About mjhorn

Tom Pynchon's Liquor Cabinet: every drink in every Pynchon novel http://drunkpynchon.wordpress.com/

Buying McConaughey

Now, just because in a moment of weakness I may have conceded to a pretty girl that How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days isn’t a totally worthless movie, don’t think I’m some kind of Wedding Planner watching, Fool’s Gold digging Matthew McConaughey fan. No way.

But I saw Dallas Buyer’s Club last week, and I’m going to have to rethink that position. McConaughey has canned the bland charm he’d built a career on. Instead, he plays a gaunt, sick, scared, lascivious man with a big fight in him. All of a sudden, he’s more Daniel Day-Lewis than Ryan Gosling. Continue reading

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Black Mirror

Well that was sure unlike any TV I’ve seen before.

Dweeby but exhilarating. Preachy but chilling. The vibe half BBC half precocious student film. Like Dr Who and Spooks had a brilliant evil child. Fucking creepy. A bit spectacular.

Our Episode One protagonist, the British Prime Minister.

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Handsome Sikh Men

I’ve just noticed that one of the top Google searches sending people to this blog is “handsome Sikh men.” I’m worried these people might be disappointed at what they actually find here. So, in the interests of serving my audience: handsome Sikh men.

I have consulted the Sikh Philosophy Network forum on what Sikh women look for in men.
Quotes from the discerning Sikh ladies there accompany the following handsome Sikh gentlemen.

“First, I look for a well tied turban” Continue reading

Minor thoughts on DFW, literature, and weirdos

I don’t read biographies, really. This must be the first one I’ve read in years. On the other hand, I never had any chance of resisting a David Foster Wallace biography, what with having read just about everything he wrote and generally being fascinated and probably obsessed yes. Plus, it’s by D.T. Max, who wrote the absorbing–and crushing–New Yorker article on Wallace shortly after his death. If I didn’t read this biography, I’d never read any. Every Love Story is a Ghost Story is the name of the book, and it’s a very good one. The book I mean, not the name. But the name as well.

It’s a super handsome book, by the way. At least, my copy is. Nice paper.

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Transcribed Phone Sex, reviewed

“Do you think we talked enough about sex?”

Sex, obviously, is dirty and animal and dumb, and that’s all fine, but damn, can’t it be smart too? Like, just fucking interesting? It seems to me that we tend to screen off the bits of our heads that are most into sex, and regard them as not fully part of ourselves–as more brain chemistry than personality. But there’s a lot more going on behind that screen than just the brutish workings of your chosen sex hormone.

A few days ago, I finished reading Nicholson Baker’s Vox. The whole book is a single phone conversation between two strangers, nothing but dialogue. They meet on some sort of telephone hook-up sex line–their “wires cross”–and launch into one of the most engaging, intelligent, funny, sexy, true conversations I’ve ever read in a book.

No idea what the cup of tea is doing there. Pretty sure tea did not feature in the book.

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What Happens in Amsterdam

…sort of ruins Ian McEwan’s book, Amsterdam, as far as I’m concerned. Most of the novel takes place in England, and is quietly excellent. It’s just the last section in the eponymous city. The weird section.

On the plus side, the book is really short.

The word I most want to use to describe that ending, actually, is silly. Continue reading

Headscarf Girls

He walked through to a hall with pictures of roosters on the walls; in the centre of the hall was a small cock fighting ring. At this moment Ka realised he was in love with ─░pek. And, sensing that this love would determine the rest of his life, he was filled with dread.

Yesterday, I finished Snow, a novel by Turkish winner of big fancy prizes, Orhan Pamuk. I’ll keep post this more or less spoiler-free, I promise. Pamuk places himself (or a ghost of himself) as the narrator of the book, describing the experiences of a poet friend named Ka in the small Turkish town of Kars. (Incidentally, “kar” is Turkish for snow. You can safely assume there is some snow in the book.) In the novel, Kars has become a focal point for tension between the forces of Turkish secularism and political Islam; after the secularist government banned Islamic headscarves in state schools and universities, a string of Islamic activists known as the headscarf girls killed themselves. When the town is closed off from the outside world by (you guessed it) snow, it becomes a crucible for testing this tension. Snow plays out the struggle between politically expressed religion and modernising secularism in events covering a period of about three days. Plus, Pamuk manages to get through a whole love story in the same time-frame. Positively Shakespearean compression.

The very handsome Turkish first edition.

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