Friday, December 19, 2014

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev is one of very few non-fiction books I would choose to pick up. But pick it up I did, and having picked it up, I read it. To the end. Thoroughly enjoyed it. And now I want all my friends to read it too. It's that good.

And it's that scary. Cold War 2, here we come?

For those of you who are firm fiction fans, fear not. The book reads like fiction, like a series of short stories set in an unreal universe. Only, it's real.

From Amazon: "When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 90s, the West rejoiced with the relief that came with the end of the Cold War and the possibility of an era of peace and cooperation. At the same time, its corporations and conglomerates trained a beady eye toward its newly opened markets, and a seemingly virgin economic landscape soon became home to icons such as Coke and McDonalds and Levi’s. But the door was open wide, and tagging along with big business were some seedier characters: organized crime, a youth-and-glamour-obsessed oligarchy, and an entertainment complex hungry for the new concepts of its Western counterparts. That’s where Peter Pomerantsev comes in. Born in Kiev but raised in Great Britain, Pomerantsev returned to Russia as a consultant to its burgeoning film and television—especially “reality” television—industries. What he found was a capitalist’s wet dream: an unfettered cash and service economy with no apparent limits on cash or available services--one where everything is possible, if you can pay for it. At the top of it all sits Vlad Putin, infusing the old TASS tactics with Hollywood flair to create a vision of a bare-chested (bear-chested?) virility and power, of both self and state. Pomerantsev finds himself gazing deeper into this looking-glass world—willingly and otherwise—and he finds it impossible to look away, as will his readers. "

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Wave

The Wave - 1981 young adult novel by Todd Strasser under the pen name Morton Rhue. A must read if you want to understand why the Nazi movement ever gained momentum. Not exceptionally well-written (too much tell and not enough show), but still enjoyable and the actual message is super-important.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

"The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" - what a title! This book features a more-tell-than-show writing style.  It’s as though the author is telling you a story, the way a parent would tell it to a child. I didn’t mind it myself, perhaps because I’m used to Polish books written this way, but I can imagine it might annoy a reader who’s not used to it. I would advise you to persevere, because the story is hilarious – a Swedish Forrest Gump of sorts. I totally enjoyed it and want to see the movie.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Funny Girl

Funny Girl by Nick Hornby, one of my very favourite authors.

  • When you start reading it, you don't want to stop.
  • You wish you actually lived in the 1960s.
  • You want to ask the author what made him decide to write about a fictitious comedienne. 
  • You Google her to make sure she's fictitious. 
  • You wonder - in a good way - what life is all about.
  • When you finish reading, you email the author to tell him there's no way you're waiting 5 years for a new novel.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-fiction by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is an excellent author, not only because his imagination created the magical Discworld, but also because he can write. I mean, really write. He understands grammar. He knows how to structure the piece. And his trademark sense of humour doesn't hurt, either.

A Slip of the Keyboard is a worthwhile collection of his non-fiction: articles, speeches, musings. From topics as diverse as Alien Christmas and Old Timers Disease (read the book to find out), he spins an enchanted web with which to capture his readers.

If you love Discworld, read this book, too.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Murder @ Work - #2 in the Christine Chamberlain series

Now on Kindle

Have you ever had a Boss From Hell? Not someone who's basically nice except on their off-peak days... we're talking about a Verbal Abuser who can't be sued or fired. Seduced by the heat of a South African summer, would you be tempted to tamper with his tea a little... just a little... ???