31/01/2015

Reading - January 2015

The Week (3 January 2015 / Issue 1003)
The Book Of General Ignorance by John Lloyd & the QI Elves (2006)
aka "The Stephen Fry Lectures", or the scripts of facts he reads out after the "contestants" on QI have finished making jokes. Its possible origin as prompt cards on the TV programme may account for the slightly irritating written style, using a sentence per paragraph in the manner of a Daily Wail article. Still, choc-full of interesting tidbits to be quoted at people (although no citations for verification).
Guitarist (February 2015 / Issue 390)
The Week (10 January 2015 / Issue 1004)
One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson (2013)
Endlessly entertaining but also just a bit endless. Bryson seems to be finally suffering from an ailment common to other very successful authors (notably J.K. Rowling); an over-indulgent editor. A lesser-known author would be more robustly curtailed, one feels. Bryson's trademark asides and fascinating details are all here, but perhaps a little more than necessary. Still, a very interesting book about a time in history that feels close, yet so far away.
The Auto-Biography by Mark Wallington (2013)
A very amusing "life in cars", in which the author recalls the various cars of his life and how they have been interwoven into his own life story, from his parents' first car to his own current car. This is not an enthusiast's nerdy, dull recital but an average man's story. Good fun.
The Week (17 January 2015 / Issue 1005)
The Week (24 January 2015 / Issue 1006)
Inside Out: A Personal History Of Pink Floyd by Nick Mason (2011)
Originally published in 2004 but reissued and updated with additional material about what looks likely to be the definitively last proper Floyd reunion, the 2005 Live 8 concert (although you never know I guess). Gently amusing and gently interesting, but didn't really capture me much. Whether this is because I've never been a massive Floyd fan, or because (auto) biographies don't really interest me, or because of the sense of detached irony that Mason brings to his commentary, I don't know. Took me a long time to finish.
Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan (2014)
A sweet, warm book about a woman who escapes to an outpost of south England and ends up opening a bakery. A nice mix of a little drama and a little love; possibly could have done with being a touch shorter (we all know how it's going to end, stop spinning it out!) but very pleasant nonetheless.
The Week (31 January 2015 / Issue 1007)

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