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Tag Archives: Beach read

Lagom Reprise

A while back I did a short post on the new ‘lifestyle trend’ Lagom and how it seems to be a bit of a money grab like all those other fads that come and go.

A day after that post, I got an email from Lola A.Åkerström asking me to read her book on the subject.

Åkerström lives in Sweden and tells me her book helps counter the craze and bring much needed perspective to the subject so naturally I accepted the offer so as to be better informed about the subject in general, as I love to learn.

The book has moved up my pile as I once again find myself reading several books simultaneously to catch up on all my commitments.

The most important thing to report so far is that the book smells absolutely fantastic, a proper new book smell which I wish I could bottle and sell on and thus make my fortune.  I shall keep you informed with my Lagom findings once the book is finished.

 

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Posted by on 17/08/2017 in Life

 

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The Lagom Trend

Torturing myself with visits to local bookshops to window shop – whilst purposefully leaving my wallet at home – I have been noticing all these books on Lagom.  At the beginning I thought it was just one or two popular books that were around all the time due to popularity but no, it’s an uncalled for glut.

It was perhaps inevitable after all the literature and TV from Scandinavia that has been coming over to these shores of late, that other less interesting aspects would also.  This is being marketed as a new lifestyle trend in the form of Lagom.  The closest translation of Lagom (so the internet informs me) is ‘in moderation’, or ‘just enough’.  A cynic may suggest the success of Hygge has encouraged this new trend. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 30/07/2017 in Life

 

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The Secret Library: A Book-Lovers’ Journey Through Curiosities of History – Oliver Tearle

The Secret Library is a fascinating tour through the curious history of Western civilisation told through its most emblematic invention – the book.

As well as leafing through the well-known titles that have helped shape the world in which we live, Oliver Tearle also dusts off some of the more neglected items to be found hidden among the bookshelves of the past.

You’ll learn about the forgotten Victorian novelist who outsold Dickens, the woman who became the first published poet in America and the eccentric traveller who introduced the table-fork to England. Through exploring a variety of books – novels, plays, travel books, science books, cookbooks, joke books and sports almanacs – The Secret Library highlights some of the most fascinating aspects of our history. It also reveals the surprising connections between various works and historical figures. What links Homer’s Iliad to Aesop’s Fables? Or Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to the creator of Sherlock Holmes?

The Secret Library brings these little-known stories to light, exploring the intersections between books of all kinds and the history of the Western world over 3,000 years.

Books about books are great, they reaffirm our love for the medium and encourage us to go out and buy more, not to mention the exciting finds of obscure literature that can be shared and kept alive by intrepid reading adventurers.

What drew me to the book originally was the cover. Who can resist looking at a cover that has a bit cut out of it?  Stripping off the cloak, rows and rows of books are seen, as through the key hole.  It’s a nice touch and puts the reader in mind of being close to discovering lots of new books, always a good feeling.

This history of sorts is broken down into eras of Western civilisation and the chronological order is as follows: The Classical Age, The Middle Ages, The Renaissance, The Age of Enlightenment, The Age of Romanticism, The Victorians, The Americans, On the Continent, The Modern World.  There is a lot to be enjoyed in each age but it would have been fun to have read about the other continents, but then that was not the remit of the book so hopefully a future book of the sort could grace the shelves. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 14/07/2017 in Essays, History

 

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Sunset Satisfaction

Wandering around the curve of the coast, away from the Costa de Oro beach resort (photos of that up next post or the one after), jumping over rocks, it was my first chance to see a sunset in the Southern Hemisphere.  This excitement was only slightly tempered by all the rubbish that had been dumped at this beautiful spot.

There was a sense of calm, away from the beach goers and a pleasant silence as we perched on one of the many angular rocks.  The whole place was ours for the moment.

There was some excitement when we thought the sun would sink between the islands but it veered off as the sun usually does, which is of course what we all know causes global warming. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 31/05/2017 in The Philippines, Travel

 

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Taking the Long Way Around

After a week or two in the wilderness – by which I mean not on the internet much – I am returned (and will do a drive by commenting on all your blogs tomorrow) and it seems like a good time to recap on the books I have been picking up cheaply in the last few months from second hand places.

