Comment: Shades of Grey

A guest blog today: Now upon reading that title, I bet you thought of either the erotic books or the simply disturbing film. I bet none of you thought of anythingelse. And you know what? I hate those books – the film too I guess. They have left a mark not only on British culture,Continue reading “Comment: Shades of Grey”

Comment: Miliband mispeaks – is there a word for this?

In an interview on Monday, Ed Miliband used the phrase “shuffling the deckchairs”. This is a conflation of two phrases. “Shuffling the deck”, a dead metaphor originally from playing cards of course, but now just meaning “changing things about”. It is usually used to describe an attempt to refresh a situation, and is therefore a mildlyContinue reading “Comment: Miliband mispeaks – is there a word for this?”

Comment: Proverbs

I’ve written quite a bit over the years about sayings, proverbs, idiom, and dead metaphor, so this article caught my eye yesterday http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/16/are-these-11-proverbs-for-the-digital-age    If you don’t want to follow the link or read the article, the eleven phrases are: Haters gonna hate The truth will set you free, but first it will piss youContinue reading “Comment: Proverbs”

Book review: The Good German by Joseph Kanon

It is, I am fairly sure, just a coincidence that the books I have been reading recently have been about the second World War, and more specifically its aftermath. (Or is it? Is there something going on in my subconscious that is leading me to these books? Probably not!) This novel, a present, tells theContinue reading “Book review: The Good German by Joseph Kanon”

Book review: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

I was originally going to describe this Booker Prize winning novel as “a bit of a curate’s egg”, that is to say good in parts, but thinking about it further that would be wrong, unfair and confusing. Why so? The phrase derives, as I am sure you know, from a Punch cartoon of the lateContinue reading “Book review: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan”

Book review: Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes

The inside front and back covers of the paperback edition of this novel carry a large number of positive comments from reviewers (as well as a few unfunny imaginary comments form Stalin, Churchill, and bizarrely, Napoleon) including one from the Daily Express which called the novel “laugh-out-loud-funny”. The hyphens suggest this is not to beContinue reading “Book review: Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes”

Supplementary: The Black-eyed Blonde – Benjamin Black (2)

A lot of the reviews of this novel praised the plotting, one going so far as to say it was better than Chandler’s. My impression on a first read was that the plot of the Black-eyed Blonde was fairly linear and straightforward, and Marlowe is something of a passive observer of the narrative rather thanContinue reading “Supplementary: The Black-eyed Blonde – Benjamin Black (2)”