Tag Archives: Humour

When it’s a jar

By Tom Holt

Statement: This is the third Tom Holt novel I have read, and I must say I really enjoy his writing. Even though I enjoyed it, it took me a wee while to get into the book (I kept distracting myself with chic-lit and other stuff which didn’t help). I didn’t have this problem when reading Barking or Blonde Bombshell. The plot kept repeatedly building towards something exciting, then suddenly turning back to the seamingly mundane. This was just a plot device, so “bare with” fellow readers. I laughed out loud at times, and you’ve gotta love a novel that makes you laugh.

Plot: Strange things keep happening to Maurice Katz. People keep telling him he is a hero for one thing, with seems contrary to Maurice’s perception of his life (unsuccessful, just hanging onto his job etc). Extraordinary things keep happening, and Maurice steadily tries to ignore them until his reluctant inner hero steps out to save the world. And then there’s the bloke who keeps waking up in a jar.

Writing: Modern prose, good flow, funny

Thoughts: I love the balance of modern day London to the various parallels mutliverses. And the humour of course.

Read if:  … you like Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, Ben Aaronovitch, Terry Pratchett.

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The Restaurant at the end of the Universe

By Douglas Adams

I have wanted to read this book for ages … well since I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Oddly enough I kept forgetting that I wanted to.

This book didn’t disappoint. What is disappointing is that my original post on this book failed to publish on WordPress, so I need to re type it.

Arthur Dent, Trillion, Ford Prefect, and Zaphod Beeblebrox are where we left them at the end of Hitchhiker’s Guide, in the fabulous stolen space ship Heart of Gold. Arthur and Trillion are the last two human beings left in the world, as Earth has been blown up to “make way for a highway”. The Vogons (who blew up Earth) and others want a tidy job, so the novel begins with them trying to finish off Arthur and Trillion off. Zaphod summons his dead great grandad to get them out of this bind and this is where the fun begins.

To read more about the late Douglas Adams his official website.

A diversion about book stores. I picked up my copy in the fabulous Kinokuniya Singapore. Start hyperventilating now. OK, so maybe Kinokuniya is the Japanese equivalent of evil Fox books, but they really are awesome. I found The Restaurant by wandering through this fabulous shop. I wasn’t looking for it, but it was strategically placed so I might buy it. The selection is fabulous. They have branches all over Asia, and also in Sydney (where I have weighed down my suit case before).

All of the books I bought for myself were unintentional ambled past and caught my eye. And no, browsing online just doesn’t net the same result.

I found books for the wee boy (Star Wars related) and a book I was looking for for the big boy (New York Drawings by Adrian Tomine).

Comfort read … Cold Comfort Farm

By Stella Gibbons

Ah, I thought I had posted on this. This was a recent comfort read … as in I have read it before and I find it entertaining.

Flora Poste is young, attractive and rich … except that when her father dies she finds out she is not rich. Flora must make her way in the world, but  decides instead to go and stay with relatives in the country.

Flora descends like a whirlwind on her rustic cousins the Starkadders, turning their lives around. All for the better of course!

Made into a movie in 1995 staring Kate Beckinsale as Flora.

Comfort read … Carpe Jugulum, Terry Patchett

Fabulous as usual. I re-read this a couple of years ago when I had my Terry Pratchett-o-thon (reading all Terry Pratchett disc world novels in order). I really love this book. There are certain characters in Pratchett that I really love, and Granny and the people of Lancre are certainly in this group.

The plot. King Verrance is a modern King, and being modern he invited vampires to his babies christening. Problem was, as everybody knows, once you invite vampires in they can do anything. These vampires are vampyres (they think the spelling is more modern), and they themselves are learning to be modern. They turn of in Lancre with thoughts of “farming”, a disgruntled servant Igor, and a bunch of awful hangers on. It’s up to Agnes Nitt, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, and Magrat to save the day … along with some delightful helpers.

No wonder this one was in my favourites pile for my photo. Love it.

