Thursday, 17 October 2013
We had borrowed their home, some milk , towels and two Game of Thrones DVD box sets.
I simply couldn't thwaite the idea of borrowing a book from the shelf.
But during those few summer days in the capital, I did spend some time (on the loo, on the sofa) leafing through this account of British politics and society since 1945.
Manageable, readable and illuminating. A lengthy, but engrossing read. A good look at some of the hard times, false starts and failures of Britain's slow and so far, faltering decline.
Wednesday, 21 August 2013
26 years since first reading Animal Farm.
It's not even that he wrote a vast amount.
I certainly enjoyed this but I have found that I much prefer his novels.
This engaged me and certainly kept me going with real and sustained interest but somehow, something was just a little bit lacking.
I am of course behaving like the child at Christmas who moans on Boxing day because they didn't get the complete set of all the other stuff they would have wanted, this book was great, just not the greatest.
How nice to meet a kindred spirit, How queer to imagine that it should be AA.Gill.
I thoroughly enjoyed it but for some reason, well I know but I'm not telling, I neglected to write about it.
It all seems like such a long time ago, I will say this.
I book , a series of essays written by a man who clearly and admittedly loves America.
Love in the greatest sense, the awareness of imperfection and the tolerance of failings, but also love as the celebration of ambition and delight.
I know those feelings, I share them.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
This was a book that I had waited over ten years for.
I had read 90% of the previous volume over the past five.
I had waited an additional year for the paperback version to appear.
Worth every minute of every day.
For the LBJ junkie, Caro is the absolute fix.
Every sentence is crafted, the sources are varied and deep and, considering the passing of time, often very recent and able to take account of recent developments.
I just loved the retelling of Johnson's fumbling of the 1960 nomination and the subsequent offer of the Vice Presidency. Caro then took us through the key events of the Kennedy administration and LBJ's role (or lack of) in them. The events in Dallas in 1963 read like a tragic crime thriller.
What was particularly fascinating was the way Caro handled Johnson's handling of the transition. The Kennedy family, the House, Senate and the legislative programme inherited from his slain predecessor.
Some of my favourite bits were the human glimpses into LBJ, I pissed myself when reading about the LBJ express and his attempts to control the loud music.
I can't wait for the next chapter in this history.
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
The Eels are easily in my top five all time favourite bands. I am almost unable to fault any of the output of the past twenty years. Not only that, but I have found some crazy levels of personal and moral inspiration from the words uttered and written by Mr E.
Seeing the band recently was one of the highlights of my gig going life. The evening was absolutely perfect, driving through a cold unseasonally wintery March evening to see them following a profoundly shitty day at a job I could not stand. I had yet to hear the latest album so the gig was made the better by having to carefully listen to songs to see if I approved.
Quite frankly, at my age, I should know better, very much better.
But, really, why concern myself with aging and all that is supposed to go with it?
I got this book for my birthday and read it swiftly. It covers the full run of human existence and offers some gorgeous nuggets of advice to any wannabe creative type. It is written in the style of the lyrics and accordingly, is a true joy to behold and enjoy.
Saturday, 20 April 2013
I really like Jon Ronson.
He's brilliant on telly and I have thoroughly enjoyed some of his other books.
This one even had a comment on the back " laugh out loud hilarious" or somesuch.
That comment was from Will Self.
Rule of thumb?
Never trust a man who walks from airports.
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Oh tortuous journey,
Oh voyage of wrecked dreams.
Where is the hope?
Where do the answers lie?
Such emotions , such questions are as old as the hills.
As a group, humanity has tried to answer them in a variety of ways.
Alain de Botton compares religion with secularism and draws some interesting conclusions.
I still enjoy the air of mystery that religion brings, even if I know that it's just not true.
He argues that you do not need to be a 'believer' to cherish the benefits of religion, especially as modern society has pretty much underperformed in meeting some of our basic human needs.
Also, it was an absolutely beautiful book to hold and to read.