linkmachinego.com

April 2, 2014
[books] Capote’s Co-conspirators in “In Cold Blood” … a look at what’s true and untrue in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood … ‘In his 1988 biography of Capote, Gerald Clarke reveals that the redemptive coda at the end of the book, in which Dewey encounters a friend of Nancy Clutter’s in a cemetery, was fiction: their conversation, which Capote relates in direct quotes, never happened. Even so, Capote is right to suggest that any narrative representation of events is an accumulation of “selected” details, and that the process of selection and arrangement through which a writer converts disparate facts into an absorbing story entails an inevitable measure of artifice.’
March 29, 2014
[books] Meanwhile, on Tumblr… ‘Big hair, one shoe, no knickers. we’ve all been there.’
February 26, 2014
[people] Ghosting … a long read from Andrew O’Hagan on what it’s like ghostwriting for Julian Assange … ‘ I am sure this is what happens in many of his scrapes: he runs on a high-octane belief in his own rectitude and wisdom, only to find later that other people had their own views – of what is sound journalism or agreeable sex – and the idea that he might be complicit in his own mess baffles him. Fact is, he was not in control of himself and most of what his former colleagues said about him just might be true. He is thin-skinned, conspiratorial, untruthful, narcissistic, and he thinks he owns the material he conduits. It may turn out that Julian is not Daniel Ellsberg or John Wilkes, but Charles Foster Kane, abusive and monstrous in his pursuit of the truth that interests him, and a man who, it turns out, was motivated all the while not by high principles but by a deep sentimental wound. Perhaps we won’t know until the final frames of the movie.’
February 4, 2014
[books] How To Tell If You’re In A Hemingway Novel‘You are alone at sea. How you hate the sea, but how you respect the fish inside of it. How you hate the kelp. How indifferent you are to the coral.’
February 1, 2014
[stories] Periodic Table of Storytelling … an attempt at distilling TV Tropes down into a table of classic story elements.
January 25, 2014
[books] 19 Book Cover Clichés … a look at the remarkable similarities between the cover images of modern books… ‘Woman holding a birdcage for some reason – Must be a spooky tale in the Woman in Black vein.’
January 21, 2014
[books] Tsundoku … the Japanese word for buying books, not reading them and leaving them to pile up.
December 10, 2013
[lovecraft] Charlie Stross on what scared H. P. Lovecraft‘I believe that Lovecraft’s sense of cosmological dread emerged from the exponential expansion and recomplication of the universe he lived in—it eerily prefigures the appeal of today’s singularitarian fiction, which depends for its dizzying affect on a similar exponential growth curve. Lovecraft interpreted the expansion of his universe as a thing of horror, a changing cosmic scale factor that ground humanity down into insignificance.’
December 5, 2013
[cthulhu] Alexis Madrigal on Big Data and H.P. Lovecraft: ‘…data is merciless. It will correlate all its contents. And then what?’
November 11, 2013
[book] At the Shredding Plant … Inside a Book Shredding Factory … ‘Confetti rains down from the shredding machines. Strewn everywhere on the floor is a babel of printed scraps: a non-stop factory of literary recombination and experimentation. Pressed tight into 650-kilo bales and stacked ready for delivery to paper mills, they are huge three-dimensional cut-up poems, only their surfaces of tiny orphaned fragments legible. Here, books are nothing special, just part of a wider ecology of continual destruction, recomposition and miscegenation: books; toilet paper; office waste; files; receipts; and in a second warehouse next-door, the non-paper waste – crates of bicycles; video cassettes; Zimmer frames. The shredder is powerful, omnivorous, indiscriminate.’
November 6, 2013
[books] 40 Trashy Novels You Must Read Before You Die … fun list from Flavorwire … ‘The Second Lady by Irving Wallace – The premise of this alone sells it: the Russians have, through extensive plastic surgery, created a replica of the First Lady. But once installed, her doppelganger discovers that mimicry is not as easy as it looks.’
October 29, 2013
[books] 12 Unpublished Novels We Wish We Could Read … A look at unpublished novels from many notable writers. On Harper Lee’s never seen book The Long Goodbye: ‘Lee was halfway through the followup to her Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill A Mockingbird when she just… stopped. Was it the pressure? The alcohol? Capote? No one knows. We don’t even know what the book was supposed to be about. All we know is she wanted to be the “Jane Austen of Southern Alabama,” and write “a series of novels chronicling small-town life.” She began another project in the 80s, a true crime piece about “a renegade Alabama preacher whose wives and close relatives had a nasty habit of ending up dead,” but abandoned that as well. She refuses to speak to anyone about either.’
October 1, 2013
[politics] Digested Read: Power Trip by Damian McBride

