[...] one is often the last to know one’s own roof is on fire. - James Meek, To Calais, in Ordinary Time

To Calais, in Ordinary Time by James Meek

This is going to take some effort.

If you want to have a lot of friends/followers on GoodReads:

1. Read a lot (obviously) 🤓

2. Give everything a 4- or 5-star review (sadly) 😞

Finished reading Venice: Pure City by Peter Ackroyd

3 out of 5 stars


TL;DR - More about the psychology of the city than its history.

"The presence of water invites song and music; there is something about its flow, and the sound of its flow, that elicits other melodies." - Venice: Pure City, Peter Ackroyd

Here's something interesting. Go to GoodReads & look at the entry for Smiley's People by John le Carré. Click on the Rating Details link to see how it's broken down between 1-5 stars. You don't often see a breakdown like that.

It's truly an amazing novel, & one of only five that I've ever given a full 5 stars.


"Water is a great leveller...On water all are at an equal level." - Venice: Pure City, Peter Ackroyd

"A city where everything is for sale will naturally wish to sell itself." - Venice: Pure City, Peter Ackroyd

Movies can go both ways for me. I can watch movies either for distraction or engagement. Books, however, must be engaging.

I'm in a situation I wish on no one. I have placed my 3 most respected authors on literary probation, meaning I won't be reading their newer until I get some reassurance they've stopped catering to modern audiences & have returned to their former glory.

I am accepting applications for new fiction authors. Must treat their readers with respect & write intelligently in at least 3 of 4 below:

- strong plot
- well-defined characters
- atmospheric
- meaningful stories with beautiful prose

Finished reading Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré.

2/5 stars


TL;DR - What a fall from grace.

‘He’s a fine boy. Seems to have a great future.’

‘Nobody has.’

- John le Carré, Agent Running in the Field


Just tossing this out there to the book people:

Is anyone else ho-hum over the Nobel & Booker winners this year?

A city needs a ruling authority, and the acquisition of authority invites arrogance and belligerence. It encourages the will for further power. - Venice: Pure City, Peter Ackroyd

If you cannot farm, [...] you must fish. - supposed comment from the Venetians to the pope; Venice: Pure City, Peter Ackroyd

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