one of my new year’s resolutions was to keep a note of the books i read this year, here’s what i got through in january:
Don’t Panic – Neil Gaiman
A good book for Douglas Adams/HHGTTG anoraks – recently revised edition, Neil Gaiman’s typically crystal clear style with lots of gentle in-jokes for the enthusiasts.
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
slightly ruined by over-hype, it was funnee but ultimately the irredeemable grotesqueness of Ignatius J. Reilly riles too much.
After the Quake – Haruki Murakami
short book of short stories all somehow related to or inspired by the Kobe earthquake.. some good, some average – an elephant vanishes is a better collection.
Attention – Harold Pashler (ed.)
summary of psychological research on attention – inevitably mostly boring – but the connectionist chapter was reet gradely.
Company for Henry – P G Wodehouse
typical wodehouse – feckless toffs and eccentric americans tootling back and forth from town to country house while purloining paperweights (C17 french!) while others fall in love.. utterly excellent – Wodehouse is a genius.
When We Were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro
u75 jan bookgroup choice – an implausibly plotted, poorly characterised faux 1930’s detective-story-that-isn’t.. and compared to Toole & Wodehouse, (say) it’s written in a very workmanlike fashion.
Inner Vision – Semir Zeki
His thesis is that “art is the brain of the beholder not his eyes” – fair enough but the book is neither fish nor fowl.. and fails to convince you that he is saying anything new or all that interesting. (but i may just be bitter because he wouldn’t give me a job.)
Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man – Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller was getting on a bit when he wrote this tale of old age, writers block and failing libido.. clever and witty rather than funny and bitter.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind – Chuck Barris
CIA hitman & the TV producer who invented Blind Date & the Gong show (a talent show for the talentless) – someone should have shot him! – actually they tried and failed.. an entertaining biography but not one in which you will find anything you actually wanted to learn
Mad Pride – Pete Shaunessey (ed.)
tales from survivors of the mental health system, it’s a wonder how they kept the little sanity they start out with.
Postmodern Pooh – Frederick Crews
Frederick Crews has a frighteningly large brain, he dislikes the pomposity and ignorance of postmodern literary theory and in deeply malicious and mischevious style he parodies some of the worst offenders as they might read Pooh.