Saturday, 21 July 2007

holiday reading

You need a good book when you're travelling. I'm always up for a interesting read but it's essential when you are on the move. For passing the time when you are stuck in traffic. For pondering in the sun. Sitting in a deck chair on a busy beach or a lazy afternoon of tea and cake with a city buzzing about you.

Hide in a good book when the crazy stranger on the train tries to tell you about his dodgy prostate. Or when an over-excited travelling companion, who really should get out more, starts to squeal "oooooo, look at the pritty ickle baby lambies ..."

Fan yourself on a hot day or shade your sun burnt snout from the midday sun. Not so useful in the rain perhaps. Swat annoying bug things. Fend off the pritty ickle baby lambies when they try to trample you to death and steal your picnic. They are not always as lovely and polite as the delightful Callie and Jerome.

If you're that kind of person, you can squiggle things in the margins and on the blank pages. There are *cough* other things you can use the paper for. Things I wouldn't know about. But I understand that the works of Mr Jeffrey Archer can be soft and absorbent. If not exactly a good read.
"Bear" by Jamie Smart would be a wonderful, twisted read wherever you are. I got the first volume - "Bear : Immortal" for my birthday and took it on our trip up to Argyll. To be honest I didn't do much holiday stuff because "Bear" was so brilliant and the Empire Travel Lodge was so comfy.

While She limped about the countryside, scowling at small children, and failing to attract a yacht owning multimillionaire, I caught up with the comic adventures of the dashing Bear. We have so much in common.

"He fights dastardly sorts! He drives fast cars!! He schmoozes the honeys!!"

Like me, he shares his life with a *cough, loser, cough* human companion. Unlike me, he has to battle the ultimate evil cat - called Looshkin. And when anyone presses his nose - eek - his head puffs up like a scary balloon. That never happens to me. Occasionally certain people will prod my snout and squeak "ding dong". It's not funny. Back to Bear.

Jamie Smart's witty, bobbly drawings can camouflage the dark and disturbing world of these stories. Bear is sent to fight in the First World War, is held captive with Dave Grohl, and forced to appear in - oh, the horror - a Jane Austen style costume drama.

(oh, and today is Jamie Smart's birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!)

For the next part of the holiday - Fife, where the scary tiggers and the crazy people live - I had a copy of "The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse" by Robert Rankin. Hum. Now, Robert Rankin isn't, in my humble opinion, a great writer. He's no James Joyce. He's not even much of a Terry Pratchett. I found his writing style to be clunky and stumbling.

Yes, I know. I'm one to talk. But I've not had much education. Story for another day. Back to the Chocolate Bunnies ...

Or, more importantly, to the hero of the book - Toy City private detective Eddie Bear. The novel is an attempt to blend classic Chandleresque noir with nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Eddie's boss - Bill Winkie (Little Willie Winkie) - has gone missing. Young lad - Jack - comes to town to seek his fortune and drags Eddie into the hunt for a serial killer. Hum.

Eddie Bear is a well written, convincing character. Unfortunately he is the only one and the story drags whenever he is out of action. I'm not just saying this because he is a bear. A toy bear. Eddie's distress at the loss of his "bestest friend" is genuinely touching. He drinks, he has fun (but not with dollies), and struggles with paws. The things you can't do when you don't have thumbs ...

I won't be rushing to read the sequel but I'd have a look if it came my way. The second volume of Bear is on my Must Have book list.

Not said much about the actual holiday yet. Or the mystery bear. That will have to wait for another day.

Before I go. Have just been "approved" by the lovely people at Blog Catalog. So wavy paw to all my new friends and neighbours. Haven't had time to have a proper look about yet but I'll do my best to be a good blog animal. Thank you!

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