Category Archives: Books

RIP, Larry

Larry Kramer has died. His obituary is here, but perhaps this eulogy by Matthew Lopez says more about him in this time of Covid-19. I have a copy of Kramer’s Reports from the Holocaust in the library, in which he … Continue reading

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Enigmatic, Elegaic, Extraordinary

It’s called “Tales From The Loop”. It has taken several forms: an art book, a role-playing game, and now a TV miniseries of eight episodes available on Amazon Prime Video. It’s a world that has emerged from the imagination of … Continue reading

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Climate Crisis

I see that the Guardian has updated its style guide to introduce terms that more accurately describe the environmental crises facing the world, using “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” and “global heating” instead of “climate change” and “global warming”. All … Continue reading

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Homage to Humanity

While I was in Deventer at the book market, I popped into Deventer’s largest bookshop to check out the new book by photographer Jimmy Nelson: Homage to Humanity. I already have a copy of his previous book Before They Pass … Continue reading

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The Deventer Book Market

The first Sunday in August sees a book market set up its stalls for one day of trading in the Dutch town of Deventer. This year marked the 31st time the book market has been held, and there were more … Continue reading

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Apocalypse Now?

The Guardian review of “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells has the subtitle “Enough to induce a panic attack…” I can attest to that. I started reading the book today on the train to Amsterdam, and got thoroughly depressed. Considering … Continue reading

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Steve Ditko

The Guardian reports today that Steve Ditko has died aged 90. He was one of the great comic book artists. I remember as a boy going round the corner to the newsagents in Walpole Avenue, in Douglas, Isle of Man, … Continue reading

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RIP Ursula

Damn. Ursula Le Guin has died. One of the greats who you would wish to go on forever. That task has now passed to her work. So that settles it, she will be read, and re-read for a very long … Continue reading

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RIP, Sheri

Learned today that the author Sheri S. Tepper has died. My favourite book of hers has to be The Family Tree. For almost two thirds of the book there are two very different plotlines intercut with each other. And then … Continue reading

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Now It’s Amazon’s Turn

I often castigate Microsoft here on the blog for their seemingly boneheaded decisions. Now it’s Amazon’s turn in the spotlight of shame. I’ve been using their Kindle app for Windows 8 ever since it was launched back in 2012; never … Continue reading

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Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

Ursula K. Le Guin is one of my favourite writers. The question: “where do you get your ideas from?” is the starting point for a wonderful essay and meditation on this question. Please follow the link and read it – … Continue reading

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Ireland Votes

This coming Friday, Ireland will be voting in a referendum to legalise same-sex marriage. I’d like to think that sanity will prevail, and that the vote will be “Yes”, but I shouldn’t underestimate the continuing power of the Catholic Church, … Continue reading

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Terry Pratchett has left.

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Visits to Dystopian Realms

My bedside table has a small pile of the books that I’m currently reading. I tend to switch between fiction and non-fiction books, but I noticed yesterday that I seem to have been on a run of fictional dystopias. It … Continue reading

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The World’s Most Important Operating System

I was saddened to learn today that Bill Hill died of a heart attack back in October 2012. Bill was a Scotsman who started out life as a newspaperman and became a typographer, but ended up working for Microsoft. In … Continue reading

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Ursula Le Guin

The woman who has fired my imagination for more than forty-five years has received the US National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In her acceptance speech she reaffirmed her power. A wonderful author and great human.

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Praise Indeed

David Mitchell’s new book The Bone Clocks is published today. I was knocked out by his Cloud Atlas and by The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, so I’m looking forward to reading the new book with great anticipation. I … Continue reading

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A Cataclysm Down Memory Lane…

Back in the early 1980s, I got to know William Clark, who was almost a father figure to my partner at the time. We would be frequent weekend visitors at William’s country retreat, a converted mill in the Oxfordshire village … Continue reading

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RIP, Clarissa

Clarissa Dickson Wright has died. The phrases: “larger than life” and “a true British eccentric” fitted her like gloves. It was almost 20 years ago that she, together with Jennifer Paterson (also, alas, dead) roared onto British TV with an … Continue reading

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The Streisand Effect in Action

In 2009, Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History was published by Penguin. It seems to have attracted the wrath of Hindu (male) chauvinists; to the extent that a lawsuit from the Hindu group Shiksha Bachao Andolan accusing Doniger … Continue reading

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