books

I’m going to do an alphabet. Just every so often, when I have nothing more urgent to talk about. Sorry about no posts last week – I had an essay due Thursday, so Wednesday I couldn’t spare the time, and then Saturday I was just a little tiny bit hung over. A lesson once again […]

Bird by Bird

Bird by Bird is a book about writing, for writers. You will know if this is you. Anne Lamott isn’t telling you much you haven’t heard before. You’ve read it all in writer interviews and blog posts and pep talks, in irritating articles that tell you not to use adverbs, in other writing books you’ve […]

March. A dissertation on Freedom. She browses through the library stacks for Freud’s “Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious.” Reading it at home that evening she finds a passage underlined that exemplifies what she seeks from the book: “Freedom produces jokes and jokes produce freedom”. She flips to the back of the book and looks […]

Decay is a favourite artistic theme of mine. The melancholy of nostalgia is another. A Visit from the Goon Squad, roaming back and forth across time, has both in spades. The question has been raised whether it is a novel or a set of short stories; I’d come down on the side of “novel”, personally. […]

We lost Richard Adams in the last week of 2016, so it seemed appropriate to talk about how one of his books, Watership Down, was a touchstone throughout my childhood. The opening scene is one of those “classic English countryside” images, something timeless. “The primroses were over.” I don’t know why that first line has […]

This week involved the launch of Pokémon Go, and I do love me a good dose of fiction invading reality. I mentioned it back on the 25th of May, which really was more about characters, but shows how narratives dig into our minds and become a part of our world. Shrines to Jon Snow in […]

Nineteen Eighty-Four

I was unsure whether I wanted to write about Nineteen Eighty-Four. I don’t feel like I’m really “qualified” for it. It’s one of those books that tends to be studied, and I read it… Well, I was going to say “for pleasure”, but really I chose to read it because it is a Modern Classic […]

Once, I went into a Travelling Shop.   It was a second-hand bookshop. The bookshelves were in different sizes. The place had an old sort of feel to it – it was in an older building, down a mysterious lane in Dunedin, south of the Octagon, where only the bravest venture. There was dust, and […]

Hemingway said “Write drunk, edit sober”. This sounds like a great idea when you’re stuck and feel like an excuse for a glass of something. In practice, it never really works out for me. I had this great plan once of drinking a couple of glasses of absinthe and spending all night writing poetry. Absinthe […]

I buy most of my books online. I feel bad about it, sometimes, but books are really expensive here. The mark-ups are extraordinary – and that’s not the retailers’ fault, that RRP. So, one does what one can with the limited funds available to one. But that doesn’t mean I don’t visit bookshops. I love […]