The Bulpington of Blup

By H.G. Wells

Rating: 2 stars

I’m really not sure what to make of this book. It took me ages to read and I’m still not sure whether I liked it or not. It follows the life of a man (Theodore Bulpington) from a childhood in the late 19th century to about the 1930s. Theodore is someone who can’t quite face life so deals with it in childhood by creating an “idealised” version of himself (the eponymous Bulpington of Blup) and later by remembering only what he wants to remember (including things that may not have happened, eg that he kept out of the Great War for the first year because “the doctors rejected him”) and creating a shell of lies around him that effectively suppresses his own personality.

Like I say, I’m not sure what to make of it. The main character, whilst not really nasty, is unpleasant and unlikeness (I found) and I found it difficult to plough through. I’m not sure if I would recommend this other than as an oddity by Wells.

Book details

ISBN: 9780755103966
Publisher: House of Stratus
Year of publication: 1932

My Life as a Whale

By Dyan Sheldon

Rating: 1 star

I picked this book up because of its title and the fact that it was a pound in a second-hand bookshop. I hoped (based on the title) that it would be good (despite the cover blurb). It turned out to be chick lit.

I ploughed through the first few chapters of this book about “New York’s last eligible bachelor” out of sheer bloody-mindedness, and the rest out of morbid fascination. It was entertaining, in a strange way, in that it became more and more over-the-top by the chapter. Just when you think it can’t get sillier, it does. It was let down by a terrible ending, though. I still can’t figure out if it was a parody or written seriously.

Book details

ISBN: 9780380720781
Publisher: Avon Books
Year of publication: 1992


By Carl Sagan

Rating: 4 stars

This is a pop science book to go with Sagan’s TV series of the same name. The book is about 20 years old now and one of the things I did while reading it was to try and spot areas where it was outdated. But Sagan deals on such large scales and broad brush strokes that these areas were very few.

The book deals with the universe, its creation and history and how we fit into the cosmic picture, all in a very accessible way.

To be honest, I didn’t learn much from this book that I didn’t already know, but Sagan has a fantastic writing style which is almost poetic. The imagery is haunting and it’s difficult not to get carried along with his narrative. Highly recommended.

Book details

ISBN: 9780375508325
Publisher: Random House
Year of publication: 1980

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

By Frank Miller

Rating: 4 stars

This book is about growing old, death and rebirth. I found it to be very powerful as we see Batman growing old and slowing down. We’re watching him watching himself and that’s both moving and painful. Like Watchmen, this was written in the mid-eighties, and covers similar themes: the place of heroes in the world, society and nuclear war.

I found this a harder book to read than Watchmen though, possibly because I’ve grown up with Batman (although I’ve never been a follower of the comics) and seeing him growing old is a disconcerting experience.

Also, the new (female) Robin has disconcertingly good legs for a 13 year old.

Book details

ISBN: 9781563893414
Publisher: DC Comics
Year of publication: 1986

Powered by WordPress