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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Hitch 22 by Christopher Hitchins

Book Review Rating ♥♥♥♥♥

This is a memoir first published in 2010. My copy is the 2011 edition that includes a forward by Hitchens having earlier that same year been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. He died in December 2011. 
Christopher Hitchens was an author, journalist, essayist, pamphleteer and superb orator. His debating skills, honed at Oxford, were sharp, insightful and could leave his opponent feeling like they had undergone ten rounds with Cassius Clay.
To my utter shame I didn’t start taking an interest in Christopher Hitchens and his writings until around 2005. My introduction to Hitchens was through my love of the works of George Orwell. I stumbled upon Christopher Hitchens biographical essay ‘Orwell’s Victory ’, (known as ‘Why Orwell Matters’ in the USA), in a second hand bookshop. Not only was ‘Orwell’s Victory’ a superb piece of literature and a cracking read but it had the effect of wanting to know more about Mr. Hitchens.
Hitch 22 details his relationship with his parents, loving, beautiful but distant mother and uncommunicative, stoic but heroic father. Names are dropped within the book like so many autumn leaves; Salman Rushdie, James Fenton, Richard Dawkins, Martin Amis etc etc. But, this is not an attempt by Christopher Hitchens to show off or communicate to the outside world about his highly influential friends. Each name is ‘dropped’ to illustrate a point or to help frame a chapter and give it context.
There have been many superlatives used to describe Christopher Hitchens, erudite, witty, passionate and rhetorically astute. It is not only hard to think of new ones but it is difficult to disagree with any of them.
Hitch 22 is 422 pages of the English language in perfect harmony. His writing style is the language equivalent of the Taj Mahal or the Potala Palace in Tibet: beautifully constructed with no superfluous building materials.

Number of Pages - 442
Sex Scenes - None
Profanity - None
Genre - Autobiographical

Below is a wonderful compilation of what have become known as Hitch Slaps. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Salman Rushdie at the Edinburgh Book Festival

Last month my daughter Charlotte and I attended a talk by Salman Rushdie at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Salman Rushdie, of course, is the author of The Satanic Verses, the book that resulted in a fatwa being issued on him by the then leader of Iran the Ayatollah Khomeini. My favourite book written by Salman Rushdie is Midnight's Children which deservedly won the Booker of Bookers.
I just received an email form the Edinburgh Book Festival organizers that Salman Rushdie's event is now on the Book Festival website:
Take the time to listen to this and you will not be disappointed. Salman Rushdie is urbane, erudite and funny. Enjoy.