Friday, January 19, 2007

The Wall of Shame: a Homage to the Great Literary Reader Across the Pond

This is going to have to be short, yet nothing less than inspired. Simply because I have FINALLY ACTUALLY MANAGED TO FINISH A BOOK. One. This year. Yes, it's the le Carre, the one I was reading about 3 months ago and must have read, oh about a page a night. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a fucking great read once I got past the mid-way point, which is when the plot finally thickens and the pace is more than a leisurely jog. I was doubly exciting for the sheer coincidence of having started it right before the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy. What luck! On the back of this monumental success in my intellectual life, which was dying a painful death what with all the cavorting around town, I've decided to copy my great pal, Subtle Knife, who created (and regularly updates) the "Wall of Shame." My ranking amongst the great readers of Manhattan, which can only be measured by the number of miles of books I sold to the Strand to buy my plane ticket over to the UK (and which probably wasn't that high, trust me), has significantly slipped ever since I developed my unfortunate allergic reaction to paper and when SK decided that despite winning the New York Lottery, her true life ambition was to work at Barnes & Nobles. Books in this cold grey country are hard to come by, what with the local youth turning to burning all available books on street corners. But seriously, I've conquered my permanent state of poverty with a clever idea called "asking your friends if you can borrow a book". What a fucking novel idea - no pun intended. So to make it official, my "Wall of Shame" currently stands as follows: (and using the same/similar criteria) * = My copy and you're never getting your paws on it, so don't think about it ** = Borrowed from friend/stranger/enemy/lover/possible all of these and more (and yes, I will return it - soon!) ^ = Found around my house
  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, John Le Carré *
  • The Little Drummer Girl, John Le Carré ^
  • Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks **
  • The Screenwriter's Bible, David Trottier *
  • Cuba Libre, Elmore Leonard ^
  • The Autograph Man, Zadie Smith **
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Aberysthwyth, Malcolm Pryce **
  • Libra, Don DeLillo *
Some of these books I've actually started, once if not more times than that, so I've actually got a fairly generous headstart. I'm tired. I need rest. Five facts about me you probably don't know: I might be getting a cold. I had a job interview today, and as I walked up the hill to the interview, high above the city, I could see the sea and the pier, and it was sunny but the sea was grey and it was beautiful. When I was in the interview, I cracked a few jokes and everyone laughed. I'm still not sure if my interview panel were laughing with me, or laughing out of fear. Finally, for the first time in my life I voted to evict someone from the "Big Brother" house, and I will tell you who that was (because I'm not ashamed): it was Jade. Good night. A x

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