Busy few days

I ve a busy couple of days at work coming up a course and then a long day trip to Skegness a seaside town about two hours from here with the people I support so .I m not going to be blogging again til  friday as I just won’t have time ,hope every one has a good week .


As ever I m late signing up for a challenge ,seen other people doing this challenge so thought why not ,the theme seems to be books dealiong with dark subjects so  I ve choose these to try and read –

Artic chill by Arnaldur Indritdason –

An icelandic novel ,following detective Erlendur ,investigating the death of a dark skinned young boy and his missing half brother .

The she devil in the mirror by Horacio Castellanos Moya –

Not quite sure if this fits in ,but follows Laura River who best friend has been killed and Laura won’t rest til she finds out ,all set in the chaos of post war s=San Salvador .

The haunting of hill house by Shirley Jackson –

follows four ghost hunters staying at Hill House a haunted house i,from the well known short story writer consider a classic horror novel .

There are my three books ,what you think ?


Well at home today it is coffee and chocolate brioche today ,well another busy week here at wonstons towers ,I read my first graphic novel for a very long time last night .well there are a couple of bits of news .


Earlier this year Amazon announced that it was starting it’s on translation press ,called amazon crossing to publish their own books  .well this week there was a press release announcing the first titles in the range .These include titles from Germany ,Argentina ,China and Ukraine here is there press release

also PEN in America announced their prizes winners for 2010 ,the book in translation prize winner was Wonder by Hugo Claus trans Michael Henry Heim ,I read this Belgian classic earlier this year ,here is my review also some more info on the translator from earlier this year including A video of him talking about wonder .


Well I had two books arrive this week ,after getting a e -mail from Malcolm at Oxygen books I received their city lit books for Berlin and Amsterdam ,I have spent time in both cities ,so am hugely looking forward to these anthologies of writing by various well-known writers and a few celebs about the cities and their history .




The book is an autobiography come biography about Vivian Mackerrell and about Colin’s own life ,Vivian may be part of the inspiration for the film character Withnail from the film Withnail and I .Now Bruce Robinson has said he was part of inspiration and knew Vivian when they shared a house whilst at drama school ,Colin Knew Vivian from an earlier time growing up in Nottingham .THE book starts with a bit about both there childhoods and Colin’s reason for writing the book .The first thing he does is trying to find relatives meeting his brother and his partners .He also contacts Bruce Robinson he didn’t want to be interviewed but offers photos and letters also other people Colin may talk too .Vivian grew in Nottingham spending time in his late teens round the playhouse in Nottingham this sparked an interest in acting and lead to him going to london to study where he meets Bruce ,David Dundas a musician and composer ,Micheal Elphick a fellow actor ,they live the usual student life drink meeting women etc .post college Vivian struggled as a jobbing actor ,he had talents but was difficult at time ,with his acid wit and wry humour ,Eventually he made his way back to live in Nottingham ,had a great partner Kate who he was close too ,he always drank and loved pub culture being sat in a pub talking to people ,he worked on and off over the years for the designer Paul Smith a friend of his from his days in Nottingham ,eventually life caught up with Vivian and he spent time in hospital and had some fun at times whilst in hospital ,he lived a colourful and eventful life.

“It’s a present from Dodgy Dave ,the fucker who stole my television .He was working at Raleigh and I bet him he couldn’t nick me a bike .Well he did it in bits ”

I can’t imagine you ever riding a bike

but it’s not any old bike ,It’s a Raleigh chopper .A real seventies icon .He’s been nicking parts for weeks .The rest is in my back shed you don’t fancy putting it together do you ?

a friend notices Vivian television is missing but there are some handlebars in his front room.

I loved this book ,knew I would like most people of my generation the film Withnail and I is a real icon ,so this biography of the man who may have inspired the character was a must read for me .Now whether or not he did inspire Withnail doesn’t matter Vivian’s own story is a real touching story ,not one person who meet him seems to have a bad words in fact the opposite he seems to be a fondly remember guy who like a drink and had a huge if under used talent as an actor .i m sure in most big towns there are a number of Vivian’s the guy who tells wonderful stories in the pub as you sit and have a drink with him.A true testament to a true english eccentric ,he like the actors he admired Harris ,Burton was a large than life figure and truly deserved this touching portrait by Colin Bacon.


Source – second hand copy brought at book stall .

Translator -Helen Lane -she translated numerous novels in Spanish including Martinez earlier book the Peron novel ,and one I want to read when I get a copy I supreme by Augusto Roa Bastos

Tomas Eloy Martinez was born in San Miguel de Tucuman got a degree from there in Spanish and Latin American literature ,then studied in Paris ,he work in Journalism for many years ,then took to teaching at universities in America .He passed away earlier this year .This book was a choice for September shared read by richard of Carvana de Recuredos ,I had got a copy in the summer so decide to join in,

The book focus on the death and Life of Eva Peron Evita as she was known the wife of the Argentina dictator Juan Peron ,the book is told via the people who come into contact with her body as she was embalmed and put on display ,she died aged 33 after 6 years of the wife of the president .we flash from the present to the past as we find people dealing with the body and what part  Peron and the regime had played in their life ,on a couple of occasions his fellow Argentina writer Jorge Luis Borges is mention and his reaction at the time to Peron ,where he used hidden meaning in his works .in the end we find out how much the rise to power had effect this country girl .

In this novel peopled by real people by real character ,the only ones I never met were Evita and the Colonel .I saw Evita only from a distance in Tucuman , one morning on a national holiday as for Colonel Moori Koeing I found a couple of photos and a few traces of him .the newspapers of the period mention him openly and disparagingly .It took me months to meet the widow ,who lived in an austere apartment on the Calle Arenales and who agreed to see me only after putting me off time and time again .

there are clever Meta fiction touches like this scattered over the book .

I found this book a wonderfully researched and heartfelt book Martinez had lived through the regime so knew at first hand the situations described ,Like most shocking events and times it left a lasting impression on him .The veil is lifted on Eva Peron ,a name which most people know by the saccharin musical ,this book shows the dark side of the story as well as the light side .We find how power corrupts people and the effect it has on the people caught up in the corruption and abuse of power ,many thanks for Richard for picking this that may have sat on my shelf a lot longer ,if not for this reading group .

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