Six Degrees of Separation: from How to do Nothing to The Word Exchange

It’s not only the first day of August, it’s the first Saturday in August. That means it’s time for this month’s Six Degrees of Separation. We’re starting with a book I’ve heard of this month – Jenny Odell’s How to do Nothing. Continue reading

Beastie Boys Book

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Read 17/05/2020-24/05/2020

Rating 5 stars

Beastie Boys Book opens with Adam Horovitz (Ad-Rock) talking about the best Beastie Boy – Adam Yauch (MCA). I loved MCA. He was a renegade. He seemed to live life at a million miles an hour, curious about everything, folding his experiences into his creative output. Horovitz knows Yauch was the best Beastie Boy, too. It’s a beautiful tribute to Yauch.

Beastie Boys Book is a collection of reminiscences by Horovitz and the other surviving Beastie Boy, Michael Diamond (Mike D), with essays by music critics, famous fans and musical collaborators mixed in. Continue reading

Swing Time

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Read 11/04/2020-20/04/2020

Rating 3 stars

Zadie Smith’s Swing Time is a sprawling tale of how two girls’ lives intersect and separate over the years. It’s about growing up poor but aspirational, a tale of friendship and rivalry, and of the inadequacies of adulthood. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation: from Daisy Jones and the Six to Revolutionary Road

Happy New Year! And I’m starting 2020’s book blogging with 6 degrees of separation because I haven’t quite finished the book I started before Xmas.

I don’t do New Year resolutions, so it’s untrue for me to say I’ve resolved to do all of 2020’s 6 degrees of separations. I’m going to try my best to remember to, though.

January’s chain begins with a book I haven’t heard of. Continue reading

This Way to Departures

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Read 04/10/2019-06/10/2019

Rating 5 stars

This Way to Departures is Linda Mannheim’s second collection of short stories for Influx Press. It’s the follow up to Above Sugar Hill, which I loved.

This Way to Departures spreads its net wider than NYC, both geographically and emotionally. If Above Sugar Hill is about the identity of a particular place and its influence on those who are entwined in its arms, then Departures is about the nomads who have no place of their own and find it impossible to become entwined, no matter where they go.

Continue reading

The Word Exchange

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Read 06/05/2019-16/05/2019

Rating 3 stars

The Word Exchange is a speculative science fiction mystery suspense that imagines a world in which electronic devices have become indispensable, replacing the need for deep thought or retention of information, to the extent that the people plugged into these devices are easy to manipulate. Sound familiar? It’s only five years old and already it feels as though the world Alena Graedon has imagined is more than a few steps closer to reality. Continue reading

The Faculty of Dreams

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Read 16/04/2019-21/04/2019

Rating 5 stars

As fractured and fragmented as the woman herself, The Faculty of Dreams is an imagining of the unknown life of Valerie Solanas. Sara Stridsberg builds a picture of Solanas through interview transcripts, fevered reminiscences and paeons to her unfulfilled potential. Continue reading

Above Sugar Hill

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Read 17/02/2019-19/02/2019

Rating 4 stars

Above Sugar Hill is a collection of short stories by Linda Mannheim, set in the Washington Heights area of Upper Manhattan. I picked it up from the Influx Press stall at the Manchester Indie Book Fair at the start of the month because I have a good friend who used to live near Sugar Hill, in Hamilton Heights, and I visited her twice when she lived on St Nicholas Ave. Continue reading

The Immortalists

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Read 17/11/2018-25/11/2018

Rating: 4 stars

The Immortalists is Chloe Benjamin’s second novel. I read a review of it that made me want to read it immediately. Unfortunately, most of the other members of my local library service did too, so I had a bit of a wait. It was worth it, though.

From the off, Chloe Benjamin’s choice of words evokes sights and sounds poetically. Continue reading