The Coincidence Of The Arts

All posts tagged The Coincidence Of The Arts

Book Tag – Shelfie By Shelfie #11

Published September 26, 2018 by bibliobeth

Image edited from: <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame image created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com</a>

Hi everyone and welcome to a brand new tag – Shelfie by Shelfie that I was inspired to create late one night when I couldn’t sleep. If you want to join in, you share a picture (or “shelfie”) of one of your shelves i.e. favourites, TBR, however you like to organise them, and then answer ten questions that are based around that particular shelf. I have quite a large collection and am going to do every single bookshelf which comprises both my huge TBR and the books I’ve read and kept but please, don’t feel obliged to do every shelf yourself if you fancy doing this tag. I’d love to see anything and just a snapshot of your collection would be terrific and I’m sure, really interesting for other people to see!

Here are the other Shelfies I’ve done: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  7 8 9 and 10.

Anyway – on with the tag, we’re finally onto the top shelf of my second bookshelf. I’ve chosen not to bother sharing the bottom shelf of my first bookshelf as it’s filled with all myself and my boyfriend’s science textbooks and nobody’s interested in those, are they?!

And here are the questions!:

1.) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?

Finally Beth, we have some organisation and things look a bit tidier! This bookshelf has the honour of being one of my emptiest and most organised bookshelf. If only they all could be like this – sigh. Up on the top shelf we have mostly non fiction hardbacks which belong to both my boyfriend and myself. He tends to primarily read non fiction but will indulge in a fiction from time to time (more about that later).

2.) Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you i.e. how you got it/ a memory associated with it etc.

I’m going to go with Thames: Sacred River by Peter Ackroyd. I haven’t read this book yet but Mr B (my other half) has and highly recommends it. Whenever I look at this book I think of him and the time we spent together living in London. We moved to the countryside a couple of years ago to get away from the busyness and hectic commute that I had when living in London but I still have very fond memories of the city and the exciting things we did when we were there.

3.) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

Funnily enough this isn’t a hard question this time round as it would be one of Mr B’s books – The Zone Of Interest by Martin Amis. I recently read a short story by Martin Amis called The Coincidence Of The Arts and have always been curious about him as a writer. I really didn’t enjoy it and probably won’t read anything else by him, he just isn’t an author for me.

4.) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

It would be The Casual Vacancy, an adult novel by J.K. Rowling. I probably won’t re-read it myself but I gave it to Mr B some time ago as I thought he would enjoy it and he STILL hasn’t got round to reading it yet. I would save it and then push it into his hands, reminding him that he still has to read it!

5.) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

That again would be Thames: Sacred River by Peter Ackroyd which Mr B and I have had since our London days.

6.) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

That would be the book at the end which is The Brief History Of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories In Our Genes by Adam Rutherford. It was a Christmas present from my family to Mr B but I’m planning to get my paws on it either before he gets round to reading it or afterwards.

7.) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)

A VERY easy choice. That would be The Book Of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary by Caspar Henderson and Golbanou Moghaddas (illustrator). First of all, look at that cover. Then, look at the inside. My little bibliophile heart is going crazy for all the gorgeousness!

How childish of me to choose the illustration with the “genital fingered” stomatopod. Tee hee.

8.) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

There are two beautiful bookends on this shelf which are two brass monkeys reading. How apt! This is a very special object to me as they were a present from Mr B when he passed by a charity shop, saw them and couldn’t resist buying them for me! I adore them with all my heart.

9.) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

I think this shelf says that I appreciate a beautiful book, I love to share books with my other half and that I enjoy a good non fiction read from time to time.

10.) Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

I won’t tag anyone but if anyone wants to do this tag, I’d be delighted and I’d love to see your shelfie.

For other Shelfie by Shelfies round the blogosphere, please see:

Chrissi @ Chrissi Reads FAVOURITES shelfie HERE and her Shelfie by Shelfie 2 HERE.

Sarah @ The Aroma Of Books Shelfie 1A, 1B, 1C 1D and 1E

Dee @ Dees Rad Reads And Reviews Shelfie HERE

Jacquie @ Rattle The Stars Shelfie HERE

Stuart @ Always Trust In Books Shelfie #1 HERE.

Jennifer @ Tar Heel Reader Shelfie #1, 2, 3, 4  5, 6, and 7

Paula @ Book Jotter Shelfie #1 HERE.

Gretchen @ Thoughts Become Words Shelfie HERE.

Kathy @ Pages Below The Vaulted Sky Shelfie by Shelfie #1 HERE.

Jenn, Eden and Caitlynn @ Thrice Read Share A Shelfie HERE.

Thank you so much to Chrissi, Sarah, Dee, Jacquie, Stuart, Jennifer, Paula, Gretchen, Kathy, Jenn, Eden and Caitlynn for participating in Shelfie by Shelfie, it really means the world to me. Hugs!

If you’ve done this tag or you’re one of the people above and I’ve missed out one of your shelfies please let me know and I’d be happy to add you to Shelfie by Shelfies round the blogosphere!

COMING SOON on bibliobeth : Shelfie by Shelfie #12

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Short Stories Challenge 2018 – The Coincidence Of The Arts by Martin Amis from the collection Stories To Get You Through The Night.

Published May 19, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s The Coincidence Of The Arts all about?:

An English Baronet becomes entangled with an American chess hustler and aspiring novelist and has an unexpected affair with a silent Afro-Caribbean woman.

