Friday, 27 March 2015

The Race

(March 2015)

I came into this book almost completely blind, buying it simply on the back of its appearance on this year’s shortlists for both The Kitschies and the BSFA Awards and the reasonable cost of the ebook edition (price-point matters, kids!). I think I lucked out massively in this regard, because the less you know about this going in the better. However, it’s almost impossible to talk about without spoilers, so why don’t you track yourself down a copy and come back once you’ve had a chance to read? There are dogs in it, if that helps.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

She Weeps Each Time You’re Born

(March 2015)

This is very good. The obvious point of comparison is Midnight’s Children, in that it’s also a magical realist novel in which a mystical child offers a prism through which to view the inevitably traumatic business of colonial separation and the ensuing intranational turmoil of independence, but in Vietnam and not India and, well… Better.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Friday, 6 March 2015

A Cunning Plan


Unexpurgated minutes there from the most recent meeting of Prime Minister Abe’s Senior Advisory Panel.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Elements of Eloquence

(February 2015)

A pleasingly concise and accessible catalogue of rhetorical figures. While occasionally slightly too pleased with itself in the way that only expensively educated Englishmen of a certain age (and the texts they produce) can be, its underlying message that anyone can be taught to produce a decent turn of phrase is something I can definitely get behind. Would make a nice twofer with You Talkin’ to Me? as a starter set on oratory and persuasion. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

(February 2015)

I really think that Yiyun Li might be my favourite short story writer, and it’s not like that’s a field where competition is thin on the ground. As with Gold Boy, Emerald Girl I find myself fruitlessly casting around for something intelligent to say in order to express just how good this is, and failing utterly. GB,EG might just shade it, to be honest, but that’s such a high bar that even coming close enough to fall short is a significant achievement.

Friday, 20 February 2015

After Me Comes the Flood

(February 2015)

Starts strong but fades a little, though is all the while executed in the most beautifully, transparently opaque prose, which is a ridiculous oxymoron but I can’t think of anything more apt. I know what I mean.

Monday, 2 February 2015

The Wicked + The Divine / Sex Criminals

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie ,et al, 2014
Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky, et al, 2014
(January 2015)

A double header this time, featuring two of the more buzz-inducing new comics of recent months. It is, of course, grossly unfair to compare them to each other simply because they turned up in the same Amazon shipment, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do here. I am a fickle and capricious god, as all worthwhile ones are.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Sound of the Mountain

(January 2015)

“Bad books on writing tell you to "WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW", a solemn and totally false adage that is the reason there exist so many mediocre novels about English professors contemplating adultery.”
-Joe Haldeman