Tuesday, 15 June 2004

When I was waiting at Waterloo for my train back to Paris, I looked at my book stocks, consisting of perhaps 50 pages of my cycling book, a skimpy-looking Of Mice And Men, and quickly decided that I would need further sustenance, if not before Paris, then before Rennes. As such, I adopted the strategy that had served me so well (viz-a-viz Chuck Palahniuk and, to a lesser extent, Bret Easton Ellis) when backpacking last year, of allowing the nearest bookshop-cum-newstand to rip me off terribly in exchange for some shiny new paperback. After agonising considerably, I eventually settled on White Teeth, by Zadie Smith, partly because its generous girth promised days or even weeks of occupation, and partly because its name rung a bell. I've found that ambigous familiarity can be a good sign. If I have read something that recommended me against a certain book or movie, then I remember it more easily, in general, than if it had recommended me towards it.

If I continue this rate I'll never finish. In short, its OK. It rambles a bit, and it kind of mumbles its larger messages a lot (being read after Of Mice And Men could contribute to that impression, I guess). Perhaps a closer familiarity (read: any familiarity beyond that relayed via Australian television media) with the nature of London youth would make for a more enjoyable experience in this regard. In any case, while it didn't ring entirely true, the writing is OK, and it occupied me for nigh on a week, which is cause for some thanks.

To a certain extent, I am enjoying good books more than "just OK" books. However, I'll take what I can get, and am still really enjoying just involving myself in something, be it excellent, as Foundation was and The Grapes Of Wrath was and Of Mice and Men was, or not so excellent, like French Revolutions or White Teeth or Snow Crash.

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