Gaskella’s Midweek Miscellany #17

Bits and pieces today …

I would like to read one of Howard Jacobson’s novels soon, but don’t know where to start. Although The Finkler Question won the Booker, it doesn’t feel like the right book to meet an author new to me with.

I’ve heard that The Mightly Walzer is good, but am slightly put off by the coming of age and ping-pong themes, so should I try his previous Booker-listed one, Kalooki Nights – or indeed any other one of his novels. 

Your advice would be appreciated.

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Next, I’d like to highlight one of my very favourite blogs – The Age of Uncertainty. Steerforth works with old books, and is always finding things of interest in them – particularly old photos, and he has a unique way of bringing them to life in his blog. The post the link will take you to summarises some recent highlights.

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Finally, when the publisher kindly sent me these wraparound editions of YA Buffy the vampire slayer novels – each with three stories, I was rather looking forward to reading some as part of my Season of the Living Dead.  I’ve only ever seen a couple of episodes of the TV series, but thought the books could be fun.  They are standalone I believe, not novelisations of TV episodes, and each is by a different author.  I read one complete tale, and skimmed a couple of others, realising that they were not for me – so they’ve got to one of my friends who is a Buffy fan.  I do like the covers though – very much in vogue – ‘white is the new black’ these days don’t you know. 

I think recognised one of the authors though … many years ago (it’s confession time), I used to read all the Star Trek novels – I was a real Trekkie and my fandom didn’t burn out until my early thirties – I managed to stop short of buying a uniform and going to conventions though.  However I did have about forty of the Trek novels, and the two series have an author, (or possibly more ?) in common! 

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To buy books mentioned from Amazon.co.uk – click below:
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
The Mighty Walzer by Howard Jacobson
Kalooki Nights by Howard Jacobson
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1: Coyote Moon; Night of the Living Rerun; Portal Through Time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2: Halloween Rain; Bad Bargain; Afterimage

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5 thoughts on “Gaskella’s Midweek Miscellany #17

  1. Can’t comment on the Howard Jacobson dilemma as I haven’t read him either and probably wont be rushing out to change that situation because from all I have read about his books I don’t think that they are for me.
    Thanks so much for the link to Steerforth though! I hadn’t seen his blog before but I will certainly be a regular reader from now on as I found the posts fascinating. I might not be a working reporter any more but I still have the instinct to want to know about people’s lives(inquisitive by nature I’m afraid!) and have often wondered about the people who left items in books!
    Never got into Buffy although I know that there were many devoted fans out there if the numbers of boxed sets of DVD’s and videos of the series that I sold when I worked at a high street store were anything to go by! Like the covers though – I’m sure that junior daughter has a very similar necklace that she acquired at Filenes’ Basement in Boston on our New England adventure!

  2. Thank you for Highlighting The Age of Uncertainty blog. I hadn’t come across it before, but am fascinated by it.

    I’m afraid I can’t help you with Howard Jacobson – I have only read The Finkler Question and it wasn’t for me. :-(

  3. I’m a total Buffy fan and used to watch all the episodes when I was supposed to be writing my thesis. And Star Trek too… I haven’t read any books by Jacobson yet but I hope to soon.

  4. I’ve only tried one Howard Jacobson novel, Kalooki Nights. As I recall I did not get beyond the first few chapters. I just did not find it funny, and I tend to find books that are supposed to be funny can become rather irritating when I don’t get the jokes. I fear that I might have trouble with The Finkler Question for the same reason.

    I notice that you have Asylum on your blogroll. Did you see Mr Self’s review of Finkler? He did not get on with Kalooki Nights either, but he describes Finkler as “a triumph”.

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