Staff writer Nathalie Olah on this week's literary highlights from new fiction to niche zines
TRANSLATION OF THE WEEK: The Victoria System by Eric Reinhardt
Finally, a sexy book written by someone who would appear to have had sex. Don’t get me wrong: there’s a place somewhere, far away from my home, for Twilight fan-fiction written by Joy of Sex-era fantasists. But this, this is actual boning with dirty texts and weird shadowy figures in cars. Basically it benefits from having been written by a French person, aka Eric Reinhardt, whose upfront style has a way of making you feel like a bit of a prude. Us English are being forced to face that fact thanks to Sam Taylor’s sparkling translation (Taylor also translated Laurent Binet’s HHhH) as part of an initiative with freedom of speech charity, PEN. It’s not out until July so this is all a bit premature, but you should probably get your orders in from AbeBooks as soon as possible. Oh and the cover’s a photo by Daido Moriyama, if you needed anymore of an excuse.
The Victoria System is published on the 4th July by Hamish Hamilton
EXPERIMENTAL BOOK OF THE WEEK: How Literature Saved my Life by David Shields
If you have absolutely any interest in being alive right now then get yourself onto David Shields. His last one, Reality Hunger, is without question one of the most important books written in the last decade and came in the form of a succession of statements from him mixed with other notable clever people (who he tried not to credit, a la tumblr culture). This new one, How Literature Saved My Life expands on some of the same topics, while explaining to us non-prodigious types things like how the next Shakespeare might be some kind of hacker. It basically trawls our TMI existence, selecting the most relevant bits and explaining them with all the clarity and humour that we’ve come to expect from one of our all-time favourite authors.
How Literature Saved my Life is out now, published by Notting Hill Editions
NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE WEEK: Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts
The world’s going to hell in a handcart and no one besides Callum Roberts seems to be doing anything about it. Drawing on his years of experience as the Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York and a Visiting Professor at Harvard, Roberts makes sense of the hidden depths that constitute ninety-five per cent of the planet’s habitable space, explaining the motion of the currents and the mysterious ways in which the seas and oceans operate. Having read Shield’s essay on the state of culture, it might be an idea to read this portrait of the planet; because the seas have changed more than ever in the last 30 years and the repercussions for all of us are huge.
Ocean of Life is published on the 25th April by Penguin
ZINE OF THE WEEK: Vehicle by Christopher Burman
Spent much time in German car museums? No, me neither, and with the arrival of Vehicle we won’t have to. Thanks to its creator Christopher Burman’s eloquent rendition of having visited the Porsche, Mercedes and BMW museums last year, readers are immediately transported to these strange spaces that seem in many ways to be just another endeavour to push the brand’s carefully constructed identity. It explores the near-religious experience we’re all having with technology, within a framework of visuals that echo the likes of Lucky PDF. It also comes complete with CD, for an experience that can be as immersive as you, the reader, choose. This is just Brochure 1, with Brochure 2 and 3 expected to drop in the next couple of months. Vorsprung Durch Technik.
Vehicle is published independently and available upon request at email@example.com
FILM BOOK OF THE WEEK: The World is Ever Changing by Nicholas Roeg
Julie Christie frantically running through the cloisters of Venice in Don’t Look Now; Anjelica Huston removing her face as the Grand High Witch; David Bowie, the humanoid alien, trying to source water for his planet in The Man Who Fell to Earth... The man behind some of the most haunting and memorable moments in cinema, Nicholas Roeg, is finally ready to impart his years of knowledge. With this definitive compendium, straight from the director's mouth, readers are given full access to the visionary mind behind some of the 20th century's best-loved films.
The World is Ever Changing is published on the 20th July by Faber and Faber