A sense of entitlement

Troutmark Books, Castle Arcade, Cardiff

No, not a comment on certain politicians — my word, aren’t there a lot of candidates for this epithet at the moment! — but a lovely pot boiler of a prompt otherwise called ‘My Life in Books 2019’ which was passed on by Annabel:

Using only books you have read this year (2019), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

  1. In high school I was—
  2. People might be surprised by—
  3. I will never be—
  4. My fantasy job is—
  5. At the end of a long day I need—
  6. I hate—
  7. Wish I had—
  8. My family reunions are—
  9. At a party you’d find me with—
  10. I’ve never been to—
  11. A happy day includes—
  12. Motto I live by:
  13. On my bucket list is—
  14. In my next life, I want to have—

Of course, this presupposes that like any assiduous bookworm you’ve actually read over fourteen books.

Some books read this year

So, here are my offerings (with justificatory mutterings):

In high school I was Steppenwolf (Hermann Hesse) though nobody suspected

People might be surprised by A Murder of Quality (John le Carré) — well, wouldn’t you?

I will never be The Lorax (Dr Seuss) because hopefully forests will remain for a lot longer if nations recognise catastrophe staring them in the face

My fantasy job is The Coroner (M R Hall), maybe to adjudicate on that murder of quality

At the end of a long day I need Two Pints (Roddy Doyle) … just kidding, I’m 99% teetotal

I hate No Signposts in the Sea (Vita Sackville-West) — so when is the council going to put up some?!

Wish I had The Secret of Platform 13 (Eva Ibbotson) so that we could all escape this political mess

My family reunions are Evil Under the Sun (Agatha Christie) — just kidding again!

At a party you’d find me with The Plankton Collector (Cath Barton), talking about, well, fishy matters

I’ve never been to Rotherweird (Andrew Caldecott) and I never will, as it’s, um, rather weird

A happy day includes A Modest Proposal (Jonathan Swift) though it doesn’t involve either Ireland nor children, but maybe some politicians… Just. Kidding.

Motto I live by: Stopping for a Spell (Diana Wynne Jones) — the longer the better

On my bucket list is Northern Lights (Philip Pullman) because contemplating the universe puts it all into perspective

In my next life, I want to have Frankenstein’s Brain (John Sutherland) because I’d like to be able to pick up multiple languages in less than a year and I’d get to see the aurora borealis without needing a passport


Maybe this little exercise will appeal to you just as much it did to me because, if so, I’d look forward to reading your choices!

By now I had intended to do an update on my reading of Moby-Dick but having been introduced to our narrator, his shipmates, the Pequod’s superstructure, cetacean categories and a whole load of other diverting digressions I’ve realised that November and Christmas have gone, we’ve set sail and spotted our first whales and all I’ve done is chuckle at Melville’s humour and jot down two or three quotes. As a commentator on one of the great 19th-century novels I find I’ve already fallen overboard. Maybe once I’ve got past the digressions I’ll be able to take stock . . .

27 thoughts on “A sense of entitlement

    1. Thanks, Isobel! The tag reminded me of those corny joke titles — you know, ‘Tour de France’ by Rudyard Peddling, or ‘The Lion Tamer’ by Claude Bottom — that schoolboys find howlingly funny and still causes me to snort. If you fancy doing this, I’d have thought you could call upon your reading experience while being creative with your timeframe? 🙂

      By the way, I love your blogging nom de plume!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Stefy, I’ve only fallen overboard in respect of commentary, not reading — I read several chapters at a time (they’re relatively short) before diverting myself with something else, such as the Tove Jansson short stories I’m enjoying at the moment. I shall soon be back on board for the next leg of the journey!

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    1. Thanks, Ola, chuffed I tickled your funny bone! I’m not so much in dire straits with Moby-Dick, nor even in the doldrums, more putting in to shore every now and again to replenish supplies and for a bit of leave, all before setting sail again! It’s quite intense but, as I said elsewhere, funnier — perhaps ‘quirkier’ would be a better word — than I expected. (Trying to see how often he can avoid saying whale without using Leviathan or some such synonym, for example, or his taxonomy of cetaceans using a classification for book sizes, all that raises a crooked smile or two!)

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    1. Yes, that third one is particularly satisfying and, as you say, forms an intriguing narrative. 🙂 I’m not sure I’d do this every year — I do like to vary my approach to end-of-year stats and reviews — but we’ll see as I enjoyed this small exercise a lot, especially the justifications! Thanks for commenting, et je te souhaite un Joyeux Noël et meilleurs voeux pour la nouvelle année!

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  1. I may do this fun tag.

    So you took the plunge! I’m delighted by your mini update. I finished it and felt I could never do it justice in review. All I can do is recommend it, and stay in awe of Melville and his larger than life book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Silvia! I thought that once I’d embarked I’d be able to offer regular updates, but since then Melville’s discursive style seems to have — if you’ll pardon yet another nautical expression — taken the wind out of my sails. I’m not quite sure why but maybe because it feels quite an immersive reading experience I’m reluctant to pass any summative judgement until I’ve completed the voyage.

      But we’ll see! The review, I suspect, will be rather different from my usual approach.

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      1. I also didn’t like to write about it as much as to keep reading it.

        And then it was so vast that I failed to write anything of interest or relevant. Dolce Bellezza with her posts of one quote per chapter, was doing a fine job in my opinion. I did love reading those quotes. I read Brona’s posts too. I have to read the last one.

        I’m looking forward to anything you write on it. I do love the whole experience. I loved the lists and detours more than I thought I would.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I see we agree on this! I’m sure to be reviewing this when I get to the end, after some thought and consideration of course, but I will probably mention in passing where I’ve got to at least a couple more times in the future.

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  2. Loved your answer to the reincarnation question. You highlighted one of my big gripes about that novel – his ability to learn a language just by listening through a hole in the wall. If only it were that easy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The hole-in-the-wall language course sounds more effective than all those apps now available, sort of total immersion, hein? As for the novel generally, I soon gave up thinking of it as in any way realistic and went along for the ride as much as anything — and even managed to squeeze three or four posts out of it!

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