Thursday, January 05, 2006

Book learning.



I've decided to add short reviews of all the books I read in 2006. This will not only serve as a mild form of public service for you, the Random Doubt audience but will also enable me to look back upon stuff I have read.
As many will know I undertook a successful New Year's resolution at the beginning of 2004. I was determined to read one book at a time and end my years of book adultery. This has led to two marvellous years of wholesome reading, hanging out with books I actually got to know and like. I also got to remember some of their names.

So here we go, first up for 2006 is 'Vive Le Revolution' by the revolutionary socialist stand up comic/writer/cricket lover Mark Steel (I wonder, does he get bored being introduced like that?)
I've long admired Mr Steel's work, on the TV, radio and in stand up form (although I've not seen him live but I have seen him on the TV, or listened on the radio).

'VLR' is a chronologically straight history of the French Revolution. There, nothing you wouldn't get from a good history teacher right? Steel brings comparisions, analogies, and a whole bunch of jokes. Not crass irrelevant jokes but humour based upon years of historical and philosphical thought, struggle and action.
He brings the events into a wider perspective within the context of enlightenment ideas, other revolutions and the eventual corruption of the dreams of the 'Sans Culottes' by folk such as Napoleon.

A thoroughly enjoyable read and one not to be mistaken for a pithy take on history, Steel knows his stuff and is funny to boot.
(not published in the US, either travel to the UK or visit Amazon.co.uk

7 comments:

mactechwitch said...

So is Steele like a UK version of Jon Stewart?

I applaud your serial book monogamy sir and I think writing about your reading is a good idea. Maybe if I did that it would impel me to read more. Yes, maybe I'll try this. Will it be fun?

bri said...

I am a flagrant book adulterer. It fits my flirty/slutty personality to be thus. No apologies.

Mondale said...

I used to be. I used to like it but then it got awkward if two books bumped into each other or I got their names confused.

Listmaker said...

i usually read one book at a time but right now i've decided to read 5 at once. granted, they are all short stories, history, and interviews but still.

Mondale said...

Listmaker, you are a total book slut.
Mactechwitch, Steel is in the same ballpark as jon Stewart, kinda, but I'm pretty sure steel is dedicated to the revolutionary establishment of a socialist republic dedicated to redistribution of wealth, universal free healthcare and education and the abolition of all capitalist institutions. They both make me laugh.

weasel said...

I have long been book monogamous (sp?) but I tend not to read the last chaper/epilogue of non-fiction books as I'm so eager to get on to the next one in the pile.Any suggested cures/therapies?

P.S. Sent the Steel up when you are done and I'll zip down "Talking for Britain" when I've finished it...

Mondale said...

Weasel, Steel is currently working it's way around the upper school history dept (sorry, Ken got there first) i may just send you a copy and 50% of an engagement gift.