POETRY BOOK OF THE WEEK: I Will Never be Beautiful Enough to Make us Beautiful Together – Mira Gonzalez [Sorry House]
Mira Gonzalez is a phenomenon of the same breed as Tao Lin: she might actually be the only literary social media presence more prolific and more intense – flitting between her two Twitter accounts, @miragonz and @miraunedited, is a kind of poetry in and of its self and fairly representative of her first collection. Either brutally honest to the point of appearing unhinged or wildly fantastic, but totally engrossing regardless.
CULTURAL HISTORY BOOK OF THE WEEK: The North – Paul Morley [Bloomsbury]
They say the past is a foreign country, for a lot of us in the South (dandies, wops, fops and fruits alike) the North might as well be Fiji, only with fewer politicians keen to represent its interests. As someone who rarely travels north of Watford, Morley’s history of the Northern territories is a real eye opener - a look beyond the iron pastry curtain.
PULP FICTION OF THE WEEK: Joyland – Stephen King [Hard Case Crime]
Stephen King once delivered a scathing and much-needed reprimand to Twilight author Stephanie (“Midlife”) Meyer, but it wasn’t without irony – King is inarguably one of the most well known authors of the 20th century, but by no means one of the greatest. (He’s been on a bit of a roll lately, though: there was that gun control essay – who’d have pegged him for the voice of reason? - and a sequel to The Shining due later this year.) In that sense, it feels like King has found his natural home in pulp – Joyland has all the worst (best?) bits of King’s novels without any of the literary pretense. Gaudy, shameless, neon noir.
NOVEL OF THE WEEK: The Quarry – Iain Banks [Little Brown]
We I can’t tell you if the final, posthumously published novel, The Quarry, by one of the UK’s finest writers of literary fiction is actually “any good” (it probably is) yet. But What we can tell you is that, on premise, it’s dark and – given Banks’s death just the other week from inoperable cancer – very, very close to the bone.
SEX BOOK OF THE WEEK: Hugh Hefner’s Playboy – Hugh M. Hefner [Taschen]
Hugh M. Hefner – the M. adds a touch of class, I think – is undoubtedly the world’s most celebrated pornographer (arguably the most-desired title of all time with absolutely no negative connotations whatsoever) and Playboy is a, maybe even the, universal synonym, a symbol adorning the backsides of classy broads and biceps of top lads all over the world, for soft pornography. Celebrating the 60th birthday of the magazine, the six-volume set is an homage to its first 25 years. Supposedly it ‘celebrates the decadence, sophistication and wit of the original men’s magazine and its creator’ – but you could probably substitute any of those words for tits. (You stay classy, Hugh.)