The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir about growing up with dangerously eccentric parents. At first following the father through a succession of itinerant jobs, they eventually settle in an impoverished mining town before the children grow up enough to leave.
It's packed full of sometimes shocking, sometimes fascinating incidents. Avoids the usual misery-memoir self-pity though: there's an optimistic tone even at the worst.
What I'm Reading 2
Finished Swiftly by Adam Roberts. Sequel to "Gulliver's Travels" where a century later Lilliputians are enslaved in miniature manufacturing, and Brobdingnagians recruited into the army.
It also contains references to other works like Voltaire's "Micromegas" and Rabelais' "Gargantua and Pantagruel" but I've never read those.
Has some good points. Roberts' specialist subject is the Nineteenth century so there's a good period feel. There's very vivid description and some spectacular set-pieces. Roberts seems to be relenting a little with his unsympathetic characters: they start off as hideous as ever but develop more then they used to.
However, the satirical elements seem a bit pointless: you don't really need exaggerated non-humans when the humans are just a grotesque. The Rabelaisian emphasis on faeces and sex is amusing at first, but gets a bit fucking shit after a while. As usual, Roberts isn't too interested in world-building or scientific logic, so there's not much here for even slightly hardish SF fans.
Overall, not bad if you like Adam Roberts books, but not really his best.
DVD Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I'm not amazingly fussy about what I'm watching while exercising or ironing, but after about 25 minutes without a chuckle I gave up on this comedy.
Sunnyside by Glen David Gold. The followup to the excellent "Carter Beats the Devil" features a fictionalised Charlie Chaplin. But the early film industry isn't nearly as novel a setting as the stage magic scene. Also this main character is rich, successful, admired and on an upward career path; which makes his whiny angst extremely annoying. The about-to-be-has-been Carter was more sympathetic.
Video. Cylon Love Songs - I Can't Smile without You. Backwards sandcastle explosions (via). Whole pig pizza (somewhat gross). Onion: Internet Archaeologists Find Ruins Of 'Friendster'.
Economics. Value of work study debunked. Stephanomics: has UK already virtually lost its AAA rating. Hot countries poorer. Superfreakonomists: "you can be counterintuitive, or you can be sensible, but it's hard to be both".
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