Sunday, February 20, 2011

january/february books

More books, I’m afraid:
The Fry Chronicles (Stephen Fry): Incredibly readable. At over 400 pages, the book is probably much longer than it needs to be (Fry acknowledges this at the very start of the book) – afterall, it’s his second autobiography and it still only takes us up to his 30th birthday! I frequently had a sense that I could have skipped a few pages and not lost the general gist - a bit like tuning into the Archers every so often (which I don’t) and knowing you could catch up on the storyline very quickly. Having said that, I do love the way he writes and really didn't want the book to end.
The Wild Places (Robert Macfarlane): A simply magical, inspiring book – beautifully written – describing Macfarlane’s journeys around Britain seeking out the truly wild places. I’m really NOT one of those people who simply packs a warm sleeping bag and bivouac bag and trudges off in search of wilderness – especially at night and in the snow(!) – but even I was captivated by his adventures and stories.
All The Pretty Horses (Cormac McCarthy): I was incredibly impressed by McCarthy’s “The Road” and so decided to read his “The Border Trilogy” (this book is volume one). I found it a difficult book to get into at the start, but really warmed to it in the end. Set in America in the early 1950s, it deals (among other things) with the transition between boyhood and manhood. I’m looking to reading volumes two+three in due course!
Mountains of the Mind (Robert Macfarlane): Another wonderful Macfarlane book. I’m afraid I don’t have a head for heights and so mountaineering as a hobby is a definite “no no” for me. Despite this, I’ve read and enjoyed many books on the subject and this is one of the very best. Essentially, it’s a fascinating history of mountaineering but, like his “Wild Places” book, I particularly enjoyed tales of his own experiences.
What a Carve Up! (Jonathan Coe): This is our book group’s first book (blame Catherine!), so I suppose I shouldn’t really be commenting, to any great extent, here in advance of our meeting on 11 March! The book was published in the mid-1990s and is effectively a condemnation of Thatcher’s Britain. Whilst (as you might imagine) I found this easy to applaud and enjoy – it’s very funny at times, I was also irritated by its preposterous and, sometimes, predictably fantastic storyline. Having just finished the book, I’m left with mixed feelings about it. Maybe I’ll think differently once I’ve had time to reflect.

1 comment:

just Gai said...

I do so hope I disagree with you on Coe's book! ('In a nice way' as Eilidh would say.)