John Crace's 'Digested Read' column in the Guardian has rightly acquired a cult following. Each week fans avidly devour his latest razor-sharp literary assassination, while authors turn tremblingly to the appropriate page of the review section, fearful that it may be their turn to be mercilessly sent up. Now he turns his critical eye on the classics of the last century, offering bite-sized pastiches of everything from Mrs Dalloway to Trainspotting via Lolita and The Great Gatsby. Those who have never quite got around to reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man will be delighted to find its essence distilled into a handful of paragraphs. Those who have never really enjoyed Lord of the Flies will be pleased to find it hilariously parodied in an easily swallowable 982 words. And those who find all such works a little highbrow will be relieved to discover, between the covers of this book, John Crace's take on the likes of Ian Fleming, P. G. Wodehouse and the Highway Code. Witty and sharp, this is essential reading both for those who genuinely love literature and for those who merely want to appear ridiculously well read.
Literary ombudsman John Crace never met an important book he didnt like to deconstruct.From Salman Rushdie to John Grisham, Crace retells the big books in just 500 bitingly satirical words, pointing his pen at the clunky plots, stylistic tics and pretensions to Big Ideas, as he turns publishers golden dream books into dross. In the grand tradition of Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg, Crace takes the books that produce the most media hype and retells each story in its authors inimitable style. Philip Roth, Don Delillo, Margaret Drabble, Paul Auster, Alice Sebold, John Updike, Tom Wolfe, Ruth Rendell, A.S. Byatt, John LeCarre, Michael Crichton and Ian McEwan all emerge delightfully scathed in this book that makes it easy to talk knowingly about books youve never bothered to read or, for that matter, should have.
John Crace's Digested Read first appeared in in February 2000 and has been running ever since. Each week Crace reduces a new book - anything from a Booker Prize winner to a Nigella cookery book is fair game - to 700 words in a parody of the plot, style, dialogue and themes. Or lack of them. The Digested Read has not just become an institution for readers; it is read and enjoyed by publishers and authors too. So long as it is not their book being digested. A few years ago Crace wrote Brideshead Abbreviated, A Digested Read of the 20th Century. This is the 21st Century. So far.
The Book of Dave is Booker-shortlisted author Will Self's dazzling sixth novel What if a demented London cabbie called Dave Rudman wrote a book to his estranged son to give him some fatherly advice? What if that book was buried in Hampstead and hundreds of years later, when rising sea levels have put London underwater, spawned a religion? What if one man decided to question life according to Dave? And what if Dave had indeed made a mistake? Shuttling between the recent past and a far-off future where England is terribly altered, The Book of Dave is a strange and troubling mirror held up to our times: disturbing, satirizing and vilifying who and what we think we are. At once a meditation upon the nature of received religion, a love story, a caustic satire of contemporary urban life and a historical detective story set in the far future - this compulsive novel will be enjoyed by readers everywhere, including fans of Martin Amis and Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange. 'Vivid, visceral and breathtakingly ambitious, this is Self's best yet' GQ 'Mindboggling ... darkly hilarious ... A fascinating book' Evening Standard Will Self is the author of nine novels including Cock and Bull; My Idea of Fun; Great Apes; How the Dead Live; Dorian, an Imitation; The Book of Dave; The Butt; Walking to Hollywood and Umbrella, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has written five collections of shorter fiction and three novellas: The Quantity Theory of Insanity; Grey Area; License to Hug; The Sweet Smell of Psychosis; Design Faults in the Volvo 760 Turbo; Tough, Tough Toys for Tough, Tough Boys; Dr. Mukti and Other Tales of Woe and Liver: A Fictional Organ with a Surface Anatomy of Four Lobes. Self has also compiled a number of nonfiction works, including The Undivided Self: Selected Stories; Junk Mail; Perfidious Man; Sore Sites; Feeding Frenzy; Psychogeography; Psycho Too and The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Prawn Cracker.
With the 2006 publication of The God Delusion, the name Richard Dawkins became a byword for ruthless skepticism and "brilliant, impassioned, articulate, impolite" debate (San Francisco Chronicle). his first memoir offers a more personal view. His first book, The Selfish Gene, caused a seismic shift in the study of biology by proffering the gene-centered view of evolution. It was also in this book that Dawkins coined the term meme, a unit of cultural evolution, which has itself become a mainstay in contemporary culture. In An Appetite for Wonder, Richard Dawkins shares a rare view into his early life, his intellectual awakening at Oxford, and his path to writing The Selfish Gene. He paints a vivid picture of his idyllic childhood in colonial Africa, peppered with sketches of his colorful ancestors, charming parents, and the peculiarities of colonial life right after World War II. At boarding school, despite a near-religious encounter with an Elvis record, he began his career as a skeptic by refusing to kneel for prayer in chapel. Despite some inspired teaching throughout primary and secondary school, it was only when he got to Oxford that his intellectual curiosity took full flight. Arriving at Oxford in 1959, when undergraduates "left Elvis behind" for Bach or the Modern Jazz Quartet, Dawkins began to study zoology and was introduced to some of the university's legendary mentors as well as its tutorial system. It's to this unique educational system that Dawkins credits his awakening, as it invited young people to become scholars by encouraging them to pose rigorous questions and scour the library for the latest research rather than textbook "teaching to" any kind of test. His career as a fellow and lecturer at Oxford took an unexpected turn when, in 1973, a serious strike in Britain caused prolonged electricity cuts, and he was forced to pause his computer-based research. Provoked by the then widespread misunderstanding of natural selection known as "group selection" and inspired by the work of William Hamilton, Robert Trivers, and John Maynard Smith, he began to write a book he called, jokingly, "my bestseller." It was, of course, The Selfish Gene. Here, for the first time, is an intimate memoir of the childhood and intellectual development of the evolutionary biologist and world-famous atheist, and the story of how he came to write what is widely held to be one of the most important books of the twentieth century.
