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Showing posts from January, 2014

Books of Note

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Yah, yah, I know, I’ve been lollygaggin’ and work-shyin’ and leaving all my lovely spammers in Tamil Nadu with nothing on which to post spam but old reviews. I’ve not even been all that busy, except when it comes to slapping on weight and destroying some neural connections, both of which I’ve done with glazed-eyed indifference and robotic monotony. Still, I feel I owe it to GDR to at least put Shantaram to bed before I buy (whoops, sorry, already done) and read his next book, The Mountain Shadow, which even now is winging its way to my door by the magic of Amazon Prime Same Day DeliveryTM.
It turns out that GDR was indeed a bit of a knob. He robbed building societies in Australia, always dressed in a three-piece suit and minding his Ps & Qs, and only targeting those with adequate insurance. How he knew which did and didn’t have adequate insurance is not mentioned. On the back of this, or maybe it was the other way around, his wife kicked him out and he lost contact with his only da…

31 by Calum Kerr

I’m a man (Gasp! What?) who likes to think I can try anything and be relatively good at it within a few tries, chess notwithstanding. Take Old English – On ðam ðriddan dæge gesceop se ælmihtiga God sæ and eorðan and ealle eorðlice spryttinga. Heh? Heh? Okay, that was just copying and pasting from Abbott Aelfric’s De Temporibus Anni but I do know what it means, both literally and idiomatically, and without the need for a glossary or dictionary. Also, I can play several versions of an E minor chord on the ukulele, without ever having been taught to do it properly.
I know, I know, I’m wasted in administration. At ease.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, I have considered, blithely so it must be said, that trying something like NaNoWriMo or, in a more contemporaneous context, whatever it is that the flash fiction version is called (I forget), would be simple to do, after a few tries. However, I did once do the maths on writing 50,000 words in a month, and was rather off-put by numbers like 1667 (wo…

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being A Prawn Cracker by Will Self

I do love Penguin. Or, rather, Penguin Random House. No, actually, it’s more accurate to say I love Penguin.  I love Penguin Classics (even the dubious honour bestowed upon Mr Morrissey’s black cover classic), I love the Great Ideas series, of which I had nearly all before the Purge of 2012 (I kept Hazlitt’s On The Pleasure Of Hating and Russell’s In Praise of Idleness of course), and I love the new Penguin Shorts/Specials to which Self’s parodically titled …Prawn Cracker belongs. Great writing, quickly read, easily stored, lovingly recalled. It doesn’t get much better or easier than that, eh?
BUT… Is it just me, or is it hard to believe that Will Self eats at Pizza Express?
In reaction perhaps to the glut of restaurant reviews, dialling themselves up to 11 with tales of repasts of baby octopus in Pimentón de la Vera paprika smoke chez El Celler de Can Roca, Self took it upon himself to chronicle the eateries of Common Men, disclaiming a lack of olfactory discrimination (due to the exce…

Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan