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Showing posts from March, 2014

Books of Note

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Not surprisingly, like a lot of John Darnielle’s music, particularly those songs on the album The Sunset Tree (Pale Green Things springs to mind and is very much worth listening to), his writing only slowly reveals itself and its narrative direction. Not in any turgid or tedious fashion, but rather in an unhurried, gentler and more thoughtful way. Universal Harvester rolls gently along its path with only a few disconcerting and probably deliberate hiccups. It starts in Iowa in the 1990s with a young man, still living at home with his father but unable to leave because of the weight of his mother’s death, years before, in a car crash. The trauma tethers Jeremy and his father together like the gravitational pull of a dead star in a comfortable and predictable but numb orbit, but it’s never something that either of them can discuss openly.
Jeremy works at a VHS rental store, so we’re assuredly early-Worldwide Web era. His job is simple, repetitive, and keeps him and his father in entertai…

The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth

It’s three o’clock on a weekday which can mean only one, two, three things – it’s already many hours since I stopped caring about work, it’s time for a dandelion and burdock tea, and I can’t keep my mind on any one thing for more than five minutes. Plus, ooh is that a butterfly?

Therefore, what better way to fill up the time I should be spending deep in thought on the administration of pedagogical matters than to write a review of a book I’ve been reading? None, I tell you!
So it seems I’m back to pimping out the lead titles of the Unbound crowd-funding chappies once more. I have no qualms about this because, being short of memory and attention span, it’s really rather brilliant to become excited about a new book, only to forget about it for a few months, then have that excitement reignited by the email telling me it’s funded and off to the printers. The subsequent return to the fog of memory for that period between printing and publication makes the inevitable delivery as glorious as t…