The Register Columnists

Diston

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed
William Davies, The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being

The Happiness Industry, Seveneves and Confessions of a Tinderella

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston is joined by Vulture South's own Simon Sharwood and Vulture Central's Nigel Whitfield to pore through the latest from the publishing world. William Davies examines the current political and corporate obsession with wellbeing. Neal Stephenson's latest sci-fi tome adds a satirical spin to saving the …
Alan Turing

The Harder They Come, Hunters in the Dark and Fall of Man in Wilmslow

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest from the literary world with T.C. Boyle observing the saints and sinners at roots of American gun violence. Lawrence Osborne tells a gripping tale of expats adrift and running amok in Cambodia, and David Lagercrantz delivers a curious conspiracy in his fictional take on events in …
Mark Diston, 16 May 2015
Tracey Thorn

Poseidon's Wake, Naked at the Albert Hall and Farewell Kabul

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest from the literary world with Alastair Reynolds' latest – the final instalment in a sci-fi trilogy. Tracey Thorn delivers an amusing and insightful perspective on the lot of the singer, and journalist Christina Lamb gives a personal account of her life and work in Afghanistan. …
Mark Diston, 02 May 2015
Philip Kerr, The Lady from Zagreb book cover

Memory Man, The Lady from Zagreb and Blood on Snow

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston takes a look at the new releases in crime fiction with the latest from David Baldacci that introduces a new character series. Philip Kerr wheels outs Bernie Gunther for another wartime adventure and we've some Scandi noir from Jo Nesbo. Memory Man David Baldacci is a bestselling American novelist, …
Mark Diston, 25 Apr 2015
Philip Glass, Words Without Music book cover

Philip Glass tells all and Lovelace and Babbage get the comic novel treatment

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston chews through the latest literary treats with a fascinating autobiography from composer Philip Glass. Jesse Armstrong of Peep Show fame has a debut novel and for comic novel fans we've a curious take on the development of the first computer from Sydney Padua. Words Without Music Philip Glass is a …
Mark Diston, 18 Apr 2015
Andrew Morton, 17 Carnations: The Windsors, the Nazis and the Cover-Up book cover

17 Carnations, The Art of Creative Thinking and Last Night on Earth

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston looks at literature's latest with biographer Andrew Morton's take on our estranged royals' relationship with Adolf and his pals. University lecturer Rod Judkins compiles a book brimming with ideas to boost creativity and Kevin Maher's second novel has an Anglo-Irish, pre-millennium theme combined with …
Mark Diston, 11 Apr 2015

Irvine Welsh offers A Decent Ride, while the The Discreet Hero is yet to be revealed

Page File Irvine Welsh has maintained a phenomenal work rate and consistency over the last two decades. A Decent Ride is his new novel and reprises one of his characters from previous works: "Juice" Terry Lawson who Welsh aficionados will remember as the incorrigibly priapic one in Glue and Porno. The novel opens with Terry attending a …
Mark Diston, 04 Apr 2015
Ferdinand Mount, The Tears of the Rajas book cover

Blood Relatives, The Tears of the Rajas and The Fifth Gospel

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston looks at literature's latest with a compelling debut novel from Stevan Alcock. The days of empire in India get up close and personal due in no small part to Ferdinand Mount's well-documented family history. And for those with a taste for antiquity, Ian Caldwell's latest gives Dan Brown a run for his …
Mark Diston, 28 Mar 2015
Douglas Coupland, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Shumon Basar, The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present kitten warp

Ring Roads, After the Crash and The Age of Earthquakes: Guide to the Extreme Present

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston looks at the latest from the publishing world with two recent French translations of best-selling books from Patrick Modiano and Michel Bussi. We've also a curious comment on our life and times by Douglas Coupland, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Shumon Basar that could well find its way into hipsters' pockets …
Mark Diston, 21 Mar 2015
Exotic England, artwork

Our Endless Numbered Days, Junk DNA and Exotic England

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston looks the latest from three female authors in the publishing world covering very different areas. Making a very impressive debut in fiction is Claire Fuller's fantastical tale of survival. Nessa Carey explains some of the lesser known, yet fascinating facts of bioscience, and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown …
Mark Diston, 14 Mar 2015
The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution

