Category Archives: Books

my mind is a blanket


Walking around Waterstones at lunch time; I had a fantastic blog narrative in my head. It was all about the fruitlessness of searching for books about ditching society, without ending up in the self-help or ‘Mind Body and Soul’ section and after all isn’t a chain book shop what’s wrong with the world? there was a side rant about the comparative size of the foreign travel section and the rather weak British travel section – which was rather undermined by me finding three extra shelves after formulating the rant in my head. 

I was thinking myself to be the next Tim Dowling, or Charlie Brooker – except of course they can write, and have some command over where the commas, and full stops. land in their prose. of course now I’ve gotten to a computer and have time to write, it’s all gone – to quote Clarice bean “my mind is a blanket” – sure I’m getting glimpses of my dramatic and engaging thought processes, but all I can really think to say is – don’t book shops smell funny, and did you know they have a “paranormal romance” section in waterstones now?

Perhaps the difference between us mere mortals and the professional writers in the world, isn’t just commas, full stops and the ability to curb sesquipedalian excesses while still stretching our polysyllabic muscles – maybe it’s also being interesting while actually at a keyboard.

Book Review: Eats, Shoots and Leaves

No books for ages and then two come along.

Eats, shoots and Leaves, as I am sure you all know, is a book about punctuation. It’s the ideal book for Ruth; but I’ve been shying away from it, Mainly because I’m pap at spelling never mind punctuation. I also read the first couple of pages a while back; and I didn’t get any of the jokes.

Now, as you can no doubt tell by my liberal use of semi-colons, I have read the book all the way to the end.

It’s a fantastically well written book. I don’t really want to criticise anyone who has managed to get published, but comparing just the writing of this book with Pies and Prejudice, really doesn’t do Stuart Marconi any favours. I think one of the reasons I took so long to read his book was the style and the pace. In contrast Lynne Truss knows how to write, she’s quite funny too.

It also does a really good job of explaining just where all the funny little marks are supposed to go. It’s of course still quite confusing; there are 17 rules for commas, not all of which make sense, or are easy to follow; There are other bits, where even experts can’t make up their minds; and there are several ways of doing the same thing, most of which are wrong at some point.

I’m going to make a concerted effort, at least for this week, to improve my punctuation. but I have to admit to being a little intimidated; because now everybody is looking, they will notice how bad I am at it.

she does at one point despair of illiterate book reviewers, so I’m stopping here.

Book Review: Pies and Prejudice

It’s been a while since I actually finished a book. I think it depends a lot on my reading habbit; and just how much time I give myself to catch the train in the morning.

Stuart Marconi’s Pies and Prejudice is a book about the north, as in the north of the country – north of Crewe as it turns out. It’s meant to be a look the north has character too, and isn’t just flat caps and the Hovis music; I’m not convinced it achieves it aim.

Really this book is a Stuart Marconi nostalgia trip: He moved dow south for the glittering radio one thing. Now don’t get me wrong people are entitled to be proud of there roots, and he does a very good job of getting all the bits of the north and explaining the subtle differences that make us all unique – I’m from Liverpool which Marconi rightly puts as not really a northern town, more of an enclave of its own.

It’s just later in the book, he gets all sentimental and starts rambling about random music facts and bits of history that really don’t bring much to it. It has the sense of a book that the author could have finished after about 150 pages; but you can’t sell books that short so his editor made him add bits onto the end.

There is a whole bit at the bigging which tries (and I suspect fails) to persuade southerners that this book isn’t just a northern thing; again I think the publishers made him do it. The reality is why would you want to read this if you are from the south, it’s like me wanting to read about the history of Sussex – first I’d have to find it on a map.