Added to the wishlist: A Crisis of Brilliance

[Book] A Crisis of Brilliance, by David Haycock, courtesy of a review in the Guardian: “The particular cauldron of intensity into which Haycock plunges is the Slade School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture…  and the students who experience this ‘crisis of brilliance’ – a phrase coined by their bristly, austere professor of drawing, Henry TonksContinue reading “Added to the wishlist: A Crisis of Brilliance”

Novels written by dictators

By definition, dictators can do anything they like, so why wouldn’t the mad, bad and crazy men at the top of tinpot regimes want to write novels? “Some recent examples have been Saddam Husseins’s last publication, Be Gone Demons!, sales of which suffered due to bomb damage, despite the author’s previous million-selling form; and Radovan Karadžić’s The MiraculousContinue reading “Novels written by dictators”

Arthur Ransome and Communism

Another English writer who was in bed with the Bolsheviks? Literally, in the case of Arthur Ransome. He was a journalist in Moscow in the early 20th century, and his lover was Trotsky’s press secretary. A new biography of Ransome (best known for his children’s books such as Swallows and Amazons) focusses on the timeContinue reading “Arthur Ransome and Communism”

The cover of 1984 (updated)

“The typescript of George Orwell’s latest novel reached London in mid December, as promised. Warburg recognised its qualities at once (“amongst the most terrifying books I have ever read”) and so did his colleagues. An in-house memo noted “if we can’t sell 15 to 20 thousand copies we ought to be shot”. – From theContinue reading “The cover of 1984 (updated)”

Cover project 2009: photos of book covers

This year, as well as recording the books I’ve read, I’m also going to take pictures of them. The idea is that the photo will in some way reflect the contents, style and/or writing, or perhaps what I learned from reading it. The covers will be added to this post, and will also be inContinue reading “Cover project 2009: photos of book covers”

Ebooks are inevitable

Three Ebooks links: 1. ArsTechnica posted an excellent article on ‘the once and future Ebook‘ that’s worth reading start to finish. Suffers perhaps from some Apple fanboyism (I’m not 100% convinced as it claims, that the iPhone/iPod have such huge potential as Ebook readers, certainly not in their current state, and it seems a bitContinue reading “Ebooks are inevitable”

Two new books added to the wishlist

From the Onion’s very sober round-up of 2008’s best books. Carl Wilson, Celine Dion “Let’s Talk About Love”: “Carl Wilson’s startlingly good entry in the 33 1/3 music-book series surveys the work of Celine Dion and functions as an uncommonly honest, unerringly rigorous inquisition into the vagaries of “taste,” and how they manifest in waysContinue reading “Two new books added to the wishlist”

Books of the Year 2008

Previously: 2006 – 25 books, 28% non-fiction, and my book of the year was Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated. 2007 – 24 books, 33% non-fiction, far fewer contemporary novels1, and my pick of the year was Crime and Punishment. So how did 2008 go? I read even fewer books than in 2007, which isContinue reading “Books of the Year 2008”

1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read

The Guardian gave away a supplement called “1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read” today; I missed it, but they’re releasing it online. It appears to be separated out into broad subjects, and so far they’ve got ‘Love’ on the site. From 2006 – 2008 I read on average 24 novels a year; at that rate, itContinue reading “1,000 Novels Everyone Must Read”