All posts tagged: books within books

Late to the Party: Flashman, by George MacDonald Fraser (1969)

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books

Musical Accompaniment: “The Rake’s Song”, by The Decemberists Harry Paget Flashman is basically a real asshole, but he’s an entertaining one to say the least. After getting kicked out of Rugby School in the late 1830s for “excessive drunkenness”, the young, rich and completely cowardly Flashman joins the army in relative peacetime with the hopes of getting a nice easy job with a pension (the uniform’s attractiveness to the opposite sex is a nice bonus). Unfortunately for […]

Review: The Mystics of Mile End, by Sigal Samuel (2015)

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books

The study of the Tree of Life is one of the most hallowed and important facets of Jewish mysticism. The allure of “climbing” the tree, of learning more and more and eventually ascending into another form, is so enticing, that the study of this branch of Kabbalah is for the most part only allowed to be undertaken by married men over the age of forty. Such is the danger of losing oneself to the beautiful […]

Review: A Once Crowded Sky, by Tom King

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books / comics

“Remarkable … the would-be heroes of Watchmen have staggeringly complex psychological profiles.”—New York Times Book Review Sometimes I think the above quote, which ran on the cover of Watchmen trade paperbacks for years heralding its literary merit, is symptomatic of a movement in the public perception of comics that has done more harm than good. Not to delve too far into this theory of mine, but in the almost thirty years after Watchmen, the signifier […]

Review: The Sugar Frosted Nutsack, by Mark Leyner (2012)

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books

“Even those who consider all this total bullshit have to concede that it’s upscale, artisanal bullshit of the highest order.” About a year ago, I thought that it might be difficult to summarize the plot of Thomas Pynchon’s latest novel, Bleeding Edge. This line of thinking feels very quaint to me now, as I’ve entered what I’m going to call the “Post-Nutsack” era (P.N.) of dealing with strange storylines due to Mark Leyner’s masterful book The Sugar Frosted Nutsack. […]

Review: The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell (2014)

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books

WARNING FOR SPOILERBABIES: There are some things that could be construed as spoilers in this review, so be aware. The inside flap of The Bone Clocks posts a glowing review from Publishers Weekly, which poses a seemingly-important question: “Is The Bone Clocks the most ambitious novel ever written, or just the most Mitchell-esque?” Since I’ve not read every novel ever written I can’t in all honesty answer the first question, nor can I the second as I’ve only […]

Late to the Party: The Slynx, by Tatyana Tolstaya (2000)

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books

Two hundred years after the great Blast, people still live around Moscow as best they can, they’re just a bit different now is all. Sure, there’s been some Consequences out there, but some of them are cool, like Nikita Ivanich’s ability to blow flames out of his mouth, or Head Saniturion Kudeyarov’s illuminating eye-beams. Not everyone is stuck with cockscombs growing out all over their body, or whatever the hell it is going on with that […]

Review: The Weirdness, by Jeremy P. Bushnell (2014)

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books

Billy Ridgeway’s not in the greatest shape at the moment by any stretch of the imagination. An aspiring author, he spends most of his time either making artisanal sandwiches for the better-off-than-he-is who frequent the shop he works at, or trying desperately to get his writing published. On the eve of his first launch party, after finally getting a story in at a small literary magazine, Billy wakes up to find a strange person in […]

Review: The Fictional Man, by Al Ewing (2013)

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books / comics / film

Here’s another fun Hollywood-centred novel to add to my recent reading, alongside Zeroville, Beautiful Ruins and Night Film. In a world just a few steps away from our own, cloning technology has advanced to the point that living, breathing humans can be crafted out of traits culled from a fictional work. Hollywood is eager to jump in on this innovation as it saves them having to think too hard about casting people for roles, and by […]

Review: Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

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books / film

The gods returned to Rome one last time in the summer of 1962, as filming began on the 20th Century Fox film Cleopatra. The production is now mostly known for being legendarily troubled and over-budget, the primary reason being the tempestuous romance between megastars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Their frequent lovers’ quarrels, combined with Taylor’s myriad health issues and Burton’s gargantuan drinking habit, made Cleopatra run way over schedule and even threatened to destroy […]

Review: The Night Gwen Stacy Died, by Sarah Bruni

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books / comics

A superhero whose adventures are written in the classic Marvel Comics style lives in a world so fraught with tragedy that mere mortals could not bear it. Each month, friends and family are put in deadly peril, allies are mind-controlled, replaced with robot or alien doubles, and countless civilians are hurt by battle debris. At their best, monthly comics are essentially four-colour soap operas, and no hero’s saga exemplifies this best than that of Spider-Man, […]