Posted in Reading on Saturday 1st November 2003 at 11:12pm
Reading voraciously this week. Still of course an increasingly tall stack of unread books, but I've managed to dismiss a few.
Firstly, finally finished A N Wilson's 'The Victorians' - something I'd be reading 'in the background' for some time. As it accelerated into the vortex of the fin de siecle it all began to make sense. Refreshing to read a book about the 19th Century which dwells more in the realms of personality and culture, than in the endlessly rehashed industrial achievements of the age.
Over a couple of days I read Peter Ackroyd's 'Dan Leno & The Limehouse Golem'. As always, a new twist on old and familiar tales. I always learn something mysterious and interesting from Ackroyd's novels, and this was no different. Wasn't sure how I'd feel about a cameo appearance by a fictional George Gissing and Karl Marx, but surprisingly they survived the novel without being compromised by Ackroyd's characterization. Moving on to his new 'Clerkenwell Tales' now, which I've heard is poor, but shows (from my blinkered viewpoint) early promise...
Posted in Reading on Sunday 31st August 2003 at 5:20pm
As ever, rattled through Coupland's latest at a fair old rate. The strange sunny SSRI-induced sheen which has settled on all his other work is missing this time. It's all a bit bleak and unresolved. The story is told by four characters, in dated sections - reminiscent of William Faulkner's methods in 'The Sound and the Fury'. Each section documents the writer's life since a Columbine-like high school massacre for people who will likely never read the resulting letter or journal.
Like always, Coupland is an accurate cultural barometer - the span of the book (1988-2002) gives him scope to explore the decay of spiritual values over the past few decades. Perhaps the most optimistic transformation of the novel occurs for Reg - who starts out a repressed and repressing father with irrationally literal religious views, and ends up as a tired old man, full of doubt and fear but somehow far more human.
The beautiful descriptions of Coupland's native Vancouver are here as always, along with some acute and sentimental observations about how we lived in the recent past.
Posted in Reading on Tuesday 19th August 2003 at 6:08pm
The list is back online following a hardware upgrade which has solved all previous problems.
More information available here
I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.
I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.