Books | Anorak - Part 9

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The latest books and literature reviews, comment, features and interviews, with extracts from famous texts and neglected gems.

John le Carré: the cocaine that gave him a painful erection and pissing on Geoege Bush


JOHN le Carré is profiled in the New York Times. In another life, one of Anorak’s writers used to serve him his dinner at the Bacchus restaurant in London’s Hampstead. He was gracious, generous and affable. What else do we know about him?

He says on fox hunting:

“At least they aren’t hunting that poor goddamn thing with drones.”

On MI5:

“It was like working on a great newspaper. They were really funny people, not institutionalized, not too corporate in their minds and often very bright with curious interests.”

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Posted: 26th, April 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The TEXAS-ISRAELI WAR 1999: Charlie Bagle, over

the texas isreali war


IN 1999, those rebellious Texans kidnap the President of the US of A. Only a bunch of fearless Israelis can save him. Jake Saunders and Howard Waldrop report on the TEXAS-ISRAELI WAR 1999.

The report was made in 1974, which appears odd (but it’s how newspaper reporting works).

On August 12, 1992, England’s tiny nuclear arsenal fell on Ireland, on South Africa, and finally on China. Instantly the planet went up in flames. In the first half year of what was to be called the War of ’92, half the Earth’s population perished. The United States was reduced to a vast underpeopled land — and, to make matters worse, Texas had seceded and taken her precious oil reserves. But Israel, virtually untouched in a world ravaged by war, was painfully overpopulated.

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Posted: 17th, April 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Is Microwave Cooking for One the saddest book ever written?

IS Microwave Cooking for One the saddest book ever written? Author Marie T Smith looks happy enough with her midnight snack, though. She’s a good eater is Marie…

microwave cooking for oneSpotter: Danny. K.


Posted: 29th, March 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Everyday Racism in books: Simple Edition by A Little Nigger

It tapped into a theme. Earlier, G.H. Thompson had  illustrated Ten Little Nigger Boys, a book he followed up with work on Ten Little Nigger Girls.  This was sexual equality racism. Although in the girls’ version the females start at 10 and disappear. The boys grow in number.

Now grab your golliwog and read on….

little nigger

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Posted: 26th, March 2013 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The oddest book title of the year is about goblins charming chickens

Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop

THE winner of the Bookseller’s Diagram Prize for the weirdest book title of the year is…Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop. The blurb tells readers:

Plagued by pixies, goaded by goblins or bothered by gnomes? Help is on the way! Help is here. This is the essential primer for banishing the dark Fairy creatures that are lurking in the dark corners and crevices of your life. In this charming guide, fairy hunter Reginald Bakeley offers practical instructions to clear your home and garden of goblins and banish them forever!

The word charming somewhat kills it, no? It makes the book sound twee and small. ‘Offensive’ would have been better geared to marketing, or ‘inappropriate”. Both are words trending with buzz.

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Posted: 23rd, March 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Sorted Book: a sideways look at the library

sorted books 4

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Posted: 18th, March 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Emma Watson won’t be getting really naked in Fifty Shades of Grey

emma watson 50 shades

FIFTY Shades of Grey completely took over the world, giving people the chance to indulge themselves in the darker side of Mills and Boon and revel in some of the most clunky euphemisms for the vagina ever committed to a page. All good fun and a rather sweet way of getting your rocks off, compared to brutal 3 minute internet clips of tattooed LA starlets getting ravaged by men hung like wheelie-bins.

A film adaptation of EL James’ ‘Fifty Shades’ was inevitable and 99% of the world’s press rubbed their thighs with mucky fever, talking openly about which famous actress they’d most like to see getting spanked on the silver screen.

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Posted: 18th, March 2013 | In: Books, Film, Reviews | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The John Nathan-Turner story: Sex, paedos and Dr Who at the BBC

John Nathan-Turner book

IAN Berriman has reviewed The Life And Scandalous Times Of John Nathan-Turner. He died in 2002. In life, he was notable as the producer of the hit BBC TV show Doctor Who (1980-89). Given the revelations about BBC stalwart Jimmy Savile and other allegations levelled against other former BBC employees, the book’s publication is sure to be of interest to the elite in Broadcasting House.

