BARRY GRAHAM, author of books including THE BOOK OF MAN (an American Library Association best book of the year), THE WRONG THING (finalist for SPINETINGLER MAGAZINE best novel of the year), WHEN IT ALL COMES DOWN TO DUST (a MYSTERY PEOPLE best book of the year) and KILL YOUR SELF: LIFE AFTER EGO, an Amazon Kindle bestseller in the Zen category.

The Zen of Jake Hinkson

In All Due Respect #3, there’s an interview with Jake Hinkson, author of Hell on Church Street (for my review of that, click here), in which he says:

There’s a lot of comfort in the myth of personality—the myth that says people just are who they are—but it’s not true. The reality, I think, is that personality is always in flux and it’s always contingent on context. The rough materials of a personality may stay the same, but people grow or they shrink, they get better or they get worse. Some people gain wisdom. Others calcify in old ways of thinking.

Hinkson articulates why I believe in neither punishment nor redemption. Unless you catch and punish a person at the exact moment that they commit the crime, you can’t punish that person, because they won’t exist for long enough. By the time a person is executed for murder, the murderer is long gone, and the person who is executed has been reborn many times.

I just got a package in the mail from my friend M.V. Moorhead, containing these two books—Gold Medal paperbacks! The Burnett one is perfectly timed, as I’m writing a column about him for The Big Click.
The only one of Hamilton’s Matt Helm novels I’ve read is The Removers. I remember liking it, but that was decades ago, so I’m looking forward to reading The Betrayers.
Speaking of Moorhead, and of pulp fiction—he’s the author of a great zombie novel, The Night Before Christmas of the Living Dead.

I just got a package in the mail from my friend M.V. Moorhead, containing these two books—Gold Medal paperbacks! The Burnett one is perfectly timed, as I’m writing a column about him for The Big Click.

The only one of Hamilton’s Matt Helm novels I’ve read is The Removers. I remember liking it, but that was decades ago, so I’m looking forward to reading The Betrayers.

Speaking of Moorhead, and of pulp fiction—he’s the author of a great zombie novel, The Night Before Christmas of the Living Dead.

WHO’S AFRAID OF MACHIAVELLI?

I think Machiavelli’s analysis of power is the most brilliant I’ve ever read, so I enjoyed this BBC documentary about him. I have two quibbles with it, one minor, one major.

The minor one is that it is historically erroneous to claim that Neil Kinnock was beloved by the Labour Party during his time as its leader. He was a deeply divisive figure, loathed and despised by much of the party’s membership (including me at the time; I’m one of the many who left the party because of him).

The major flaw of this documentary is that it focuses only on The Prince, with no mention of The Discourses, thus presenting only half of Machiavelli’s theory of power - and, by doing so, somewhat misrepresenting the half it does present.

That said, it’s well worth watching. I now want to pilgrimage to his estate and drink some wine from his vineyard.