Sunday, February 05, 2006

Gurus and ploughshares

After the ordeal that was Pamuk's The Black Book I am pleased to announce that my faith in the written word has been restored.

Francis Wheen's How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World, was given to me last Christmas but had somehow slipped between the bookshelves. I found it trying to dig out Austen's Sense and Sensibility ( I had the idea of reading her novels in chronological order but fell at the first hurdle, ie. the first one has disappeared). This really is one of those books where you nod your head in agreement, shake your head in disbelief and force a wry smile of acknowledgement. You will love it if you believe in the Enlightenment, rationalism and reality. If you like self-help books, cried like a loony when Diana died and sincerely believe you are going to win the lottery it probably isn't the book for you.

The other book I would recommend is Marina Lewycka's A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian. It's an easy read rather than a literary masterpiece but it is intensely funny. It starts thus: 'Two years after my mother died, my father fell in love with a glamorous blonde Ukranian divorcée. He was eighty-four and she was thirty-six. She exploded into our lives like a fluffy pink grenade, churning up the murky water, bringing to the surface a sludge of sloughed-off memories, giving the family ghosts a kick up the backside'. I can see this one being made into a film.


coolbuddha said...

I will go for both. What a fantastic opening in the 'Tractor' (!) book. That said, as an ever optimistic winner of the Lottery I may find Francis Wheen's book a bit, well, challenging. But forewarned...

coolbuddha said...

Hope the biopsy goes OK.