January 2nd, 2020

  • blinger

Book 5 - 2018

Book 5: Strayapedia by Dominic Knight - 232 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Patriotically basted in the goon trough of Australian values, this book is as fundamentally Strayan as bowling your final over underarm, not asking awkward questions about what's in your meat pie, and naming a swimming pool after Harold Holt.

Conveniently omitting all areas not relating to Australia, Strayapedia provides definitive alternative facts about Tony Abbott, AC/DC, Canberra, Kylie Minogue, the Hills hoist, Bob Hawke, Hey Hey It's Saturday, Ned Kelly, koalas, Akubras and Shane Warne - among many other certified dinky-di topics.

If you want to pass a citizenship test, or win a trivia night hosted by Cory Bernardi, Strayapedia is as valuable as a tiny apartment in Sydney.

Written by one of the people behind The Chaser, I expected this to be much funnier than it was. Basically exactly as it describes itself to be: a rip-off of Wikipedia with jokes thrown in. Covering a variety of topics with regards to Australian geography, culture, society, politics, food etc, this book never quite hits a high enough water mark for its humour, and would be absolutely useless to the average non-Australian (unless it was written along the lines of the old Drop Bear myth, i.e. perpetuating myths about Australia - the downside being that there is no entry on Drop Bears). A quick read, a light read, entertaining but never quite as good as it could have been. I might also be a little upset about the entry ripping off my home state of Queensland, but Knight would probably say that's because I'm a Queenslander!

5 / 50 books. 10% done!

1661 / 15000 pages. 11% done!

Currently reading:
- Mindset – Updated Edition: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential
by Dr. Carol S. Dweck – 288 pages
- Journey to the West
by Cheng-En Wu - 673 pages
- Lean Mean Thirteen
by Janet Evanovich - 309 pages

And coming up:
- The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder
by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
- The Odyssey
by Homer – 324 pages
- The Road
by Cormac McCarthy - 307 pages
  • Current Music
    Amazing - Westlife
  • Tags

Book #1 (2020): Sum by David Eagleman

Number of pages: 111

This book is not a continuous narrative, but 40 separate visions of either the afterlife or alternate versions of the true reason why we are on earth.

All of the different chapters are relatively short, so if there is one that doesn't quite hit the mark (and these are very few) you know there will be another to divert your attention very soon.

Rather than go through all the individual mini-stories, I'll go through a few of my favourites:

The first story is based on how statisticians like to comment on how long the average time a person does different activities, like watching the television. In this version of the afterlife, you relive every moment of your life, but with linked activities like sleeping and driving all placed together like a montage, in a single event, so at one point you end up spending a long time sleeping; it even includes 27 hours of excruciating pain for every accident you suffered. It was an entertaining way for the book to start.

Another of the accounts has departed souls ending up as "extras" in the dreams of the living, and so appearing in the background of whatever the dreamer was dreaming about. I enjoyed this one to the point that I can't think about my dreams now without imagining all the random people in it as just people in the afterlife being forced to act in my dreams; it was definitely a novel idea.

There was another story that involved the deceased watching all of earth on giant TV screens, and another where it turns out that we are all computing devices sent by "cartographers" to help us map out Earth.

I noticed that many of the accounts came with unexpected twist endings, and there was some humour that made me smile at times. Some of the concepts put me in mind of Black Mirror, and my only real complaint was that the final account sounded like it had been lifted sraight out of an old episode of Red Dwarf.

The subject matter of the book put me in mind of Douglas Adams, but written in a style similar to George Saunders with its constant unconventional second-person narrative. I also found this book quite dense at times, so I found it best to read in a quiet room, free of distractions.

I would definitely recommend this.

Next book: The Girl Who Lived Twice (David Lagercrantz)