Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Library of St John the Birthdayed

Birthday booksSome of my more bookish correspondents complain that I did not include full details of the volumes received on Saturday. Having counted again, I also realise there are 20 of the blighters - and that's not including the collected "Gifted" which my boss Joe sent just because he's so nice.

So, in alphabetical order:
  1. Baker, Tom, "The Boy Who Kicked Pigs", Faber & Faber, London, 1999.
    A grotesque and grisly story about a very naughty boy, and very funny it is too.
  2. Banksy, "Wall and Piece", Century, London, 2005.
    Had bought this for M. and was terribly envious. Used to love seeing Banksy's stuff as I passed through Southwark, though I gather art galleries and museums are a bit fed up with his rubbish, teenage imitators.
  3. Beresford, Kevin, "Roundabouts from the Air (ish)", New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd, London, 2005.
    A collection of snaps of favourite 'bouts, include two shots of Pierre Vivant's glorious traffic-light tree sculpture I pinched for the front of a book.
  4. Carey, David, "How it works - Television", Ladybird Books Ltd., Loughborough, 1968.
    Includes beautiful illustrations by BH Robinson, including Daleks on page 21, and a diagram showing how the Black and White Minstrels get into your house.
  5. Fromkin, David, "A Peace to End All Peace - the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the Modern Middle East", Phoenix Press, London, 1989.
    Or, "How the Middle East ended up in such a godawful mess," as Liadnan wrote in it. "Perhaps somewhat harsh to the Palestinians, but nevertheless I find it a fascinating read. Hope you do too."
  6. Gathorne-Hardy, Edward, "An Adult's Garden of Bloomers - Uprotted from the works of several eminent authors", The Bodley Head, London, 1966.
    21 pages of brief snippets from famous books which sound a bit rude. Such as this from Eliot's The Mill on the Floss, cited on page 13: "Mrs Glegg had doubtless the glossiest and crispest brown curls in her drawers, as well as curls in various degrees of fizzy laxness."
  7. Gatiss, Mark, "The Vesuvius Club", Simon & Schuster UK Ltd., 2004.
    Some wild and wildean Victoriana from the author of "Nightshade" and "The Idiot's Lantern", starring a gent called Lucifer Box.
  8. Grayling, AC, "Among the Dead Cities - was the Allied bombing of civilians in WWII a necessity or a crime?", Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London, 2006.
    Was meant to go see Grayling speak earlier this year, and am looking forward to this a great deal.
  9. Cole, Stephen, "Dr Who - The Feast of the Drowned", BBC Books, London, 2006.
    I've met Steve once, in 1997, when I interrupted an interview with him to ask my own questions. Got credited as "others". Ho hum.
  10. Iggulden, Conn, and Iggulden, Hal, "The Dangerous Book for Boys", HarperCollins Publishers, London, 2006.
    Just full of spendid stuff I wish I'd been told betwen 10 and 13. Trip wires, grammar, the different kinds of tree - even how to talk to the female.
  11. Low, George (ed.), "The Dirty Dozen - the best 12 Commando comic books ever", Carlton Books Ltd., London, 2005.
    A fat brick of a compendium in which war is hard but the British are plucky, and the Nazis are always evil and ghastly. Have read the first one already. Wished it included credits for the writers and artists.
  12. McCrum, Robert, "Wodehouse - A Life", Viking, London, 2004.
    Wanted this especially as research for something I'm writing later this year, but N. tells me it's a great read once you get past Wodehouse's childhood. Am currently reading "Right ho, Jeeves" and will report on that soon.
  13. Morrison, Grant and McKean, Dave, "Arkham Asylum - 15th anniversary edition", DC Comics, New York, 2004.
    Luscious, extravagent, slef-indulgent adventure for Batman which I'd loved when it first came out. I interviewed McKean earlier this year, too, which was nice.
  14. Nobbs, David, "The Reginald Perrin Omnibus", Arrow Books, London, 1999.
    B. (who bought me this and really adores Nobbs) had been enthusing about Perrin only last week. Apparently the second book got written because Leonard Rossiter would only do a second series on the telly if it were based on a book.
  15. Paterson, Don, "The Book of Shadows", Picador, 2005.
    A collection of brief observations and thoughts, sometimes terribly pretentious and uber-poet, and sometimes beautifully profound. And there are quite a few rude ones, too. This is from page 73: "I read a definition of the word 'solid': something which retains its shape; and find myself immediately terrified by the wilfullness of objects."
  16. Rayner, Jacqueline, "Dr Who - The Stone Rose", BBC Books, London, 2006. Includes carefully researched British Museum action. On the way back from Jac's house I was amused by the Third, Second and First Avenues nearby, leafy no-through-roads a universe away from the gird-system, New Town and American model I assume they were based on.
  17. Richards, Justin, "Dr Who - The Resurrection Casket", BBC Books, London, 2006.
    Justin told me I couldn't kill Ian Chesteron, and though we've stood in the same room a couple of times before, I actually meet him for real on Friday.
  18. Roberts, Gareth, "Dr Who - I Am a Dalek", BBC Books, London, 2006.
    A glimpse of a paperback for the Quick Reads scheme, which opens with a lovely scene of the Doctor and Rose practicing being weightless inside the TARDIS.
  19. Robinson, Tony, and Aston, Mick, "Archaeology is Rubbish - a beginner's guide", Channel 4 Books, London, 2002.
    A couple of the Amazon reviewers seem very cross about this book, but I've found the first half very entertaining, and full of little things that I really didn't know.
  20. Shapiro, James, "1599 - A year in the life of William Shakespeare", Faber & Faber, London, 2005.
    Had read good things about this in the Dr's erduite press, and it will count as homework for next year's Dr Who.
Birthday present for the catSo all in all I shall be busy for the next few weeks. Have yet to attempt the making of bread or afixing my shiny new monitor. Been a bit caught up with other pressing bits of work.

Oh, and Millennium asks (on his Day MM), after pictures of me looking... sleepy, that I look after Minimum.

Too late! The little fellow has been claimed for the Beast. Posted by Picasa

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