31/10/2020

Reading - October 2020

The Guitar Magazine (Nov 2020 / Issue 386)
There's a whole country guitar lesson in this month's issue, which I might try my hand at.
Grumpy Old Rock Star by Rick Wakeman (2014)
Rick Wakeman has - by his own account (and even allowing for some exaggeration) - been surprisingly successful. Yet, to judge by the title, it's his participation in the TV series Grumpy Old Men (which I am pleased to say I never watched) that has brought him sufficient fame to tell his story in a book. I say "story"; it's not an autobiography, just a set of anecdotes, and reads as if the publishers just sat him down with a pint in his hand (of tomato juice, presumably, since he is now teetotal) and just recorded him talking. He jumps around all over the place, in time and space, but there are plenty of entertaining tales and he's obviously lived an interesting life. More a book to dip into than read in one sitting.
Humble Pi by Matt Parker (2019)
I've not seen any of Matt Parker's standup but B is a bit of a fan, and so he bought this book (and I borrowed it). It's mildly interesting and somewhat amusing, but somehow never really engaged me fully. I'm not sure why: it's the kind of thing I've read before (which may be why some of the things discussed are not new to me) and I like popular science books in general. However, the maths is all pretty simple (so I'm surprised B, who is now much more advanced in maths than me, didn't find it simplistic too) and it takes a while to get to the point. Perhaps it's more interesting if you can imagine Parker speaking it on stage.
Bedlam by Christopher Brookmyre (2013)
Reading this is (inadvertently) an annual activity for me, but still very enjoyable. Pure escapism, of course, and I am still failing to understand why none of Brookmyre's books have been made into blockbuster films. This would be particularly good - although perhaps negotiating all the rights to all the games would be tricky.
Wife By Design by Tara Taylor Quinn (2013)
Tara Taylor Quinn is the author of one of my favourite M&B novels, so I thought I'd try another. This is a bit over-dramatic really, and the setting (a shelter for abused women) is an odd one, although I can see and appreciate the point that's being made - but these books are about escapism, surely? Anyway, I can't fault the story-telling, which kept me interested, but I felt the development of the central relationship was a bit of afterthought and happened in a bit of a rush.
The Baby Gamble by Tara Taylor Quinn (2007)
This started out a bit tediously, because the cast is actually being introduced for a set of five inter-related books. So the first few chapters is full of sentences like "Pete, Sam's old school friend whose ex-wife Katie was Linda's neighbor, had known Betty, his cousin Mick's high school sweetheart, ever since Jess Smith, the town mayor ..." - over-the-top exposition that just stalls the story. But it soon settles down to the main four or five characters we need to know and once again we're willing the main woman and man to sort out their issues and get together. Which they do, of course. Sweet and sentimental.

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