Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Mr B's Reading Year 2010 - Whatever Happened to the Classics (episode 2)


Zeitoun put me in the mood for some more page-turning reading so I went back to the classics but in "short-boys-classics" mode. Here were the next quick-fire three with very brief assessments:

Book 5 - Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger - No idea, given my obsession with American fiction, how I managed not to read this until now. Still, judging by sales since Salinger's death, I'm not the only one. Anyway I loved it. I can see why lots of people don't mind you. It doesn't go anywhere and Holden is infuriatingly contrary at times. But he's well-meaning and there's such a captivating mix of emotions as you follow his scattergun thought processes and movements for the book's short time frame. I can only imagine (distantly) ho
w fabulous this novel must be if you're reading it as a 15 year old book addicted boy.

Book 6 - 39 Steps by John Buchan - Thoroughly enjoyed finally reading this. I find myself with little to say about it though - it really is just the quintessential British boys adventure story - I preferred the opening sequences and the initial train/highland chases to the later sections. It's dated but
it remains a great recommendation for any teenage boy showing worrying signs of reading ambivalence!

Book 7 - Farewell my Lovely by Raymond Chandler - Genius. Never read Chandler (to my brother-in-law Harvey's disgust). From the moment Marlowe follows
Moose Malloy into a grotty bar in the first couple of pages saying something along the lines of "it was none of my business, so I followed him right in". I was addicted to Chandler's infamous dialogue style. The plot is ridiculously twisty but it's the characters and their conversations (particularly between Marlowe and the many dangerous women he hangs out with) that makes it such a page-turner for me.

1 comment:

The Generalissimo said...

Glad to see you back on here Mr B. Agree with you about Raymond Chandler - I love those books! Can't agree about Catcher in the Rye - have tried a couple of times and couldn't get on with it, it's one of the few on my "Just couldn't finish it" list. But I gather it is one that often doesn't go down well with the girls.

If you have time, I could suggest another John Buchan - John MacNab. I think it hasn't dated as much as 39 Steps (which is one where I think the movie actually improved on the book - heresy I know!). And you can then read the excellent updating of the book written by Andrew Greig, called - surprisingly enough - The Return of John MacNab. Susanne