TIM MOORE – Nul Points

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Bought 17 May 2008 – Sensible Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye

I’m coughing merrily away and tired after a riotous morning of putting washing on and off the airer, hoovering the landing and going to Sainsburys, and Matthew has come down with it now too and is curled up in bed with the cat, so MORE reading!

Moore is another writer, like Magrs, who never fails to please. Consulting the archive, I see that I first read him in 1999 (Frost On My Moustache), and I’ve had a good 9 years reading all his books. Like Danny Wallace and Dave Gorman, Moore likes a (slightly ridiculous) challenge; in this one he tracks down and tries to interview all the singers who received no points in the Eurovision Song Contest. He writes well as well as hilariously, and this continues a perfect run of decent, meaty and funny books that are not over too soon and have a poignancy and heart as well as a good dose of silliness.

JOHN NABER (ed.) – Awaken the Olympian Within

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Bought 10 Jul 2008 – Red Cross charity shop

I bought this for the Never Judge challenge (books with no picture on the cover) then discovered that it has a dedication and signature “Colin, Aim for the gold! John Naber” so decided to keep it. I’ve been reading it over the past 2 weeks, appropriately enough, and have enjoyed these stories of dedication and decency by US athletes from the 1970s and 80s (in the main). Most of them do inspirational public speaking, and it shows, but the stories are inspiring and not schmaltzy.

SARA NELSON – So Many Books, So Little Time

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Acquired via Bookcrossing 23 Aug 2008 – BookRay from Anglersrest

A very quick read, devoured in an evening. I did enjoy this summary of a year’s reading, but I did wonder how a self-confessed bookaholic and reviewer thought it would be a challenge to read a book per week for a year. I liked best the bits about how doing the challenge affected her reading choice and made her wobble at times – I found this the other way when I was trying to do a book diet and “only” read 2 books a week a couple of years ago*. Anyway she read some interesting books, and a few that I know, it was nice seeing Brady Udall’s “Edgar Mint” mentioned and her ruminations on reading, on reading books recommended by or, worse, written by, friends, were interesting. Not a book I loved, but nothing to dislike there.

Will send on to ElhamIsabel after a suitable period where it can cast off any germs I might have inadvertently donated to the BookRay!

PAUL MAGRS – All The Rage

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Bought 18 May 2008 – Hay-on-Wye

I have yet to find a Magrs book I haven’t loved. They are quite varied, although linked by their embrace and acceptance (celebration) of people slightly outside the mainstream, and of a skilful weaving of current and retro pop culture in the mix. In this lovely novel, Tim randomly meets a member of his ex-boyfriend’s favourite 1980s band and embarks on a road trip combining reminiscence, bitterness, some hugely entertaining characters and the dark heart of pop music. From the huge transvestite manager to the seeker after “real” music who ends up recording his cat singing, this is a book with a big heart, a great story and some brilliant revenge.

JOHN HILLABY – Journey Through Britain

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Bought 17 May 2008 – Cinema Bookshop (outside), Hay-on-Wye

Excellent narrative of his solo walk, avoiding roads where possible, from Lands End to John O’Groats. He gets rained on, a lot, meets some mean people and some memorable ones, and describes flora and fauna beautifully.

EDWARD BLISHEN – This Right Soft Lot

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Bought 17 May 2008, Sensible Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye

I’m counting this as a non-fiction as, although names are changed and characters are blended, it is in most senses a straightforward memoir of Blishen’s time as a more experienced teacher in an inner city boys’ secondary modern school. Teddy boys and peculiar hats, boys who are more men than boy, with a job lined up and an inability to understand why they need to be in school, but also school plays, fantastic wit, some achievements and a lot of love and care.

I do like a book about teachers and this is excellent – I will keep a look out for his first one, Roaring Boys, which deals with his first years as a teacher.

JOHN GALSWORTHY – A Modern Comedy (3 books)

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Bought?? When? Where? I don’t know!

Comprising The White Monkey / The Silver Spoon / Swan Song, this second trilogy of the Forsyte Saga concentrates on Soames’ daughter Fleur and her marriage. Set in the 1920s, there’s a great contrast between the sparkling set and the old guard, with dear old Soames soldiering on bravely among high-class chancers of various kinds, and the new branches of his family. Fleur goes on making mistakes and being Fleur, and it’s just a great read, although a bit of an unwieldy one, as this volume contains the first trilogy too!

Jen – if you’re reading this, I’m ready to borrow 7, 8 & 9 at last!

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