31/08/2014

Reading - August 2014

The Week (2 August 2014 / Issue 982)
Emma by Jane Austen (1815)
Previously if asked I would have said that Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors, but I realised that although I have read all her books a long time ago, the only one I have read more than once is the inevitable P&P. I know the plot of Emma well but as I read it this time it felt like the clues to the ultimate conclusion were all new to me; that is, I haven't re-read this before. I'm not sure why. It's as charming as you would expect; very little happens really and it's a bit verbose, but it's still a lovely story.
The Rough Guide To The Titanic by Greg Ward (2012)
An excellent introduction to the subject - indeed, probably the only book you will need if, like me, you are interested only in the fundamentals of the story rather than the myths and large amounts of detail. Well written, well organised and authoritative.
The Week (9 August 2014 / Issue 983)
The Week (16 August 2014 / Issue 984)
Vox by Nicholson Baker (1992)
Perfect bedtime reading.
Guitarist (September 2014 / Issue 385)
Top 100 Singles by Martin Roach (2002)
Celebrating 50 years of the UK charts, this lists the top 100 UK singles, by sales. Interesting but showing too many signs of having been rushed, and now terminally dated, not least in its over-insistence that the charts are still of any interest to anyone outside the business. Published in conjunction with the NME, which provides occasional examples of the review a single got at the time; all this serves to prove is how self-centred and blinkered most music journalists are.
The Week (23 August 2014 / Issue 985)
Hatchet Job by Mark Kermode (2013)
Entertaining, if slightly over-long, discursion about the role of professional film critics in today's online world. The only thing that spoils it slightly is Mark's incessant self-deprecation. Have a little pride, man! Oh - and from a few comments he makes, he must live near me!
The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story by Vivek J. Tiwary & Andrew C. Robinson with Kyle Baker (2013)
This is the first graphic novel I have ever read. The pictures are great, but the story is somewhat skeletal: it's a short book and most of the space is taken up by artwork, so there isn't much space for words. There's some sort of matador theme, inconsistently developed, apparently inspired by Epstein and Lennon's holiday in Spain together. I feel like perhaps some of the imagery passed me by, not being used to graphic novels, but I wasn't particularly impressed. Still, it was over quickly.
How To Make Money by Felix Dennis (2010)
All of the wisdom in How To Get Rich, condensed into eighty-eight short essays, each on a single aspect, each only a page or so. How To Get Rich is more interesting and entertaining, this is intended more as a serious reference. Interesting in places - his perspective on taking  a company public is that "public companies are not sane places" -  but (since I don't plan on trying to get rich, having read Dennis's previous book on why it's not as desirable as generally thought), probably not for me.
Raise The Titanic! by Clive Cussler (1976)
Unintentionally amusing concept thriller now rendered irrelevant by subsequent discoveries - it will never be possible to raise the Titanic, due to it being in two pieces. Notable for spawning the flop film of the same name.
Tuesday The Rabbi Saw Red by Harry Kemelman (1973)
Unpretentious and enjoyable whodunnit with a Jewish twist and a rabbi for a detective.

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