October 31, 2013
The Ocean at the End of the Road – Neil Gaiman
Hadn’t felt moved to read any Gaiman since American Gods, which felt like his masterwork in prose, possibly because he went very YA. Ocean is the first aimed at adults in quite a while. It is really nice, subtle, supple and warm. Ageless and satisfying, a grown up fairytale. Somehow comfortable and unchallenging though.
The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit – Storm Constantine
Somehow Constantine had never really came on my radar despite having written lots of books. Read this fairly randomly; it is the first of the Wraeththu books. Wraeththu are post-human, post-gender androgyne hermaphrodites (though seemingly exclusively evolved from males), who are very into their fairly different sexuality, as well as having weird magical type powers. The books explores their society as it expands and develops while humanity falls away. Really surprising how transgressive and challenging this was – and must have been more so in the 80’s – and that it is not more famous than it is. Lavishly sensual prose, all about the decor, not the story. Not literary greatness but certainly visionary, inventive and deeply weird.
From Third World to First: The Singapore Story – Lee Kuan Yew
Biography of a nation as much as of the man. Lee Kuan Yew led Singapore for 35 years – during which time they went essentially from being a third world country to a first world country – and still retains a great deal of influence. He relates the nuts and bolts of what they did, how and why, and how it panned out. It is a veritable masterclass in power, politics and pragmatism. He also tells you what he thinks of more or less every major world leader and what they were like to deal with. All up an extraordinary story, fascinating on many levels, and (along with his interview based book The Grand Master Speaks) highly recommended to anyone interested in politics and power.
This Book Is Full Of Spiders – David Wong
Sequel to John Dies At The End, which I haven’t read, but which is still pretty much the most entertaining movie I have seen all year and you should see it. In this sequel, which rockets along, our hallucinating smartass munter heroes go up against a not-quite-zombie apocalypse that may be mostly their own fault. Retarded, hilarious, occasionally quite demented, and easily the most incisive and worthwhile commentary on zombie-culture.
If you are or ever were a hallucinating smartass munter, you will love this.
Now most of the way through The God Problem – Howard Bloom, which is likely the most dazzling history of ideas and thought and science I have ever read, while remaining totally gripping and entertaining reading, and you should buy it and read it now.
Been reading a whole bunch of books about Wellington and NZ history as research.
In other media, seem to have run out of steam on Battlestar Galactica midway through the second season. Just don’t seem much to care what happens to anyone.
And watched the magnificent delirious wonderfulness that is John From Cincinnati, which has become one of my all time favourite TV shows ever, naturally canned after one season. Ten episodes of unique hilarious mindfuck bliss, rather difficult to describe. Find this and see it. You will be delighted you did.