AUTHOR GUY PORTMAN'S BLOG

PORTMAN'S PONDERINGS, PROCRASTINATIONS, PREAMBLES, PROGNOSES & PARODIES.

1
7 Books I Wouldn’t Be Seen Dead Reading In Public
2
13 Unfortunate Book Titles
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5 Recommended Novellas
4
10 Ridiculous Religious Books
5
8 Macabre Books
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7 Books for 7 Moods
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15 Author Quotes about Ebooks
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7 Books for 7 Moods
9
Sepultura
10
Dark Fiction (Part III)

7 Books I Wouldn’t Be Seen Dead Reading In Public

This week’s post is dedicated to seven books that I would not be seen dead reading in public.

 

Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin

Celebrity autobiographies are anathema to me. This one looks particularly offensive.

 

The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese

I am sure that I am not alone in steering clear of book titles containing the word ‘voyeur’ when in public. Click here to read my review of The Voyeur’s Motel.

 

Riders by Jilly Cooper

There is a time and place for prurient filth. The public domain is not it.

 

Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler

No doubt Hitler would be furious if he discovered that his seminal work was being listed alongside tripe by Jilly Cooper & co. Its inclusion is because Hitler/Nazis tend to arouse strong reactions in people. If one is curious as to Mein Kampf’s contents, it is probably best exploring it in the privacy of one’s home.

 

Fifty Shades of Grey

‘A person who reads 50 Shades of Grey has no advantage over one who cannot read.’ Guy Portman

 

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

One would gain more respect clasping faecal matter in public than clasping a copy of this.

 

How To Meet Women On The Subway

Being seen reading this book on the subway/tube is one sure way of not meeting women on the subway/tube.

 

Which books would you not be seen dead reading in public?

13 Unfortunate Book Titles

I hope you are in the mood for some unfortunate book titles. Here are 13 book titles that I consider to be unfortunate.

 

Fellow Fags

 

How To Raise Your IQ By Eating Gifted Children

 

How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men

 

The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice

 

How To Succeed In Business Without A Penis

 

Games You Can Play With Your Pussy

 

Castration: The Advantages and the Disadvantages 

 

Street Sword: Practical Use of the Long Blade for Self Defense

 

Jesus And The ‘G’ Spot

 

Natural Harvest: A collection of semen-based recipes

semen

 

A Parent’s Guide To Preventing Homosexuality

 

The Pocket Book of Boners

 

A Passion For Donkeys

 

There will be a further instalment at some point.

 

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5 Recommended Novellas

In recent years I have read numerous novellas. This week’s post is dedicated to 5 of the more memorable ones. Click on the links to read my reviews.

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (1958)

Truman Capote’s masterful ability to develop character is on full display in this compelling and at times humorous tale about an independent young society figure with a past shrouded in secrecy.

My Review: Holly Golighty is a young woman living in 1940s New York. The story follows Holly’s ambiguous relationship with a nameless narrator, whom we are told almost nothing...(more)

 

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1962)

Whilst the morose subject matter (Gulags) will not appeal to everyone, this reader, an avid Solzhenitsyn fan, is of the opinion that One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of the best books ever written.

My Review: Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is a former POW serving a 10 year term in a Gulag on the Kazakh steppe for being a spy. He is innocent. The book chronicles a single day of his existence…(more)

 

The Legend of the Holy Drinker by Joseph Roth (1939)

This compact and compassionate novella has an alcoholic tramp protagonist. Its author, Joseph Roth, succumbed to a premature alcohol related death shortly after finishing this allegorical tale.

My Review:  The Legend of the Holy Drinker is a short novella written by the iconic Austrian-Jewish author and journalist Joseph Roth. Set in Paris between the wars the story is…(more)

 

Queer by William S. Burroughs (1985)

Autobiographical in nature, the book is an account of Burroughs’s life in Mexico, during a troubled time in his life. The author adeptly portrays a deep sense of longing and loss. 

My Review: Queer is an unreciprocated love story, in which the protagonist craves love and attention from a young American by the name of Eugene Allerton. Set in the American ex-pat…(more)

 

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1899)

Heart of Darkness is a disturbing, multi-layered story about what can occur when man exists outside of civilisation’s constraints. Readers are challenged to question the existence of being.

