New Books, November 2010

All from PulpFiction on Main St.

  • James Morris, Pax Britannica: The Climax of an Empire (1968) – Part two of a history of the British Empire.
  • James Morris, Farewell the Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat (1978) – Part three of the same.
  • Paul Theroux, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star: On The Tracks of the Great Railway Bazaar (2008) – Through Asia by train. Hoping to find a copy of Great Railway Bazaar before I read this.
  • V.S. Naipaul, An Area of Darkness: A Discovery of India (1964) – Just another book about modern India; just another book by mean old VS Naipaul.
  • John Berger, Photocopies (1996) – Really looking forward to reading this. “A collection of moments, each supremely vivid, that together make up a frieze of human history at the end of the millennium as well as a subtle and affecting self-portrait of their author.”
  • Karen Connelly, Burmese Lessons (2009) – A travelogue, memoir of Burma in the 1990s and one of last year’s Big Books.
  • Samuel R. Delaney, Dhalgren (1974) – The question here: is this book even readable? 800 or so pages of “[a] secret masterpiece, the city-book-labyrinth that has swallowed astonished readers alive for almost 30 years.” I mean, ok,  so Dhalgren “creates a mirror for the oceanic density of our times,” but it’s not clear to me that I’ll actually be able to read it.
  • Alan Furst, Dark Voyage (2004) – Another spy novel.
  • Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (2000) – I read this two weeks ago; what a wonderful book.
  • William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984) – Again, I didn’t really enjoy Pattern Recognition but I’ll give this ‘modern classic’ a chance. I knew the first line before I’d even opened the book!
  • Olen Steinhauer, The Tourist (2009) – A new spy novel, no less than four comparisons to John le Carre on the cover, and a note inside that film options have been bought by George Clooney.
  • Hugh Barker and Yuval Taylor, Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music (2007) – Looking forward to the chapter on disco and also hoping, maybe beyond hope, for some examination of The Carpenters.
  • Simon Winder, The Man Who Saved Britain: A Personal Journey into the Disturbing World of James Bond (2006) – Again, I didn’t know I was looking for this book until I found it on the shelf. James Bond at the end of the empire: “cultural history, biography, and memoir.”
  • Robert Baer, See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism (2002) – the ‘true story’ that ‘suggested’ the movie Syriana which I have watched maybe four times? I remember seeing it at the new theatre on Burrard with friends in 2006, we smuggled in a bottle of wine and everything.
  • Patti Smith, Just Kids (2010) – A memoir of her life with Robert Mapplethorpe in New York in the late 1960s.
  • Tom Bissell, Chasing The Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia (2003) – Another great big Central Asia travelogue, this one centered on Uzbekistan.
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