Books

Category archives for Books

On My Mind, Sunday

I’m a single dad now for two weeks while my wife’s in China shooting interviews for a documentary series. Aard’s been getting a lot of comment spam lately, and the filter isn’t working properly, so I’ve turned on comment moderation. After digging in that cave I did four hours of metal detecting at the Lilla…

Of late I have spent some time in the nightmare world of P.G. Wodehouse, reading his 1946 novel Joy in the Morning.* Written though it was after WW2, it is set in a timeless travesty of pre-WW1 England. Much of the humour, as you will know, revolves around the interplay between the mentally challenged Bertram…

Since the autumn of 2009, I’ve spent most of my research efforts studying sacrificial finds in the Bronze Age local landscape. I was thus pleasantly surprised (though a little disappointed because I missed the whole thing) when I learned that there had been a symposium on the theme “Sacrificial finds in the Late Bronze Age…

Neal Stephenson is an unusually inventive writer of historical and futuristic fiction. I have previously reviewed his 2008 novel Anathem here. And somehow I have now come to think of one of his weirdest ideas: the subterranean orgy computer in The Diamond Age. This 1995 book bursts with far-out motifs and ideas, to the extent…

Spent four hours at the EuroCon 2011 science fiction convention Sunday afternoon. That’s about enough for me. Though I love sf, and I’ve made a few appearances as speaker and panelist at cons, I’ve never really been part of sf fandom. It has always struck me as a strangely rearward-looking kind of futurism as Swedish…

The Cover of My Upcoming Book

Ever since I started blogging in 2005 I’ve been talking about my Östergötland project, where I’ve been chasing the elite of the mid-to-late 1st millennium in one of Sweden’s richest agricultural provinces. This project has produced a number of journal papers, talks, radio appearances, archive reports and additions to museum collections. But there hasn’t been…

Len Fisher is an Australian physicist based in England. He’s also a foodie involved in molecular gastronomy. In 2002 he published an essay collection on the UK market, The Science of Everyday Life, which has now been re-issued for US readers. Before looking at the book’s contents I have to comment on how Fisher’s US…

What Makes High Elves High?

One of the stranger concepts in Tolkien’s writings is that of “High Elves”. Why are these elves high? It has nothing to do with drugs, though in the Tolkien Society we used to joke about them smoking lembas. And it has nothing to do with stature, though nobility and body height go together in Tolkien,…

In the car yesterday I listened to two excellent narrations of Lovecraft short stories. And I marvelled upon re-encountering the opening paragraph of “The Picture in the House” from 1919. Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. For them are the catacombs of Ptolemais, and the carven mausolea of the nightmare countries. They climb to…

I’m a picky reader when it comes to entertainment, and if I don’t like the first 50 pages of a novel I rarely continue. The most recent casualty of this policy is a book I was very kindly given by Birger Johansson, Rob Thurman’s The Grimrose Path (2010). Its a modern urban fantasy with angels…