I really need to be careful when switching between the iPad and the Mac. I just lost the last paragraph of something I’d been writing in Tot on the iPad when I tried to pick it up in Tot on the Mac. Not Tot’s fault, of course, the problem is with iCloud. That syncing feeling …

I’m not consistent in choosing filenames (slugs) for posts on my website. Sometimes I’ll use an initial capital for proper names because it’s allowed: the names are case sensitive. But often I’ll use all lowercase because it looks neater. Depends on my mood, I think.

I just found out that there’s a new Marcin Wasilewski Trio album out today, 🎹En Attendant🎶. I’ve ordered the CD direct from the ECM website. Now playing their 2011 album, Faithful.

Sean O’Neill argues that the significance of Sally Rooney’s Irishness hasn’t been given the attention it deserves. He makes a good, if overstated, case. It probably needed overstating 📖

The phrase “vanilla JavaScript” has lost none of its power to irritate the hell out of me. Why are tech people so bad at knowing what to call things? Other examples: “augmented reality”, “legacy apps” 🤷‍♂️

Problematically, Substack does not identify which authors are part of the Substack Pro programme.

Yeah, that’s capitalism for you. Very few businesses publicize commercially sensitive information. (From Melville House Press)

Before I deleted my Google account, I had been artkavanagh@gmail.com for 15 years. I regularly got emails — one concerning someone’s mental health and several about financial transactions — intended for other Art Kavanaghs. So I sympathize with Sara Morrison’s plight

That’s twice in one day I’ve come across (unrelated) references to Howard Carter and Tutankhamun’s tomb. Coincidence? Almost certainly.

I’m back doing my own coffee-grinding for the foreseeable. I cycled to Castlebar Aldi on Friday to stock up on their ground espresso but there was none left so I went online and ordered 4 Kg of Lavazza Gran Espresso beans. Enjoying the first cup now, and I do mean enjoying ☕️

When I was writing last week’s issue of the newsletter (about the Jackson Brodie series) I forgot to include a link to something I’d written before, about Kate Atkinson’s first novel. I’ll add it to the web archive but it’s too late to amend the email.

I write most things that are intended for my own site in nonstandard but valid Markdown, i.e. mainly “plain” text with html tags where necessary. I was using iA Writer to convert the Markdown to html but a few months ago, I tried TextBuddy and it’s much less fuss.

Innocence, ignorance or complicity (Kazuo Ishiguro) 📚

Ishiguro’s new novel provides the opportunity to take a second look at Kathy from Never Let Me Go

I haven’t read Kazuo Ishiguro’s very recent novel, Klara and the Sun yet. I’ll probably wait (at least) until it’s out in mass market paperback, as I tend to do with new novels. But, although I’ve no immediate plans to read it, I’ve been enjoying the buzz around its release, which has led me to read several reviews, including that by Vox’s Constance Grady. As I’ve written before, I’m sceptical about the value and the future of the book review, but Grady is one of a handful of reviewers whose work I still read regularly.

She finds Ishiguro’s newest work reminiscent of Never Let Me Go, the novel from 2005 which is probably his best known and most liked:

Never Let Me Go readers will recognize this narrative trick of Ishiguro’s. In that novel, narrator Kathy H. is a likable and intelligent child who is plainly living in a world of sinister secrets, but who does not have the scope of reference to make it clear to the reader immediately just what those secrets are. She experiences them as normal, and thus feels no particular need to explain.

This is at odds with my own perception of Kathy, which I wrote about some 18 months ago. I don’t mean to repeat what I wrote then, except to say that I believe it shows Kathy to be complicit in the cruelty of the authorities and the medical profession. It is because of her skill at helping the donors to recover quickly after the first three donations, and in keeping them calm and distracting their attention from what will be done to them after the fourth, that she has remained a carer (and postponed her own donations) for more than 11 years. If Kathy is reticent about revealing her complicity, it’s not entirely because she has failed to grasp the full horror of what is happening to her former fellow-students.

To judge (only) by the reviews of the new novel, Klara sounds like a much more benign, less compromised “character” than the earlier book’s Kathy was. I’m looking forward to finding out — but not for some time.

I originally posted this on Medium on 7 March 2021. I’m probably going to delete my Medium account soon — I gave it a reprieve 4 months ago, so I could try it out using a custom domain — so I’m moving this post here.

The latest issue of my Substack newsletter is about Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series of novels. I expect to feature another of her books, Transcription, in a few months, when I write about recentish spy fiction 📖

Four months ago, I resumed paying the Medium membership fee to get a custom domain name and hoping for better recommendations. But the quality of items in my feed remains low and the views for my own posts have fallen off. I’m again thinking of leaving, if things don’t improve.

One thing (of very many) that annoys me about Google is that, if I click a search result and then follow a few more links from there, the only way I can get back to the results is by clicking Back repeatedly. The results page isn’t in my History (at least not in Safari) ☹️

I detest websites that make the fan start up on my (Intel) MacBook Air. LinkedIn is one of them if I leave it open too long. That in itself might be a good enough reason to delete my account. (I’m just looking for an excuse, really.)

This WSJ story is the first of the many pieces I’ve read on the Supreme Court’s order on the Texas abortion law to explain the issues in terms that I could understand: it’s about standing (again); via @Dave

I just joined literal.club where my username is @artkavanagh (as it is almost everywhere except Twitter). I deleted my Goodreads account some time ago, so I haven’t got any shelves to import. Looking forward to connecting with many of you there 📚

… perhaps there are no new forms – of writing, of personal connection, of belief in something that gives meaning to the world. Perhaps there is nothing for it but to reoccupy the old ones with renewed vigour.

Fintan O’Toole writes about Sally Rooney’s third novel 📖

The most recent issue of my newsletter, Talk about books, is about Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie novels. I’ve been wanting to write about them for some time 📚

I just deactivated my Reddit account. I never really felt I belonged there. Interestingly, a deactivated account is not recoverable, while other platforms offer deactivation as an easier, more straightforward alternative to deletion, to make it easier to reactivate them.

I’ve used autocomplete in preference to bookmarks in my browser since autocomplete started. I visit Charles Arthur’s The Overspill almost every weekday. So, when I enter “theovers” in the address bar, why does Safari still not know what I mean? 🤷‍♂️

I don’t usually like “very short stories” or flash fiction because, too often, there just isn’t room for the story, or even a story. But I always make an exception for Hannah Whiteoak. This one had me in stitches. OK, maybe it’s more a joke than a story.

TIL that Rupert Holmes, who wrote the novel on which Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies🎬 is based, is also responsible for “The Piña Colada Song”. I’m utterly appalled. Inconsolable.

Richard Williams, reviewing Marc Johnson’s solo bass album, Overpass, points out that Charlie Haden, “who recorded many times in a duo setting,” never made a solo recording. He “saw music essentially as a conversation”. I love Haden’s duos with pianists, and one of Johnson’s 🎶