Sunday, 3 February 2013

going to sea in a sieve; the postman

I haven't completed the lists in the back of my 2012 diary yet, but a preliminary count looks like I hit the rarely-achieved feat of reading an average of a book a week. Some of those, of course, would have been books started in a previous year, and a couple were of the EH/NT property guidebook type, so not that impressive.

But then I started off this year well by finishing two books on New Year's Day, both of which I'd read entirely on holiday - Danny Baker's first volume of autobiography, Going To Sea In A Sieve, I got from the Rolls for Christmas, while David Brin's The Postman was one which I took from home knowing I could read it while away and then leave in Lewis to be disposed off, to lighten the load on the return journey since we were travelling by plane and train.

Going To Sea In A Sieve was as good as I'd expected, written very much as you'd imagine him saying it. I'm a big fan of Danny Baker's radio work, though I'm almost completely unfamiliar with the TV programmes he's most associated with - the news magazine programmes which he became well-known in were London only, and I never really watched TFI Friday (for which he was a main writer). I did watch and enjoy his short-lived chat show, where I remember all the musical guests had to do a Beatles cover. It was a hardback, and I left it in Lewis, though I intend to retrieve it.

David Brin's The Postman I'd had in mind to read for a long time, and I quite enjoyed it. It's post-apocalyptic, a genre I quite like, and though the central conceit - someone by accident pretending to be a postman representative of a non-existent re-established US government helping to rebuild society by people buying into this idea - was implausible, it did have some other interesting ideas. The most interesting, and convincing, was the re-establishment of any organised authority being scuppered, immediately and ongoing, by individual survivalists and local militia asserting violently their own control and independence. I picked up another couple of David Brin's at the same time as that one; I'm not sure if I'll read them, though he does have a couple of volumes from his Uplift series in various best SF lists, though none are the ones I have.