Blogs

Will Simpson - thoughts running free

I have ten minutes of spare time. Spare from where? To think about how we come into contact with each other in the modern world takes thinking into abstract worlds of the cathedral and the bazaar. The communal place of worship to the communal place of the market. Everyone at another's pace. I'm thinking about feelings today, take that literally. I am thinking, my linear brain, estimating and calculating on my irrational, responsive emotional...

The Nine Books that inspired me to write (7 of 9) # 7_ Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential (2000) I have a framed autograph over my writing desk, signed by Bourdain. I happened to be sitting with my family in the departure lounge of Charles de Gaulle in 2013, after a week in EuroDisney. He too, it turns out ,was flying to Dublin to shoot an episode of his TV show, The Layover . They say you should never meet your heroes, but he was gracious and modest, in a certain light, he had the measured gumshoe cool of a...

The Nine Books that inspired me to write (6 of 9) #6_ Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Moby Dick (1851) What is left to be said about Moby Dick ? Not much at this stage, In Melville's lifetime it only sold a handful of copies. It wasn't until 1917 as America entered WW1 that the book's popularity took hold. It became a staple read with US troops crossing the Atlantic. Its revival in the early 20th century long after Melville's death earned it the reputation as one of the Great American Novels , I came very late to this book, I...

The Investing Game

$5K - 52 Weeks - 20 Penny Stocks One Winner!! Current Status ( -$3,431.09 ) Week - 27 Great Caesar's Ghost! ------------- And I thought this week started out with such promise... --------------------------------- It’s been a pretty dismal week in the world in general. I grew up in the Vietnam war era and the developments in Afghanistan have left me with a pretty sour outlook. The parallels are striking. Both areas have almost never known any...

Kazuo Ishiguro (2010) Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall.

I’m not a fan of Kazou Ishiguro. I know he’s won the Nobel Prize in Literature and that says something about me, as if I’m lacking in something. And I am. The Remains of the Day . Universally lauded. This more than any other book got Ishiguro his major prize. It was also like Never Let Me Go made into a film. Here’s the thing, I liked the films better than the books and I didn’t like the films much either. Art for Art’s Sake. You know the...

The Nine Books that inspired me to write (5 of 9) #5_ Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller

Ingenious Pain (1997) My father died on the 28th of January 1998. No matter what age you are, the death of a parent is a hammer blow; the first crack in the secure pillars of life. Also, not long after, I went through a painful break up. I needed to just get away. I tallied up that I had nearly 30 days leave to use and looked around for a package. By sheer chance, passing a travel agent along Dublin's quays, I saw a three city rail journey from...

Henry Marsh (2014) Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery.

I’m sure I’ve read Henry Marsh’s book before. Almost a quarter of our blood supply is dedicated to providing energy for the brain. When things go wrong, brain surgery is the last resort. What makes Marsh different is not that he’s a brain surgeon, but that he’s also a great writer. Marsh tells us he’s grown more conservative over the years. Not conservative in terms of treating health care as something that should be floated on the market with...

The Nine Books that inspired me to write (4 of 9) #4_ The Constant Gardener by John le Carre

The Constant Gardener (2001) Scott Fitzgerald once said, "There are no second acts in American lives" , the 4th book on my list of the 9 books that inspired me to write , The Constant Gardener , proves that in literature, this isn't the case. Le Carre's incredible return to form opens with the brutal murder of a British national, Tessa Quayle and her driver, Noah, in Nairobi. Her husband, Justin, is a diplomat who sets out to find out what...

The Nine Books that inspired me to write (3 of 9) #3_ Kolymsky Heights by Lionel Davidson

Kolymsky Heights (1994) The American poet, Kenneth Koch once said ,"You cannot not be influenced by great writing", and this book was one of those 'turning points' in my writing. Steven Spielberg, before filming, always watches John Ford's The Searchers , when I start planning to write, I always read Kolymsky Heights . I think its the best thriller ever written. Kolymsky Heights is the third book on my list of the 9 books that inspired me to...

A.K.Benjamin (2019) Let Me Not Be Mad: A Story of Unravelling Minds, published by Bodley Head, London.

Stephen Fry, who had his own much publicised breakdown, writes on the back fly-leaf: ‘A perfectly extraordinary, not to mention an extraordinarily perfect – tense Hitchcockian psychodrama. I have rarely read a more haunting and enthralling account of descent into madness.’ A.K. Benjamin is a therapist working in London. His patients are given nom-de-plums and anonymised, ‘JB,’ ‘Lucy’, ‘Michael,’ ‘Jane,’ ‘Dr Samuels,’ ‘Brad76,’ ‘Murray,’ ‘You...

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