How to Read a Novel: A User's Guide by John Sutherland. Brisk tour through the history of the novel, the publishing business and the academic world, by a lit professor and critic. Much of it was pretty familiar, but still found some of the observations and anecdotes interesting. It's written quite wittily.
Makes a few confident and probably-wrong generalizations, like the influence of immigration scares on SF, and only copyright makes novels possible, but they're overlookable.
Five Man Booker judges are appointed annually. They are presumed to be competent readers of fiction and are expected to be diligent in the discharge of their judicial duties. Around 120 titles are submitted for judgement, to be whittled down into a long list, a shortlist, and, finally, the last novel standing, like Russell Crowe, over the steaming carcasses of its defeated rivals....
The many recent adaptations of Pride and Prejudice have invariably tended to draw on the fashions of the Regency period: partly, perhaps, because the fashions are beautiful and pleasing to the contemporary eye; partly because the novel was published in 1813, the second year of the Regency. But the novel is actually set in the mid 1790s, when Britain was at war with Revolutionary France (hence all those soldiers -- invasion was expected). Pride and Prejudice, initially provisionally called 'First Impressions', antedates its publication by some seventeen years. To 'Regencify' Pride and Prejudice is as anachronistic an error as to have a V2 bomb land on Joe Lampton's Brylcreemed head in Room at the Top (1954)....
Examining Publisher's Weekly records in 1945, Alice Payne Hackett calculated that the all-time bestseller up to that point in historical time was Charles Monroe Sheldon's Christian epic In His Steps (1895), with cumulative sales over sixty years of 8-million plus. The universal blank which Sheldon's name now evokes demonstrates that making it in bestsellerdom does not guarantee literary immortality. Hopefully his reward was in heaven.
Dropped in briefly at the RA and strolled around the exhibitions. Byzantium had some nice stuff: lots of fancy gold jewellery and silverware, some unclasmed icons and some very impressive micromosaics (i.e. made out of such small pieces they look realistic). Surprised how realistic most of the art was: expected things to be more stylized.
Moderately crowded. Had forgotten it was on or would have gone earlier. It's a large exhibition though and the later rooms were a lot emptier.
Also walked through the Miró, Calder, Giacometti, Braque, Cobley, all exhibition, but I've seen quite a lot of Miro and Braque lately so wasn't particularly blown away.
I officially endorsed John Kerry last time, but not too sure about this one. Compared with the last selection, both Presidential candidates look pretty good by comparison, though they're weakened by a lack of executive experience. It's a bit troubling that none of them have had to hire, fire; work out which subordinate is being honest, which one's trying to make you feel good, and which one's trying to scare you into expanding his empire.
However, Barack Obama does seem to be intelligent, not easily panicked, and his platform is pretty sensible. He also has a personal charisma which would be an asset in negotiating and building a consensus.
John McCain has a good deal of legislative experience, and a history of practical and non-partisan decision making. His much-trumpeted refusal to check out early from the Hanoi Hilton does show that, at least once in his life, he has put a moral principle ahead of personal advantage. That puts him ahead of any active UK politician I can think of.
Inevitably, both have compromised their principles somewhat for the campaign itself. McCain has adopted negative and borderline-racist campaigning. Obama adopted protectionist sentiment for his primary campaign, and broke his promise to limit spending.
While Sarah Palin's language is slightly worrying, I think the menace has been overplayed somewhat. It seems to me that she has been told to egg on the evangelical base, and has done that job very effectively. Her switch to a more mainstream church as she entered the Alaskan political stage suggests to me that like Bush and Reagan, while she panders to the fundamentalists, she won't actually sacrifice any self-interest to them.
Overall then, I think I'm going to have to refrain from an official endorsement this year. The US electoral process will somehow have to survive without it.
In terms of who's going to win, it still seems somewhat possible that McCain will win. In the 1992 UK election, the Shy Tory factor made the unpopular Conservative incumbents 8% higher in practice than the poll average said. A similar Shy Republican factor would put McCain in the White House.
However, I suspect that the pollsters are now compensating adequately for that factor. Furthermore, I think there could be a reasonable youth turnout. So, my prediction is:
Dropped in at the new Westfield shopping centre that's opened a couple of stops away. Shepherd's Bush station seems easier on the Central Line: in theory you can get to it from White City but I found a bus stop first.
I like the way it's all shiny and sparkling new. The cinema doesn't open till Autumn 2009 unfortunately. Shops seem to be the normal chain stores. They do have an Apple store there. I played around on the Iphone. Leaning towards getting that: just asked for my PAC from Orange, but they insist on snail-mailing it to you to add an additional level of difficulty to leaving.
The difference is so great (almost three times) as to put autistics' vision beyond the normal range found in NT humans, and in to the realms of the best vision of birds of prey.Dulce et Decorum Est: tearjerker from Second Terrace.
Economics. Real Keynesianism is not like the pop version being peddled.
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