Book Review – “Slaughterhouse 5” Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

October 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes – read it if you haven’t.

Book Review – “Lost Gods of England” (1957) Brian Branston

September 5th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s ok – lots of presumptions.

Book Review – “Breakfast of Champions” Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1973)

June 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, great fun – good drawings etc.

Book review – “Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency” Hal Foster (2015)

November 14th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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Yes, if you like that sort of thing. A lot of Thomas Hirshchorn, and a lot of notes (21% percent of this book is notes). I cannot pretend to have understood it all.

Book Review – “Everything to Nothing” Geert Buelens (2015)

October 20th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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Yes. It’s an interesting way of looking at the 1st World War. To be honest though, I would have liked a bit more poetry, and a bit more discussion about the structure and formal effectiveness of that poetry. To be shown just how much of an everyday cultural integer poetry once was is a revelation to me.

Book Review – “In Praise of Shadows” Junichiro Tanazaki (1933)

October 6th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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Yes – short and sweet.

Book Review – “Chernobyl Prayer” Svetlana Alexievich (1997/2013)

September 30th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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Yes, yes, yes. This is a brilliant book – saddening, maddening and moving.

Book Review – “The Periodic Table” Primo Levi (1975)

September 27th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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Yes. Simply and modestly written, a really effective concept allows for a variety of short biographical stories to be told – it’s very moving.

Book Review “Hiroshima” John Hersey (1st published 1946)

April 27th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

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Yes. I should have been made to read this at school. The strength of will of some of the (6) people focussed on in the book is astonishing. In addition, below is the original USA programme ‘This is Your Life’ featuring one of those people, Kiyoshi Tanimoto.  At around 15 minutes, just after Tanimoto has described seeing people with their skin hanging off, as a ‘procession of ghosts’, he is introduced to Captain Robert Lewis, with a flourish of harp music and audience applause. Lewis was co-pilot of ‘Enola Gay‘, the plane from which the atomic bomb was dropped onto Hiroshima. Apparently he had been drinking. It’s a bizarre and uncomfortable scene, particularly as the show is interrupted now and then with adverts for Hazel Bishop’s nail polish. Further below is a video from the USAF made in 1946, showing the extent of burn damage to some of the bomb victims.

Book Review – ‘The Living Mountain’ Nan Shepherd (1977)

March 26th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Living Mountain

Most definitely yes. Clear, concise, deceptively simple. Worth reading the whole book to get to this bit:

“Why some blocks of stone, hacked into violent and tortured shapes should so profoundly tranquillise the mind I do not know. Perhaps the eye imposes its own rhythm on what is only a confusion: one has to look creatively to see this mass of rock as more than jag and pinnacle – as beauty. Else why did men for so many centuries think mountains repulsive? A certain kind of consciousness interacts with the mountain-forms to create this sense of beauty. Yet the forms must be there for the eye to see. And forms of a certain distinction: mere dollops won’t do it. It is, as with all creation, matter impregnated with mind: but the resultant issue is a living spirit, a glow in the consciousness, that perishes when the glow is dead. It is something snatched from non-being, that shadow which creeps in on us continuously and can be held off by continuous creative act. So, simply to look on anything, such as a mountain, with the love that penetrates to its essence, is to widen the domain of being in the vastness of non-being. Man has no other reason for his existence.”

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