Category Archives: Books

New audiobook: Embargo and Other Stories

Embargo Audiobook CoverHot on the (furry) heels of Ramses, another of Dalrymple’s books has just been released in audio format: Embargo and Other Stories.

Embargo comprises three (at least) semi-autobiographical stories based on Dalrymple’s adventures in far-flung lands. Unsurprisingly, his fiction writing is as good as his other work, and the stories told to us here, while at times amusing, are for the most part dark, graphic, and quite haunting.

Rich with Dalrymple’s usual insights, these make a great listen. You feel a little like you are traveling with the doctor into the heart of darkness, but you can do so while sitting in the comfort of your living room with a pleasant drink, or wherever you like.

You can purchase Embargo now from Amazon or Audible, or get it by using a credit as an Audible subscriber. You can also listen to a free five-minute sample on either site.

Please feel free to review Embargo at Audible, and let us know in the comments here if there are any other titles that you would particularly like to be made available in this format.

New audiobook: Ramses

Ramses Audiobook

Something we missed back in November is that, following So Little Done, Gavin Orland has now narrated a second audiobook for the esteemed doctor, this being the (very different) charming and moving account of his time with Ramses, his Yorkshire Terrier.

Ramses contains the usual insights into the human condition for which we have come to know and appreciate Dalrymple, among other philosophical reflections. But, most of all, the book is a tribute to Ramses and was clearly inspired by Dalrymple’s love of his four-legged companion. This recording makes the perfect listen for any Dalrymple fan, dog lover/owner or not.

You can purchase Ramses now from Amazon or Audible, or get it for free as an Audible subscriber. You can also listen to a free five-minute sample on either site.

Advance tip: we understand that an audio version of another of Dalrymple’s books will soon be released as well—watch this space! Please let us know in the comments if there are others that you would particularly like to be available in this format.

New audiobook: So Little Done

So Little Done

Dalrymple’s 1995 book So Little Done: The Testament of a Serial Killer has recently been released as an audiobook. This appears to be only the second Dalrymple work to have so far been published in this format, and because the book is a work of satire (the philosophical justifications of a fictional serial killer), it makes an excellent choice for an audio performance.

Congratulations to Gavin Orland, a friend of this blog for many years, for an engaging performance as the killer Graham Underwood. This is a fun and provocative listening experience. So Little Done was also adapted as a one-man stage play called De Filantroop (The Philanthropist) and performed (in Dutch) in the Netherlands in 2009.

You can purchase So Little Done now from Audible.com or Audible.co.uk, or get it for free as an Audible subscriber. You can also listen to a free five-minute audio sample on either site.

New book: These Spindrift Pages

Dalrymple has a new book available on Amazon. These Spindrift Pages is a collection of thoughts inspired by his recent reading. The material that serves as his inspiration, both prose and poetry, is as varied and profound as you might expect and, naturally, so are his observations. He discusses writers that run the gamut from the very popular to the very obscure, and addresses all kinds of topics, from murder and charlatanism to beauty and compassion.

The title comes from a beautiful Dylan Thomas poem that Dalrymple quotes in the preface. I had to look this up, but spindrift is the sea spray that is blown off the tops of cresting waves, and the title conjures in my mind images of a writer capturing his thoughts as they drift off into a mist. 

To purchase the book, check your friendly, local Amazon page. It is available here to US readers and here to those in the UK.

New book: The Wheelchair and Other Stories

Dalrymple has just written another new collection of short stories, and the book is available on Amazon sites worldwide. The Wheelchair and Other Stories is his fifth collection since he began embracing the genre in 2017. The book features eight stories that touch on themes both topical and timeless. A good example is “Getting to the Roots,” in which a teenage girl promotes a utopian political cause with terrifying sincerity:

Felicia wrote a letter to the main newspaper of humane opinion, pointing out our ignorant and unthinking cruelty to vegetables, especially root vegetables. It created quite a stir, and there was a small flurry of letters of support. The National Association of Potato Growers wrote an attempted rebuttal, but of course all denials go to show just how well-founded accusations are, otherwise they wouldn’t be advanced. At first Felicia was elated, but before long it dawned on her that the sale of potatoes, carrots, parsnips and turnips (she hated swedes) had hardly decreased, if it had at all. Something more would have to be done if all this avoidable suffering were to be reduced.

