12 August, 2007

... and now, Books!

Time for a few book recommendations. Actually, they're not from me, they're from my friend Gary. I have at least three of those, so to narrow it down, this one used to edit Doctor Who Magazine. Great, that narrows it down to two. The BLOND one!

Anyway, a while back, Gary e-mailed his friends with a few book recommendations. I like it when he does this, as generally his tastes are sound and I end up reading things I'd never heard of and will enjoy. Well his scores are still very high with me, because these two books were just astounding.

The one I finished this week is Stuart: A Life backward by Alexander Masters. I try to approach most novels without reading up on them, so they can surprise me. Consequently, it took me a while to realise that this wasn't a novel, but the biography of a person few of us would ever want to meet, and if we ever did, we'd either cross the street or try to buy his immediate departure with the donation of a pund. The subject of the book is Stuart Shorter, a 'chaotic' person who's spent time on the streets, living in hostels and popping in and out of prison. There are points in the narrative where you - and it has to be said the author too - loathe Stuart. Yet as I reached the end of the book, I wept.

Cover: Stuart - A Life Backwards

The second book is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. I'm not saying another word about it, because it refuses to spoil its own suprises in the text on the back of the book, so I'll do the same. It's about a boy who encounters a fence. Like Stuart.., this is a book that plays with narrative, telling you things as the boy discovers them, and sometimes you might be ahead of him, but by then you're too emotionally involved to be annoyed by his ignorance.

Said enough - read them both!

Cover: Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

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