His works are among the first I came to when I began reading weirder literature, and so I feel great affection for him. I loved his strangeness, and then – later – I loved his plainer works, his more natural narratives. And perhaps, above all, his non-fiction titles.
And every time he puts out a new one, I snap it up. Because in each title is the kernel of hope that I’ll be dazzled the way I was when I first grabbed hold of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Kind of akin to how I keep buying albums by bands I idolised in university, in the hope that their albums will spark the joy I’ve been seeking since undergrad days. (more…)
What would you do if you were cornered by a craggy-looking dude with a briefcase? A briefcase that’s meant for you? A briefcase that contains some papers, a pristine gun and a number of untraceable bullets? With the assurance that anything you did with those items would be completely free from legal consequence?
DON’T FORGET TO SUBSCRIBE, MOTHERFUCKER.
(I mean aside from whacking your most hated YouTube celebrity repeatedly.) (more…)
Walter Isaacson’s made no bones about his interest in genius. I mean, he’s written biographical surveys of Albert Einstein (undoubtedly), Benjamin Franklin (yep), Steve Jobs (well…) and, er, Henry Kissinger (ahem) among others. Now, he turns his gaze towards a guy who we normally gaze towards – well, his works, anyway. Leonardo da Vinci.
Ah stuff it. Ignore the terrible segue and look at this ripped geometric dude instead.
You’d think someone so artistically significant would look a bit more enthused with his immortality.
We’re getting to the pointy end now. This is the penultimate volume of Viz’s collections of extracts from Oishinbo, and so it’s time for something subtle. Something both representative of Japan and its culture, and of hearth and home. Something to get excited about.
I’d never read any Michael McDowell before cracking The Elementals. I’d seen some of his other work, unknowingly – he was the scriptwriter for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice – and I’d seen that he was very well regarded by Stephen King, so I figured I might as well give it a shot.
So I’ve recently spent some time spelunking, digitally speaking. Breaking through walls. Putting arrows through heads. And it’s mostly been enjoyable, but has come to an end that makes me realise I’m a terrible person who spoils everything.
What do you mean there’s ancient artefacts just lying around? I’M ON MY WAY!
Five volumes in and I guess we turn to the topic that kids aren’t excited about: veggies. Thankfully for me, broad beans are given a swerve, but there’s some good reps given to eggplant, a purple fiend I’m only sort of friends with.
I AM SHOUTING BECAUSE I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS TURNIP YOU SIMPLETON.
What I’m saying is that I guess it seems hard for readers – and for me – to be as wound-up excited to read a volume about greens when we’ve formerly had some great, in-depth knowledge shot at us from the Oishinbo food cannon. I was prepared for this to be a bit eh.
Thankfully, it’s not.
Pretty sure that guy on the right is related to that enthusiastic sommelier from a previous volume.
As I did last year, I’ve decided to try and remove a fair bit of the indecision that surrounds my reading. I’ve got a metric fuckton of unread books to go through, and I get paralysed with choice when I finish something. Which of the thousands – yes, literally – comes next?
So, I made a list. This one might be a bit more legible than last year’s one, but it’s probably just as unattainable, completion-wise. That doesn’t matter, though: the list provides some structure, and something that gives a good endorphin burst each time I can put a red read line through anything. (more…)
In terms of travel books written about Japan, this is a classic. It’s a pretty simple work: Ohio-born outsider tools around the Seto Inland Sea and, in the manner of a flâneur, offers his take on the place. Pre-gallery Naoshima. Pre-bridge islands. A world of fishing boats and lazy afternoons.
Let’s put it in perspective from the outset: the area that he’s talking about is glorious. It’s hazy and hypnotic, and completely suited to romantic introspection if you’re a traveller who’s impressed by views. I mean:
Right? Right. It’s somewhere I wanted to learn a lot more about.
The problem is that through this book, you learn a lot more about Donald Richie than you do the area. And what you learn, ultimately, is that he’s pretty much a dickhead. (more…)