Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Talented Miss Highsmith















Patricia Highsmith said of herself, “I am always in love. . . .” Yet at her memorial service in Tegna, Switzerland, in 1995, there were no lovers from the past, and there was no lover to mourn her in the present. The service was filmed, which Highsmith would have liked, because although reclusive, she was interested in posterity. Such display also allowed Highsmith to hide in plain sight (as her hero Edgar Allan Poe put it in “The Purloined Letter”) the fact that all her relationships had failed. Highsmith had died in a hospital alone, and the last person to see her was her accountant. Highsmith was obsessed with taxes.

There had been so many lovers, usually women, but men, too, including Arthur Koestler, who had the good sense to give up. Highsmith was attractive to men and to women, until her diet of alcohol and cigarettes (she hated food) raddled her beauty.

Men never fired her imagination, except in her fiction, where her males, especially Tom Ripley, are versions of herself. It was women she wanted, and she found them in bars, on boats, at parties and, best of all, in settled relationships with other people.

Highsmith loved a triangle, and she liked to destroy it, axing the part of the couple she didn’t want, but usually sleeping with her first. Hers was a life jammed with encounters, and it is not by chance that her novels obsessively use the unexpected life-changing/life-threatening encounter as the drive into the narrative — think “Strangers on a Train” or any of the Ripley series.

- Jeanette Winterson, The New York Times

Read the rest of the review here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas books















From prizewinning poetry to bestselling thrillers, D-day to the credit crunch, Wolf Hall to a picturebook about a dying duck, our writers and guests pick the best of 2009.

Anthony Browne

The two best illustrated books for me this year have both come from abroad, and both are stunningly original. Tales from Outer Suburbia (Templar) by Shaun Tan, from Australia, is a collection of 15 short illustrated stories all stemming from sketchbook doodles. It's an unusual approach – most illustrations in books are reactions to the text, but here the pictures inspire the stories. They are all strange and beautiful. Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch (Gecko Press) is a superb picture book from Germany, that tells a gentle story of the relationship between Death and a duck. Death is portrayed as a sympathetic figure in a dressing gown who is with us all the time, but who only comes into Duck's consciousness towards the end of his life. It is warm, poignant and witty.

AS Byatt

I have read three novels this year, all of which were disturbing, original and brilliant. They are A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore (Faber), Vagrants by Yiyun Li (Fourth Estate) and The Blind Side of the Heart by Julia Franck (Harvill Secker). Moore describes the pains and hazards of child adoption in the American chattering classes. Yiyun Li describes the effects of the execution of a Chinese dissident on those around her. Franck begins with the abandoning of a child on a German railway station and tells the tale of his mother, damaged by the interwar years. All are heart rending; all find new and exciting ways of constructing a story.

- Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the recommendations here.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The 100 Best Books of the Decade












100 The Position by Meg Wolitzer (2005) An hilarious, serious novel about sex and love and family. Paul and Roz Mellow publish Pleasuring (think of The Joy of Sex) in 1975 — it’s a bestseller, but what do you think their four children make of this?

99 The Lost Leader by Mick Imlah (2008)

In his first collection for almost two decades, Mick Imlah takes up the challenge to forge poetry from the folk legends of his Scottish past.

98 Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie(2007)

The Biafran War of the late 1960s is seen through the eyes of Ugwu, a 13-year-old peasant houseboy, and the beautiful, passionate twin sisters Olanna and Kainene. This stunning piece of writing won the 2007 Orange Prize.

97 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (2007)

Oscar is a sweet, fat nerd, who lives in New Jersey with his Dominican family and dreams of being the next Tolkien and finding true love; a funny, charming and totally original take on the US immigrant experience.

96 The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda's Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright (2006)

Western writers’ responses to the most important international event of the Noughties were hindered by a shortage of insight and authority. But Wright brings both qualities to this powerful and compelling account of the prelude to 9/11.

95 The Emperor’s Babe by Bernardine Evaristo (2001)

Until this appeared, we had no idea about the lively club scene in 3rd-century London. Zuleika is an exotic African who catches the eye of the Emperor Septimus Severus. Gibbon’s Decline and Fall crosses over with Heat magazine.


- From The Times. See the rest of the list here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Essential reading: the 42 essential third act twists















My morning has been made complete thanks to this: an illustrated list of the 42 essential third act twists from the web comic Dresden Kodak ...

From the thriller's peripeteia: "amnesiac villain kidnaps self" to its Deus Ex Machina: "autistic boy solves crimes", and from mystery's anagnorisis "all the butlers did it" (just look at that scary picture) to fantasy's brilliantly Narnia-esque "Christ analogue backfires", it is a work of genius.

I love science fiction's "robot reveal" and "reverse robot reveal" – more scary pictures – but my favourite is fantasy's Deus Ex Machina, which is, quite simply, "Eagles". So true (hello Gandalf) but so, when put like that, ridiculous.

Take a look. I bet it'll make your day just that little bit better.


- Alison Flood, Guardian.co.uk

Visit Dresden Kodak's site here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wild things at heart














A long time ago, before I knew either one of them, Spike Jonze and Maurice Sendak began talking about a film adaptation of his classic picture book Where The Wild Things Are. When Spike got started on it, he called me up and asked me to co-write the screenplay. I had never written a screenplay; hell, I'd never read a screenplay. But I said yes, because these two people were among my favourite artists on earth.

So we got started, with the consent and under the watchful eye of Maurice, trying to make 10 lines of text into a feature-length movie. A couple of years into the process, Maurice called me, saying that there had been talk of someone doing a novelisation of the book-cum-screenplay. He didn't want some new guy doing it, so he asked me if I'd want the job. I readily said yes, partly because he intimidates me and partly because, at that point, Spike and I had discussed so many ideas about childhood generally, and about this mysterious island of giant manic-depressive beasts in particular, and I knew only a few of them would make it in the movie.

