Final point on this, he’s interesting (Antonio Gramsci):
Hey Lou, he wasn’t pro or anti anyone in particular. He was a US citizen for over 10 years before the Iraq conflict. He argued that Saddam needed to be removed.
Ironically now though, the big bad people … ISIS are Saddam’s ex military guys. It’s a mad world.
Was reading though ‘Fast Food Nation’ whilst on holiday. Only made it about halfway through as there’s a lot to, well… digest, as it were. Some of the points are a little laboured but many of the stats, figures and scenarios it details are staggering.
Also plowed through ‘V For Vendetta’. I’ve loved the film ever since it was released so it was about time I read the source material. I found some of the artwork a little too dark and lacking detail, and V’s florid grasp of the English language is perhaps a little OTT. Otherwise it’s amongst the very best graphic novels I’ve encountered.
Just finished Empire of the Sun. I saw the film many years ago although couldnt remember much about it. I was enoying the read until I found out that Ballard was interred with his parents. In the book they are separated thoughout the war and only reunited at the end. I know it wasnt completely autobiographical but that threw me. He said later that he felt disassociated from them and perhaps that is why he didnt include them in the story. If I were his parents I would have been gutted after reading the book. I need to see the film again now because I am sure it also had a different emphasis.
I suppose that as the story follows the real lives of Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji - one the author of Sherlock Holmes, the other a British-Parsi Solicitor who was the victim of an unsafe conviction, the ending was already provided to Barnes.
I like Julain Barnes and enjoying the winding way in which he tells a story, but trying to do that with something that was so heavily tied to reality felt a little strained at times. But he cleverly told the different life stories in alternating chapters and left you wondered how their lives would actually come to meet.
George Edalji was sentenced to 3 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He was the victim of the racist attitudes of the day, and was assumed by the judge to have behaved in a savage way because he wasn’t a true Englishman. Conan Doyle championed his case and was successful in getting Edalji’s conviction annulled - but not pardoned. Conan Doyle approached the Edalji case in the same way that he made Holmes approach a case in his books.
It’s well worth a read.
One of the best books I have read is The Dead the Dying and the Dammed by DJ Hollands
I just found it very moving .
Back on 1984, brilliant book.
That’s not how you wash a squirrel by David Thorne of 26/b fame - blood wonderful read and signed copy to boot
River of Gods by Ian McDonald.
Sci Fi set in near future India. Makes a good change from US/Anglo centric SciFi.
Also has some particularly perverse sex involving knotted silk scarves and anal fisting.
Finished “a last fire” more a novelette by Nik Speller. I met his girlfriend when I was travelling.
Now half way through Ayoade on Ayoade.
Ayoade on Ayoade was a bit bonkers. Finished The Dressmaker and The Danish Girl whilst away. The Danish Girl is interesting in that it’s losely based on a true story of one of the early transgender man to women operations in the early 1930s but felt I’d prefer to have read the true story rather than it being fictioned up. The Dressmaker turned out to be forgetable after about 2 days.
Bonkers but worth a read? I realy like the guy but ntereted in your opinion
Currently reading A Shepherds Crown by the late Sir Terry Pratchett. Taken a while to muster the fortitide to read it and 'm sure many a tear will be spilt over the pages.
I am unashamed to say I loved that man and found his writing , at times, second to none. It is bitingly satirical, beautifully observed and wickedly astute. To assume its all ghouls and goblins is just plain wrong. If you haven’t picked up a book of his for a while any of the Moist Von Lipwig books are well worth a read
Clothes, Music, Boys by Viv Albertine (of The Slits fame)
Worth reading just for the graphic description of masturbation on the 1st page.
I love Ayoade but maybe a bit too surreal for me whlist on holiday. Needed something a little lighter. It is him interviewing himself but not in a conventional sense. I downloaded it on Kindle so sure I didn’t spend a large amount for it sonworth a look. I think reviews have said it is for true fans.
Silk Roads: A New History of the World, Peter Frankopan
Europe isn’t all that. Until Columbus’ voyage opened up the America for Europeans to exploit, we were a virtual fucking backwater compared to the true centre of the Earth; Asia. Even now, when the myth of the European story has come to dominate world history, we’re still hugely reliant on our “silk roads”, to the extent where we are still getting into, or still at war with people over them.
This book then, is a history of the world which follows trade and traders, and examines huge historical events with that in mind. The chapter about the German invasion of the Soviet Union is called “The Road to Wheat”, for example. This resource driven work gains something as a result; a degree of detachment and indifference to the accepted places of major powers. It isn’t perfect; a book with this much scope is never going to be, but personally, it has changed my thinking on a number of things. I was always someone that suspected that the West was only half the story, but it’s nice to know why.
Don’t think there are too many histories written from this perspective, so it’s worth checking out for that alone.
I am currently in Coinsins in Switzerland, although next week I will be in Reading… what? Oh soz folks, reading not Reading…I get it now.
I am currently reading the New Chris Brookmyre, Black Widow
SAnyone noe familiar with his work should check out his back catalogue -wit and satire in a criminal world and a real talent - think a Scottish Carl Hiaasen but with added bite.
Currently reading Going To Sea In A Sieve by Danny Baker. He is the same age as my young brother and also grew up in SE London as we did so his book about life in the 70s London brings back many memories. The tv series was based on the book.
The Goldfinch, Donna Tarrt.