Iain Art

IMG_7755Iain has a new book out today – Every Word You Cannot Say*, and it has his drawings.

He has been doing them for people on Twitter… obviously i had to get in on that action! Love the fact that i’ve got my face stuck in a book.

Also, despite expectations, red is a good colour for me.

Advertisements

The Wall

iu.jpegThis was a little harrowing to read. Not in the way that Cormac McCarthy is harrowing to read – the writing is of a completely different stripe, but on some level just as bleak.

John Lanchester has appeared here previous, and i’m a big fan of his journalistic writing. He has great way of explaining complicated issues. His prose is rather functional, direct. Sometimes things feel a little too lightweight, but maybe that levity shows how easily an abhorrent situation can be normalised.

The Wall is set in a near future Britain, a time where sea levels have risen and a ‘fortress mentality’ has taken over the land. A time when ‘The Others’ seek to gain entry, to seek sanctuary in a chaotic world.

It feels very now. It feels like a slap in the face. A glance around the next bend to reveal a car crash in progress, and not enough time to react. A time when:

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

Worth reading. It was hard enough to put down that i tore through it in a couple of hours.

Susan Sontag On Photography

susan sontag_on photography_coverA series of essays that critique photography and the culture of images. A critical critique.

As someone who has taken a lot of photographs, but hasn’t really tried to understand the implications of the act of photographing, or the impact of the images themselves, it’s something akin to a slap in the face.

While i wouldn’t say it was an enjoyable read, it’s definitely thought provoking and in the end worthwhile for the new perspective.

If you ever find yourself wondering why certain photographs have the impact that they do, why people take photographs on holiday, if photography is art, if photographs are art, the relationship between image and memory, the impact of images on society, their role in society… this would be a good place to start. Just don’t expect to arrive at the end of the book with more answers than questions.

Distribution!

How exciting! Simon Schuster India are publicising the IWTFY 2007 – 2017 book:

With a bit of luck that means they’ll put a couple of copies in every bookshop in India that stocks foreign books.

The little fade in of the cover is cool. Wonder if there is anything behind that… i’ve also thought that picture was rather ‘sensual’, maybe it’s a little racy for the indian market?

Spielberg…

It’s another one of those ‘Confused Gandalf’ memes that i don’t know how to write:

Spielberg praised the couple for being there for him and wife Kate Capshaw on every step of the Shoah Foundation journey. “When there is need, they are there. Tom and Rita, a dynamic duo that in our world of superheroes, just know this — their superpower is to be human which brings to mind a quote from the poet Iain Thomas.

Here’s the quote: “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

Inside Shoah Foundation’s Ambassadors for Humanity Gala With Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks

It’s really quite amazing how “the little blog that could” has grown up to be quoted by the likes of Steven Spielberg.

As usually, mostly i’m terrified of being found out.

Review: The Thirty-Five Timely & Untimely Deaths of Cumberland County

Not entirely sure how to write this review. Ideally you’d go buy a copy, then we could discuss it in the comments. That would be easiest. Still, nothing is ever easy…

The events may occur in two separate realms: the every day life of a small town Maine doctor, John M. Bischoffberger aka Bisch; a parallel world that may, or may not, co-exist within the mind of said Bisch.

The primary inhabitants of this parallel world, the old woman, the welp, and the thin man, are of a mythical nature. While reading i found myself trying to fit them into roles, assign them meaning, which it is entirely unclear that they have. Nonetheless, could the old woman symbolise time, the forces of nature? Could the welp be war, chaos, anarchy? The thin man, is he pestilence, disease, famine?

They talk of love and hate, of time, of a time that has come. Of a job to be done. In the end are they just the neurotic fever dreams of a mind that has experienced the horrors of war, and struggles to maintain a grip on a gritty rural reality?

It’s a beautifully written book, the writing is descriptive, rich and earthy, but it leaves you enough room to imagine. Space in which to find your fears. I don’t read a lot of fiction anymore, and i don’t watch any cinema, but this felt very cinematic – the pages playing out as a film.

Don’t want to say any more. Go read it.

Oh.One of the Unbounders made a reference to Cormac McCarthy. It’s a difficult comparison to live up to, but its easy to see why it was made.

The Thirty-Five Timely & Untimely Deaths of Cumberland County

a76912_15457306fd7c4409a85eb82e6e2222c6~mv2I’m currently reading ‘The Thirty-Five Time & Untimely Deaths of Cumberland Country” by my long-time friend / collaborator / co-conspiritor Mason Ball, and am excited to report that it is terrifying… and terrifyingly good!

If you didn’t support him during the crowdfunding process on Unbound, you should go find yourself a copy in one of those bookstores of yore… or here, or Amazon. The writing is rich, keenly observed, textured, sombre, and playful – people die… a lot of people die, but somehow there is a current of humour (dark humour, dark as to appear black no doubt) running through it all.

One of the first questions that i had reading, was when Mason had spent enough time in Maine (where the tale is told) to develop a sense of the place… and it turns out it wasn’t just me:

Confession time: I have never been to Maine, where the book is set. Had I the funds I most definitely would have done but as it stood I had to make do with research, both online and in print; oh, and Google Earth and Google Street View were invaluable!

You can read the rest of the interview on Book Trails.

I’ll post a review when i’m done… but you should get a copy regardless.

Edit: Mason’s notes on buying the book:

Dj1aHRgWwAItoai