Cool Fall Reading
As a book judge, a book reviewer, a book writer and a voracious reader, I sometimes feel it’s all getting out of hand. But here are some I need to recommend to you.
First up is ‘High Society: Mind Altering Drugs In History and Culture’, and it’s a book for which the term ‘lavishly illustrated’ was invented. But also, being written by Mike Jay, it’s beautifully observed and fascinating in its detail. It examines the cultural reasons why societies take up alcohol, cocaine and so on, while offering a light look at its effects and artifacts. Some of the photographs and illustrations are hilarious; I’m particularly fond of the snuff box that depicts its user throwing up!
Next, ‘The Art Of Hammer’ by Marcus Hearn gathers together all the Hammer posters from around the world. I’m amazed that nobody has done this before. You can see how different countries chose to represent Hammer horrors. It’s a full-colour large format book from Titan, and is simply the most stunning version of Hammer art now available.
Finally, Bloomsbury have brought out a series of all-but-forgotten fiction classics from the 20th century in matching covers, including the wonderful ‘Miss Hargreaves’, ‘The Brontes Went To Woolworths’ and a very charming Canadian novel called ‘Let’s Kill Uncle’.
Of course, as we head toward Christmas an avalanche of crap also descends on us, pushed out by publishers who know some people will buy anything that’s been on TV. This can be the only explanation for a book by ‘Aleksandr Orlov’, an insurance-flogging meerkat who relentlessly pushes an insurance website on TV. He becomes the latest “celebrity” to unloose a memoir on the world, and we’re told it’s already selling well. Real writers start weeping now.