Friday, September 07, 2007

book 'em, Danno

Book-related (sometimes slightly tangentially) news that caught my eye this week:
  • The Klaxons winning the Mercury Prize. Personally I'd have given it to Amy Winehouse, but maybe the prizegiving committee felt that that would only have encouraged her to spend the proceeds on brandy and smack. Pies might have been a better idea - Aerial Telly agrees. The book connection is that their album (Myths Of The Near Future) and debut single (Gravity's Rainbow) are named after books - a short-story collection by JG Ballard and Thomas Pynchon's legendarily unreadable 1973 magnum opus respectively.
  • An interesting article about Ian McEwan in The Independent earlier in the week. I sympathise with objection 5 to some extent - fine though Atonement (now a film) and Saturday were (I haven't read the Booker-shortlisted On Chesil Beach yet - waiting for the paperback), I much prefer the slightly edgier early stuff like The Cement Garden and The Comfort Of Strangers, and I think his best books are the middle period running from The Child In Time in 1987 through Black Dogs up to Enduring Love ten years later.
  • Dawkins reviews the Hitch in The Times Literary Supplement. Apart from a few very minor caveats, guess what - he likes it.
  • Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things micro-reviewed in today's Independent. I think the evolution and persistence of irrational beliefs and what it reveals about the human brain's pattern-recognition capabilities, and the trade-off between the extraordinary cognitive leaps resulting in the invention of the wheel, the internal combustion engine and the Coco Pop and the brain's occasional tendency to eat itself, is an extremely interesting subject, certainly more so than debunking the beliefs themselves, which is a task approximately equal in difficulty to harpooning a walrus in a bathtub.

1 comment:

The Black Rabbit said...

re books....

I've recently completed my book on chickens, and had it published.

I've been told its been shortlisted for the...


(works better, like ALL jokes, if one says it, rather than reads it)