Thursday, April 06, 2006

"It sounds like it could be a really good book but the way you describe it makes it seem a bit... 3 for 2."
This was, apparently, an unbelievably harsh criticism of The Time Traveller's Wife, which I bought but haven't read yet. On checking the cover of the book, I did indeed buy it as part of a 3 for 2 offer, which means to me an okay book but so terribly common. Maybe I'm just spending too much time thinking about the bookgroup I want to set up and becoming snobby and elitist in my attempts to organise some sort of reading group that exceeds the dribbly, feelgood, far-from-academic Richard and Judy style bookgroup. Maybe I'm just snobby and elitist. But not too snobby to avoid the tempation of a bargain 3 for 2 offer. I feel that Borders understands me too well.

Speaking of books, I'm gripped by Infernal Devices, a very definite
not 3 for 2 book, and is the third book in the Mortal Engines series. It's a kids' book that is totally and utterly wasted on kids. The action is a bit too adult in my opinion for a kids' book - one of the female leads has absolutely no hesitancy when it comes to shooting people in the face (which she does quite often), she spends a lot of time hating her own daughter and wishing she had never been born, characters die quite horrible and violent, sudden deaths and there's even a bit of rough sex mentioned. All of which I fully believe have a place in childrens' literature but dear god, all in the same book within 75 pages?

Also, there are references to contemporary childrens' authors such as Philip Pullman (referred to as the great P. P Bellman, but I know who the author meant), thinly veiled jabs at contemporary artists with barely changed names that I doubt 12 year olds will recognise and understand the joke...

There's also a lot about an alternative Brighton that floats on the sea, drifting about as a pleasure island that the other land-roving traction cities can visit. There are knowing references to the well-intentioned but clueless artists and actors who litter the streets with their handicrafts and workshops and Reeve mocks the endless bad fringe theatre to be found among the art centres and open house events with a familiarity that only a resident of Brighton who has indulged in loss-making fringe theatre can produce. It's amazingly sly and funny writing, far too sophisticated for 12 year olds.

It's my lunchtime book and I think it's clear how much I'm enjoying reading it when I had to reheat my soup twice because I was too busy turning the pages and shouting out "No! OH! God, no! You can't do that! Hester, stop!" to eat it. Highly recommended but read from the beginning of the series to get the full, breathtaking, mind-boggling effect.

The Londonist Apple Store event went very well, all our speakers made blogging sound like a fun thing to do and represented the different kinds of blog and the variations in the blogging experience very nicely. We're organising another one soon and putting ideas together for what will hopefully be a Londonist series, so watch this space. For a bunch of people with day jobs, cats and non-blogging spouses, I think we're doing rather well, even in these early stages.

There's something that is going to wake me up at about 5.30am and make me laugh out loud all over again: Taxloss looks a bit like Samuel L. Jackson. Ah! Haha! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Haaahahahahahahahahahaahahaaaaaaa!

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