Book Review: 'Les Diners de Gala' Salvadore Dali's delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Book Review: ‘Les Diners de Gala’ Salvadore Dali’s delectable and twisted psychedelic cook-book

Salvador Dalí isn't generally remembered for his culinary prowess. Although he was a secret admirer of gastronomy for all of its transformative and monstrous properties. In his rare and 1973 cookbook Les Diners de Gala, just reissued by Taschen. the late iconic artist celebrates dream-like and surreal flavour combinations. Chapter titles include Prime Lilliputian malaises’ (meat)…

Famous fairytales reimagined as buildings

Federico Babina: Famous fairytales reimagined as buildings

Insanely creative Italian architect and illustrator Federico Babina has immortalised artists, musicians, films and even countries as mid-century buildings, but he has turned his hand towards fairytales in this collection. The fairytale universe is reinvented to incorporate elements of timeless 50's and 60's building design so that it imparts personality and new dimension to the…

Book Review: To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Book Review: To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Eowyn Ivey is a master craftswoman and her sentences are smooth and flowing like treacle. Her debut the Snow Child was one of my favourite novels. It told the magical tale of a child that emerges out of the icy Alaskan tundra and provides an ageing couple yearning for a baby, with the promise of…

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Book Review: Their Lips Talk of Mischief by Alan Warner

Scottish writer Alan Warner's novel Their Lips Talk of Mischief is a boisterous, vigorous and energetic novel about two literary wannabes (Lou and Douglas) living in a glum 80's Thatcherite slumland in Britain. The pair share an interest in Lou's enigmatic and sexy girlfriend Aoife. Thus develops a complex menage a trois that follows. The year…

Book Review: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Book Review: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

Peter and Beatrice Leigh are a childless 30-something British couple who are devoutly evangelical Christians and are living in a Britain of an imagined near future. In this imaginary Britain things look largely similar to how they are right now, except that there's a colony of humans living on a faraway planet called Oasis. These…

Book Review: Winterwood by Patrick McCabe

Book Review: Winterwood by Patrick McCabe

This was an unusual little book. I think many people will be familiar with McCabe from his other incredibly popular and critically acclaimed work of literally fiction, the Butcher Boy which was published back in 1992 and subsequently turned into a film. This was the story of a confused and wayward young boy who unwittingly…

Book Review: The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber

Book Review: The Fahrenheit Twins by Michel Faber

I had the pleasure of meeting Michel Faber at the Auckland Writers Festival this autumn. He's a reserved, humble and softly-spoken fellow who was gobbled up by the overly bold interviewer, someone far less important, whose name escapes me. Faber brought with him onto the stage a pair of dainty red women's shoes and only…

Book Quotes that will give you an insatiable desire to read the whole thing

If you're not already a complete recluse and homebody like I am, you will be after reading these book quotes, which are succinct, powerful, compelling and just amazing. There is no need for literary context here, each quote possesses a standalone brilliance that makes it irresistible. Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it…

Back in the 'noughties' there was a landmark book (Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander) which lampooned all of the pop culture stuff that white people like. Of course, six years on some of these things have changed. Yet a lot still remains the same and speaks volumes about how race, nationality and class all inter-relate.…

The Soul of the World: David Foster Wallace http://wp.me/p41CQf-Ikf

The Soul of the World: David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace combined his phenomenal intelligence and gift for writing with a high level of self-awareness, and a deep awareness of the brutality and enormity of the world. He had an almost omnipotent ability to understand and communicate about what it means to be human in his iconic books. Like most highly sensitive people…

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

William McIlvanney or Willie to his nearest and dearest was single-handedly responsible for the genre of Tartan Noir, the bleak and rainy Glaswegian streets, grisly crime screnes steeped in whisky and venomous characters that were the stomping ground of characters like Inspector Laidlaw (changed to Taggart for the famous TV show). All other Scottish crime…

Book Review: Fools Assassin (Part 1 of the Fitz & the Fool Trilogy) by Robin Hobb

Book Review: Fools Assassin (Part 1 of the Fitz & the Fool Trilogy) by Robin Hobb

A bit of background: I came very late to the party when it comes to fantasy fiction. A devoted fan of Game of Thrones on TV, I nonetheless found this far too violent, ruthless and bloody to become fully enveloped into the fandom and to read George R.R Martin. So it was a massive surprise…

Book Review: The Tao of Winnie the Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (1982)

Book Review: The Tao of Winnie the Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (1982)

The cultural phenomenon of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (1926) crosses generations and time. Winnie the Pooh still speaks to me as an adult within the adult world. It speaks to the child within and her curiosity and wonder at life. The characters are each archetypes of human desires and fears. Pooh: a certified glutton…

Experience the Perfect Soothing Tokyo Lullaby: Book and Bed

The Ultimate Soothing Tokyo Lullaby: Book and Bed

This is a novel concept that could only be conceived by the Japanese. A bed and book hostel. This captures the very essence of snuggling comfort- falling asleep while reading a good book! The Book and Bed Hostel is a bookshop that's also a hostel and allows bibliophiles to hire out a nest-like bunk bed…

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This is a book to devour in enormous gulps. When you do come up for air, fill yourself with black tea and then settle back into your armchair, to be borne aloft once more. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is a bittersweet and melancholy tale of a woman named Agnes Magnusdottir. Set in Iceland in…

Objects With A Story. Object 1: The Tiny Book

Objects With A Story. Object 1: The Tiny Book

I found this tiny old leatherbound book in the home of a woman I was looking after in Wales about six years ago. I liked looking after the woman and living in her ancient thatch-roofed house in the middle of nowhere. The serenity was perfect. And yet precisely because it was so serene, I got…

A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse

The story of a mysterious mermaid in Milford Haven 1795 A.D.

The 18th century was a time of British exploration, rapidly growing technology and restless souls wanting to travel. Many people from the well-to-do class including a woman called Mrs. Morgan wrote of her adventures and then had it all conveniently bundled, printed and distributed as Mrs. Morgan's Tour of Milford Haven, published in 1795 and then…

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Lost Wisdom and its two other companion books Lost Crafts and Lost Lore are beautifully typeset and laid out. Their contents are a cabinet of curiosities  - a wunderkammer of the same sort as the Book of Barely Imagined Beings, which I have mentioned in the past. Although in this case Lost Wisdom runs the…

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Book Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

*Contains no spoilers* This was a true sky-scraper of a novel. A sweeping epic in the grandest sense that could be compared to Swann's Way by Proust or even a Dickensian tale like Oliver Twist. The Goldfinch has all of the hallmarks of one of these epic novels because it involves a believable modern-day premise,…

Geological Marvel, Art or Book? You Be The Judge!

Ancient Mineral, Art or Book?

San Fran based artist Alexis Arnold has managed to reimagine National Geographic magazines with the use of Borax crystals for a strange geological marvel of colourful striations. Glittering crystals are alive and growing on the gradients of colour, turning them from mere functional books to something akin to living art and also uncannily like a…