Thursday 3 May 2012


I read today that Mr Tony Blair is thinking of making his presence felt in politics again.  I hope not. I really hope not.  I'd like to see him locked up in jail and the keys thrown away.  For someone who offered so much before he was elected, he delivered nothing of any value and left a legacy of global conflict.  I hope he rots.

But enough of that.

I've been reading.  Actually I've been reading pretty much all my life.  There's real pleasure to be had from literature that simply cannot be found at the cinema or on TV.  Is it because you get to use your mind to visualise the characters, the settings and the emotions?  My reading goes in fits and starts, and I'm not a great one for remembering either book titles or the interest starts with page 1 and finishes at the end.  So that generally makes it difficult to get recommendations out of me.  So it's unfortunate that I can't tell you the name of a book I read earlier this year that I thoroughly was set in an Irish catholic school run by priests...all I can remember is that the last part of the title was " dead"  Which fairly reflected the fact that the key character dies within the first two pages.

I see nothing wrong with judging a book by its cover....when you're in the book shop confronted by shelf upon shelf of novels, you've got to start somewhere.  Perhaps this is why digital books don't yet appeal to me...I need to explore before I choose.  To make my selection I always turn to somewhere in the middle of the book and read a couple of pages.  If I like what I've read, the book is bought.  So far it's been pretty failsafe.

When I went away skiing I took with me 'Do androids dream of electric sheep'.  It was an unusual choice as I don't usually read science fiction, and I've never before bought the book that a film is based on after I've seen the film...Blade Runner.  The film is brilliant, one of my all time favourites; the book itself is not so brilliant...and deeply confusing when it's different to the film which I'm so familiar with.  In my head Dekkard was still Harrison Ford, and the characters in the book continued to be portrayed by the actors in the film.  So perhaps my mistake to read the book in the first place.  But I'm glad I did.

Neither in the book, nor even in the film script

I then picked up Rivers of London by Ben Aaranovitch....a light hearted magical romp which is a sort of metropolitan police Harry Potter...probably better written and with a few swear words added.  It was fun, but tellingly, I suspect, I realised that I tended to scan rather than read many pages because I was neither gripped not involved.  It's probably aimed at teenagers anyway who'll enjoy the unnecessary swearing.

And the current read is The Master by Colm's a portrait of Henry James.  And I absolutely fell in love with the language on page one.  It's quite dense, so even after a week I've only got to page 75, but it ticks every box for me...there's not a lot of action, it's all emotion, the writing conjours up the most beautiful, atmospheric imagery and the characterisation is superb.  I guess it's a bit like a French film really.  Anyway, it's worth picking up.  As it's my the last book in my unread pile, I'll need to find some any recommendations will be gratefully we have long journeys to make next week.

There is, of course, another sort of literature, and I was amused to see that someone I knew at school set up a sex shop almost the moment he walked out of the hallowed portals.  He's just bought a brand new £250,000 Bentley with personalised registration.  I'm not sure how his education contributed to this, but I doubt the school is holding its head up high on this one.