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The In-Betweeners


"Golden Bollocks" talks
football and tragedy
Not everything I read makes it onto the pages of this blog. Indeed, of some books it pains me to say I may well be slightly embarrassed to admit having read them, being slightly superior and a somewhat jaded critic of the popular milieu. However, what sort of chronicler of intertextual flow would I be if I were to omit those texts that fill the void between the titles carefully chosen by me to illustrate what an esoteric and highly educated reader I am?

Therefore, I've chosen to humble myself by exposing those little items of brain candy that I occassionally treat myself to, behind closed doors of course. Those shavings of Occam's Razor I call, The In-Betweeners.

For those of you who don't want to know the scores, look away now. Equally, for those who don't give a monkeys about football, you may avert your gaze for a paragraph.
Kenny Dalglish snuck in between Portis and Hunt by virtue of the fact that if I hadn't read it now, it would have become one of those irritating books, written by the living about a period of time yet to have ended, that is out-of-date before I got around to reading it. Indeed, I suspect the paperback edition is going to have a whole lot of guff about contract negotiations and summer transfer targets missed and hit and likely other such nonsense as to render the book more unreadable than Dalglish's swaying narrative has already done. Nonetheless, for a footballer's biography, it's not as bad as, say, Ashley Cole's or, God forbid, Rio Ferdinand's. And, as a collector of rather tawdry Liverpool biographies, it would have been a betrayal of the club and the ethos to have not bought and read this. Okay, you can come back now.
More Travis McGee (#5 I think)
from master MacDonald

Travis McGee is John D MacDonald's knight-errant. A sun-browned boat bum, living on the proceeds of his sporadic employment aboard the Busted Flush, a boat won during a poker game and moored permanently in the Florida Keys, McGee takes "jobs" when his funds run low, or in this case, when his friends get themselves killed. He takes 50% of that recovered and lives for another summer in idleness and forgetting. Lots of great dialogue, some rather wobbly but noble eviceration of the soul, and action all over the shop characterise the series (21 volumes no less) and all thrills are delivered without graphic sex scenes (all done with suggestion - and there's lots of suggestion) or resorting to the shock of foul language. MacDonald is a champ of pulp fiction, and rumour has it that Oliver Stone and portly Leo Di are working on a big screen portrayal! Fame at last.

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How's about that then?

Free Fall In Crimson by John D. MacDonald

Trav is back, still grieving the loss of some chickadee or other whose death almost knocked him off his game, but not too shook up to set himself up with a few more lucky lovelies whilst tripping his way through another overly complicated and rather sordidly underwhelming plot. This time, some bikers are making dirty movies with minors on the set of a future classic hot-air-balloon movie. Travis falls into the action because a rich old geyser carks it in unusual circumstances and it affects the trust fund of a former marina-mate. And hirsute intellectual Meyer wets his pants towards the end. 

You may sense a fatigued, sardonic note in my precis. It's not that I don't still love John D., it's just that after embarking on the long game that is reading the entire Travis McGee oeuvre, I'm approaching the end and it feels long overdue. It's been fun, it's been enlightening, but it's also been a schlep. With the realisation I might now have fewer years left to me …

The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray

Fup by Jim Dodge

If there was a comfort-food version of a book for me, then this would be it. It's funny, touching, humanistic, and features so many quotable quotes that its trim 120 pages could be represented in its entirety on some such authors' quotations page.

We're introduced to Tiny on the occasion of his mother's death, lured into a treacherously fatal situation by, of all things, a duck, while her 4-year-old son sleeps in the car where he wakes to a terrifying solitude. Meanwhile, we're treated to a potted but entertaining history of Granddaddy Jake, Tiny's grandfather, into whose care by fair means or foul (no pun intended) he is finally placed. But the titular Fup duck comes along only once Tiny is fully grown (and how!). A lost and lonely duckling, much like Tiny, she's discovered shivering in a freshly dug post hole, which betrays the attention paid to it by Tiny's nemesis, a wild hog called Lockjaw, who enjoys tearing up Tiny's fences just as much as he …

Metaliterature - what meaning to have is this for meaning?

Not a review this time, more of a curiosity. It seems I'm receiving lots of hits from Russia (Здравствуйте России!) from people searching for the definition of "metaliterature". As such, it is something of a bespoke word, created to fit a need and probably not yet recognized outside literary theory / criticism circles (Merriam-Webster Online certainly don't like it). I was wondering what they typed in to end up here, so, for fun (it's not fun, sorry) I thought I'd bung it in Google Translate and see what came out. As it turns out, one needs a little hyphen for the rather ponderous machine to understand it, and even then only does half the job (meta seems to be meta in any language). 
Incidentally, below is, ironically, a Google Chrome Thesaurus definition* of "meta":

met·a Adjective/ˈmetə/
(of a creative work) Referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referentialInterestingly (not interesting, sorry) it says this for the full term, t…