Sunday, October 5, 2014

DECLINE AND FALL - Evelyn Waugh



Paul Pennyfather has a rather bad run of luck, gets sent down from Oxford and ends up teaching at a 5th level public school.  From here disaster follows disaster.

This is very very funny along with Waugh's ability to be absolutely caustic sticking it to the British upper class at the same time.

This is Waugh's first novel, published in 1928 and for a first effort it is remarkable.

Waugh didn't write a bad word as far as I'm concerned, he is accessible to any level of reader and I just love his stuff.


A PELICAN AT BLANDINGS - P G Wodehouse



This is Wodehouse so its brilliant, the use of language is superb.  This is Wodehouse so its brilliant.

DOCTOR AT SEA - Richard Gordon



The second installment in the "Doctor"series.  Our hero signs on as ships surgeon in the merchant marine and travels to South America on a tramp steamer.

I enjoyed this more than the first book. This was interesting in how a tramp steamer functioned in pre-containerization days.  The characters that make up a crew are equally fascinating.

Again no belly laughs but very amusing and interesting.


A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE - Richard Gordon



The novel which resulted in films and TV series. The story of a young doctor training in a London teaching hospital.

This is an amusing read, no belly laughs but light hearted and entertaining with enough serious information regarding medical practices in the 1940's to make it interesting. Its nothing like the British TV series that was very good but bears no resemblance to the novel.

The author, real name Gordon Ostlere is still alive and kicking aged 93.  This is the first of a series that continued until the late 1980's.






Tuesday, September 9, 2014

COWARD AT THE BRIDGE - James Delingpole




Volume two of the adventures of Lieutenant Dick Coward.  This time he is parachuted into "The Bridge Too Far" because he has to win a V.C to ensure he inherits the family pile and wins the girl.

Historically accurate regarding Operation Market Garden it is also very funny and  well worth the effort of reading.

Delingpole makes no apology regarding the similarity in style and method of story telling to the "Flashman" series of George McDonald Fraser.  Its a style that works, educates a bit and entertains a lot.

Delingpole upsets a lot on the left of the political spectrum with his columns and non-fiction but he can write very well and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't read him just because of your political views.


THE BATTLE FOR SPAIN - Antony Beevor





If it wasn't for the death and tragedy the Spanish Civil War was a over long Monty Python sketch.
It was farcical with the splinter groups, all with their own agenda's.

There were groups that were genuine and weren't taking instructions from foreign government but this was rare, just amazing.

This is a very good over view if a tad dry with the facts just hammering you.

What does astound that Franco held power until 1975;,the entire world interferes in each others business but Franco was allowed to carry on for 36 years.

Not a light read but if you need a bit of education or lot of education on the Spanish Civil Way like myself, this is a good place to start.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

THE CAIRO AFFAIR - Olen Steinhauer



Over long and although you have to suspend belief lots for this type of book, having a recently widowed wife of a murdered American diplomat step into the world of espionage in the Middle East is too much.

The link below from the Sunday Book Review is exactly how I felt about this effort.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/books/review/the-cairo-affair-by-olen-steinhauer.html?_r=0