Friday, March 21, 2014

"Popcorn" Ben Elton

   I wonder if the ever present Security Guard let my book sit there long enough to be collected by an unsuspecting lunchtime visitor to Market Town in Newcastle's west end?
   This is a standard kind of spiel about the book...

"The book takes place in different parts of Los Angeles, US. The date is never actually specified, but various clues suggest it is set in the near future. Mostly the story takes place in the centre of Hollywood. The book depicts the differences between different social groups in America, from rich people with guards like Bruce Delamitri to poorer people Wayne and Scout.
   The protagonist, Bruce Delamitiri, is an artist who works in the motion picture industry. Many people in the US think that, by making these movies, Bruce makes killing cool. Numerous characters throughout the book imply that he encourages everyone who's watching these movies to kill for fun. Bruce, on the other hand, defends himself by telling everyone that he doesn’t think he encourages anyone to do anything. He says that there has always been violence but humans are not like robots, seeing something on the screen does not necessarily make us want to do it ourselves ( p. 13 "people get up from the movie theatre or the TV and do what they just saw"). He also claims that he is just showing existing violence. Unfortunately for Bruce, Wayne and Scout (a pair of psychopaths known in the media as the "Mall Murderers") have formulated a plan to hold him hostage and have him publicly announce that his movies are responsible for their crimes so they can avoid the death penalty (Wayne has a lengthy speech giving examples of how in America it is possible to be guilty and innocent at the same time.) As the novel progresses, Bruce and a critically injured Brooke Daniels are joined inside his house by his wife and daughter and a TV camera crew. The siege reaches its climax as Wayne holds a ratings monitor and announces on live TV that he will spare the hostages if everyone stops watching the siege in the next few minutes - however, this does not happen and he begins firing as the LAPD begin a frantic attempt to subdue him. Many of the characters die in the ensuing violence and the epilogue of the story reveals grim details as to how all the survivors have found a way of escaping responsibility for the tragedy using varying routes from lawsuits and finding religion to making documentaries which explicitly blame everyone else. The book ends with the line "No one has taken responsibility" — echoing an earlier rant by Bruce that we have created a blame free society in which any problem or shortcoming can be blamed on others rather than accepting responsibility for our own actions."

   Like all Elton's books you can hear his characters speaking like a particular set of british comics he channels and the social comment is at the heart of the book... this is not as good as 'Gridlock' but they are all fun to read and watch unfold... enjoy!!

If you found 'Popcorn' read it, pass it on!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

"A Simpler Time" Peter Fitzsimons

Book Crashing is back!!
   I must have lots to do because I'm also finding ways to let my creative streak be expressed and taking time to do things that move beyond introversion... If you're in or near Murrays Beach today you might be able to pick up this copy of Peter Fitz book.... and maybe hit this blog and let us know that you did, what you thought of the book, where you've left it and so on.... I have 2 more books to 'crash' this week...
   What I love about this book is that it describes the same era in which I grew up. Although it's based around the Hawkesbury and Peter's pretty secular lifestyle I can feel the fabric of the times and it evoked memories and anecdotes of my own...
   This was the era of Penguin polo shirts, boardshorts, cardigans, picnics at the Dam or weekends at Port Stephens. It's the time of Chrysler Valiant, Cyclops scooters and old fashioned Public School education.
   This is when you could fill a bag with 10c of mixed lollies, cobbers or aussie hats, buy a salad sandwich for 10c and win LP records from the wrapper of a sunnyboy or Poncho Punch frozen cordial triangle...
   It's before the big bang and the atom, Sunday trading and electronic gadgets!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"How to Be Good" Nick Hornby

   Just a great writer e.g. books like "High Fidelity" and this engaging story, left on a table at 'The Commons' on Friday arfternoon... wonder where it'll end up?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

'Looking for Alibrandi'

   Melina Marchetta's "Children's Book Council of Australia, Book of the Year Older Readers" was made into a pretty good Australian film and has been a well read Higher School Certificate English text. The 1992 release tracks Josephine Alibrandi's adolesence as a way to explore mutli-cultural Australian society. Along the way it explores identity, aspirations, parental expectations and this 17 year olds feisty personality and hopes. Great book!! I hope someone finds it and reads it!! I plan on leaving it somewhere along Newcastle Harbour Foreshore, maybe at or near 'Source Cafe'!!