Tag Archives: David Foster Wallace

143. Goodbye 2015…

143. Goodbye 2015…

Dear Book Blog,

I have been neglecting you like I have never neglected you before. I haven’t written you a monthly update since March: you could have had a baby blog in that amount of time!


The truth is…I’ve been seeing someone else. It’s not another blog this time. It’s more serious than that. I was involved with…a book.

Don’t cry. You don’t need to feel inadequate. We have fun together, but a book…well, that’s something serious.

But we’re through. That’s my big news. Me and the book, we finished in the first few days of this new year. There are one or two loose ends to tie off, but pretty soon I’m going to have a lot more time for you and, if you’ll have me, I’d like to come back to you.

Even with all our problems, we had a pretty good year, right?

Even with me neglecting you, over 4,000 people came by to see us in 2015, (although I suspect some of them may only have been visiting to see our mutual friends, David Foster Wallace and Miranda July).

And we’re a pretty international pair: those friends came from 95 different countries! (Mainly in the US, the UK, and Portugal).

Here’s to a bigger, better, closer 2016.


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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in BOOKS


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140. Books Bought & Read, March 2015…

140. Books Bought & Read, March 2015…
Plenty of presents and purchases in preparation for my impending new job as a tour guide in NYC which, incidentally, is where the majority of these books were bought on a flying visit to the Large Golden Delicious: 50 in total, in fact, and only a dozen read.
In yet another wildly unbalanced month, my bought/read ratio was damaged as I dedicated myself to my own novel, meaning that I was much more picky about the books I read. I finally got around to reading the seminal graphic novel ‘From Hell,’ Alan Moore’s interpretation of the Jack the Ripper murders, covering themes from royalty to masonry and the supernatural, all in a detailed, Sherlockian analysis. It was the only one of my reads this month to be awarded the coveted ‘Borges Book of Brilliance,’ by me.
The latest Gladwell was everything I expected it to be, (although nothing more), and Christos Tsiolkas‘ sophomore offering ‘Barracuda‘ does for swimming what Chad Harbach did for baseball and David Foster Wallace for tennis: the story of a teen’s on/off relationship with the sport through the social prism of modern-day Australia. It wasn’t quite as good as his debut, ‘The Slap,’ but enjoyable nonetheless.
My reading was really all over the place in March: a series of essays on language, by writers who were born in one and write in another, was only bought due to its beautiful, braille cover but proved to be fascinating, (especially for a linguist and writer like me); a bizarre kids’ classic in ‘Emil And The Detectives‘ was followed by an even more bizarre Japanese classic by the other Murakami, and later in the month I continued my slow assault on The Russians by reading my first and highly enjoyable Turgenev; and Portuguese history was joined by the always-amazing essays of David Sedaris, and this particular one on Dutch Christmas myths may be my new favourite by him.
I finished the month with another essay collection, slightly different from the Sedaris ones: ‘Sprezzatura,’ a wonderful Italian word for invention with flair, was a series of 50 three-page articles on the most famous people, inventions and historical moments in Italian (and, indeed, world) history, which left me with a deeper insight into the country I once spent six months inhabting. From St.Catherine of Sienna, (who lent her name to a school I once taught in) to St.Francis of Assisi, DaVinci to Dante, and ballet to law, there was something fascinating on just about every page of this two millennium journey.
Books Bought, March 2015
The Ask and the Answer,’ Patrick Ness
Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead,’ Neil Strauss
69,’ Ryu Murakami
Falling Man,Don DeLillo
Hopes And Prospects,’ Noam Chomsky
The BFG,’ Roald Dahl
Just So Stories,’ Rudyard Kipling
Black Mischief,’ Evelyn Waugh
Religion For Atheists,’ Alain DeBotton
Penguin: Great Ideas, Vol.II (20 book box set)
McSweeney’s Quarterly, issue 4
McSweeney’s Quarterly, issue 9
The Sometimes Cloudy Patriot,’ Sarah Vowell
The Alcoholic,’ Jonathan Ames
The Pale King,’ David Foster Wallace
A Confederate General From Big Sur/Dreaming Of Babylon/The Hawkline Monster,’ Richard Brautigan
By The Book: writers on literature and the literary life from the new york times book review,’ ed.Pamela Paul
That Is All,’ John Hodgman
David And Goliath,’ Malcolm Gladwell
Information Is Beautiful,’ David McCandless
A Child Again,’ Robert Coover
Assassination Vacation,’ Sarah Vowell
The Knowledge: how to rebuild civilization in the aftermath of a cataclysm,’ Lewis Dartnell
A Caça Ao Snark,’ (The Hunting Of The Snark), Lewis Carroll
O Incrível Rapáz Que Comía Livros,’ (The Incredible Book Eating Boy), Oliver Jeffers
Equívocos, Enganos  E Falsificacões Da História De Portugal,’ (Errors, Mistakes And Lies Of Portuguese History), Sérgio Luís De Carvalho
Grandes Entrevistas Da História,’ volume 1
Grandes Entrevistas Da História,’ volume 2

