A very different book this week. Vow - A Memoire of Marriage (and other affairs) (ISBN 978-1-4088-2780-2, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013) was written by Wendy Plump and is a first person expose of herself, with no limits!
William Peskett is a prolific writer these days, with several books of poetry, essays and short fiction offerings, and Sweet Song of the Siren (and others) (978-149123-488-1, Durian Books, 2013) is his latest. I have reviewed a few of his earlier published works, including The Last Boat to Samui, which I finished the review by saying “I did enjoy the vignettes of ex-pat foibles taken to the point of no return, as I am sure you will as well.” Consequently I began reading Sweet Song of the Siren with some anticipation.
When I saw this book on the Bookazine shelves I initially presumed it was about the infamous Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez also known as Carlos the Jackal. But no, this book, The Jackal’s Share (ISBN 978-0-330-53255-6, Pan Books, 2013) by Chris Morgan Jones is not about Carlos, and is in fact the second spy thriller from this author. The first, An Agent of Deceit was given critical acclaim, and this one follows on with the same secret agent, Ben Webster, being one of the principal characters.
Despite the long title to this book Red-Light Nights, Bangkok Daze (ISBN 978-981-08-1076-4, Monsoon Books, 4th edition, 2013), being the 4th edition, it must have been selling well for a SE Asian book. It is also author William Sparrow’s first book.
If reincarnation is really what’s ahead, then I am sure my past included a spell as a gangster. Why? Because for some unknown reason, I am attracted to the folklore of illegal behavior. Al Capone rings a sympathetic bell for me, as do Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. After watching the Bonnie and Clyde movie, I left the theater with a hatred of policemen, so when I spotted James Morton’s Mammoth Book of Gangs in Bookazine (ISBN 978-1-78033-088-4, 2012, Robinson publishers), and saw that Big Al was mentioned, I had to read it all!
At a very early stage of my adult life I was advised there were two topics to avoid in discussions. One was politics and the other? Religion!
I rather took the advice to heart, as these days I am a confirmed atheist, but at least this was to give me a clean slate to read The Religions Book (ISBN 978-1-4093-2491-1, DK, 2013) without bias in any particular direction of faith.
I was attracted to this week’s review book by a remark on the front cover attributed to famous drug smuggler Howard Marks, whose book Mr. Nice (ISBN 978-0-749-39569-8, Vintage UK, 1997) was one of the most fascinating books I had read. With the recommendation from “Mr. Nice”, I chose Leaf Fielding’s To Live Outside the Law (ISBN 978-1-84668-797-6, Serpent’s Tail publishing, 2012) and eagerly began reading.
I think I just failed ChickLit 101. I recall that I failed it once before, many years ago, and ended up having a deluge of women accusing me of everything from being a male chauvinist pig to just being illiterate, because I did not like a book written by one of their brood (or should that be ‘breed’)? I am sorry I can neither remember the name of the book, nor the author, having expunged both from my memory. But it did happen, showing that people do read book reviews.
This week’s book is a follow-on from Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s book Freakonomics. Super Freakonomics (ISBN 978-0-141-04832-1, Penguin Books, 2011) promises on the cover to tell the reader all about Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and why Suicide Bombers should buy life insurance.
Many years ago now, a man came into the Pattaya Mail offices with some black and white cartoons. He showed these to Dr. Iain who immediately convulsed with laughter. He and Mike Baird have continued their relationship, so when Mike’s latest book was given to Dr Iain, complete with dedication on the flyleaf, he passed it on to me for review.