The Ballad of Halo Jones

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Read 11/06/2016-12/06/2016

Rating: 4 stars

Alan Moore and Ian Gibson’s sci-fi comic about a future everywoman trying to find her place in the world first appeared in 2000AD in the mid-80s. I was a teenager at the time and more interested in Tolkien, literary fiction and listening to pop music, so I’d given up sneakily reading my older brother’s copies of 2000AD. What an error of judgement, because I missed out on Halo Jones first time around. Continue reading

The New Moon with the Old

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Read 09/06/2016-11/06/2016

Rating: 4 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room March Madness Challenge (substitution for I Capture The Castle)

This was a hoot. Dodie Smith was one of my mum’s favourite authors. She read all the volumes in her autobiography, urging me to do so too, although that hadn’t happened yet. She borrowed I Capture The Castle from the library and passed it on to me when she’d done. I loved it. I don’t remember her mentioning The New Moon with the Old, though. I hope she read it. She would have loved it.

On the surface, it’s an old fashioned romance, but it has a knowing wit to it, too. Nothing truly bad happens, just a bit of financial misconduct that forces a family of ill prepared people to engage with reality. Except it’s a magical kind of reality, populated by actors who marry into property, a vastly wealthy and eccentric woman, and an ex-king. It’s escapism of the purest kind, but certainly not trashy. Continue reading

Shylock Is My Name

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Read 24/04/2016-26/04/2016

Rating: 3 stars

Read for the Reader’s Room March Madness challenge.

I haven’t read The Merchant of Venice. I suppose this might have put me at a disadvantage in reading Howard Jacobson’s retelling of the play.

I’ve also not read any Howard Jacobson before. When I opened the book, I didn’t know what his style would be. I ended up enjoying it, despite initial misgivings. It’s a cheeky chappy style, but with depth. He put me in mind of Michael Frayn. I enjoyed the way he peeled away the layers of the issues with which he concerned himself in the book. Continue reading

A Book for Her

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Read 25/03/2016-26/03/2016

Rating: 4 stars

A Book for Her is genuinely laugh out loud funny, but also very thought provoking. I like Bridget Christie‘s thought processes. In the book, I like the interplay between silly and serious, from the silly idea of women like Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel interrupting the serious womanly business of twirling for physical approval with fluff like heading up the IMF or being German Chancellor, to the serious point that feminism is about equality in all things and the right not to be defined by your gender or for your gender to be used as a reason for not being allowed to do something.

Continue reading

How I Escaped My Certain Fate

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Read 27/07/2015-29/07/2015

Rating: 4 stars

I had a blip with Stewart Lee a few years ago. I loved Fist of Fun and TWRNJ in my 20s, but when I saw two minutes of the first series of Comedy Vehicle in 2009, I hated it so much that I decided I hated Stewart Lee. I don’t know why I hated it. Stuff going on, the start of worrying that things weren’t right with mum, being distracted from my usual appreciation of cynicism as an art form. Perhaps too much hummus and Guardian reading.

Happily, I agreed to watch the first episode of the second series of Comedy Vehicle and remembered that I didn’t hate Stewart Lee. I’ve seen him live twice since then and he gave me face ache from laughing too much.

I picked this book out from my husband’s bookcase because I wanted to find out what had happened in the years between TWRNJ and Comedy Vehicle. Continue reading

Disgusting Bliss

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Read 26/07/2015-27/07/2015

Rating: 2 stars

Lucian Randall doesn’t know what he wants his book to be: hero worship; analysis of experimental comedy; examination of reclusive auteur? Parts of it were interesting, when it looked at what went into Chris Morris’ ground breaking radio and TV shows, but much of it was frustrating and badly edited. It took 83 pages before I laughed. The first four chapters are frustratingly leaden. I began to wonder what the point of the book was, and why I was reading it. Continue reading

Me:Moir Volume One

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Read 12/02/2015-14/02/2015

Rating: 4 stars

I spied this book on the bookshelf of a friend one drunken New Year’s Eve not so long ago. I asked if I could borrow it, but was too drunk to remember to bring it home with me once the midnight chimes had rung the new year in and our bodies had pleaded with us to take them home to bed. So I bought my own copy.

I have loved Reeves and Mortimer since they burst onto my late night TV screen in the 1990s. We recently went to see them live on their 25th Anniversary Tour. I ached with laughing so hard. Continue reading