31/01/2013

Reading - January 2013


The Importance Of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (1895)
Always a joy. And the first book I have ever read electronically, on a tablet.
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (editor) (2008)
A monster of a book, very interesting but flawed. It took me over a year to finish. See my review.
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie (1943)
Describing any book with murders in it as "charming" seems wrong and yet that's what this brief period piece is. Notwithstanding the deaths, it's a rather sweet story and has a gentle romance element too (which I'm always a sucker for).
Good 'n' Mad by Albert B. Feldstein (editor) (1963)
I used to subscribe to Mad magazine when I was younger and although I don't have the back catalogue any more - I wish I did - I still have some books. Some of the material it is very dated - unsurprisingly for a book that is fifty years old - but some is surprisingly current. Too small a format to properly appreciate the artwork though, which is often fantastically detailed.
Falling Towards England by Clive James (1985)
Why would anyone be interested in the brief period of Clive James's life in between coming to England and going up to Cambridge? By his own admission, he did little and that badly. The reason would be the writing, which is as sharp as anything of his I've read - and that's saying something. He is a master of concision and remarkably frank. Very enjoyable. (I'm also quite chuffed I spotted that "Bruce Jennings" was in fact Barry Humphries.)
The Sacred Art Of Stealing by Christopher Brookmyre (2002)
Anyone (is there anyone?) reading these notes of the books I get through will notice that I read a lot of Brookmyre. This is the first one I came across (thanks George!) and still one of my favourites. A superb combination of plotting, comedy, characterisation and thrill. Anyone who isn't a complete prude or ludicrously easily offended should read it.
Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James (1980)
I've had this for ages and yet never read it. Now I'm not sure why not. It is superb, and the writing is as good as any of his that I have read. However, although it's a short book, it took me a while to finish it. The prose is like a good chocolate mousse; rich but so filling that you can only take a little at a time.

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