Shorts & Abandonments July 2022…

A Bunch of Minis…

Since I still seem to have a backlog of books to review, here’s another little batch of minis to help me catch up – two winners and two abandonments…

Rumpole’s Return by John Mortimer

😀 😀 😀 😀

Following a string of lost cases tried in front of Judge Bullingham, Rumpole has taken this as a sign and retired with She Who Must Be Obeyed to live out his twilight years in Florida, at the home of his son and his son’s American wife. However a very little of the Florida lifestyle is sufficient for Rumpole, so when he gets a letter from the lovely Phyllida née Trant (Rumpole prefers to forget her married name) asking his advice about a matter of blood, he sneaks off, flies home, and resumes his career, much to the annoyance of the young man who has moved into his room in chambers in the interim.

The Rumpole books are always entertaining, and this is no exception. All the regular characters appear, and all the running jokes are reprised. While any of the books can be read on its own, they do sometimes rely a little on the reader having some familiarity with the characters and how they’re connected to each other, either from previous books or from the excellent TV series which actually came before the books. I was sorry to find that the wonderful TV Rumpole, the late Leo McKern, had never done narrations for the books, but Robert Hardy made an excellent substitute. The books are matched so closely to the TV series that I could see all the characters in my head, and somehow that really enhanced the audiobook experience. Thoroughly good fun!

Book 7 of 20

* * * * *

A couple I abandoned…

…and my short and to the point comments on Goodreads, made in the full throes of abandonment grumpiness…

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

“Is this really an American classic? I made it through forty minutes of the audiobook. If I ever feel like simulating brain-death I may listen to the other two hours.”

Privilege by Guinevere Glasfurd

“Story didn’t grab me and I was already thinking of abandoning it when the author decided I would like to read about the hero masturbating. She was mistaken. I wouldn’t.”

* * * * *

The Mating Season by PG Wodehouse

Bertie is due to make a reluctant visit to friends of his Aunt Agatha at Deverill Hall, but there’s one bright gleam on the horizon. His old friend Catsmeat Potter Pirbright (possibly my favourite fictional name in the universe) is putting on a cross-talk act for the local village entertainment and Bertie relishes the chance to don a green beard and hit his fellow performer with an umbrella! But the dark clouds are gathering. Gussie Fink-Nottle is also due at Deverill Hall, at the behest of his fiancée, Madeline Bassett, she who thinks that the stars are God’s daisy chain, but due to an unfortunate incident involving a fountain and a policeman, Gussie has been unavoidably detained at His Majesty’s Pleasure. Should Madeline discover this, the engagement will be off, and Madeline may well decide to marry Bertie instead! So to avoid this dreadful fate, Bertie decides to impersonate Gussie, but when Gussie then escapes his durance vile and turns up, there’s only one solution – Gussie must impersonate Bertie…

Yet another wonderful treat from the master, this one involves most of the characters being disguised as each other, adding to the general mayhem and allowing them all tae see theirsels as ithers see them, as the Bard once said. Bertie is not at all happy at people thinking that he’s the teetotal newt-fancier Gussie, but is amazed to learn that Gussie is equally horrified to be mistaken for the natty boulevardier Bertie considers himself to be. Add in five aunts – five! – and it’s easy to see why Deverill Hall could easily be mistaken for a House of Horror…

On the cue ‘five aunts’ I had given at the knees a trifle, for the thought of being confronted with such a solid gaggle of aunts, even if those of another, was an unnerving one. Reminding myself that in this life it is not aunts that matter, but the courage that one brings to them, I pulled myself together.

Great stuff, and as always the narration by Jonathan Cecil is perfection!

Book 8 of 20

* * * * *

Win some, lose some! 😉

47 thoughts on “Shorts & Abandonments July 2022…

  1. Glad you had some good ‘uns as well as some DNFs, FictionFan. Now, if you ask me, it’s always nice to pick up a Wodehouse, so I’m glad you did that. And I do like the Rumpole character and Mortimer’s writing style. In fact, it’s been a while since I read any of those adventures; I ought to dip back in. As to the other two, sorry to see you didn’t enjoy Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But if I’m being honest, I’ve not liked everything I’ve read by Capote. Some yes, some no. Odd how some authors have that effect, I think. At any rate, glad to see you did have some good epxeriences.

