jazzy_dave: (bookish)
Of course, whilst i was in Eastbourne the last shop i visited just had to be right next door to a Waterstones bookshop .I succumbed ,and having read one book on Thomas Cromwell from a historian who seemed to put all the blame on Thomas rather than the King (Henry VIII),this book is a more up to date revisionist account.

jazzy_dave: (Default)
Robert Hutchinson "Thomas Cromwell: The Rise and Fall of Henry VIII's Most Notorious Minister" (Orion)

This was an intriguing, easy to read account of the career of Thomas Cromwell, notorious chief minister to Henry VIII.

Robert Hutchinson sets out the main events of Cromwell's life and times without going into much detail. . Hutchinson brings to life the Tudor court in all its madness and corruption, illustrating how easy it was to fall foul of the king and meet a gruesome end. Some of it being very gruesome so i recommend reading without eating food in front of you.

This is really just a primer and he does write in an engaging style and hence this book would be a good starting point for anyone interested in Henry VIII's world or that of the Tudors in general.
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Ted Hughes "Poetry In The Making" (Faber and Faber)

This is a student friendly discussion of what Ted Hughes calls "imaginative writings" and are drawn from The BBC program"Listening and Writing". He selects various writings from contemporary modern poets to illustrate his essays and thesis,and in particular - Larkin, Dickenson, Eliot,Plath and himself, to convey a sense that poetry can be made by beginners and how to go about it. As a primer on how to write poetry and improve the creative process, this short book of 128 pages is ideal. It is also an effective introduction to his work and that of other poets who have influenced him.
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Pierre Bayard "How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read" (Bloomsbury)

This is a surprisingly thoughtful rumination on books.

How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read,  by a hip French literature professor named Pierre Bayard,; because make no mistake, this is not exactly a practical how-to guide to faking your way through cocktail parties, but more a sneaky examination of what it means to "read" a book anyway, if by "read" you mean "understand, relate to, can recall details of, and can discuss with others."

After all, if we read a book as a child and then completely forget its story as an adult, do we still get to count that as a "read" book?

Bayard gets into all kinds of interesting questions like this, ultimately arguing that the most important thing we can do as readers is understand the entire time period that book is a result of; in the goal of accomplishing that, then, he argues that it's perfectly okay to just read the Cliff Notes of famous huge books you know you're never going to get around to actually reading, perfectly okay to discuss a book at a cocktail party you're familiar with but haven't actually sat down and scanned each and every page. This is how we learn, he argues, how we grow as both humans and patrons of the arts; every Wikipedia entry we read, every conversation we fake our way through, every BBC adaptation we check out, ultimately helps us understand the full-length books we do sit and closely read from the beginning to the end, which is why we shouldn't be ashamed of any of these activities but rather proud of them.

Funny, smart, and very French; a very fun afternoon of reading.

More Jazz

May. 4th, 2017 11:30 pm
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Yep,more jazz - as i know some of you like my jazz posts -

Graham Collier Music - Song Three (Nine - Eight Blues)

Sun Ra - That's How I Feel

Kenny Garrett - Oing Wen

Track No. 3 from Kenny Garrett's remarkable album: "Beyond The Wall". My personal favorite, right there with Kiss to the Skies. Enjoy

Kenny Garrett - Alto Saxophone
Pharoah Sanders - Tenor Saxophone
Mulgrew Miller - Piano
Bobby Hutcherson - Vibraphone
Robert Hurst - Double Bass
Brian Blade - Drums

The singer is Nedelka Echols on this track.

Carmell Jones - I'm Gonna Go Fishin'

Joe Chambers -- The Almoravid

jazzy_dave: (Default)

Hanif Kureishi "Intimacy" (Faber and Faber)

The narrator was a repulsive character, and the topic is supposedly semi-autobiographical; however, the writing is quite good.

Jay, like the author, is a London playwright who has decided to leave his partner, who he has never married, and their two young sons, who he loves dearly. However, he is bored in this loveless relationship, and sees no hope that it can be salvaged. He is most happy when he is with his current girlfriend, a young woman who excites and challenges him sexually, though she is not his social or intellectual equal.

This short novel, set in London in the early 1990s, describes the mind set of one restless but decent urban professional approaching middle age, who is not ready to settle into a monogamous, steady relationship. I found Jay to be quite superficial, self-absorbed and immature; however, his desires and attitudes remind me of those of a cousin of mine, and couple of former acquaintances, and are spot on with their views. This book may not be for everyone, but it is a well-written, accurate work,
jazzy_dave: (black jazz)
Some more tootling tunes -

Sarah Vaughan - Jive Samba

Ella Fitzgerald - Sunshine Of Your Love

Jon Lucien - Rashida

Eddie Jefferson - Jeannine

Sarah Vaughan - Inner City Blues *Make Me Wanna Holler)


jazzy_dave: (jazzy drinker)
Couple of jazz tunes for you -

Neil Ardley - The Dong With The Luminous Nose

Ivor Cutler narrates this Edward Lear poem.

