2017 Review: Books

These are the books I have read in the last 12 months:

Dubliners

author: James Joyce  published: 1914

Always love this. It’s more of a comfort read for me these days.

The Essays of Montaigne, Book 1

author: Michel de Montaigne  published: 1580 rating: 5

Jamilti and Other Stories

author: Rutu Modan  published: 2008 rating: 5

Great mixture of the everyday, the extraordinary and the fantastic. Stories beautifully told.

Billie Holiday

author: Carlos Sampayo  published: 1989 rating: 3

The Grapes of Wrath

Author: John Steinbeck  published: 1939 rating: 5

“I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this.”- John Steinbeck, 1936.  I have always known of this book but never read it or even knew very much about what is was about. I really wasn’t prepared by how relevant it was to so many situations occurring globally at the moment. The mass migration of populations due to climate changes, infrastructure collapse and economics, the refusal of a system to help and indeed the full demonisation of those in transit.The language is beautifully simple and yet says so much about strength, sadness, suffering, perseverance and dignity.

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher

author: Hilary Mantel  published: 2014 rating: 5

The Fortune of the Rougons (Les Rougon-Macquart, #1)

author: Émile Zola  published: 1870 rating: 5

Worth having an idea of the background and circumstance of the coup d’etat of the Second French Empire (Wikipedia will do), as knowledge seems to be assumed.

Deadpool & the Mercs For Money, Volume 0: Merc Madness

author: Cullen Bunn  published: 2016 rating: 3

The Collected Stories Volume 4

author: Arthur C. Clarke published: 1956 rating: 4

Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom #1)

author: John Updike published: 1960 rating: 4

A really intense, gruelling book about a pretty loathsome wretch. Horrible thing is there’s a billion Rabbits in the actual world. Ahead of its time in many ways. This is my first Updike. His writing is profound. But yeah. Relentless.

Captain Marvel, Volume 3: Alis Volat Propriis

published: 2015 rating: 5

When the World Screamed (Professor Challenger, #4)

author: Arthur Conan Doyle published: 1928 rating: 4

Captain Marvel, Volume 2: Down

author: Kelly Sue DeConnick  published: 2013 rating: 4

The Iliad

author: Homer published: -750 rating: 5

Captain Marvel, Volume 1: In Pursuit of Flight

author: Kelly Sue DeConnick  published: 2011 rating: 4

The Schoolmaster and Other Stories

author: Anton Chekhov published: 1921 rating: 5

Batman: The Killing Joke

author: Alan Moore & Brian Bolland published: 1988 rating: 4

The Rough Guide to Berlin

author: Christian Williams rating: 4

Akira, Vol. 1

author: Katsuhiro Otomo  published: 1984 rating: 4

A Room with a View

author: E.M. Forster published: 1908 rating: 5

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

author: Anne Brontë published: 1848 rating: 5

Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine?

author: Mark Todd published: 2006 rating: 5

Inherent Vice

author: Thomas Pynchon published: 2009 rating: 5

Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor

author: Lynda Barry published: 2014 rating: 5

Meditations

author: Marcus Aurelius  published: 180 rating: 4

The Shining

author: Stephen King  published: 1977 rating: 5

Better than the film.I do love the film, though.

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

author: Naomi Klein published: 2006 rating: 5

Heavy going and ten years old. But does help you understand this place where we are is a logical step from where we’ve been.

The Descent of Man, and Other Stories

author: Edith Wharton published: 1903 rating: 3

I’m Still on:

SPLIT: True Stories About The End of Marriage and What Happens Next

editor: Katie West published: 2017

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)

author: George R.R. Martin  published: 1998

Becoming a Writer

author: Dorothea Brande  published: 1934

Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels

author/editor: Tom Devlin  published: 2015

See also what I watched and listened to in 2017.

“I’ll be there” – The Final Speech of Tom Joad

“I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this.”

I just finished reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  I have always known of this book but never read it or even knew very much about what is was about.

I really wasn’t prepared by how relevant it was to so many situations occurring globally at the moment. The mass migration of populations due to climate changes, infrastructure collapse and economics, the refusal of a system to help and indeed the full demonisation of those in transit.

The language is beautifully simple and yet says so much about strength, sadness, suffering, perseverance and dignity.

Continue reading

“I think the enemy of creativity in the world today is that so much thinking is done for you. The environment is so full of television, party political broadcasts and advertising campaigns, you hardly need to do anything. We’re just drowning under manufactured fiction, which satisfies our need for fiction – you scarcely need to go and read a novel.”

“Cyril Connolly, the 50s critic and writer, said that the greatest enemy of creativity is the pram in the hall, but I think that was completely wrong. It was the enemy of a certain kind of dilettante life that he aspired to, the man of letters, but for the real novelist the pram in the hall is the greatest ally – it brings you up sharp and you realise what reality is all about. My children were a huge inspiration for me. Watching three young minds creating their separate worlds was a very enriching experience.”

–- JG Ballard (via austinkleon)

Disciplines for the Aspirant

  • Read at the level at which you want to write. Reading is the nourishment that feeds the kind of writing you want to do. If what you really love to read is y, it might be hard for you to write x.

  • Exercising is a good analogy for writing. If you’re not used to exercising you want to avoid it forever. If you’re used to it, it feels uncomfortable and strange not to. No matter where you are in your writing career, the same is true for writing. Even fifteen minutes a day will keep you in the habit.

  • You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly. You can’t write regularly and well. One should accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.

– Jennifer Egan – Why We Write

via Brain Pickings

The Value of Literacy

“I generally have four or five books open around the house—I live alone; I can do this—and they are not books on the same subject. They don’t relate to each other in any particular way, and the ideas they present bounce off one another. And I like this effect. I also listen to audio-books, and I’ll go out for my morning walk with tapes from two very different audio-books, and let those ideas bounce off each other, simmer, reproduce in some odd way, so that I come up with ideas that I might not have come up with if I had simply stuck to one book until I was done with it and then gone and picked up another.”

Octavia Butler

(See also “This is how I read” and “the tyranny of belief in linear time.” (via robertogreco)

Musemathematics

“Numbers it is. All music when you come to think. Two multiplied by two divided by half is twice one. Vibrations: chords those are. One plus two plus six is seven. Do anything you like with figures juggling. Always find out this equal to that. Symmetry under a cemetery wall. He doesn’t see my mourning. Callous: all for his own gut. Musemathematics. And you think you’re listening to the etherial. But suppose you said it like: Martha, seven times nine minus x is thirtyfive thousand. Fall quite flat. It’s on account of the sounds it is.”
– James Joyce from Ulysses