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Showing posts from October, 2018

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…

The Black Prince by Adam Roberts (adapted from an original script by Anthony Burgess)

As ever, when referring to a book purchased through crowd-funding publishers Unbound I can’t help but stick a plug for their super work right at the beginning.
It’s super, their work.
Own-trumpet-blowing-klaxxon, I have supported 25 of their various projects (26 if we include the one that sadly didn’t make it) and I implore anyone reading this to check them out and bung a few quid their way in support of some frankly excellent words which would never have found paper otherwise – very definitely liberating ideas.
A case in point – The Black Prince, from an original script idea and screenplay by Anthony Burgess, the originator of Ultra-violence and liberal thrower-around of stereotypical female characters, made flesh by science fiction and parody author Adam Roberts.
Having read only the one Burgess novel (yes, the one every bugger’s read) I can’t tell if Roberts does a good job of writing in Burgess’s voice and style or fails abjectly. I don’t know if it’s true to the origina…

Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

Things Bill Bryson’s book The Mother Tongue is:
WryAmusingFun to read
Things it certainly ain’t:
AccurateScholarlyResearched properly
If we are to believe his detractors, and I am inclined so to do, for reasons which follow, then he makes several serious factual errors through what is alleged to be his rather sketchy journalistic practice. He just doesn’t check his sources and follow up on hearsay. A cardinal sin, then, for a seasoned journalist.
The book is, however, serendipitous in one respect. I stumbled on an archived Reddit thread in which someone asked if it was worth reading, from the point of view of an amateur linguist, and for the most part the replies slated the book for Bryson’s sloppy practice of repeating commonly held misconceptions about word origins and so on. The big example is the oft-repeated ‘myth’ that Eskimos have 50 words for snow. However, this is a busted myth that actually needs the myth-busting busted.
Celebrated anthropologist Franz Boas was the man who ki…