Thursday, October 11, 2018

THE BIG SLEEP - Raymond Chandler

An early morning call to a dying millionaire sets private eye Philip Marlowe on the fast inside track of West Hollywood's  hidden sewer of blackmail, menace and muscle.  Neither of General Sternwood's daughter's it seems, is going to come up smelling of roses.  Marlowe senses it is his job to protect the two women.  But then he hadn't considered himself becoming part of the wholesale nastiness of it all.....

Its been several years since I've read this but the quality of the writing is such even if you remember the story its still a great journey.

Chandler was a superb writer and an interesting man.  Its too hard for me to pick who I prefer , Chandler or Dashiell Hammett as they are both the best and the rest is the rest when it comes to hard boiled ,I can't recommend the Marlowe stories enough, great writing great mysteries.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


The Burning Library brings together forty of the best of Edmund White's essays, articles and reviews from more than twenty years, and presents a fascinating portrait of the writer and his time.  Within a broad spectrum of interviews, profiles and essays, the collection focuses on the lietary and cultural figures whose work has influenced or intrigued White: Valdimir Nabokkov, tennessee Willaims, james Merrill, Michael Fucault, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Roland Barthes, Christopher Isherwood, Juan Goytisolo, Marguerite Yourcenar.  While their work is illuminated by White's pungent and sensitive criticism, the men and woman are brought to startling, vivid life by his gift for conveying quirks of personality and the oddities of place.

The book reviews are amazing, I've heard of very few of the authors but the reviews are of such a quality they are entertainment in themselves.

The essays especially the earlier ones about homosexuality have not aged well but they were written of a time and place .  What staggered me was that until 1973 homosexuality was considered a mental illness.

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) asked all members attending its convention to vote on whether they believed homosexuality to be a mental disorder. 5,854 psychiatrists voted to remove homosexuality from the DSM, and 3,810 to retain it.

So White grew up in an era when his sexuality was considered treatable and with enough visits to the shrink you would be cured.

All in all a very good collection of essays, essays that can be re-read again and again.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


This has his Diaries from 2005 -2015 which take up the majority of this book.  There are also some address's he has made, introductions to works and a play. But for me its all about the Diaries, they are an absolute delight.  Observations and comments utterly understated but a point is always made and not a word is wasted.

Bennett states continually he is a very shy person and that he can go unnoticed even when he is the most well known person in the room. This obviously isn't true but it is how he feels.  His personality has given him the ability to be a great observer and the only time he gets really exercised about anything is where the police are concerned,there is no love lost.  I assume he has mentioned why in earlier Diaries but I can't remember the reason.

There are many entry's about theater people, plays and travel but there are equally as many  about his neighbourhood shops,and his long time personal friends.

Anyway if you love Diaries these are some of the best going around.  There are two earlier volumes going back over the previous years prior to 2005.  These are as enjoyable as this selection.