Archive for June, 2011

“In my mailbox” is a not-very-weekly-in-my-case meme hosted by The Story Siren in which people share the books that they have acquired that week. I threw the rules out of the window long ago. Just keeping it to attempt to fool myself into believing I have some kind of structure going on.

Book group gave me an excuse to go into Waterstone’s in Gower Street on Thursday and pick up:

TBR pile back up to 43.

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Title: The Fry Chronicles

Author: Stephen Fry

Published: Penguin, 2010

Genre: Autobiography

Blurb: Stephen Fry arrived at Cambridge on probation: a convicted fraudster and thief, an addict, liar, fantasist and failed suicide, convinced that at any moment he would be found out and flung away.

Instead, university life offered him love, romance and the chance to stand on stage and entertain. He began his iconic relationship with Hugh Laurie, befriended Emma Thompson among a host of household names, and emerged as one of the most promising comic talents in the country.

This is the intriguing, hilarious and utterly compelling story of how the Stephen the nation knows (or thinks it knows) began to make his presence felt as he took his first tentative steps in the worlds of television, journalism, radio, theatre and film. Shameful tales of sugar, shag and champagne jostle with insights into credit cards, classic cars and conspicuous consumption, Blackadder, Broadway and the BBC.

For all its trademark wit and verbal brilliance, this is a book that is not afraid to confront the aching chasm that separates public image from private feeling. Welcome to The Fry Chronicles, one of the boldest, bravest, most revealing and heartfelt accounts of a man’s formative years that you will ever have the exquisite pleasure of reading.

How I came to own it: Birthday/Christmas present.

What I thought: This is not a book I can review objectively (we are all subjective but I am extra super subjective in this case): Stephen Fry was the hero of my adolescence and I still have a soft spot for him, so I was bound to enjoy this. As always, I enjoyed his humour and his wordiness, his playful use of language. It was a very courageous book, painfully self-aware and self-conscious in its raw honesty about his less worthy emotions and his insecurities. These are all things that excite either irritation or admiration: rather obviously, in my case, the latter.

Rating: 4/5

How I’m doing: 43 to go.

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The Victorian Literature Challenge. My pre-challenge post is here.

Title: Lady Windermere’s Fan

Author: Oscar Wilde

Published: in ‘The Complete Illustrated Stories, Plays and Poems of Oscar Wilde’, Chancellor Press, 1991 (originally published 1893)

Genre: Play

How I came to own it: This bumper Oscar Wilde collection was an Oxfam bargain at £2.99 several years ago.

What I thought: It’s been so long since I read a play – I thought I might struggle to get into it. This wasn’t the case at all. It’s an easy, fast read, very funny, as expected with Wilde, with those one-liners popping up almost constantly, and yet also rather moving in places. I enjoyed it very much.

Rating: 4/5

How I’m doing: 44 to go.

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