Chapter Eight is entitled “Hanky Panky”. Author Richard Marson asks: “Was John Nathan-Turner a paedophile?”

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Posted: 13th, March 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The move to shut down Nobokov’s Lolita with violence


IN the New Yorker, Michael Idov writes about the problems of staging Lolita, a play based on Vladimir Nabokov’s book. It’s the 1955 story of a middle-aged professor who falls for a 12-year-old girl. The Sunday Express called Lolita “sheer unrestrained pornography”. It might be.

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Posted: 7th, March 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Book of the Day: The Life and Loves of Mr Jiveass Nigger

BOOK of the Day: The Life and Loves of Mr Jiveass Nigger, by Cecil Brown:


Posted: 28th, February 2013 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

William Faulkner’s Post Office regination letter and dream of working in a brothel

IN 1987, the US Postal Service produced a stamp to honour William Faulkner. Before he was a man of letters, Faulkner was delivering letters. Between 1921 to 1924, he worked as the University of Mississippi’s postmaster. He didn’t enjoy it. This is, reportedly, his resignation letter:

October, 1924

As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp.

This, sir, is my resignation.

(Signed by Faulkner)

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Posted: 26th, February 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Lady Mary Curzon: Cressida Bona’s mother appeared in Birds Of Britain

PRINCE Harry’s is dating Cressida BONAS. * (Her name must forever be capitalised.) La Bonas’s mother is Lady Mary Curzon, a siren of the Swinging Sixties with five children by three of her four husbands. She might be the Carol Jackson of high society.

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Posted: 21st, February 2013 | In: Books, Royal Family | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Woman covers body in Twilight tattoos: can’t see the trees for the wooden actors

CATHY Ward, 51, Cathy Ward, has scene and quotes from the Twilight books and films on her skin. In the right light, you can role her around in bed and read her. Her lovers’ are never without literary stimulation. Of her ink of Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner, Ward says:

“I’m still continuing with them. We’ve got plans and designs for my legs next year – the aim is to cover my whole body.”

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Posted: 17th, February 2013 | In: Books, Film, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Study the Bible, with Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis

IT’S Sunday. Time to study the Bible, with Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis.

Greta Christina reviews:

Of course I’ve read Genesis. More than once. It’s been a little while since I’ve read the whole thing all the way through, but it’s not like it’s unfamiliar. But there’s something about seeing the story fleshed out in images to make some of its more striking narrative turns leap out and grab your brain by the root. There’s nothing quite like seeing the two different creation stories enacted on the page to make you go, “Hey! That’s right! Two completely different creation stories!” There’s nothing quite like seeing Lot offer his daughters to be gang-raped to make you recoil in shock and moral horror. There’s nothing quite like seeing the crazed dread and burning determination in Abraham’s eyes as he prepares the sacrifice of his own son to make you feel the enormity of this act. Reading these stories in words conveys the ideas; seeing them in images conveys the visceral impact. It makes it all seem vividly, immediately, humanly real.

Now, that is something of a mixed blessing. Spending a few days with the characters in Genesis isn’t the most relaxing literary vacation you’ll ever take. Richard Dawkins wasn’t kidding when he said, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction.” The God character in Genesis is cruel, violent, callous, insecure, power-hungry, paranoid, hot-tempered, morally fickle… I could go on and on. And God’s followers aren’t much better. They lie, they scheme, they cheat one another, they conquer other villages with bloodthirsty imperialist glee, they kill at the drop of a hat. This isn’t Beatrix Potter here. It’s more like Dangerous Liaisons by way of Quentin Tarantino. With tents, sand, and sheep.