I should stress that never at any time did Gordon or the two Eds have any idea whatsoever that I was leaking stories to the media or briefing against colleagues. Every time something to our advantage dominated the headlines, they would all three gasp with amazement and say: “Wow! What a brilliant coincidence. Aren’t we lucky to have so many coincidences! Are you sure you didn’t have anything to do with this?” And I would reply: “I know I’ve got a reputation for being a bit of a liar, but I promise I’m not lying this time. Believe me, if I’d known the minister was shagging his secretary, I’d have told the Mail ages ago.” And they would say: “You’re so sweet, Damian.”

September 30, 2013
[books] Hotel That Inspired The Shining Plans to Dig Up Its Pet Cemetery … File under: THIS ENDS BADLY … ‘The most common complaint from neighbors concerns the noise likely to be generated by the excavation. Meanwhile, one local psychic with a head on her shoulders, was practically the only one to point out that maybe it’s not the best idea to disturb a bunch of pet graves on the property of the hotel that was not only the inspiration for one of the most terrifying horror novels of all time, but also the set of the book’s miniseries adaptation.’
September 23, 2013
[books] Stephen King: on alcoholism and returning to the Shining … King is interviewed by Emma Brockes.

…without labouring the point, [Doctor Sleep] has good allegorical bones: the sick buzz one gets from consuming the grisliest news stories. It also captures the reality of a recovering alcoholic, a state with which King is intimately familiar. “The hungover eye,” he writes, “had a weird ability to find the ugliest things in any given landscape.” Danny turns his life around and starts going to AA meetings, where, King writes, he discovers that memories are the “real ghosts”. It is a book as extravagantly inventive as any in King’s pantheon, and a careful study of self-haunting: “You take yourself with you, wherever you go.”

August 16, 2013
[books] Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences … Stephen King discusses the opening sentences of books … ‘When I’m starting a book, I compose in bed before I go to sleep. I will lie there in the dark and think. I’ll try to write a paragraph. An opening paragraph. And over a period of weeks and months and even years, I’ll word and reword it until I’m happy with what I’ve got. If I can get that first paragraph right, I’ll know I can do the book. Because of this, I think, my first sentences stick with me. They were a doorway I went through.’
August 9, 2013
[books] Stephen King’s Family Business … a warm profile of Stephen King and his family … ‘At times in his life, [Joe] Hill actually contemplated hiring an actor to do readings of his work, to conceal that unmistakable resemblance to his father. By the time “Heart-Shaped Box” was published and he had forged ahead with some readings, his alias had been blown. In the end, in light of the book’s success, that did not seem to matter; now he’s comfortable writing in a genre his father dominates. “Sometimes I think the kid who’s like, ‘I’m never going to be like my dad in any way whatsoever,’ is less his own person,” he said.’
July 18, 2013
[tv] The Forty-Year Itch … is there a forty year cycle of nostalgia influencing pop culture? … ‘Though pop culture is most often performed by the young, the directors and programmers and gatekeepers—the suits who control and create its conditions, who make the calls and choose the players—are, and always have been, largely forty-somethings, and the four-decade interval brings us to a period just before the forty-something was born. Forty years past is the potently fascinating time just as we arrived, when our parents were youthful and in love, the Edenic period preceding the fallen state recorded in our actual memories.’
June 26, 2013
[people] Tony Blackburn’s Autobiography Compressed … amusing collection of Smashie and Nicey-style quotes from Blackburn’s autobiography …

Excerpt from Tony Blackburn's Autobiography

June 12, 2013
[lovecraft] Lovecraft Actually Move Poster … by *DrFaustusAU on deviantART

Lovecraft Actually - Very Cosmic, Very Horror.

May 31, 2013
[books] Bibliocide … a writer burns his mouldy set of Encyclopaedia Britannica encyclopaedias and reflects upon it …

In that respect, my encyclopædic blaze symbolised the benefits of creative destruction. Britannica stood for a time when access to information was limited, and largely determined by money. The magnificence of the collection was deeply connected to the fact that they were exclusive, expensively produced objects. We might well miss the smell of the leather binding, the crisp sound of flicking through their thin pages, the gravitas that the sheer 4lb weight of each volume suggested. But if what was on those pages mattered most, we must believe that these losses are more than outweighed by the freedom for anyone with an internet connection to access the same content and more at little or no cost. A world of valuable books behind the closed doors of a privileged minority cannot be preferable to one of invaluable information available through the open door of a web browser.

