books

Goodreads review: Akira, Vol. 1

Akira, Vol. 1Akira, Vol. 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, you’ve probably seen the 1988 animated film with this name. You know, with motorcycles and a whole lot of screaming testosterone haircuts with axes to grind and heads to explode. And so you’re expecting this to be pretty much the same thing, right?

That’s a pretty good assumption.
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Goodreads review: Shots

ShotsShots by Don Walker.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Laconic and dry. That’s probably the write-up you’ve got in mind for Shots, songwriter Don Walker’s first book. And you’re probably not all that far wrong. But that reductionism is a disservice: The book is dry, with one economical eye on the door, but there’s a lot more going on.

The book is an autobiography, more or less, but it’s not a lot like that of his on-again off-again bandmate Tex Perkins, say. It’s a collection of images gathered together under the names of places that exist, or are a state of mind – Home, Carr’s Creek, Kings Cross, The Road, Paris and so on – but they flit, moment to moment. (more…)

Goodreads review: Moby-Dick

Moby-DickMoby-Dick by Herman Melville.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of reviewing Moby-Dick is.

I mean, really.

It’s the sort of book that will always be part of the canon, and I imagine people will always feel guilty about having not read it, or will imagine that it’ll be a lot harder going than anything else.

Which is kind of a shame, because it really is pretty delightful.
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Goodreads review: Errol Flynn: The Untold Story

Errol Flynn: The Untold StoryErrol Flynn: The Untold Story by Charles Higham.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars.

First things first.

I couldn’t get that bloody tune out of my head the whole time I was reading so it’s only fair you have to deal with it now too. It seems likely songwriters Reyne and McDonough had read Higham’s book, because the lyrics specifically make reference to the meat of the work: the supposition that the Tasmanian thespian dipsomaniacal klepto satyromanic was also a dyed-in-the-wool anti-Semite and Nazi.

Yeah. (more…)

Goodreads review: Powers of Darkness

Powers of Darkness: The lost version of Dracula.Powers of Darkness: The lost version of Dracula by Bram Stoker and Valdimar Ásmundsson.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

This book serves as a re-translation of an early Icelandic translation of Bram Stoker’s bitey classic, Dracula. The Icelandic version of the Count’s tale dropped in 1900, only two years after the first translation (into Hungarian), and is notable because there’s evidence – lovingly detailed in forewords, afterwords and footnotes – that Stoker was in touch with the Icelandic translator of the work, Valdimar Ásmundsson, founder of the newspaper Fjallkonan, providing information from draft versions of the English text to work with.
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Goodreads review: Dracula in Istanbul

Dracula in Istanbul.Dracula in Istanbul by Ali Rıza Seyfioğlu.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

I know what you’ve always wanted: a version of Dracula with cars in it, set in Istanbul. And where the head vein-drainer is a military coward instead of a great warlord. And where there’s lots of reference to God, and the steadfast nature of a good Turkish gent is the highest achievement one can have.

Right?

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Goodreads review: Dracula

Dracula.Dracula by Bram Stoker.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

So it seems I’m on another Gothic Lit jag. And where better to continue with the granddaddy of fanged fiction: Dracula?

You know this novel, though, right? It’s pretty much the ur-text for how we conceive of vampires, and throws a long shadow. (Though not, presumably, in a mirror.) It’s overwritten and can flip between boredom and action in a moment. I always find it a drag to read until about halfway – I am almost always of a mind to give it away – but then it snaps back in and I’m pulled through to the end.

giphy

My plan all along!

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Goodreads review: Soviet Bus Stops

Soviet Bus Stops.Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

A great example of a book that does exactly what you’d expect, Soviet Bus Stops is the outcome of years spent travelling through the former Soviet Union by Canadian photographer Christopher Herwig.
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Goodreads review: Infinite Jest

Infinite JestInfinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

So I finally read it.

You know, the brick. The thing. The book. The enormous tome. The encyclopaedic novel of encyclopaedic novels. The objet d’enthousiasme I’ve been lugging across the world since 1999, a brick-sized chunk of narrative excess that I’d promised my then-partner – a DFW army footsoldier for life – that I would read, such was their enthusiasm for the wordy luggage-filler.

So, this.

Secondly, the secret.

It’s not really that difficult. (more…)