I Stared at the Night of the City will be the first book I have read which has been translated from Kurdish so looking forward to that and it is good to see that my quest to collect émile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart sequence in completely non matching editions is still going strong. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 29/03/2017 in Blogging, Lists/Ephemera, Travel

 

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Crabs on the Rampage – Guy N. Smith

CrabsWi'MonkOnThey had come back

One man only saw them and him they killed, hunted him down through the dense reed bed, trapped him, drove him mad with terror before they pulled him to pieces and ate every bloodied shred of his body.

And then it was quiet again for a little while.

Until they came ashore again, in their hundreds, their bodies reeking with a malignant cancerous disease that was within them.  The disease that was driving them mad with pain, mad to kill, t wipe out every living thing in their path.

On that beach were hundreds of men, women and children. Food.

The awkwardness of the blurb both grammatically and in decency is just part of the charm of this series and I have missed getting my fix of those cunning crustaceans that are as big as sheep, cows or horses depending on which book you happen to be face deep in.

My hankering for the resilient sea life started whilst watching Independence Day: Resurgence, which was a terrible sequel.  Adding to that a conversation about a lot of film series having their fourth installments set in space like Critters, Hellraiser and Leprechaun (all of which I enjoyed coincidentally), it was in vain anticipation that I turned to Crabs on the Rampage which I hoped would be (however implausably) set in the infinite black depths.

Being a pulpy horror, it is perhaps not such an outlandish hope but sadly it came to be set in 1980’s Britain where it seems everybody is pretty mean-spirited or downtrodden or wanting sex for the most part.  To this setting, the crabs come to put people out of their misery with gory and somewhat repetitious disembowelling revenge, a lot is repeated from other books of the series but newcomers need not be put off as this installment works well by itself.

The over the top first chapter – which is pretty much the blurb – says it all really and this is the level of profundity you can expect from the rest of the book as well.  If you enjoy character development this is not the book for you, with the huge body count it puts Game of Thrones to shame for wiping people out, although these deaths are all predictable and set up to be so.  Not that returning characters get to develop either, plot is king in this book. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 26/09/2016 in Horror

 

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Books, Baguettes & Bedbugs – Jeremy Mercer

ExcitementFoodInfestations‘Shakespeare and Company’ in Paris is one of the world’s most famous bookshops. The original store opened in 1921 and became known as the haunt of literary greats, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce.

Sadly the shop was forced to close in 1941, but that was not the end of ‘Shakespeare and Company’… In 1951 another bookshop, with a similar free-thinking ethos, opened on the Left Bank and, in 1964, it resurrected the name ‘Shakespeare and Company’ and became the principal meeting place for Beatnik poets, such as Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, through to Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell.

Today the tradition continues and writers still find their way to this bizarre establishment, one of them being Jeremy Mercer. With no friends, no job, no money and no prospects, the thrill of escape from his life in Canada soon palls but, by chance, he happens upon the fairytale world of ‘Shakespeare and Co’…

This is my first book review since June 9th, as strange as that sounds so apologies to all if I am a bit rusty at it.

Having just recently come back from being away, it is perhaps somewhat predictable that my thoughts would be on far away (or not in this case) destinations so my first review is of a travel book but in a cunning reversal, it is of a traveller crossing the opposite way over the Atlantic.

Mercer opens the book talking about the type of life he had as a crime reporter and how the job affected him.  By allowing himself to be consumed with his journalistic work, his life choices became somewhat dubious and by choosing to leave that behind, he is able to look at his past mistakes with candour and clarity.

Finding his way to Shakespeare & Company soon enough is one heck of a backdrop for any book, a seeming ideal place for artists to do there work, as legend has it.  It’s a setting that attracts wanderers and the lost and holds plenty of eccentricities down to its primitive toilet and the unconventional owner George, who invites people to stay on a whim.

Drifters and dreamers inhabit the shop, all of whom are characters and few ever seem to get anything creative down on paper.  There is a camaraderie to the communal life, as all are sharing the kindness of strangers and beds in amongst the books.  Life lacks romance for the cash strapped dwellers but that in itself is the allure for the rest of us who aren’t experiencing it.  Looking at the actual day-to-day routine of Mercer’s new friends, it is hard not to feel like they are wasting their time when they have this opportunity to write but the struggle to stave off hunger and bad hygiene is a time-consuming one, as is the need for a bottle of wine or two. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 22/07/2016 in Life, Travel

 

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