All posts tagged: World War II

Late to the Party: Old Filth, by Jane Gardam (2004)

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books

Some long-time readers of this blog may recall my struggle to finish reading Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time, a twelve-book long cycle of books taking place mostly in London between the two World Wars. The short review of Dance? Don’t bother. I read six out of the twelve books and was basically bored silly the whole time, as Powell was much more interested in looking at different social strata of England pre-1939 […]

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 […]

Late to the Party: Angelmaker, by Nick Harkaway

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books

Musical Accompaniment: The Clash, “Tommy Gun”:  “The world was getting old and cruel. The great game she had played, the wild, primary-colour roller coaster, had become something harsher. It wasn’t brother monarchs scoring points any more, or empires testing one another, or Vell played, Commander, but vee vill get you next time, you may be sure … What difference does it make if one crowned head replaces another? What matter if the Queen’s nephew displaces […]

Review: S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

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books

WARNING: There may be some slight spoilers for some aspects of this book in the review. As the element of surprise and the feeling of discovery is one of the pleasures of reading this story, you might not want to know anything at all going in. If you want to read this book absolutely cold, please venture no further, and know only that I really liked it. 1. The mysterious man known only as S. […]

Late to the Party: Boxer, Beetle, by Ned Beauman

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books

When Kevin “Fishy” Broom, a collector of Nazi memorabilia, stumbles upon a secret communique from Adolf Hitler to an English aristocrat named Erskine, he uncovers a mystery that has lain dormant in England for seventy years, involving home-grown fascism, rogue entomology, avant-garde piano composition, a century-spanning eugenics project, steam-powered architecture and a young Jewish boxer named Seth Roach. While I didn’t like this book as much as I liked the author’s followup, The Teleportation Accident, […]

Late to the Party: The Teleportation Accident, by Ned Beauman

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books / film noir

  This was a great book. A breakneck mix of Pynchonesque rollicking party scenes, hardboiled dialogue, a milieu that recalls Isherwood, Orwellian down-and-outs, with the spectre of Lovecraft lurking around the proceedings from the 8th page onward, Ned Beauman’s second novel more than deserved to be longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and has me eager to read his first, Boxer, Beetle. Egon Loeser, whose name I alternated between pronouncing as “loser” and “laser” in […]

The Resolution Project Season Two: A Dance to the Music of Time Book Six – The Kindly Ones (1962)

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books / the resolution project

The Resolution Project Season Two: For my New Year’s resolution last year (2011), I decided to try and read all one hundred of the novels picked by Time Magazine as the best since their inception in 1923 to the list’s publication in 2005. I got almost halfway through. I’ve decided to bull-headedly push on through and try and finish the challenge, continuing with the same caveat as before: I’ve exempted myself from reading books I’ve already read, leaving eighty-six […]

The Resolution Project Book Fifty: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)

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books / the resolution project

“Everyone agreed to this and that was how the adventures began. It was the sort of house that you never seem to come to the end of, and it was full of unexpected places.” (p. 4) The Resolution Project: For my New Year’s resolution this year (that being 2011), I decided to try and read all one hundred of the novels picked by Time Magazine as the best since their inception in 1923 to the list’s publication in […]

The Resolution Project Book Forty-Two: The Heart of the Matter (1948)

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books / the resolution project

“They had been corrupted by money, and he had been corrupted by sentiment. Sentiment was the more dangerous, because you couldn’t name its price. A man open to bribes was to be relied upon below a certain figure, but sentiment might uncoil in the heart at a name, a photograph, even a smell remembered.” (p. 45) The Resolution Project: For my New Year’s resolution this year (that being 2011), I decided to try and read all […]

The Resolution Project Book Thirty-Four: The Golden Notebook (1962)

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books / the resolution project

“The novel has become a function of the fragmented society, the fragmented consciousness. Human beings are so divided, are becoming more and more divided, and more subdivided in themselves, reflecting the world, that they reach out desperately, not knowing they do it, for information about other groups inside their own country, let alone groups in other countries. Inside this country, Britain, the middle-class have no knowledge of the lives of the working-people, and vice-versa; and […]