So the book, I thought, would be a place where I could explore these and other ideas, and where I could bend the story toward my own interests a bit (the movie is much more Spike's than mine). Along the way the novel diverged significantly from the movie, and from Maurice's book, but all three share a basic outline – boy is confused about a home and world out of control, boy acts out, boy leaves home and becomes king of a herd of sentient beasts. And all three benefit from the pure, uncompromised vision of childhood that Maurice Sendak espoused and put on paper, again and again, in a stunning body of work that becomes more impressive and singular with every passing decade. He is the greatest living writer and illustrator of books for or about children, period, bar none, end of discussion. He also has a dog named Herman.

- Dave Eggers, Guardian.co.uk

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coming soon: the novel Nabokov wanted destroyed















Next month Nabokov's last novel will be published - despite the fact that he never wanted it to see the light of day.

In October 1976, asked to nominate three books he had recently been reading, Nabokov chose a new translation of Dante's Inferno, an illustrated guide to North American butterflies and a book of his own, "the not-quite-finished manuscript of a novel". He had recently been ill, and, in his delirium, kept reading the novel aloud to a small dream audience consisting of "peacocks, pigeons, my long dead parents, two cypresses, several young nurses crouching around, and a family doctor so old as to be almost invisible".

On 17 November 2009, that novel, The Original of Laura, will reach a less hallucinatory audience, when it's published for the first time. Nabokov never finished it, and on his deathbed asked his wife Vera to destroy it. She didn't do so; nor after her death did her son, Dmitri. A stern keeper of the paternal flame, Dmitri is no opportunist. But after 30 years and much agonizing, he has retrieved the book from a Swiss vault for worldwide publication, on the grounds that Nabokov thought it one of his three most important works and would not have wanted it "to burn like a latter-day Jeanne d'Arc".

- Blake Morrison, Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The English Marriage: Tales of Love, Money and Adultery by Maureen Waller












This is a collection of marital horror stories from 1465 to the present day, and, like all good horror ­stories, it runs an icy finger down your spine. Maureen Waller’s ­subject is less the English marriage than the absence, until recently, of the English divorce. For centuries, England lagged behind Scotland and the rest of Europe in clinging to the obscure marriage laws of the medieval church that left warring spouses little choice but to wait until death to part. Not until the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act was divorce made accessible; no sooner had the new court opened its doors than it was presented with 253 petitions.

“Each unhappy marriage is unhappy after its own fashion,” Waller writes, but the marriages she describes tell the same grim story again and again. The cast of characters includes generations of aspiring parents fighting over their bewildered children, loveless and unconsummated unions, wives either bored or bullied beyond endurance, and the ­harrowing cruelty of ­husbands. These days, a husband who hurls a bread roll across the supper table can be accused of unreasonable behaviour, but time was when he could beat his wife to within an inch of her life and be acquitted: she was, after all, his property. Under the old ecclesiastical laws, on her wedding day the blushing bride stepped into “the same legal category as wards, lunatics, idiots and outlaws”. Should her husband feel like it, he was entitled to tie her up, steal her children and lock her away.

-

Monday, October 12, 2009

The heart fails without warning

An exclusive short story by Hilary Mantel, winner of the Man Booker prize 2009

'Morna was shrinking, as if her sister had put a spell on her to vanish'. Original photograph: Julia Fullerton-Batten

September: when she began to lose weight at first, her sister had said, I don't mind; the less of her the better, she said. It was only when Morna grew hair – fine down on her face, in the hollow curve of her back – that Lola began to complain. I draw the line at hair, she said. This is a girls' bedroom, not a dog kennel.

Lola's grievance was this: Morna was born before she was, already she had used up three years' worth of air, and taken space in the world that Lola could have occupied. She believed she was birthed into her sister's squalling, her incessant I-want I-want, her give-me give-me.

Now Morna was shrinking, as if her sister had put a spell on her to vanish. She said, if Morna hadn't always been so greedy before, she wouldn't be like this now. She wanted everything.

- Hilary Mantel, for the Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the story here.



Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mantel takes the Booker prize 2009












With none of the usual blood on the carpet, this year’s judges agreed that they would be happy to see any of the finalists win.

The vote wasn’t unanimous, but Mantel’s Wolf Hall won out for its bold scope, detail and lyricism, with glittering passages that are said to make you want to read them over and over again.


England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king's freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum.

Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Times picks the 50 best paperbacks of 2009












Fifty books — read one a week and they’ll last you nearly a year. Today is the kick-off of The Times WHSmith Paperback of the Year, writes Erica Wagner. On this page you’ll find all 50 books from which our winner, announced here on December 12, will be chosen. The judges — for the only prize in the UK given to a paperback — are myself, bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith and WHSmith book buyer Sandra Bradley, who have whittled these books down to a shortlist of 12, and chosen a winner, too. Over the next dozen weeks we’ll be counting down to the winning book. But why do we love paperbacks so much? Nicholas Clee reveals all . . .

- Erica Wagner, Times.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Twin Powers


















In the second half of the 19th century, Londoners enjoyed a form of recreation that today might seem grisly: a Sunday stroll through one of the vast graveyards beyond the city center. The new burial grounds were established to move ­corpses out of the metropolitan churchyards, where they had contaminated the groundwater; these cemeteries were at once gardens, social centers and museums of statuary, a sort of theme park bristling with monuments to lost loves and individual hubris. They ultimately bore the same message one might hear in church: No matter how we try, our human endeavors end in death. It was not uncommon to find a family picnicking among the headstones.
- Susann Cokal, The New York Times

Read the rest of the review here.

read an excerpt here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Holy Grail of the Unconscious







This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. The book is big and heavy and its spine is etched with gold letters that say “Liber Novus,” which is Latin for “New Book.” Its pages are made from thick cream-colored parchment and filled with paintings of otherworldly creatures and handwritten dialogues with gods and devils. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome.

And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again.

Some people feel that nobody should read the book, and some feel that everybody should read it. The truth is, nobody really knows. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it.

