Reading this collection, there were moments of fantastic beauty and strangeness, real poetry. But I found the structure and outlook of the collectionReading this collection, there were moments of fantastic beauty and strangeness, real poetry. But I found the structure and outlook of the collection confusing. I wasn’t sure if and when we were supposed to be in the world of Eleanor Marx, as this was not sign posted well enough for me. I had gone in with the idea that the whole collection would be her story, but this didn’t seem to be the case. This is more a question for the editors, than the poet. I would have been able to enjoy the collection more if I'd known where I was supposed to be. Overall some really enjoyable moments....more
This was mentioned on one of my favourite podcasts, No Such Thing as a Fish by the writers and researchers for the tv show QI.
It’s a book which mightThis was mentioned on one of my favourite podcasts, No Such Thing as a Fish by the writers and researchers for the tv show QI.
It’s a book which might initially seem difficult to sell to anyone else. Whole chapters are dedicated to pins, wires, cards, combs. Couple this with some rather complex and at times purely academic writing, it shouldn’t really be as enjoyable to read as it is. But it’s fascinating to read Connor take on these humdrum objects and tell us their history, their development in our culture and their meanings outside of their literal use.
This treads similar ground to James Ward’s brilliant book Adventures in Stationery, so if you read that and liked it, I’d recommend this.
Ultimately this strange book is very enjoyable. It’s great to get a highly educated and erudite take on the mundane small objects that litter our daily lives. ...more
Being a fan of Sedaris and his particular voice, I bought this on a whim as it was the only Sedaris book my little bookshop had. It is an earlier oneBeing a fan of Sedaris and his particular voice, I bought this on a whim as it was the only Sedaris book my little bookshop had. It is an earlier one in his career and you can see that in the style of the book. Most of the book is actually short stories, not the non-fiction that I know him for. The short stories are not without their moments, they are shocking and strange, along the same lines of something like Chuck Palahniuk, that 90s American shock fiction that was going around at that time. There were a few dead infants, a few questionable sexual relationships and a scattering of dodgy mother/son encounters. I admit I did skip over a few to get to the essays at the back of the book. What I wanted from the book was his voice and it’s not the book’s fault it didn’t give it to me, I just should have picked a different Sedaris book. I wanted to be in his company and to listen to him telling me a story. The essays at the end of the book are more like the nonfiction stories in later books and this is where the book really came alive for me. This is not to say that he is not a skilled writer, but the fiction, in its function as telling someone else’s story from someone else’s perspective, didn’t have enough of that Sedaris magic in it. The short stories didn't seem to flow that well and there was rarely characterisation (or any details) for the narrator. I rarely had a sense of who I was (or any sense) if not David. I imagine this is why his later books did feature more of his essays and less of his fiction. For me, I know for the future to stick to the nonfiction essay books he has (of which there are many). Perhaps recommend for a Sedaris completist or someone interested in his capacity for other voices which was skilled, if not overwhelmingly impressive....more
As an intro to the poetry of Maggie Nelson, this was wonderful. The book is a strange trip back to the time around the September 11th attacks and theAs an intro to the poetry of Maggie Nelson, this was wonderful. The book is a strange trip back to the time around the September 11th attacks and the aftermath in America (the collection was originally published in 2003). The book gives us an insight into the confusion and tenderness of those times which seem very removed from where we are now. The poems themselves have a lyrical, vocal quality as well as a longing which I found wonderful to read. At this time poets were still figuring out where to go next, still shaking off the formal constrictions of past decades/centuries and this collection feels like a step towards the freedom of expression we see in many contemporary poets. There were several stand out moments, lines which really made you pause. Really enjoyable, will be reading more. ...more
What a beautiful book. Warm and full of surreal moments, exactly what you expect from Tove Jansson, it's a book about creativity and, ultimately, realWhat a beautiful book. Warm and full of surreal moments, exactly what you expect from Tove Jansson, it's a book about creativity and, ultimately, reality.
After a huge flood in Moomin Valley, various members of the Moomin gang are displaced and have their own adventures, all culminating at the floating theatre which the Moomin parents initially believe to be a real house when they first encounter it. Moominpappa becomes a playwright and puts on a play on the floating stage, with the audience in boats floating nearby. It is a book full of beautiful, surreal images which very confidently treads the path which exists between the imagination of childhood and the creativity of a grown up.
We can all learn a lot from Jansson, not just about creativity but in how to live our lives. ...more
What an astounding collection. It begins with a stunningly disturbing and visceral poem about the brutality of the natural world and our place withinWhat an astounding collection. It begins with a stunningly disturbing and visceral poem about the brutality of the natural world and our place within it, which really sets the tone for the following poems. I loved several of the poems in this collection and enjoyed its dark, bloody strange atmosphere. 'The Fortune-Teller' was a highlight for me, a really incredible monologue poem from the perspective of the Fortune-Teller.
I cannot believe I missed this collection at the time and look forward to reading the follow up!...more