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Posted: 10th, February 2013 | In: Books | Comments (5) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Jon Venables: Ralph Bulger’s new book sheds light on James Bulger’s killer

THE murder of James Bulger is still news. Ralph Bulger, father of the two-year-old murdered by twn-year-olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, has written a book. My James by Ralph Bulger and Rosie Dunn centres on the events of February 12, 1993. The parts about he and wife Denise Ferguson’s unbearable pain are horrible, like being invited to look at survivors’ slides from a fatal car crash. The parts about the child’s body and wounds are grim. They offer nothing new. What is interesting is the story of the criminal case, particularly how Jon Venables comes across: 

‘Is that you on that video, son?’ Ann Thompson demanded. ‘Nah, it’s got nothing to do with me,’ he replied. As if to prove his point, Robert went to a makeshift memorial near the railway in Walton and later took some flowers. When he got home he said to his mother: ‘Why would I take flowers to the baby if I had killed him?’ At another home nearby, Jon Venables told his mother, Susan: ‘If I’d seen them kids hurting the baby, I’d have kicked their heads in.’

Jon’s father, meanwhile, asked his son about the blue paint that was splattered on his mustard-coloured coat. He said that his friend Robert Thompson had thrown it at him.
I later learned that on the Wednesday evening an anonymous woman went to Marsh Lane Police Station. She said she was a friend of the Venables family and knew that the son, a boy called Jon, had skipped school with a friend called Robert Thompson on the Friday that James went missing. He had returned home with blue paint on his jacket.

Jon was having lunch when his mother held her son in a tight embrace and said: ‘I love you, Jon. I want you to tell the truth, whatever it might be.’ He started to cry, and just blurted out: ‘I did kill him.’ The boy looked across the room at the detectives and said: ‘What about his mum? Will you tell her I’m sorry.’ Jon continued to blame everything on Robert. He said they found James outside the butcher’s shop. He said it was his idea to take him, but it was Robert’s idea to kill him. They took him to the canal, where Robert planned to throw him in. James would not kneel down to look at his reflection in the water as they wanted, so Robert picked him up and threw him on the ground. This was how James had first injured his head. He said that James kept crying: ‘I want my mummy.’

‘He wanted him dead, probably,’ he responded. ‘Robert was probably doing it for fun because he was laughing his head off.’ For his part, though, Robert refused to admit any involvement in the attack. ‘He never actually told me the truth in the end – far from it,’ said DS Roberts. ‘He lied from the minute we started to interview him.’ ‘When he was charged, he had no problem with it. I suppose he knew that if he was found guilty he would have a better life than he would outside. I thought to myself, “This boy has caused so much misery and evil.” I didn’t look for the three sixes on the back of his head, but at that moment I thought he was the devil.’

It may oversimplify the arguments, but that to my mind makes them evil beyond belief.

You never do hear much of Robert Thompson…

Posted: 3rd, February 2013 | In: Books, Reviews | Comments (21) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Helping the Retarded to Know God

BOOK of the day: Helping the Retarded to Know God. Published 1969 by Contordia.

Add it to the list of terrible book titles.


Posted: 13th, January 2013 | In: Books, Flashback | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Self-help books are only for the educated

EVER buy a self-help book? Laura Vanderkam notes:

[T]he people who buy these books are, like all book buyers, “pretty comfortable,” says John Duff of Penguin. “It’s going to be that middle-class person, reasonably well-educated” and in “very rarefied” company, as “our market for all books is really very limited. Most people stop reading when they leave school.” Those who don’t stop probably have their acts together.

Call it the paradox of self-help. “The type of person who values self-control and self-improvement is the type of person who would seek more of it in a self-help book,”Whelan says. “So it’s not the unemployed crazy lady sitting on the couch eating potato chips who reads self-help. It’s the educated, affluent, probably fairly successful person who wants to better themselves.”

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Posted: 9th, January 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Self-help book of the day: How to Good-bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday

BOOK of the day is for those of viewing the gaping year ahead with apathy and misery. It’s Hiroyuki Nishigaki’s How to Good-bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way?


