Friday, 27 February 2015

Book Cull.

Why this aggressive language when it comes to books I've no idea, but there it is. I hunt and I cull. 

These are going to the bookswap in Wimbledon station (facebook page here) as soon as I'm feeling well enough to take them (I have a vile cold and spent most of yesterday in bed). 

The New Woman book of Bloke Jokes - My mother gave me this to pass on to my sister in law but I never did. To be honest I wondered if it was meant as a subtle insult as I can't imagine my mother or myself wanting to read this. 

Small World by David Lodge - This is the second in David Lodge's Campus series. I did comment on this twice on the Guardian when I first read it so cut and paste alert:

Comment one:
Realistically if I hadn't read Changing Places last week and had some interest in seeing what happens next it would probably have sat unread forever.
It's funny, but there's a sort of underlying grimness to the humour that I'm not enjoying at all.
For example, in Changing Places there was acknowledgement that the sexual politics were awful, but it was 1969 and things were changing. It's now ten years later and nothing has really changed except some of the women are now as predatory and deceitful as the men.
And the rest so far (I'm on page 160) is academic infighting, unhappy marriages, malicious gossip, unmarried mothers having to perform in strip joints to get by and misery in general.

Comment two:
I have to admit it livens up enormously once the characters start meeting up more and are given enough chance to breathe. 
If I stumble across the last in the series I'll probably read it but I'm not planning to seek it out.

I don't have anything to add to that. 

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson: A rollicking adventure that I've forgotten the details of. Entertaining while I read it but again, I'll never re-read. 

A Tale of Two Cities - Dickens. I haven't actually read this yet, but I own a hard copy and a kindle copy, so the hard copy is going. 

Cover her Face - P D James. Definitely have read this but can't remember the details. Not her best then. 

A Clubbable Woman - Reginald Hill. More unhappy marriages - I think Hill was going for hard boiled but I found it depressing and misogynistic. I know there was a certain amount of that in the 70s - but there's a great deal more in this book than others I've read from the era. 

Passenger to Frankfurt - Agatha Christie. This is a spy novel more than anything else. It's not bad, and the way Christie has used the historical context is interesting. I don't quite believe in the romance between the central characters - they seem more like siblings to me. 

The China Governess - Margery Allingham. Again not bad, entertaining story. I won't read it again

A Male Child - Paul Scott. This has sat on my shelf forever. I've glanced in it a couple of times and read something else instead. It's time I accepted I won't ever read it and let it go. 

The Longest Journey - E M Forster. Another I already have on the kindle - about half read. I've enjoyed other books and essays by Forster far more.

London Irish - Zane Radcliffe. Another one that has sat on my shelf too long. 

The Norfolk Mystery - Ian Sansom. Again I reviewed this on the Guardian website with the comment that it just doesn't gel and feels like a tick box exercise:  It's set in the 30s and the narrator is one of those educated young men who fought in the Spanish Civil War but doesn't quite know why. Skint and drinking too much he gets a job as secretary to a man who writes country guides and has a number of eccentric behaviours and a bright young thing daughter who drives too fast. 

I've loved other books by Sansom though. 

Wainewright the Poisoner - Andrew Motion. More clever than anything else. I won't reread.

The Sea Garden - Sam Llewellyn. I'm sure I've read it, but it hasn't stuck at all. 

Of course this hasn't made a dent on my bookshelves, which are two books deep in places, but it's a start. 

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