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review 2017-04-04 15:32
Mervyn vs Dennis- Niels Saunders

   A book stuffed with irreverent comedy, funny in a way that few since the 1970s and 80s have dared to be. A writer who is prepared to stick two-fingers at the stifling blanket of multicultural non-offensiveness that has been allowed to slowly suffocate comedy, and so cultural diversity. The 1970s were the highwater mark of freedom to mock, which is an exacting measure of freedom of speech. Yes, the weak need to be guarded, but they don’t need to be protected by a righteous piety which filters out everything that could give any possible offense to any Tom, Dick or Titty.

   So it is great to read a writer that is prepared to be rude, even if he completely overdoses on the comedy in what leaves, and in certain atypical social groups enters, the arse. And yet, even in this book there are groups that the author chooses not to offend. There is still an element of protectionism towards certain left of centre ‘BBC type standards’ of middle-class self-righteous piety. Perhaps that is genuinely the ground Saunders rests on, like some latter day Ben Elton, or just perhaps this author still compromises comedy to protect certain of his sacred cows.

   But all in all, and especially considering the now comparative weakness, the containment, of British humour, this book absolutely deserves five stars. Writing like this helps give me confidence that the tide can be turned against the political correctness and the sanitisation of public thought. The ‘private eye’ of diverse all has been shown a crack in the door- a hope for escape from bland multicultural sterilization. In this writing, our everybody-cultured society had been found a little air. Not all fresh air exactly, as, as I said, Mervyn vs. Dennis is far too heavily focused on bottom humour, but certainly a wind of unfettered, socially penetrating, liberating humour.

   Saunders’ writing is good, his comic timing is excellent. Now all he needs to do is put a cork in his craphole jokes and instead write to take the piss out of his own values as well as those of those that are even now almost beyond the fringe of cultural piety.

   Not suitable reading for those that think they have a social right not to be offended.          More pineapples and exotic fruitcakes, please, Mr. Saunders.


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text 2015-02-16 01:27
January Challenge Recap
Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition - George Saunders,Gregory Feeley,Paul Di Filippo,Theodora Goss,Holly Phillips,Gene Wolfe,Richard Parks,Pat Cadigan,Steve Rasnic Tem,Marc Laidlaw,Elizabeth Bear,Joe Murphy,Rich Horton,Matthew Hughes,Michael Canfield,Sonya Taaffe,Samantha Henderson,Eric Schal
Bambi - Felix Salten
Watership Down - Richard Adams
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
Panic - Sharon M. Draper
The Baby Tree - Sophie Blackall
Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson
Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell
Plover Landing - Marie Zhuikov
The Adventures of Pinocchio - Carlo Collodi

Here is my January progress for the four(ish) reading challenges I'm doing this year. You can see three of them here, and the fourth is my plan to read as many of the source materials for Disney movies as possible -- I have already read about half of them over a lifetime of Disney fandom.


From my personal reading challenge, in January I was supposed to read books I had received as gifts. Unfortunately, I only read one book from this category:


Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2006 - I received this book as a Christmas present from Pocketmermaid several years ago -- I think it was 2009. The gift note, written on festive Christmas stationery, was still tucked inside. She bought it for me because it had the "sequel" to one of my favorite books, "The Last Unicorn," in it, and also because I was making a bit of an informal study of the short story form at the time, hoping to untangle how to write some of my own. This book took me much longer to read than I thought -- the pages are trade-paperback sized and the text fairly cramped with small margins. I also had to stop for about a week to read a book club book. Glad to finally have it read, but sad that I didn't get more books under my belt for this part of the challenge!


From my Into the Forest Reading Challenge, I read

1. A book from the Endicott YA list Ella Enchanted and

2. A book that was made into a favorite movie - Bambi


And for this 2015 Reading Challenge I read ...

  1. A Book That Became a Movie - Bambi by Felix Salten
  2. A Book With Nonhuman Characters - Watership Down by Richard Adams
  3. A Mystery or Thriller - Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  4. A Book with a One-Word Title - Panic by Sharon Draper
  5. A Book of Short Stories - Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2006 by Rich Norton
  6. A Book Based Entirely on Its Cover - The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall
  7. A Memoir - Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  8. A Book Set in High School - Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  9. A Book Set in Your Home Town - Plover Landing by Marie Zhuikov (Duluth is my "adopted" hometown -- I don't think any books are set in my actual hometown.)


For Disney Source Materials, I read

  1. Bambi by Felix Salten (heh, this one is showing up on every list!)
  2. The Sorceror's Apprentice by Goethe and

Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi


For February I am reading Love & Marriage books. One of my favorite themes!

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review 2015-02-04 00:00
The Defence of Troia
The Defence of Troia - Anita Saunders,Jeff Palley,Neil Port Defence of Troia From Neil Port is a gripping tale of love, war and loyalty, and needs to be on your reading list. This is the second episode of the Paladin Chronicles, but can be read alone as the first chapter is a summation of the first episode. When I first opened The Defence of Troia I was a little worried whether or not I would like it you see the first thing I thought of when seeing the first few pages was The Hobbit and I've never managed to read that, I did read this one, and I have to say it was an effort well rewarded.

By effort I'm saying this is not one of those books you can read on 'auto pilot', you do need to think about it while reading. I did get lost and confused a few times, but once reading on I was able to piece things together. I will be reading this at least once more, to pick up anything I missed the first time.
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