You'll never gain weight from a doughnut hole.
Ho imparato che il mondo degli uomini così com’è oggi è una burocrazia. È una verità ovvia, certo, per quanto ignorarla provochi grandi sofferenze. Ma ho anche scoperto, nell’unico modo in cui un uomo impara sul serio le cose importanti, la vera dote richiesta per fare strada in una burocrazia. Per fare strada sul serio, dico: fai bene, distinguiti, servi. Ho scoperto la chiave. La chiave non è l’efficienza, o la rettitudine, o l’intuizione, o la saggezza. Non è l’astuzia politica, la capacità di relazione, la pura intelligenza, la lealtà, la lungimiranza o una qualsiasi delle qualità che il mondo burocratico chiama virtù e mette alla prova. La chiave è una certa capacità alla base di tutte queste qualità, più o meno come la capacità di respirare e pompare il sangue sta alla base di tutti i pensieri e le azioni. La chiave burocratica alla base di tutto è la capacità di avere a che fare con la noia. Di operare efficacemente in un ambiente che preclude tutto quanto è vitale e umano. Di respirare, per così dire, senz’aria. La chiave è la capacità, innata o acquisita, di trovare l’altra faccia della ripetizione meccanica, dell’inezia, dell’insignificante, del ripetitivo, dell’inutilmente complesso. Essere, in una parola, inannoiabile. Ho conosciuto, tra il 1984 e l’85, due uomini così. È la chiave della vita moderna. Se sei immune alla noia, non c’è letteralmente nulla che tu non possa fare.

~ D.F. Wallace, “Il re pallido”
(Einaudi, trad. di di G. Granato)

3 weeks ago | 35 notes
Fits straight into my definition of “heaven”. Also, too much cuteness in one picture.

Fits straight into my definition of “heaven”. Also, too much cuteness in one picture.

3 weeks ago | 4,339 notes
A Midsummer Night’s Blackberry Cake

NEW RECIPE ON THE BLOG: A Midsummer Night’s Blackberry Cake

Blackberry, Yoghurt and Rosewater Cake

What would you do if you knew you could not fail? If you had all the resources to fulfil one of your most cherished dreams; if the aspirations that the daily grind invariably crushes had a chance to come true? Most of the time, I think I’d cancel all my plans for the next couple of years, find myself a remote writer’s retreat, and hide away until I have a finished work of fiction in hand. But…

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3 weeks ago
1 month ago | 1,551,501 notes
Concludere le ferie in bellezza.

Concludere le ferie in bellezza.

1 month ago | 2 notes

I may have just decided I need to go to Interpol’s gig in February.

It may have been the result of playing this song in my car as if the past 8 years had never passed.

1 month ago | 2 notes
God Help The Girl ⇝

Listen to the soundtrack, if you haven’t already. If there was a definition of “lovely music” on the dictionary, this would be it.

1 month ago | 1 note
Your whole life you are really writing one book, which is an attempt to grasp the consciousness of your time and place– a single book written from different stages of your ability.

~ R.I.P. Nadine Gordimer (via bookporn)

1 month ago | 349 notes
Oh my, it’s a book meme!

Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag [ten] friends, including me, so I’ll see your list. Make sure you let your friends know you’ve tagged them.

With many thanks to @youneedasoultraveller who tagged me.

It’s things like these that make me thankful for that Anobii account I still somehow remember to keep up to date. So, in no particular order:

1. James Ellroy - L.A. Confidential
James Ellroy is a hell of a dark, sick, twisted literary genius. No one ever wrote a thriller so perfect, complex and gripping as this one, and no one ever will.

2. Arundhati Roy - The God of Small Things
Few books portray the innocence of children and the deep connection between two human beings like this one. The language it’s written in truly is the language of love.

3. Jonathan Coe - The Rotters’ Club
If you ever were a teenager, you’ll definitely identify yourself with at least one of The Rotters’ Club's characters. If you're an adult, you'll feel a pang of nostalgia for those years: the years when music was all that could speak your mind, the years of uproarious inside jokes with your mates, the years of cruel, unrequited love, the years of fleeting, unconditional happiness intertwined with doubt and fear of the future to come. And these are just two of many, many reasons why this is a book worth reading again and again.

4. Zadie Smith - White Teeth
Zadie Smith never wrote another book as good as this, and however good a writer she is, I suspect she never will. White Teeth is a masterpiece from start to end, with its bunch of perfectly sketched characters, its colourful and characteristic language, and a plot capable of making you laugh out loud, cry your heart out and burst with anger, often at the same time. The fact that it’s set in a part of London I was living in when I read it is an added bonus, which made the experience even richer, and inspired me a tiny bit of love for that shabby side of North-West London, despite myself.

5. Mordecai Richler - Barney’s Version
Read this, and you’ll find yourself rolling on the floor laughing in no time. Then you’ll start recommending it to every friend or family member willing to listen to you (prepare for a few “Enough with that damn book already!” or “Barney’s what?”). Next thing you know, you’re texting your best friend, who read it thanks to you, exchanging your favourite quotes and rolling on the floor laughing alone in your bedroom like a silly thing. I’m speaking by experience, folks - and you must read this.

6. Junot Diaz - This Is How You Lose Her
This is the one I read most recently. I simply love Diaz’s writing, and was eager to read his next work after The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It was well worth waiting all these years.

7. David Foster Wallace - The Pale King
David Foster Wallace has a talent for saying the petty, apparently insignificant yet extremely meaningful things that go through your head and you’d never have the guts to write down. I lost count of the times I’ve spotted a thought or a detail on a page, and said to myself “This. just THIS”. Reading The Pale King often felt like hearing someone speak my mind. I now want to read everything DFW ever published - I suspect it will be just as eye-opening, or even more.

8. Jonathan Franzen - The Corrections
Far too many years ago, my mother bought this book, and left it on her shelf, unread, for months. I finished it before she could start it, and pretty much begged her to read it as soon as she could. If you like family sagas, this is the best you can get - Franzen’s writing inspires strong feelings and meaningful reflection like very few authors can.

9. Nick Hornby - Fever Pitch
Everything I know about British football, I know because of this book (and David Peace’s The Damned United, which is one hell of a good read as well). Nick Hornby’s writing voice is hilarious, heartfelt and irresistibly human - this is his best work, together with High Fidelity.

10. Daniel Pennac - The Fairy Gunmother
This is the first “adult” book I remember reading and actually enjoying; as many others, one I surreptitiously picked from my mother’s shelf, at an age when I was still supposed to read children’s books I’d long outgrown. It inspired me a love for intricated family sagas, dark humour and introspective, heartwarmingly human main characters that stayed with me until this very day.

Now, I’m too scared to spam anyone to actually tag you, so let’s do it like this: rip this off my page if you’re in the mood for doing it, just make sure you tag me so I can have a look at your list. Deal?

1 month ago | 2 notes
The mother of all GPOYs.(by Gemma Correll)

The mother of all GPOYs.
(by Gemma Correll)

1 month ago | 2 notes
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