From the always astonishing Karl Ove Knausgaard--a brilliantly unusual book to delight both reading sports fans and the literary world. Bridging the two worlds of soccer and great writing, in the tradition of Lewis's Moneyball, Hornby's Fever Pitch or Buford's Among the Thugs, Knausgaard provides us with a die-hard fan's impassioned, personal, quirky, entertaining musings on that fundamental relationship between sports and life. I remember every single World Cup starting with the one in 1978, what I was doing, how I was living, who I was, and the world in which it took place. But I have always just watched them on TV, never in reality, and I want it to stay that way--so that´s the starting point for this book, isn't it? Life against death, yes against no, Brazil against Argentina. Karl Ove is sitting at home in Sweden watching the World Cup on TV (and falling asleep), with his wife, four small children and the dog; his good pal Fredrik is away in Brazil, playing beautiful football on the beach and watching the match. In this lively, argumentative, unique long-form email correspondence between them, written back and forth across the world, what begins as musings on the famous 2014 World Cup becomes (naturally) an exploration of the essential questions of life, with soccer as the catalyst for an inspiringly entertaining exchange of thoughts and ideas encompassing everything from the elusive nature of personal happiness, competitiveness, politics, insider knowledge about international football, art and literature, all rivetingly dissected with brilliance, verve and humour.
From the author of The Architecture of Happiness, a deeply moving meditation on how we can still benefit, without believing, from the wisdom, the beauty, and the consolatory power that religion has to offer. Alain de Botton was brought up in a committedly atheistic household, and though he was powerfully swayed by his parents' views, he underwent, in his mid-twenties, a crisis of faithlessness. His feelings of doubt about atheism had their origins in listening to Bach's cantatas, were further developed in the presence of certain Bellini Madonnas, and became overwhelming with an introduction to Zen architecture. However, it was not until his father's death -- buried under a Hebrew headstone in a Jewish cemetery because he had intriguingly omitted to make more secular arrangements -- that Alain began to face the full degree of his ambivalence regarding the views of religion that he had dutifully accepted. Why are we presented with the curious choice between either committing to peculiar concepts about immaterial deities or letting go entirely of a host of consoling, subtle and effective rituals and practices for which there is no equivalent in secular society? Why do we bristle at the mention of the word "morality"? Flee from the idea that art should be uplifting, or have an ethical purpose? Why don't we build temples? What mechanisms do we have for expressing gratitude? The challenge that de Botton addresses in his book: how to separate ideas and practices from the religious institutions that have laid claim to them. In Religion for Atheists is an argument to free our soul-related needs from the particular influence of religions, even if it is, paradoxically, the study of religion that will allow us to rediscover and rearticulate those needs. From the Hardcover edition.
A gripping tale of mystery and adventure from the bestselling author of THE TAXIDERMIST'S DAUGHTER and LABYRINTH. 1891. Seventeen-year-old Léonie Vernier and her brother abandon Paris for the sanctuary of their aunt's isolated country house near Carcassonne, the Domaine de la Cade. But Léonie stumbles across a ruined sepulchre - and a timeless mystery whose traces are written in blood. 2007. Meredith Martin arrives at the Domaine de la Cade to research a biography. But Meredith is also seeking the key to her own complex legacy and becomes immersed in the story of a tragic love, a missing girl, a unique deck of tarot cards and the strange events of one cataclysmic night a century ago...
Love her or hate her, Katie Hopkins is impossible to ignore, and this hilarious and revealing new book – part memoir, part handbook for the modern woman – is much the same. Laughing through the chapters of her life, she shares her disasters, her biggest disappointments and the time she had to ring her super sensible boss to say she was on the front pages of the tabloids for having sex in a field. From being kicked out of the army for being epileptic, to firing Lord Sugar; from her first husband leaving her in the maternity ward for the big-boobed secretary, to the reality behind Celebrity Big Brother, she has plenty of surprises to share and lessons she thinks we should learn. Readers be warned, however! Katie doesn’t sugar-coat anything, and neither does she hold back, making her as honest in her book as she is in life. But this book is an introduction to a quieter Katie too, one people seldom see. She takes us beyond her front door and into the privacy of her home, writing as a mum of three, sharing things even she feels awkward saying.
'The Maybot is rebooted as strong and humble. Stumble for short.' 'Kim Jong-May awkward and incredulous as journalist asks question.' 'Supreme leader produces pure TV Valium on The One Show.' Throughout 2017 John Crace, the Guardian's parliamentary sketch writer, has watched Prime Minister Theresa May's efforts to remain strong and stable - and, indeed, Prime Minister. He coined the term 'Maybot' for her malfunctioning public appearances. And now, in this edited collection of his unremittingly witty sketches, he tells the full story of Theresa May's turbulent first year in Westminster. As waspishly hilarious as Craig Brown's diaries in Private Eye, I, Maybot is essential and hysterically funny reading for anyone trying to make sense of our crazy political year.