“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Monday, April 23, 2012

World Book Night: And Miles To Read Before I Sleep …

You may or may not know that tonight is World Book Night, in which tons of books are given away free to stimulate reading. A good idea, I think, no matter how you look at it.
  Naturally, being something of a contrarian, I decided that it’d be nice notion to look into the possibility of an Alternative World Book Night - i.e., to ask a number of writers, poets et al to nominate a recently published book that they consider to be unjustly overlooked by the critics and public alike. The result was published in the Irish Times on Saturday, with the most fascinating / totally bonkers answer coming from poet David Lordan. To wit:
CYCLONOPEDIA: COMPLICITY WITH ANONYMOUS MATERIALS
By Reza Negarestani (re.press, 2008)

“I’d like to plump for the Iranian philosopher Reza Negarestani’s genre-bending ‘Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials’. It’s one for active readers and fans of “difficult work”. A continuously inventive and artistically ambitious work that, like many great literary refoundations, is simultaneously a reimagining of reality and a reorientating of literature against currently dominant trends. Negarestani draws on a polyglot engagement with contemporary theory and on a schizophrenic, inhumanist literary heritage including Lovecraft, Stein, Burroughs and Pynchon, to give us an astounding depiction of history as a minor subplot within a struggle of much older, more vast forces. Cyclonopedia refreshed my paranoia and left me more doubtful and contemptuous of things-as-they-are than ever before, something the most sustaining works of art have always done for me.” - David Lordan
  For the rest, which includes nominations from George Pelecanos, Aifric Campbell, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, China Miéville, Sara Paretsky, Mark Billingham and more, clickety-click here

3 comments:

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seana said...

Our store participated enthusiastically in World Book Night, but personally I felt a bit meh about it. I'd be happy to stand out on a corner giving away a copy of a book I'd chosen as a favorite, but the way it was presented here, it was a list of twenty or so standard contemporary bestsellers. Nothing against the books in particular, but why was Q is for Quarry chosen, even for the biggest Sue Grafton fan in the world? Wouldn't you want to start your potential addicts at A is for Alibi? And why would you start Michael Connelly readers on Blood Work instead of the first Harry Bosch?

For me, I do enough flogging of someone else's idea of what makes a good book to do this in my free time too.

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