Recent reading

May

Recent reading (May)

  • 31 Songs, Nick Hornby – meh
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz – hmm
  • The Robots of Dawn, Isaac Asimov – gah
  • Have I Got Views For You, Boris Johnson – yawn
  • Moondust, Andrew Smith – yay

June

Recent reading (June)

  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip José Farmer – passable sci-fi. Apparently it’s the first in the ‘Riverworld’ series, but I don’t think I’ll be bothering to find the rest. Hermann Göring is the one-dimensional bad guy? That’s pretty lazy.
  • The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga – this is brilliant. Man Booker Prize winner, 2008. It’s everything ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ should have been.
  • The Corner, David Simon and Ed Burns – it’s like The Wire in condensed, dead-tree form. Brilliant.
  • Arcadia, Tom Stoppard – watched this play recently and enjoyed it so much I immediately wanted to buy a copy. Choice quotes: “It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew was wrong” and “We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind”
  • Microserfs, Douglas Coupland – I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this. Every time I do, I get a little bit more annoyed about the writing (caricatures of geeks, clunky ethnography, twee unsubtle affected nonsense throughout) but I do cry a little bit harder at page 369.
  • Labyrinth, Kate Mosse – I don’t really know where to start here. I’ve been describing it as “Dan Brown for girls” and honestly, it’s dreadful. Often whole pages go by before you’ll see an adverb or an adjective while similes and metaphors appear to be rationed at about one per chapter. It’s relentless in telling you something has happened, but the language is so dry and empty that it doesn’t ever make you care. It’s a bit like running across the country with only a bag of Weetabix to keep you going, and no milk; plenty of things will happen, but you won’t enjoy any them.

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  1. I lasted about ten pages into Labyrinth. I remember the Riverworld stuff being page-turny but never explaining any of the interesting questions it asked. And you’ve read David Simon’s ‘Homicide’, of course. If you ever want to borrow the DVDs of the TV series… goodness, how early-2000s I sound.

    Comment by James Wallis — July 11, 2009 #

  2. A-ha! I believe I previously commented that my wife disliked Labyrinth, and now won’t go near anything by the same author. Strange that it was so popular in the charts.

    Comment by Andy Piper — July 13, 2009 #

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