The Rise of Islamic State, Touch and I Am Radar

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston pores through publishing's latest tomes. Seasoned journo Patrick Cockburn details the fall out of the war on terror. David J. Linden takes us on a tour of one of our lesser-regarded senses and Reif Larsen bewilders with his latest work of fiction. The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni …
Mark Diston, 07 Mar 2015
Shamed book cover

So You've Been Publicly Shamed, Style and The Buried Giant

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston leafs his way through three forthcoming releases. Remains of the Day author Kazuo Ishiguro's first book in a decade takes us on a mythical journey. Jon Ronson engages in a journey of his own having been victim of a social networking stunt. And Joseph Connolly entertains with his tale of guilty …
Mark Diston, 28 Feb 2015
Rise of the Super Furry Animals book cover

The Extreme Centre, Rise of the Super Furry Animals and The Kind Worth Killing

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston looks at the latest from the literary world. Tariq Ali dons his polemicist hat in support of the disenfranchised electorate. Ric Rawlins charts the success of one of the most celebrated bands to emerge from Wales, and Peter Swanson clocks up his second crime-thriller novel. The Extreme Centre: A …
Mark Diston, 21 Feb 2015
Kim Gordon, Girl In A Band book cover

To Explain the World, Girl in a Band and A Spool of Blue Thread

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston looks at the latest from the literary world with a splendid overview of scientific discovery from Steven Weinberg. Musician Kim Gordon kisses and tells on her life in and outside the band Sonic Youth. And for a Valentine's flavour, we look at the latest from award-winning novelist Anne Tyler. To …
Mark Diston, 14 Feb 2015
Guantánamo Diary book cover

Guantánamo Diary, Lurid & Cute and The Door

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston looks at the latest literary releases and weaves his way through the distressing story of ongoing Gitmo inmate Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Firmly in the realm of fiction, Adam Thirlwell's latest proves to be a unique and stylish work. The reissue of a Magda Szabó classic is also revisited and remains edgy …
Mark Diston, 07 Feb 2015
Christopher Brookmyre, Dead Girl Walking book cover

Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, Dead Girl Walking and Chasing the Scream

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest litery treats with a look at Russia's uneasy balance of state control and capitalism through the eyes of Peter Pomerantsev. Top-notch Scots crime writer Chris Brookmyre has another gripping investigative outing for Jack Parlabane and Johann Hari looks at the reality and practicality …
Mark Diston, 31 Jan 2015
Charles Bronson and Lorraine Etherington, Broadmoor, My Journey Into Hell book cover

Broadmoor: My Journey Into Hell, The Chimes and Cowboys and Indies

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston peruses the pick of publishing this week with a début novel from Anna Smaill whose musicality abounds in the post-apocalyptic tale. Back in the real world, one man apocalypse Charles Bronson tells more tales of life inside, and finally Gareth Murphy tracks the history of the music industry. The Chimes …
Mark Diston, 24 Jan 2015
The Year of Living Danishly

The Year of Living Danishly, The Internet is Not the Answer and Classical Literature

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest releases from the publishing world. Helen Russell discovers all that is Nordic is not noir after all, they're actually quite a content – medication optional. Silicon Valley sourpuss Andrew Keen reckons we're better off without the web or something like that. Meanwhile, Richard …
Mark Diston, 17 Jan 2015
Bookeen Cybook Ocean

An e-reader you HAVEN'T heard of: Cybook Ocean 8"

Review The e-reader market has not yet been conquered by the likes of Amazon and Kobo. There are still a number of less well known players out there making affordable or niche devices for the discerning shopper. French company Bookeen is focused on European territories with its book store, but that doesn’t mean the English-speaking …
Mark Diston, 10 Jan 2015
Conrad Schnitzler

I'm sooooo green: The Beginner's Guide to Krautrock

Feature At this time of year, most of us will have heard more than a few bars of Stille Nacht (aka Silent Night), perhaps sipped some glühwein (mulled wine) and chomped on some stollen. So how about a Teutonic taster of a different sort to last the whole year round? Focusing on the the pioneering electronic musicians of the late 20th …
Mark Diston, 03 Jan 2015
Nunslinger: The Complete Series

Nunslinger, Yosemite For Dummies and Life Inside The Fall

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston is joined by Andrew Orlowski to review the pick of publishing this week. A compilation of works from mysterious Stark Houghton tells tall tales of the wild west. Mac users can brush up their skills or get a break from hapless relatives with the latest from Bob LeVitus. And music lovers get a down to …
Daniel Bolger, Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars book cover

