Book Count (since 1 January 2012)

Book Count (since 1 January 2014): 30

Friday, 2 March 2012

On Drink by Kingsley Amis

A little book about alcohol - cynical but very enjoyable and amusing. There is a chapter on actual drinks including some recipes which are surely only to be tried by students and alcoholics - my favourite being the "Paul Fussell's Milk Punch" which involves frozen milk cubes, brandy and whiskey and is recommended in lieu of breakfast. My favourite chapter was the one on hangovers which was incredibly accurate. Good fun and worth a read if you can get your hands on it.

The Report by Jessica Francis Kane

An excellent novel about the crush at the Bethnal Green tube air raid shelter in World War II.  This book is very well written, interesting, engrossing and nowhere near as depressing as it might easily have been.  Read it.  Especially if you live in London.

You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik

The title misleads.  I curled up with my blanket and cocoa expecting to read a vicious tale of hatred and malice and was sorely disappointed.  This novel is about a love affair between a teacher and his pupil in an international school in France.   The book is split into chapters each narrated by a different character telling their own narrative of the year in which the affair takes place.  Some of these characters are bearable.  Most are not.  There are a lot of literary/quasi-philosophical debates between the students which were so terrible I am clenching my teeth even recalling them.  The plot is predictable although not formulaic, so there are some positives.  In summary, this is a slightly better than average romance novel.

Riddle of The Sands by Erskine Childers

A 1900s novel about two young Englishmen who sail around Germany and uncover a traitor advising Germany on her military tactics. I didn't understand a word of it. But they were beautiful words - my favourites being "nugatory", "adumbrated" and "casuistry".

I have taken from this book a number of interesting observations:
1. Sailors surely have more words for "rope" than Eskimos have for "snow".
2. In the 1900s there was a rather wonderful annual leave policy which enabled one to send a telegram stating:
"I will be taking another week off. If there's anything urgent, contact me at [insert name of a hotel in a different country to the one you are vacationing in] "
3. I will never understand a spy novel.

Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles

A darkly humorous novel about a man who goes to house sit his friend's flat in an undisclosed eastern European city. I enjoyed this unusual novel although the plot was a little repetitive at times. The writing is excellent - easy to read and enjoyable - and the characters easy to relate to. There are some very funny parts to this novel and I would definitely recommend it if you enjoyed the humour of Then We Came To The End.