Some Micro-Reviews

microscopeAs happens sometimes, one reads titles that are not bad, but are not quite enough to warrant a full review. And thus, the micro-review – just a short chit-chat about books that weren’t bad, by any means, but just didn’t elicit enough commentary from me to develop.

Stately as a GalleonStately as a Galleon – Joyce Grenfell (1978)

I found this one when I cleaned out the book shelves the other day. It was short, it reminded me of growing up in England and I remembered that I had thought Grenfell was hilarious when I was a child. Plus, I could decide whether to keep this volume after reading it or pass it on to the charity shop pile. Grenfell was a radio and stage performer in the 1950’s and 1960’s in England, very English and just took “slice-of-life” events and talked about them. Very of her time and quite funny at times. This was a collection of some of her sketches from over the years, and I think you’d have to be pretty “English” to understand all the references she makes. Still quite funny, rather poignant, but not as funny as I remember so on to the charity shop pile she goes. There is one sketch that she did that was hilarious: “George, Don’t Do That,” and that always made me laugh, old though it is. It wasn’t in this volume though. (I’d link to it, but for copyright reasons, I can’t access it whilst I am in US.)

One question arose: the book has been categorized as “Non-fiction/Humour” (printed in UK) and yet all the sketches are fiction. (They may have been based on people Grenfell really knew, but the composite characters were fiction.) So why is it categorized as “non-fiction”? Are plays and performance sketches categorized differently?

Pomfret Towers – Angela Thirkell (1938) Pomfret Towers

Lots more of the small village high  jinx that occurs in Thirkell’s Barsetshire series. Very bubblegum, but really fun to read.

heidiHeidi – Joanna Spyri (1880)

Having had this childhood classic on my bookshelves for pretty much the entirety of my childhood, and never picking it, I decided to do just that the other day. I had some vague idea about the book being about a little girl in the mountains and goats and yodeling and things, but apart from that, I had nothing to go on. I also remember that the edition that I had in my childhood bookshelves was intimidatingly huge and you know I am a woos about huge books like that.

So I picked it up and gave it the good old college try. Started off ok, but then it got ….. really….. slow….and boring…. After all these years of feeling slightly guilty at not having read this book which a well-meaning relative had given to me as a gift, I gave up the read halfway through when I realized that I didn’t actually care that much about anyone in the book. It was the stereotypical Victorian heavy-handed morality combined with a not particularly interesting story. Phew. Now I can move that on to the charity pile and move on with no guilt about this. (Also – it’s been crossed off any birthday present lists for kids in my life. I wouldn’t do that to them!)

I am curious who gave this to me in the first place – which well meaning relative was it? I would bet you a million dollars that they hadn’t read it either. Oh well. At least I know for sure now. Head of the pack for young readers right now: Anne of Green Gables.

Gunn Fashion BibleTim Gunn’s Fashion Bible (2012) – the less said about this, the better. This was like reading a really badly researched and poorly written high school English paper. Yikes. It was actually painful to pick up and read some of the information as it was so poorly executed. Had some lovely pics, but the words. Not so much.

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