Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Holiday Reading

Yesterday's post gives some clues as to what I do on holiday. I collect things on beaches, I endanger life and limb and poison my family. But, in the absence of work and household chores I also get a chance to attack the pile of unread books that lurks in my bedside cabinet and now, on my return, I can again shut the cupboard door. Here's what I got through whilst in the car parks and the beaches of Brittany and the Vendee this time round.

As I was pootling around the South Hams just before I went away, I heard Ben Fogle on Radio 4 talking about this book which is one of his favourites. You will see from the cover that Bill Bryson also likes it so I thought that it might be worth a try. The Ascent of Rum Doodle was written in the 1950s and is a parody of a post war expedition to climb the world's highest peak. I enjoyed this silly tale immensely especially the exploits of the navigator who continually gets lost and the attempts by the leader to bond with his team by persuading them to confide the secrets of their love lives. Sadly Mr Lovelygrey was not amused but then his sense of humour can be a little more highbrow than my own.

Narrow Dog to Indian River is the sequel to Narrow Dog to Carcassonne, the subject of a recent post.  Mr Lovelygrey preferred the first book as he felt that there was a bit too much hanging around before Tits Magee and his intrepid entourage actually get going on their trip down the Intracoastal Waterway on the Eastern Seaboard of the US.  However, taking a traditional wifely stance, I disagree.  This book is as good as the first and my literacy encounter with Jim the badly behaved whippet has forced me to think the previously unthinkable and contemplate getting a velvet clad canine of my own.

In spite of not being a cops and robbers type girl I enjoyed When Will There be Good News? by Kate Atkinson. But I was alerted to her pre-crime fiction by my sister in law. Behind the Scenes at the Museum made for good mid-holiday reading although I got confused when the book flitted between time periods because of the sheer number of characters involved.

And for the first time in yonks I thought I'd revisit Lake Wobegon as I fancied something well written from the other side of the pond that would also made me laugh out loud. Like the rest of the other books in the series, the novel Libertyby Garrison Keillor did not disappoint.

Ah! now, Freakonomicswas an interesting read, chosen on a random trawl of the offerings of Kingsbridge library. It turned out to be funny, thought provoking and an easy enough read to finish in a day. Economics is not really my field but applying concepts from one discipline to solve seemingly unrelated problems rocks my boat! This provided a gentle bit of intellectual stimulation that stopped my brain going completely pappy whilst in the holiday mood.

However, my choice of a lightweight holiday read was a huge disappointment. Perhaps I should have expected this as I've never been a fan of 'Pop Idol' or 'X Factor' and Chart Throbis a novel based on a similar type of show. But then I really don't like 'Big Brother' but found an earlier Ben Elton novel, Dead Famous, about a murder on the set of a televised house isolated from society hugely enjoyable.

This time I couldn't get past the first few pages so my holiday reading went without its frothy topping. You let me down big time Ben!

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