Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Booky book

Nearly got page 2 of My robot finished, and my Christopher Lee pic is nearly done too, will post them soon.
The slight delay has been down to -
1. Going back to work - I'm saying very little about it, read into that what you will :)
2. Been reading -
At the moment I'm reading my first Douglas Coupland book. I had a copy of 'Generation X' for years but never got round to reading it..... which seems appropriate really. I should probably have started with 'Girlfriend in a Coma', it's been recommended to me a few times, but I went with 'Jpod'. I'm about two thirds through it, and it's fun, but I'm not sure what the fuss is about. I think it's about something, but I'm not really sure what, and I feel like doing a google search to find out..... which seems appropriate really.

Before that I read 'Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror' by Chris Priestley, which was absolutely fantastic. I do like creepy stories, and I do like kid's books, but I'm not sure I've seen the two work so well together. The two main characters are named after M.R. James and Edgar Allan Poe, which gives some idea of where Priestley is coming from. Although the book is an anthology of short stories, it's all tied together beautifully by them being told by an Uncle to his nephew, very much in the best manner of creepy tales such as 'Dead of Night'. Special mention goes to David Robert's artwork, he's a touch Gorey-esque at the best of times, but he really goes for it here, and the result is very lovely indeed.

And before that was 'Black Swan Green' by David Mitchell. I felt like reading something nostalgic, I hadn't realised that I was reading an actual time machine. A friend warned me off this slightly by claiming Mitchell tried to hard to set the book in time by referencing songs, etc. I didn't really feel this was that intrusive, and seeing as the protagonist is a 12-13 year old boy, nor did I think it was inappropriate. There's nothing terribly earth shattering about the plot, and it seems far less experimental than his other books (which I've not read), but it does feel like an unseen 4 part episode of Grange Hill directed by Stephen Frears, and that's good enough for me.


Peter Bangs said...

My sympathies on your return to work. At least it speaks well for Becs that you're going back now.

How's Olivia? Must be due for some more photos by now?

paul said...

i think coupland has been suffering from diminishing returns... i really loved gen X, girlfriend in a coma and especially microserfs when i read them years back, but i've not been that bothered to read his more recent stuff. obviously without reading them i can't make any kind of qualified statement, but from the reviews i've read they sound a bit of a rehash of his old ideas.

black swan green, however, i loved. i know what you mean about the 'experimental' tag that has been attached to michell, but i think the point about a lot of his writing is that he uses a rule-based system, that process is really the experimental part and the rest flows from there. in all i just thought the characterization and writing in black swan was fantastic, and i was captivated by it.

cloud atlas was also excellent, although i think this got an extra boost for being a genre novel that escaped into mainstream fiction. there wasn't really anything that experimental in it for sci-fi fans, but the reviews just fell over themselves to dress it as amazingly experimental fiction... i think this is a similar realm to atwood and the like, who badge their work 'speculative fiction' in order to appeal to a wider audience and stop the reviewers from spotting that all their best ideas are old hat in genre!

Peter Bangs said...

How's work been? Have you survived your first few days?

paulhd said...

Peter - Olivia's doing great, I'll post some photo's of Olivia soon, once I learn how to take them out of my new phone and put them on my old computer.
Work? You know how Joe Gordon got sacked for talking about work on his blog? ;)
Paul - Think I probably agree with you about Coupland, bit presumptuous of me having only read one book tohugh.
The characterisation and prose in BSG was excellent. I remember talking to you once about the genre theft by literary authors, it seems to still go on really. Reckon I'll give Cloud Atlas a go sometime soon.

Jason said...

I'm a big David Mitchell fan. I liked BSG a lot, although there's a couple of bits in it that led me up the garden path of expecting something stranger than we ended up with. At least twice the central character has 'lost time' which is never explained. The first is when he's about to be attacked by dogs, then in the next chapter we've moved on. What happened? In another part, he falls asleep in a barn (I think) and there's a weird bit of time missing. I was expecting something Wasp Factory - like to emerge, and it never did. Still, it was better than Number 9 Dream, his least successful book I think. Cloud Atlas is masterful - but for my money Ghostwritten is his best.

paulhd said...

I see what you mean re. BSG's Wasp Factory-ness Jason. For a nostalgic but dark tale of childhood may I highly recommend Jeremy (League of Gentlemen) Dyson's 'What Happens Now', beautiful, heart breakingly so, written.