- Sara Corbett, The New York Times

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The 19 Best Read-Aloud Books for All Ages













We all know that reading out loud to your child is the best thing you can do; if the psychologists (and my mother) are to be believed, it’s the only foolproof way to make sure your kid grows up to be a productive — not to mention brilliant — member of society, instead of an indigent criminal lying unconscious in a gutter somewhere. But when you just can’t face the 999th reading of Maisy the Mouse — or even better-known classics (your Where The Wild Things Are, your Alexander and the Terrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day), or when the soul of your child is crying out for something finer (or just a little more involved) here’s a list of great books sure to fit the bill. Some are famous, some less so — but all guaranteed to stoke a child’s imagination and development. Whether they’ll fall asleep is another story — it all depends on delivery.

Rachel Shukert

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Familiar Cast of Fighters in a Final Battle for the Soul of the Earth















The flood referred to by the title of Margaret Atwood’s new novel isn’t the biblical deluge, sent by God to wipe out wickedness and sin, but a waterless one: an uncommon pandemic that cannot be contained by “biotools and bleach,” and that sweeps “through the air as if on wings,” burning “through cities like fire, spreading germ-ridden mobs, terror and butchery.” This flood has killed millions upon millions, and electrical, digital and industrial systems are failing, as their human keepers die.

In “The Year of the Flood” we are transported to a world that is part Hieronymus Bosch, part “A Clockwork Orange.” “Total breakdown” is upon the land, and a private security firm named CorpsSeCorps has seized power, taking control where the local police forces have collapsed from lack of financing. The Corps people not only use brutal tactics like Internal Rendition to enforce their will, but they are also conducting sinister experiments, monkeying with human and animal genetics and creating strange new mutant species.

- Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Online

Read the rest of the article here.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Pornography and prejudice: Jane Austen's dirty talk is a sweet affair













There are some predictable smirks, but a show imagining the novelist's work with an explicit playwright is surprisingly sweet and witty.

What is this inescapable desire we have to mess around with Jane Austen? The poor woman has been through the mill of late, with the literary world seeing Elizabeth Bennet contending with the undead in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the Dashwoods about to take on tentacled sea creatures in Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Meanwhile, onscreen, Elton John's Rocket Pictures is working on Pride and Predator.

So far be it for theatre to miss out. Fresh from a run on the Edinburgh fringe, Jane Austen's Guide to Pornography arrived at Battersea's Theatre 503 last week with an all-male cast and not a little innuendo. Steve Dawson's piece pitches a gay pornographic playwright, tired of only churning out one-liners and sex, up against Austen herself, who is near death, bored with her stories and "awaking screaming at the thought of another Mr Darcy". The pair look for inspiration from each other: Jane wants a bit of raunch in her new novel, Brett the playwright wants to inject true love into his writing.

There are some predictably nudge-nudge elements – ooh, let's make Jane Austen say "enormous cock", that'll be hilarious – but it actually works pretty well, particularly when Jane and Brett are squabbling over storyline ideas. It's silly, but it's also funny: "No one has ever fainted in my novels except for Emma, and that was the only one and not because she met this 'Dick' person," Jane tells Brett firmly. The burgeoning romance between the two actors/characters dreamt up by Jane and Brett is sweetly believable, ending with a clever twist on the "Marianne sprains her ankle" scene from Sense and Sensibility. Perhaps the mention of felching – "it sounds frightfully Mediterranean," says Jane – will get the Jane Austen Society up in arms, but the play is actually a very affectionate portrait of the author, so I hope not.

- Alison Flood, Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the post here.

Warning: cheesy pic


















Last night Pulp Books got a pat on the back and a cool certificate.

Out of more than 10 500 nominations, Pulp was one of the 30 finalists at the 702 Small Business Awards.

Cheese aside, it was awesome ( :

Thanks to everyone who made it possible!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Many Faces of JM Coetzee











'How can you be a great writer if you are just an ordinary little man?' asks a character in JM Coetzee's new book Summertime. This unsparing, autobiographical novel continues the intimate conversation the Nobel laureate has been having with a series of alter-egos in his work. James Meek listens in.

At some point during the past couple of years, an eminent South African writer now living in Australia wrote this dismissive appraisal of John Maxwell Coetzee's œuvre: "In general, I would say that his work lacks ambition. The control of the elements is too tight. Nowhere do you get a feeling of a writer deforming his medium in order to say what has never been said before, which is to me the mark of great writing. Too cool, too neat, I would say. Too easy. Too lacking in passion."

Even when a writer has achieved international fame and won the biggest trophies - the Nobel and two Booker prizes, in Coetzee's case - a bad review can't be easy to stomach. Harder if it is not just your book that is criticised, but the premise on which you have built your life: namely, that you can, must and should write. Worse still, if the reviewer impugns your character along with your novels.

It sounds hurtful, and perhaps it is, although the novelist who wrote it was JM Coetzee. The bad meta-review of Coetzee comes out of the mouth of one of the characters in Coetzee's new book, Summertime, which is about Coetzee. Summertime is full of harsh reviews of Coetzee by Coetzee, of Coetzee the writer and Coetzee the man.

The critics are four women, all once loved by "John Coetzee", the Coetzee character, three of them loving him back, in different ways. Another says: "... to my mind, a talent for words is not enough if you want to be a great writer. You have also to be a great man. And he was not a great man. He was a little man, an unimportant little man ... How can you be a great writer if you are just an ordinary little man?"

- James Meek, Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hooray!













Pulp Books has been nominated for the 702 Small Business Awards, hooray!

Thanks to all my loyal and fabulous customers, you guys are the best.

