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review 2019-01-31 18:08
Give Me Everything You Have / James Lasdun
Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked - James Lasdun

A true story of obsessive love turning to obsessive hate, Give Me Everything You Have chronicles the author's strange and harrowing ordeal at the hands of a former student, a self-styled "verbal terrorist," who began trying, in her words, to "ruin him." Hate mail, online postings, and public accusations of plagiarism and sexual misconduct were her weapons of choice and, as with more conventional terrorist weapons, they proved remarkably difficult to combat.

James Lasdun's account, while terrifying, is told with compassion and humor, and brilliantly succeeds in turning a highly personal story into a profound meditation on subjects as varied as madness, race, Middle East politics, and the meaning of honor and reputation in the Internet age.


I first read this book back in 2013. I had a great deal of sympathy for the author, as I had four creepy men oozing their way around the outskirts of my life at that time and I was struggling to cope with the situation. Fortunately for me, none of them was nearly as persistent or proactive as the woman who troubled Mr. Lasdun.

On re-reading this volume, I was struck by two things. First, that the events in this book took place before we were really familiar with things like public shaming on the internet, revenge porn, and GamerGate and so many other attacks on people’s reputations in cyberspace. It’s taken a long time to get police interested in pursuing physical stalkers and their assistance has extremely mixed results, so I’m unsurprised that this author couldn’t get them effectively interested in his predicament.

Second, I have to point out that I don’t think this book wouldn’t have been deemed worthy of publishing if the author had been female. Women have to put up with this kind of behaviour with very little help from authorities on a regular basis. The reason that this book was “news” was because the victim was male and that character assassination on the internet was a new-ish thing.

I’m pleased to report that all four of the creepy men in my 2013 life are history. I don’t know where a single one of them is and I’m happy that way. Stalking is about power, having the power to make someone else’s life miserable while trying to get them to conform to some fantasy.

For observations on the stalking phenomenon, I would recommend Obsession by John E. Douglas (former FBI agent). For advice on keeping yourself safe, I would advise reading The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence by Gavin De Becker.

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text 2019-01-17 15:34
TBR Thursday
Strong Poison - Dorothy L. Sayers
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean
Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked - James Lasdun
You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? - Lyndsay Green
Lady Slings the Booze - Spider Robinson

So I'm actually almost finished everything on last week's TBR Thursday!  Yay me!


I'm really looking forward to Strong Poison, as I keep hearing good things from several of you (and I'm pretty enamoured of Lord Peter anyway).


And speaking of hearing from the rest of you, it sounds like very few of the Flat Book Society are too impressed with The Disappearing Spoon.  I'll still give it a shot, since I have it out of the library.


Next up is my February RL Book Club selection, Give Me Everything You Have.  I've actually previously read this, but way back in 2013, so this is more a brush-up to allow me to talk about the book with the club ladies.


I've also got retirement on my mind.  I'll be taking a 2 day course in February on preparing to retire.  But I remembered a book that I read way back--it was published in 2010 and that's probably when I encountered it.  The author's thesis:  that we concentrate too much on financials and not on the social aspects of retirement.  So I'm going to revisit You Could Live a Long Time, Are You Ready? now that I'm nearer that event to help me get my house in order.


Finally, I want to get back on track with my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project and the next book on the list is Lady Slings the Booze.  Sigh!  If you're a big fan of puns, Spider Robinson is the writer for you.  Unfortunately I just find them pun-ishing and I'm not too fond of his version of women either, so thank heavens its a short book.


I seem to also be slipping in a number of re-reads of old favourites, so we'll see how much progress I make on this list this week.


Looking forward to seeing what all my friends are enjoying too!


Have a great weekend!

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review 2018-04-28 18:20
Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked - James Lasdun
  This is his side of being stalked by a former student via the internet. He is detached as he tells the stalking tale. It maddened me. Why didn't he change his e-mail address? Why didn't he go to the local police first? I didn't care about the stalking part. It was unresolved by the end of the book.

What made the book worth reading was when he left the stalking part behind and told stories of his father, of Jerusalem, his train ride, and history of places and people he met. I got lost in those stories. His writing was excellent.
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review 2017-01-02 08:45
I didn't Fall for The Fall Guy....
The Fall Guy: A Novel - James Lasdun

The Fall Guy was just too slow. That is the basic reason that it was not for me. I'm not sure selling it as a "Taut psychological thriller " is doing it any favours because it is not taut nor is it really a thriller. It is more character study and yes some lovely literary writing the author has got going on here but although I love some literary stuff I need to have at least a sense that something might happen soon. Or at least a little tension.

I think it would have worked better from multiple viewpoints. We only get the one and that one is vaguely monotonous at times and seriously if I wanted to read a cookbook I'd get a cookbook. The plot kind of meanders along until quite late then suddenly things pick up but by then I was genuinely past caring. If we had heard from the other characters in the drama - and that is what this is a character drama- it might have added layers beyond lots of beautiful words tagged together to tell a rather long winded (yes it is only a short novel but trust me it feels long winded) story. For me the ending was lazy too.

Look it's not terrible, certainly James Lasdun has excellent writing skill but I was bored. The only reason I finished it was because it was short and I had an occasional eye on "maybe this is going to have a kick ass finale that will make all this worthwhile". Sadly that did not happen. At least not in my opinion.

I think The Fall Guy and I are not compatible. We had a brief interlude in time but the relationship really wasn't going anywhere.

If you like the Donna Tartt school of novels you will likely love this to be fair. I was the wrong audience and I'm probably missing the nuances of what the author was trying to achieve here, hey it happens.

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review 2016-10-11 14:11
Entertaining story
The Fall Guy: A Novel - James Lasdun

Wealthy Charlie and Chloe have invited Charlie’s cousin Matthew, a struggling chef, to stay with them in their luxurious home for the summer. Matthew stays in the guest cottage and dreams of perhaps one day living there as caretaker of the home.  He steps in as chef for the three of them and cooks enticing meals and they spend their days lounging by the pool or playing Scrabble.  But tensions, suspicions and jealousy slowly escalate and the cracks in their relationship begin to appear.


Saying anything more plot wise would go into spoiler territory. As for the writing, there were a few things that weren’t really credible and I kept thinking “Why doesn’t he just…?”  But I had such a good time with this book and the world around me was completely lost the whole time I read. It certainly kept me riveted to the pages enjoying the whole experience.  I was sure it was taking me in one direction when it never did so I was kept in suspense as to what would happen.  The author has created a chilling, sinister, erotic atmosphere that was very entertaining.   He truly knows how to tell a story and I’ll be checking out his other books soon.  Highly recommended.


This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

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