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Old 5th Jan 2005, 16:32   #1
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Default 2005 Palimplist Conversations

A topic where comments and questions about other people's reading can be posted to keep them all together.

To which my first is directed towards the Self - why didn't you like The Timewaster Letters so much?
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Old 5th Jan 2005, 16:51   #2
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Well actually, 3 out of 5 means "quite liked it" in my personal rating system. It's basically a(nother) rehash of The Henry Root Letters. I still have a collected Henry Root which I went back to when reading the Robin Cooper letters. Henry Root was really humorist William Donaldson, and in 1979/80 spent a good deal of typewritter ribbon and postage sending satirical letters to the great and the good. They're very funny, and occasionally he gets a good response, though the effect is diluted by the fact that many of the figures are now forgotten. He did a few other books as Henry Root including The Soap Letters and then, bizarrely, a TV series was made called Root into Europe starring George Cole as Root.

Anyway. Robin Cooper (really humorist Robert Popper, who had a hand in the mock-schools science programme Look Around You) had his 'Letters from a Complete Timewaster' published in vertically-challenged lads' mag Jack over a period of time. Now they are collected in The Timewaster Letters, emblazoned front and back with orgiastic quotes from the great and the good of TV comedy (showing the intended audience): Ricky Gervais, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, etc. He avoids the Henry Root trap by sending his letters to companies rather than famous people, so they're possibly less likely to date. However the content is generally less funny, relying on simple silliness rather than satire or clever jibes. Typically he will write to a company offering them details of a new product or service he has developed in their line - when they show interest he sends them some humorously amateurish drawing and never hears from them again. It's a bit of a cheat the way he writes to them in advance rather than sending the stuff straight away - that way he gets to add two pages (opening letter and initial reply) to each exchange, filling the book up cheaply. There are some good laughs and surprises though - such as when Debenhams offers to let him come in when the store is closed to look for his lost shoelace, or when he tries to book 200 concert-standard clarinettists to surprise his wife on her birthday ("36 on the stairs (two on each step), 34 in the bathroom..."). All in all though it's amusing but disposable, hence three stars. I read it in an hour in bed earlier this week.
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Old 5th Jan 2005, 16:57   #3
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Ah, I see.

This is a reasonable place to point out that the stars for rating books (as well as for other uses) can now be accessed through 'View More Emoticons' when you are posting a message. How clever of me.
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Old 5th Jan 2005, 18:07   #4
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One for Jerkass and his love of The Alchemist.

There's a new smilie in town!
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Old 6th Jan 2005, 14:15   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self
Well actually, 3 out of 5 means "quite liked it" in my personal rating system.
Which is good enough for me, then. Bought it this afternoon.

Guntaarsyan Hip-Lun-Mivvin - the self-replicating moth:
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Old 7th Jan 2005, 18:38   #6
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I'd just like to say that I find myself really liking the Palimplists. Hopefully it won't encourage me (and others) to do less proper reviewing, but, knowing that we all do not review everything we read, it gives us an opportunity to ask trusted acquaintances (that's all of you lot) what they thought about particular books.

Well done, Rulers of the Palimp.
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Old 7th Jan 2005, 18:40   #7
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I like them too. Remember folks that once everyone has his or her list up there, editing them won't make an orange "new post" flag appear, so check the thread regularly to see whether people have updated their lists.

And m., forgive me if I'm being thick, but what do the suffixes E and P mean on your list?
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Old 7th Jan 2005, 19:22   #8
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Sorry... I wanted to make a distinction if I read a book in English or in Polish. (So that if I give five stars to a book that everyone else hates, I can defend myself that the Polish translation is so much better than the original, and vice versa... :wink: )

Generally guys, I said on Palimp End of Year lists 'I should really keep a list of my reads', but I don't know if I meant that! Well, gods heard.
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 11:09   #9
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So, how did Memoirs... compare with Adventures... John?
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Old 10th Jan 2005, 11:31   #10
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Not quite as good, I thought. Maybe it was the novelty element of Adventures of Sherlock Holmes but I really enjoyed it. Memoirs seemed weaker in comparison although like you I really rated Silver Blaze. Adventures had a greater number of memorable stories, inc. The Speckled Band, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Man with the Twisted Lip and (my personal favourite) The Red-Headed League. Have to say I was particularly disappointed in The Final Problem, partly as I had expected Moriarty to have already been an arch-enemy of Holmes in earlier stories, rather than Conan Doyle just inventing him for this story (and writing him and Holmes a load of back history). Also the ending was - ironically given that Conan Doyle really did want to kill him off - very ambiguous with no body found, no-one witnessing the fatal plunge etc. Almost as though he knew he would end up bringing the bugger back... Nonetheless they're still good comfort/enjoyment reading, so four stars for that.
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