Friday, November 22, 2013

Pasteurized books...old joke, books that have passed your eyes..

Since I've been a devoted reader user, I've noticed a steep dropoff in reviewing books in Field and Fen, which I attribute to a. the speed at which I've been whipping through books in the absence of enough good health to do much else, no time to stop and write, and b. The fact that I can't make a fancy arrangement of books for a photoshoot, complete with Dollivers pointing to the pages in case you didn't know how a book works.

So here's a bit of catchup:  currently falling about laughing at Jasper Fforde (how to people get that extra f?  an ancestor was very nice to Charles II?  prithee fair maiden, accept this f in token of a very nice time this evening. Oh, sire, thanks to you I now have an f to my name.  Or something) 

Anyway, his Thursday Next, Literary Detective, on the trail of violent criminals involved in swiping literary works and changing the endings, is  fun to read. I downloaded a whole series of them just in case I liked them, and I'm glad I did.

Then less happily, I read Julie Powell's Cleaving which received a lot of bad, even angry reviews so I won't pile on, but went back to see her Julie and Julia, since I liked the concept and loved the movie.  

And found that the movie is to be commended for sanitizing Julie Powell's  writing, her life and especially her kitchen, the squalor of which is almost unreadable.  Hard to grasp that her friends were willing to eat the food that came out of it, however wonderful it looked.  There's a big difference between being a Texan come to Noo Yawk to be a bohemian, very self conscious scruffy housekeeping stuff, and being a danger to your neighborhood.

I am one of those original owners of Julia Child's book, completely with ironic inscription from husband, and it was fun to look at the recipes Julie Powell, the blogger and writer, was struggling with.  For a while, before it was overtaken by the sad reality of her surroundings.

So, though she has a massive talent as a writer, I guess I wish she had a different way of using it.  Rabelais wasn't disgusting, he was funny, witty. Same with Chaucer, funny juxtapositions, deliberately pulling the legs of his readers.  Maybe she could take a look at them and see what to leave out.

Then into James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series, which I'm reading through in big gulps, very exciting stuff, great escapist reading.

Some good nonfiction too: Jeffrey Toobin's The Oath, very good about Obama's Supreme Court and all the subtexts therein.  He's a cracking good writer on dry topics.  And Richard Brandt's One Click, about Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder and his business life. It seemed very solipsistic to be reading about the founder of Amazon, and the Kindle, on a Kindle, but oh well.

And there are many others, including a couple of the Inspector Vera books, as good as the tv series, which was also good.

So that's me, and the illustrations are in your own head.  Like listening to the radio.


  1. Interesting about Julia....I guess not the icon we all through her to be. I'm currently reading Chris Hadfield's "An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth" and really enjoying it. Definitely very readable and not at all full of the 'technical' you would expect from an astronaut. Interesting how he draws a comparison between the technical necessity of certain things to succeed/survive in space and how those same principles apply to living our daily lives.

  2. Oh dear, I think you've confused Julie Powell, whose kitchen I was upset by, with the glorious Julia Child, whose kitchen I would gladly have lived in! Julie Powell wrote a blog about cooking her way through Child's book, then it became a book then a movie. Perhaps that wasn't clear.

  3. I have enjoyed some of the Thursday Next novels too. Very clever dry wit I thought. Probably lost on a number of younger readers. I also enjoy a bit of James Patterson when I want a bit of easy suspense to read.

  4. I think Jasper Fforde is just so funny, and so much fun as well. Glad you are enjoying him too.

  5. I love Jasper Fforde - the Thursday Next ones are so clever and funny. Not so much the others which are for the younger set.


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