Sunday, May 25, 2014

WHY ORWELL MATTERS - Christopher Hitchens

A series of essays on Orwell,covering Orwell and the Left, Orwell and The Right, Orwell and America and several other topics.

Hitchens is a huge fan and takes on all comers who criticize his man, and  there are plenty that do, but in normal Hitchens style he bats them off with his arguments, and like or loath him Hitchens can argue.

Very entertaining, much more so than Orwell's novels which I find a bit depressing.  Hitchens makes his arguments for Orwell on his essays not on the novels.  Hitchens does not think Orwell a saint,  more a candidate for beatification,which incidentally neither of them believed in anyway.

The best thing for me was reading this on a Kindle with the dictionary function.  When you have a vocabulary that is rather bare when compared with the author it is a very handy tool.

Friday, May 16, 2014

NO ONE LEFT TO LIE TO - Christopher Hitchens

It would take someone pretty bloody minded to defend Clinton after they have read this book.  Hitchens takes him to task again,then again and then some more.

Clinton was not a good President and he's certainly not a good person.

I shudder to think that he and his equally manipulative wife could get near the seat of power again.

I love Hitchens and I don't think he's ever been sharper than in this essay.

FIVE CAME BACK - Mark Harris

The story of the five Hollywood directors listed on the cover who served in WWII.  It tells the stories of the movies they made the problems they caused and faced.

Interesting, but not riveting.  Its gold for film buffs but a bit slow for the casual reader.

THE SECRETS OF ROME - Corrado Augias

I purchased this in the hope that it would be a general history but its not.  Its the Rome that the author grew up in and he then tells the story of the parts of the city that are relevant to him, areas of the city that he has memories of.

Its interesting but also very personal but for me gets off track too often to keep my attention.


Very interesting and the work these people did was invaluable for all of us.  The story of Rose Valland gets superficial treatment here due to lack of space but she was the real hero and was the reason most of the art was recovered.

Its not brilliantly written but interesting and a tale that needs told.

I hope the movie doesn't trivialize the efforts of those concerned too much.

THE COLOSSEUM - Keith Hopkins & Mary Beard

Very disappointing, it reads like a television script rather than a book.  Its covers the history but is very shallow and its full of slang  i.e they " scarpered" when they saw the animals.  I hate slang when there are perfectly adequate words that are much better to use.


A Philip Marlowe novel reboot and its not bad except for me Marlowe is more Lew Archer in this novel. Good fun and well written but it hasn't got the Chandler feel, its got the Ross MacDonald feel, at least that's how it read to me.

But, if he writes more I'll read them.


An alternative history with Germany ruling Britain, Len Deighton did it first and best then Robert Harris made a good fist of it.

This is sound, no more and needs cut by 80 pages, not rubbish but not as good as its predecessors.