Would we still have heard Nabokov’s ‘Laughter in the Dark’ without ‘Lolita’?

December 25th, 2011 by Zirk van den Berg § 0 comments § permalink

Reading habits are formed by repeated acts of disposal. Read a book you don’t particularly enjoy and the writer will probably be discarded from your reading list. As you read more books, more authors get a figurative black mark next to their name. The survivors are what we refer to as our favourite writers.

Even these favourites may lose their place on the reading list as the years go by. Either our tastes change or we simply finish reading all their books or at least all the best ones.

Looking back over more than 30 years of serious reading, there is only one author from those very early years whose books I still read. » Read the rest of this entry «

On opening Andre Agassi’s ‘Open’

December 16th, 2011 by Zirk van den Berg § 0 comments § permalink

I can’t play tennis for shit. Or money. But I am a committed fan, perhaps one that should be committed. Mornings when I trade the world of dreams where I spend my nights for the world wide web where I spend my days, it’s a toss up between first checking my email, bank balance or the ATP tennis results.

I write for love. And money. Over the years, » Read the rest of this entry «

Police procedurals – judging on the evidence

December 8th, 2011 by Zirk van den Berg § 0 comments § permalink

The police procedural, the sub-genre of the crime novel that focuses on the police investigation of crime, has never been high on my agenda. However, on the evidence of Sjöwall and Wahlöö’s excellent Martin Beck books (discussed here), I was compelled to investigate. » Read the rest of this entry «

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