What success looks like

Like a student who’ll even clean the toilet, unasked, for his parents, before getting down to studying, I’m aware that during the last seven months I’ve demonstrated supreme avoidance of writing about reading almost akin to the avoidance of actually reading…

Success! I’ve finally finished JPod, a novel by one of my favourite authors, Douglas Coupland, that’s been lying around for an embarrassing amount of time. In between receiving the book as a gift, I’ve already tweaked the curtains into this world and I could tell Douglas Coupland (in the event he wants to mirror his plot and call me up for the inside track on a bizarre life) that  I sat next to a gaming team for about a year (whom I never ever, not even once, heard talk about gaming) and that his novel doesn’t mention Dominos Pizza or Greggs the bakery AT ALL, so I was even more concerned that reading the book would expose Coupland as out of touch.

It’s funny and peculiar – very DC – and outrageously plotted. I liked it, not as much as other Coupland novels and whilst I found the forays and meanderings away from the plot amusing to start with, I eventually felt there was just too much of that. I didn’t skip much (it felt like cheating on Doug to do that) but I was desperate to find out what was going to happen meanwhile back at the plot. I liked the central protagonist and his ridiculous, disastrous life. Worth a read, but if you are new to Coupland, you may find you’re not in Kansas any more.

Last night, I started reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. I’m just 21 pages in and purposely haven’t reminded myself what the novel is about. So far, I’m getting a No Country for Old Men vibe…

I’d have read more of The Sisters Brothers, I’m sure, but the Monkey decided that sleep was for wimps and at 10pm, she was STILL calling out from her room. I was utterly shattered yesterday, I know not why, and the Monkeyface was holding sleep hostage. Her inexplicable ransom demands included a birthday cake with candles. (She’s 3 in November.) I’m so tired, had I had the ingredients to make a cake, I’d probably have made her one if I’d thought it would make her go to sleep. As in my own reading, Monkeyface had reading for breakfast, dinner and bedtime yesterday and she is lapping it up. She insisted on Slinky Malinki accompanying her in her buggy to the childminder yesterday, and I quite like this treat of reading on the way – although it is tricky to steer the buggy, read upside down, help turn the paper pages and remember to look where we are going. Parenting 101, basically. Just toss me a few juggling balls, weyhey, check us out!

Perhaps the haphazard example I am setting of how to get through life is why, on the way home in the evening, the Monkey insisted upon walking home whilst simulaneously looking at the pages of Slinky Malinki. I wish I’d taken a shot because I was such a kid-geek that I did walk around reading and this similarity in Monkey’s behaviour triggered my innate narcissm. It looked funny too, but for once being a parent triumphed over material for the blog post and I staged an intervention. I’ve just about got my hearing back. In case you’re wondering, this is what success looks like

My favourite Coupland:

Generation X – Because it’s the first book I read of his whilst marooned and unhappy in the Midlands and it so perfectly fit the times. I loved his writing style – a kind of Catcher in the Rye for my generation.

Girlfriend in a Coma – Forget the lame title (which I don’t mind, but I’m aware sounds trashy.) This novel felt like a coming of age. The usual oddball plotting, but the book is sweet and beautiful and – a trend with Coupland – ethereal.

Eleanor Rigby – A complete departure for Coupland. Heartbreaking study of loneliness.

Hey Nostradamus! – Living with tragedy and suspicion

All Families are Psychotic – Because mine are

 

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