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Cultural Round Up: November

So, this month tells me that I need to actually get to the movies some more. Really. Or at least watch some more DVDs. I guess I have to find the time to do it too…

I realised I missed a movie from the very end of last month, so that is the film contribution for this month.


Surface Detail Iain M Banks As an unashamed Banks fan, I found this enjoyable as usual. I think that the two things I like about his books are the ideas and the writing, and both were strong in this book. On the ideas front, I thought that the novel presented an interesting delve into issues of religion and was perhaps more overtly political than many of his other books. I also thought the character of the central ship Falling Outside the Normal Moral Constraints was fabulous and entertaining. On the downside, there is an entire strand to the story the purpose of which I am not entirely sure I understand. In some ways the story feels like it is still evolving – that perhaps it moved away from its original intention as it was being written as Banks started to love some characters more than anything. There is a first draft type feel about it, that perhaps it could have benefitted from a bit more time and editing. Given how quickly this has followed from the publication of both Transitions and A Steep Approach to Garbadale I do wonder if he is suffering from the pressure to get more books out to market. There is certainly a lot in the book for the Banks lover, but it may not be the most satisfying of his works for the uninitiated.

The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim Jonathan Coe It had been some time since I read my last Jonathan Coe book -I had previously gone to the extent of ordering his books in bookshops in the days before online purchasing became ubiquitous. Strangely his books tend not to be stocked in Australian bookshops in great numbers. Perhaps it has to do with the very English-ness of him. Anyhow, Book Depository brought an end to the deprivation. This was very readable, and the central narrator was an oddly sympathetic character, even when he was a bit of a dill. The structure of the book was interesting and I enjoy the journey of discovery that the book represented. The only thing that got me was the final chapter. It was a bit odd, a little self indulgent and I am not sure I understand at all why it was there. Doesn’t stop me liking the book a lot, but does make me wonder just a bit.


Dinner for Schmucks Don’t. Just don’t.


I have watched a bit of television this month. Will reserve my thoughts on The Walking Dead until it has finished. In the meantime, other television viewing includes:

The Good Woman Season 2 I really like this show. It is thoughtful and not quite as predictable as your usual procedural/genre drama. The inclusion of the three very complex female characters of Alicia, Kalinda and Diane with meaty roles is the winner, and I must say I am enjoying the political campaigning insights of the new season – and Eli Gold. A couple of this seasons’ five episodes I have seen have been extremely good – in particular the sexual assault dilemma episode.

Supernatural Season 5 Watched the second half of this season which again was great television. the evolution that Supernatural has taken, the pop culture familiarity and the character development across seasons have been great. And there is Dean. As dogpossum said to me on Twitter, the show has non-stop men-talking-about-their-feelings which means that we see much more of the interior life of the characters than your average TV. I also loved the approach to angels and religion that has infused both season 4 and 5. And there is Dean.


One response to “Cultural Round Up: November

  1. Stumbled across this through Google searching for something, and wondered whether, given your site theme, you’d noticed the Vertigo-inspired book cover for Coe’s Maxwell Sim Mind you Vertigo seems to be everywhere at the moment (again)

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