Archive | December, 2010

30 December 2010 0 Comments

Hometown ‘paper, and year’s best books

No matter how many profiles and reviews an author gets, the first time in his hometown newspaper is a special one. So I’m delighted to have been profiled this week in the South Wales Argus, which is published in Newport. It’s a fine article by Alison Sanders, an Argus reporter, and it includes my liking […]

30 December 2010 2 Comments

Into costume: My book promo Pt. 1

My new book MOZART’S LAST ARIA will be out in the UK in May. Naturally this means a revamp for my website (coming soon) and a new promo video (coming about the same time) to be posted to Youtube. You know, all the stuff writers actually get into the business of writing in order to […]

25 December 2010 0 Comments

Bethlehem upbeat for Christmas

For the first time in years, the people of Bethlehem have something more to celebrate at Christmas than the recollection of an important birth in their town 2,000 years ago. After the city’s economy was devastated by the Palestinian intifada over the last decade, Bethlehem’s economic recovery has picked up pace in the last year […]

24 December 2010 5 Comments

Review: N.Ireland’s new violence in Stuart Neville’s thriller sequel

Our understanding of distant places is so often based purely on their politics – particularly if they have some perceived impact on our own. Journalists tend to focus on that politics, because they can interview leaders and quote ordinary people talking about what those leaders are doing. Let’s say that journalism’s problem is that its […]

23 December 2010 2 Comments

Extreme weather boosts creativity

Samuel Johnson wrote that “When two Englishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather.” The good doctor wrote that in 1758, long before the conversation of Englishmen was informed by the hyperbolic outrage of London’s present tabloids. Just lately it seems he might amend his phrasing to “their only talk.” The British are in […]

20 December 2010 0 Comments

Pick-up artist protests in Israel

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah ended last week, bringing to a close an apparently great opportunity for sexual conquest. The Center for the Art of Seduction, a Tel Aviv business which runs courses to help men succeed with women (“Do you want to get every girl that you want?”), posted a video earlier this month […]

16 December 2010 0 Comments

‘Go **** yourself,” and plotting a novel

Raymond Chandler once described an activity (not important what) as being “as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency.” I have happened upon a dark corporate art still more wasteful and, being a writer, I see how it’s related to the plotting of a novel. I’ve had a […]

15 December 2010 0 Comments

Review: the new oil curse

Seizing Power: The Grab for Global Oil Wealth by Robert Slater (Bloomberg Press, $29.95) Just when Goldman Sachs had you convinced that Wall Street would be the instrument of global doom, this excellent primer on the future of oil arrives to demonstrate that the specter of diminishing crude reserves could be just as lethal. And […]

13 December 2010 0 Comments

New West Bank road to peace?

ST. GEORGE’S MONASTERY, West Bank — Gathered in the chapel of this outpost in the Judean Desert last week, the Orthodox priests chanted “Lord, have mercy” in Greek, in a service of blessing for a new road that makes the venerable building accessible to the growing number of tourists willing to dare a visit to […]

10 December 2010 0 Comments

Islamic dialogue site runs my interview

On a recent trip to Cologne, Germany, I was interviewed by journalist Eren Guvercin, who works for Qantara.de, a website which publishes in various languages and is intended to fill the media gap between “Western” and “Islamic” cultures. You can read Eren’s interview in German or in English. We chatted about Palestinian reaction to my […]