Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen (Review)

TL, DR: Vultures and coyotes, railway men and Durango rangers, shapeshifters, magic, revolvers and carrion; the second in the Shadow series soars through them all, while exploring the character’s experience closely. Recommend.


Conspiracy of Ravens begins where Wake of Vultures left of, and this review contains spoilers for that book. You’ve been warned: HERE BE MONST – Uh, wait… HERE BE SPOILERS.

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The Bumper List of Books 2019

I haven’t done this for a while – I like to make a big list of the books I read or failed to finish in the year gone past and, sometimes, post it on the blog. So, here’s a rough overview of the year’s highlights and the list of what I read or failed to finish. I’ve tried to keep it shorter than last time. I’m not sure I have. HMU with your recommended reads for 2019?

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Eastern Standard Tribe by Cory Doctorow (Review)

TL, DR: Come for the nerdy futurism and its pertinent analogies, stay for the like/hateable characters, their problems and their snappy dialogue.


Art is a member of Eastern Standard Tribe, a group of like-minds that have taken advantage of widely available instant communication to form an online tribe, whose common denominator is the Eastern Standard Time zone, its geography and culture. This tribe operates like a not-so-secret society or fraternity; where once you’d intern your frat brother, ESTribe tells us, now you’d intern your tribesman. Art is an industrial saboteur for EST, and in the politics and machinations of cross time-zone espionage, Art is doing his best to cover himself in glory… and avoid becoming collateral damage.

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Coraline by Neil Gaiman (A review…)

… sort of.

There doesn’t seem to be much need for me to review Coraline. Not only am I very late to the party (only seventeen years), but Coraline seems to already have all the critical and popular acclaim it deserves. So, instead of a proper review, I’m just going to be selfish and tell you all the things I liked about it. You’ll have to excuse the fragmentary nature of these, there doesn’t seem to be a natural way to work them together.

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The Hatred of Poetry – Ben Lerner (Review)

By expecting it to live up to its platonic ideal, created by mythologising expectations of things it can supposedly do — produce transcendental feelings; change the world; speak to an individual and universal experience at the same time; restructure and reform society through shock — we learn to hate poetry.

That’s the central premise of Lerner’s monograph. It’s one I find myself broadly supporting.

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Review – Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968 – 1976 (Fear and Loathing Letters, Vol. 2)

Continuing from The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman 1955-1967 (Fear and Loathing Letters, Vol 1), Fear and Loathing in America is entertaining, interesting and at times, scathing. It showcases Thompson’s bizarre sense of humour, his desire to communicate ‘on a human level’ as he puts it, and his unfailing sense of civil liberty. It illustrates the personality already established in the public mind with letters ranging from missives fired off to sub-par clothing merchandisers, to back and forths in his complex relationship with Oscar Acosta, but it also feels like something is missing.

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The Monster List of Books 2017

bookstackI didn’t manage to read enough during Twenty-Seventeen. Including books I re-read, books I began but didn’t finish, and books I read for the first time, I read a paltry thirty-nine books, which was still somehow more than last year. If you subtract the ones I didn’t finish (nine) I still managed more than last year. A miracle. If only I was ten again. I had plenty of time to read then. Out of school, when I should have been asleep, in school, during Maths… Continue reading “The Monster List of Books 2017”

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters

I had Kurt Vonnegut: Letters for Christmas and got through it in short order. I’ve only read two of his stories, Player Piano and Slaughterhouse-Five, but they made a big impression. His letters reveal a blunt human being, who occupies a space that encompasses someone who simply uses their skills to make a living and someone who is devoted to the art and craft of their work. He shows that the two aren’t necessarily incompatible. I want to share some bits that I thought were interesting. Continue reading “Kurt Vonnegut: Letters”

Working Nine to Five in La La Land

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven’t seen it yet, and plan to, don’t read this.

I saw La La Land last week, and though I’m not a big fan of musicals in principle, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I had a few thoughts that I wanted to test on Guinea pigs, and since I haven’t been able to re-watch it, they might be a little faulty. Originally I wasn’t happy with the ending of La La Land, until I began thinking about it in terms of a more realist genre, instead of a romantic one. Continue reading “Working Nine to Five in La La Land”