May 29, 2013
[books] I Am Very Real … a letter from Kurt Vonnegut to the leader of a school board which had burned a number of his books … ‘If you were to bother to read my books, to behave as educated persons would, you would learn that they are not sexy, and do not argue in favor of wildness of any kind. They beg that people be kinder and more responsible than they often are. It is true that some of the characters speak coarsely. That is because people speak coarsely in real life. Especially soldiers and hardworking men speak coarsely, and even our most sheltered children know that. And we all know, too, that those words really don’t damage children much. They didn’t damage us when we were young.’
May 16, 2013
[books] Funny Reviews Of Mr Men Books On Amazon‘In his third work, Mr Happy, Hargreaves takes us on a Jungian journey to the integrated self. The story starts by introducing us to the supposedly perfect life that our eponymous hero appears to live – the tranquilized bliss and counterfeit euphoria of Happyland. Yet what is it that leads Mr Happy to wander away from an existence that, if truly flawless, should suffice to satisfy and sustain him? Why this need to venture deep into the mysterious unknown of the forest? To open a door in a tree-trunk and descend a staircase beneath the ground to the deepest recesses of the unconscious?’
May 15, 2013
[books] To Understand The World Is To Be Destroyed By It … Jess Nevins essay on H.P. Lovecraft … ‘Lovecraft did not create cosmic horror. He recreated it. Lovecraft desacralized cosmic horror, reinterpreting it through the lens of modern scientific theory and removing its Victorian moral assumptions. What Lovecraft created was a specifically twentieth century idea: the universe as an empty, materialist one, in which there is no spiritual meaning to any actions and in which human existence is not significant in any way. This idea has been enormously influential on creators of fantastic fiction, and is Lovecraft’s lasting legacy.’
April 29, 2013
[books] Martin Amis’ Guide to Classic Video Games … a fascinating look at the video game book that Martin Amis wrote in the early 1980′s and doesn’t like to discuss…

…There’s a half-expected (but still surprising) guest appearance from what I would be willing to bet is a young Christopher Hitchens. In a diverting rant about the increasing presence of voice effects in games, Amis recalls his first exposure to such gimmickry at a bar in Paris on New Year’s Day, 1980:

I was with a friend, a hard-drinking journalist, who had drunk roughly three times as much Calvados as I had drunk the night before. And I had drunk a lot of Calvados the night before. I called for coffee, croissants, juice; with a frown the barman also obeyed my friend’s croaked request for a glass of Calvados.

Then we heard, from nowhere, a deep, guttural, Dalek-like voice which seemed to say: “Heed! Gorgar! Heed! Gorgar … speaks!

“… Now what the hell was that?” asked my friend.

“I think it was one of the machines,” I said, rising in wonder.

“I’ve had it,” said my friend with finality. “I can’t cope with this,” he explained as he stumbled from the bar.

March 26, 2013
[books] Meanwhile, in Islington Waterstones… ‘Horror’
March 5, 2013
[books] The Book-Writing Machine … What was the first book ever written on a word processor? … ‘It was 1968, and the IBM technician who serviced Len Deighton’s typewriters had just heard from Deighton’s personal assistant, Ms. Ellenor Handley, that she had been retyping chapter drafts for his book in progress dozens of times over. IBM had a machine that could help, the technician mentioned…’
August 16, 2012
[books] Fifteen Shades of Grey :: A Digested Read … Fifty Shades of Grey in 15 sentences … ‘I’ll agree to the fisting…’
August 6, 2012
[sex] Fifty Shades Generator … an incredibly NSFW Lorem Ipsum generator producing text in the style of 50 Shades of Grey … ‘ I awoke the next morning with my bearded haddock pasty still flowing. I thought it was over but his washington monument had other ideas.’
July 5, 2012
[books] Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books? … another of those article on the death of the book / E-books / and what happens to your books after you die … ‘…the question of what to do with books that outlive their owners has only been a common problem since the mid-19th century, when the steam-powered press and the advent of cheap paper caused a vast expansion of the book market. Before that, few families would have had the problem of a surfeit of books. Now, though, we may be reaching the end of the 150-year-old print boom, and with it a transformation in the way we have shared books, reader after reader and life after life.’
June 11, 2012
[books] What The Author Meant Vs. What Your English Teacher Meant‘The curtains were fucking blue.’

