Category Archives: Literature

Consolations of a hangover

Well, Fishing in Utopia did win the Orwell prize. This is delicious and wonderful. I knew a couple of the judges liked it. I also knew – or at least strongly suspected – that one didn’t. I knew Tony Judt … Continue reading

Posted in Blather, Literature, Sweden | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

undiscriminating reads

on trains in and out of London Ken MacLeod, the Night Sessions: very good and tightly imagined account of what a war on religion would actually mean; and what a secular Scotland would be like. Written with great sympathy for … Continue reading

Posted in God, Journalism, Literature, Sweden | 8 Comments

Auden at press conferences

I don’t often go to press conferences nowadays, but whenever I do, I think that Auden had been there too, on both sides. In my edition of the Collected Shorter Poems, the pertinent observations face each other across pages 190-191. … Continue reading

Posted in Blather, Journalism, Literature | Comments Off on Auden at press conferences


I should have posted this earlier, but Fishing in Utopia has now made the shortlist for the Orwell Prize. Soon there will be copies to buy again, as the paperback is reprinted with a lovely cover and quotes. I need … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Sweden | 1 Comment

Creative destruction

You know that feeling when you are sitting on the floor by the dusty disassembled guts of a computer and nothing works at all? It won’t even give a healthy cheep on startup? And then, slowly, it all comes together, … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, nördig | 5 Comments

Burned over

I’m sorry not to have posted here much. I have been very busy, but also approaching the condition of upstate New York, ca 1830, when it was known as the burnt over district because of the continual evangelical revivals which … Continue reading

Posted in Blather, Housekeeping, Journalism, Literature, nördig | 14 Comments

An unexpected honour

Fishing in Utopia, already entered for the Oondatje Prize, has just to my astonishment been long-listed for the Orwell prize for political writing. Given that the other candidates include Patrick Cockburn, Ahmed Rashid, Phillipe Sands and Tony Judt I don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Sweden | 6 Comments

New and noted from PLOS

I came across this when looking for a report about empathy in mice: The mouse empathy story turns out to be of rather more lasting interest. I had been going to use it as an example of sloppy journalism: the … Continue reading

Posted in Blather, Literature, Science without worms | Comments Off on New and noted from PLOS

Book Search

If this list is Google’s idea of the history books we might want to read on our mobile phones, Amazon can breathe easy. Five books are listed. One purports to be the memoirs of Napoleon; two are by those well … Continue reading

Posted in Blather, Literature, Net stories, nördig | 4 Comments

An excellent discovery

Chris Hedges’ book “I don’t believe in atheists.”: My copy has been pre-owned, as they say (I ordered from Powells, since it isn’t published in this country) by a believer in scientism, whose pencil annotations are most illuminating. The book … Continue reading

Posted in God, Literature, USA | 27 Comments