Friday, January 11, 2008

While thought exists, words are alive and...

...literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living (Cyril Connolly 1903-1974)

I'm a man on a mission but one who's growing increasingly frustrated. Not by anything of a professional or personal nature but by a book. I went through a period of travelling a lot for work. Was out of the country more than I seemed to be in it for a couple of months. Shitty short trips, nip off somewhere early, back late the same day, airport to meeting to airport type of trips. My main consolation came through three things, my iPod, PSP and a ideally a good book. I try to keep in touch with what's good or shite, read at a fairly hectic pace, alternate between fact and fiction - often having one for reading in transit and another for reading at home. I generally don't give up on a book regardless of how challenging it might be. I think though I might have met my maker in terms of literary resoluteness.

Simon Mayo does a book club on a Thursday. Punters and experts talk about books with the author allowed to either defend themselves or wallow in the praise being piled upon their aural canals. A couple of months ago the had Frederick Forsyth on talking about his latest book (I've since renamed him The Bollix Forsyth). His new book is called The Afghan. Basically the people who run the world, MI6/ISI/CIA, discover a planned Al Qaeda attack and in the wisdom switch an Afghan prisoner in Guantanamo with a former SAS dude who has to get to the bottom of what's going on before world peace goes the way of Kerry Katona's career.

All the reviews of the book have been great. People I work who've been in Iraq and Pakistan tell me how great a read the book is and the representation of life for both a millitant and SAS man are. The problem is I'm 270 pages into it and all I've got for my troubles is a glorified history lesson. It's like reading Robert Fisk with more flowery descriptions of caves. Only now have they swapped the two geezers with the SAS man kipping under a truck as a break from the long walk across the hills of some kip. I'm very close to packing it in but feel that I'd have wasted all my time if I did.

Yours in frustration and growing consideration of my blogging future...


  1. Perhaps January is a bad blogging month. Or winter in general, though that doesn't make much sense. I think January is just a bad month to do anything. But (whisper)I know what you mean...

    As to now finishing books, I usually do too. Good readers understand about putting in time, pay off, the value of having a negative opinion at worst. There aren't that many I've actually been unable to finish once I've committed, though there are a few I've started and restarted and never managed to read (sometimes you have to wait years for the right time...).

    It does feel like a failure, once you've put in the work - I reccommend putting it in the bathroom, for those times when you're stuck for reading matter, and finish it slowly over time. This is not a metaphor for using it as toilet paper, I want to clarify!

  2. TB you scare me with those whispers. I expressly forbid you from thinking about quitting the blogosphere. I can't do this newbie blogger clark kent thing on my own.

  3. Sorry Milan....I'm starting to think there's only three of us left!!

  4. You know I won't let you leave. I know where you live and where your desk is in work.

    And you can forget that favour you asked me the other night if you do ;)