- Iraq war film coming based on Thunder run book (via Hollywood Reporter)
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- Former soldier turned author says gaming doesn’t lead to violence (via The Escapist)
- WWI grave reveals books and more (via Spiegel)
- New book about the battle on the waves during the War of 1812 (via Asbury Park Press)
- New book examines role of John Brown in kicking off Civil War (via PRI)
- Author of Catch-22 admits, war is fun (via Guardian)
Light the Jack-o-Lanterns and set up the bowls full of candy in your neighborhood, Halloween is upon us. Your city or town, in just a few days will be filled with little ghosts, goblins and ghouls, giving your community a spooky, if kitschy, feel.
What if your city was truly esoteric, occult and supernatural to its foundations, say like the city of London? Today we tackle one such city with a review of Occult London by Dr. Merlin Coverley.
Occult London is a luminary tour of London, from dimmest history to the closeness of the 20th century, all centered on the mysterious and eccentric.
Coverley methodically picks through the strange or little known history of London, finding interesting figures to punctuate each chapter of the story of the city on the Thames.
One of the most fascinating citizens of London for us was Dr. John Dee. We’ve read a whole historical bio of esoteric leader of the Elizabethan age, and he serves as a sort of keystone to the occult narrative that is Occult London.
Coverley interstingly points out that as the City boomed during the 16th and 17th century, it became a haven for “occult professionals” ranging from wise men to straight up witches, with Dee at the lead. How important is Dee for mystic London and the British Empire? Well, Coverely notes that to many the spiritual center of the empire was in fact the Isle of Dogs, where Dee applied dark arts to raise the potency of the British, creating a unified state whose powers would spill far beyond its physical borders.
Also, if you are looking for witches hovels and places of mysterious rites, London has them too. Like the cottage of a Mother Damnable, which was reportedly located at the site of the Camden Town Tube station.
However, when it comes to the mystic architecture of London, the distinction as designer of Occult London goes to Christopher Wren. His fingerprints are all over the London after the great fire of 1666. Coverely writes that Wren’s expansion and organization of London have more esoteric blueprint than simple grids and geometric patterns.
“For the rational outlook espoused by Wren was rooted less in the prevailing fashion for emperical science than in the unacknowledged traditions of Freemasonry, the Cabbala and the ‘sacred measurements’ of the Bible,” writes Coverely in Occult London. Wren was the architect of New Jerusalem, laid out using 2,000 cubits (a Biblical-age unit of measure) as the length radiating out from Saint Paul’s Cathedral to mark this mystic new center of the world.
Actual building of this new city fell upon a protégé of Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, a man who would come to be known as “the Devil’s architect.” But we’ll let you read all about that gent.
Occult London has a great blend of facts, intertwined with long whispered superstitions and rumors, coupled with buried history that is not so easily explained by the rational writings of traditional non-fiction.
You can read up on sex cults, Theosophists, Jack the Ripper, the mysterious creature known as Spring Heeled Jack and the Beast himself, Aleister Crowley, all in Occult London.
Seek out a copy of this strange tour of London and it’s residents, you won’t be disappointed.
Occult London by Merlin Coverley was purchased for review by Boston Book Bums
- A load of fashion books for you to peruse (via Cleveland.com)
- Floral arrangements inspired by books (via Wicked Local Sharon)
- 100 Unforgettable Dresses confined to the pages of a new book (via Philly.com)
- Immerse yourself in the art deco splendor of a Batman art book (via Comics Alliance)
- H&M produces clothes inspired by Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (via My Daily UK)
- The many books about Coco Chanel (via Telegraph)
- Gay in America photobook hits shelves (via Project Q Atlanta)
- Illustrator puts creepy twist on fairy tales (via Triblocal)
- Halo fans, an artbook arrives to satiate your cravings (via Wired UK)
- 80s albums covers become coffee table art in a new book (via Kansas City Star)
Lenny Abramov is a middle age man, afraid of dying, who falls in love with a beautiful young woman, 15 years his junior, a theme that transverses time and cultures. Their unlikely romance begins on the brink of America’s crumpling society. Shteyngart imagines a future where intelligence has finally lost out to the shallower virtues of beauty and wealth and a society that bases all social interactions on your credit score and your sexual attractiveness (Shteyngart is a little more explicit about this virtue).
Shteyngart has taken those of us attached to our smart phone a couple steps further in our dependence on technology, all of the characters have “aparrat” (imagine a iPhone the size of the iPod shuffle) that constantly streams data about themselves and everyone around them, ranking individual against each other. Shopping is not only the nation’s pastime but an imperative to maintain the necessary credit score and Juicy Couture takes on new dimensions in Shteyngart’s Manhattan. The population considered LNWI, low net worth individuals, have been rendered homeless and with the luck of fortune-teller, Shteyngart foretells a more violent version of the Occupiers in Manhattan parks.
Perhaps the most terrible in this near future world is the disappearance of books. Reading is so passé that Lenny, a reader and collector of books, brings shame on his girlfriend when he tried to read to her. To have the smell of the books on your hands is a akin to blood on your hands.
The characters are shallow and SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY’s universe is grim however, you cannot debate the effectiveness of Shteyngart’s skill in creating exactly what he must have intended. Shteyngart, a Russian-American, mixes the fatalism of his motherland’s writers and an American’s capacity to meld technology and society into an insightful novel that sometimes hits too close to home.
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart was received for free for review by Boston Book Bums
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- Issues with Bibles in battle (via Atlantic)
- Andy McNab continues to prove a popular author, post SAS career (via Spenborough Guardian)
- Ian Fleming loved his commando past (via Guardian)
- Final days of US Grant (via CS Monitor)