I think constricting anus 100 times and denting navel 100 times in succession everyday is effective to good-bye depression and take back youth. You can do so at a boring meeting or in a subway. I have known 70-year-old man who has practiced it for 20 years. As a result, he has good complexion and has grown 20 years younger. His eyes sparkle. He is full of vigor, happiness and joy. He has neither complained nor born a grudge under any circumstance. Furthermore, he can make #### three times in succession without drawing out.In addition, he also can have burned a strong beautiful fire within his abdomen. It can burn out the dirty stickiness of his body, release his immaterial fiber or third attention which has been confined to his stickiness. Then, he can shoot out his immaterial fiber or third attention to an object, concentrate on it and attain happy lucky feeling through the success of concentration.If you don’t know concentration which gives you peculiar pleasure, your life looks like a hell.

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Posted: 1st, January 2013 | In: Books | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

1941: Home Meat Curing Made Easy (with Pig FISTING)

IN Home Meat Curing Made Easy, home butchers back in 1941 could learn how to cut up a pig, a lamb or any family member and rub it into tasty glory. It was a book also enjoyed by mass murderers:

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Posted: 30th, December 2012 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories – the hilarious reviews

WHAT are the critics saying about British-born, New York-based chef April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories? If you like eating pigs, it promises to be cracking read. Her intro even offers the chance to chortle: “When I was girl, I wanted to be a policewoman…”

She turned to another kind of piggery for a career. On Amazon, though, many are outraged and upset. The reviews are memorable.

Pity the piglets:

This is the most disgusting cover and should be taken out from any book display… The cover of this book is absolutely disgusting, revolting and insensitive… I don’t think I can hold it in my hand without cringing, and I cannot imagine the “book” being displayed where young children are present.

I read no more:

This is the most disgusting cover and should be taken out from any book display.The killing of animal for food is a fact of life but doesnt need to be shown as a trophee. In fact as soon as it appear on Amazon, it simply put me off culinary book altogether. I am a regular customer of cook books but i have to say that this put me off completely to buy anything for a long time – Nash

I saw this book in a bookstore and felt bad for the poor pig, what angered me next was a woman who dragged her young daughter over to see it and they both laughed. What the hell is wrong with people when they find dead animals amusing? I really wanted to slap both of them! It’s a very sad world we live in 🙁 – Gail Witham

Meanwhile…in Russia: 

What a tasteless, insensitive, repulsive cover. Dead baby animal on display. Don’t bother to argue that is what meat is. Graveyards are full of corpses. I don’t need to see photos of them displayed on the cemetary walls  – CBC

I’m not pigist but…:

I would lose my appetite everytime I picked up this cookbook to prepare anything from it.

I’m not a chef. I’m an ordinary person who likes to cook and entertain. I do handle larger cuts of meat and poultry that I cut up myself. I’ve cleaned freshly caught fish…

This is America, the land of free speech and the right to express an opinion… I am not willing to spend my money on a product that carelessly displays a dead animal for commercial appeal – Cathy

Do judge a book by its cover:

Poor pig that got murdered. I find the cover distasteful. Dont judge a book by it’s covers? In this case, I have! – Don Grego

The Malaysian sequel- A Girl and her Puppy:

It saddens me to see a book so casually flaunting a killed pig. Actually, this is only a piglet.. several weeks old. Would this be so acceptable had it been a calf (“veal”), or better yet a puppy? – L. Jorgensen



Who else if off to buy one, then..?

Posted: 29th, December 2012 | In: Books | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Eye of Sauron made of Stacked Tolkien Books

ONE day all bookshops will sell books stacked into a theme. This stack features books by Tolkein:

Spotter:22 Words

Posted: 4th, December 2012 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Julie Burchill: Unchosen: The Memoirs of a Philosemite

 A WHILE back I (along with others) received an email from the divine goddess Julie Burchill. She was seeking my financial support for a book she wants to publish called Unchosen: The Memoirs of a Philosemite – about her adoration of the Jewish race. She had signed up to a crowd-funding publishing outfit called Unbound – if an author can find enough loot via backers (ie interested readers with cash) to sponsor their book, then they, too, will find themselves between covers.

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Posted: 22nd, November 2012 | In: Books | Comments (7) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0