30/09/2018

Reading - September 2018

A Blink Of The Screen by Terry Pratchett (2012)
A collection of short stories, from juvenilia to miscellanea; inevitably something of a mixed bag, but readable nonetheless. The Discworld pieces are the best, of course.
The Economist (September 1st-7th 2018)
The Economist (September 8th-14th 2018)
The Vinyl Detective: The Run-out Groove by Andrew Cartmel (2017)
I loved Written In Dead Wax and so when I found out there was a second book in the series I was very keen to read it (and very obliged to my friend Nat again, who lent it to me). However, this one has taken me much longer to finish. I think this is partly because it is, in essence, very similar to the first one, and reading it so soon afterwards meant that it had lost some of it novelty. Another part, I think, is that one of the characters has the same surname as me, which is hardly a common one, and every time I came across it, it brought me up short and somehow made it harder to enjoy. There's a third book, but I think I'll give it a few months before I read it.
The Guitar Magazine (Vol 30 No 01)
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (1987)
Douglas Adams is of course primarily famous for The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy, and primarily that from the books. So I've always found it slightly ironic that the H2G2 books are themselves not very good. For me, they bear too many marks of having been manhandled from the original concept - the radio series - into book form. Adams could write though, as this, the first Dirk Gently novel, shows. Chock-full of interesting ideas as usual, but all now within a coherent, satisfying structure.
The Sacred Art Of Stealing by Christopher Brookmyre (2002)
Just a really good story.
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Volume 1) by Bryan Lee O'Malley (2004)
The film of this is superb and so I was moved to find the original source material - but I have to say, I'm disappointed. Partly this is because I don't really get graphic novels. Maybe I'm reading it in the wrong way, but as a story, this is barely enough to get your teeth into - it took me about twenty minutes to read. Given that it's a graphic novel, perhaps I should spend more time looking at the pictures; but they're so simple that I can't see that they add much more. Still, as an item of interest because of the film, it's interesting: partly because of how much has made it into the film, and partly by how closely the scenes, and indeed characters, match the original drawings. Except, oddly, Scott Pilgrim himself, who doesn't look anything like Michael Cera.
The Education Of Hyman Kaplan by Leo Rosten (1937)
I was surprised to find out how old this book is - but despite what might today be considered rather broad stereotyping of other nationalities, there is little in it to date it.  The endless manglings of  the English language are very amusing and the characterisations of immigrants are fond, as would be expected from a man who was one himself.

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