Category: Words

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The Jungle – Upton Sinclair

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair is an unrelentingly awful tramp through the worst parts of early American capitalism. Normally I would hate something this despairing, but actually I found myself drawn in and – unusually for me – unable to look away. Upton Sinclair’s expose of the Chicago meat packing...

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Did not finish – reading by numbers

Adding a book to the ‘did not finish’ pile always feels like a failure. On whose part, I don’t know – the reader and the writer are sometimes equally to blame. There are plenty of (probably) truly excellent books that I just haven’t been able to finish, and loads of...

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American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Review: A love letter to the great American road trip, featuring gods, demons and zombies. An interesting tale told in fits and bursts. American Gods, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, 2001) I’m mostly familiar with Neil Gaiman from his work on Dr Who, and for being the other half of Amanda Palmer....

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The Salt Cellar

When you spill salt on the table, you’re supposed to pick up a pinch and throw it over your left shoulder. This will, it is hoped, ward off evil spirits, bad luck, witches, Brussels sprouts and all sorts of other nasty things. Petra had learned this from a young age....

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Left Behind

Serena thought death would smell, but it hadn’t – at least, not at first. She’d woken up in a room not too dissimilar to the one she’d last fallen asleep in. When she opened her eyes she was standing, actually standing, for the first time in weeks. She blinked a...

The Fall of the Soviet Union 0

The Fall of the Soviet Union – a love story

“They say that when Mikhail Gorbachev first heard the Muzak version of Edge of Seventeen, it knocked him out cold.” This is what Alexis told me, as we sat blowing smoke rings on the banks of the Sava river. The thing about Alexis is, he doesn’t know how to lie....

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Trying

Can’t remember what happened last time? Read the first parts of the story here: One: Parking in the Rain Two: A Doorway Three: The Party Four: Here I Am, Here You Are At the end of voting on Part 4, the winner was: “The nice recluse scenario (63%)” Part 5...

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AT LAST, SIR TERRY

Like a lot of people around the world, I was saddened today to hear about the death of Terry Pratchett – AT LAST, SIR TERRY, said Death, and they walked out the door together. C and I were talking about literature the other day, about answering questions like “what are...

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Beware of Pity – Stefan Zweig – review

Beware of Pity – Stefan Zweig Pushkin Press (July 13, 2011) Review: Zweig’s masterpiece is ultimately over-long and rather pointless. It is just before the outbreak of World War I and young Austrian officer Anton Hofmiller is stationed at a Hungarian outpost. He befriends a local rich family, the Kekesfalvas,...

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Blue

– Yoghurt can be, but then you shouldn’t eat it – But you would eat the cheese, if it were – My jumper, which smells of cigarettes from last night’s bar – Your favourite packet of crisps – What we call your hair, in that other place, where we’re from...