Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Naturally lying in a hospital bed one soon finds the situation tedious and reading is essential to relieve the boredom. I didn’t see a book in anyone else’s hands. The Greeks are just happy to talk. I started by reading again, after many years, INDECENT EXPOSURE by Tom Sharpe. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed Sharpe’s humour in everything of his I’ve read and I remember being highly amused by this one first time around, but reading it for the second time I found it way OTT, a satire on the South African police of truly farcical proportions. I presume he wrote it after his expulsion from that country then still suffering under apartheid and of which he was very critical. It is still in many ways a very funny book but I wonder why he refers to Natal as Zululand. Of course now it is Kwa-Zulu Natal. Also I think today the depiction of 110 konstabels all turning gay after aversion therapy smells just a tiny bit of homophobia and I don’t think it would really pass muster in today’s climate of political correctness. Why, I wonder, did all 110 have to be primping prancing pansies? a thoroughly outdated cliché. Three and a half stars.
Next on the list was Kingsley Amis’s LUCKY JIM. The only reason for reading this tome from the fifties that supposedly had such an influence on English literature was because I found the Penguin edition in the bookshelf upstairs as I was searching for books to take with me. I didn’t even know we had it and I thought I would find out what all the fuss was about. The blurb makes out that it is hilarious and a laugh a minute out aloud read so how come I smiled a couple of times but not even a chuckle escaped me? No, I’m afraid a rather tedious much over-rated book as far as I am concerned though I did manage to finish it. I wonder if that would have been the case had I not been lying in a hospital bed. Two stars.
Karen Slaughter’s latest – FRACTURED. I’ve always enjoyed this writer’s work and I think this one up to her usual standard. If nothing else five stars just for sheer reading enjoyment.
Now a really interesting piece of work mentioned in my last Blog; highly imaginative and well-written to make for easy reading, good plotting, believable characters, suspense – THE BOOK OF LIES by Brad Melzner – definitely five stars.
And finally ABOVE SUSPICION by Lynda La Plante. This must be one of those books summer visitors read on the beach and leave behind after their holiday. There are a number of such volumes in the guest suite by various best-selling authors. It certainly isn’t something any of us would think of buying. We leave them there for visitors who don’t bring their own. What to say about this one without being too highly critical? Pretty clichéd writing, uninspired, and I was one step ahead of her all the way. There is the inclusion of a totally unnecessary and rather embarrassing sex scene. Why do writers feel this is necessary? To spice things up a little maybe? Why, in this day and age, when the world is smothered in pornography? Three stars I’m afraid and even that is being generous; but she can laugh all the way to the bank.
And here I’m afraid I ran out of reading material unless I wanted to reread my own as yet unpublished book THE JOURNEYS WE MAKE (title courtesy of Douglas Foote) on which he, as my editor, and I were working as he watched over my welfare in the hospital, and I have already made his suggested changes. He is really an acute critic.
Of course the reason for running out of reading matter was because “You’ll only be in for two or three days” I was assured but, as things were a lot more complicated than at first realised, the two or three days turned into nearly two weeks with more to come in October. Hey-ho! Hopefully that WILL be just two or three days but I’ll sort out plenty of reading just in case.

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