30/11/2020

Reading - November 2020

Country Of The Blind by Christopher Brookmyre (1997)
My favourite Brookmyre book changes every now and then but this is up there. A straightforward thriller with lots of black humour and nicely implausible victories for the underdogs. I've lost count of how many times I've read it (this is the fourth since I started actually counting, about ten years ago) but it's still hugely enjoyable.
One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night by Christopher Brookmyre (1999)
I should probably give Brookmyre a rest for a few years, but they're such fun and very old friends by now. I wonder if I can make it through 2021 without reading one?
Guitar Magazine (Dec 2020 / Issue 387)
The Eddie Van Halen obituary edition. Obviously a titan of rock guitar, but someone whose music never really did that much for me. Still worth working through the best twenty EVH moments, out of interest, but for all his undoubted innovation and ability, it all ends up sounding a bit the same. That said, to repeat the magazine's own (admitted) cliché, it's EVH's rhythm playing that ends up impressing the most.
Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch (2019)
I didn't finish this, despite the interesting subject - how language is changing due to use of the internet - because it's much too long and tedious. For some reason, McCulloch insists on talking about herself all the time, and some of the conclusions she reaches are clearly just subjective opinion wrapped up in scientific-sounding mumbo-jumbo. Disappointing.
The Nation's Favourite by Simon Garfield (1998)
A fascinating snapshot of a time in Radio 1's history that I remember very well - but now a historical document only, I fear. Radio 1 was, at the time, just under thirty years old, but the events recounted here were about twenty-five years ago; basically, as much time has passed again since then. Interesting to hear about the same characters (Chris Evans, Zoe Ball, Jo Whiley), who have (or had) all migrated to Radio 2. Evans comes across as very full of himself, which in fairness he acknowledges in his autobiographies.
Feet Of Clay by Terry Pratchett (1996)
Broadly, the theme of this is probably the nature of consciousness, featuring golems that are, for all intents and purposes, surely the equivalent of robots in our world. It is also, broadly, a whodunnit. For me, the plot doesn't hang together quite as well as usual, despite the expected helping of laugh-at-loud moments and beautiful details (as evidenced by the Annotated Pratchettt, link above). Still a great read though.

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