NO BLANK SPACES

2017: My Year in Books

Surveying my reading habits this time last year, I tended to accentuate the negative (this, you may recall, was the fashion in 2016). But this time, let’s start with the good news. Firstly, I have managed to keep reading a lot. I averaged a little over a book a week this year, putting me somewhere between Mark Zuckerberg…

One-line book reviews: 61-80

Features Ballard, Chaucer, Conrad, Peake and Lady Sashina. One-line review #61: ‘The Red and the Black’ by Stendhal. Some pretty good social observation and sexual politics (esp. the tit-for-tat between Julien and Mathilde), but it does drag on. One-line review #62: ‘The Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffrey Chaucer (modern prose version…

‘Trees in Winter’

Trees in Winter   Unveiled like veins, winter’s trees disclose Their dead ends. We have fewer winters left Than these have leaves. Then we’ll be seen Outlined, unfinished, in our entirety, The sum of our maps and of our plans. All The turns we took to slow the falling And give it the grace of…

An Older Model

This is my contribution to a collaborative project including work from various creative writing groups. It was first published here and will be included in an e-book to be published in May 2018. Our prompt was to describe a ‘scent memory’ from childhood.  Leather armrests warmed by sunlight through closed car windows. Glass…

Five Novels That Play With Personhood

This post was first published at BookRiot.  Philosophers have long argued over the word, “I”. Specifically, whether or not we are meaningfully the same person – the same “I” – today as we were in the past, and will be in the future. For most of us, it is difficult to imagine having…

‘A Sea-son’s Greeting’

‘A Sea-son’s Greeting’ Between pieces of a family, water That sweats the room and weighs us down, And fills the gaps left by words unsaid. We’re clouding the windows with steam We’re forgetting the world for just one day. “It’s so hot”, we take turns to say Though the windows…

Why I Love One-Sentence Book Reviews

This post first appeared at BookRiot.  You’ve just publicly expressed strong feelings for or against a novel, someone calls you out on it and…you’re stumped. You can barely recall any of the characters’ names, let alone the reasons why you remember loving/hating them so vividly. Many a bookie has been…

One-line reviews of 100+ books: 51-60

Features Atwood, Camus, Dostoevsky, and Murakami. One-line review #51: ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ by D.H.Lawrence. Didn’t leave much of a lasting impression (I read it a while back but forgot about it); I did like some features of his style, but, overall, I thought it was a bit sparse. One-line review…

Five Stories of Political Violence

‘Humankind’, wrote T. S. Eliot, ‘cannot bear very much reality.’ As testament to Eliot’s word, masses of ordinary people around the globe, who are confronted with uprisings, state repression, and other forms of political violence, continue to go about their daily lives. It’s hard for me to imagine, as someone whose has never…

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