The curatorial twitch

My dad was book mad. He owned a couple of thousand books, mostly non-fiction. He was an old-school, working class, self-taught polymath, a bus conductor-know-all (I’ve written about his dictionaries before). And he had this habit. He would snip cuttings from newspapers and magazines. Almost daily he’d snip a story of some import and file… Continue reading The curatorial twitch

“My wife wants a Kindle. She’s dead to me now…”

I’m feeling a bit guilty about yesterday’s Kindle post, which was sarcastic. But since then I’ve been tracking ‘Kindle’ on twitter and I’ve seen no more than two or three positive opinions of the gadget amongst hundreds and hundreds of Kindle-related tweets (my favourite: “my wife wants a Kindle. She’s dead to me now”). And… Continue reading “My wife wants a Kindle. She’s dead to me now…”

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Kindle. Segway for books?

Some people are calling Amazon’s Kindle ‘iTunes for books’. I’m calling it ‘Segway for books’. Not because it’s got two wheels and a giro-stabiliser but because it’s got Jeff Bezos on it. Jeff is a fascinating and clever man (I’d like to meet him one day. I tried to once but a bizarre canapé-related incident… Continue reading Kindle. Segway for books?

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Things I love…

The Dover Press free samples. Always something useful, always something bonkers. Next time you’re in the West End go into the Dover shop in Earlham Street – a proper goldmine of graphic ephemera (including all those fantastic woodcut creatures from the O’Reilly books).

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A new book from Adam Wishart

My friend Adam has written a book. It’s about cancer and he weaves together the story of his own father’s death from cancer with a history of the disease. The reviews are in and they are spectacularly good.

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Books and bombs

Will books be replaced (or even substantially substituted) by ebooks and hand-held readers? Robert McCrumb in The Observer thinks so. Maybe he’s right. A better question – do they need to replaced – is rarely asked. Instead, we line up around our entrenched positions – apocalyptic-Luddite or euphoric-futurist – both conveniently informed by the same… Continue reading Books and bombs

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Sophisticated kids’ fiction

Elmore Leonard, A Coyote’s in the HouseCarl Hiaasen, Hoot Under the seedy glamour and wise-cracking cynicism of your classic American crime novel there’s usually a pretty basic story with all the ingredients for a great kids’ book – a hero, a journey, a challenge, a resolution blah blah. I don’t know why nobody thought of… Continue reading Sophisticated kids’ fiction

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Will Self in The Wood Between The Worlds

I’m reading the kids the first three books from The Chronicles of Narnia at the moment and very very brilliant and engrossing they are too (never read them before). From his Independent column I learn that Will Self’s a C.S.Lewis fan. The good thing about the paper’s otherwise-annoying paid-for service is that the free taster… Continue reading Will Self in The Wood Between The Worlds

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Things were different in the 1950s

My mother-in-law gave us a little bundle of gorgeous 1950s I-Spy books so I looked them up and found this nice memory of their production back in the Sixties and Seventies from Ralph Mills who was assistant to Big Chief I-SPY in an office above a hardware shop in Paddington.

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