I see that novelist Wilbur Smith has died aged 88, and I have to mourn one of the world’s great storytellers.
Longtime Readers will recall that when anyone asks me to recommend books about South Africa, I recommend Wilbur Smith’s Courtney trilogy (When The Lion Feeds, The Sound Of Thunder and A Sparrow Falls ) as the best of the bunch (along with Stuart Cloete’s Rags Of Glory, for the Boer War).
Having read almost all Smith’s Africa novels, I have to say that after a while the stories become somewhat formulaic — but that does not take away from their wonderful pacing, excellent settings and gripping conclusions. In fact, it says quite a lot that I, knowing all that, still have read and continue to read his books as soon as they appear on the (digital) shelves. In other words, even though I pretty much know what’s going to happen within the first few chapters, I still continue to read because at all times, I learn stuff about the location(s) of the stories and their characters.
Sooon there’ll be no more Wilbur Smith novels, and I have to say, a little joy has gone out of my reading world.
There’s a new Kim du Toit book on sale.
Just be warned: it’s nothing like my usual fare.
The idea came to me shortly after Connie died, and I wrote most of it while staying at Free Market Towers.
I’m still working on Skeleton Coast; while it is completed (finally!), I have to reformat it the whole thing to make it work in both print and Kindle, which requires almost a line-by-line edit. It should all be done by the end of next week.
I have very few novels in hardback on my bookshelves, other than some of the classics (e.g. Les Miserables ). Of the modern genre, fewer than a dozen.
But the very first novel I bought in hardback — after destroying two paperback copies thereof — was Frederick Forsyth’s The Day Of The Jackal, which is quite possibly the greatest thriller ever written. (If you’ve never read it, get a copy now; you’ll thank me later. My copy is leather-bound, by the way, and I think I’ll read it yet again, because it’s been years.)
The story behind the novel, of which I knew nothing, is equally astonishing. And no, I’m not jealous of Forsyth’s success; I’m just in awe.
A constant whine among stupid people — professors and students alike — is that Literature classes should no longer have to read Shakespeare because he’s “not relevant to today’s world” or some such nonsense.
Now I can understand why students whine about reading Shakespeare, because they’re ignorant and immature, and “that’s not English, dude” — IDK wht u sez LOL — as though if it’s not “modern” then it’s not worth learning.
I will also disregard the usual cant about Shakespeare being beyond the pale because he’s, like, old and a Dead White Male Patriarch to boot.
Over at Taki’s place, David Cole has written an absolute masterpiece on Aaron, the arch-villian in Titus Andronicus (one of my favorite of all the Bard’s works, because if you think that Brian De Palma is the be-all and end-all of violent writing, Andronicus has him beaten by a country mile).
What Cole proves (as though any proof were needed) is just how relevant Shakespeare is in today’s world. And what Shakespeare proves is that when it comes to the human condition, there’s very little new under the sun.
Go there now and read it all.
And then read Titus Andronicus, for the full treatment of malevolence and violence.
If anything can bring on a RCOB Moment, bullshit like this would be in the Top 3:
NPR Advises Readers to ’Decolonize” Their Bookshelves by Removing White Authors
If I did that, all I’d be left with are books by Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. Just so we’re clear on what’s being discussed here:
Since that pic was taken, quite a few have since been passed out to the Ungrateful Wretched Children (e.g. the Great Books collection on the right, snatched up by the Son&Heir, and on the top right, the Classic Novels, appropriated by Daughter).
If those motherfucking Commies at NPR think I’m going to “decolonize” my book collection to rid myself of “the colonialist ideas of narrative, storytelling, and literature”, I have news for them. What they call “colonialist”, I call “classical” — they can’t just change the language to fit their little politically-correct narrative.
Well actually, they can — I just don’t have to go along with it. And I won’t.
Here’s a thought. If we’re going to get all purge-y and such, let’s not fuck around with bookcases. Let’s get serious: