The wonderful world of Louis Theroux

The call of the weird - travels in American subculturesI am an unabashed fan of unflappable roving reporter Louis Theroux.  For those of you unfamiliar with his genius, Theroux (son of author Paul) specialises in documenting the wacky, weird, and extreme in modern American society.  As a Brit he takes a calm and generally non-judgemental approach with his “subjects” whether they be neo-Nazis, Madams, or motivational speakers. 

The beauty of Theroux is in his willingness to throw himself in at the deep end and explore different lifestyles while never flinching from asking the hard questions of the people he encounters there.

I am delighted to find that from next week TVNZ are screening Inside story : Louis Theroux.  This four part series has Louis earnestly investigating America’s most hated family, gambling in Las Vegas, plastic surgery, and life behind bars.  The call of the weird : travels in American subcultures is his book in which he chronicles some of the more memorable oddballs that he has come across over the years and it’s a very entertaining and enlightening exploration of the quirky and unusual characters he’s come to know.  A great read for new Theroux fans or old.

Akunin

AkuninPermit me to shout about Boris Akunin, a modern Russian novelist whose Erast Fandorin novels have sold eighteen million copies in Russia alone.

His hero Fandorin is a composite character reminiscent of John Steed, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and the heroes of the lighter Russian novels. An employee of the Tsarist secret service and helped by his faithful Japanese manservant, he confronts Jack the Ripper, terrorist groups and murder on a luxury liner. Witty, exciting and intriguing, these are true pageturners.

Sister PelagiaHis other creation Sister Pelagia is more of a Miss Marple figure in comparison to the Poiret-like brain of Fandorin. She deals with less dramatic, but just as captivating events with the same dry humour. Unlike most crime novels they’re worth re-reading for the way they capture the atmosphere of nineteenth-centry Russia and for their wit and charactersiation.