Thursday, November 18, 2010

Keith Richards Gives Me a Book Recommendation

Well, okay, he didn't ring me up with a "hey, mate, read this!"

But midway through this NYT review of his autobiography Life -- brilliantly skewered here -- he did, unwittingly, offer this biblio advice:

Mr. Richards, whose reading taste runs to naval history and the novels of Patrick O’Brian and George MacDonald Fraser ...

Stop the presses. Right. There.

First off, Keith Richards reads? Books? Who knew?

[Second off, there should be some pause to acknowledge what is perhaps the most strained lead-in since the dawn of language.]

Even more attention grabbing, though, is the previously unknown to me Mr. Fraser separated by only a conjunction from the brilliant Patrick O'Brian. Clearly, a trip to a library or bookstore was in order.

Or, far easier, with a nod towards the enabling of addiction, fire up the Kindle and do some shopping so painless that it doesn't require reaching for the credit card in the first place, although it insists upon the check book in the second.

As it turns out Mr. Fraser has written a series of novels based upon the premise that they are the memoirs of Harry Flashman, a shirking, cowardly, cad who nonetheless stumbles onto being the unwilling and unacknowledgeable catalyst for some major events of the 19th century. (Inexplicably, absent drooling stupidity, Amazon only has the last two of the dozen or so books available on the Kindle.)

Think of Ian Fleming's James Bond, in the negative, but, standing in the same part of the field as PG Wodehouse, is both better written and much funnier.

Coincidentally, within a couple weeks of Keith Richards leading me to Flashman via Kindle, I went from here to here to here to discover Christopher Hitchens is a Flashman fan.

Makes me wonder if everyone who reads has long known what I have just stumbled upon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Truthers Explained

On second thought, they could be on to something.