I am addicted to the Digested Reads, I read this in a day and have Brideshead Abbreviated to read next. My excitement has now reached fever pitch now I have noticed you can subscribe to the podcasts at the Guardian.
Now you could argue that Crace is just being unnecessarily cruel about these books but that is the whole point and some of them frankly deserve it (Jordan’s and Victoria Beckham’s autobiographies spring to mind here as well as many sporting memoirs). I always wonder how he has time to read all these books and write his very clever and funny pastiches of them. Sometimes his one sentence summaries can just stand in place of the book itself. Here are my favourites summaries and quotes:
Zoe Heller, Notes on a Scandal – Unbelievable love triangle between the posh, the old and the spotty.
Lighthouse Keeping, Jeanette Winterson – “See everything can be interconnected if you’re happy to write bollocks”.
Boy George, Straight – “I used to think the world revolved around me; now I know it does”.
Chris Stewart – The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society – It’s friendly Chris here again. You know, the ex-drummer from Genesis you’ve never heard of who doesn’t hold a grudge against Phil Collins and went to live in Spain. “You had to have been there”.
Alain de Botton -The Architecture of Happiness – The literature of pretension ( I like him as you can see in the review but you could criticise him for this, I suppose)
Stephen Hawking – A Briefer History of Time – “A Brief History of Time …. stayed on the bestseller list for 237 weeks; a remarkable feat for a book that no one understood. Three years ago. I attempted to simplify my ideas …. but I now gather no one understood that, either”.
Chick and Lad lit get particularly damning reviews:
Celia Ahern – PS, I love you – Gerry dies before start and the rest die on the page
Jilly Cooper – Wicked – Complete and utter bollarks
Nick Hornby – How to be Good – A psychodrama of modern-day, north London-liberal angst played out against a cardboard backdrop
Tony Parsons, Stories we could tell – And the ones we wish you hadn’t
Emma Forrest – Cherries in the Snow – Plotless, witless, clueless, shameless
I cannot recommend this enough, try some from books you know but it is also good for ones you don’t.