Lucky 13 – Anticipatory Book Review

30 01 2017

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

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Early Amazon Reviews are mixed. I don’t know how people got hold of the book (not out until April) but they don’t seem to have been very well chosen given the range of comments. I tried to add my review but prevented from doing so on a technicality so have posted here.

I’ve had only limited access to this novel. Just the title in fact. I invited the author to furnish me with a copy for review purposes but he suggested I take it one step at a time and just stick with reviewing the title.

There are lots of reservoirs on Amazon: hydration water bladders, ion reservoirs, Reservoir Dogs, a liquid cooling system reservoir and even a Triumph reservoir sock. there are also quite a few albums called this, a number of books and even a Zanussi tumble dryer reservoir flange.

The nearest reservoir to where I grew up was called the Whiteadder Reservoir, my Dad used to live near Edgbaston reservoir and I always like hearing about John Shuttleworth’s visits to measure the level of Ladybower Reservoir.

Some other movies and books featuring numbers include Apollo 13, Starter for 10, Friday 13th, Studio 54,  Magnificent 7, Super 8, Ocean’s 11, Death Race 2000 and The Hateful 8. And while we’re on Tarantino, can it be a coincidence that McGregor has two words in the titles of his novels which make up one of Tarantino’s movie titles and that he writes Fiction (although not Pulp).

But none of these gets anywhere near to the new novel by Jon McGregor, the “absurdly gifted” (Guardian) novelist. Or its title, at least. Looking forward to reading the remainder of the words in the book in due course. In the meantime, it’s full marks from me.

5 star

 





Chinese New Year: approximation of a playlist §69

28 01 2017

Songs concerned with the Chinese Zodiac

A mildly topical playlist…

Black Horse And The Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall

Rattlesnakes – Lloyd Cole & the Commotions

Digging Your Scene – The Blow Monkeys

Rat Race – The Specials

The Size Of A Cow – The Wonder Stuff

Rabbit – Chas ‘n’ Dave

I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys

Who Let The Dogs Out – B-Boyz

Union Of The Snake – Duran Duran

A Horse With No Name – America

I Wanna Be Your Dog – The Stoogesthe_rolling_stones-little_red_rooster_s_2

Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag – Pig Bag

Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses – U2

Tiger Feet – Mud

Sheep – The Housemartins

Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones

Mama Told Me Not To Come – Three Dog Night

Monkey gone to heaven – The Pixies

Spanish Horses – Aztec Camera

Diamond dogs – David Bowie

And Dreams of Sheep – Kate Bush

Rat Trap – The Boomtown Rats

Mansize rooster – Supergrass

Ox-ford Comma – Vampire Weekend

Goatman – Goat

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

Little Red Rooster – Rolling Stones

 

Happy New Year!





Murder by countdown

22 01 2017

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…

Really enjoyed the TV adaptation a while back and so inspired to return to the source. It’s a classic Christie and really very clever indeed. Absolutely one of her best and highly recommended.

four stars





Author! Author! Answers

22 01 2017

Fret no more

The answers to the quiz which literally quite a few people have been talking about.

Over on WonkHE I recently set a quiz about academic authors/author academics.

The exciting test was to spot five individuals from a list who are not or were not both academics and writers of fiction. At time of writing this no-one had identified more than three of the five so I thought I had better provide the answers to prevent undue distress.

Here they are then:

Quite a few people got the first three

 

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But these two were a bit harder:

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Russia yesterday

13 01 2017

Archangel by Robert Harris

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A number one bestseller from the award-winning master of the literary and historical thriller genre: Robert Harris. A gripping, thrilling explosion into Russia’s mysterious history…

When historian Fluke Kelso learns of the existence of a secret notebook belonging to Josef Stalin he is determined to track it down, whatever the consequences. From the violent political intrigue and decadence of modern Moscow he heads north – to the vast forests surrounding the White Sea port of Archangel, and a terrifying encounter with Russia’s unburied past.

 

Can’t go wrong with a Robert Harris – a terrific, fast-paced thriller with an academic at the centre of things uncovering hidden Russian history. Highly entertaining and thoroughly gripping, this really is a great yarn.

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Helpful advice: approximation of a playlist §68

11 01 2017

Songs concerned with providing helpful advice

 

Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing – Incognito
You Can’t Hurry Love  – Diana Ross & The Supremes
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Don’t Marry Her – The Beautiful South
Honey Be Good – The Bible
Don’t look back in anger  – Oasis
Your Mother Should Know – The Beatles
Don’t Sleep In The Subway – Petula Clark
Treat Her Like A Lady – The Temptations
Don’t put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington – Vic Reeves
Drive Safely Darlin’  – Tony Christie

 

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Handle with Care – Travelling Wilburys
Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
Your Mother Should Know – The Beatles
Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time – Nancy Sinatra
White Lines (Don’t Do It) – Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel
Don’t cry for me Argentina  – Julie Covington
You Should Be Dancing – Bee Gees
Billy Don’t Be A Hero – Paper Lace
Don’t talk – 10,000 Maniacs

 
Wise words indeed.





First in the chart

10 01 2017

The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M Banks

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The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.

An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

Amid preparations, though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted – dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.

It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.

Bit of a guilty pleasure this for me. Always been a fan of Iain Banks both with and without the ‘M’ (the  former were his science fiction writings) and this Culture novel really didn’t disappoint. The totality of the universe Banks created here and in the earlier Culture books is really hugely impressive (as well as being extremely cool) and the storytelling excellent.

four stars








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