Agree to disagree.

Comfort reads … Jane Austen

OK. So it has been months since my last post. I have decided that I will talk about clusters of books, as I tend to go for themed reading … especially when a bit stressed/tired/in the need for a comfort read.

Well, I have really been in a Jane Austen comfort read over the past couple of months. I have chewed through Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility and Emma.   Why not the other two?   Well, I’ve read them in the past year and I didn’t feel like reading them again quite yet.   To be honest I have read Pride and Prejudice so many times I am getting a bit bored with it.   Yes, I said it!   Bored.   But it’s still cool and I love it.   Anyhoe, moving right along.

Northanger Abbey.   I may have even talked about this lovely book in an earlier post.   I am coming to really love this book.   It is hilarious.   Catherine Morland, the Gothic novel reading heroine, is truly delightful.   Henry Tilney is open, friendly, sensible … I think my favourite Austen leading man.

I always approach Mansfield Park a bit warily, because it is so long and I used to think that Fanny was a total sap.   I don’t think that anymore.   Austen is definitely laughing at her at times.   Fanny is certainly put-upon by her infuriating aunt, and ignored by most others.    Rather than sap, my more mature eye sees strength.   And she is sweet.   And the sappiness is actually what her family feels about her, so we shouldn’t fall into the trap of feeling the same way.

It’s funny because Mansfield Park used to bore me, and Sense and Sensibility delighted me.   I took a long time to get into Sense and Sensibility this time around.   This may be because Marianne and Mrs Dashwood are so over-the-top, which is as they should be as this is part of the central part of the plot.   The first chapters seemed to plod for me, then it races along nicely.

Emma was a comforting read.   Nothing too dramatic and exciting (although, yes, dramatic things for the day happen.   It is really a coming-of-age novel, although Emma is already 21.   Emma is confident and very sure of her own worth and abilities.   Austen laughs at Emma as she stumbles through novel.   I remember people hating Emma when I was at University, and maybe it was because the usual Austen heroines aren’t rich and privileged like Emma.   Emma grows through the novel.   She really is sweet, and caring.

It’s a funny, interesting look at human behaviour.   Mr Knightly, a gentleman without being a total snob.   Mr Woodhouse, old and funny in his ways, a gentleman without being a snob.   I actually picked up new things too this time around.

So there it is.  The Austen round-up.   Feel free to disagree.

Heartbreak Hotel

By Deborah Moggach

I did enjoy this book, but I had expected more from it too. I bought it because it was reviewed in one of the weekend papers, and I just thought it would be a bit more substantial.

Having said all that of course I did enjoy it. Some characters I loved, some were just annoying … but then that is life, right!

Buffy, a retired actor, inherits a B&B in an small welsh village. Buffy is a complete townie, but decides to keep the B&B running. After a while he gets the great idea of running courses for the recently divorced. People come to the courses and some stay on in Knockton.

I loved the ending, and the idea for rejuvenating decaying Knockton.

The Bride that time forgot

By Paul Magrs

OK. I am breaking my rule of writing my notes on books I the order I read them. This is mostly because it has been sooooooo long since I have written a review, I am finding it hard to remember the order I have read things in. So new rule. Will write on books I read in the order I read them in, from now on. I will write retro notes and try and remember roughly when I read the books. Nuffield said, and as Miranda would say, “On with the show…”

This is the second or third Magrs book I have read, ANSI really enjoyed it. Magrs obviously enjoys writing about different genres and incorporating them into his novels.

Brenda, the Bride of Frankenstein’s monster, is still inWhitby with her pals protecting the world from the hell mouth. She’s not happy that Effie’s old boyfriend Alucard is back. Walkers are abounding, and Effie is looking decidedly younger. There is also a very odd new book group starting up, all centred around the early 20th Century sci-fi novel of Qab. We dive deeper into the Brenda’s forgotten past. Thoroughly readable.

Feel free to disagree.