What The Author Meant vs. What Your English Teacher Meant

May 28, 2012
[people] Mountaineer laughs off Twitter row with ‘spotty schoolkids’ … the teenage readership of Touching The Void engage with the author on Twitter …

“Your book is shit and you should feel bad,” wrote one. “Three chapters of crawling didn’t inspire me to write about your book in my exam,” confessed another. “It was rather boring really.”

Other correspondents were even more blunt: “YOUR BOOK IS THE REASON MY ENTIRE YEAR WILL FAIL OUR ENGLISH EXAM!!,” screeched one. “LEARN TO WRITE ILLITERATE FOOL!”

April 13, 2012
[go look] Weapon of Mass Instruction, An Art Car Tank That Gives Out Books‘Argentina-based Raul Lemesoff created the Arma De Instruccion Masiva (Weapon of Mass Instruction), a converted 1979 Ford Falcon formerly belonging to the Argentine armed forces, to distribute free books to people on the streets of Buenos Aires.’
April 5, 2012
[books] What Dr. Seuss Books Were Really About … I have only recently discovered that Dr Seuss was a genius – better late than never!

What Dr Suess Books Were Really About

March 27, 2012
[books] H. P. Lovecraft: The man who haunted horror fans … BBC News On H. P. Lovecraft … ‘The Call of Cthulhu is the most famous tale of his invented mythos, which is itself a stage in Lovecraft’s attempts to create a perfect form for his preoccupations and for the weird tale. The mythos was also meant to counteract the over-explanation and lack of imaginative suggestiveness he found in conventional occult fiction. The following year Lovecraft wrote The Colour out of Space, which he later regarded as his best work. It tells the story of a strange meteorite that blights a farming community. “It was just a colour out of space”, but it is Lovecraft’s purest symbol, the strongest expression of his sense that the universe, and anything living out there in the dark of space or time, is indifferent to man.’
February 23, 2012
[books] Alex James’s new memoir proves him to be Britain’s premier cheese bore … an epic take down of Alex James new book by Marina Hyde. Not so much a book review – more a turkey shoot …

James’s fondness for cheese is believed to be a matter of which no one in this earthly sphere is unaware. For a time, it was assumed that there were some remote peoples still untouched by his rennet-based droning, but in that recent aerial footage of the uncontacted Amazon society, the tribe was seen to have arranged a collection of bones and earthenware shards into the words: “PLEASE STOP ALEX JAMES GOING ON ABOUT BLOODY CHEESE.”

February 2, 2012
[comics] Dave Sim On Oscar Wilde: ‘Why be prolific when one could be charming? Why produce when there’s so much to consume? I have to credit all the research that I did on Oscar Wilde for convincing me that I don’t want to be like that. If I can end my life with a large body of completed works and a reputation as a cantankerous old hermit I’ll consider my time well spent.’
January 31, 2012
[books] Flick Books – Can you tell the movie from the book Cover? … a fun little quiz … ‘A movie adaptation is rarely the first time someone gets to give a visual representation of a book. It is usually the cover illustrator who gets the job to draw how he thinks the story should look. However, as soon as a book is turned into a movie, the illustrator’s work is usually thrown in the bin only to be quickly replaced by a “you’ve seen the movie… now read the book” approximation of the movie poster as a cover.’
January 18, 2012
[books] In the Land of the Non-Reader … On stopping reading books …‘Books can steady a chair and a soul. The former use is not recommended for Kindle.’
December 20, 2011
[books] The War for Catch-22 … A look at the genesis of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 … ‘The Czech writer Arnošt Lustig claimed that Heller had told him at a New York party for Milos Forman in the late 1960s that he couldn’t have written Catch-22 without first reading Jaroslav Hašek’s unfinished World War I satire,The Good Soldier Schweik. In Hašek’s novel, a mad state bureaucracy traps a hapless man. Among other things, he stays in a hospital for malingerers and serves as an orderly for an army chaplain.’
December 13, 2011
[comics] Dan Clowes On Book Shops … Clowes on the cover of New Yorker.
November 17, 2011
[books] Stephen King Goes to the Rescue of JFK … Stephen King’s latest book reviewed by Errol Morris …

In “11/22/63,” we get glimpses of a nimbus of evil that surrounds the world. There are no single crimes. Each act of cruelty or violence is somehow associated — harmonized, King would suggest — with every other act. Inside the past, Amberson learns there are no accidents, no inadvertencies. Just an infernal machine. (Tick, tock.) He says: “Coincidences happen, but I’ve come to believe they are actually quite rare. Something is at work, O.K.? Somewhere in the universe (or behind it), a great machine is ticking and turning its fabulous gears.”

