Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Being bookish (again)

Oh dearie me! I am losing my marbles. I completely forgot that my good friend Stephen has just finished writing the first draft of his very own novel. A fantasy story, no less. And generous person that he is, he's sent me and a few other trusted friends an advance copy for perusal. I have printed off the first part and intend to start on it soon. So that will keep me going in the reading stakes, won't it? Eh readers?

However I would STILL welcome your most enlightened suggestions as to:
a) decent authors
b) decent novels
c) anything on the entire planet that is remotely worth reading. Jilly Cooper notwithstanding.

After all it won't take me the rest of my life to finish Stephen's draft. But I do have the rest of my life to read lots more fabulous books.


  • At 1:58 am , Blogger TimeWarden said...

    You could try some Fay Weldon whose novels are a bit like Andrea Newman but mixed with fantasy... "The Lives and Loves of a She-devil", "The Cloning of Joanna May" or "Growing Rich" to name but three.

    If you like intelligently written psychological crime thrillers, you could give Ruth Rendell, aka Barbara Vine, or P D James a try. If you want hardcore SF how about Philip K Dick?

    I'm wondering which novels you find overrated? Personally, I don't think you can go wrong with Hardy and Dickens. It took me an age to read "Little Dorrit" though!

  • At 11:05 am , Blogger Steve said...

    Congrats to your mate, Stephen - and here's me at the very beginning of mine! I shall use your friend's achievement as a spur!

    As for recommending authors... personally Huraki Murakami is one of my faves (though very fashionable at the moment). I have a liking for Angela Carter too - the genre of both is magi-realism.

    If you want something easy - though not necessarily lightweight to read then Robin Hobb is good for beautifully crafted, character lead stories that will enable you to escape reality.

    Will Self is good for quirky grittiness and humour.

    Or finally try my novel of 2006: Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon...

  • At 11:27 pm , Blogger Caress said...

    EF Benson's Mapp and Lucia novels are brilliant - they're available in two omnibuses. English tweed society wars - it doesn't get any better!

    For ease and good laughs, right now I'm reading Augusten Burroughs Possible Side Effects which is brilliant. Anything of his is likely to be very readable though.

  • At 2:49 pm , Blogger Flaming Nora said...

    Fay Weldon is very good, I agree. Have you read Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City books? I could re-read those any day, and probably will. My other current favourite is TC Boyle.

  • At 7:52 pm , Blogger matty said...

    How cool for your friend!!!

    Timewarden has great taste! I particularly love Fay Weldon. Actually, everyone has great taste! I like all mentioned. (I read a lot)

    For me, the best reads are mostly non-fiction. My all time favorite books are actually considered "children's" fiction but they are much more than that and I find new ideas every time I read them:

    The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (I read this twice a year to keep my head in the right perspective)

    Through The Looking Glass & Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Beyond magic and more than a little intellectual.

    I also LOVE the writings of Sandra Bernhard. This, in my opinion, is where her true talent lies. And, to turn pop culture into something that matters! I love the way she writes.

    And the work of Matt Bernstein Sycamore regarding queer theory is something I rec. to all my friends!

    And, if you've not read it -- secure a copy of Valley of the Dolls. Total trash -- but trash has never been such fun to read. I suppose it is my 4th fave book. ...but, don't tell anyone. K?


  • At 10:41 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    Thank you everyone for all your BOOKISH suggestions!! You are sooo helpful. What would I do without you, eh...

    Tim - I have in fact read some Fay Weldon stuff, years back, such as "Puffball". Time I got reacquainted with her perhaps and I'm sure there's plenty of other stuff by her that's worth checking out. I loved the TV adaptation of "She Devil" back in the 1980s and have that on DVD. Julie T Wallace was fabulous, whatever happened to her? The least said about Dennis Waterman the better (!!)

    And actually I read a few Ruth Rendell / Barbara Vine novels some time back as well. I remember she was very in vogue in the late 80s. Does she still write?

    Steve - Thanks for the tips. Haven't read any Huraki Murakami, what sort of genre is he? And Robin Hobb sounds good.

    Caress darling! - I should give Mapp and Lucia a go, they're pretty well known and fashionable in gay circles, aren't they. Might give some of the novelisations a try.

    Personally I'm surprised you haven't included your muck-raking biography of dearest sister Alexis in your list - definitive reading, surely?

    Nora - I have all the Tales of the City books in fact and I love them all! I remember buying and reading them all in the space of a few months, they're so addictive and unputdownable (is there such a word?) They tread just the right line between soap opera, drama and comedy. I actually heard that Armistead Maupin is writing a new novel about Michael "Mouse" Tolliver, I wonder if that will ever see the light of day? Hope so!

    What's T C Boyle like?

    Matty - So you're a child at heart eh. Nothing wrong with children's books, they can be some of the best! "The Little Prince" sounds intriguing. And Lewis Carroll is WEIRD. I've never read any of Sandra Bernhard's writings, if it's as wild and rude as her stage act I must try some of it! What kind of stuff does she write about...?

    ....So once again a big thanks to y'all for coming to my rescue! I now have a nice long list of prospective authors to sample...hooray!

    Now all I have to do is start using my local library cos I'll be damned if I'm going to fork out any more dosh on expensive books...

    ...Tightwad? Moi??

  • At 11:08 am , Blogger AnnieB said...

    I've recently discovered the Thursday Next series of novels by Jasper Fforde, and I'm completely hooked on them. "The Eyre Affair" is the first one - it's worth reading them in sequence. They are sort of fantasy I suppose, but rooted in our world, albeit a rather skewed version of it. Very funny and totally original, with a strong literature theme. I think you would like them!


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