Archive for the 'literature' Category

Fame at last

February 1, 2009

I am published! This article really annoyed me, so I sent a letter into the Guardian, and they published it. I didn’t even think to check yesterday, but my brother texted me this morning to ask if it was me.

Fame at last!


Books meme

May 15, 2008

What better way to start blogging again than with a list? From Hedgehog Librarian, via Jennie Law, a Library Thing books meme. This list shows what a quitter I am when it comes to the really huge classics, and my lack of knowledge of Dickens novels. The annotation is below, from hedgehog Librarian’s original post- one quibble with that is that with lots of the books I didn’t finish it wasn’t so much that I “couldn’t”, more that I could no longer be bothered or just started reading something else. If anyone else fancies doing this, leave a comment below so we can compare notes!

“Below are the top 106 books tagged “unread” in LibraryThing.

The rules:

Bold what you have read, italicize books you’ve started but couldn’t finish, and strike through books you hated. Add an asterisk to those you’ve read more than once. Underline those on your To Be Read list.”

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Anna Karenina

Crime and Punishment


One hundred years of solitude

Wuthering Heights

The Silmarillion

Life of Pi: a novel

The Name of the Rose

Don Quixote

Moby Dick


Madame Bovary

The Odyssey

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Eyre

A Tale of Two Cities

The Brothers Karamazov

Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies

War and Peace

Vanity Fair

The Time Traveller’s Wife

The Iliad


The Blind Assassin

The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway

Great Expectations

American Gods

A heartbreaking work of staggering genius

Atlas shrugged

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Memoirs of a Geisha



Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West

The Canterbury Tales

The Historian

A portrait of the artist as a young man

Love in the time of cholera

Brave new world

The Fountainhead

Foucault’s Pendulum



The Count of Monte Cristo


A clockwork orange

Anansi Boys

The Once and Future King

The Grapes of Wrath

The Poisonwood Bible


Angels & Demons

The Inferno

The Satanic Verses

Sense and sensibility

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Mansfield Park

One flew over the cuckoo’s nest

To the Lighthouse

Tess of the D’Urbevilles

Oliver Twist

Gulliver’s Travels

Les misérables

The Corrections

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time


The Prince

The Sound and the Fury

Angela’s Ashes

The God of Small Things

A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present



A confederacy of dunces*

A Short History of Nearly Everything


The unbearable lightness of being



The Scarlet Letter

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

The mists of Avalon

Oryx and Crake : a novel

Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed

Cloud Atlas

The Confusion



Northanger Abbey

The Catcher in the Rye*

On the Road*

The Hunchback of Notre Dame


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

The Aeneid

Watership Down

Gravity’s Rainbow

The Hobbit*

In Cold Blood

White teeth

Treasure Island

David Copperfield

The Three Musketeers

Manga Shakespeare

September 29, 2007

I was lucky enough to go to the launch party of Self Made Hero’s range of Manga Shakespeare comic books last night. The party was held at Bodhi gallery, on London’s fashionable Brick Lane, and featured copious amounts of booze, including sake, which I sadly missed out on.

Anyway, the books themselves are great. I picked up copies of Richard the 3rd and The Tempest, both of which are wonderfully illustrated. The former is drawn in a gothic style, kind of like Vampire Hunter D, with a brooding and lowering King Richard. The latter makes use of Hokusai-like waves to create the island on which Caliban and company are stranded upon.

The launch also gave me the opportunity to act like a semi-coherent fan boy with the artists, all of whom were at least five years my junior.

Historical blogs

July 20, 2007

A couple of good blogs of a historical nature that I’ve been reading recently. Firstly, the well-known Pepys’ Diary, which reproduces the famous diarist’s doings. The second is a much newer blog, started this July, called The Natural History of Selborne (link to this found via Boing Boing), which is a transcript of the musings on all things nature-related of the naturalist Gilbert White.

Both make for excellent reads, and welcome diversions from the usual blog fare of library- and internet-related stuff. Also, the re-publishing of old diaries online strikes me as an excellent use of the blogging format, and I’m surprised there aren’t more out there. Maybe someone will put online Anthony Powell’s diaries- now that I would read- although I may have to wait a while until they go out of copyright.

RIP Kurt Vonnegut

April 12, 2007

Author, war veteran and staunch humanist Kurt Vonnegut has died, at the ripe old age of 84. Although he and I would probably agree on the unlikelihood of any kind of afterlife, RIP anyway.

Jonathan Lethem on copyright

March 27, 2007

There’s an excellent interview on copyright and intellectual property with the author Jonathan Lethem here (found via Boing Boing).

I’ve read a couple of Lethem’s books, including the wonderful Fortress of Solitude, and he has some very interesting ideas on the current malaise in thinking of “copyright absolutists”, and the need for (sometimes very subtle) new approaches toward intellectual property. Its always encouraging to see an author (or artists more generally) thinking about new approaches to this issue.