Friday, 14 January 2005


A long holiday with lots of non-nerd stuff to do - golf, tennis, cricket, the beach - didn't seem to hold up my reading. I got through almost 4 books, starting on the flight over, and I'll give just brief overviews of each.

I bought The Da Vinci Code at Charles de Gaulle airport (whose terminal 1 is, I'd say, the least pleasant airport I've ever been in), and finished it off a few days after I got back. Its pulp fiction, without a doubt, but I'm a sucker for its pseudo-science (stretching the definition of science a lot to symbology and, I guess, history), so I enjoyed it, and it certainly made waiting in airports more pleasant.

Heading down to Brisbane on the bus, I didn't have anything to read, so Em lent me Lee's copy of Life of Pi, another popular success, this time from a year or so ago. Like Da Vinci Code, its well enough written, very accessible, but its analogy, introduced right at the end, didn't really resonate with me, and at the one significant plot event not described wasn't apparent to me.

I tried getting into Joyce last year using Gutenberg versions on my laptop, but it didn't really work, and my repeated attempts to read Ulysses failed. Anyway, Mum had a couple of his books, from my uncle Mick (who I'm increasingly wishing I'd had a chance to have known), so I got into Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It was more difficult than the pulp stuff I'd read, but that's mainly just because he is so much more descriptive and eloquent than most. Anyway, I really dug it, and can't wait to get back into the paper copy of Ulysses that I brought back with me.

The fourth book, the last 30 or 40 pages of which I finished off last night, was My Brother Jack, by George Johnston. This was also a really good book. I was slow getting into it, but the characters are really well drawn, and very representative superficially of australian archetypes, but deeper down also of the way I think things really are for these people. At times the writing, clearly influenced by Johnston's own life, is a little self-indulgent, but that's OK, because at others, its really, really good. The last couple of scenes, in particular, when he meets Cressida and Turley, have a real sense of euphoria to them, leading to a very authentic series with Jack. I really enjoyed this.

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