Friday, August 28, 2009

More ‘Unfortunate Events’ to Befall Readers















Lemony Snicket, the sinister pseudonym of Daniel Handler and the author of the bestselling “Series Of Unfortunate Events” sequence, will write a new four-book series, BBC News reported. The Gothic “Unfortunate Events” novels about the Baudelaire orphans, which started in 1999 with “A Bad Beginning” and ended in 2006 with “The End,” have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. The series’ British publisher, Egmont Press, said that it would begin releasing the new books, whose titles were not given, in 2012. Mr. Handler told the BBC: “I can neither confirm nor deny that I have begun research into a new case, and I can neither confirm nor deny that the results are as dreadful and unnerving as ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events.’ However, I can confirm that Egmont will be publishing these findings.”

- Dave Itzkoff, NYT online

Read the rest of the post here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Down and out in Paris














For half a century, a crowded bookshop on the Left Bank has offered food and a bed to penniless authors - the only rule is that they read a book a day.

Way back, in 1913, the original Shakespeare and Company was opened by a young American called Sylvia Beach. Her shop in rue de l'Odéon soon became the place for all the English-speaking writers in Paris. Her lover, Adrienne Monnier, owned the French bookstore across the road, and she and Beach ran back and forth, finding penniless writers a place to stay, lending them books, arranging loans, taking their mail, sending their work to small magazines and, most spectacularly, publishing James Joyce's Ulysses in 1922 when no one else would touch it.

- Jeanette Winterson, Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Awesome Book



















It's taking the world by storm.

Based on the simple concept of dreaming big, “An Awesome Book” is the inspiring debut work of Los Angeles writer/artist Dallas Clayton. Written in the vein of classic tales by Dr. Suess, Shel Silverstein, and Maurice Sendak it is a sure hit for all generations young and old.

Look inside here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon











At this stage of his career, Thomas Pynchon resembles Stanley Kubrick more than he does any living novelist. Like Kubrick, Pynchon is a maverick visionary, a creator of iconic, sometimes inaccessible works of art; famously reclusive and yet the object of a cult-like following; and, like Kubrick, who experimented with various genres, Pynchon has in recent years developed a love of shape-shifting. His 1997 novel Mason & Dixon, set in revolutionary-era America, was written in a pastiche of 18th-century English; after a long silence came Against the Day, in 2006, widely regarded as his most confusing work (many reviewers had a tough time saying what this book was about - anarchists, possibly); and now, only three years later, he gives us, in what is either an act of perversity or a wholly logical development, his most reader-friendly book. A detective novel, no less.

- Aravind Adiga, Times Online

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Love Comes First











Erica Jong's first book of all-new poems in more than a decade.

Using brilliant imagery and intense metaphorical insights to capture love in all its facets - the height of elation, the depths of sorrow, and the longing of desire - Jong reveals the full spectrum of this deepest of human emotions.

It's the perfect gift for a lover.

"Fresh, surprising, funny, sexy. Jong's poetic voice is as enchanting as ever." - Ken Follett



Available from Pulp Books at R249.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Did I say that?















On early days at the Royal Court Theatre

It was like a bag of bitches in there. They were vicious (2000)

On "My Beautiful Launderette"

There were no other films like that around back then. Now all films are gay (2007)

On reading

I've never read a book beyond 100 pages (2008)

On religious certainty

We who are liberals whirl in a meaningless vertigo of doubt all the time, but if you're religious you know where you're going all the time. I'd love that (2007)

On losing his virginity at the same time his father was having a heart attack

I knew then that wherever I went and whatever I did, he was, like God, always watching and condemning (2004)

On his sons

They're mostly like Ali G - they do tough gangsta things, they've got hoods on. But no more middle-class boys could you imagine (2004)

On spotting a woman in his son's playground wearing a burqa

If I was a teacher I would say: "Take that off." Behind closed doors you can be a transvestite or wear a Nazi uniform. But you can't go into a school playground wearing a Nazi uniform (2009)

On women

I don't understand anything about women whatsoever (2003)

After a night in Hastings

If England didn't have London, it'd be a f***ing dump (2003)

On writing students

When you switch on the TV and a student has gone mad with a machine gun on a campus in America, it's always a writing student. Writing courses, particularly when they have the word "creative" in them, are the new mental hospitals (2008)

On having a CBE bestowed upon him

The best thing about it is on the medal it says: "For God And Empire". No better things in the world, as you can imagine (2008)

On "The Black Album" being called post-racial

A way of saying that there're not many Pakis in it (2009)

On his psychoanalysis

I woke up in the middle of the night in my hotel room on my knees crying, believing that I'd turned into a dolphin, and I had a very strong desire to ring my analyst and tell him this. So I can report to you that I'm moving ahead slowly (2008)

Compiled by John Hind

The Observer, Sunday 2 August 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

First look: Murderous 'Lovely Bones' is also 'optimistic'











For all the violence and grief of The Lovely Bones, Peter Jackson believes the movie adaptation need not be a downer.

In fact, he says, the film version of Alice Sebold's best-selling novel about teenager Susie Salmon, who watches from heaven as her family collapses after her murder, is downright uplifting.

"I found the book to be curiously optimistic," Jackson says by e-mail from New Zealand, where he's finishing the film. "I felt inspired by Susie's struggle to come to terms with her own death. In the face of overwhelming grief, she finds hope.

"She holds on to love, and by doing so, she transcends the horror of her murder."

- Scott Bowles, USA Today

Read the rest of the article here.

Watch the trailer here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book fans develop a taste for library-themed ice-cream














Thousands sign Facebook petition asking Ben & Jerry's to produce flavours such as Li-berry pie and Sh-sh-sh-sherbet.

Ben & Jerry's is considering launching a library-themed ice-cream flavour, after a campaign by a New Jersey librarian gathered thousands of supporters.

Burlington county librarian Andy Woodworth already has more than 4,400 people signed up to a Facebook group supporting his plan, which he hopes will raise awareness of libraries "in the face of stagnant or slashed state, county, and municipal budgets".

Suggestions for flavours range from Gooey Decimal System to Sh-sh-sh-sherbet. Woodworth writes on Facebook that the logic behind the scheme is that "libraries are awesome, Ben & Jerry's ice-cream is tasty, therefore a library-themed Ben & Jerry's ice-cream would be tasty awesome".

