jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I read the sequel to The Three Musketeers, called Twenty Years After. It's a big fat book, and it isn't in a hurry to get started, but in the second half things speed up and I got the adventure story that I was hoping for.

It's assumed that you know something about the characters and the plot of the previous book, which is occasionally confusing. I found that it took a long time for d'Artagnan's three friends (Athos, Porthos and Aramis) to resolve into individuals, particularly as they have a variety of names.

It's also assumed that you don't question the musketeers' loyalty to royalty. Perhaps that's just historical accuracy, and it only now seems in need of explanation.

There's a section in England. Can the musketeers save Charles I from execution? Knowing a tiny bit of history was a spoiler here, although I wondered if they might postpone the axe somehow. One thing that bothering me throughout the book was that I didn't know what was history and what was fiction. Did the Scots really betray King Charles because they hadn't been paid? (Yes) Was the French rebellion, the Fronde real? (Yes) Silly me, I suppose, for being so historically ignorant.

The book helped many train journeys pass quicker, and now I'm curious about the third part, but that's so long that it's usually split into three.

Finally, d'Artagnan was a real person!
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
When I was a kid I liked Arthur Ransome books. Wikipedia led me from him to The Far-Distant Oxus so I got a copy from Alibris because I'm on Amazon strike.

So now I'm reading a kids' pony book, not Dostoevsky.

Edit: 62p + postage!
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
Last night on the train, my second chunk of reading of this book included a clitoris. I was sitting next to a woman with extremely short hair, hoping that she wouldn't notice. I was going to give you a page number, but I couldn't find the clitoris...

This morning my SO asked why I was reading this book. She'd been rummaging in my bag for a lunch box. Well, (a) I thought it might be amusing, and (b) no privacy?

Then on the train again, another clitoris, and I actually laughed out loud on the train over a gag about a hair brush.

Heh - lunch box. I'm a stranger to maturity.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
It's like I ate a library suddenly.

The Miranda Hart book was very light, and mildly amusing, but my train reading had run out again. So this morning I noticed a charity second hand book stall and went with something light again, The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year by Sue Townsend, the Adrian Mole woman. First 55 pages kept my attention this morning easily enough. I think it might be funnier if I were further away from the protagonist in age or experiences. I had the same problem with The Office - lots of things that were meant to be funny just seemed like normal for places I've worked.

Anyway, perhaps I should read Dostoevsky next...

I'm not linking to or buying from Amazon because they don't pay taxes and they squeeze blood from their warehouse workers. Wikipedia has a good summary of Amazon's controversial practices.


Jan. 17th, 2014 04:30 pm
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I finished (eventually) reading Foucault's Pendulum, and I can't really recommend it. There are any number of interesting things in it, but also a huge quantity of the most tedious padding. Or perhaps I missed something.

Anyway, some things in the book are just annoying. I could give you a spoiler alert, but that would imply that you might read it. You needn't bother.
  • The village visited by one character in his childhood is referred to as *** but the next village up the hill is named. Every time I saw the three stars, I started inventing names for fictional Italian villages.
  • The narrator could have tried to save his friend from death-by-pendulum by convincing people that their conspiracy theory is invented, but instead he just watches him get killed and philosophises about it. He doesn't even think of doing something but decide against it.
  • The book is heavily sceptical about the occult, but there's a scene with ectoplasm that left me wondering why (after about 600 pages) we were suddenly supposed to suspend disbelief.
  • We're supposed to know any amount of arcane stuff - what Cabala is (usually spelled Kabbalah - oh, that thing that made Madonna tie string round herself!), and in particular the sephirot (no, me neither) - but some other things are explained at length - the history of the Templars is much less obscure, I'd have said.
All of this (and more) nonplussed me. I was also confused by a review quote on the back cover that said it was funny. No it isn't, even slightly. I am still amused, however, by the fact that my only point of reference to an esoteric religious group is from celebrity culture. Perhaps I can find out more about Rosicrucians from ONTD...

I'm now reading Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart, which is something of a contrast.
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
I wrote that I tipping is stupid and then I didn't think much about it. Then I read Jay Porter's blog posts about tipping. He's a restaurateur, and he thought tipping was stupid, so he stopped customers from doing it. Everything got better, and less sexist, and less racist, less everything-else-ist.

I feel so validated...

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