Don Rendell / Ian Carr - Dusk Fire

jazzy_dave: (jazzy drinker)
A much warmer and sunnier day in the end and tomorrow will be as good from the forecasts. I will be travelling early to do a coffee shop visit in Canterbury, then up to Whitstable for a food retailer visit and then Ashford for a pub food and drink visit.

So an earlier night to bed.

A couple of CD's came in the post today - three classic jazz albums -

I have listened to both already .. excellent British jazz from the sixties and seventies.
jazzy_dave: (bookish)
George Orwell "Books v Cigarettes" (Penguin)

This collection of essays was published by Penguin UK a couple of years ago as part of its Great Ideas series. It consists of two long and five short and humorous essays, including the title essay. In "Books v. Cigarettes" he determines that his yearly cost of buying books is less than the amount he spends on cigarettes and alcohol, and argues against those who claimed that the cost of reading was prohibitively expensive for the average working man. Other short essays include a hilarious look at the life of a book reviewer, and his barbaric treatment in a Paris hospital.

The two longer essays make up the majority of the book. "The Prevention of Literature" is a critique of left-wing postwar orthodoxy, which at that time strongly favoured Soviet communism and limited intellectual freedom. "Such, Such Were the Joys", which chronicles his experiences in a boarding school in late childhood, comprises over half of the book. His middle class parents are unable to pay full tuition, and he is allowed to attend the school at reduced fees, due to his academic promise and the expectation that he will gain a scholarship to a prestigious private school—or so he claims. He and the other lower tier boys are constantly tortured and belittled by the headmaster, his wife, and the older boys in the school. He has nothing good to say about anyone there, and you can't help but think that it couldn't possibly have been that bad. His experiences at St. Cyprian's appear to be the genesis for his interest in social justice and anti-totalitarianism, as he expounds upon the lessons he learned during that time at the end of the essay.

This would a worthwhile read for anyone interested in Orwell.
jazzy_dave: (bookish)
John D. Barrow "The Book Of Nothing" (Vintage)

He may use flowery language to convey his thesis on the aspect of nothing and that to some he tried to cover so much stuff that it never lingered anywhere but when you are dealing with the vacuum of space in a non technical way to lay readers then you have to take time (in both senses of it as well as spactime) to convey such complex cosmological information. It may be heavy going at times but i did enjoy this book.

Perhaps not the best book to describe such things as the vacuum state,inflation, black body radiation , the cassimir effect or the value of the cosmological constant (lambda), so with this caveat i would suggest other books to read first.
jazzy_dave: (bookish)
Stephen S. Lundsburg "The Big Questions" (Free Press)

Steven E. Landsburg’s The Big Questions is an intriguing foray into the use of non-typical sciences to look at macroscopic philosophical questions. The questions in questions range from why is there something rather than nothing, is there a God, is logical disagreement a sign of inherent meaninglessness, can we really know everything, and so on. These are indeed interesting and challenging questions. Looking into philosophy using physics and economics is kind of fun and gets one thinking laterally and not directly, which on the whole is a good skill to have.

Landsburg’s tackling of these questions is in many ways logical and rich. There are indeed mathematical bases for following both morality and human perception of color (as well as other things in the universe). His main premise is that once you have math, everything else follows. One of the very mind-boggling assertions me makes is that almost no one is deeply religious because crimes are committed on a fairly regular basis and acts of martyrdom are not. That part makes for fun reading. And for the most part, Landsburg’s theories are engaging, flow well, and get you to think a little more critically about the larger picture.
jazzy_dave: (bookish)
Julian Barnes "Something to Declare" (Picador)

When i picked this up i thought it was a novel but to my surprise it is a collection of essays on France from an avid francophile.

This book of essays covers many of the topics that are recognised as French territory: filmmaker Truffaut and the New Wave, the Tour de France, the singers of the 50's-60's who moaned on finding out that they were sharing their mistresses with others. And then there are the nine, yes nine, chapters on Barnes' favourite writer, Flaubert.

The writing is engaging from the beginning as Barnes describes his family vacations around France year after year, and his growing sense of comfort with the French culture. I especially appreciated his chapter on those singers such as Jacques Brel and Georges Brassens (though I can't understand why my favourite, Serge Gainsborg wasn't included) and the one on author Georges Simenon was full of decadent scandal and therefore wonderful.

A very enjoyable book that is well-written and fun to read.

Good Night

Apr. 14th, 2017 11:24 pm
jazzy_dave: (Default)

Have a good night and sweet dreams.

Tomorrow i fancy pancakes bacon and maple syrup for breakfast.


Apr. 14th, 2017 11:20 pm
jazzy_dave: (intellectual vices)
Well,it certainly has been a quiet day.

Had lunch at the pub midday and then after three drinks i left the place.and had an afternoon siesta. A much needed one.

I did that for a couple of hours and then listened to the radio for awhile.The last programme being one by A.L.Kennedy on the Power or Reading.

She extols the virtues of reading and its power to encourage respect for the value and sovereignty of other people's existence.

"It allows you to look and feel your way through the lives of others who may apparently be very other - and yet here they are - inside your head."

I shall be watching a DVD i purchased from Thursday's charity shop visit by Michael Palin - a documentary series on New Europe.

