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Which covers 6 til 8pm. Sun no longer around, eyes beginning to feel tired so took a little reading break.

But, progress since last post:

  • Currently reading: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  • Books finished: 3 (After the Armistice Ball, Anthropology, Nightmares & Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time)
  • Pages read: 277
  • Running total of pages read: 579
  • Amount of time spent reading: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading: 4 hours 45 minutes
  • Mini-challenges completed: 1
  • Other participants I’ve visited: 15

Progress so far:

  • Currently reading: Anthropology by Dan Rhodes
  • Books finished: 1 (After the Armistice Ball)
  • Pages read: 80
  • Running total of pages read: 302
  • Amount of time spent reading: 55 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Mini-challenges completed: 1
  • Other participants I’ve visited: 10

Hurrah. Finished my first book and feeling very, very pleased with myself.

It is 5pm in London. Sun still shining, but beginning to get a little chill so thinking of closing the window next to my reading chair.

Progress so far:

  • Currently reading: After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson
  • Books finished: 0
  • Pages read: 43
  • Running total of pages read: 222
  • Amount of time spent reading: 35 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading: 2 hours 35 minutes
  • Mini-challenges completed: 1
  • Other participants I’ve visited: 10

Progress so far:

  • Currently reading: After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson
  • Books finished: 0
  • Pages read: 59
  • Running total of pages read: 179
  • Amount of time spent reading: 40 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading: 2 hours
  • Mini-challenges completed: 0
  • Other participants I’ve visited: 10

Sun still shining, still enjoying the book I’m reading.

Progress so far:

  • Currently reading: After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson
  • Books finished: 0
  • Pages read: 50
  • Running total of pages read: 120
  • Amount of time spent reading: 35 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Mini-challenges completed: 0
  • Other participants I’ve visited: 6

Still enjoying the first of the Dandy Gilver detective novels. Snacking far too much though, must slow down or else….

First of all, the stats:

  • Currently reading: After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson
  • Books finished: 0
  • Pages read: 70
  • Running total of pages read: 70
  • Amount of time spent reading: 45 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading: 45 minutes
  • Mini-challenges completed: 0
  • Other participants I’ve visited: 1

 Hour 1 meme:

Three facts about me: I’m Scottish but live in London, I support St Mirren, I have two younger brothers

I have a pile of around 11 books for the challenge

I don’t have any real goals except to raise some money for charity and have an excuse to ignore my chores and sit reading for as long as I can

This is my first read-a-thon

So far so good; I’m really enjoying the first of my books, a new author to me and I can see myself reading the rest of the series. I’ll probably do less reading in hour 2 as, in addition to writing this post, I helped the Book God unpack the shopping I sent him out to do and he insisted on having a conversation (!). But he did bring me treats….

OK, so the read-a-thon starts in under 10 minutes. I have a pile of books next to my reading chair, the sun is shining, the windows are open and I need to go and find myself some snacks to start me off.

I’m not going to list my books cos they’re only a guide at the moment and I reserve the right to change my mind.

Plan is to do the full 24 hours with only one scheduled break to watch tonight’s episode of Dr Who (c’mon, did you really think I could wait until tomorrow?). If I complete the full 24 hours I donate £100 to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust; if I do 12 hours they get £50. The Book God is sponsoring me at £1 an hour, other friends have pledged support and a colleague has already given me a tenner so they will get something decent even if I wimp out at an early stage.

I plan to blog hourly with progress, but we’ll see how that goes.

Good luck to everyone taking part.

So, back in January February I posted on Francis Wheen’s most recent book, which was all about the 1970s. Mumbo-Jumbo was published in 2004, I think, but could be considered as a sequel since it covers the period from 1979 (using the election of Mrs Thatcher and the return of the Ayatollah to Iran as his starting point) to something very close to the present day.

And although as alway this is well-written and makes loads of really good points about the way the world is, I found it much less entertaining and more difficult to get into than Strange Days.

And I think I know why.

You see, as I’ve mentioned before, I turned 17 in 1979 and left home to attend university. So the period that is covered by this book is the one where I grew up and established myself as an adult, so a lot of the things he covers are just so depressing and take me back to a period (especially the 1980s) that I just found dispiriting and awful. At least during the vast majority of the 1970s I was too young to understand the gravity of what was going on in the world, but you couldn’t miss it in the early 80s even if you wanted to.

Wheen’s main point, which I largely agree with, is that the Enlightenment was a good thing, in terms of how it looked at the world and the traditions of scientific enquiry and liberal democracy which it fostered. But since the 80s the world has, for all sorts of reason, moved away from those principles and operates on the basis of celebrity culture, dodgy economics and “moral confusion”, and this is generally a bad thing.

It’s just that for all his humour in approaching these things, what underlies it is so bleak in some respects that the (occasionally extremely funny) jokes ring a bit hollow to me.

So, well-written and clever but perhaps it’s all still to close for comfort to be genuinely enjoyable for me.

This is an interesting one.

Mr Toppit is the story of the impact of a series of children’s books on the family of the author, Arthur Hayman, after he is run over by a cement lorry when walking in London. The story is mostly told from the point of view of his son, Luke, who has been immortalised in the books as Luke Hayseed (the series is known as The Hayseed Chronicles) . The novel follows Luke, his mother, sister, and Laurie, the American woman who was with Arthur when he died and for reasons of her own takes up the cause of the novel when she gets back home, and kick starts a publishing phenomenon.

Which doesn’t really tell you very much about the story at all. And it is a difficult novel to summarise or explain, and part of that is that I went into it expecting one thing and actually got something else. I blame the blurb, myself. I have long enjoyed (if that’s the word) trying to match the puff on the back of a book with what’s inside; most of the time it’s all fine, but on occasions they do diverge and that can sometimes affect how I view the tale itself.

So, the paperback cover says

buried deep inside the books lie secrets that begin to shake the Hayman family,

which reads to me that a major mystery will be divulged, and (without giving anything away) that really doesn’t happen. Or maybe the secret that does emerge, while sad, isn’t really a life-changing thing and is a bit anti-climactic.

And it’s a shame, actually, because what you do get is an entertaining and, on occasions, funny story about what happens when something takes on a life of its own in popular culture; when a series of books gets away from the ownership of the person who wrote them and the family he based them on; when people get so attached to something that they feel they are its custodians and know the author’s intentions better than he does; and when people who are looking for something missing in their own lives adapt what they read to try to fill that gap.

I enjoyed reading this; it’s not a great novel by any means but its entertaining, and has some amusing insights into the world of publishing and show business, though to be fair I’m not involved in either of those worlds so it could all be wildly off-beam, but it seemed convincing to me. I particularly liked Luke himself, coping as best he can with a life he didn’t want and a connection with a character which doesn’t really reflect him at all.

My only quibbles are that the big secret isn’t that big; Laurie’s subplot really doesn’t go anywhere; and it sort of ends suddenly without really reaching any kind of conclusion. It also seemed a bit timeless; I think it was set in the 80s but it felt like it was actually set in the 60s, and I found that a bit disorienting.

But I wanted to know what happened and so finished the second half of the book in one sitting, and you can’t say fairer than that, can you?

Phew.

Will review on Screen God once I’ve had the chance to watch again, but crikey, glad it’s all looking so good.

Bride of the Book God

Follow brideofthebook on Twitter

Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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