What did I think?:

Coincidence Of The Arts is the first story in this collection in the section entitled “Stories To Intrigue And Excite.” With a heading like this, I must say I WAS quite excited to finally read some Martin Amis but at the same time, approached it with slight trepidation as I’ve read a few less than complimentary things about the author as a person and understand he has a bit of a reputation. I decided to talk to a friend about the author as to what his writing was really like as I knew my source had read a couple of his books and that he would give me an honest opinion that I knew I could trust. Unfortunately, although my friend told me the author could definitely write, he was less than pleased with HOW Martin Amis chooses to write his characters. In particular, he mentioned how black, working class and female characters are written in an extremely stereotypical and perhaps, not a very favourable way.

The British author of The Coincidence Of The Arts, Martin Amis.

Hearing all this, I tried to go into this short story with an open mind. I really do like to make up my own mind about things like this but to be honest, I didn’t have high hopes. The person who voiced his opinion on the author is incredibly honourable, has high morals, believes in equality for everyone and is very scathing of anyone who has obvious prejudices. In other words, he must have had a solid reason and hard evidence to have such a strong opinion. Was he right? I’m afraid so.

I’m not going to go into too much detail about this narrative, the synopsis sums it up pretty perfectly but it’s basically the story of a white English man, Rodney Peel living in New York and working as an artist, painting portraits of rich wives for their husbands. He has two main relationships in this story, one with aspiring black novelist Pharsin Courier and the other with a black woman who he desperately wants to paint but eventually ends up sleeping with on a regular basis. Not much really happens in the story of note to be fair, we mainly get Pharsin and Rodney running into each other and Rodney making excuses for not having read Pharsin’s novel yet. Then we get portions of text where Rodney is going out with a friend and telling him about his relationship with the mysterious woman. Things do connect up slightly at the end but the bare bones of this story make it a tale about art, literature and race.

The setting for our story, beautiful New York where the author, Martin Amis also now lives.

Okay, so where on earth do I start? This is such a strange little story that at times, I found myself wondering what the point of it was. Is Martin Amis trying to be too clever? Did I miss the point of the story entirely? Both these things are possible but in the end, I’m afraid this story just wasn’t for me. I’m slightly confused at it being placed in the “Stories To Intrigue And Excite,” section of this collection. Granted, I was somewhat intrigued by Rodney’s relationship with a woman who remains silent during their encounters but sadly, there was no point of this tale that excited me. In fact, some parts of it made me half laugh/half scrunch my nose up in disgust and others left me feeling distinctly uncomfortable. I’ll elaborate. There’s a point very early on in the story before Rodney and his lady friend have “done the deed,” and he’s talking to his friend about how fascinating he finds her. His friend very bluntly asks: “Have you two actually slimed?”

I couldn’t help thinking of this little guy….anyone remember Slimer from Ghostbusters?!

I mean, ewwwwww. I found it hilarious and utterly disgusting in equal measure. Aside from this awful little sentence my main problem with this story was the way people of colour were talked about both by Rodney and his hideous little friend. It was blatant racism of the worst possible kind and definitely does not sit well with me. I’m not sure if they were necessarily stereotypes but Rodney and friend talk about this woman that he is seeing in such archaic and ignorant terms, I literally squirmed whilst reading it.

I would like to try and end this review on a positive, I do always like to try and find something nice to say when writing a more critical review and in this case, I’d like to say that it is obvious the author can definitely write. I may not approve of the way he writes and talks about his characters but there is no denying he has a talent for spinning a yarn. It’s just a shame that from what I’ve heard from others and now, what I’ve read for myself, I will unfortunately not be treating myself to any Martin Amis in the future. If you can rest easy with these kinds of things in literary fiction, I’m sure you will enjoy his work – I however, cannot.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably not.

Star rating (out of 5):

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NEXT SHORT STORY: Beachworld by Stephen King from the collection Skeleton Crew.

Short Stories Challenge 2018 – Part Two

Published April 2, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to the second part of my Short Stories Challenge for 2018. I have to admit, I’m feeling a little disillusioned writing this post and preparing which short stories I’m going to read for the next few months as in Part One earlier this year, I had so many disappointments and very few stellar stories that stood out to me. I think the biggest failures for me would have to be The Balloon Hoax by Edgar Allan Poe and Books And Roses by Helen Oyeyemi but I could mention a few more. However, let’s end on a positive – there was the wonderful The Apple Tree by Daphne du Maurier and Dibblespin by Angela Slatter which completely restored my faith in short stories. It is because of stories like these that I want to carry on with this challenge and find more great authors like the many, many ones I’ve found so far, purely from their short fiction alone. Let’s do this!

Four Hundred Rabbits by Simon Levack from the collection The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime Vol 7.

20th Century Ghost by Joe Hill from the collection 20th Century Ghosts.

The Coincidence Of The Arts by Martin Amis from the collection Stories To Get You Through The Night.

Beachworld by Stephen King from the collection Skeleton Crew.

Set-Up by Dianne Gray from the collection Manslaughter And Other Tears.

Some Drolls Are Like That And Some Are Like This by Lucy Wood from the collection Diving Belles.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter from the collection The Story: Love, Loss & The Lives Of Women.

The Underhouse by Gerard Woodward from the collection The New Uncanny: Tales Of Unease edited by Sarah Eyre and Ra Page.

The Adventure Of The Copper Beeches by Arthur Conan Doyle from the collection The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes.

My Mother’s Wedding by Tessa Hadley from the collection Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre edited by Tracy Chevalier.