||Seeing how as a PythOnline
redesign is still forthcoming, sometimes things slip through the
cracks. Case in point: Eric Idle's favorite books of 2002. Eric's
"favorite books" list had become an annual tradition
on PythOnline. Not one to muck with tradition, here is the list...
Hard to single out a single book this year I read so much good stuff.
I would, however, recommend Jake Arnott to you. I've been a little
prolix this year - so here's what I thought about some of the books
I loved most.
- Eric Idle
Longish short stories from the master. He is at the top of his game.
He evokes story character and plot effortlessly. Any one of these could
have developed into full length novels. Three or four of them are disappointing
only because they're short
.He seems brimming with creativity.
A short history of the world. A great reach and a damn fine overview.
A book about human power, greed, warfare, theocracies and the realities
of world history. Including September 11th. Very very interesting
A damn fine novel. Elegantly written and breathlessly told story of
the re-awakening of a shattered human.
Wonderful story of Americans in Paris. Excellent memoirs of life in
Paris for a young writer and his wife and child. Makes you want to catch
the first plane.
Second and most wonderful novel. A true classic. I became aware how
well he wrote, how much he set the scene with poignant details of colour
and smell and weather and texture of clothes, and cars and weather-beaten
houses with tiny details like a big radio set so that we see the scene
very much as in a movie. It is novel as movie, building up to almost
unbearable tension as he goes out alone to face a gambling boat. The
moral value of the self effacing hero is what shines through the mess.
The lone gunman is the lawman is the private detective, the final moral
arbiter in a city of corrupt cops, mayors and gambler where the weak
are preyed on and the foolish deceived.
Part one of William Manchester's superb biography of Churchill, a man
who led at least three full lives before the end of this first part.
There is the insecure and ignored boy who matures into the young dashing
Churchill, the hero of Africa, who boldly escapes from the Boers. There
is the trench Churchill, the Naval Minister who conceives of the Dardanelle's
plan and is then held responsible for others inability to see it through,
and there is the witty parliamentarian. Superbly researched, consummately
written and deservedly a classic.
Highly eroticised novel by a French writer of his father's death and
subsequent affair and the place of Islam in sexual tourism. Outspoken
and frankly arousing. I quite liked this his third book. Very sexy.
Quite contrived ending, but he has good strong hatreds, and he has been
accused of racism, but his attack is on radical puritanical fanatical
An exquisite book. Pithy, wise and beautiful. The gardener of Louis
XIV. A must read.
As usual I really loved this latest from the prolific Boyd. He seems
to write so intimately, so honestly and so much! This is a brilliant
idea - the diaries of one Logan Mountstuart, who lives to a ripe old
age, through most of the 20th century - indeed the book is almost several
books, so many lives does Logan lead, all fascinating, and all interesting.
From a gawky schoolboy, through Oxford, disappointments in love, bad
first marriage, tragedy in war, even the sixties art scene in New York,
Logan is Everyman is everywhere - and thank God for it. I really enjoyed
the whole thing. A definite must read.
A fascinating and brilliant novel. An erotic youth memoir transmutes
into a book about an elderly observer of a Nazi camp failing to adequately
defend herself in a war crime trial in the most unexpected way. Illiteracy
becomes the subject. Highly satisfactory well considered novel.
The best book about the Cathars. A wonderful history magnificently told,
a great read about the horrible Simon de Montfort and the pogroms instituted
by the Catholics against their fellow French in the South West of France.
It took 150 years to suppress this kindly gentle version of Christianity.
One ought to remember that the RC Church's survival is no accident and
has entailed mass murder and evil throughout its history.
An immaculate beautifully written book of childhood memoirs of a boy
who grew up in Hollywood, with his father a star of Westerns and his
mother a screen goddess. A fine, ironically observed brilliant book.
Definite book of the year candidate. Effortlessly written, a brilliant
gangland tale which powerful evokes the London of the early sixties
with all the Rachmans and the Krays and the Mandy Rice Davies figures
carefully and semi-fictitiously recreated, which, paradoxically, makes
them even more real. I thought it was fabulous and long to re-read it.
Of course I had to rush out and buy his next book, which is not quite
so densely written, though still in the same sixties world of coppers
and "verbals" - a retelling of the Harry Roberts saga, quite
unusually sympathetic to all elements - coppers and the bad ones.
One of the most pleasant discussions to re-read - combining his love
of musical form and the highest form of novel. I love his appreciation
that parts of the world are not in The Modern Era - which is the age
of the individual. Filled with excellent and wise perceptions and a
great hatred for superficial criticism and subjective biography, which
attempts to make literature nothing more than failed attempts at autobiography.
Three cheers for Kundera.