Archive | June 2005

Looking for something to read?

We all are mate. Well, the Guardian has original work by writers such as Annie Proulx, Colm Toibin, Patricia Highsmith, Richard Ford and DBC Pierre on their website. They’re short stories and they’re free.


Various bits

I’m far too lazy to actually think this evening so a bit of this and that:

A collection of toilet wall graffiti from 18th Century London (it’s much better than you think).

The New York Times features Robert Lowell and describes confessional poetry as ‘a sort of orderly bleeding‘. Oh yes. (Use login stackblog password stack)

Yummy. A personal PDF library. It seems to work in a similar vein to It’s social bookmarking but only PDFs. As such there are academic papers, books and the like. At the moment there seems to be an abundance of computer-related documents (no surprise there) so I am hoping someone will join me in trying to create results for when you search on ‘poetry’. There is the odd surprise, like the Anarchists Cookbook, several texts on buddhism, a manual for a Ducati and the Karma Sutra. We can safely call it ‘eclectic’ then.

And, my mother will be horrified: Alexander McCall Smith working with Irvine Welsh (and Ian Rankin) on a book of intertwining stories about Edinburgh.

How do you pack your books?

Having chosen two books to pack in my bag to escape to the Blue Mountains for the weekend, this article was rather timely. The Telegraph identifies the ‘types’ of holiday book-packers.

For many of us, the holidays begin not with the first step on to the plane, nor with the slamming of the car boot, nor even with the first argument about who’s got the children’s passports. Rather, it begins a few days previously – with a visit to the bookshop and a luxurious half-hour browsing the shelves.

I like to think I don’t adhere to any of the types. I only know that I always pack far more books than I could possibly hope to read (but then, I also pack runners in case I take up an exercise regime while I’m away. Ha!).

Literary clubbing

Wish we had a club like this in Sydney, man.

Blogging Iraq

Via the Guardian, Baghdad burning is a blog coming out of Iraq, written by a woman. She tags it “Girl Blog from Iraq… let’s talk war, politics and occupation”. It’s about to be published as a book.

We know a lot of our new officials and spokespeople are blatantly lying and it’s fine to lie about security, reconstruction and democracy- we’ve gotten used to it. In fact, we tell jokes about it and laugh about it at family gatherings or over the telephone. To lie about something as serious as Sunni-Shia hostage taking is another story altogether. It’s unacceptable and while Sunnis and Shia were hardly going to take up arms against each other over this latest debacle, but it was still extremely worrisome and for people who wish to fuel sectarian violence, it was a perfect opportunity.

We have an Iraqi government that bans news channels and newspapers because they *insist* on reporting about such routine things as civilian casualties and raids, yet the Puppets barely flinch over media sources spreading a rumor as dangerous and provocative as this one.

Sydney Uni Chancellor’s book fair

Put this in your calendars immediately: the Chancellor’s Book Fair at Sydney Uni will be held this year on Saturday 17 September to Wednesday 21 September.

I got there just before it opened on the first day last year and couldn’t get near the door. Nevertheless, I got so many bargains I was like the proverbial dog with two…for weeks afterwards. Though, I must say there is something disconcerting about bookworms wrestling each other to get to books. Their flimsy frames! That eclectic fashion sense! Those calico carry bags – filthy because they’ve been carrying them for a decade, years before being green was hip! I was crawling on the floor looking at boxes of books under tables and having to defend myself from blatant kicks from countless Hush Puppies. It was fierce.

But don’t let all this put you off…actually, yes, it’s pretty nasty, you better stay at home.

It’s all relative innit?

Stacy Shiff, a woman after my own heart, bemoans the relative nature of truth to the general population. No, not that they’ve suddenly come over all post-modern, but that they get their news from things like comedy shows. She kicks it all off with a go at that tome of postmodern truth, the Da Vinci Code.

More than 60 percent of the American people don’t trust the press. Why should they? They’ve been reading “The Da Vinci Code” and marveling at its historical insights. I have nothing against a fine thriller, especially one that claims the highest of literary honors: it’s a movie on the page. But “The Da Vinci Code” is not a work of nonfiction. If one more person talks to me about Dan Brown’s crackerjack research I’m shooting on sight.

(Use the login stackblog password stack if you don’t have a NY Times login).