Archive for October, 2007

Michael Blastland & Andrew Dilnot: The Tiger that Isn’t – Seeing through a world of numbers

Friday, October 19th, 2007

It is so easy to lie with numbers – or not exactly lie, but give an impression that serves one aim or another. It’s quite an eye-opener to the reader; even if some ways are universally known, there always seems to be yet another way of using numbers or statistics to bluff people. Because pattern of stripes can be seen from the jungle, it doesn’t mean there necessarily is a tiger on the loose. The makers of BBC Radio series “More or Less” have produced a good, many times funny but also a very useful book on the jungle of numbers. It is recent, too, filled with examples from rather close past. Remembering them adds to the pleasurable reading experience.

Ann B. Ross: Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

A bit too sweet, a bit too light at times, pure entertainment, I admit. I admit Miss Julia has some growing up to when getting in terms of the inheritance, in more ways than one, his two-timing husband left her with, but not quite sufficiently. And it has its curious old-fashioned moments, caused by the main character, I guess that’s why some readers find her attractive, but not me. Too much sugar leaves a bad taste even in books, and while I laughed a few times, and became interested enough to finish the book – its ending was actually better than most of it – I can’t say I’m interested enough to continue the adventures of Miss Julia, she won the battles in one book, and that is enough for me.

David Mitchell: Black Swan Green

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

This reader wondered a bit why would Jason, the narrator, wanted to look back and relive his months as a thirteen-year-old in a small village in the nineteen eighties. Especially with school and its bullies, his own family gradually breaking up, and stammering always somewhere near, almost having a life of its own. And being a poet on top of all that. Mitchell is a very good, fluent writer, his text a pleasure to read, and any hiccups on the way are ignored easily, although I suspect a few of his experiences are a bit closer to home to a male reader. “It’s not the end”, are the final words, yes, by the book’s end life is opening up for Jason, his stammering disappearing and new discoveries made. For example, with the the French book in his pocket, Le Grand Meaules.