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Showing posts from August, 2017

UnAmerican Activities by James Miller

I don't think I was asked to honour the old convention that a freebie necessitates an honest if gently favourable review (at least I can find no written proof). I will however, name-check the generous (and possibly over-optimistic) @TheWorkshyFop, editorial director of the independent British publisher, Dodo Ink, from whose proof boxes of new November lead titles this one arrived. Thank you, sir!
I recall James Miller, specifically Lost Boys, from the dim and distant past. It may have been a commission for Waterstones Books Quarterly, or perhaps I was doing a solid for the Little, Brown sales rep. Regardless, I remember nothing about the book except being underwhelmed. From reading old reviews, it seems it had the coat-tails of the contemporaneous zeitgeist in its teeth, but one slightly savage Guardian review* points out it was pretty badly done. This might explain why I remember very little, perhaps proving Auden's assertion that, "some books are undeservedly forgotten; …

Hannah Green And Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence by Michael Marshall Smith

I was sold this book by Simon at the Big Green Bookshop in return for the money it cost plus a small donation towards operating costs and postage. 

In truth, I'd forgotten it was on its way, and it was a fucking lovely surprise when it arrived at my desk in work, my letterbox at the time being a tad short on width and breadth and unlikely to admit a hardback plus packaging. I recall very much enjoying reading Michael Marshall Smith, and I also enjoyed re-reading him, recently, and I documented this here, here and here. This was a book for which I hadn't realised I'd been waiting for a long time. 

However, had I not the history and warm, cosy feelings safely tucked up in the nostalgia bank, I would probably not have picked this up, going solely on the cover. There's a clock, the silhouette of a small girl, and leaves, along with a colour contrast and meandering font which brought to mind something cringe-worthily reminiscent of Alexander McCall-Smith*, or the covers of Sc…

Very Good, Jeeves! by P. G. Wodehouse

Sincerest apologies, if apologies are due, for the delay resulting from my recent indolence, itself in no small part due to the very trying nature of moving oneself and one's entire life from the capital city (of Wales) to an outlying yet nearby enclave of middle-middle class respectfulness.

In short, I've moved to Penarth.

The Vale! Glory be etc. Frankly, it was that or suffer cross-city commutes four times a day, up to four days per week, at peak traffic, to fetch or deposit the boy at his new educational institution.

So, I've been busy and I've been tired.

Not too tired for Wodehouse, however–just too tired to put finger to keyboard. This collection of 11 curt but classic tales of Bertie's travails and the seemingly unerring instinct of his man, Jeeves, is peak Wodehouse. The short form leaves no great room for a long-winded run-up, and plays a straight bat (with a tongue winkingly in cheek) down wicket right into the reader's grateful hands, fairly cutting to t…