – I don’t tolerate you very well,
despite counting myself amongst you. It’s nothing personal (about you – it’s
very personal to me), and I believe it’s Neil’s own fault for being such a very
good writer. Please read on through the fan-bashing to the bit about the book.
Neil Gaiman is an annoyance to me. I really (REALLY) liked American Gods but found that as soon as
I mentioned this fact to anyone, I got one of two responses: nose-turned-up
snobbery of the most scornful sort, or sickeningly gushing über-fanaticism, if
that isn’t tautological. I don’t know which is worse. The snobs I can dismiss
as most will be operating within the conceit that Gaiman is fantasy and
therefore unworthy of further study or consideration – they are very unlikely
to have ready anything by the author. The fans, though, start dribbling on and
on about the time they met him in Bath Waterstone’s or how much better he is
than the Latin …