Five Books I’m Reading At The Moment

Richard – A Novel

by Ben Myers

This is an interesting choice for me because I was never into The Manic Street Preachers and I didn’t even know the story about Richard Edwards, the group member who went missing the day he was meant to start an American tour with his band. He was a sensitive, deep thinking young man who had developed anorexia in his teenage years, plus he had a drinking problem and was self harming. He disappeared on 1st February 1995 and was declared dead 23rd November 2008, even though a body was never found.

This is a fictionalised account of his life and disappearance, which again, I wouldn’t sign up for normally. I had bought it thinking it was a factual account. (I should wear my reading glasses before buying a book in a dark bookstore next time)!

However, my disappointment faded as I read the book. The author states that he has attempted to keep things as factual as possible, while writing the novel. He’d obviously done some research, but it stands up on its own, as an interesting fictional autobiography of a distressed and alienated young man, who has fallen foul of the trappings of fame. You can’t help but get completely absorbed in his life, however depressing that can sometimes be and there is also that question mark at the end. Did he die, commit suicide, disappear to start a new life or what? Perhaps we’ll never know, but I’m enjoying the novel regardless.

Memoirs of a Mangy Lover

by Groucho Marx

Another strange choice I suppose. I thought, why not, I’ve always liked the Marx Brothers and Groucho was particularly witty. This is not politically correct. At the same time time, he’s a lot more gentler than say, Jim Davidson, but who wouldn’t be, in comparison? This is my light breakfast read, although that’s not to say you don’t have to sometimes think twice after his jokes, to fully get the punchline. It’s surprising how innocent he sometimes sounds when he relates his stories about women, dating, Hollywood, family, friends, colleagues, money, embarressing situations, dinner parties and a whole host of other subjects. And it’s actually surprising how some of his ‘sketches’ are akin to Billy Connolly’s observational and anecdotal comedy. A 1930’s non-Scottish, non-swearing Billy Connolly.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

by Paul Torday

I don’t know what the cover looks like because there wasn’t one on this £1 second hand book, but it did have an nice integral bookmark and I’m always running out of bookmarks, especially when I have five books on the go. There’s a lot more detail in the book compared to the movie, obviously, but it stays fairly close to that line, and conveys the deep loneliness and boredom and also narrow mindedness of the character Dr. Alfred Jones and subsequent awakening. It’s based on a true story apparently and the book is punctuated throughout by letters, memo’s and emails between the characters, and also, House of Commons transcripts. It’s quite a political novel, gently spiced with a smouldering, yet not-quite-there romance.

The Best Of Jules Verne

There are three book in one. ‘Journey To The Centre Of The Earth’, ‘Eighty Days Around The World’ and ‘Clipper In The Clouds’. I’ve read ‘Journey to The Centre of the Earth’ many times and other Jules Verne novels but not the other two in this book. This weighty tome has very many full page ink drawings, evocative of the Victorian era and story narrative. I don’t need pictures to enjoy a book but this one definately adds something special to the reading experience.

Hans Christian Anderson

I’m reading a collection of his fairy tales. I’ve always been enchanted by his stories reflecting the human condition and by his sometimes tragic, and some might say, realistic endings. This hardbacked 50p book attracted me by its cover and was originally given away with a newspaper I think. The ‘Little Mermaid and ‘The Ugly Duckling’ are my favourites.