- Alison Flood, Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here.

Join the Facebook group.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Su Blackwell Destroys Books, Creates Wonders


















These amazing sculptures are the work of British artist Su Blackwell, who carefully dismembers books in order to create a visual interpretation of their contents.

Blackwell's sculptures are composed entirely from a single book — that is, she only uses the pages in the book itself to create her three-dimensional marvels. Blackwell says she searches second hand bookshops for the perfect book, and although her studio is crowded with hundreds of books, only a few will make the final cut. "The book has to resonate with me somehow, either in an illustration, or in part of the story. I need that spark of inspiration," she said in an interview with the Telegraph.

Blackwell has another requirement for her art: that the story within somehow correspond to the sculpture that springs forth. In her artist's statement, Blackwell writes:

It is the delicacy, the slight feeling of claustrophobia, as if these characters, the landscape have been trapped inside the book all this time and are now suddenly released. A number of the compositions have an urgency about them, the choices made for the cut-out people from the illustrations seem to lean towards people on their way somewhere, about to discover something, or perhaps escaping from something. And the landscapes speak of a bleak mystery, a rising, an awareness of the air.

In a sense, Blackwell's sculptures can be seen as an extension of the novel itself, an organic outpouring of the characters and scenes that have been "trapped" inside the pages. She admits to feeling slightly guilty about rendering the books unreadable, yet ultimately, the artistic gain outweighs what is lost:

"I began feeling guilty about cutting up the books but I had the integrity that I would create something magical from it. My reasoning is that half of the books have been sat on shelves for years anyway, or that they were about to be thrown away and destroyed forever."

- Intern Katy, Jezebel.com

Su Blackwell [Official Site]

Friday, July 31, 2009

Batman has a proposal for Catwoman














The cartoonist Darwyn Cooke is an extraordinary talent. He had already proven himself to superhero fans with a taut psychological examination of Bruce Wayne (“Batman: Ego”), a down-and-dirty heist adventure (“Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score”) and an audacious revisionist look at the formation of the Justice League (“The New Frontier”).

Now Mr. Cooke has turned his eye toward the guys and dolls that make up the world of Parker, the single-named, downright criminal antihero created by Richard Stark (the novelist Donald E. Westlake, using a pseudonym, who died last year). The result is a wonderfully engrossing graphic-novel adaptation of “The Hunter,” the 1962 book in which Mr. Stark introduced his frequent protagonist.

“The Hunter” is about a hijacking caper that ends poorly for Parker: not only is he double-crossed, but his wife, Lynn, is a coerced accomplice in his downfall. He’s shot and left for dead in a building set ablaze. He survives, of course, and tracks his enemies to New York City, bent on revenge. Except for omitting a scene or two involving an Upper West Side bodega, the adaptation is faithful to the novel, down to the opening and closing lines.

- George Gene Gustines, The New York Times

Read further here.

View excerpt: 'Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader?'

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Booker longlist pits fiction's finest against first kiss-and-tell chimp














Literary heavyweights AS Byatt and JM Coetzee were today named on this year's longlist for the Booker prize – which also features a first-time writer purporting to be Tarzan's chimpanzee.

The broadcaster James Naughtie, who chaired this year's panel of five judges, called the line-up of the 13 writers on the longlist, chosen from 132 books, "one of the strongest in recent memory" with "a span of styles and themes that make this an outstandingly rich fictional mix".

There were notable omissions: Anita Brookner, for her much praised Strangers, Sebastian Faulks, his novel A Week in December, and not one Asian writer listed. But Naughtie said it would have been "death" to judge by box-ticking and they had had to decide on the individual merit of the books, not reputations.

Of nine former winners considered this year two were longlisted. Byatt, who won in 1990 for Possession, is nominated for The Children's Book, her detailed exploration of the Edwardian cult of childhood, and Coetzee, who won for Disgrace, is named for Summertime.

Three first-time novelists are named on the list, including James Lever who wrote the hilarious Me Cheeta, his "biography" of the chimp movie star; Samantha Harvey, who also featured on this year's Orange prize shortlist for her Alzheimer's novel The Wilderness; and Ed O'Loughlin for Not Untrue & Not Unkind.

- Mark Brown, Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Unfinished Foster Wallace novel finds UK publisher















Hamish Hamilton says The Pale King is 'as good as Infinite Jest' and will publish it in 2010.

The late David Foster Wallace's unfinished final novel, The Pale King, is set for publication in the UK next year following an intensely contested auction between six British publishers.

Foster Wallace, author of the virtuosic, 1,000-page masterpiece Infinite Jest, killed himself last September following a long depression. His wife discovered piles of a manuscript for the novel Foster Wallace had described as the "Long Thing" in their garage, and detailed structural outlines have subsequently come to light.

"I think it's as good as Infinite Jest. I'm really, really blown away by what I've read," said Simon Prosser, publishing director of Penguin imprint Hamish Hamilton, who won the battle for UK rights. "It's absolutely incredible. The level of writing is so high. It's just so tremendously sad that he didn't realise how close he was to what he wanted to achieve."

Always critical of his own work, Foster Wallace struggled to write The Pale King, corresponding with Jonathan Franzen and Don DeLillo about his worries, telling Franzen that in order to complete it he would have to write "a 5,000 page manuscript and then winnow it by 90%, the very idea of which makes something in me wither and get really

interested in my cuticle, or the angle of the light outside". He compared writing it to "trying to carry a sheet of plywood in a windstorm", his longterm editor Michael Pietsch told the New Yorker.

- Alison Flood, The Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ashes to Ashes













R.I.P. Frank McCourt.

Frank McCourt, a former New York City schoolteacher who turned his miserable childhood in Limerick, Ireland, into a phenomenally popular, Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, “Angela’s Ashes,” died in Manhattan on Sunday. He was 78 and lived in Manhattan and Roxbury, Conn.

