guitarist > writer > coder

November 17, 2013
Comments Off on The Proust Questionnaire – Book Edition

The Proust Questionnaire – Book Edition

The Proust Questionnaire—Book Edition


1. Of these, your reading preference: fiction; nonfiction; poetry; drama:
2. Your favorite childhood book (or favorite childhood author):
Roald Dahl pre-teen, Stephen King in my teens.
3. Your favorite book character:
D.R. & Quinch
4. Your favorite book title (because you like the sound of it):
The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
5. A book you could never finish:
Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings
6. A book you will never start:
The Bible
7. If for some reason it turned out that you could save one and only one book from among those you own, which would it be:
By Reason of Insanity by Shane Stevens. Although it is back in print now, so..?
8. A book you should have read but haven’t:
The Tin Drum. I think I have two copies now.
9. The best “book as object” you own (how it looks over what it says):
Chip Kidd’s The Cheese Monkeys (although what is says is great too)
10. Your reading speed: very slow; slow; moderate; fast; very fast:
11. While you read, are you a note-taker? If yes, where do you record your notes:
Occasionally, margin.
12. Your most idiosyncratic reading habit:
Not being able to read a book I’ve been lent
13. The most expensive book you’ve ever bought (and, if you can remember, the price):
Probably a book on web development when I used to buy them (before Google)
14. If you could be any author:
A prolific one
15. If you are what you read, the book that best says who you are:
Hmm. In Milton Lumky Territory by PKD, or Neil Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon?
16. Your favorite writer of the gender opposite yours:
Patricia Cornwell
17. The last book you bought:
(Checks Kindle…) The Boys of ’67 by Andrew Weist
18. Your favorite place to purchase books:
Comic shop
19. The book you are currently reading:
11/22/63 by Stephen King
20. The book you will read next:
The Lone Survivor by Marcus Lutrell and Patrick Robinson
21. The current location of the book you will read next:
On my phone
22. Your favorite format for books: paper or pixels:
Paper for graphic novels, pixels for written word
23. If you could have written any book:
True Crime by Andrew Klaven
24. A book that was particularly meaningful to, or highly recommended by, an acquaintance of yours:
25. If you have the chance to plan it, the last book you’ll read:
101 Sexual Positions to Try Before You Die

March 21, 2013
Comments Off on James Herbert

James Herbert

The Rats

The Rats

Too young to get into 18 certificate films, and jealous of my cousins who could, my alternative was to read horror novels, and I soon discovered James Herbert. The Rats, The Spear, The Fog, Fluke, so many great stories that had everything I wanted as a kid from a book.


I remember an interview in which James Herbert described being in a meeting and wondering “What if someone got up and jumped out of the window – what might make them do that?” – or something along those lines. All his books were great What ifs?


Along with Stephen King, Roald Dahl, Frederick Forsyth and William Goldman, James Herbert was what I read as soon as I had a say in it (although my parents were always great in letting me pick their books from the shelves to read, thus the Goldman, Forsyth and adult Dahl stories), and fostered my love of horror.


January 9, 2013
Comments Off on Not what I wanted to see while reading The Last Policeman

Not what I wanted to see while reading The Last Policeman


highly recommend The Last Policeman, btw


April 8, 2012
Comments Off on Rereading and By Reason of Insanity

Rereading and By Reason of Insanity

By Reason of Insanity, Shane StevensNot big on rereading books for much the same reasons as Mark Watson*, but one of the few I do is By Reason of Insanity by Shane Stevens.

Mentioned in the afterword of Stephen King’s The Dark Half which also has a character named after one from another Stevens’ novel Dead City, finding a copy back in the day wasn’t as hard as now. Which is a shame, as it was published before the serial killer thriller was written to death, a genre I stopped reading when I would pick one up in a bookshop and struggle to remember if I had read it already. Thirty-three years on By Reason of Insanity still stands head and shoulders above nearly all of them.

And while I enjoyed Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs, their tight writing and pared down story took away the need to reread them. They were a gripping one shot hit, brilliant for those very reasons, and if you haven’t read them you must. But By Reason of Insanity at 500 pages or so, with a plot that twist and squirms getting more and more desperate as it develops, rewards rereading and is one of a handful of books I return to.

Hopefully the rumours that Shane Stevens was a pen name for another author are true, otherwise he apparently passed away in 2007.

Guardian article c/o John Barger on Google+

*a shelf of books and a stocked kindle waiting for time