Even the unobservant readers of this blog will have noticed the silence by now. It’s workload folks … something has to give. I’ll be back …

Meanwhile, for your amusement, and my records, here’s the first half of my summer reading … as a snapshot.

All four of these came for 20p each at the village Fete (you’ll be right if you were to suppose that I didn’t just buy four books for 80p, there is a fifth, and I just finished it, but there were a few in between I need to tell you about, and I’m not ready for that yet.

The thing these four have in common is that they’re more teenage boy action fodder. I chose this lot on the grounds that I expected to spend lots of the summer with only five minutes here and there to read, and it was pointless to try and read something which required anything approaching attention. I also chose them because the rest of the books on the stand sucked even more …

Anyway, here they are, starting with three from Jack Higgins:

  • The Keys of Hell and the Day of Reckoning. These are the same book, oh no they’re not, they’ve got different covers, and the characters have different names, and the country they’re set in is different, and the events are different but they are the same book! As I read the second, I kept having deja vu. Surely I just read this? The word formulaic jumped into my mind and would not let go … even James Bond is less formulaic … oh, the plot? Well I’ve almost deliberately forgotten already, but basically it’s superhero agent type bloke beats mafia (or equivalent) butt (in one country or another ) … yawn. Still somehow I read them, so perhaps despite my age, there’s a dose of brainless teenager in me yet, I could have stopped, but they were so easy to read in a low intensity sort of a way …
  • Fortunately Thunder Point did actually have something approaching a plot, and although one of the same superhero agent dudes was in this one, somehow he came across more plausibly (or maybe my ability to suspend disbelief had been suped up by a day or two of warm sunshine) … anyway, if you have to read one of these three, read this one - it’s on safer ground for Higgins being vaguely related to WWII.

The other one was a different kettle of fish.

Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe has been fighting the battlefields of the early 19th century for a wee wihle now, on paper and on the tellie, and I’ve been an avid reader and collector since the beginning. Yes, this too is boys own stuff (it might seem like this is a recurring theme, but be fair, a lot of what I read isn’t), but it’s historically accurate and when I was a teenager I was right into the history of the Napoleonic wars, so it’s fiction set in a period for which I once knew the history pretty well.

Anyway, this one was Sharpe’s Fortress It’s typical fare, Sharpe is mistreated by erstwhile colleagues because he’s not a gentleman, makes friends with some real men, dallies with a female (incredibly peripherally for a relatively modern book), beats various foes by his own bloodymindedness and martial skill, and conquers a fortress to boot. No wonder he was on the tellie.

I must be getting older though, so while I enjoyed it for what it was, I’m getting less keen on following Sharpe, the books seem more formulaic (There’s that word again), and I’m finding it harder and harder to enjoy books that are primarily about kicking butt without some more interesting twists.

Anyway, amazing what happened when I pitched up at a School Fete, and there were piles of books for 20p each isn’t it? I ended up buying a bunch nearly all the same (the fifth book was very different … but I’ll leave that as a tease).

comments (1)

William (on Friday 18 September, 2009)

You like this formulaic stuff you should try http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jennifer-Morgue-Charles-Stross/dp/1841495700; but don’t read the wiki page.