- William Grimes, The New York Times

Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where The Money Went







WHERE THE MONEY WENT
By Kevin Canty

“Sometimes it seems to me that anger is the engine of a marriage, the power that drives all the other parts. Each of us is doing half and feeling like it’s three-quarters. Each of us has it exactly as hard as the other, and suspects the other of having it easy. Both of us take care, and suspect the other of carelessness.” So says the nameless narrator of “No Place in This World for You,” just one of the struggling men in Kevin Canty’s latest collection of short stories. His son, Walter, is a biter, his wife, Carol-Ann, goes out for runs and doesn’t return for hours, and his real estate clients aren’t buying. Mr. Canty’s stories are set in a West that’s defined more by tourists than cowboys, and his characters reach out for love, though they know its futility. They’ll have another drink too, though they know where that leads.

- Amy Virshup, The New York Times

Friday, July 10, 2009

Food for Thought












Mmm... Winter.

Time to snuggle up with a toasty book, bottle of red and your favourite prix fixe.
In fact, apart from being able to stoke the fire and eat immoral amounts of full-flavoured food, we think Winter has very few redeeming qualities.

We’re glad it’s almost at an end, but to tide us over till Spring, here are Pulp’s latest ‘foodie’ reads:

Food for Thought: Thought for Food: A Reflection on the Creative Universe of Ferran Adria
Contributor(s): Todoli, Vicent (Editor) Hamilton, Richard (Editor)
EAN: 9788496954687
Actar
Hardcover, 400 pages
July 2009
Available to order – 4 weeks
R456

A thought-provoking and visually compelling exploration of artistic expression and gastronomic creativity through the work of the worlds most revolutionary chef, Ferran Adria.


Fasting, Feasting
Anita Desai
Paperback, 240 pages
1.57 cms H x 21.03 cms L x 14.07 cms W
EAN 9780618065820
January 2000
Mariner Books
In Stock
R147

Anita Desai's latest book, hailed as unsparing, yet tender and funny, brilliantly confirms her place among today's foremost Indian writers. 'Fasting, Feasting' takes on Desai's greatest theme: the intricate, delicate web of family conflict.


Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone
Contributor(s): Ferrari-Adler, Jenni (Editor)
EAN: 9781594483134
Riverhead Books
Paperback, 272 pages
July 2008
Available to order – 2 weeks
R139

In this delightful and unexpected collection, writers, foodies, and others ruminate on the distinctive experiences of cooking for one and dining alone.


Breakfast at Tiffany's: And Three Stories
Truman Capote
Paperback, 192 pages
1.37 cms H x 20.17 cms L x 13.41 cms W
EAN 9780679745655
March 1995
Vintage Books USA
Available to order – 2 weeks
R138

In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany's; her poignancy, wit, and naivete continue to charm.


The Incredible Book Eating Boy
Oliver Jeffs
Hardcover, 32 pages
1.19 cms H x 28.78 cms L x 22.68 cms W
EAN 9780399247491
May 2007
Philomel Books
Available to order – 2 weeks
R173

Like many children, Henry loves books. But Henry doesn’t like to read books, he likes to eat them. Big books, picture books, reference books . . . if it has pages, Henry chews them up and swallows (but red ones are his favourite). And the more he eats, the smarter he gets. He’s on his way to being the smartest boy in the world!


Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Anthony Bourdain
Paperback, 312 pages
2.08 cms H x 20.55 cms L x 13.69 cms W
EAN 9780060899226
January 2007
Harper Perennial
Available to order – 2 weeks
R170

The updated edition of the wickedly funny and insightful bestseller filled with "25 years of sex, drugs, bad behaviour, and haute cuisine," now includes three new chapters about the author's adventures since the book was originally published.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer
Paperback, 290 pages
1.80 cms H x 19.86 cms L x 13.77 cms W
EAN 9780385341004
May 05, 2009
Dial Press
Available to order – 2 weeks
R139

In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.


Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition
Irma S Rombauer
Hardcover, 1152 pages
5.84 cms H x 24.31 cms L x 17.27 cms W
EAN 9780743246262
October 31, 2006
Scribner Book Company
Available to order – 2 weeks
R349

Superb value for money. Seventy-five years ago, a St. Louis widow named Irma Rombauer took her life savings and self-published a book called "The Joy of Cooking." Her daughter Marion tested recipes and made the illustrations, and they sold their mother-daughter project from Irma's apartment.


The Coroner's Lunch
Colin Cotterill
Paperback, 257 pages
1.88 cms H x 19.20 cms L x 12.85 cms W
EAN 9781569474181
November 15, 2005
Soho Crime
Available to order – 2 weeks
R119

When an elderly doctor takes over as state coroner of newly formed Communist Laos in the late 1970s, he unexpectedly stirs the bureaucratic pot and unravels three complicated and intertwined murder plots his superiors want to sweep under the carpet.


The Tiger Who Came For Tea
Judith Kerr
Paperback, 28 pages
0.51 cms H x 27.18 cms L x 21.34 cms W
EAN 780007266449
November 2008
HarperCollins
Available to order – 2 weeks
R117

First published 35 years ago, this reassuring and funny story is now available in a large picture-book format. When Sophie and her mother sit down for tea one afternoon, they are joined by a hungry tiger who eats all the food in the house until there's nothing left to cook for supper. Full-colour illustrations.


Bone In The Throat
Anthony Bourdain
Paperback, 304 pages
2.08 cms H x 21.31 cms L x 13.59 cms W
EAN 9781582341026
September 2000
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
In Stock
R155

When wannabe chef Tommy Pagano settles for a stint in his cousin's restaurant in Little Italy, he has no idea the place is Mafia-run, and that one of the specialties of the house is chopped gangsters. Back by popular demand, 'Bone in the Throat' is chef Anthony Bourdain's acclaimed first novel.


