A long long time ago, when I was obsessed with everything Games Workshop touched, they started commissioning novels set in their not-quite-a-rip-off-of-Tolkien fantasy universe. One of the authors they recruited was Kim Newman, the massively-mutton-chopped film reviewer, who managed to smuggle into the Warhammer milieu a pastiche of Dirty Harry and the fairly terrifying Drachenfels, a retelling of something I’m not even sure of. These novels were under the pseudonym Jack Yeovil, but I slavishly read all his "own" work as well, starting with the homophonically confusing "The Night Mayor" and then progressing to such gems as The Quorum.
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In addition to the vomit-inducing Backhoe Joe, La Serpiente has been making me read Pony Scouts: At The Show, a level 2 reading book ("High-interest stories for developing readers" according to the blurb.) While I’m allergic to horses, we can be fairly confident that the book isn’t making my daughter sick, as she made me read it on Sunday night without any ill-effects.
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Somewhat gratifyingly, La Serpiente wept bitterly last night at bedtime, wishing both her parents were there to put her to bed, rather than one of them gallivanting around a running track. When she was clingy tonight and refused to get off the toilet and into the bath for ten minutes, we assumed that was the hangover from the previous evening. Eventually I got to read her Backhoe Joe, and shortly afterwards she began vomiting. Say what you like, but that’s clear and lucid literary criticism, delivered like clockwork every ten minutes for two hours.
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This evening I read Construction Kitties to La Serpiente. This is a book in which a family of cats put on hard hats and then use a variety of heavy machinery to (spoiler alert) build a play area. I think La Serpiente chose this book from the library on purpose, but what malefic and occult purpose that was, no human mind could comprehend.
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Today I baked a cake from Men Love Pies, Girls Like Hummus, a cookery book I borrowed from the library solely on the strength of its title. I borrowed three books: one by Gordon Ramsay that had at least one example of egregious copy-and-paste, a compendium of recipes from Epicurious, and Men Love Pies, Girls Like Hummus.
Of the three, I found MLPGLH the easiest to get on with. The Epicurious book feels quite impersonal as it’s just recipe after recipe from an assortment of random people on the internet. Gordon Ramsey’s book is dense, but MLPGLH is short, has an anecdote to frame each recipe that doesn’t go into too much detail, and has a chatty tone that implies the author is one of your mates who happens to like cooking a lot, rather than some expert stood on a lofty pedestal.
Plus, it includes a recipe for cake made with cola.
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Today I had another spinning class, and although I was slow and weak (recovering from a troublesome night with La Serpiente needing to be comforted through her coughing, and from my own cold) it was good to get some exercise. More importantly, there’s a good half hour journey on the train from the spinning studio back to town, ample time to catch up on my unread London Review of Books articles.
Continue reading “Last of the Playboys”
Today I devoured The Rising, Ian Tregillis’ second book about Dutch automata fighting French Canadians in an alternate 1920s setting. (Yes, it is slightly strange.) I enjoyed this more than the first novel, The Mechanical, perhaps because there’s less world-building going on this time and more action. (There is a bit too much action sometimes, but more of that later…)
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