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    • The Rumpoles are always fun. I have DVDs of the TV ones so tend to dip into them more than into the books, but this one worked very well as an audiobook. And Wodehouse is always a treat! Haha, I don’t know what it was about Breakfast at Tiffany’s – it might have been partly the narrator – but within half an hour I hated Holly! 😂 I’ve found Capote variable too – not sure I’d count myself as a fan overall.

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    • Haha, you may love it! I don’t know why it annoyed me so much – maybe it was partly the narration – but I don’t remember growing to dislike anyone as quickly as I disliked Holly! 😉

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    • Yes, I haven’t seen the film and wondered at the time if it would have made me like the book more if I had. But I grew to dislike Holly at lightning speed and simply couldn’t face any more time in her company!

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      • I did like “A Christmas Memory” when I read it in Jnr. High. When Capote was on his game he could really write. I’m doing a December column for Queer Sci Fi on that story and his lesser-known story “One Christmas.” It’s a sequel to an earlier column i did about Capote’s fantasy stories.

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        • I read the Christmas stories a year or two ago and found them overly sentimental – indeed, I used the words “mawkish”, “self-pitying” and “trite” in my review! I think I simply don’t get on with his style. I never feel a sense of truth from his stories, even the autobiographical ones. They always seem like he’s embellished them to achieve a kind of cheap emotionalism. I found that even in In Cold Blood.

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  2. I still haven’t given Breakfast at Tiffany’s a try but I’m guessing I can safely push it back further. Wodehouse is always a treat and Bertie and Gussie impersonating each other, what more can one ask for? I haven’t read very much Rumpole but have enjoyed what I did.

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    • Ha, I don’t know why Breakfast at Tiffany’s annoyed me so much – most people seem to love it, and hopefully you’ll be one of them! Thank goodness for Wodehouse – the world would be a duller place without him! The Rumpole books are always fun, though on the whole I prefer the TV adaptations. They do work well as audiobooks too though!

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  3. I can’t remember that bit in Privilege, but I tend to skip quickly over things like that anyway so they don’t bother me unless they’re excessive! The Mating Season sounds great – I’ve read very little of PG Wodehouse, but will have to try that one!

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    • Haha, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the offending passage in Privilege if I hadn’t already been thinking about abandoning it – it just became the final straw! I love the Jeeves and Wooster books, and The Mating Season is one of the best! They brighten up even the dullest day!

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  4. I saw the movie adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and found it entertaining becaudse of Audrew Hepburn, though not a favorite. So your review doesn’t tempt me to ever pick up the book.

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    • I haven’t seen the movie and on the basis of the little bit of the book I got through, I really can’t imagine Audrey Hepburn in the role of Holly. I suspect the film is much more glamorous than the book!

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    • Hahaha, I quite often laugh myself at how bitter I sound in these brief comments that I leave on Goodreads when I abandon a book! It’s as if I feel the book has set out deliberately to annoy me… 😉

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  5. I listened to The Mating Season too after seeing you mention it and realising that it was, remarkably, a Jeeves and Wooster that I hadn’t read already. It was a lovely treat during a stressful period at work, and I think it’s one of his best, so I’m very glad you drew my attention to it!

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    • It really is a good one, isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed it! I always love when he includes descriptions of entertainment nights in village halls, or speeches in schools. He manages to turn the true horror of such occasions into such delicious humour! 😉

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    • Haha, I do get quite brutal towards books that force me to abandon them… 😉 Wodehouse is wonderful and ought to be required reading for everyone. A chapter a day for breakfast would ensure good moods all round!

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  6. Your one sentence reviews made me LOL – now that’s how it’s done! I always felt bad not reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but based on your thoughts, it sounds like I no longer have to feel guilty…

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    • Haha, I get very bitter when a book lets me down! 😉 I honestly don’t know why people love Breakfast at Tiffany’s but they do, so maybe you will too if you ever feel you must read it!

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