i have this thing. a visa may come through in 30 days, but in the meantime I'm in holding pattern above an asian country. in the meantime, not wanting to spend cash if I'm going to be in school for a year (or more), those amazon.com and bn.com and ibooks.com specials at 3.99 or 2.99 or 1.99 are irresistible. (try finding a free library in an asian city. impossible).
HOWEVER, 1.99 specials are sometimes that way for a reason. as in, they're good. they're not great
. in fact, I can say to some degree I'm just browsing.
game of thrones streaming plus londoners at 1.99. i'm in two englands at once. neither by itself is interesting enough to hold my attention, but together, i'm lost in underthere. move over gaiman! this works as well as it does.
a'hem. cough. anyways* ... yeah enough breathless overenthusiastic squealing...
back to the book review. oral history, since a fifty-eight year old historian and radio personality Studs Terkel put out the definitive studies of the great depression and then ww2, has been academia's red-headed stepchild, not great enough to get anybody tenure at a university, not valueless to be simply ignored. Paul Fussell, of the Univ. of Penn., wrote about the genre, but never himself deigned to put out the stuff. amateurs do it; so do fiction writers. [b:World War Z|8908|World War Z An Oral History of the Zombie War|Max Brooks|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320398267s/8908.jpg|817]. what an amazing genre! the thing is, of course, despite the five years' work into this, and the 50% only accepted into final draft cut-off, of course in the end you're not getting all that much more than a conversation at a bar. go to a bar, buy a man a drink, 2GBP, there you go, you've gotten your oral history for 30 minutes. everyone
has a story. the saying goes: everyone has one novel. should or should we not be tongue-tied and bamboozled, moved and awe-struck?
hmm, first impression: 3/5. it's not bad. i have a visa mixup. i have cash that I don't want to spend. i like preparing food and waiting. this fills the hours (along with Martin's game of thrones). i will never find myself moved to 'being very moved,' but okay. 1.99. 450 pages. not bad. think, like, interview on the street, "oh yeah, me mates and I, on sundays we go down to camden. we like Boris Johnson but prices for arsenal tickets are madhouse. sometimes you can get a good deal at Tesco, you know, only 99p for sandwiches after 4pm--I like the salmon ones. "
i'm like, okay! good for london nostalgia value! but what are the limitations of oral history.... well in the end you're just reading people's like microtakes on their life. there's no character progression over 30 years, it's just one take, now; the lessons of my life. because the speaker keeps changing, no unity of form. no unifying ideology on love and power.
my theology: the novel is a book-length work that must, at minimum, explain the author's most fundamental take on love and power. true for Lolita. true for Ulysses. true for even Wild by Cindy Strayed. not true for this book. 3/5
but you know, London is London and usd 1.99 is 1.5 GBP or less than a copy of the Independent. so.... it's great for anglophiles! it's readable! it's long! so okay... argument for 4/5: you meet the club kid but you meet the banker; one account seems to speak for another; you meet the soldier and you meet the demo organizer; there's organization. there's a variety of perspectives; there's pro and anti-london. london london london. okay, a sort of new york alternative. fine fine 4/5
1 July 2013
reread a little more, due to some traveler's illness. wahh. stuck in rest mode, I confirm a 4/5. actually there are some classic accounts here; real insight into London. and actually now I sorta don't like the contrived opening/ending, but rather the middle shines. oral history. what an interesting little quirky field