This week I read Patti Smith's memoir of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, Just Kids. The language was a bit pretentious sometimes, and some pages were just lists of names of famous or semi-famous people Patti Smith hung out with, but there were a lot of good moments, and reading about young people being… » 4/09/14 4:48pm 4/09/14 4:48pm

Lots of trains and tubes and planes lately, so I managed to finish a biography of Gabriele d'Annunzio (Italian aesthete, poet, novelist, womaniser, preacher of war, war hero, cocaine fiend, etc. he did a lot of stuff), as well as: » 4/02/14 4:52pm 4/02/14 4:52pm

I adored Joyce Carol Oates' The Accursed—yes, it does drag here and there, especially in the first 100 pages or so, but there's just so much cool stuff in it (death-by-jellyfish, a bizarre cameo by Sherlock Holmes, the Laoitian sleeping sickness, unstraightforward vampires, and "cannibal sandwiches", among other things), … » 3/27/14 9:54am 3/27/14 9:54am

After a relatively slow first 100 pages or so, I LOVED Joyce Carol Oates' The Accursed. I mean, it features death-by-jellyfish, a bizarre cameo appearance by Sherlock Holmes, a deadly game of draughts, a couple of chapters that are a cross between a Hieronymus Bosch painting and a fairytale, bluestocking temptresses,… » 3/26/14 3:52pm 3/26/14 3:52pm

I've been thoroughly enjoying Dishonored—so much so that, for the first time ever, I actually started it all over again almost as soon as I finished it, so I could try being even more stealthy, and explore all the nooks and crannies I'd ignored the first time round. I think the DLC is next. » 3/04/14 4:40pm 3/04/14 4:40pm

Halfway through Lauren Beukes' Zoo City. Really enjoying it so far—though I'm more interested in the worldbuilding and the mechanics of acquiring an animal than I am in the plot. Also I love the wit—"since [acquiring] Sloth I've been so monogamous I make the demonstration banana that Aids educators use to show how to… » 2/26/14 2:26pm 2/26/14 2:26pm

Have you ever played Betrayal at the House on the Hill? I can't figure out how obscure/popular it is, but I've loved it for many a year now. The players (each one a horror film stereotype—the jock, the creepy little girl, the Professor...) explore a haunted house, each new room something horror-tropey happens, until… » 2/25/14 3:07am 2/25/14 3:07am

1. Ambiguity is good, for two reasons: a) because it can generate fun speculation among fans, and b) because there's always something vaguely artificial about endings. I was also a fan of how the Sopranos ended. I did have some trouble with the fact that Lemony Snicket actually gave only very few answers at the end of… » 2/15/14 2:45pm 2/15/14 2:45pm

Finished MaddAddam, and really liked it, especially the future-slang Margaret Atwood came up with. But I didn't love it as much as The Year of the Flood—I'm not sure if that is because The Year of the Flood is actually a better book, or if it's because it's the first one I read of the trilogy. » 2/12/14 4:43pm 2/12/14 4:43pm

What Was Life Like for Inca Children?

Everybody knows that the Inca sacrificed children to their gods. Just last year, the internet was all over a study suggesting that the mummified corpses of sacrificed children from 15th-century Peru retained traces of alcohol and drugs—often with lurid titles describing the children as "stoned" and "drunk" before dying. A… » 1/30/14 11:27am 1/30/14 11:27am

I've finally played Tomb Raider 2013. I think I enjoyed it overall, but I found the overabundance of quick-time events annoying and, I don't know, often after an hour of gaming I'd leave the computer feeling weary and bitter. And I disliked most of the characters. BUT the fighting was often fun, and, as an archaeology… » 1/28/14 3:50pm 1/28/14 3:50pm

I finished Jesse Bullington's The Enterprise of Death, about an African necromancer roaming sixteenth-century Europe and having adventures with mercenaries, painters and prostitutes. It's amazing and I highly, highly recommend it, although there's a lot of detailed description of bodily decay and gory violence, which I … » 1/22/14 5:28pm 1/22/14 5:28pm

When my girlfriend's sister and her partner got married, each of the guests received the usual small bag of sugar-coated almonds, but their table-top RPG-playing friends also a pair of dice-mimicking chocolates each. They also had the theme from Pacific Rim playing as they walked away from the aisle. I took a lot of… » 1/22/14 11:02am 1/22/14 11:02am