Dhalgren by Samuel R Delany

A man who has forgotten his name crosses a bridge at night and enters Bellona, a city where something undefined has happened, houses burn down spontaneously and at times there are two moons, one named after George Harrison – not the adorable moptop, but a large black man with a penchant for rape, who features in pornographic posters all over town. The man who has forgotten his name is known variously as the kid, The Kid, Kid and Kidd. With little effort he acquires a reputation as a poet, gang leader and saviour.  We are never sure if Bellona is a mental hospital, the…

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Farewell, Mr Grumpy

August 13, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Books, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Vidia Naipaul (17 August 1932 to 11 August 2018) V.S. Naipaul was a scratchy character (vide Paul Theroux’s “Sir Vidia’s Shadow“). He was wise enough to recognise his prejudices, but simply too lazy to conceal or deny them.  And that seems to us, in these days of haute moral posturing, of solid, enduring value, together with his legacy of fine, caustic, off-the-wall, bitter humour, most evident in his masterpiece, A House for Mr. Biswas.

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Tove Jansson

August 10, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Classic Books, WRITING & LITERATURE |

August 9, 1914: On behalf of everyone who loves Moomintroll, Little My, Snufkin, Mymble, Muskrat, et al…to everyone who appreciates Tove’s statement that “what I liked best was being beastly to Hitler and Stalin,” TVC says Happy Birthday Tove! Of all the Moomintroll books, L likes Comet in Moominland the best.

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John Dryden

August 9, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, Poetry, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Dryden (born 9 August 1631), England’s Poet Laureate before that office was fairly soon debased, you can set aside his works that tediously extol public virtue and look instead at his poetic struggles between Religion and Reason, or Now and Then: “Dim, as the borrow’d beams of Moon and Stars To lonely, weary, wandring Travellers, Is reason to the Soul; And as on high, Those rowling Fires discover but the Sky Not light us here; So Reason’s glimmering Ray Was lent, not to assure our doubtfull way, But guide us upward to a better Day. And as those nightly Tapers…

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Izaac Walton – The Compleat Angler

August 9, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Books, LIFE, WRITING & LITERATURE |

Izaak Walton (born 9 August 1593) wrote one of the best goofing-off books ever.  First published in 1653, the full title was: The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative Man’s Recreation, divided into two parts: I, “Being a Discourse of Rivers, Fish-ponds, Fish and Fishing”; II, “Being Instructions how to Angle for a Trout or Grayling in a Clear Stream”. As Walton confessed in a preface, “…most Readers may receive so much pleasure or profit by it, as may make it worthy the time of their perusal, if they be not too grave or too busie men…I have in several places mixt…

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