Review: ‘Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel’ by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor


Published by: Little, Brown Book Group UK
Publication Date: 20th October 2015   
Edition: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780356504834
Price: £16.99


Night Vale is a small desert town where all the conspiracy theories you’ve ever heard are actually true. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked ‘KING CITY’ by a mysterious man in a tan jacket. She can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City before she herself unravels.

Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.

Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: ‘KING CITY’. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures . . . if they can ever find it.

My Review

I love the Night Vale podcasts; the utter surrealism of the plot is perfect listening. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work so well in the extended format of a novel. While the plot has some merit, the writing is laboured and after a couple of chapters I found it dull.

I’m disappointed but have to give this one a 2/5

Review: ‘Failed’ by Mark Weisbrot


Published by: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 1st October 2015
ISBN: 9780195170184


Why did the Eurozone end up with an unemployment rate more than twice than that of the United States and six years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers? Was crisis in the Eurozone inevitable? What caused the prolonged economic failure experienced by the majority of the world’s low- and middle-income countries at the end of the 20th century?

Failed analyzes and ties together some of the most important economic developments of recent years with the common theme that they have been widely misunderstood and in some cases almost completely ignored. A central argument of Failed is that there are always viable alternatives to prolonged economic failure. Author Mark Weisbrot shows that political agendas are often the root cause of avoidable financial crises and drawing on lessons learned from previous crises, recessions, and subsequent recovers can prevent further failures in the future.

My Review

Interesting yet frustrating information is presented in this book.

The author’s main argument is that the recent recession and current difficulties in the Eurozone have been exacerbated by international financial organisations – the IMF, ECB and EC – in order to force the implementation of policies that would never be accepted by the electorate.

The author then expands the argument to cover historical recessions internationally, such as the Asian recession in the late nineties, and South and Central American financial crises in the first decade of the 21st century. He maintains that the IMF, directed by Washington, could have prevented these problems but chose not to, again in order to force through political changes that couldn’t be made at the ballot box.

If you’ve never considered the role of the IMF et al in politics, this book will be of interest, and an eye opener. If you are aware of the political machinations of the financial sector then it may prove frustratingly basic. The author presents adequate evidence for his claims, but it feels a though the whole book is an extended article, with repeated information padding out the chapters. It could also do with some formatting work. Things didn’t always flow correctly.


Lincoln book haul

I went to Lincoln with my sister for her 30th birthday today; I only bought six books..

From my favourite independent book shop, Lindum Books (4 Bailgate, Lincoln, LN1 3AE):

Ian C Esslemont
Return of the Crimson Guard

Mark Charan Newton
Nights of Villjamur
City of Ruin


Dorothy Whipple
The Priory

And from the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology’s Jew’s Court Bookshop (Steep Hill, Lincoln):

Kevin Leahy
The Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Lindsey

Both shops sell second hand and new books, and are housed in historic buildings which are interesting in themselves.

The books I bought have made me very cheery tonight for several reasons. The Esslemont books complete my Malazan collection.


I really liked the Dorothy Whipple book I bought last time I visited Lindum, and I really love the binding Persephone books have. It’s such high quality. I was pleased to be able to find another book by the same author and the lady in Lindum Books was very knowledgeable. You don’t get that sort of service in a chain book shop.

I was pleased to support the SLHA with my purchase, especially since finding books specifically about Lindsey isn’t always easy.

I ache quite badly; Steep Hill is a (well-named) killer and I’ve become more unfit since I last went to Lincoln. I really need to work on that. Back to the regular long walks it is.

Thoughts on ‘Suffragette’

Suffragette: an insulting diminutive coined in 1905 by the Daily Mail for women involved in the suffrage movement. Adopted by the WSPU as a badge of honour.
I went to see the new film about the Suffragettes on Thursday afternoon with my oldest friend. I really enjoyed the film, it was inspiring.

[There will be spoilers in this post, skip the first few paragraphs if you don’t want to know what happens. You have been warned, don’t complain.]

Continue reading “Thoughts on ‘Suffragette’”

Fact and fiction: the shootout at the OK Corral

I inherited a stack of books and DVDs at the weekend because my dad is having a pre-moving clear out. Among them was a set of books about the American West given to my dad by my grandparents in 1976, and a DVD of Tombstone, the film about the Earp brothers and the OK Corral fight.

Continue reading “Fact and fiction: the shootout at the OK Corral”