I know I used to have a book and TV section, and I know I merged it into this and thus more or less completely did away with it, so in penance I thought I would briefly babble about a couple of books I read lately. Since one of them is the new Potter book I am going to put one of those read-more thingumys…I don’t hide the fact that I am not a big fan of J.K. Rowling (I realise it is trendy to call her Jo these days, I won’t be doing so) but I was interested to read the last in the series anyway – Ok, I admit it, I wanted to know if she would kill off Potter at the end of the book and thereby do the only brave and original thing she’s ever done since so far her major source of reference seems to have been this article on Wikipedia.
She finally seems to have got bored with basing all of her books on Enid Blyton rejections and moved onto Tolkien’s adolescent period ones instead. This time there is very little Mallory Towers in there; it starts off quite nastily in fact which will probably come as quite a shock to kids reading the book. It then meanders through a whole load of repetitive nonsense and twisted logic before ending up back at Hogwarts, where she fairly pointlessly kills off three random characters in one line, apparently picked by sticking pins in the secondary character list just so that she could say she killed some people. It’s not that badly written. Unlike most of the stuff I write; all of the commas and things are in the right place and there aren’t many spelling mistakes. Of course, you kind of expect this from a woman whose writing has made her the second richest woman in the world but I thought I would mention it just so that I had at least one positive thing to say.
The biggest problem is that I don’t understand the ending and that seems to be something of a major flaw in a book that people have been waiting for, for years. I am told that I would understand the ending if I had re-read the book before and remembered every single minor incident that happened in it but I didn’t. I barely remembered the previous chapter as I was reading on; it was all just so much inconsequential fluff. Anyway – I have read it now and it is over. Thankfully. If you can’t be arsed to read it for yourself everybody important lives, Alan Rickman turned out to be good in the end (another person who dies in less than a paragraph, she really doesn’t write death well at all) and everybody you’d expect to, gets married to one another and they all live happily ever after and send their kids to Hogwarts in a flash forward to 19 years later in the last chapter. In fact, all that is missing, is the line “And they all lived happily ever after” which would have been sweet.
Enough of that drivel anyway! In contrast, I finally read “Moab is my Washpot”; Stephen Fry’s autobiography. I didn’t know much about this at all but since it is one of my closest friend’s favourite books and I do really like Stephen Fry, I decided I had to read it.
It’s pointless saying that it is brilliantly written since anything by Stephen is going to be brilliantly written. What did come as a surprise to me was that it also seemed very honest. Of course, since part of his honesty seems to be about him being a more or less compulsive liar it’s anyone’s guess which bits are to be believed completely but hey, this is Stephen, I’ll believe the moon is made of orange Roquefort if he tells me so.
I am not going to write a review; it’s an autobiography and I suspect a rather enlarged letter of apology to a few people (mostly his family). If you like Fry; read it. If you are interested in a much more accurate and truthful view of British Boarding schools, with all the buggery and thrashing left in; read it and if you just want to read a really good book after turning your brain to mundane, unimaginative mush by reading Potter. Read it, dammit!