Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
31 March 2008

Weird book title awards

The Bookseller website reports that If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs was crowned the winner of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year, after a record-breaking 8,500 votes (33%) online…..The runner-up is I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen (20%) and in 3rd place is Cheese Problems Solved (19%).

I can think of a few weird book titles for the interesting times we are living in here in South Africa as well. No lawyers for rape accused by Jacob Zuma, for example. Or Free and Fair elections a British plot by Robert Mugabe. Or what about How I became the lovable person I am by Tony Leon….

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