Wednesday 20 August 2008

More to life than books you know but not much more?

A couple of people thought I was actually reading Clement Greenberg and Frieze whilst on my holidays. As a family catchphrase has it: I might be daft - but I’m not stupid…

I will wind up gently, after two days of email threshing and thrashing, by sharing the books I did actually read on holiday, for no other reason than some people suggested it.

Bringing It All Back Home by Ian Daley. Fantastic book about music, life, class, identity and place – in particular Featherstone, West Yorkshire. Funny, poignant, stimulating, the last chapter made me weep and the rest made me go delving through my mp3 player. If you’ve ever liked music, or people, you should read this book, so that’s hopefully all of you - but I'm told it might help if you're male and the far side of 40.

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon. Parallel future noir, set in an an Alaskan Jewish-homeland. Prose snappier than a fedora, proper thriller and emotional content too – very satisfying.

Then We Came To an End by Joshua Ferris. Had meant to get away from odd office behaviour on holiday, but this is all about people and their odd behaviour in the office as cutbacks loom and the pointlessness of their jobs dawns on them. (Obviously didn’t ring any bells at all with me…) Starts off funny and a little glib but builds. By the end I was describing it as Joseph Heller’s Something Happened for the web 2.0 age – and I love that book. Fittingly, there are some entertaining web promos. Start here.

The Rain before It Falls by Jonathan Coe. Slight detour from Coe’s usual style – wierdly enough reminded me of Maggie Farrell’s The Vanishing Trick of Esmee Lennox which I read on last year’s holiday. Bit over-written at times but eventually very engaging tale of love, daughters and mothers.

Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks by Christopher Brookmyre. Functional ‘quirky’ thriller I borrowed off my son as I’d run out of other books.

Ok, now it’s back to Westminster and Whitehall Weekly and normal service.

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