Reading - September 2021

Guitar Magazine (Sept 2021 / Issue 396)
Guitar Magazine (Oct 2021 / Issue 397)
September's issue arrived late for some reason, so I got to read two, back-to-back. Joe Bonamassa on the cover of October's issue, yawn. Some nice kit reviewed though.
You Got An Ology? by Maureen Lipman and Richard Phillips (1989)
K starting her A Level course in Sociology this month triggered a memory in her grandma's mind, and so she very kindly gifted this book to K. Unfortunately, pop-culture references from nearly forty years ago are kind of lost on a seventeen year old, and this tie-in from BT's ad campaign was disposable at the time. Most of the book is taken up with pictures from the ads themselves, but there's some interest and amusement in the forwards from Lipman and Phillips about how the ad came to be.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (2005)
I somehow acquired this book, along with the other two in the trilogy, for free, from various sources, but for some reason I have never quite been in the mood to read them. Then suddenly I fancied starting it and, having started, I couldn't stop: it's a compelling crime drama, no question. However, I'm not comfortable saying I enjoyed it. Larsson is obviously trying to make a point about violence against women (there are stats quoted at the start of each section) but the extent of it in the plot is beyond my level of tolerance in a book I am reading for (supposedly) pleasure. I finished it because I wanted the resolution of knowing how it ended, but I've read the synopsis of the other two books on Wikipedia and I'm not sure I will bother reading them any time soon.
Not The End Of The World by Christopher Brookmyre (1998)
I have about four books on the go right now, all of which are very interesting but which are either slightly heavy going or require a certain amount of brain engagement. So for temporary respite, it's nice to go back to something I'm as familiar with as my favourite albums. The combination of Brookmyre's superb characterisation and tight plotting make this as entertaining as ever, and the fantastic skewering of religious idiocies just adds to it.
A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away by Christopher Brookmyre (2001)
I am reading other books but most of this was read on the train to and from London for our shopping trip. This introduces Angelique de Xavia, one of my favourite Brookmyre characters.
The Hunt For Red October by Tom Clancy (1984)
I was reading something about submarines and that inevitably reminded me of this superb thriller. What struck me this time is the portrayal of the contrast between the US and Soviet Russia: western (or specifically US) culture is free and produces smarter, better people and things, while Soviet culture is shown as hide-bound, class-ridden and hopelessly mired in political wrangling. Basically, the US is better in every way, according to this; it's a theme that runs right the way through the book like words through a stick of rock.
The Perfect Neighbour by Nora Roberts (1999)
One of my favourite Silhouette romances. Sweet and touching.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang (2019)
As with her first novel (The Kiss Quotient), the characters are of Vietnamese descent and autism features in the story. The setup feels a little queasy; the phrase "mail-order bride" occurs a couple of times. That the characters then do actually fall in love is of course a completely idealised version of what happens in real life, but nevertheless the story is sweet and satisfying, and I finished it quickly.
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (2006)
I first came across John Green in the Mental Floss videos, which are edutainment of a very high order. It seemed a bit of an unexpected departure, from my point of view anyway, to next encounter him when wondering what book was making K cry. And that's how I came across The Fault In Our Stars (which I have read but not logged for some reason). This isn't quite the same; it's a nice, entertaining, YA romcom that ends happily. I don't really care that I'm at least thirty years older than its target audience; I can still remember enough about what it felt like as a teenager to relate to it.

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