Saturday, 28 September 2013

Vote for Me!

Vote for Me!

This is just a quick note to say that my eulogy for Seamus Heaney has been shortlisted to be published in the next Goodreads Newsletter. The winner is selected by public vote so if any of you are Goodreaders you can click this link and vote for me (or someone else if you will). You will have to join the POETRY! group to vote.

Friday, 27 September 2013

A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit From the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan

I lost this book mid-stream and so there was a large gap between starting and finishing it as I waited to find another copy. The book contains a lot of characters over a long period of time and the loss of my initial impetus affected my reading of the book. I was really enjoying it when I lost my copy and I don't think I quite reached the same level of enjoyment during my second bite, although I did enjoy it.

I have also lost some impetus in my blogging. I usually like to write within a few days of finishing, while my emotions while reading and the detail of the book are still fresh and alive. However, my blogging feels a little uphill at the moment and it is a few weeks since I finished this, and given the complexity of the books structure, that has involved a quick trawl through the book to refresh my failing memory. I never do this, and as I have typed out a load of  information such as the lengths of the chapters, the characters in each etc, I am going to use it in this post, just to impress myself. This may lead to SPOILERS so tread carefully.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Top 102 Albums. Minus 8. Curtis

Top 102 Albums. Minus 8. 
Curtis - Curtis Mayfield

With The Impressions Curtis Mayfield had delivered some timeless records, none more so than People Get Ready, who's gentle sound belies the strength of its emotions, a strength which made it an anthem for the civil rights movement in the sixties, and beyond. It' s roots lay in gospel and it's aspirations in some kind of paradise.

He was many things, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, record company owner etc etc... There was change in the air in 1969 / /1970 and Curtis was a leader rather than a follower and took the social consciousness that had been a growing constant in his music and allied it to a funkier, looser more dramatic soundscape, like Gershwin meets James Brown. Songs stretched to eight and nine minutes, although they never feel long.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Seeking Mr Hare

Seeking Mr Hare - Maurice Leitch

This is the third Leitch novel that I've reviewed on this blog and I aim to make it through his life's work, which currently stands at ten novels. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a review copy of this just released novel on the shelves of a charity shop in Dublin. The three I've read suggests that the novels add up to a portrait of Belfast and the surrounding countryside through different strata of time. The first one I read The Eggman's Apprentice is set pre-troubles and the second Silver's City is set at a time when the 'Troubles' were in full flow.

This digs down a few more years to the 1820's but already there are many pointers to the situation that pertained in more recent times, and still does.

Propaganda identifying the Irish as a sub-race was already there. Defining the enemy as different and in some way sub-human was of first importance. It still is. However, phrenology has had its day other than providing colour to mantelpieces. "What you see before you is a typical example of the Celtic sub-race. Ireland, indeed, has the largest head size of any equal land area in Europe, the cranial vault low and domed, nose long, large and high bridged, the lips thin to medium and  a little everted, skin colour pale white, sometimes ruddy, often freckled, hair dark brown, or medium brown, red, rarely black."