Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Triumphant Return Appendix 1

Bless you lovely people. I had a response from a reader to my previous post asking me which authors made the cut and survived the purge, and which were sent to the Gulag. So, in answer, in alphabetical order here are some of the authors whose books were deemed indispensible.

Paul Auster, Nicholson Baker, John Barth, Thomas Bernhard, T.C. Boyle, Richard Brautigan, Italo Calvino, Jonathan Carroll, Stephen Donaldson, Glen Duncan, Umberto Eco, Tibor Fischer, Richard Flanagan, Joseph Heller, W.F. Hermans, Bohumil Hrabal, Ismail Kadare, John D MacDonald (unread ones), Harry Mulisch, Ryu Murakami (selected), Cees Nooteboom, Viktor Pelevin, Thomas Pynchon, Jon Ronson, Will Self, Natsume Sōseki, Mark Twain, Kurt (and Mark) Vonnegut.

On reflection, I appear to be a serial literary misogynist, or, for the sake of my own vanity, whatever word is next down the taxonomical hierarchy of hate from misogyny. I did have some novels by women, I’m sure, but then they went to charity / the recycling bin so I’m not really able to defend myself with any robustness. I hope this answers your question.
The Voyage of Somebody
The Sailor by John Barth
Tortilla Curtain by Tom Coraghessan Boyle

The Concert by Ismail Kadare
I Am A Cat by
Natsume 
Sōseki
Deep Blue Goodbye
by John D MacDonald



Monday, 10 December 2012

Triumphant Return*

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:

2) Yet to read (try to accommodate)
3) Easily replaced (to re-buy once space allows)
4) Rubbish (off to the Charity shop!)
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). 

The Baby Jesus Butt Plug
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."

**** [INSERT PREDICTABLE SELF-DEPRECATING JOKE HERE]