My Review: A steamship sailing up a river through the jungles of The Congo, in search of Mr Kurtz, a mysterious ivory trader, who has reportedly turned native…(more)

 

 

 

 

 

10 Ridiculous Religious Books

This week sees the fourth and final instalment in my religious books series. Here are 10 religious-themed books. I have added pithy/fictitious comments below each.

 

Experiencing Bible Science

‘Bible Science’ — That’s an oxymoron.

 

Scruples How to Avoid Them

Extreme supplication from the looks of things.

 

Saving Marriage by Applying Biblical Wisdom

That clenched fist is ominous.

 

The Christian Life is Exciting

The front cover fails to give that impression.

 

Can I Be a Christian Without Being Weird?

Yes, it is just about possible. But not if you are a Jehovah’s Witness.

 

Are Your Children Playing With Lucifer’s Testicles?

This is presumably a satire. I base this on its Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours (if Jesus wants it to).

 

If The Devil Made You Do It You Blew It

What if the Devil didn’t make you do it, and you did it of your own volition?

 

Why Confess Your Sins To A Priest

Why indeed?

 

Precious Princess Bible

Brimming with illustrations and captions, this pink abomination informs every little girl that she is ‘God’s precious princess’.

 

The Monsters Are Coming…

And the winner of worst front cover in the religious genre is…

 

8 Macabre Books

This week’s post is dedicated to 8 macabre books. I have added pithy comments/fictitious commentary below each.

 

Peculiar Children

Yes, that child is levitating.

 

Still Life: Adventures In Taxidermy

If you are seeking a ‘fascinating romp through the world of stuffed animals’ then look no further.

 

They Thirst

What a terrifying creature!

 

Dissection

This book is best tackled on an empty stomach.

 

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

I wonder what Jane Austen would make of this.

 

Rest In Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses

Intriguing: I am adding this to my reading list.

 

Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy

Yuck!

 

Do-It-Yourself Coffins

Yet another DIY coffin title! Erotica better watch out, there’s a new genre in town.

 

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I am the author of 3 novels. My next, Sepultura, is due for release in December. It is the sequel to the satirical, black comedy, Necropolis.

A Black Comedy of True Distinction

Dyson Devereux works in the Burials and Cemeteries department in his local council… 

Click here to claim your FREE copy.

 

7 Books for 7 Moods

This week sees the fifth instalment in my series of posts devoted to books for different moods. Here are more 7 books for 7 moods/states of mind. Click on the links to read my reviews.

 

In the mood for a Transgressive classic? (Perhaps you have seen the film but not read the book)

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange is a ground-breaking and controversial work set in a dystopian near future. It leaves many questions to ponder concerning behaviourism, free will and the purpose of punishment. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Interesting

 

Are you in the mood for something psychological, but don’t have much time. If so you might like:

Chess by Stefan Zweig

Chess offers the prospect of salvation, but also the threat of dissolution in this short psychological novella, which explores the delicate divide that separates genius from obsession and madness. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Mildly intriguing

 

Tired of the joys of summer? Then how about:

Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Whilst the drab setting, morose subject matter, distressing scenes, and length (nearly 600 pages) will not appeal to everyone, this reader was captivated by the book’s diverse characters and poignant prose. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Superb characterisation

 

Feel like reading an iconic humour book?

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner is less concerned with plot than focusing on absurd situations, designed to elicit a humorous response. The book boasts an obnoxious protagonist called Ignatius. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Overrated

 

If you are in the mood for something dark and poignant then I would recommend:

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

The Pearl is a novella about a destitute Mexican pearl diver who finds a very valuable pearl. It is a parable about the darker side of human nature that illustrates how riches can be illusory. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Good

 

If you are in the mood for a post-apocalyptic classic then look no further:

On the Beach by Nevil Shute

On the Beach is a cautionary and timeless post-apocalyptic novel whose central theme is an exploration of how people confront imminent death. This reader was impressed by the author’s adept characterisation. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Memorable & Melancholic.

 

If you are in the mood for some contemporary non-Fiction then this might appeal:

Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones

Composed of short, engaging chapters, Dreamland is a meticulously researched, multi-faceted work about addiction, entrepreneurship and the perils posed by unrestrained corporate greed. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Compelling

 

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15 Author Quotes about Ebooks

It was not so long ago that some were predicting that the end was nigh for printed books. However, in the UK at least, it is being reported that ebook sales are now declining whilst sales of printed books are on the rise.

