Recommended Reading…

Good evening, bookworms! Apologies for the lengthy delay in blogging, but, as you can imagine and no doubt understand, I was getting a fair bit of reading done! Plus I had a few other matters to attend to. But I have returned and now have only 2 books to go to complete the 50 Book Challenge. Having said that, though, I’ve got just under a fortnight in which to get those books read as we are fair hurtling headlong towards the very end of 2010! The book I have just finished is, typically for me, a book about books! Called “Read This Next” it is basically a recommendation of many other books. As well as detailing many books and giving me ideas for future reads, it is like a spoof guide to book clubs. I say spoof because Newman and Mittelmark’s “discussion questions” for book clubs are often so funny that I can’t seriously believe they would be asked at a book group meeting, although I’d love to know if any HAVE been used and what reaction they elicited! For example, when discussing “Naples ’44” by Norman Lewis, one of the discussion questions is as follows…

“Lewis’s Neapolitans don’t seem to care if they’re ruled by Mussolini or the Allies or Dumbo the Elephant. Why? Why??? This might also be a good time to break out the Neapolitan ice cream.”

See what I mean?! I laughed my head off reading that bit! Particularly about the Neapolitan ice cream! Now, that takes me back to when I was a kid! Nowadays, there are quite a lot of fab and groovy ice cream flavours readily available, particularly at certain ice cream parlours. But the concept of an ice cream that had three flavours in it was a big deal to me when I was a kid! Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry in one block of ice cream! Yay! While we’re discussing ice cream, I happen to be a huge fan of Ben & Jerry’s these days, particularly Cherry Garcia, Baked Alaska (LOVE the white chocolate polar bears!), Fairly Nuts and Caramel Chew Chew, the latter of which I have a tub of in the freezer, ready to be polished off by yours truly at a convenient time!

Meanwhile, over on Twitter, I am currently tweeting about a book I read and loved years ago. In fact, loved doesn’t even begin to describe it. I was in stitches laughing when I read “Fever Pitch” by Nick Hornby for the first time, back in 1994. This gained me some pretty odd looks, particularly from my own family, as I was out and about at the time! I was in the final year of my degree and my sister was at the stage of choosing universities, so we were traipsing around Sunderland Uni in the snow and I was reading Fever Pitch and laughing my head off! Yes, Hornby is an Arsenal fan and I’m a Manchester United fan, but I could relate to a lot of the stuff in the book about pre-match and matchday rituals of fans in order to bring their teams luck. Also, Fever Pitch is essentially the diary of a fan waiting for his team to win the league title for the first time in donkey’s years. In Hornby’s case, it was the 18 year wait from 1971 to 1989 with Arsenal and the euphoria which spilled out when his club finally ended the long wait and were crowned Champions. I know that same feeling as I experienced it with United in 1993, ending a very long wait for the title which had stretched back, in our case, to before I was born! I was in existence for 20 of the 26 years when Oldham Athletic beat Aston Villa 1-0 at Villa Park on 2nd May 1993 to end Villa’s title hopes and officially confirm that Manchester United were the inaugaral Premier League Champions. “And Henry’s there with a goal for Oldham!” – words I will never forget from listening to the radio commentary of that match… Then there was the following night, Monday 3rd May 1993, at Old Trafford as United beat Blackburn Rovers 3-1 amidst celebrations of epic proportions!

Anyway, before I went off on a ramble about Fever Pitch and about my beloved team winning the league in 1993, I had previously been mentioning books about books, which is a common topic for me. One of the books I am partway through reading is “If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller” by Italo Calvino. A bloke buys a book and then just as he’s getting to a good bit, there’s a printing error. He goes to get a replacement at the bookshop, but then finds his replacement book seems totally different… a book about buying a book which is not the book the book-buyer thought it was! Confused? You will be! Anyway, I like books about books, so there! Deal with it! Ner!

Yeah, ok, so “ner” isn’t a terribly literary thing to say, but my ability to give a shit is currently out of service! I’m a bit pissed-off with the damn snow and United’s match at Chelsea being called off when it would’ve been a great chance to get an away win at Stamford Bridge for the first time in years, so you can’t seriously expect me to give two shiny shites about saying things like “ner”, can you?! I shall stick my tongue out as well! (sticks tongue out and blows large raspberry) No I don’t care if that shocks you. A toss is not given. At all. Get over it!

Going back to Read This Next, and the chapter on political books, one of those books is called The Conscience Of A Conservative. Personally, I feel this is an oxymoron! If any right-wingers wish to unfollow, unsubscribe, or whatever, feel free. In fact that’s what you’re probably best doing if you have right-wing leanings as I am distinctly Old Labour and on the side of students, badly-paid workers, etc, and I utterly HATE fatcats and fascists! I also think right-wingers are deluded, particularly when it comes to thinking that God would be on their side! Er, excuse me, but the last time I checked, monetary greed and various forms of discrimination, which are the hallmarks of the right-wing, all go AGAINST the proper teachings of pretty much all faiths! Clearly the Tories, Republicans and their ilk have all conveniently forgotten that bit about it being easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven! Spiritual teachings also point out that anyone who DOES have money and/or a high position in life has an enormous responsibility attached to it! They are supposed to ensure that they don’t abuse their position and that they use their funds wisely and fairly. Yet another important factor which is criminally overlooked by politicians the world over! Especially the greedy, moneygrabbing fatcat bastards that the right-wing fraternity seem to admire so much! Much as the old Eastern Bloc disapproved of religions, it has to be said that the proper teachings of faiths seem far more in line with left-wing beliefs than right-wing ones! Besides, if God was for the right-wingers, why would He have given them such brainless twerps as George W Bush and Sarah Palin?! And, here in the UK, why would he have made Boris Johnson a Tory if He was a right-winger?! And then there’s the utterly odious BNP and Nick Griffin! Now, I’m not saying there aren’t any unsavoury characters on the Left in the course of history, as there are, Stalin for instance, but I think the Right far outweighs the Left when it comes to Utterly Evil Bastards In World History! Atilla The Hun, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini, McCarthy, Nixon, Thatcher, Mugabe, Ahmedinejad, Murdoch, Blatter (well, ok, I don’t know if Sepp is a right-winger, but he’s certainly an evil, bent, Anglophobic, corrupt, bribe-taking twat and I hate his guts, so he probably is one and he’s been added to the list)…

Oh dear, now I’m just going to get annoyed, thinking about nasty pieces of work as named above! Better digress to another topic, hadn’t I?! Actually, I’d better just round off this blog entry by bringing it to a suitable conclusion and wishing my blog readers (if I have any) a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2011. Except for the right-wing arseholes named in the previous paragraph – I hope those in that list who are still alive have an utterly shite Christmas and the sooner they all go and burn in Hell, the better! If you’re the sort of person who goes around treating the rest of us like shit and making our lives a misery, then I wish the same towards you. Simple as that!

Books mentioned in this blog:

  • Read This Next – Sandra Newman & Howard Mittelmark
  • Naples ’44 – Norman Lewis
  • Fever Pitch – Nick Hornby
  • If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller – Italo Calvino
  • The Conscience Of A Conservative – Barry Goldwater
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