Art Kavanagh

Talk about books: a newsletter about things I’ve read

Anne Enright’s introduction to Nuala O’Faolain’s second volume of memoir, Almost There (following Are You Somebody? in 1996) 📚

I’m playing this piece of shit Yamaha electric grand piano … It’s ugly, but it was loud and it was clear and it was in tune. But you can hear it sounds funny, right? Anyway, it didn’t matter coz it was an inspired take.

Richie Beirach, interviewed about Steve Grossman 🎶

My upstairs neighbour got a hardback copy of The Satanic Verses 📖 as a Christmas present in 1988 and he gave me a loan of it, so I had read it before the shenanigans kicked off — not my usual speed at all! I was glad to be able to read it without too many preconceptions.

I described Midnight’s Children as “the most important English-language novel of the second half of the twentieth century”. I believe this to be true, though of course I haven’t read all the alternative possibilities. Rushdie is a hugely significant novelist 📖

In the latest issue of my newsletter, Talk about books, I discuss Prison and prisoners in the crime novels of Peter Abrahams, specifically Delusion, Lights Out, A Perfect Crime and End of Story 📚

Fit the crime: Prison and prisoners in the crime novels of Peter Abrahams

Fit the crime: Prison and prisoners in the crime novels of Peter Abrahams Delusion Towards the end of last year, I wrote in this newsletter about Peter Abrahams’s impaired heroes, one of whom was Nell Jarreau, the central character in Delusion (2008) who was struggling to cope with the fact that she had given mistaken eye-witness identification evidence in a murder trial 20 years earlier. The man she misidentified as the killer of her fiancé was Alvin Mack DuPree, who spent 20 years in prison before video evidence confirming his otherwise flimsy alibi came to light.

Noah Smith has done it again: made me read a whole post about crypto. I think I finally understand what NFTs are supposed to be doing.

Fascinating Twitter thread

A friend of mine wanted to quote “American Football” in the programme to a play of his own that he was putting on in the Rosemary Branch, Hoxton, in 1996. Pinter’s agent quoted a prohibitive fee and that was the end of that idea, I’m glad to say. Harold Pinter, from bad to verse

David Hare on Brian Friel’s Faith Healer, Maggie Nelson, Rachel Kushner, Colm Tóibín, Helen Lewis and others. Matthew Reisz in The Observer

You’re kidding, right?

I hate password managers. I’m trying to log in to spectatorworld․com but Keychain will neither show me the saved password nor fill it in automatically. So, I set a new one (accepting the suggested “strong” password), which it saves, but it still won’t let me see or autofill it 😡

Just testing the ability to put parentheses around an MB username that one user (​@odd​​) mentioned earlier. Update: I tried it with ​ before the closing parenthesis, and then added the same entity after the opening parenthesis. Neither worked. 😉

As a cyclist, I think it’s ridiculous that legislation should encourage pedestrians to rely entirely on their hearing to warn of approaching vehicles. Also that the traffic noise we already suffer from should be unnecessarily increased! What should an electric vehicle sound like?

The most important lesson you will learn is that border officials may not know the law and yet are infinitely empowered.

Nesrine Malik, Only a country as complacent as the UK could give up its border privilege so easily

My descriptions of the short stories I had added to my Mix collection were lost when Mix got rid of comments. I’m starting very gradually to replace some of the missing notes/descriptions: I just added one for Iseult Deane’s story, “Laces”: Short stories on the web

The doctor said the reason why the bruises looked so bad was because I have thin skin. I told her I found that remark offensive. She didn’t get it.

Seán Moncrieff, Everything went wrong. But it wasn’t so bad

I was very tempted to abandon Alan Glynn’s Paradime (2016). The opening chapters, in which a man with PTSD flounders hopelessly, were painful to read. But it really takes off about halfway through, so I’m glad I stuck with it 📚

Thank you, @help, those posts are showing now 😎

Hi, @help. I’ve noticed that some of my posts containing the book emoji aren’t showing up on the Books discovery page. This one, for example. I thought it might be because I sometimes use 📖 (which used to work) but the official one isn’t working either. Thank you 🙏

Ted Gioia, How My Career as a Poet Was Killed by Kraft’s Macaroni & Cheese. Yeah, I hate it when that happens.

… though [Martin] Brest had final cut on the movie, he was strong-armed into recutting it from a weird, offbeat movie about a gangster who wants out into a romantic comedy.

What went wrong with Gigli. Time for the director’s cut? Alissa Wilkinson rewatches a flop 🍿

Johnson led a government that played fast and loose with the rule of law.

And continues to lie about it, of course: Joshua Rozenberg

The new issue of my email newsletter, Talk about books, is about Ted Chiang’s novella (or long short story) from his collection 📚Exhalation (2019), “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom”. Who knows where the timeline goes?

Who knows where the timeline goes?: Ted Chiang, “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom”

Who knows where the timeline goes?: Ted Chiang, “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom” “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom” is the last story in Ted Chiang’s collection, Exhalation (2019). At about 19,750 words, it’s one of two very long stories in that volume — I have seen it referred to as a novella. I haven’t got a copy of the collection — I read it as an ebook borrowed from the library — but the story I want to discuss today can also be read on OneZero, a Medium publication.