writereaderly

writing of readerly reviews of writings

Review: Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortés’ “Go the Fuck to Sleep”

mansbach, cortes go the fuck to sleepI’d seen the Noni Hazelhurst reading of this book – which she defended so fabulously on Q&A against that idiot Quadrant editor – but had never had the printed pleasure. I read it between customers, and between musings as to where to shelve such a title – in picture books? The illustrations are quite cool, the rhymes are a bit average, but really, we’re all reading it for the authorised swearing at children. Entertaining and recommended.

PS: 300th and final post. Here endeth writereaderly.

Where it came from: Work
Time and manner of reading:
An in-between customer read
Where it went: Home
Best line of the book: You can work that out for yourself
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:
Parents and unsuccessful babysitters
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Returning the Gift edited by Joseph Bruchac; The Pea-Pickers by Eve Langley; Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher; La sombra del viento de Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Review: Shaun Tan’s “The Rules of Summer”

shaun tan the rules of summerI’ve loved Shaun Tan books, but this was awful. The images were beautiful (but not revolutionary) but the real problem was the continued punishment of the two boy heroes, apparently causing deep fear unresolved by one happy illustration to end the book. Horrible. I shan’t be recommending it.

Where it came from: Work
Time and manner of reading:
An in-between customer read
Where it went: Home
Best line of the book:
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:

Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Returning the Gift edited by Joseph Bruchac; The Pea-Pickers by Eve Langley; Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher; La sombra del viento de Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Review: Graeme Simsion’s “The Rosie Project”

graeme simsion the rosie projectIt is a truth universally acknowledged that a high-on-the-Aspergers-spectrum genetics professor with tenure must be in want of a wife. Don Tillman sets out to get his. He has a questionnaire. Rosie doesn’t match the questionnaire. It’s still Rosie. I enjoyed this book. It made me laugh. I think the Great Performance Revision of the finale was highly improbable, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Where it came from: Library
Time and manner of reading:
A couple of days of snigger-out-loud bed, armchair and library reads
Where it went: Home
Best line of the book:
Reminds me of/that: The Big Bang Theory
Who I’d recommend it to:
Comedy seekers
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Returning the Gift edited by Joseph Bruchac; The Pea-Pickers by Eve Langley

Review: Pema Chödrön’s “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times”

pema chodron when things fall apartAn anthology of Chödrön’s talks on facing hopelessness. Useful. Accessibly bite-sized.

Where it came from: JH’s Bookshelf
Time and manner of reading:
A few weeks of a chapter a morning
Where it went: Home
Best line of the book:
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:
I’d say it’s a self-selecting title
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Returning the Gift edited by Joseph Bruchac; The Pea-Pickers by Eve Langley; The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Review: Lauren Groff’s “Arcadia”

lauren groff arcadiaIn which we follow the fate of Bit, first-born on the back-to-the-land community of Arcadia, through the community’s rise, downfall and afterlife. Transcendent. Has hit me too hard to say anymore.

Where it came from: Library
Time and manner of reading:
A few too-tempting samples, then an evening bath-and-bed mission
Where it went: Home, but I need to get myself a copy
Best line of the book: “It seems a give-and-take, you know? Freedom or community, community or freedom. One must decide the way one wants to live. I chose community.” (p.268)
Reminds me of/that: The farm
Who I’d recommend it to:
Dreamers
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Returning the Gift edited by Joseph Bruchac; The Pea-Pickers by Eve Langley; When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön

Review: Jesse Blackadder’s “Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica”

jesse blackadder chasing the lightJesse Blackadder’s fictionalised account of the first women to set foot on the Antarctic mainland, fruit of her own journeys there. It’s a competent novel, easy enough to get absorbed by it, the oceangoing scenes are vivid, as is the (anti)whaling panorama. I’m not convinced by it as a “historical” novel, though; I have no sense of either the 1930s or Norwegians in a work entirely peopled by 1930s’ Norwegians, and there was no real distinction of voice between the three female leads. (Who, most disappointingly, got into a catfight partly over a man. Sigh. I’d definitely expect better of a dyke writer than that.) I also couldn’t give a damn about the “who stood where when” shenanigans, which meant the plot’s key tension entirely missed me. Overall, solid and moderately enjoyable but not superlative.

Where it came from: Library
Time and manner of reading:
An exhausted Saturday evening read
Where it went: Home
Best line of the book:
Reminds me of/that:
Who I’d recommend it to:

Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Returning the Gift edited by Joseph Bruchac; The Pea-Pickers by Eve Langley; When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön

Review: Agnès Desarthe’s “Five Photos of My Wife”

agnes desarthe five photos of my wifeElderly widower Max Opass commissions a portrait of his dead wife Telma – in fact, he commissions four in the end, and meets five very diverse artists of the Thirteenth Arrondissement along the way. A lovely novel, poised and subtle. Calm and impacting, but with tact. Well recommended.

Where it came from: Mega-opshop-books
Time and manner of reading:
A few days of bed and workroom reads
Where it went: D
Best line of the book:
Reminds me of/that: Mitch Albom’s pop-spiritual The Five People You Meet in Heaven – but thank goodness, this one was actually worth reading
Who I’d recommend it to:
Readers looking for good stuff
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Returning the Gift edited by Joseph Bruchac; The Pea-Pickers by Eve Langley; When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön