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All the best heroes are villains anyway

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Ask anyone to name a hero or villain and the resultant litany of names will undoubtedly conjure up images of spandex-clad comic book characters with animalistic abilities. At our recent office party, staff danced the night away in silly superhero costumes (crrrrrrazy, wacky publishing folk that we are). But no-one came as a literary hero or villain, which surprised me in an office full of supposed bibliophiles.

Adaptation 1: Short stories on film

Wednesday, 09 January 2008

Even when the signs seem very good, and the film works as a film, a novel's adaptation for the screen is still almost always dissatisfying. In fact, adaptations (for me) mainly serve as a provocation to read a book that's been hanging around on the shelves for years, untouched. And, quite often, when I've done so, the film has served its purpose and doesn't actually have to be watched.

Christmas stories

Friday, 30 November 2007

Last Saturday, the Guardian ran their Books of the Year feature, and it had a slightly different slant from the rest of these supplements. Instead of naming their favourite books of 2007, the contributors were asked for their favourite Christmas reads, past, present and future.

Flannery's peacocks

Flannery's peacocks

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Nabokov had his butterflies, William Burroughs doted on his cats - I'm sure there's a book or two to be had on novelists and their animals. What kind of book I'm not too sure; though I bet there's one out there already, full of glossy pics of faithful hounds delivering manuscripts and slippers to their masters, or kittens adorably tangled in cradles of typewriter ribbon.

Everybody hurts

Monday, 19 November 2007

I realise that with this blog post following on from my last one (not to mention the one that was slightly about poker) I'm risking getting myself a reputation as the person who blogs about tacky lowbrow things at Picador. Hang in there though, because in the next couple of weeks I'm hoping to be saying something interesting about Philip Roth.

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