Grandes Entrevistas Da História,’ volume 3

Books Read, March 2015
The Last Wild,’ Piers Torday
Emil And The Detectives,’ Erich Kästner
69,’ Ryu Murakami
The Genius Of Language,’ ed.Wendy Lesser
From Hell,’ Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell  51-r5H5xvML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Black Mischief,’ Evelyn Waugh
Barracuda,’ Christos Tsiolkas
Holidays On Ice,’ David Sedaris
First Love’ & ‘Diary Of A Superfluous Man,’ Ivan Turgenev
David And Goliath,’ Malcolm Gladwell
Equívocos, Enganos  E Falsificacões Da História De Portugal,’ (Errors, Mistakes And Lies Of Portuguese History), Sérgio Luís De Carvalho
Sprezzatura: 50 ways italian genius shaped the world,’ Peter D’Epiro & Mary Desmond Pinkowish

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Posted by on July 30, 2015 in BOOKS


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136. 2014 In (Book) Review…

136. 2014 In (Book) Review…

Blimey, writing a book takes time. Who knew?

It is the first week of March, 2015, and only now am I getting around to analysing the stats of my 2014 in books, with most of my spare time nowadays being dedicated to writing my tales of travel and trouble. (Copies of the book will be available for sale shortly, in case anyone is interested!)

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My final tally for 2014?

229 books bought, 143 read:

a net annual LG (or Literature Gap, a measurement I have just invented), of 86.

As far as this book blog went, it had a fairly impressive 6,800 views, (impressive given that, with all my travels and sports writing, this has essentially been downgraded from a weekly blog to a monthly one…at best…), and featured 358 photos. Apparently, I also usually post on a Monday.


My most viewed blog was what i was reading in October… 2013!! I like to think it was the insightful reviews of David Foster Wallace and Italo Calvino that brought you there, but knowing the internet, it was probably the photo of Hitler-cat.


Still, it made me happy that my third most popular release this year was my centennial effort, my interview with the wonderful Nick Hornby.


The blog had viewers from 111 different countries! I’m not even sure i can name that many countries! The USA took top spot, then then the UK and Portugal, which makes sense given my travels, living locations, and friendships.


My new year’s blogging resolutions include: to add to my Top 10 blogs, for both authors and books…10 is a ridiculously small number anyway!

This being my third year of blogging, I could go back to my reviews of 2012 and 2013 and calculate some averages: I buy an average of 235 books each year, and manage to read almost 160 of them. And before you ask, no, I you can’t have my life: I’m using it.

Keep dropping by for monthly updates as I make my way further into the world of the writer, and feel free to subscribe to make sure you never miss one of these irregular posts again!


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Posted by on March 5, 2015 in BOOKS


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