DEBUT NOVEL OF THE WEEK: Stuart Evers – If This Is Home [Picador]
In an Amazon review of Evers’ 2011 short story collection, Ten Stories About Smoking, some aspiring critic and undiscovered genius rechristened the book Ten Stories About People in the Ashtray of Life. In his first foray in to the novel form, we find ourselves not so much at the fag end as the throbbing, veiny effervescent tip of life.
POETRY BOOK OF THE WEEK: Pretty [BloodAxe]
In the June issue of Dazed I spoke to Harry Burke about his particular brand of poetry, and in some ways Warner’s new collection is the antithesis or, if you’re the sort of person that rubbishes offhand anything molded by or for the “internet generation” (or uses the term “internet generation”), the antidote. Fiercely sentimental and in touch with the past, but no less real or valid to the here and now, Pretty is as Pretty does.
MUSIC BOOK OF THE WEEK: Peter Culshaw – Clandestino: in search of Manu Chao [Serpent’s Tail]
Prepare for controversy: a lot of music books are boring – really, really, stark bollock boring. This one isn’t: Eschewing discographies, chart-fact drivel and technical jargon Culshaw embarks on a world tour with one of its most interesting musicians and – next to Gabriel Garcia Marquez – combining travel writing and biography in a way that’s more hot coffee enema than the usual pissing in a tepid bath.
NEW NOVEL OF THE WEEK: Tao Lin – Taipei [Vintage]
When the ever-contentious Tao Lin isn’t selling his belonging over social media outlets because he doesn’t make enough money writing novels, he can be found writing novels. The latest of these, Taipei, is probably his best – permeated with echoes of Foster Wallace and Saramago, recreational drug use and internet addiction blend seamlessly and indistinguishably into a veritable Ménage de ennui (off yours tits/bored off your tits, what’s the difference). Lin’s series of iPhone pictures of Taipei for VICE is well worth a look, too. But what do I know? I’m off my nut on Facebook.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE WEEK: James Franco – A California Childhood [Insight Editions]
Franco sits apart from the humdrum of artistically precocious actors, mainly in the sense that he actually has some extraneous talent (take note Jared Leto, this is a thinly veiled reference to your gag-inducing teargas caterwauling – you were great as Paul Allen). I’ve got kind of a man crush on the guy and if he’d like to turn up at my house and sing ‘Every time’ and fellating my weapons then that would be okay. Anyway, this autobiography-of-sorts is pretty interesting and a good precursor to his novel,Actors Anonymous, out later this year.
FOODIE MAGAZINE OF THE WEEK: The Gourmand
The third installment of The Gourmand, a delicious new food journal, has arrived. Wreaking havoc with your tastebuds, The Gourmand blends food and the arts in a stimulating way: ‘celebrating food as a catalyst for creativity’, they make sure to take pleasure and interest in nourishment of all kinds. Packed with blue cocktails, sushi masters and horsemeat, The Gourmand has us melting from the first page.
A LITTLE EXTRA... Irvine Welsh – Filth [Vintage]
Those who only know Irvine Welsh as “that guy who wrote a book about that film about drugs” (or “that guy who’s kind of a dick on Twitter but not as big of a dick as Bret Easton Ellis”) should take a minute to better acquaint themselves with his work. With its impending cinematic release later this year, the all-shagging all-snorting Filth seems a pretty good place to start.