by Lewis, August 4, 2006 2:42 PM
We are faced with very slim pickings for book news today, so rather than report news about books I am going to relate other stories and then attempt some really awkward segues to some books I particularly like.
- All right, well this first one is sort of book related. It is an eerie, creepy story about bookbinding and the old practice of binding medical books in human skin. This is a tenuous stretch, I grant you, but it reminds me of the weird and wonderful world of The Museum of Jurassic Technology, which is brilliantly documented by Lawrence Weschler in his book Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder. The last time I visited the museum it had a new tea room and some excellent mugs with bees on them.
- Magicians share their secrets at the World Championship of Magic and keep the rest of us in the dark, as usual. Wouldn't you love to sneak in and discover what they were saying in there? Well, perhaps you'll discover the odd magic trick in the new novel by one of my favorite authors, Louise Welsh. It is called The Bullet Trick and is about a magician. Welsh writes very dark prose, with very slippery plots.
- We all have our guilty pleasure song (well, mine makes up about 2 gigs of my iPod if truth be told) but when Q magazine polled its readers, the band ELO topped the list of uncool records it is okay to love. I won't admit to having ELO on my iPod, but I used to have the fourth-place holder, 10cc's "I'm Not In Love." The unreliable narration, the whispered denials, the unrequited love ? it all puts me in mind of the The House of Sleep, one of the most unconventional love stories ever written, and one which can make me tear up just by thinking of the last page. (But Jesus ? how did "Manic Monday" make it on the list? That song makes me want to kill myself.)
- Witness the embarrassment for Microsoft when Windows Vista, their proposed voice recognition software, was demonstrated to the press and the words just don't come out right. Har har ? we get to laugh at Microsoft occasionally. But seriously now, witness the ongoing technological advances; all so future-tense, so sci-fi, and all so reminiscent of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. This novel takes a tiny step into the future with a dazzling, horrifying result.
All right, I really eeked that one out. I'm sure I have horrified more than one fan of Ishiguro's here by placing his masterpiece alongside a YouTube video. I shall apologize now and thank you for bearing with me, and wish you all a happy weekend.