Naked Lunch
William S Burroughs
Paperback, 208 pages
197 x 130 mm
EAN 9780007204441
May 2005
HarperCollins Publishers
In Stock
R127

WELCOME TO INTERZONE! Say hello to Bradley the Buyer, the best narcotics agent in the business. Check yourself into the hospital where Dr Benway works - but don't expect adrenalin if you need it (the night porter shot it up for kicks). Meet Dr 'Fingers' Schafer, the Lobotomy Kid, and his greatest creation, 'The Complete American De-anxietized Man', a marvel of invasive psychiatry who has been reduced to nothing but a spinal cord.

***

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bibliotherapy for Idle Parents






















How can the idle parent make the most of story time?


Tom reminded us that stories must grab your children, otherwise it’s a waste of time putting your all in; using funny voices and fabulous expression. His moment of enlightenment was when he saw how his children sat transfixed, wide eyed and still, through each chapter of ‘Treasure Island’ (full of death and killing) after fruitless sessions of ploughing through ‘Watership Down’ to their wriggles and interruptions, even though he gave the text the whole package! Indeed Tom and I both agreed that casting aside vapid horrors such as the ‘Magic Kitten’ and ‘Rainbow Fairy’ collections, and instead choosing books you can bear and more importantly enjoy is essential to the Idle Parent’s reading aloud experience.

- Charlotte Raby, The School of Life


Read the rest of the article here.


To find out more about bibliotherapy click here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Who is Sookie Stackhouse?











I have watched with fascination as the books in Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series have clawed their way up into the New York Times bestseller list. I had seen them mentioned in various articles and top ten lists and the like but had always dismissed them as silly vampire dross with only novelty value. But they stayed. And then more arrived. Today there is a convincing coven of eight Sookie novels in the NYT top 35 paperback mass fiction list.

So who is Sookie Stackhouse? She is the mind-reading Louisiana cocktail waitress with a penchant for vampires in The Southern Vampire Mysteries, a series of nine novels first published in 2001. The first book, Dead until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery.

Sookie's supernatural escapades are said to be addictive. HBO is currently planning the third season of True Blood where Sookie is portrayed by Oscar-winning Anna Paquin. The first season received critical acclaim and won several awards, including one Golden Globe.

USA Today described the series as "Sexy, witty and unabashedly peculiar, True Blood is a blood-drenched Southern Gothic romantic parable set in a world where vampires are out and about and campaigning for equal rights. Part mystery, part fantasy, part comedy, and all wildly imaginative exaggeration, [True]Blood proves that there's still vibrant life — or death — left in the "star-crossed lovers" paradigm. You just have to know where to stake your romantic claim."

Pulp is selling Sookies individually at R79, and the boxed set at R558.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The joy of exclamation marks!















Exclamation marks used to be frowned upon. Now look what's happened! We use them all the time! Hurrah!!! But what is it about the age of email that gets people so over-excited?

There is a town of 1,471 happy souls in Quebec called Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!. The second "Ha!", amazingly, is part of the town's name, not my commentary on the first "Ha!". Unlike, for example, the Devon town of Westward Ho! Ho! There, the second "Ho!" is mine. Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! is the only town in the world whose name has two exclamation marks. It will remain so until Wolverhampton is renamed Wolverhampton!! to highlight its funky new Black Country vibe, which, all things considered, seems unlikely.

Or maybe I'm wrong. After all, exclamation marks - those forms of punctuation derided by the funless and fastidious - are making a comeback, thanks to an internet renaissance that is bleeding over into every form of written communication. Once it was bad form to end a paragraph with an exclamation mark. Now it's borderline obligatory. Once it was enough to put a sign on your door: "Back in five minutes." Now, without the flourish of an exclamation mark, that sign lacks verve or at least zeitgeisty voguishness. Go figure!

- Stuart Jeffries, Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here!

Friday, July 3, 2009

From crack houses to evil aliens













James Frey targets a million little readers

Controversial writer James Frey has been outed as the co-author of a hot new children's book, as yet unpublished. But why all the mystery?

Not content with penning the third book of the Bible, James Frey, who wrote of his struggle with drug addiction in a controversial memoir, is turning to children's books.

As ever with Frey, who was found to have fabricated parts of his autobiography, A Million Little Pieces, there are layers within layers to this latest book deal. Last week it emerged in the New York Times that a young adult novel was being hawked to publishers as a collaboration between a bestselling writer and an emerging new author. The book, called I Am Number Four, is about a group of alien teenagers who take refuge on Earth when their planet is attacked.

The New York Times outed Frey as the author, and yesterday reported that HarperCollins Children's Books had acquired North American rights in the first four books in what is being billed as a series, starting with I Am Number Four.

Film rights have also been acquired by Dreamworks for a high six-figure sum, added the Hollywood Reporter, with Michael Bay (director of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) lined up to produce and possibly direct.

As yet Frey himself has not commented on the deal, telling website Gawker – where he interned for a day – that he could "neither confirm nor deny that I had anything to do with that book". However, he has posted a link to the New York Times piece revealing him as the author on his official website, also linking to a story revealing more of the plot details. The evil aliens are from the planet Mogadore, who destroyed the planet Lorien in order to take its natural resources; they follow the planet's teenagers, who develop special powers aged 15, to Earth to complete the job.

- Alison Flood, Guardian.co.uk

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cathy Haynes on the fun to be had lying about books













A recent Mori report revealed that 40% of us resort to lying about having read certain books just so we can join in with a conversation. My cynical side seizes on this as dismal evidence that we’re buckling with indignity under the weight of “must-reads” the media piles upon us daily. But my upbeat, airy self wonders if the statisticians have stumbled upon and misinterpreted a fantastic party game being played all over the land where everyone is re-imagining the content of books in a splendid frenzy of creativity.

I would never condone ths misrepresentation of an important work; the urgent content of some books is vital for us to encounter critically and debate collectively. But perhaps there is a playful liberation in the 40%’s fraudulent resistance to the tyranny of booklists. What’s more, that we’re able to bluff a conversation about a book we’ve never read suggests at least 40% of us are much better at creative storytelling than we might have expected.