The other day I came across this excellent quote by Stephen Fry (see below) about Kindle. This got me thinking about what my fellow authors think about ebooks/ebook readers. On conducting some research I discovered these perceptive and amusing author quotes on the subject. Here are 15 author quotes about ebooks/ebook readers:

Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators. — Stephen Fry 

Lovers of print are simply confusing the plate for the food. — Douglas Adams

It seems to me that anyone whose library consists of a Kindle lying on a table is some sort of bloodless nerd. — Penelope Lively 

Life without a Kindle is like life without a library nearby. — Franz S. McLaren, Home Lost

Growing up in the digital age, I’m expected to embrace all forms of modern technology with blissful ignorance. Books were always one of few escapes from this, because reading a book means not having to look at another damned glowing screen… — Rebecca McNutt

F@@k them is what I say. I hate those ebooks. They can not be the future. They may well be. I will be dead. I won’t give a s@@t. — Maurice Sendak

I guess you can call me “old fashioned”. I prefer the book with the pages that you can actually turn. Sure, I may have to lick the tip of my fingers so that the pages don’t stick together… Felicia Johnson

Have they all bought Kindles? I have one, and I use it most nights. I always imagine the books staring and whispering, Traitor! – but come on, I have a lot of free first chapters to get through. — Robin Sloan  

Stock complaints about the inherent pleasure of ye olde format are bandied about whenever some new upstart invention comes along. Each moan is nothing more than a little foetus of nostalgia jerking in your gut. — Charlie Brooker

If e-book readers were invented before print books, (petty things such as) the smell of ink would have been some people’s only reason for not abandoning e-books. — Mokokoma Mokhonoana 

They’ll get my Kindle when they pry it from my cold dead hands, if my corpse will release it. — Elizabeth Horton-Newton

Electronic books are ideal for people who value the information contained in them, or who have vision problems, or who like to read on the subway, or who do not want other people to see how they are amusing themselves, or who have storage and clutter issues, but they are useless for people who are engaged in an intense, lifelong love affair with books… — Joe Queenan, One for the Books

If you drop a book into the toilet, you can fish it out, dry it off and read that book. But if you drop your Kindle in the toilet, you’re pretty well done. — Stephen King

You don’t see people getting pulled over by the police for reading ebooks on their smartphones. — Jason Merkoski 

How do you press a wildflower into the pages of an e-book? — Lewis Buzbee, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History 

7 Books for 7 Moods

This week sees the fourth instalment in my series of posts devoted to books for different moods. Here are more 7 books for 7 moods/states of mind. Click on the links to read my reviews.

 

Are you in the mood for something different? If so then you might like this humorous and vulgar parody of the detective/mystery genre:

Pulp by Charles Bukowski 

This, Bukowski’s last book, is a noir detective tale featuring a rude and argumentative private eye. Dedicated to bad writing, Pulp employs a compelling, blunt prose style with short sentences and few adjectives. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Fast-paced & Unique

 

In the mood to be challenged?

Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis

Glamorama is a 482 page satirical work that adeptly captures the hedonism of 1990s New York. There are many bewildering elements such as the bizarrely numbered chapters of vastly varying lengths. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Convoluted & Challenging

 

In a pensive mood? Then perhaps this might be of interest:

The Plague by Albert Camus 

Set in the Algerian coastal town of Oran, The Plague is an existentialist classic that evaluates morality, the role of God and how we react to death. Its narrative tone and poetic prose style of prose will appeal to some. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Okay

 

If you desire a break from Fiction then look no further:

Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick 

Providing fascinating insights into North Korea, Nothing To Envy is an engrossing text that effortlessly captures the lives of its interviewed, defector subjects. This is my favourite non-Fiction book. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Engrossing

 

In the mood to read a good bestseller? You may well have read it already, but if not you might like:

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Imbibed with a sense of impending doom, Rebecca is a slow-moving, haunting and atmospheric literary masterpiece, boasting an expertly woven plot and an abrupt ending. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Impressive

 

In the mood to swap reality for dystopia? If so you might appreciate:

High-Rise by J. G. Ballard

Set in an apartment tower block in London, High-Rise is a dystopian tale about the intense animosity that develops between the building’s various floors. Its motif is the fragmentation of the social order. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Quite good

 

Are you in the mood for Transgressive fiction? If the answer is yes, here is a suggestion:

Novel with Cocaine by M. Ageyev

Novel with Cocaine is a nihilistic and philosophical novel about adolescence and addiction. It could be described as Dostoyevskian, due to its realism and the psychological exploration of its main character. Click here to read my review.