There is a darker what-if. What if history is too forceful to redirect? What if jiggering the engine produces no favorable outcome — merely a postponement of the inevitable? If he had lived, Kennedy might not have escalated the war in Vietnam, and might have kept America out of a bloody mire. But we don’t know.

November 15, 2011
[books] Errol Morris Interviews Stephen King … on his new book about time travel, J.F.K. and Lee Harvey Oswald …

Oswald just happened to be at the right place at the right time. He and his wife were effectively done, and she was living with Mrs. Paine out in Irving. He used to come on the weekends, but that week, he came on Thursday — the night before the assassination. And it seems pretty clear from his actions and from the things he said that he had decided to do this, but that he could be persuaded to change his mind. He and Marina went to bed that night and in bed, he asked her, “Is there a chance that we can get back together?” And she was very cold to him. She said, “No, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, Lee.” And in the morning, he left his wedding ring and he left all the money in his pockets in a teacup in the kitchen for her. And that was it. There is this chain of ifs, but really, it’s as simple as that. He wanted to shoot somebody. He wanted to be somebody famous. It’s all there. The pieces all click together pretty nicely.

November 14, 2011
[books] Is Reading On The Toilet Bad For You?‘No writer owned the arena of toilet reading more than Henry Miller. He read truly great books on the lavatory, and maintained that some, Ulysses for instance, could not be fully appreciated elsewhere. The environment was one that enriched substantial works – extracted their flavour, as he put it – while lesser books and magazines suffered. He singled out Atlantic Monthly. Miller went so far as to recommend toilets for individual authors. To enjoy Rabelais, he advised a plain country toilet, “a little outhouse in the corn patch, with a crescent sliver of light coming through the door”. Better still, he said, take a friend along, to sit with you for half an hour of minor bliss.’
November 1, 2011
[books] Please tell me a book you think everyone should read and why … more book recommendations from Ask Metafilter.
October 10, 2011
[books] Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books … broad list of interesting sci-fi as voted by fans. [via Metafilter]
October 4, 2011
[books] Maurice Sendak: ‘I refuse to lie to children’ … great interview with the children’s author …

And with that he’s off again. Of Salman Rushdie, who once gave him a terrible review in the New York Times, he says: “That flaccid fuckhead. He was detestable. I called up the Ayatollah, nobody knows that.” Roald Dahl: “The cruelty in his books is off-putting. Scary guy. I know he’s very popular but what’s nice about this guy? He’s dead, that’s what’s nice about him.” Stephen King: “Bullshit.” Gwyneth Paltrow: “I can’t stand her.”

September 22, 2011
[books] Has Neal Stephenson Become Too Accessible?‘Putting aside the daunting question of how even a writer of Stephenson’s talents could continue to keep topping himself every time out, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t head in a different direction every now and then. What’s more — I thoroughly enjoyed “Reamde.” I couldn’t put it down — which, for a thriller, has got to be the highest praise. Despite its 1,000-plus pages, “Reamde” moves right along.’
September 5, 2011
[books] The Book Collection That Devoured My Life‘I do have a few hundred books that I reread or consult fairly regularly, and I have a lot of books pertaining to whatever current or future projects I have on the fire, and I have many, many books speculatively pointing toward some project that is still barely a gleam in my eye. I have a lot of books that I need for reference, especially now that I live 40 minutes away from the nearest really solid library. I have some books that exist in the same capacity as the more recondite tools in the chest of a good carpenter — you may not need it more than once in 20 years, but it’s awfully nice to have it there when you do. Primarily, though, books function as a kind of external hard drive for my mind — my brain isn’t big enough to do all the things it wants or needs to do without help.’
August 12, 2011
[books] Forgotten Bookmarks … a lovely blog from a bookseller posting the bookmarks and the odd thing found in second-hand books. On his most common and unique finds: ‘Pressed leaves are by far the most common. I’ve actually stopped saving them, they are too fragile to keep and I don’t think there’s much interest in 100-year-old maple leaves. Sometimes I find money, like an old crown, but that’s rare. The most unique was a suicide note from the 1930’s, but I decided not to post that one.’

Older Entries »