Tag Archives: what I am reading

The Devil made me do it

How often do you encounter – or read – something completely fresh?

Rarely, I’d say.

This is fresh. Or to be more accurate – it’s sulphurously original. Continue reading

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Filed under art, friends, What I'm Reading

Thank you Culture Northern Ireland

Thank you Culture Northern Ireland for giving me a £100 Amazon voucher (for winning a writing competition completing a survey). And thank you Gerry Anderson and politician Gregory Campbell for helping me spend it. Well, to be more precise – they had a row. But Continue reading

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Filed under art, media, Music, What I'm Reading

Haters unite (No heeltaps!)

A pint of Rebellion - Too warm? Too cold? Don't care? Care too much?

Does shared hatred bring us together more than shared enthusiasm?

A character in Reginald Hill‘s book Pictures of Perfection suggests “that when a politician wants to really unite the electorate, he looks for a common hatred rather than a common enthusiasm.” Is he right?

I go through three stages with Reginald Hill’s writing. I begin by finding it a bit contrived, then some flash of humour trips me up into enjoyment and by the end I find myself relishing the surprises and satisfaction he offers. So I commend Pictures of Perfection to you – though I think The Reckoning would have been a better title.

But back to the hating. Two characters – police officer Wield and bookseller Digweed – overcome their initial antipathy through shared whisky and a discussion about what they hate. It’s a pretty good list.

“Snobs.  I don’t like snobs. How’s that for starters?”

“Excellent. No quarrel there. My turn. Little Hitlers. People who turn a molehill of authority into a mountain of obstructionism.”

“Fair enough. Politicians.”

“Spot on. Undertakers.

“They’re only doing a job,” said Wield defensively.

“Of course. But do you like them?”

“No,” admitted Wield. “Beer that’s too cold.”

“Beer that’s too warm.”

“People that don’t care about beer.”

“People that go on too much about beer Continue reading

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Filed under art, What I'm Reading

Competition – You set the rules

I have some books I’d like to give away – old (1947), new, mystery, thrillers, Irish,English, French & poetry. From Pepys and Proust to McGilloway and Haddon – via 1970s London Mystery paperbacks.

But how should I do it?

A competition maybe?

But what? Any ideas?

We’ve done embarrassing stories recently – Sorrygnat and WiseWebWoman came up with a couple. Anyone else fancy chipping in. Perhaps a prize should go to the most excruciating anecdote?

Or should it be something new? Best joke/story?

Like this one – Speeding in Wyoming

A young woman was pulled over for speeding. A Wyoming State Trooper walked to her car window, flipping open his ticket book.
She said, “I bet you are going to sell me a ticket to the State Trooper’s Ball.”
He replied, “Wyoming State Troopers don’t have balls.”
There was a moment of silence. He then closed his book, tipped his hat, got back in his patrol car and left.

Or Continue reading

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Filed under blogs, life

Is this what being a dog lover is about?

Not sure which end of the lead is in charge.

It’s hard for someone who has a real bond with an animal, especially a dog, to explain the nature and strength of the connection to someone who has never experienced it. Or to convey the sense of loss if the animal dies or is taken away.

But Ninni Holmqvist may have managed it Continue reading

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Why is it easier to teach kids about Hitler than Stalin?

I’m telling my children about Hitler. But how do I teach them about Stalin?

Looking back to when I was at primary school, I was appallingly ignorant about the Holocaust.

I don’t want my children to be as in the dark. Continue reading

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Filed under history

Three crime writers spill the beans

Deep inside the perfect secondhand bookshop, the sign above an enticing locked door says Mysteries. Above that again are crime novels and a Thompson sub machine gun. You cant beat Westsider Books on Manhattans Upper West Side for atmosphere.

I shouldn’t really be telling you this, because I’m about to flit the country again and I’m unprepared. But SamHenry from On My Watch insisted. So here goes.

The other night I sat down with three award-winning or nominated crime writers who opened up (in a non-machine gun way) about their trade. Among the secrets they laid bare were:

1. What’s the point of crime writing?
2. The difference between crime writing and literary fiction?
3. Crime writing v. noir?
4. Does crime writing change anything?
5. Does it work in colonial or post-colonial societies?
6. Can you have a whodunnit in a developing economy?
7. Should put your friends and neighbours into the story?
8. Is there too much graphic violence against women?
9. Is Nordic Noir for wimps?
10. And – What they think you should read next (apart from themselves)?

The three writers were Continue reading

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Filed under art, What I'm Reading