“What” by John Cooper Clarke (published by Picador)

The ridiculous, the sublime and points in between

Why “What”? What for? What’s the point? Why not why or where or when or which or who or whatever? Well, what does it matter? The point is, John Cooper Clarke, Doctor John Cooper Clarke actually, is a wordsmith, a professional wordsmith, a man who came to this Earth with a wonderful way with words, and he can use them however suits. We welcome them, whatever.

“Borneo, From Trails To Tales” by Charles Ryan (published by Sticky Rice Travel Sdn. Bhd.)

Photographs contain a celebration and a caution

Old Father Time and Mother Nature have joined in pleasing harmony during the passing millennia to create something special on the island of Borneo, home to striking landscapes and plentiful wildlife. Ideally, go and see, or at least put it on your bucket list, ...

“Revolusi, Indonesia and the Birth of the Modern World” by David Van Reybrouck (published by The Bodley Head)

Dutch colony a grim tale of oppression, avarice, cruelty

The author tells of what he describes as a “classic expat joke”, which goes like this: “Any idea where Indonesia is?”, prompting the answer, “Uh… not really. Somewhere near Bali?” No doubt it raises a greater chuckle among said expats than it might among ...

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“From Russia With Love” by Ian Fleming (to be published by Penguin Books in June 2024)

007 read by John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald

Of the 14 James Bond books written by Ian Fleming from 1953 to 1964, “From Russia With Love” in 1957 was the fifth and very nearly the last. Writing it had been excrutiating for Fleming, extending his talents to the utmost. He was sick ...

Deeper into the shadows with crooks and spooks

Fans of the murky worlds that emerged in the 20 Crime and Espionage back-catalogue novels from Penguin Randon House last year will welcome the batch of a further 10 to be issued in June, an opportunity to revisit some known authors or discover some ...

“Sleeping Dog” by Dick Lochte (published by Penguin Books)

Mystery of a dog with two tales

This crime thriller takes a couple of unusual approaches, firstly telling the story through two alternating viewpoints: those of a precocious and strong-willed, roller-blading, 14-year-old girl searching for her lost dog, and a hard-drinking, middle-aged shamus with hypertension and a dislike for precocious teens. ...

“Lou Reed” by Will Hermes (published by Viking)

Poet of unpleasantness

“I’m just your average guy,” Lou Reed sang in that grating singing/non-singing voice of his (it’s hard to get past that whine), an ironical assessment if ever there was one by a complicated and cocky man often full of drugs, booze and aggro but ...

"Other Paths to Glory" by Anthony Price (published by Penguin Books)

Killing then and now and forever

There’s a lot of artistic achievement to keep up with, from the cavemen’s daubs on their stone walls to the first clankings of the printing press to the discovery of the means to record sounds and sights, so – dash it all – no ...

’The Big Sleep’ and ‘Farewell, My Lovely’ by Raymond Chandler (published by Penguin Books)

Down dark streets with great one-liners

Here in this office, it’s a bit of puzzle why, of the 20 Crime and Espionage books published by Penguin last year, this Raymond Chandler volume is the only one to contain two novels, and full-length ones at that. The other 19 titles included ...

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“What” by John Cooper Clarke (published by Picador)

The ridiculous, the sublime and points in between

Why “What”? What for? What’s the point? Why not why or where or when or which or who or whatever? Well, what does it matter? The point is, John Cooper Clarke, Doctor John Cooper Clarke actually, is a wordsmith, a professional wordsmith, a man ...

“Revolusi, Indonesia and the Birth of the Modern World” by David Van Reybrouck (published by The Bodley Head)

Dutch colony a grim tale of oppression, avarice, cruelty

The author tells of what he describes as a “classic expat joke”, which goes like this: “Any idea where Indonesia is?”, prompting the answer, “Uh… not really. Somewhere near Bali?” No doubt it raises a greater chuckle among said expats than it might among ...

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“A Promenade in Parc Munkácsy” by Alexander York (published by Austin Macauley)

Colourful characters twist and turn in crime caper

Debut novelist Alexander York has seemingly gone for filmic atmosphere rather than minor style issues such as crossing the “t”s and dotting the “i”s, and Hungarians can be along for the scenic ride as the action sets out from England and passes numerous Magyarország ...

“Greyhound” by C.S. Forester (published by Penguin Books)

Dogged by death in the deep

C.S. Forester died in 1966 and he is not forgotten in The Budapest Times office, where we have a nice little collection of 18 of his books. But they don’t include “Greyhound”, and in fact we were a bit puzzled when it was published ...

“Too Much and Never Enough. How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man” by Mary L. Trump

Taking Donald down

Mary L. Trump has written a tell-all lengthy character assassination of her uncle, the 45th and current President of the United States of America