Monday, 19 April 2010

The Fall and Rise of my Reading

At work Caroline says it is wrong to re-read books, but I feel that re-reading is like visiting an old friend. But if you don’t re-read, what is the point of owning any books. We could talk about useless possessions, cost, etc. But I wonder how long I could last without going into a bookshop and buying anything, only going to Libraries and borrowing books off friends and family. There is something, nice, sweet and selfish about having a ‘fresh’ book. Then again I would have over nine boxes of books and growing.

Anyway I have recently read:

“Complete Short Fiction” by Oscar Wilde
Of which my favourites were; The Happy Prince; The Devoted Friend; The Fisherman and His Soul and Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime. Both mum and I loved The Happy Prince, though we didn’t realise that it was written by Wilde. Mum thought that it was collected by Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen did write ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’ and ‘The Little Match Girl’ who are both reflected in The Happy Prince. As kids, my sister and I had a collection of children’s stories, which all came with cassette tapes, which had the ‘The Happy Prince’ and kid’s versions of Andersen and Grimm and the Thousand Nights.

“The Sandman Volumes 7-11” by Neil Gaiman
Also read “Sandman: The Dream Hunters”, “Death: The High Cost of Living”, and “Death: The Time of Your Life”, all by Neil Gaiman. Yes this has become a very expensive addiction – but a very enjoyable one, and I will re-read them again and again.

“Tess of the D’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy
This is a good book, but just not one of my favourites. It skips time in a manner which confuses the reader as to how much time has passed and it skips parts of interesting discussions. The bad guy is a huge pain in the neck – I dislike him so strongly that it might have interferred with my enjoyment of the text. I can understand how some people would think that it is a wonderful book, and there are many nice passages, just not one of my best.

“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens
This is a good book, has an interesting start, but the best part is the last third, so if you find it a hard slog and give up you wont get to the good bits. I liked David Copperfield better as it was more pleasurable.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” by Helen Fielding
It’s an okay book, has a number of good moments and laugh out loud moments, but nothing special. Not my type of book, though I can see how others would enjoy it. I will need to ask people whether this story would be in the small pile of books that are better as films. Any way one more book down from the list.

“White Tiger” by Kylie Chan
Recommended by David. Also read “Red Phoenix”, “Blue Dragon” and “Earth to Hell” all by Kylie Chan. A very good read. A sort of Dungeons and Dragons book, but set in a real time Hong Kong with interesting Chinese mythological characters. The only annoying thing is that the first series (White/Red/Blue) ends at a horrible place with a thousand plot lines unresolved. However “Earth to Hell” closes up a lot of these story lines and finishes in a much better position. I am looking forwards to the next two books. I just hope they tie up the story lines.

And here are some old friends that I have recently re-read. I think I have almost stopped quoting Adams (Apart from airports and 42).

“Shades of Gray” by Jasper Fforde
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
“The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” by Douglas Adams
“Life, the Universe and Everything” by Douglas Adams
“So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish” by Douglas Adams
“Mostly Harmless” by Douglas Adams by Douglas Adams

I have now read 37 books from the list of 100. I'm contemplating stopping after the 42nd. For the entire list go to

Friday, 9 April 2010

Can I Please Have a Drink

All I want to do is curl up with a good cup of coffee and read. I’ve worked extremely productively for the entire morning – much better then I have worked earlier in the week. And on my lunch hour I ordered a large coffee and sat down to read. But the coffee was horrible. I did something that I’ve never done before and that was to leave it there. I have to eat there as they make decent vegetarian food and they are extremely nice, especially to me. I went to the other cafĂ© on campus and got a small coffee, but that was horrible too. Why can’t people make decent coffee? If I had my car on me I would go down to the street to find something.

Also to me an Australian cappuccino is better when it is a third coffee, a third milk and a third froth. If the froth is very thin, it has not been made correctly.

Listen to me whinging and wasting money when there are bigger issues around …

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Summer to Autumn Reading

“The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays” by Oscar Wilde
Recommended by Erin. Lady Windermere’s Fan; Salome; A Woman of No Importance; An Ideal Husband; The Importance of Being Earnest
The plays are lovely, filled with brilliant repartee. I want to see them! No! I want to act in them!

“The Name Of The Rose” by Umberto Eco
Recommended by George. The Name of The Rose is a good whodunit, filled with discussions on Catholicism. Sometimes the theological debates were a bit over my head, but I still enjoyed it. I would like to know how much is based on history and Catholic theology and how much is made up. I like how the main character predicts the contents of a book, by reading other books. Doing a bit of reading tells me that it borrows from the tale of Scheherazade and the Thousand and One Nights, however it has made me want to read Don Quixote. I think my brain must work in very weird ways.

“The Picture Of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde
Enjoyable but I enjoyed the plays. George thinks that I prefer the plays because I am a simpleton who does not like brainy debates and ideas.

“Shades of Grey” by Jasper Fforde
I enjoyed Shades of Grey and its post-apocalyptic setting made me want to read 1984. Shades is a great book however I wouldn’t recommend it until the sequels arrive. I want to see what happens next. There is an ill-explained contradiction there.

“Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell
Recommended by everyone, from conspiracy theorists to government personal.

Thursday, 1 April 2010