Sunday, April 28, 2019

COLD COMFORT FARM - Stella Gibbons

When the sukebind was in bud the orphaned Flora Poste, expensively, athletically and lengthily educated, descended on her relatives at Cold Comfort Farm. There were plenty of them- Judith, alone in her grief; Amos, called by God, Seth, smouldering with sex; Elfine, who needed a little polish;, Urk; Rennet; Harkaway; Caraway etc;  and, of course, Great Aunt Ada Doom who saw something nasty in the wood shed.  And Flora felt it incumbent upon her to bring order into chaos.

This is genuinely funny, so often you see  " comic novel " and  are disappointed but this lives up to its description.

The entire book is a satire on the "orphan having to live with the relatives" trope except the Jane Austen device is turned on its head here and hilarity ensues.

Great fun to read with fantastic characters.

Thursday, April 18, 2019


The English gentleman, the master of disguise , who is recusing French nobles form the guillotine, tricking the French Government  in the time of "the Terror".

This is fantastic  lightweight hokey, holes in the plot the size of the sun but just total escapism and I loved every page.

Its a shame Hilary Mantel didn't read the story and enjoy it for what it is.  Her very waspish "Introduction" is just very unfair.  For people to try and place 'mores' from this day and age onto an author publishing in 1902 is not justifiable.

So, we will ignore Ms Mantel and say this is great rollicking yarn, not literature, just a great fun read.

Monday, April 15, 2019

SHORT STORIES - Anton Chekhov

This is the first time I've sat and read an entire collection altogether rather than just dipping in to a couple of other collections I have of Chekhov's writing.  This is been an error , these are brilliant and after reading thirty four stories consecutively I understand why he is regarded as the greatest short story writer of them all.

My favourite, " No Comment" , about the monk's who after centuries of living in isolation are told about the world and all the sins of the flesh by a member who ventured to town and has returned disgusted with the sinning.The teller of the tales goes to bed but wakes in the morning to discover all the others in the monastery have taken off to town to do some testing in the bars and brothels they have been told about.

Fantastic stories, some very funny, some very sad but all completely enjoyable

Monday, April 8, 2019

EVERY KIND OF WEATHER - Bruce Mason edited by David Dowling

This is a collection of letters, reviews and criticisms lifted from over thirty years of writings.

Some I found interesting, some I found dull but it is a great social history of New Zealand in a time when it was all very regulated, regulations that didn't come off until the Lange Government of 1984.

Mason had some great battles with people all played out in letters to the newspapers, naturally these played out over many days, whereas these days there'd be a Twitter argument and its done and dusted in an hour.

Great pub trivia fact, Mason had a brother who was an All Black. 

All in all an interesting collection