Monday, 18 March 2013

Glynn, A. 2001 Limitless

I fell asleep ten minutes into the film, but the premise intrigued so I got the book.

Big Pharma Are Bad. Why aren't the good drugs fair trade?

Remember the first time you saw The Matrix, and when you left the cinema the buzz was all would you take the red pill, or the blue? And also, coooool coat? This novel tries to build up  that buzz. If you could take a drug that made you smart and successful, would you? If it damaged you, would you still take it? If it damaged others?

The protagonist is a wastrel, and the drugs make a difference. I feel much the same about nice coffee. But it takes him till nearly the end of the book to think about securing his supply by becoming a kitchen chemist. Unlike me: I know where the coffee is and I'm not afraid to brew it.

First line
It's getting late. I don't have too sharp a sense of time any more, but I know it must be after eleven, and maybe even getting on for midnight. I'm reluctant to look at my watch though - because that will only remind me of how little time I have left.

Last line
Then I look at the keyboard once more and, wishing the command had a wider, smarter application - wishing it could somehow mean what it says - press 'save'.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


I'm reading the bible. It's a long term project and I'm in no particular rush, but it's the kind of thing I feel one should read. Eventually. King James, obv.

Reading for stories and general cultural awareness, there's no faith perspective here. If you see the bible as the true revealed word of god, you should probably not read my thoughts.

So: Genesis. What I particularly noticed was how long everyone lived. (Men: we don't hear about the women. Probably busy in the kitchen?). I'd heard the phrase 'old as Methusulah' before, and assumed old M had been notoriously long lived. Well, he was, but the rest of them weren't far behind. None of them with any erectile dysfunction: babies abounding. This, we learn, is how the world got populated. Maybe that's where all the women were?

First line: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

Last line: So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.

Beaumont, M. 2009 E squared

Oh, this is trivial nonsense. If you've read it, you'll know that. If you haven't, what are you waiting for? Everyone needs a bit of comforting ephemera in the bath now and then. This doesn't disappoint if you keep your expectations at that level.

Don't speak French? Me either! I found completely skipping past the sub plot did no harm to the story.

Don't like swearing or naughty drugs? It's not for you.

First line: Well here we are again. Another year, another catalogue of ups, downs and in betweens. Mostly ups, it has to be said.

Last line: Cunt.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Webster, J. 1915 Dear Enemy

Sequel to Dear Daddy Long Legs. I was so desperate to read this as a kid I stole it from the library. This was a wrong thing to do, but I was only allowed four books a week and that just wasn't nearly enough. And it was 30 years ago. They've probably written off the loss by now.

Here, Sally McB turns her college educated mind to running an orphanage. This, she appreciates, is important to get right:
the future health and happiness of a hundred humn beings lie in my hands, to say nothing of their three or four hundred children and thousand grand children. The thing's geometrically progressive.
First line:
Your letter is here. I have read it twice, and with amazement. Do I understand that Jervis has given you, for a Christmas present, the making over of the John Grier Home into a model institution, and that you have chosen me to disburse the money?
Last line: Nope. It gives away the ending.