The Plot Against America – Philip Roth, 2004

I hadn’t intended to read it, but whilst away on holiday last year I’d finished my other book and was looking for something. This was sat on the shelves at Sj’s folks and I’d never read any Roth but had always meant to. I blazed through it in about a day, but it’s only been the last few days that it’s struck home. I’ll let The Guardian’s review from 2004 set the scene;

“Just suppose…that the air hero Charles Lindbergh, the man who made the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927, who earned huge sympathy when his baby son was kidnapped and murdered five years later, who called Hitler “a great man” and was decorated by order of the Führer for his services to the Reich, just suppose that he’d taken up Republican invitations to run for president in November 1940, and milked the isolationist sentiment that undoubtedly existed then (No more war! Never again will young Americans die on foreign soil!), and that instead of Roosevelt being elected for an unprecedented third term and taking America into Europe to fight the Nazis, Lindbergh won a landslide victory. And then he signed non-aggression treaties with Germany and Japan, and set about realising his vision of America as a land of the brave and blond, and introduced a set of anti-semitic measures which, if not on the scale of Hitler’s pogroms, were a betrayal of the rights and liberties enshrined in the constitution and yet, such was the young president’s charisma, they were accepted by the mass of ordinary citizens and even by some prominent Jews.”

Blake Morrison – The Guardian, 2nd October 2004

I’m probably going to pick this up again and give it a run though – but yeah, I read this back well Il Douche was just a possible joke rather than a reality.

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Are American writers better journalists than novelists?

It’s something I’ve been thinking about over the last week or so since I began to read In Cold Blood (which clearly isn’t a novel, but rather the birth of the true crime genre) – that in general the American novels that are most highly regarded take a more journalistic bent than others. It’s hard to think of an American author embracing magical-realism or other literary forms as (for me) the defining nature is often the directness of the language.

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Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged is one of those books that often seems to be the topic of discussion these days (particularly in the US where it has gained something of a new lease of light on the right due to its financial / business leanings). In an effort to try and read at least one unreadable book a year it had the somewhat dubious honour of being this years choice.

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Books (Stolen from moomin_puffin & littleonionz)

Don’t take too long to think about it. 15 books you’ve read that will always stick with you. They don’t have to be the greatest books you’ve ever read, or even books you’ve liked; just the ones that stick with you. First 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

(Note, I put them in order afterwards and it took a bit longer as phone call in the first few minutes completely diverted attention, otherwise it all came together pretty easily).

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Freakonomics

I’m a far slower reader than I used to be, not in terms of words per minute but in finding time to sit down and read without falling into the exhaustion trap – I blame technical journals. Which makes it all the more surprising that the one of the few books for a long time that I’ve found myself racing through was about economics.

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Living in a car and Potter

It’s been a weird week, one where it has felt more as if I’ve been living in my car than anywhere else. As per usual work has me running all over the country (something that I enjoy), often from one side to the other on consecutive days. I’m in the office this morning, hence my ability to post, but again this afternoon I’m off to the place that is increasingly becoming “The place that shall not be named”. That it shares the same initial as the previous “Place that shall not be named”, the same contractor and a similar developer I’m taking as a grim portent.

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Maelstrom versus Potter

Back in work after a weekend away at Maelstrom and fortunately Reality Sickness doesn’t seem to have hit me quite as badly this time. Work still feels a little weird, but as I’m busy I’m not getting too much chance to realise I’ve just spent two days in a field. It was wonderful once again and I feel that I’ve really got a handle on the direction I want to go in now for future events.

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