Just – William by Richmal Crompton

742811I love the William books! I first discovered them when I bought 3 at a church fete for 20c each when I was a late teen. I flipped through the books and loved the illustrations. When at last I read them – gosh!! I was rolling in the aisles with laughter! Oh dear oh dear oh dear!!!! I’ve loved them ever since and had to buy more of the series. The charm and humour hasn’t been lost over the years and in fact, can be considered as equal to Wodehouse. William has two older siblings who are at the romantic phase and life with William is often fraught with misunderstandings with their prospective partners. And anyone who comes to stay is in danger … In one of the stories, Mrs Brown’s Aunt comes to stay (much to Mr Brown’s chagrin) and she, of hearty constitution, feigns weakness and snores like a steam engine. She ends up being a money spinner for William and his gang because she inadvertently inserts herself into a Show the boys put on. Soon enough, all that the village children want to do is pay a penny to listen to the snoring. Tee tee! Oh me oh my, the outrage when she wakes up! Oh dear! You’ve got to read these for yourself, the stories are a scream!

“The sort of things I want to do they don’t want me to do an’ the sort of things I don’t want to do they want me to do. Mother said to knit. Knit!” The scorn and fury were indescribable. His father looked out of the window. “Thank Heavens, it’s stopped raining! Go out!” William went out. There were quite some interesting things to do outside …”

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The Red Sea Sharks (Tintin #19) – Herge

This is the first Tintin I’ve read f165526rom cover to cover and I had such fun reading it! Brilliant storyline and the characters are just so charming. I love┬áCaptain Haddock’s expletives that he roars out with such glee. Ectoplasm!! Coelacanth!! Ostrogoth!! Some of the issues raised in this comic are still relevant today. Slavery still exists, as well as the traffic in post-war transport and weaponry. But these issues are considered with compassion and matter-of-fact-ness. Snowy is gorgeous and so clever and brave! Pity Tintin doesn’t realise what Snowy is on about sometimes. And Snowy and the crab!!! And that rascal Abdullah! Oh dear! I think I will be reading more Tintin in the future.

The Blood of Carthage – Christopher Golden

293576Hmmm, I don’t know about this comic / graphic novel. It is based on Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer series (which I loved and still do). The story is a bit strange and I don’t think it was developed enough. So, big demon is an ancient being from a dark age cult and they are supposed to watch over an even older demon who is evil incarnate. But the ancient demon runs away from Buffy in the end. Hrummphh. Maybe I’m too much of a Buffy purist that I couldn’t see the fun in it??

The White Tiger by Avavind Adiga

I really enjoyed reading this novel of how one man elevated himself from a life of 3675538poverty and misery. It is a darkly humorous book that shows the tenacious spirit of one man against the corruption, filth, and desperation to survive in contemporary India. Some of the descriptions of the filth and unsanitary conditions could be called gut-churning but really, the tongue in cheek observations of Balram take some of the edge off. Balram is rather sweet. He survives abuse in childhood but he develops a cunning which is to be his saviour. His tale is in a series of letters or missives to the then Premier of China, Wen Jiabao, who is to visit India on a state visit. Balram hears this on All India Radio and scoffs at the contents of the information pamphlet the Prime Minister will give him. Lies lies lies!! Inspired, he takes pen to paper to tell Jiabao about the real India, the one he has experienced as a poor village boy and as a successful and wealthy entrepreneur. It is also a way to assuage his minor(!) guilt feelings about killing his employer. Well, it is a dog eat dog world and only the most cunning survive. And he does, and tells the tale.

 

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist – Sunil Yapa

29098211I found the torture and brutality used by the police against the WTO protesters hard to read. These horrible actions should never be forgotten, but unfortunately I had. I had to go back to news reports about the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle and what they were protesting about. This news report from The Guardian is really informative and well worth reading. After I read it, I was horrified at the bullying tactics used by the US against poor countries as well as Europe. No wonder people were angry about what dirty deals were tried. I was glad that the African countries had banded together to resist the US robbing them blind.

The novel itself is told first person through a number of actors – three police (one the chief), the pc’s son, two protestors and a WTO delegate from Sri Lanka. The story is choppy and there is a lot of focus on police violence. I found out that the original novel was longer and on a laptop which was stolen from the author and these parts are the rescued parts that were worked on. This doesn’t explain the choppiness though. Sentences are either short and snappy or long and trying to evoke emotion. These didn’t evoke any emotion in me because the violence became the focus. It was hard for me to read because I am soft hearted and can’t stand cruelty against any animal (including humans). Funnily enough, medical images of surgery or other procedures don’t bother me (mostly). I also thought to myself that not only were the police reduced to thugs, they had become militarised and since then, police violence in the US has been the norm.

I don’t think this was a particularly well written novel, but it did something important: it reminded a lot of people about the WTO protests and why they happened.

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