Michael Palin's New Europe : Complete BBC Series [DVD]

Good night folks.

Oh i had to use DW due to the fact that the Quays Wi-Fi really screws up my LJ sometimes.
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Julian Barnes "Levels Of Life" (Vintage)

This a short and beautiful book as well as an honest and forthright book on grief.

Julian Barnes became a widower in 2008 when his wife died of a brain tumour at age 68 . Pat Kavanagh was a brilliant and well respected literary agent. They had been together, off and on but mostly on, for over 30 years. In this auto biography Julian Barnes has used his considerable writing skills to portray the ongoing depth of his loss... and depth of his love. His writing is restrained and contained, harnessed to to give us the merest glimpse into his pain. Not easy.

That covers the third part of this book. However the first two parts are about ballooning. He conveys his passions such as France, photography and Ballooning. These parts are written with gusto, and they are exhilarating. The stories touch on many themes and motives that are known to have fascinated Barnes, and can be found throughout his life and work. They cover a 19th century French portrait photographer, a British balloonist,Fred Barnaby, who falls in love with Sarah Bernhardt and then he brings this altogether in the final touching sad and profoundly intimate exploration of grief.

This is an ibncedible book which i found deeply affecting.
jazzy_dave: (bookish)
Wilfred Owen "Anthem For Doomed Youth" (Penguin Little Black Classics)

Poignant,harrowing and just beautiful.. these poems from the Great War (1014 - 1918) will melt your heart and reminds us of the futility of war. Contained within this slim volume are 37 poems by the poet who,was killed just a week before Armistice Day.

This is the poem that gives the book its title. For just 80 pence these little black books are terrific value for money.

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds.

jazzy_dave: (bookish)
Sun-Mi Hwang "The Dog Who Dared To Dream" (Abacus)

Wow - what a great little book and not just a shaggy dig story (pun intended).

The Dog Who Dared to Dream tells the story of Scraggy, the odd one out of the litter of pups born to a mother who’s life has been series of pregnancies. Scraggly slowly sees her family disappear for various reasons until one day there is just her left. Alone she sets off to see the world outside the gates of her home. We follow her as she encounters other animals and humans, and grows up with her owner Grandpa Screecher.

The novel shows the trials of life through the eyes of Scraggly, grief at losing loved ones, the importance of friendship and the cruelties that can lay at the hands we trust the most.

This is a charming and moving tale about the relationship between man and dog. The symbiotic relationship and the often times cruel one that can exist. It is also a sad tale, one of the loneliness Scraggly faces as her family leave her.

It is a parable about the vagaries of life, of hardship, sacrifice and love. Scraggly’s children leave, some dying, others sold, never to return and she pines their loss equally. I was soon caught up with Scraggly’s tale, pulled along by the narrative, and oddly moved by it.

This is a short novel, only 160 pages in length but it packs a lot of story into those few pages. There is a fairytale like sense to the book, helped not only by the canine lead character but by the translation, which I always find tends to lend an aura of magic to a story. It opens on the door a little on a different culture, one perhaps unknown and therefore a little mysterious offering a stunningly evocative description of Korean culture and village life, while keeping the world small and self-contained.

I finished this in a day it was that enchanting!
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Georges Simenon "Félicie (Inspector Maigret) (Penguin)

Jules Lapie, nicknamed Houtebeen, is assassinated in a suburb of Paris. Partly with and partly without the cooperation of Lapies housekeeper, Felicie, Maigret finds out who committed the murder; a tough guy of Pigalle.

THis is a typical Simenon Book.The protagonist is a woman who complements her pretty one-sided life of hard work with a dream world have built on using all kinds of cheap novels and the schmaltz contained within them. It is a less than straightforward investigation by Maigret, and the author has created an atmosphere of geniality, good food and pleasant scents.

Simenon paints with a small palette of selected colours and hits the target time and time again.So fat,this has turned out to be one of my favourites as Simenon draws out Felicie's character and Maigret's interaction with her. The exasperation is well done.

A short novel which can be read easily in a couple of days and also an enjoyable book.
jazzy_dave: (Default)
Maya Angelou "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" (Virago)

In this first of Angelou's memoirs, Maya and her brother Bailey are sent to live with their grandmother in Stamps, AR, when they are young children. They are raised in a strict but loving home and are aware, even at their tender ages, of the prejudices all around them. The children would sporadically live with their mother in St. Louis, their father in California and ultimately with their mother when she too moved to California. Both children were avid readers and excellent students. Maya's love for the written word would be her lifelong passion.

Although there were many instances of sadness, prejudice and even abuse, there was also a good deal of humor. The trip to Mexico with her father was quite funny as a 15-year-old Maya decided to drive her father's Hudson back to California, never mind that she had never driven a car before, with a drunk Daddy in the back seat. After crashing into another car at the border guard station and witnesses noticed the body on the back seat the incident nearly became criminal.

Maya spent a month living in a junk yard car, fought to become the first black allowed to work on city streetcars, and became pregnant at age 16. All of these things might have crushed a young girl's dreams, but Maya embraced all of her experiences into the woman she would become.

Highly recommended.


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