A general's tale of the US's Gulf War follies and Glyn Johns' life in music

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston looks at the latest from literature's non-fiction canon: US general Daniel Bolger endeavours to make sense of the senseless regarding America's operations in the Middle East and Glyn Johns, record producer for the stars, tells of his many, many, rock and roll years. Why We Lost: A General's Inside …
Mark Diston, 13 Dec 2014
The Art of Social Media

Guy Kawasaki's guide to social media, Hanif Kureishi's cash crash catharsis and more

Page File El Reg bookworms Lucy Orr and Mark Diston look at publishing's quirkier offerings this week. We have Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick on how to catch the "social disease", Hanif Kureishi on how to lose a personal fortune, and the hilarious CD Rose on how to sink without trace in publishing. The Art of Social Media: Power Tips …

Lord Lucan, Murakami's Strange Library ... and a hitchhiker's guide to the Computing Universe

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston trawls through the freshest releases in publishing. This week we have a trippy new Murakami about a murderous librarian, a murder mystery to suit Downton Abbey fans and lastly, a pop-sci romp through computing history that soon takes a turn for the sci-fi... The Strange Library Haruki Murakami has …
Mark Diston, 29 Nov 2014
Trouble in Paradise

Pervert's Guide man's new book, an urban myths tome and Youth, an underrated gem

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston trawls through at publishing's top notch texts. Bad boy philosopher Slavoj Žižek puts Russell Brand in the shade with his latest cultural critique, while urban mythmeister Jan Harold Brunvand has revised his entertaining and enduring tome that's a goldmine for comedians and sketch writers alike. And …
Mark Diston, 22 Nov 2014
Revival

Stephen King, William Gibson and The Quantum Moment

Page File El Reg bookworms Lucy Orr and Mark Diston look at publishing's finest in scary and science fiction along with scientific uncertainties. Back on form are Stephen King with his latest spine tingler and William Gibson with a brain-teasing tale. Meanwhile physicists Robert P Crease and Alfred Scharff Goldhaber set about proving that …
Marianne Faithfull: Girl on a Motorcycle

Danish lit star Helle Helle, Marianne Faithfull and Jim Al-Khalili on Quantum Biology

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest releases from the publishing world. Helle Helle proves a master of understatement while Marianne Faithfull's recollections seem large than life. And talking of life, scientists Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden shed light on the latest thinking on its mysteries. This Should be …
Mark Diston, 08 Nov 2014
Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy book cover

Tales of infiltration from Fight Club man Chuck Palahniuk, Peter Carey and Anonymous

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston leafs his way through the latest in literature and finds more transgressional fiction from Chuck Palahniuk, this time focused on stimulating experiences for womankind. Covert ops in cyberspace from Anonymous et al are tackled in Gabriella Coleman’s account of past and present events and two-time …
Mark Diston, 01 Nov 2014
Russell Brand

Weekend reads: Russell Brand's Revolution and Joy Division's Ian Curtis gets lyrical

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston peruses the pick of publishing this week and finds he prefers Russell Brand when he's on the page rather than on the telly, as the media messiah offers more words of wisdom on society's ills. The work of Joy Division's vocalist and lyricist is presented as never before and Daniel Handler, known to …
Mark Diston, 25 Oct 2014
Neil Young at Farm Aid 1985

Weekend reads: Neil Young and Brian Cox ponder cars and universe (in that order)

Page File Phil Strongman joins El Reg bookworm Mark Diston to review the pick of publishing this week. Neil Young's second autobiography is more, much more than cars and girls, while the nation's omnipresent telly scientist Brian Cox offers insights to our origins. Also, James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton team up for the first time for a …
Kobo Aura H2O e-reader

Watersports-friendly e-reader: Kobo's Aura H2O is literary when wet

Review Now that even the cheapest tablets are notching up increased battery life these days, it seems that the ever-ready e-reader could run the risk of becoming extinct. Kobo Aura H2O e-reader Kobo's Aura H2O hi-res waterproof e-reader In recent months Barnes and Noble has announced a partnership with Samsung to make Nook tablets. …
Mark Diston, 17 Oct 2014
SexPistols 1975

