Thursday, February 26, 2015

books from the bus

hi there

well, no. as usual it's just a round up of books that i read on the bus. if the bus did indeed give books, making sense of my title there, that would be awesome, man. just grand, it would be.

i have, as would be the new standard, completed the reading of a further two novels upon my travels, look you see, and so it's time to post some reviews for the interested parties, whoever or whomever they might be. no, i never know when the "m" version is proper, clever looking way to use it.

what's that you can hear? why yes, i do indeed have the Guilty album by Barbs on as i write this. i am thrilled that the sound of this album is imbued in such a way that you can sense the sound of it as you read. and indeed i am singing along.

more Barbs later. much, much more Barbs. but for now books.

a spoiler free review of them? well, both were rather good. borderline excellent at times, in truth. but there are flaws - the Robinson one is brief and light, the Smith one could be considered to have a less than satisfactory, possible sequel baiting ending. which i appreciate is spoilerish, sorry.

as ever, any links which appear below are not an endorsement or suggestion as to where one should go and buy a book from; they be here just for ease of reference from the (mostly) universal shopkeeper.

be warned, as *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS *** lurk throughout the remainder of this post. which is to say that if either of these books are ones you are curious about, the answer from someone who has read them is yes, go for it.

here is the second of three books that Aunty got me for Christmas, and thus by default A Necessary End is the second novel i have read by this Peter Robinson bloke.

plot? it actually starts off with one of the most brilliant premise ideas that i have yet encountered. someone is killed during a protest march - some sort of leftie, hippie tree hugging stuff. but is it a random act of violence that saw someone killed, or was it a rather brilliantly planned murder in the midst of mayhem? or is it something else?

somewhat sadly, the same problem that existed in the first novel i read off this fella is here once more. although rather exceptionally well written - better, for sure, than i could do - it is infuriatingly shallow and skimpy. it's somewhat short in length, but the problem is that what space there is in the novel is somewhat squandered on things that do not really add to the story. and there is a much bigger, better novel idea hidden away here, dear reader. the plot, as was the case with the first one, is something that is resolved purely with that trick that is 'the English way of doing things' being accepted as a valid form of line of investigation by the constabulary.

and what is the English way of doing things here? pub. the overwhelming majority of this novel takes place in a pub. as in - someone killed? let's go to the pub to discuss it. chief inspector copper arriving? let's take him to the pub. constables arrive with a suspect? send them to pub as a reward. need to speak to a witness? meet them in the pub. need to speak to a suspect? take them to the pub. need to resolve some relationship issues? meet in the pub. need some time to sit and gather thoughts? do it in the pub.

and yet this is all very, very readable. it's exceptionally well written, despite the shortness of length and detail, with the words flowing in a way that make it pleasant to peruse whilst dans le bus. there is also something wonderful about the idea of how all crimes ever will simply get nice and neatly dealt with in a dreamy sort of cream scones and tea in an afternoon idealistic idea of England.

before we go onto the next novel, a quick break then. a good friend has recently got back in touch with me via all that face twerker snap book stuff. i was very happy to hear from him, and delighted to see that he found this picture, showing days of future past at verk.

that image is some 8 years old, and as you can see, celebrates the dawn of Spring. apt, i suppose, since Spring is on the way here where i am now.

man, i am lucky to live with the heavy heart i do. whereas i am so very fortunate to currently be at verk with a truly amazing group of people, and be close to family and friends, don't for one minute think i do not very deeply miss all those amazing family members and friends that i have been fortunate enough to know around the corners of this building we call a planet. yeah, if i stop to think, i guess i do get all sad and emotional about those that i miss, but hey, the English way of doing things is to carry on. so let's hit the next book.

well, not "hit" it as such, perhaps a review would be prudent. i think this has been quite a big seller, so how much value i can add by commenting on The Farm by Tom Rob Smith is debatable.

plot? a poor gent with a wealthy boyfriend in London has his life turned somewhat upside down when news filters through that his parents, in Sweden or if you like Sverge or whatever, are going "a bit weird". next thing you know, one of them is phoning to tell a side of a story, the other lands on the doorstep of the ultra rich boyfriend to tell their side of the story. and it's an intriguing one.

and that's it. in essence, The Farm really is a one trick pony. it's a short story at heart, dragged out and prolonged to the length of a reasonable novel. dragged out is rather harsh of me there - i am sorry. it's not forced to an excessive length, and the writing on the go here is simply breathtakingly brilliant.  i am rather please to see that he has another three books out - some sort of trilogy, the first part of which is to be a film with him off of Dracula and him off of the new Mad Max in it - as i will in all likelihood have an interest in getting them and having a read.

i knew nothing at all about this book before i started reading it. as you will see, the back cover gives nothing away at all. it was, however, on special offer at the cigarette counter at Morrisons, so i figured why not. it was this or Fifty Shades Of Grey, dear reader. and i am not sure what sort of lady i would attract the attention of if i was seen reading that on the bus, thank you.

the ending. hmn. you saw the spoiler warning, yeah? if this were a short story, it would feel like a suitable ending. as a novel, however, everything about it says "left open for another volume to follow". i really hate it when they do that to books. but i stand by my review, this is a superb read.

news from Spiros, then. he is a bit concerned that some of the people who like to read of his exploits fear that he has become a soft southern London nancy boy of late. well, the "nancy boy" element is not exactly a new thing, but to address he recently opted to pick a fight with a London taxi driver just so he could send a picture of it. and here it is.

apparently the fight broke out after Spiros passed a harmless, innocent comment along the lines of how the taxi was a "dirty f*****g disgrace" and questioning why the driver did not have any pride at all about keeping it at least in a slightly less messy state for his clients; clients that he apparently "should be f*****g grateful for the business of". the taxi driver somehow got it into his head that this was an insult and thus a fight broke out.

Spiros has found a more natural home on London buses of late. as much as he loves a "bit of banter" with the cabbies, he finds that on London buses people really, really like drinking booze whilst smelling of wee, something that he has ambitions to do himself and thus watches with enthusiasm to pick up some tips from them as to how to do it.

yeah, it's gone quiet - the Guilty album has indeed finished playing. i may well play it again, in advance of a proposed significant number of Barbs posts here.

so there we go for another post. i am already, as point of fact, some 100 pages into the next book that i will review. no picture, but it is by an Australian, and something i found in Pound Land or Pound World, i forget which is which.

as ever, if any of the information or details above have been of interest or use to anyone, nice one!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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