Monday, 3 May 2010

Heavy Reader

There's never a time when I'm not reading something but I go through phases where I have the urge to just keep reading until my eyeballs bleed (I don't because the whole bleeding eyeball thing is not a good look and would probably frighten the kids). It's almost a physical need - a compulsion to keep consuming stories until my story-craving brain is sated.

They don't have to just be fictional stories although that tends to be the main default setting for me. No, I like some true stories as well although, if they're going to be true, I do tend to prefer them on the strange side. So what have been the highlights of this immersion in the written word? I'm so very glad you asked me that as that was pretty much how I was planning to pad out the rest of this entry...

The Eyre Affair & Lost In A Good Book by Jasper Fforde - A comic author in much the same vein as Robert Rankin and Terry Pratchett to an extent, these books follow the exploits of Tuesday Next, a literary detective living in alternate 1985 who gets involved in cases that involve stolen literary characters, the Crimean War, time travel, Shakespearean authorship conundrums and much more strangeness besides. He's got an extremely inventive mind with a very readable writing style and the plots rattle along at a good pace.

The Call Of The Wild by Louis Theroux - I've always enjoyed Louis' documentaries (although recently, he's gone off the boil a little bit by branching out into more serious subjects and losing a lot of that quirky appeal). This is his first book and details his attempts to get back in touch with previous documentary subjects as a ten year "reunion Tour". It makes for interesting reading, partly to see how the lives of the former interviewees have altered (not a lot in most cases) and partly because it's fascinating to see Louis' oddly naive belief that his subjects wouldn't have been offended by the mocking documentaries he made about them.

Screen Burn by Charlie Booker - A collection of his columns for The Guardian, I found it a fascinating read for two reasons - firstly because his brand of raging vitriol is extremely amusing (he has a very good turn of phrase when he's outraged) and secondly because it covers the years 2000 - 2004 and it's interesting to look back and see the changing nature of television over that time from the rise of reality television onwards.

I'm also indulging in something that I haven't for a long while - the reading of multiple books at once. As well as finishing off Lost in A Good Book, I'm also getting through Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (enjoyable but not overly easy going) and Uller Uprising by H Beam Piper (classic 50s pulp sci-fi). I'm sure this will all fade again soon but, for the moment, I'm a dedicated heavy reader.


MJenks said...

I'm going to have to check out this Jasper Fforde guy. If he's available over here.

cerebus660 said...

Baldy I can definitely empathise with your first paragraph: my wife says I would read the label on a tomato sauce bottle if there wasn't anything else available! And she's probably right.

That Baldy Fella said...

MJenks - Yeah, he's entertaining. Irritatingly, though, the second book ends on kind of a cliffhanger so now I have to read the third one. Dagnabbit.

cerebus660 - Well, I enjoyed the tomato sauce label but the brown sauce label was a much pacier read.