Weekend reads: So, Anyway..., Anger is an Energy and Smoke Gets in your Eyes

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest tantalising tomes. There's a battle of the autobiographies going on, with comic genius John Cleese up against music's enfant terrible John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten – we'll see who gets the last laugh here. We've also a surprisingly entertaining insight on the life of a mortician, …
Mark Diston, 11 Oct 2014
Gee Vaucher artwork – Feeding of the 5000 by Crass

Weekend reads: Consumed, The Graphic Art of the Underground and The Skeleton Road

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest literary lures. Movie mogul David Cronenberg goes for the novel experience but does it play as well as his films? Ian Lowey and Suzy Prince explore 60 years of underground art in its myriad forms but, how is the genre looking today? And has revered thriller writer Val McDermid …
Mark Diston, 04 Oct 2014
HGTTG Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Weekend reads: Douglas Adams' bio in The Frood, The Bone Clocks and Harry Partch, Hobo Composer

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest rivetting reads. David Mitchell, no not that one, beguiles with yet another world of magic and mystery, while Jem Roberts tries not to panic as he explores the life and works of Douglas Adams. Ever wondered where the stranger ideas of American music came from? S. Andrew Granade says …
Mark Diston, 27 Sep 2014
Bernard Sumner: Chapter and Verse

Weekend reads: Tales of Madchester in Chapter and Verse plus Shark and Ring of Steel

Page File El Reg bookworm Mark Diston reviews the latest literary treats. Lauded wordsmith Will Self's new novel takes some extraordinary twists and turns. Joy Division and New Order guitarist Bernard Sumner tells his life story and Alexander Watson delivers a unique take on WWI, history, not from the victors, but as told from the centre …
Mark Diston, 20 Sep 2014
The fashion world’s most privileged urchin lounges in a luxury hotel in Paris, 1993. © Geoff Wilkinson/RexUSA

Weekend reads: A new Poirot, drug-fuelled Champagne Supernovas and The Establishment

Page File El Reg bookworms Mark Diston and Lucy Orr pore over the latest book releases. Owen Jones, author of Chavs , has a pop at the establishment, Maureen Callahan gets right under the skin of the fashion world's excesses in the 1990s, and Sophie Hannah's new work is the supposed "literary event of the year" – a brand new Poirot …
Fatherland extract

Weekend reads: Perfidia, Fatherland and The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being

Page File El Reg bookworms Mark Diston and Lucy Orr leaf their way through the latest literary treats from the uncompromising James Ellroy, TV's favourite scientist Alice Roberts and atmospheric comic novelist Nina Bunjevac. Youtube Video Perfidia James Ellroy is back on his home turf with the LAPD in his latest novel, Perfidia named …
Sticker sheet

Weekend reads: Colorless Tsukuru, Kool Korea and strange encounters with IKEA wardrobes

Page File El Reg's avid bookworm Mark Diston chews his way through some of the latest foreign language bestsellers recently translated into English and Lucy Orr discovers how South Korea became cool. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage Mystery and Melancholy of a Street (1913) by Giorgio di Chirico A Mystery and …
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, The Early Years - Let Them Eat Jellybeans compilation cover

Weekend reads to tickle your intellectual palate: From Nazis to Invisibility

Page File El Reg's avid bookworm Mark Diston chews his way through some of the latest releases from the publishing world. The Zone of Interest Martin Amis is now 66 years old and has a literary career stretching back more than four decades, yet somehow the reputation of enfant terrible still clings to him. There must be many like myself …
Mark Diston, 24 Aug 2014
Pocket Universe Virtual Sky Astronomy 1.7

Pocket Universe 1.7

iPhone App Review Pocket Universe is the creation of one John T. Kennedy who was inspired by lack of opportunities to view the night sky with any clarity or frequency in his native Dublin. The app is basically a star map, which takes advantage of the new iPhone 3GS compass to provide a Virtual Sky, which follows your movements, enabling you to …
Diston, 25 Jul 2009
ECB Cricket 1.0

ECB Cricket 1.0

iPhone App Review The England and Wales Cricket Board hasn’t had a great deal to shout about lately, what with the Stanford debacle and the recent rather tasteless photoluv shootout of Sir Flintoff of Flanders. But here, at last, is something it can be proud of, the ECB iPhone app has arrived just in time for the biggest cricket event of the year …
Diston, 08 Jul 2009