Eric Idle Online
Reading
Pure Imagination by Leslie Bricusse - Mar-2017

Pure delight from the long and wonderful Musical Career of Leslie Bricusse. President of Footlights, he paved the way to Broadway writing so many brilliant songs, often with Anthony Newley. “If I Ruled The World”, “What Kind of Fool Am I?”, “Gonna Build A Mountain”, “You Only Live Twice”…I could go on but Sammy Davis Jr. recorded 60 of his songs…An inspiration and delightful company.

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis - Mar-2017
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari - Mar-2017

A mighty book in all senses. About us, and who we are and how we came to be so.

Maigret and The Old Lady by Georges Simenon - Mar-2017

He can take a character and create a whole novel out of it. This is about a sweet little old lady who comes to Paris to ask Maigret to come to the Le Havre coast to solve the murder of her servant.

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell - Mar-2017

The most magnificent short novel. Glorious. Beautiful written. Like the essence of a novel.

Believe Me by Eddie Izzard - Feb-2017

Brief memoirs. His publisher seeking a quote. I sent: “Eddie Izzard is my favourite stand up chameleon.”

And yet… by Christopher Hitchens - Feb-2017

Wonderful essays on everyone and everything.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher - Feb-2017

While she may have been uncertain herself, one thing Carrie Fisher certainly was is a fine writer. From the evidence of her earliest writing on Star Wars here it’s clear she can express herself in words. Revealingly she says she likes to write because it slows down her thoughts so she can finish one. Not only is it heart rending that she has gone so young, it is sad because we miss out on the writing she might yet have done.

My Friend Maigret by Georges Simenon - Feb-2017

An officer from Scotland Yard is studying Maigret’s methods when a call sends them off to an island off the Cote D’Azur.

I have been doing research and gave myself a quick course in Biology.
Amongst the books I perused:

LIFE ASCENDING by Nick Lane
WHAT IS LIFE? by Addy Pross
LIFE ON A YOUNG PLANET by Andrew H. Knoll
EVER SINCE DARWIN by Stephen Jay Gould
A NEW HISTORY OF LIFE by Peter Ward & Joe Kirschvink
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH by Richard Dawkins (which rather flatteringly
contains the entire text of a parody lyric I wrote for Python called “All Things Dull and Ugly”)

Maigret at the Coroner’s by Georges Simenon - Jan-2017

And then of course there is Simenon, who is like eating fine patisserie between long gourmet dinners. This one sees Maigret is in the USA attending a Coroner’s investigation of what might be a murder. His puzzlement over American methods is great. He cannot help but become involved.

A Hero of France by Alan Furst - Jan-2017

People recommend Alan Furst in the same category as Philip Kerr, but he doesn’t hold up to the amazingly researched and extraordinary daring of PK. The Bernie Gunther novels are in the first person which allows him to make hilarious derogatory remarks about the Nazis, and to my mind he is funnier and sharper than Chandler, to whom he is often compared.

Berlin Noir by Philip Kerr - Jan-2017

Stuck in bed with a broken ankle I turned to Philip Kerr and re-read with great pleasure the first three great Bernie Gunther novels: March Violets, The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem. The first set in pre-war Berlin, the second towards the end of WW2 and the third in Vienna, during the filming of The Third Man. He is really good, and re-reading is a total joy.

The Schooldays of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee - Dec-2016

A puzzling book which I really enjoyed. I’m still not sure what it has to do with Jesus, and it ended abruptly. A man finds a lost boy on a ship to South America and takes him to a new life. But he is really the lost boy, and cannot find his feelings or emotions, either with the boy or the boy’s mother. They place him in a weird Music and Dance Academy where he soars, only to be involved in a brutal murder of his adorable teacher by his adored friend the janitor Dmitri. The novel explores, but doesn’t finally resolve the need for forgiveness.

Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers - Dec-2016

On Kindle. Married woman flees with her kids to Alaska. Perhaps a film that became a book? I see I’m only half way through, which is good, because I can go back to it.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon - Dec-2016

I loved it. Read it in Cedars. We shared a little email exchange about the effects of meds on reading. Oddly afterwards I think he was right. Don’t trust your reactions on meds. When I returned to it I couldn’t get into it again so much and I’m, not sure whether the meds had changed my reaction or whether they had caused me to enjoy it more. Published November 2016. Found a signed edition.

The Writer’s Cut by Eric Idle - Dec-2016

Hadn’t read it in a long time and it made me chuckle. On my I Phone. Trying to decide whether to do a reading of it. Happy to find it funny.

Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - Dec-2016

Timely re-reading of this touching story of redemption. Find the child. Even Scrooge comes from some unhappy childhood. His emotional connection with his past as we see how he got to be him, prepares him for his great moment of reconnection with mankind. Has led me into Oliver Twist.

The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Dec-2016

Watching a bad movie adaptation by Amazon led me to the original. Was it really about the effect of the Nazi’s on the Studios in Hollywood? Of course not. But after the elegant opening of the book I was struck by how unfinished it was. And how far from being a masterpiece it is. I used to like it a lot. This time I didn’t. Two previous readings.

Previous: Sept 2010  •  THE LAST TYCOON by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Read on the plane flying from London to LA. Interesting because of the notes and the insights into how much work he put into constructing his novels and characters. His writing seems to come effortlessly to him but here we see that there is indeed a great deal of effort in it and he is harshly self-critical. He writes “Only Fair” opposite one paragraph. These notes in many ways are more valuable than the unfinished novel because they show the artist in mid brush stroke. The only thing I don’t find convincing on re-reading is the narrator – the female character Cecilia. Does he ever try and inhabit another female narrator? She doesn’t really come alive for me. I still love the Pat Hobby stories for the shabby view of Hollywood, but here you see that Fitzgerald was seen and appreciated for what he is when he first went to Hollywood. Stahr really knows him and admires him.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens - Dec-2016

This time on Kindle. I liked it. Then I thought the Fagin portrait was really anti-semitic, then I switched to

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens - Dec-2016

When I realized if I was going to re-read Dickens, I’d want Bleak House or Dorrit.

Human Universe by Professor Brian Cox - Dec-2016

I had a good read of this. It’s covered in highlights and I need it again as I’m taking up Act Two of the Universe.

Conclave by Robert Harris - Dec-2016

A surprisingly good read. Surprising, not because he isn’t good, he is, but I didn’t think he’d grip me with a yarn about a Papal election. But he did. I loved it.

Tangled Vines by Frances Dinkelspiel - Dec-2016

A true story about an arsonist amongst the Napa vineyards, the emergence, growth, survival and rebirth of California wines. Interesting. He destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of vintage wines.

Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr - Dec-2016

Sending out for emergency supplies on Amazon, this is a beauty book of short stories by a wonderful writer who I discovered this year. I love it.

Christmas Book List by Eric Idle - Dec-2016

Here’s what I have selected to send to selected friends. I get them packaged with brown paper and ceiling wax sent from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights / in Bath.

https://www.facebook.com › Places › Bath, United Kingdom › Book Store

ENDING UP  by Kingsley Amis

DYNASTY  by Tom Holland

MAIGRET GETS ANGRY  by Georges Simenon

MADAME MAIGRET’S FRIEND  by Georges Simenon

THE PIGEON TUNNEL  by John Le Carré

NUTSHELL  by Ian McEwan

THE HOTEL ON PLACE VENDOME  by Tilar J. Mazzeo

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE  by Anthony Doerr

THE ORPHAN MASTERS SON  by Adam Johnson

DEAD IS BEST  by Jo Perry