My Opinion: Good

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I am the author of 3 novels. Click here to join my mailing list and receive my book-related newsletter.

My next novel, Sepultura, is being released on December 2nd. It is the sequel to the satirical, black comedy, Necropolis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sepultura

I am pleased to announce that my fourth novel, Sepultura, will be released on Saturday, December 2nd. Sepultura is the sequel to the satirical, black comedy, Necropolis. It sees the return of Necropolis’s sociopathic protagonist Dyson Devereux. I will be revealing more information over the forthcoming months.

For a limited time only I am continuing to offer a free copy of Sepultura’s prequel Necropolis to everyone who signs up to my newsletter. Click here to do so.

Click here to see the 46 reviews and ratings for Necropolis on Goodreads.

A black comedy of true distinction

Dyson works for the Burials and Cemeteries department in his local council. Dyson is intelligent, incisive and informed. He is also a sociopath…

Here are a few snippets from Necropolis:

To look upon Irene is to stare into a looking glass, into a world of cheap retail outlets, suburban cul-de-sacs, Sky television itineraries, frozen Iceland trifles and Co-operative Funeralcare plans.

To my left a Lithuanian gravedigger idly picks his nose. To my right a mortician plays Sonic on his iPhone. Next to him a bereavement councillor’s afro-styled head lulls to one side. In the row in front a morgue rat, his head resting against his shoulder, snores loudly, a stream of drool hanging from the corner of his mouth. 

Alice, not his real name, works in the mailroom. I call him Alice because he looks just like the ageing rocker, Alice Cooper. Like the real Alice he sports a mane of black hair and wizened, heavily lined features, but for record sales read envelopes…

 

Click here to claim your free copy.

 

Dark Fiction (Part III)

This week sees the third instalment in my Dark Fiction series.

Definition: Dark fiction is concerned with the sinister side of human nature. It is often distinguished from the mainstream horror genre in that it tends not to be fantasy-orientated. Dark fiction may contain elements of black or satirical humour.

Here are six works of dark fiction. Click on the links to read my reviews.

 

The Pearl by John Steinbeck (1947)

The Pearl is a parable about the darker side of human nature, in which the author employs a simple yet captivating prose to illustrate how riches can be illusory.

My Review: Steinbeck’s novella, The Pearl, is a story about a destitute Mexican pearl diver by the name of Kino, who leads a simple existence with his wife Juana and baby son Coyotito. One day…(more)

 

The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson (1952)

The author adeptly employs suspense in this thought provoking, suspenseful and unrelentingly bleak first person narrative about a psychopath.

My Review: 29-year-old Lou Ford is a Deputy Sheriff from the West Texas town of Central City. Lou is a hard-working, trustworthy, simple character with a keenness for clichés; at least this is how he is perceived…(more)

 

Junky by William S. Burroughs (1953)

Junky

Junky is a semi-autobiographical novella, in which the author successfully utilises a detached journalistic approach to capture the obsessive nature of addiction.

My Review: Set in 1950s America and Mexico, Junky is a confessional novella about drug addiction. Its protagonist Bill Lee chronicles his drug-centred existence, which entails searching for his daily fix…(more)

 

Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)

The Bell Jar is about protagonist Esther’s year in the ‘bell jar’, a period in which the boundaries between the real and the imagined become blurred.

My Review: Having landed a highly-coveted position as an intern for a prominent New York based magazine, talented and intellectual Boston native Esther Greenwood experiences the glamour of the big…(more)

 

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis (1985) 

Easton Ellis’s debut novel is a nihilistic account of life in 1980s L.A. This is a graphic and disturbing book that utilises social commentary and plotless realism.

My Review: Set in 1980s Los Angeles, the story follows eighteen-year-old Clay, returned home for Christmas from college in New Hampshire. Clay immediately falls back into the L.A. social scene…(more)

 

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk (2005)

Haunted is a series of short stories, in which the author succeeds in not only amusing, horrifying and disgusting his readers, but also skilfully exploring a variety of themes.

My Review: Haunted is about a group of writers, who have been assembled by the conniving Mr Whittier to attend a writers group. The location of the retreat is in an isolated theatre with no access…(more)

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