The Wheelchair and Other Stories is available here to US readers and here to those in the UK.

New book: Midnight Maxims

Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book for Mirabeau Press is his first book of maxims. Midnight Maxims is the result of Dalrymple’s recent sleepless nights in which he used those wee hours to write short statements of universal truths. Great writers throughout history, such as Francois de La Rochefoucauld, have used this form of writing, and Dalrymple has said in the past that he encourages young writers to focus on writing maxims because they clarify one’s thoughts. Many of Dalrymple’s essays already include these short and quotable lines (the ones here are all original).

There are 365 maxims here, one for each day of the year, but Dalrymple says these are not maxims of the daily inspirational type; rather, they focus on universal truths of human nature and, to some extent, contemporary society. I can imagine each one of these provoking a discussion.

Speaking for myself, this is already one of my favorite Dalrymple books. Although not intended as such, I think this book is a distillation of much (though certainly not all) of his thought and writing.

Midnight Maxims is available on various Amazon sites all around the world. US readers can go here and British readers here.

New set of short stories: Saving the Planet and Other Stories

Dalrymple has written a new set of short stories called Saving the Planet and Other Stories, and it is available at all Amazon sites. The book includes eight stories that reflect various aspects of contemporary society and culture, including frustration with modern officialdom but also both the tragedy and delight of everyday interpersonal conflict — all in quintessential Dalrymple style. It is his fourth collection of short stories.

You can buy it here in the US or here in the UK, or from whatever Amazon site you use.

New Edition of The Examined Life

Dalrymple’s book The Examined Life, first published in 2011, was a fictional satire that made fun of the modern focus on health and safety, a focus that often seems to place health above all other considerations. With the spread of COVID-19, the book now seems more relevant than ever, and as a result, it has been republished in a new edition. It is available globally on all Amazon sites, e.g. here in the UK and here in the US.

Dalrymple has said that satire is nowadays prophecy, and although he did not predict a global pandemic, it does seem that the outlook satirized in The Examined Life has spread along with the virus.

‘Why are you wearing that mask?’ asked one of the security guards.

‘Germs, of course,’ I said. ‘They’re ubiquitous.’ 

‘You what?’ he said.

‘Ubiquitous – they’re everywhere.’

‘They are for us, too,’ he said, ‘and we’re not wearing masks.’ 

Exactly the same argument as the doctor uses when I raise the subject with him. 

‘It was of no consolation to the victims of pneumonic plague during the Black Death that there were millions of other victims, was it?’ I said.

‘The Black Death?’ said one of the security guards to the other. ‘What’s he going on about?’

New book: Around the World in the Cinemas of Paris

Dalrymple has just completed his 44th book (if my count is accurate), and it is now available globally on all Amazon sites (e.g. here in the UK and here in the US). Around the World in the Cinemas of Paris contains his reflections — critical, historical, cultural and philosophical — on 33 international films that he saw when he had some free time in Paris, the greatest city in the world for such films. Many of these films are set in countries that Dalrymple visited personally and therefore triggered his memories of his experiences there. Particularly in this era of COVID-19, the book may remind readers of a simpler time, when we could happily visit a cinema without wearing a mask or worrying about contracting the virus. Hopefully, that time will return soon.

New Dalrymple book: Embargo and Other Stories

Theodore Dalrymple has just written a new book of short stories, and it is now available on Amazon. Embargo and Other Stories is Dalrymple’s third collection of short stories, following The Proper Procedure and Grief. The stories in Embargo are based on Dalrymple’s real world travels to the remote corners of the world and illuminate the eternal human condition across the extremes of experience.

While newer readers might marvel at the writer’s vivid imagination, his longtime readers will recognize some of these travels from books like Coups and Cocaine and Fool or Physician, and it’s fascinating to see Dalrymple rework his travel experiences into fictional stories. Few writers have such sources of inspiration.

Dalrymple graciously dedicated the book to the memory of my brother, Clint Conatser, who created this website with me in 2008.

Readers can expect no shortage of future Dalrymple material, as he has several other books in progress.