Posted by: Matt | August 19, 2007

Making the List

I missed last week, things were a bit hectic, but I’ve got a couple of new titles today.

  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – “Neverwhere‘s protagonist, Richard Mayhew, learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished. He ceases to exist in the ordinary world of London Above, and joins a quest through the dark and dangerous London Below, a shadow city of lost and forgotten people, places, and times. His companions are Door, who is trying to find out who hired the assassins who murdered her family and why; the Marquis of Carabas, a trickster who trades services for very big favors; and Hunter, a mysterious lady who guards bodies and hunts only the biggest game. London Below is a wonderfully realized shadow world, and the story plunges through it like an express passing local stations, with plenty of action and a satisfying conclusion. The story is reminiscent of Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but Neil Gaiman’s humor is much darker and his images sometimes truly horrific. Puns and allusions to everything from Paradise Lost to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz abound, but you can enjoy the book without getting all of them.” I now have three Gaiman books on my list, which I think is more than any other author. I finished listening to Stardust on audiobook last week and enjoyed it. His books all seem to be very well regarded.
  • Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby – “ever Pitch is not a typical memoir–there are no chapters, just a series of match reports falling into three time frames (childhood, young adulthood, manhood). While watching the May 2, 1972, Reading v. Arsenal match, it became embarrassingly obvious to the then 15-year-old that his white, suburban, middle-class roots made him a wimp with no sense of identity: ‘Yorkshire men, Lancastrians, Scots, the Irish, blacks, the rich, the poor, even Americans and Australians have something they can sit in pubs and bars and weep about.” But a boy from Maidenhead could only dream of coming from a place with “its own tube station and West Indian community and terrible, insoluble social problems.‘ Fever Pitch reveals the very special intricacies of British football, which readers new to the game will find astonishing, and which Hornby presents with remarkable humor and honesty–the “unique” chants sung at matches, the cold rain-soaked terraces, giant cans of warm beer, the trains known as football specials carrying fans to and from matches in prisonlike conditions, bottles smashing on the tracks, thousands of policemen waiting in anticipation for the cargo of hooligans. The sport and one team in particular have crept into every aspect of Hornby’s life–making him see the world through Arsenal-tinted spectacles.” I have heard a lot about Hornby but haven’t read any of his books. This one is supposed to be quite good and I’m a football fan (or soccer) so it should be that much more interesting.
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Responses

  1. Fever Pitch is the book that made me into a Hornby fan, Matt, and I’ve read all of his books now. He’s very popular in the U.K., of course, but because of the film made from High Fidelity he seems to be catching on here more and more. My personal favorite of his is About a Boy, but I’ve enjoyed them all. I’ll look forward to your review of Fever Pitch.

  2. Sam Houston – I’m not sure when I’ll get to reading Fever Pitch. But I should probably look at reading it soon. The English Premier League season just started so now might be a good time!

  3. My husband just finished Neverwhere and added it to my stack; he quite enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading it too, although I have quite the stack of review copies to read first!


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