3 August 2018

Books

I have finished two novels very recently - "The Quarry" by the late Iain Banks and "East of Hounslow" by Khurrum Rahman. I picked up the first one in a British Heart Foundation charity shop and the second one was given to me by our beloved son at Christmastime. It was one of several new books he picked up for free from Harper Collins publishers. They were responsible for printing the "Bosh!" cookbook which, by the way, is now officially the best selling vegan cookery book of all time! Amazing.

Anyway back to the two novels. Please don't worry - I am not going to bore you with intricate synopses. They were both mostly set in modern day England. Banks's novel has barely a plot, little character development and the action almost all takes place in one location – a crumbling home perched on the edge of a quarry. It belongs to Guy who is dying of cancer and his autistic son Kit. One weekend they have house guests in the form of Guy's old university friends.It is as if they are saying goodbye.
"East of Hounslow" is a first novel by a young Muslim writer - Hounslow being a suburb of west London. The writer focuses upon young Muslims and the tensions in their urban lives. He explores ways in which terrorists might be made. The central character Javid - or Jay - travels to Islamabad for training but he has previously been tapped by MI5 - the British secret service. It becomes his mission to thwart a Boxing Day terrorist attack in the streets of London.

Both books contained significant measures of anger and frustration. There's swearing and aggression. However, I read them and quite enjoyed them. They were certainly readable and it was no bother to keep turning the pages but in the end there was no real delight, no feeling of happy denouement. I wasn't uplifted. Perhaps the next book I read will be "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman. I have heard that it is a very nice book, enjoyed by many women - my wife and daughter included.

By the way, just before I sign off for today, when we were in Port William in Scotland we went into the Port William community charity shop. In one corner there were two bookcases containing donated secondhand books. Each bookcase had a label at the top. One label read "Men's Books", the other read - "Women's Books". This made me chuckle and I even considered asking where the transsexual books were - but of course I didn't. "I'm a Big Chicken" by Yorkshire Pudding...

29 comments:

  1. women's books and men's books? interesting

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    1. Apparently, men like to read stories about war, spies and aliens written by men. Women like to read lovey dovey stories or stories about horse riding and cats - all written by women. Women like flower arranging books and cupcake recipe books while men like books about motorbikes and serial killers.

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  2. I've just finished reading The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. It was a great read and set in the summer of 1976 which seemed quite appropriate for this current heatwave. I remember it well.

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    1. Is it a man's book or a woman's book?

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    2. I'm not sure, you should read it and let me know.

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  3. I am reading Ian McEwan in English, The Child in Time, found in a flea market. I think it is a bisexual book :)
    Well done to the BOSH BOYS!!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. How did you get to be so good with written English Maria? Can you speak it just as well?

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    2. My love for the English language, for the Queen, The Beatles...I’ve read English classics in English, from Shakespeare to Dickens. I was a good student at school. I try to read as much in English as I possibly can. I started with pen-pals in the 70s, work environment, and now I read blogs. My English is not excellent but, may I give myself the credit that, it's good enough to keep a good conversation going. :)
      x

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    3. I wish that I had that ability in a second language. It must be very satisfying.

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  4. I just finished The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. No doubt it would be a "woman's book". It was far too syrupy for my taste.

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    1. Are you allowed to read men's books Jennifer? Try "One Summer America 1927" by Bill Bryson. Don't worry - there are no murders or chainsaw massacres or fist fights in western saloons. It's just the story of a very significant year in modern America's development.

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    2. Occasionally I strain my poor little feminine brain and read a "man's book". :) I like Bill Bryson. I'll look for the book you mention. Thanks!

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    3. I see I blogged about this book in September 2014 and you commented too. You were so young back then!

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    4. I hadn't even hit 40 yet. Sigh.

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  5. I would say that the idea of "men's" and "women's" books is pretty retrograde in this day and age. I frequently read what I feel sure would be classed "women's" books.

    Do you ever read Ian Rankin? I've read a couple of his Inspector Rebus books recently and I really like them.

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    1. I am afraid that I usually avoid books that involve detectives and crime. I wouldn't have even thought of reading "East of Hounslow" but it was a gift.

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  6. That shop would have had a visit from the gay rights police down here pretty pronto. lol
    The town is at bursting point for gay pride this weekend, all thank to Britney.
    Briony
    x

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    1. I have heard of Britney Spears but not Britney Briony. Is she a gay icon?

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  7. Those both sound like books I'd enjoy. I find that the "topseller" lists often unappealing while the "poor selling" books on the discount shelf or at the thrift store frequently have some of the best reading I've ever encountered.

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    1. Over here they often display "bestsellers" in big supermarkets and they are always books I would never want to read.

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  8. I am still trying to slog my way through Revolutionary Road. Wonder if that would be men's or women's? Odd, that.

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    1. I enjoyed the film version of "Revolutionary Road" starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet but haven't read the book.

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  9. I haven't read a good story for a while. Can't seem to find something I'd like to give time to. The last two I tried started out with violence and very black so I didn't need any of that.

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    1. Have you read any books by Bill Bryson Red?

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    2. Yes, I've read Bill Bryson and also the guy who wrote the history of the Oxford ? dictionary.

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  10. I'll look out for East of Hounslow. Interesting post & equally interesting comments.
    Alphie

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    1. In the light of world happenings and trends, "East of Hounslow" certainly is interesting - especilly as it is written from a Muslim point of view.

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  11. Congratulations to the lads on the success of their cookbook. That is great news for them.

    Onward and upwards. Per aspera ad astra...through hardship to the stars

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    1. I just hope that the journey has years to go.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.