Archive for the 'books' Category

Harry Potter speculations

Friday 22 December (2006)

Well, the title of the next (and final) Harry Potter book hit the Internet yesterday, and I was in on it early thanks to Digg. The Deathly Hallows. Cool name! I was talking to Sally about it and we think it’s interesting – ‘Deathly’ is obviously bad – something that kills, or causes death – but ‘Hallows’ is quite the opposite; it means (more-or-less) ‘to make holy’. The best way of summing this up, I think, is to say it sounds quite armageddon-y. A battle between good and evil? Well, no shit.

I’m not going to get into the minefield that is trying to figure out what happens in the plot – suffice it to say, I’m still not convinced that we’ve seen the end of the Snape plot twists and the ‘Harry has to die’ argument is compelling, but perhaps just a little too obvious. So what shall we speculate about?

Release date!

I preordered the book on Amazon a few minutes ago, because I’ve never been one for standing outside bookshops late at night with a bunch of kids wearing capes and pointy hats, and I like waking up at the start of the weekend and casually picking up the hottest book in the world from the floor in front of my letterbox and returning to bed for eight hours of solid reading. Then, Amazon sent me a confirmation email:

amazon confirmation email

Just in case you haven’t realised what I’m getting at, here it is again:

harry potter confirmation email

What the hell?! February? That’s two months away!

So of course, the date is wrong. Remi certainly thinks so, and he’s probably right. But, something about this bugs me. Why would they put that date? Why not just say “to be confirmed”? Perhaps this is the date that the actual release date will be announced? But I wanted to uncover some more information.

Thanks to Gmail’s search function, I easily found my preorder for Harry Potter book 6, The Half-Blood Prince. This blew my mind: I preordered it exactly two years ago today. That’s right! The 22nd December 2004. And in the confirmation email, which has this date right there in the corner, it showed this:

the old amazon email

Which, as you all know, was the actual release date. So feel free to speculate 🙂

My two-cents on ‘The Hobbit’ movie

Monday 11 December (2006)

Oh God, The Hobbit movie. Ever since the shit hit the fan over in New Zealand, the Internet has been rife with speculations and angry comment, with even Tolkien’s great-grandson Royd publicly stating that the decision to cut Peter Jackson / Richard Taylor et al. out of the deal is a big bad mistake. Perhaps this is the case, but I think a lot of people are overlooking the point here – so, with the prefix that I am not a Tolkien scholar, here’s my opinion on the whole mess…

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Ralph Steadman talks about Hunter S. Thompson

Saturday 14 October (2006)

ralph steadman

I went to another event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival today: Will Self interviewing Ralph Steadman about his new book, The Joke’s Over, which is about his late friend and collaborator, Hunter S. Thompson. I’m obviously a huge fan of Thompson, and he’s something of a hero of mine so I was pleased when I talked Sally into joining me for this one. Unfortunately, she insisted we go to the pub first, and I spent the entire seventy-five minutes with crossed legs trying not to think about the sound of running water or metaphorical releases of tension.

The interview took place in a large marquee outside the town hall, and we arrived early enough to get seats on the front row (next to what Sally described as a ‘stunningly beautiful’ girl who apparantly fancied me – I don’t know how girls know these things) which was lucky, because the room soon filled up with well over a hundred people. Soon enough, Steadman entered the stage and the interview began.

It was very interesting to hear some of his memoirs – he described the first time he and Thompson met, where Thompson kind of put him through a trial-by-fire. After consuming a lot of alcohol and suffering a lot of abuse, Steadman was still holding his own, which won him the respect of Thompson and forged their friendship. He also read from some letters from Thompson, where it was revealed that a lot of the time Thompson needed to see Steadman’s drawings before he could write something, it being too ‘hideous’ in his own memory and the images serving as an alternate version.

Steadman, donning one of Thompson’s hats and some of his tinted shades, with a cigarette in a filter in his mouth, related the one time he got high with Hunter. They were on a boat, and Thompson was eating drugs at a voracious rate, and Steadman (who was feeling sea-sick) noticed that he didn’t seem to be bothered by the motion of the boat at all. So, he asked Thompson to dose him with some psilocybin. It was without a doubt a bad trip, but as he told us about what happened all these years later it sounded like a fond memory. He and Thompson had rowed over to an expensive yacht to write ‘fuck the pope’ on the side, but they were caught before they had chance. “We must flee!” he hissed in a perfect imitation of his old friend, with a smile on his face.

And then of course, things took a turn for the sentimental, and it was quite moving. He read from his book; a letter he had written to Thompson after he had killed himself, which perfectly captured the lack of understanding most of us had towards his suicidal tendencies. All in, it was a very entertaining and enjoyable experience, and I’m pleased to have spent some time in the same room as the man who illustrated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

fear and loathing in las vegas

The Sunday Review: Running With Scissors

Sunday 17 September (2006)

running with scissors - a memoir

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