Speaking with the Angel

Registered by Sandwood of Innsbruck, Tirol Austria on 7/1/2009
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Sandwood from Innsbruck, Tirol Austria on Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Different cover than the one shown above.

"The contributors' list of this collection of freshly penned literary monologues, published to help The Treehouse Trust, a charity for autistic children, reads like a Who's Who of the richest, hippest authors in the UK - with a healthy smattering of talent from across the pond.
The editor, Nick (High Fidelity) Hornby, as well as writing a moving and very heartfelt introduction - his own child is autistic - submits one of the best efforts: "Nipple Jesus", a slyly funny parable about a security man guarding a chunk of dubious modern art. Other notable contributions come from Irvine (Trainspotting) Welsh with one of his identity-swap-stories, this time about a Scottish stud-muffin turned into an unwitting gay, and John (The Best A Man Can Get) O'Farrell, with a predictably funny, surprisingly edgy confessional from a mime artist slowly going to the dogs. Other big names included are Helen Fielding, Robert Harries, Zadie Smith, Roddy Doyle, et al. [...]" (from a review by Sean Thomas, found on www.amazon.de)

This is one of a handful of used paperback books I found at a thrift store sale a while back, and bought for the purpose of BookCrossing. I read it some time ago already, but didn't get around to registering it and writing a short review until now. (Don't let the title or the blue-and-pink cover design put you off, it's not a collection of fluffy tales about angels. It actually doesn't include any angels at all, unless you count St. Peter's cameo appearance in "Catholic Guilt", a story that's about as far from fluffy as things can get.)

As with most collections of short stories, it has a bit of everything really; some of the stories I loved, others were entertaining in their own ways but kind of average or not really that memorable, and some I disliked or just didn't care much for.

To highlight a few of them: "After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned" (Dave Eggers) was the one short story included that I really, thoroughly hated. Its prose is so annoying and repetitive that I didn't even bother to read more than three pages before giving up. It doesn't really help that the topic itself wasn't that interesting, either.
"The Slave" (Roddy Doyle) was another story I never finished reading. Here the fault lies in the content rather than the form, I suppose. I really enjoyed Doyle's prose, it's gripping and sucks you right in, conjuring up mental images with ease. But after a few pages, the narrative turned somewhat lengthy, until I found myself groaning and thinking, "For heaven's sake, why don't you just get on with your tale and get to the point of whatever it is you want to say?". (I guess it's Roddy Doyle vs. Sandwood's patience 1:0 here.)

The stories I liked best were "NippleJesus" (Nick Hornby), "Last Requests" (Giles Smith) and the morbidly fascinating "Catholic Guilt" (Irvine Welsh), each interesting in a different way.

Journal Entry 2 by Sandwood at A BookCrosser, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Released 12 yrs ago (7/1/2009 UTC) at A BookCrosser, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases



I'll be passing this one on to the fabulous anathema-device this evening. I'm not sure if she's actually interested in the book, but I think she might enjoy two or three of the stories.

I have to admit I'm not the biggest supporter of short story collections myself, usually, because there just seem to be so many pointless and mediocre ones out there that make it really hard spotting the ones that aren't just a waste of time.
But at any rate, the better ones are perfect for those occasions when a literary snack might be preferable to a full-blown three-course-meal, so to speak; times and places like the dentist's waiting room, bus rides, late nights when a few pages is all one can handle before falling asleep.

Journal Entry 3 by anathema-device from Graz, Steiermark Austria on Thursday, July 2, 2009
And once more a BookCrossing book was practically forced upon me. *g* Thank you, Sandwood - I hope the stories will be as entertaining as your comments. ;)
I actually spotted a couple of writers I really like in here, so I'll give it a try for sure. And if I decide to skip one or two of the stories (as suggested by the esteemed Previous Reader), maybe someone else will find the book one day and love them. Who knows.
Anyway: TBR!

Journal Entry 4 by anathema-device from Graz, Steiermark Austria on Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Finished this book today. As recommended, I didn't finish "After I Was Thrown in the River and Before I Drowned" either, because it was boring me from the very beginning. And guess what, Roddy Doyle's score went up another point, too.
I really liked "NippleJesus" and "Catholic Guilt (You Know You Love It)" (although Irvine Welsh always somehow gives me the creeps, he's just so radical, but I like that). The two stories that most pleasantly surprised me, though, were "Luckybitch" by Helen Fielding and especially "The Department of Nothing" by Colin Firth. At first I thought, Colin Firth, what the..?! - but as it turned out, the story was fun and touching and really well written, too, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. I even told it to a BookCrosser friend over a beer, and he loved it too.
Now I really hope this book will meet a reader who can finish the story by Roddy Doyle, even if it's just to prove to us that it can be done. ;)
Seriously, I hope this book will travel far and wide and meet lots of nice people - and "write home" every now and then, to tell us how it's doing. :)

Journal Entry 5 by anathema-device at Dom St. Jakob in Innsbruck, Tirol Austria on Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Released 12 yrs ago (9/9/2009 UTC) at Dom St. Jakob in Innsbruck, Tirol Austria



This is going to be the last day of my releases for World Literacy Day.

In addition, this book is participating in the Words to Release By Challenge which is all about matching the release spot to a word from the title.

Hallo! Du hast also ein Buch gefunden, das bei Bookcrossing registriert ist! Wenn Du hier eine kleine Nachricht schreibst, weiß ich, dass es gefunden worden ist. Vielleicht hast Du auch Lust, mich wissen zu lassen, wie Dir das Buch gefallen hat und was Du als nächstes damit machen möchtest? Bookcrossing ist eine Plattform, die die "Wanderwege" von Büchern beobachtet -- anonym, kostenlos, garantiert spamfrei und ohne weitere Verpflichtungen!
Hier kannst du dich anmelden.

Vielen Dank und viel Spaß mit dem Buch! :)

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