Holiday Reading – Quick Reviews (2)

More quick recaps of what I was reading while off in a different country, not getting tanned or drunk. (Actually, that’s a lie. I was drinking while reading but that’s part of the charm of a holiday innit.)

David Thorne Spider

David Thorne – The Internet Is A Playground / I’ll Go Home Then, It’s Warm And Has Chairs

These were the first two purchases I made for my Kobo, from the Australian humourist who went viral by trying to pay a bill with a picture of a spider that only had seven legs. Two books made up of material from David Thorne’s site plus some unpublished email discussions with colleagues, co-workers and other people who have slighted him in person, it’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve read in years.

Douglas Coupland – Generation A

Oh, I really wanted to like this. Really I did. Whenever I get hold of a Coupland book my first, sad reaction is to wager that I won’t like it as much as Microserfs – the first of his books that I read. Sadly, I’m always right because that book strikes such a chord with me – it smashes that chord to pieces if I’m being honest – because I was at just the right age and it came along at exactly the right time to be one of my all-time favourites. It’s tough for anything at all to top that, let alone something else by the same author.

The book follows a group of people who, following the near decimation of the planet’s bee population just a few years from now, are stung by bees and become world-famous for possessing something that others don’t. In their words we’re shown the distinctive cultures and practices of each country of origin and how they try to work out where to go next. There’s something in every Coupland book that gives me simultaneous feelings of despair and hope for the future, but all these years later I’m starting to feel like I don’t get it any more, and that bums me out even more whenever I finish one of his books.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

I’m stunned that I’d got this far in life without reading this book; not ashamed, just stunned. While not quite up there with having never seen Star Wars or similar, this brilliant mix of whimsical science fiction with a distinct British sense of humour is something that’s definitely influenced a great deal of the things I consider myself a fan of so I am surprised that it’s evaded me all this time, knowing the high level of esteem it’s held in in all its forms. (Except the film. I did see that. Meh.)

Reading this book made me think of Davies-era Doctor Who rather a lot; how Eccleston and Tennant tried in every episode to get over how inconsequential our planet is in the Grand Scheme of Things, but how in the end all we really should be bothered about is getting Bernard Cribbins out of that glass box. Not to spoil Hitchhiker’s too much, but within five chapters the planet Earth is literally bulldozed out of existence – that’s just to set the initial scene for the book. It’s why I appreciate Douglas Adams’ nonplussed approach to sci-fi storytelling all the more, and it’s bloody funny to boot.


Right, back to the football music later this week then, I reckon. Hope you’ve enjoyed these capsule summaries – I’m set to get stuck into the rest of the Hitchhiker’s Guide series!

4 thoughts on “Holiday Reading – Quick Reviews (2)

  1. Pingback: My Top Reads of 2014 | Alpha Signal Five

  2. Pingback: My January 2015 Reading | Alpha Signal Five

  3. I haven’t read too much Coupland – certainly less than you by the sound of it – but I was left unsatisfied by Generation A too. It’s got some good ideas but they just don’t come together that well. I think it’s definitely more to do with the book than your particular reading of it.

    My review: Generation A by Douglas Coupland

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