Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

What I Haz Been Up 2

November 4, 2012

OK it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I’d like to apologise to all 2 of my regular readers. So here is a breakdown of what’s been happening.

1) Nexus 7 – I bought one of these babies and I love it! Its not perfect but as a result I’m reading a lot more now then ever, and I read a lot before. Its cheep yet delivers.

2) Saw loads of movies. killing them Softly was depressing but great. Looper didn’t really deliver for me. It was just too much for me to get over the bad physics of the time travel nonsense. Wreck it Ralph was fun and I don’t really have a bad thing to say about it.

3) DVD section. Hired Hand directed by Peter Fonda is beautiful. On my list of great westerns. Tucker and dale vs evil was brilliant and I’m surprised it wasn’t a bigger hit. Seen loads more, I think I might do a blog about Monte Hellman and Robert Aldrich.

4) Food. If you get a chance go to the Hawksmoor. Amazing steak place and the cocktails are pretty good too! I still have dreams about that starter. The Lobster Mac and Cheese is great but be warned it is very rich!

5) Bug – I when to see Adam Buxton’s show which was a special fat boy slim edition. Really funny and just reinforces my opinion that the Web is brilliant yet also nuts!

Hard Case Crime Christa Faust

January 31, 2012

I’ve been reading a hell of a lot of Hard Case Crime books recently, I haven’t yet read a dull one yet however some are better then others. Christ Faust’s two entries into the series – ‘Money Shot’ and ‘Choke Gold’ have been really interesting. They are both good books however I thought ‘Money Shot’ was slightly better. I think part of the reason is that the milieu of the Los Angeles Porn scene was an interesting setting and the other being the book just moves like a runaway freight Train and I just love books like that – that’s why I think Richard Stark is a god. The problem comes with the second book, the plotting is just not there. Without giving too much away it seems to retread old ground and not do anything new with it. I’ll make the comparison again to Richard Stark, his books always put Parker in a new situation and challenged him to escape. The character stayed the same but the situations always enhanced and played with what we knew already about Parker’s morality. The problem with Faust’s second book was that you never really got that sense from Angel Dare – the main protagonist in her books. The other issue I had was that it left things too open, it didn’t really end well at all. I wanted some kind of closure and I got none. I think she wants to make another in the series but even so I would have liked it if it was a bit more self contained. Stark in his novel Butcher’s Moon referenced all kinds of things that had happened in his previous books but you never felt like you were missing anything by not having read them – though I advise you to do so before attempting Butcher’s . I didn’t get that sense from Faust, you had to have read ‘Money Shot’ for ‘Choke Hold’ to have made any sense and that bothered me from the start.

Guardian 1000 books you must read

January 19, 2009

1000 books

No mention of Richard Stark in their crime section!! Scandalous!

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

August 25, 2007

Been reading Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Its absolutely brilliant, it would read like a comedy if only I didn’t know that all the stuff Chandrasekaran was writing about actually took place! Reading the book made me realise that the whole post-war Iraq reconstruction was doomed to failure from the outset. This wasn’t just due to the fact that there was no ‘plan’ before they embarked on the war but because once they were in in Iraq instead of appointing realists who knew the country and what they were up against they appointed fantasists whose knowledge of Iraq involved reading a 1970s copy of an Iraqi Tourist Guide! More to the point the only qualification that the post Iraq Reconstruction temas had were their unswerving loyalty to the Neo-cons in the White House. The reconstruction teams consisted of (mostly young and inexperienced) men and women who happened to have affiliations with Bush’s Party so they were able to get jobs such as rebuilding the Baghdad Stock Exchange. Incredible!

On a side issue, comparing the managing of Post War Iraq with my own experience working for private sector companies (I know its like comparing Apples with Oranges and totally inappropriate but it hasn’t stopped me before and its not going to stop me now!). I noticed the same managerial mistakes being made over and over again. Some managers I’ve worked for, set a goal and date to achieve it by, but they never specify any plan or set of actions to achieve the aforementioned goal. They expect it to just happen as if by magic. In most cases they don’t even realise that the goal they have set is patently absurd due to the fact that they have no real knowledge of what is happening on their own ‘shopfloor’.