In The School of Life’s Play course we experiment with an old parlour game. It’s the one where you choose three obscure books, read their covers aloud and ask players to write what they think is the first line. An umpire then reads out the results with the real first line of the book buried somewhere among them, and asks the group to choose which is the real one. I’m prepared to bet as much as a fiver that no matter how many times we play this game, the group will always mistakenly identify one of their own lines as the real thing. But perhaps 40% of us already knew that, and are busy playing the game up and down the land.

- Cathy Haynes, The School of Life

Cathy Haynes is part of The School of Life's faculty. To find out more about the Play course click HERE. Photo by Jeff Mermelstein.

Friday, June 26, 2009

R.I.P. Jacko











Michael Jackson first entered a recording studio in November 1967, just three months after his ninth birthday. Two years later he and his older brothers scored their first hit, 'I Want You Back' - and, despite set-backs that would have ended the career of a lesser man, Michael's legion of fans remain as loyal today as they have ever been. This is the story of the man and his music.


Michael Jackson: For the Record
Chris Cadman
Hardcover, 412 pages
2.90 cms H x 24.21 cms L x 16.33 cms W
EAN 9780755202676
February 01, 2007
Authors Online
Available to order - 2 weeks
R360

Order from Pulp Books

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Here’s a Clue: Mr. Kumar, With a Gun, in India












“Q&A,” the novel that became the basis for the smash-hit film “Slumdog Millionaire,” used questions from a television quiz show to prompt flashbacks about its main character’s life story. Here’s a question for its author, Vikas Swarup: Can a novel be any more high-concept than that?

Yes it can. Mr. Swarup’s second novel, “Six Suspects,” is a Bollywood version of the board game Clue with a strain of screwball comedy thrown in. Its stock characters are easily identified: the Bureaucrat, the Actress, the Tribal, the Thief, the Politician and the American. Each attended the party at which a man named Vicky Rai, a playboy film producer, was murdered. Each has a gun and a motive. And although the story’s geographical span is even bigger than India, the whole thing feels handily confined to the kind of isolated, air-tight setting that Agatha Christie’s readers love.

Thanks to such a schematic setup “Six Suspects” is gleeful, sneaky fun. But it’s also a much more freewheeling book than the format implies. Mr. Swarup, an Indian diplomat, brings a worldly range of attributes to his potentially simple story. And he winds up delivering a rambling critique of Indian culture, taking shots at everything from racism to reality TV. Yet Mr. Swarup’s style stays light and playful, preferring to err on the side of broad high jinks rather than high seriousness. A fizzy romp seems to be the main thing he has in mind.

- Janet Maslin, New York Times

Read the rest of the review here.

Read an excerpt from 'Six Suspects' here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Top 10 literary ménages à trois













Ewan Morrison is the author of three novels which explore modern relationships and sexuality: Ménage, Distance and Swung. Ménage, his most recent novel, is the story of three bohemians in a ménage à trois in 90s London.

"The ménage à trois is a rich and rarified fictional seam which arose in the 19th century and originated from memoirs or fictionalised accounts of real-life events. The number of ménages à trois (as yet barely documented) which occurred in the lives of artists, writers and leaders from the 19th century to the present day – from DH Lawrence and George Bernard Shaw to Pablo Picasso and Jack Kerouac – is intriguing, and begs the question: was the ménage à trois the ideal (if publicly unacceptable) lifestyle of the modern 'radical'?"

1. Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway

The erotic novel that Hemingway suppressed during his own lifetime, and left incomplete on his death, is set in the Cote d'Azur in the 1920s and tells the story of an author, his adventurous wife, and the psycho-sexual games they play while sharing a young woman. It is largely held to be autobiographical.

2. Jules et Jim by Henri Pierre Roche

Adapted for film, starring Jeanne Moreau, by Francois Truffaut in 1961, the original novel was based on Roche's own experiences with a German couple, the Hessels, between the wars. Roche's seven-volume diary of his many loves and love triangles, which include those with noted surrealists and dadaists, remains unpublished to this day.

3. Politics by Adam Thirlwell

An eccentric, contemporary, urbane ménage à trois with a half-Jewish male, a daddy's girl and a bisexual Indian actress. Meditations on the sex life of Adolf Hitler and Chairman Mao are intercut with descriptions of London and extreme sexual acts in this multicultural mélange that screws around with form as much as it does with character and race.

- Ewan Morrison, Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Can South Africa's literary community turn a new page?














The country's once-struggling book industry is now booming, but more needs to be done to encourage reading amongst the entire population.

Last month I visited my brother in Cape Town. He put together the most amazing itinerary: the "big five" in Kruger National Park; lounging on the beach and watching the cold surf in Kleinmond; seafood on the seashore in Hermanus; wine and escargots in Franschhoek for the price of burgers and coke back home; flowers and weddings in the Company Gardens, and hiking up Lion's Head.

But what I was by far the most grateful for was the tireless manner in which he drove me to every bookstore I could find, and his patience as I browsed through miles of new and used books. After which, I can happily report that Cape Town and its environs is home not only to the world's most fecund floral kingdom, but also a thriving literary life.

Almost everyone I met spoke of Cape Town's growing literary community; of how the industry had turned itself around after years of neglect by the chains, independent bookstores such as The Book Lounge and Kalk Bay Books were now. As the Lounge's Mervyn Sloman put it, they were: "filling the void, treating customers with respect, hiring people passionate about the profession, and caring about more than just stock turnover".

- Nigel Beale, Guardian.co.uk

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I'm Only Being Honest













The joy I get from helping little people stand taller is unbounded. That's why I insist midgets have boxes to stand on.

Contra-BLOODY-ception. Why don't kids bother? I never wore a condom when I was young, but then no one ever wanted to shag me.

- excerpts from The Digested Read of Jeremy Kyle's 'I'm Only Being Honest' by Jim Crace, Guardian.co.uk

Read the whole digested read here.