But tonight I am (still in the process of) reading a book that was loaned to me right about when I spectacularly crushed my mobile phone - a vehicle was involved, not a moving one but there was still quite a bit of perfect timing involved.
But, no smartphone = no Kindle app.
Therefore, no digital books (so no attempt to begin David Copperfield!)
So tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I write regarding a book that sits snugly into a Crime Fiction shelf; a book written "for Richard Dawkins"; a book that won an award in the past ten years... essentially a book that I can safely say I would never have chosen for myself: Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks by Christopher Brookmyre.
This will be quite summative of all my ignorance for most modern writing and will give some reasons as to why I'm a bit of a snob for the Classics.
Firstly, writer: never heard of him. Apparently he's pretty well known; he did win the 2007 Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award for Writing, and yeah, the book's got a fine story in it. I think I like the writing myself, I've not quite decided yet, although I did laugh out loud at one line in particular.
And yes it is weird that I'm writing this when I've yet to reach the concluding pages, but put it this way: I'm not really "into it" in the sense of "oh I just couldn't put it down!", but even at that, it's 2.30am and I'm definitely staying up to find out how this story ends.
The story itself is quite an odd one. I don't know how it fares in the realm of Crime Fiction
I think the characters are the part that gets me down though. They are engaging, most definitely, and they are perfect for their own stories but I can't really get swallowed up by the characters with this one. I know not every book can be a Tolstoyan masterpiece but is it too much to ask that I fall in love with at least one of the characters? (Probably?)
And I don't mean in a romantic sense.
I mean I want my main character to incite some real emotion for their cause. I want their every revelation to be my own. I want their fear to be the thing I get tense when I see written on the page. I want to cry genuine tears when their world falls apart. I want to not want the story to finish but be desperate for the happy ending.
So yes, I've been spoiled by masterful writing. I can definitely tick that box. But if the only failing of a book is that it doesn't match Dickens then there's naught much wrong with it.
I'll edit this post with my full verdict once I'm finished but I'm pretty sure it'll be along the lines of: if you like crime novels, definitely read this, it's really funny and it's a seemingly original story. If the last book you read was thicker than your bicep, however, then maybe give it a miss and hop onto Treasure Island for some light reading.
Final verdict: The ending of that book saves that book. That was a damn good ending to a book. Small dislikes follow but I give them much less weight given how damn damn damn good that ending was.
I do still agree with my first verdict though. Crime novel lovers will love it because it ends so well. Avid readers of classic tomes are less likely to stick it out.
Here are the small dislikes: some might find it funny but I thought it was cheap. The narrator lies. Like actually flat out lies. It's like a cheating way of getting out of writing a more complex story. Too much mind-changing; I wasn't a fan.
Secondly, I settled that the first three quarters were a bit too wishy washy now that I know what the author's capable of; like I said, the last section was pretty exciting to read, some parts were still pretty obvious but it was the only time I read the main narrator's "get it up ye" and I was really thinking it myself.
Clearly Broomkyre succeeds where I fail. The guy can write good conclusions.