31/10/2018

Reading - October 2018

The Return of Hyman Kaplan by Leo Rosten (1959)
More of the short stories, maybe a little broader this time, but inventive and funny enough to keep what is basically a single joke going. I think this is the first of these books that I ever read (a long time ago), and it reminds me of my Grandma.
The Day Of The Jackal by Frederick Foryth (1971)
A superb story, immaculately told. The detail has its precedent in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, but surpasses even that, and surely influenced people like Tom Clancy.
The Guitar Magazine (Vol 30 No 02)
The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks (1988)
One of my favourite books; by parts funny, thrilling, gruesome and sweet, it's not too long but satisfyingly complex. The universe it depicts is so convincingly and completely described that it almost disappears; there's nothing jarring because it's all so consistent. Fantastically imaginative and involving.
The Business by Iain Banks (1999)
This is probably the third time I've read this, and I still find it disappointing. I think I was hoping I'd missed something, but it feels like a book written because a book was contractually required rather than because it was a story that needed to be told. It doesn't have any particularly interesting ideas - the central theme of "The Business", some ancient, semi-secretive, globe-straddling organisation, is an obvious and dull one - and the plot meanders a little. Ultimately, I didn't really care about the characters so, although it's perfectly readable, I just felt a bit unimpressed.
Are You Dave Gorman? by Dave Gorman & Danny Wallace (2001)
I really like both knowing that this is a real story but also the way it's been slightly massaged to make the telling better, and the way it switches between the two authors' viewpoints is very effective. Obviously each character in the book is somewhat exaggerated, but I hope Dave Gorman's blindly optimistic, insensitive character isn't real - I felt very sorry for Danny Wallace for most of the book. Still, funny. Also, I know (of) a Dave Gorman where I work - sadly, he doesn't feature in the book as far as I can tell.

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