I’ve read a couple of the compilations of his essays and interviews. On Anarchism has a fascinating section on the Spanish Civil War.
Cool thanks for the tip .
Ah, well. Can’t really argue with the man himself.
In one of the interviews I read, he mentioned that some people had been annoyed that it was a straight take on the mythology (which as he titled it “Norse Mythology”, he reckoned it shouldn’t have been a surprise).
I reckon (with this word choice I confirm that I am indeed American…) that it was in part his bid for further mainstream credibility.
The Men Who Stare at Goats (Audible version) by Jon Ronson.
(I’ve not seen the film.) The Audible version adds an extra element because it’s narrated by Ronson himself. To begin with, you wonder, once you hear his high-pitched, lispy, accented, slow delivery, if he’s all there. Then as you listen to his style of interviewing, it becomes clear he uses the Louis Theroux school of dumb questions to give his interviewees a sense of superiority, thus encouraging them to boast, and spill the beans.
Ronson’s quest begins with Uri Geller, and then it descends (no, really) into the realms of incredulous levels of supersticious nonsense, which would be good fun (in a nasty, cynical way) if this wasn’t associated with the world’s most potentially destructive armed forces. I have no idea how much artistic liscence Ronson applies here, but dim-witted US generals with enormous budgets to pay for squads of psychic spies and herds of cruelly-teated goats is a wholly believable scenario. Ronson later moves on to the more pharmachological/psychological MK-ULTRA and Psy-Ops projects.
Ronson presents his subject in an edifying and entertaing way, and I’ll no doubt read more of his books. Also, I didn’t realise he’d done so much other stuff, and I’ve probable seen him on TV on several occasions in the 80s and 90s (thanks Wikipedia).
This sounds very positive:
I love Jon’s stuff but haven’t heard the audio book your talking about so I’ll look it up once I listen to Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy and Sherlock Holmes.
I love Ronson’s books and his voice. His soft northern lilt is very calming among the madness he reports on (literally with the Psychopath Test).
I listened to the older audiobook of TMWSAG and it was weird to hear it narrated by someone other than Ronson.
Has anyone listened to The Butterfly Effect, the series he did for Audible?
Read it today, and loved it.
Slaughterhouse-Five (Audible version) by Kurt Vonnegut. (Another of the SF classics that I hadn’t read decades ago.)
All my fears seemed to be looming in at me during the first part of the novel: I hate it when there’s a groundswell of love for something, and I just don’t get it. For me, the novel starts off just OK. Well-written, but lacking something.
Then, Billy Pilgrim’s mostly tragic adventures, brought to us in non-linear snippets, eventually seep into your head, and you start to make connections, (almost) understand ‘alien’ philosophies, and see life’s ironies. As much as Billy comes across as, at times, an eccentric character, we empathise with his plight. After all, it’s his fate.
Anyway, it turns out Slaughterhouse-Five isn’t a SF classic at all, so it goes. It’s simply a classic.
I’ve started re-reading Carter Beats The Devil, which I’ve been meaning to do for years. It’s size is slightly intimidating, frankly. The opening’s still really good, but the stuff with him as a kid drags somewhat.
I started What The Hell Did I Just Read, the newest JDATE book. As always it’s immensely readable and very funny. Wong actually seems to have heard some of the criticisms of the last book and made David a more active hero.
I remember absolutely loving that novel; much moreso than his then wife’s novel of around that time, The Lovely Bones. I promised myself a reread of ‘Carter’ one day too.
Vonnegut is a bit uneven to me but Slaughterhouse-Five is one of his books that I really enjoyed.
Vonnegut is one of my absolute favorites, but Slaughterhouse-Five is I think his best work.
What I love about Vonnegut, though, really carries over through all of his work. It’s this core of kindness, this ferocious skepticism of everything and anything except people.
Based on two posts above, I think Carter Beats the Devil will be next on my list.
Currently reading Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, a quirky detective novel featuring a quirky detective. Did I mention it’s quirky?
Cats Cradle is my favorite Vonnegut. I also enjoyed Sirens of Titan. I really didn’t like Breakfast of Champions though.
I remember liking Mother Night, but I read it a long time ago.
Slaughterhouse 5 is absolutely brilliant.
I enjoyed Carter Beats the Devil as well, but remember almost nothing about it (I also read it a long time ago).