Sunday, 19 September 2010

A light is Shone on the blog

Behind, as I am, with my reading, I’ve been trying not to spend too much time on these reviews. Where possible, I’ve recently been declining the opportunity to research authors further or find out more about the subject or the themes of the book I’ve just completed so I have more opportunity to wade through the mounting pile of pages which lurk in the corner of my lounge, catching my eye as regularly as an attractive girl in a bar.

But when the author of the book you have just reviewed gets in touch to pay you a compliment and suggest some further reading, it’s hard to say no...

I wrote the other day about how much I enjoyed the links between alcoholism and authors explored within In the Rooms, by Tom Shone. And Tom himself has pointed me in the direction of a more obvious study – an article he wrote for Intelligent Life.

Apparently, ‘Of America’s seven Nobel laureates, five were lushes’ and there is an equally long list in these shores, referencing the likes of Dylan Thomas, Malcolm Lowry, Brendan Behan, Patrick Hamilton, Philip Larkin, and Kingsley Amis.

It’s absorbing stuff and, by proxy, it’s also a real insight into the production of In the Rooms. This article was clearly made possible from the research Shone conducted before writing In the Rooms and it’s interesting to see details which made it into the book (perhaps most obviously when alcoholic writer Douglas Kelsey refers to newly sober Raymond Carver regularly inviting him to play bingo) and the huge amount which merely contributed to the feel of his novel.

Tom’s own blog Taking Barack to the Movies (covering ‘politics, pop, books, movies’) is equally interesting – although it has cost me precious hours in my quest to complete this 100-book challenge...

More positively, Tom’s kind comments at last bring to an end an area of this challenge where the Friend of the Wench, was one up on me, my rival having previously been honoured with the author of a reviewed book getting in touch with him.

Solely in the interests of competition, therefore, and completely self-indulgently, I feel I should point out that Shone is a former deputy literary editor of the Sunday Times. He presumably knows a bit about half-decent writing, then, and he ‘loves’ my blog. Have that Friend of the Wench!

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