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Freewheeling Andy

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Everything posted by Freewheeling Andy

  1. David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas

    I bought this on the basis of the name alone, and the fact that it was half-price and looking prominent as I walked into Waterstones on Gower Street, a few months ago. It was a good thing that I hadn't spotted that it had crept on to the Richard & Judy Book Club thingy, because it would have driven me away, running and screaming. Which would have been the wrong thing to do. The book is an amazing layered onion of stories within stories within stories, moving forward in time, and then backwards again, bookending each other. I found it an ingenious and thoroughly worthwhile mechanism, not just the pretentious nonsense that you usually get with postmodern writing devices. I think it works because each of the stories is, itself, a proper, interesting, well written story, and easy to read. The book starts as the diary of a traveller in the south pacific in 19th century; moves through the letters of a feckless early 20th century dilletante; on to a 1970s eco-thrillier; and into a hilarious tale of a modern publishing executive; on to a semi-dystopian future world run by the Koreans; and finally into a basically post-apocalyptic world in the distant future. It covers a rise-and-fall-of civilisation, and each of the stories links in to the other stories, often with very similar themes. I can imagine that the plot devices would really wind some people up, and be found to be very annoying, but to me, the book works brilliantly, and explored some very big themes about truth and civilisation without being particularly pompous about it. I heartily recommend it.
  2. I'm pretty busy and have tons of books to read, but I was thinking that if the "led" reading circles weren't a success we should move to an unelected ad hoc private circle where we just read books we wanted to no matter how obscure, etc...


    I'll let you know once I've picked up a copy, anyway.

  3. Hey there Mac. All's well with me, although generally quiet. Haven't been reading much lately. A 2 week road trip through to the Alps and back will get me back to reading in bulk. I'm going to empty a Waterstones some time later this week.


    How are things with you?

  4. Oh. Er. Yes. So I was. I do feel comfortable that my ignorance of Italian wine is not much greater than almost anyone else's. It makes Burgundy seem positively simple.


    I await your proposal with, er, interest?

  5. Was I talking about Italian wine? When? How? I don't even know anything about Italian wine, really, except that I like it, and it's impossible to work out what's good except by looking at the price-tag.


    I'm good. I've not been posting much lately. Desperately trying to churn my way through Jan Morris's Venice, which has spectacularly failed to grab my attention so I've been at it for well over a month. And I've been arguing politics and football on other websites.


    How are you?

  6. Hey there. Sorry I didn't reply yesterday. I was dragged outside to do gardening all day by the gf.

  7. Ha. I'll press the reply button and see where it crops up this time.


    You're not the only one in on a Saturday night, although here I'm preparing to cook for 10 tomorrow and look after the GF's sister who's visiting from the US for the first time.


    Nothing wrong with Italian food and Italian wine. Although I still don't really understand Italian wine. Just know that I like it.

  8. Hi there. Thanks for the friend request thingy. All is good. You?