Friday, June 27, 2008

The Collector Collector

Author: Tibor Fischer Publication Date: 1997 Category: Humour, Literature Who'll want to read it? People who like a laugh looking for something different. Point of no return: "Lugals aren't strong on humour. Power rarely has a use for humour. They don't have much interest in being entertaining or popular. This one tries to act as if he has; a project perhaps to help him imagine that people are drawn to him for his charm and wit and not his integrity-crushing riches. There are lugals like that." Classic line: (referring to a blind date for his 'collector' - you'd better see my comments below if you want to know what I mean) "Teacher: not a good sign. Few people go into the profession because they want to. They're failed somethings: bank robbers, conductors, pilots, people who never found their way out of the educational system. A teacher of English to foreign students: even worse. Someone whose only employable trait is having been born in a country where the language happens to be in demand." What's it all about? This book is literature's best-kept secret. It's narrator is a vase, old as history itself, which can change shape and gets itself collected by interesting (and sometimes interestingly dull) people throughout history: it's a collecter of collectors. His latest 'acquisition' is a lugal (someone who is filthy rich and irredeemably corrupt) who, suspicious that the narrator is a fake while not realising just how unique 'he' really is, gives him to an authenticator named Rosa. Unfortunately for the narrator, Rosa is psychic, and can sense that the collector collector isn't all 'he' seems.
Fischer's command of the English language is fantastic. He peppers his book with words rarely used in books (crystalelephantine, stercolith, and of course lugal), yet his writing is not impenetrable. Far from it, once you read the first page you'll be utterly addicted. Collectors in particular will get a kick out of the narrator's habit of categorising everything 'he' sees (there are 166 different types of noses). If your library doesn't have it, order it. This book is unmissable. Publisher: Vintage

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Truth

Author: Terry Pratchett Publication Date: 2000 Category: Fantasy Who'll want to read it? Those in need of a laugh, those who believe what they read in a newspaper Point of no return: p9 (the first page) Classic line: "There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And there are those who say: this glass is half empty.The world belongs, however to those who can look at the glass and say: 'What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! " What's it all about? The dwarfs can turn lead into gold... William just wants to get at the truth. Unfortunately, everyone else wants to get at William. and its only the third edition... William de Worde is the accidental editor of the Discworld's first newspaper. Now he must cope with the traditional perils of a journalists life - people want him dead, other people want him dead in a different way and worst of all, there is a man who keeps begging him to publish pictures of his humorously shaped potatoes. The 25th Discworld novel tackles the Third Estate, the search for truth ,or at least newspaper truth, and the difference between news and olds. Publisher: Doubleday

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Bookaholics' Guide to Book Blogs

Author: Compiled by Rebecca Gillieron & Catheryn Kilgarriff Publication Date: 2007 Category: Non-fiction Who'll want to read it? Curious people Point of no return: I didn't read this book in any order, but page 34 grabbed me when "online personas" were discussed: "Of course there are those that have no illusions about themselves, 'Grumpy Old Bookman' is hardly casting himself in the most flattering light, neither are 'Bourgeouis Nerd' or 'Old Hag' and some might be put off for quite different reasons by the self-proclaimed 'Bookslut' or 'Fiction Bitch'". Classic line: Chapter heading, page 149 "Riot Lit and the Literary Groups Who Blog" What's it all about? All aspects of literature and blogging, from "Why do people blog?" to the tension around the issue of newspaper reviews vs blog reviews. There are more people out there talking about books than I realised. Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd

Monday, June 02, 2008

Overheard in New York : Conversations from the Streets, Stores, and Subways

Author: Morgan S. Friedman and Michael Malice Publication Date: 2006 Category: Non-fiction, Humour Who'll want to read it? People who need a good laugh Point of no return: Any page Classic line: "Little tourist boy in line to see Bodies Exhibition: "Will there be rides?" pg 283
Or perhaps:
"Professor: Does anyone know the significance of Plato?
Girl 1: Wasn't he a writer?
Girl 2: No, that was Plateau" pg 96
"Man: If I punch SpongeBob in the face, it would be because he is living at a higher moral standard than me"
What's it all about? Snatches of surreal, stupid, funny, sometimes offensive real-life conversations overheard in New York. Read the book or take a look at the web-site where it all started. After you've read this, try "Overheard in the Office". Publisher: Penguin