Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Recently Read

Finally finished this large tome. It was very well worth the time it took, and I was amazed to see a reference to John Hunter, the subject of the book "The Knife Man", which I reviewed recently :-)

Parts of the Stephen Fry book were very cleverly written, and supremely funny. Parts of the book deal with his utter disdain for religion and his belief that anyone who presumes to have any type of biblical opinion about homosexual behaviour is a fool beyond contempt.  I found this to be a sad form of bigotry in itself from an otherwise erudite man :-(

Professor Oliver Sacks 's books are always a delight to read. He manages to make the horrifyingly complex field of psycho-neuro-anatomy an accessible subject to a lay audience, which is a major achievement.  This book deals with a very serious accident he had when mountain climbing in Norway, and his subsequent surgery and recovery.  Nothing new in that, you might think,  but something very peculiar happened to him - he was unable to recognise his leg. His brain and his emotions were unable to accept that this piece of flesh, attached to his body, was truly his leg.  This unusual type of body dysmorphia  is actually commoner than one might think, and how he came to terms with it is explained in detail. I was fascinated, but it took me a long time to work my way through the relatively slim book because of the complexity of the subject.

I quite like the comedian Griff Rhys Jones, but why he bothered to write a book about his rather ordinary childhood, I don't know. It is going straight to the "donate to charity shop" pile.

Star of the Sea is a gripping book. Based on the experiences of a group of people on board the eponymous ship, ranging from titled aristocracy to poverty-stricken folk fleeing the Great Irish Famine of the 19th century, it is very well-written but graphic in its descriptions of how brutal life was for the ordinary folk at that time.

I laughed till I cried at this book.  Just how does the average family deal with their very elderly widowed father falling in love with and deciding to marry a gold-digging Eastern European middle-aged woman ? A very human comedy of errors, with some really sad parts. Beautifully written, I have no idea why it has taken me so long to discover it .........
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Mimi said...

I totally agree with "A Short History..." absolutely fantastic brilliant book. I giggle just remembering it.

Ian Climacus said...

I too greatly enjoyed and laughed out loud many a time with "A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian".

Thanks for the reviews; some to add to my must-find-and-read-list.

And continued prayers for your mum, you and the family.