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."
Where I should be recovering from a particularly nasty stomach bug, rather I appear to be on a Percival Everett trip today - first Strom, now Damned - but he really is that good. Good as in read-everything-he's-written-now good. Good as in I'm writing this on my iPad never more than two meters from the nearest toilet good. That's good.
Damned If I Do is short stories, yes. That I have a curious relationship with short fiction is undisputed, but there are some like Breece D'J Pancake and Haruki Murakami that just have to be read, objections or no. Thankfully, it appears Everett has inherited some of their ability to write convincing, understated and ultimately addictive snippets of prose. And snippets they are. Somewhere I read once a quote from China Mielville where he says he just loves it when writers don't show the reader the monster in its entirety, that leaving something of the horror to the imagination of his audience adds a level of engagement and makes the …
I sit here, wearing my limited edition Knausgaard t-shirt, immensely grateful to the kind people at Vintage Books for their surprising gift of the first four novels (and aforementioned t-shirt) simply as a result of being able to post a comment on their YouTube Vlog. There may have been a hidden agenda, considering I'm a book blogger (What, interrobang, a book blogger, interrobang and so on...) but I prefer to believe they picked me at random. Because I'm ace. Nonetheless, I had no idea what to expect of these books. I did do a little reading, and found lots of very interesting articles about Karl Ove Knausgaard, including this entertaining one in the Wall Street Journal. But in all honesty, nothing prepared me for reading them, and I can see why they cause controversy and consternation wherever they are translated (which is pretty much everywhere). First off, being intelligent and perspicacious readers as I trust you all to be, you will no doubt have spotted the whole Godwin…
Ah, what would be a review penned by yours truly without some sort of grovelling apology at the outset? A better review no doubt, but that aside I can't help but continue the tiresome tradition with an apology. Sorry to my regular robotic readers (hi bots!) but I have been very neglectful of the blog of late, having been tied up with my pursuit of a broader spectrum of dilettantism; I've been taking part in a number of MOOCs offered by various HEIs on the FutureLearn platform. Worth checking out if you ask me.
(Subtle enough plug, you think?) Anyway, the break afforded by a foray into further education has proved something of a test for Jasper Gibson and his fiction. In truth, it took me a little while to remember what exactly the novel was about, who was in it, and how I felt about the whole thing. Instant alarm bells. Of course, having had a break, I'd had a good crack at filling my head with a whole bunch of other things worth remembering, so maybe it all just got squeeze…
*Shame Klaxon* I am ashamed to admit it but I know next to nothing about Borges. I know the names of his books. I know he crops up almost without fail when conversations include literature from South America. I know his words book-end so many novels that I have that habitual proving-my-bold-assertion-mind-blankness which means my brain knows it to be true and won't humour your scepticism with an example*. And I know it's likely the biggest single lacuna in my entire reading history**. So you may imagine my lack of surprise, on finishing this novel and reading the afterword by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, lecturer at Birkbeck College, London, and author of works on the history and politics of Latin America, that Borges pops up, within three lines of text. Three lines! He wastes no time does Oscar. Of course, my shame bristled and I was ready to adopt the usual casual hostility to something of which I was ignorant. But straight away, I understood what he was saying. I have often consid…