Bookblog 10th October, 2010.
No Such Thing As A Bad Book
Seems like it’s been a while since my last book blog. I have my next book club meeting at Waterstone’s on 12th October and I have just finished The Year Of The Flood by Margaret Atwood. Overall, I enjoyed it, but I did find it puzzling. Jumping about between the aftermath of the Waterless Flood and the years before it does not help. I can deal with it, but it has to be said that I prefer chronological order. Hence, I liked it much more towards the end of the novel when it didn’t keep flitting back to the past and stayed with the aftermath of the flood. Also, I’m not entirely sure how to take this book. Is Atwood singing from the God’s Gardeners’ hymnsheet, or taking the piss out of them? I can’t quite make up my mind whether the author endorses the whole green thing and that this book is a warning of impending environmental doom, or whether she’s just sending up the doom merchants with this novel. My colleague, Catherine, who has also started coming to book club meetings with me this year, is a fan of Atwood’s but even she shared the same queries as myself when we caught up with each other after work recently.
The date of our next book club meeting also coincides with the announcement of this year’s Booker Prize winner. With this in mind, it has set me wondering at what time the announcement will be made and, if it is before the meeting, what is the likelihood that we’ll be reading the winning book as our next choice of reading matter?! There’s a couple of novels on the shortlist which have caught my eye and I’ve acquired for reading. The books in question being C by Tom McCarthy and Room by Emma Donoghue. C is on my Sony Reader as an eBook and Room is a hardback.
Talking of eBooks, I’ve now read seven of the ebooks on my Sony Reader, recently finishing The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura, a guide not only to the Japanese Tea Ceremony but to the art and philosophy surrounding the rituals, and Overqualified by Joey Comeau, a short and amusing collection of cover letters he fired off to various companies in the hope that they would give him a job, although I can imagine his chances of employment were very slim given the sort of stuff he wrote in these letters! Well, not unless a company is so off-the-wall and unconventional that they’d appreciate a cover letter which consists of expletives and irrelevant waffle! Before anyone comments, yes, yours truly can also do expletives and irrelevant waffle. I could waffle for Britain as several of my friends would readily testify! However, I am not daft enough to do so if I have to write a cover letter for a job!
A tweet by GuardianBooks earlier today caused me to reply. It had a link to an article about how eBooks helped him go away on holiday and still take plenty of reading material. However, I hasten to point out that the fella concerned was daft enough to fly with Ryanair! Yes, that’s right, the bunch of money-grabbing swines who charge people for needing the loo during flights! If they go to the wall in this recession, they only have themselves to blame for being the most passenger-unfriendly airline going! I would have to be pretty damn desperate to ever fly with them. Thankfully, there are plenty of other airlines. Even so, any eReader device is a good idea for travel. Lots of books on one device, whether it’s purely for eBooks like a Sony Reader or a Kindle, or whether it’s an app on your iPhone, BlackBerry or other smartphone. I have Kobo on my BlackBerry so have a few books on that as well as on the portable bookshelf that is my Sony Reader!
Anyway, finishing the Atwood means I’ve now read 39 books so far this year, needing just 11 more between now and New Year’s Eve to complete the 50 Book Challenge once again! My Sony Reader and a few short reads have been a great help in this respect. I don’t plan on doing the challenge again in 2011, though, as I have my Around The World In 80 Books idea which I intend to start in the New Year for however long that may take me…. I need a readable representative for each of 80 different countries. I’ve certainly got enough potential reads listed on an Excel spreadsheet to account for just over half of that global literary journey, but I will still need more, so be prepared for me to ask for suggestions and recommendations! Countries listed below are those for whom I have at least one potential book…
Afghanistan, Australia, Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Congo, Crete, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kefalonia (Greek island), Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad, Ukraine and the USA.
Anyway, I feel the need to progress with Robin Ince’s Bad Book Club, although I would debate the concept of the title as there is no such thing as a bad book. Books are Good Things. I grant you that there are some that just wouldn’t appeal to me, but then books have to account for all sorts of tastes in reading and just because I wouldn’t want to read anything about or by that lying, warmongering tosspot, Tony Blair, and think that his book is a shocking waste of good trees, this does not prevent others from being strange enough to want to read that particular tome. Similarly, I’d leave any book on Alan Shearer to the Geordies to enjoy, as I’d much rather read about trophy-laden legends, such as Ryan Giggs! I concur absolutely with the foreword by Sir Alex Ferguson in Giggsy’s book, My Life My Story, in which Fergie says that Ryan should get a knighthood. Absolutely! Arise Sir Ryan!
I would’ve suggested Ryan be nominated for next year’s Booker Prize, but that award is for fiction, so perhaps I should nominate GMPTE for their splendid series of fantasy fiction, otherwise known as bus timetables! Events in Discworld novels are more likely to occur than some buses are to turn up at their allotted times and it really wouldn’t surprise me if I were ever to see the Luggage scuttling by on its hundreds of little legs while I wait for a 22 bus to turn up and take me to work, or bring me home from Chorlton of an evening!
As for the B-liar book… Will I ever read the book by Dubya’s little pet arselicker? Only if it was available for free as an eBook so it didn’t cost me a penny and didn’t cost the planet any trees! And also only on the proviso that I didn’t have anything better to read. And, as a hardcore bookworm since I first learned to read, I seriously doubt that will EVER happen!
The Year of the Flood – Margaret Atwood
C – Tom McCarthy
Room – Emma Donoghue
The Book of Tea – Kakuzo Okakura
Overqualified – Joey Comeau
Robin Ince’s Bad Book Club – Robin Ince
Ryan Giggs: My Life, My Story – Ryan Giggs