Back when I was studying Social Anthropology, I remember finding Counihan and Van Esterik's Food and Culture: A Reader very, very good. It covers a ridiculously broad spectrum of culture/food things. » 5/07/14 2:47pm 5/07/14 2:47pm

I was thinking that too re: Series 6 up until "Tabula Rasa" (the episode after "Once More with Feeling")... but then things went rapidly downhill, and I decided to skip the rest of the series after Episode 14. The characters were behaving too strangely, and no Giles. Thankfully, series 7 is great. » 5/02/14 3:27am 5/02/14 3:27am

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… » 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

4 Things the Ancient Wari Did Before It Was Cool

Because we have loads of written accounts of Inca life and history*, we know more about them than we do about any other ancient South American culture. But they were only around for about a 100 years (specifically, from 1438 to 1533)—loads of other equally amazing cultures had developed on the continent, long before… » 2/13/14 8:53am 2/13/14 8:53am

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