Thieves Market by A.I Bezzerides

July 28, 2007

Just finished reading this book and I have to say its absolutely amazing. Unremittingly dark. Its basically about a young man/boy who is attempting to star his own Trucking business.OK may not sound very interesting but it is. The book was culled from the authors memories of working with his father when he was growing up. Yet it’s not done through rose tinted glasses. Check it out.

(NB:The author just happened to script two of my all time favourite Film Noirs: ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ and ‘On Dangerous Ground’. If you liked them you will love this book!)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

May 9, 2007

So about half way through this book and I have to say its a weird one. What do I mean by that? For a start the book is not what I expected it to be. I used to watch this TV series based on the book as a kid and I always thought of it as a children’s book but reading the book now for the first time I couldn’t be more wrong, in fact I would go as far as saying that one should only ever approach Huckleberry Finn as an adult. The language that Twain writes in is very tough even for me! He uses lots of different dialects from the Deep South writing the laguage as it sounds not how it reads (I’m sure there is a word for this!). However thats not the toughest thing about this book. The character of Huckleberry Finn is to all intents a racist in the making. Twain (speaking as Huckleberry Finn) litters the book with numerous uses of the n-word (yeah even I can’t bring myself to use that word in this blog!) when refering to the escaped slave Jim and I shudder everytime he uses it. Twain manages to get you, the reader, to empathise with Finn and just as you a beginning to like the character he throws it back at you by making some reference to Finn’s belief in the validity of slavery. It could put quite a lot of people off the book.

The book of course is well worth plowing through. Twains description of the relationship between Jim and Finn although far from perfect does have its merits. Twain makes it perfectly clear that Finn is a product of society around him and not of some internal hatred. There are also some amazing scenes, the one that springs to mind immediately is the one where Finn decides not to turn Jim in even though he feels bad about not doing so because if he actually did turn him in he would feel even worse and why do something that would make you fell bad? (I’m proabably not explaining it very well but read the book and you will understand what I mean).

Most of the problems with Huckleberry Finn can be traced back to bad editing…Jim, in one chapter, is portrayed as a fool and then in the next he is one of the shrewdest characters I’ve ever read..that makes no sense…

And the ending is truly problematic…I won’t go into details in case you are reading the book for yourself but to me it kind of negates all the previous machinations of Huck in helping Jim to escape.

Wasp

April 3, 2007

by Eric Frank Russell

Brilliant check it out

‘The Black Angel’ by Cornell Woolrich

March 24, 2007

She’d done her work well all right. She’d gutted him. I couldn’t help crying out to myself as I beheld what was left of him: “Out of all the thousands and thousands of fine constructive women in this world, what evil star made him pick her out? What got him about her? Couldn’t he see, couldn’t he tell —–?”
And the answer of course was self-evident. What gets any of us about any of them; what gets any of them about any of us? The image in our minds. Not the reality that others see; the image in the mind. Therefore, how could he see, how cold he tell, how could he free himself, when the image in his mind all along, and even now, was that of a lovely creature, all sunshine, roses, and honey, a beatific haloed being, a jewel of womankind? Who would even strive to free himself from such a one? Watch out for the image in your mind.

What can I say….beautiful….

I Married a Dead Man

March 2, 2007

The Summer nights are so pleasant in Caulfield. They smell of heliotrope and jasmine, honeysuckle and clover. The stars are warm and friendly here, not cold and distant, as where I came from; they seem to hang lower over us, be closer to us. The breeze that stirs the curtains at the open windows is soft and gentle as a baby’s kiss. And on it, if you listen, you can hear the rustling sound of the leafy trees turning over and going back to sleep again. The lamplight from within the house falls upon the lawns outside and copperplates them in long swaths. There’s the hush, the stillness of perfect peace and security. Oh yes, the summer nights are pleasant in Caulfield.
But not for us.

Cornell Woolrich

Pure Class.

Currently Reading

February 15, 2007

They Shoot Horses Don’t they? by Horace McCoy

Brilliant book, hard boiled and grity.

Mysteries In Space by Jim Starlin et al

Best sci-fi comic I’ve read in a long time ( though Green Lantern Corps comes a close 2nd ).