Recent Reading

The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

Having had it recommended in a number of places, I was really looking forward to reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, and being that it was nice and short and unlikely to make me consider my own mortality, I thought I would give it a go.

I have to confess to being seriously disappointed. I think the main problem is that Greg, the main character is just, well if I am being polite, not a very nice kid. It is meant to be an amusing look at how Gregory misinterprets situations, whilst always believing he is pretty much the centre of the universe. Now this may not be that unusual for a child of his age, but I fail to find any redeeming aspect to his character. He is abusive and bullying to his dim-witted best friend Rowley, he is not nice to his younger brother, he is ungrateful to his parents when they clearly gone beyond what they can afford on his Christmas present. Yet the author seems to want us to side with this spoilt brat and thus allows him to come out on top.

What is worse is that it just was not funny. It was written with no concept of subtlety and generally left me wanting more.

I know that it is a kid’s book, but there are many kids books that do have sub text, that do have subtlety, and characters with far more depth and more importantly (to me at least) seem to adhere to a sense of justice.

But as I say, I have had this book recommended to me by adults that I actually respect, so if you have read this book, and liked it … tell me what I am missing, what are it’s saving graces?

Once

After the banality of the Wimpy Kid, I decided to prove to myself that books aimed at children did not need to be thought free fluff, and instead deciced to move to the other end of the spectrum and grab a copy of Once by Morris Gleitzman.

This story is about a young Jewish boy named Felix. When the story starts off, we find Felix unknowingly taking refuge in a Catholic run orphanage in Poland. The adults around him decided that he is too young to understand the horrors that are happening in the outside world, so they tell him that his parents (who run a book shop) have left him there while they go off to find some rare books. So when the Nazi’s come to the orphanage and Felix witnesses them burning books, his mind goes already highly active imagination goes into overdrive and he concludes that they hate books and he needs to escape the orphanage to return to his parents shop so as to protect the books.

With no real understanding of what is going on Felix tells a story of brutality and persecution through the innocent eyes of a small child.

This is one of those books that, whilst I could have empathised with the story prior to having children, now had me captivated, horrified and sickened, yet totally unable to stop reading.

Whilst being in no way comfortable reading, it is another book that is defiantly makes the reader think.

Liberation Day

Continuing in the vein of reacting to the previous book, I decided to get a book that really was not likely to make me think.

One of my guilty little pleasures is that regardless of just how low brow they may be, I really do enjoy reading the books of Andy McNab. I started with Bravo Two Zero which his non-fiction (although reportedly exaggerated) account of the SAS team of that name and their failed mission in Iraq in the first Gulf War.

He as since that gone on to write a fictional series based on the character Nick Stone, and I am slowly making my way through the this series. Liberation Day is the fifth book in the series and takes place 2002 in a post 9/11 world, where Nick has been charged with thwarting Al-Qaeda’s attempts to move money from Europe to Algeria, and thus preventing a planned attack on US civilians.

As I said, War and Peace it is not. However it is the literary equivalent to watching a Die-Hard film …. Just turn the Brain off and let it happen … A far more enjoyable experience than you may otherwise have credited.

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18 Responses to Recent Reading

  1. RC says:

    Okay, I have a book for you (and yes, it is meant to be for children). Try reading “Loser,” by Jerry Spinelli. I picked it up second-hand, and am saving it for when Little Dude gets older.

    I can’t really describe it, but you will rally around the main character and the simple way he processes everything around him.

  2. Mr Geek says:

    RC: I will put it on my list. I just read your last post and I will attempt to respond to it tonight, sorry to hear about Mr RC’s cut backs.

  3. Daisy says:

    Oh crud. I purchased that book for someone’s kid because I heard it was good. Now I’m wondering if the parents are looking at me like I’m a dud.

    Daisy

  4. Nemma says:

    Some of my favourite books are kids books, you should read the Deptford Mice books by Robin Jarvis, bit dark but very good! In fact all his books are good. I’d start with the Mice series though.

    • Mr Geek says:

      Nema: I too quite like kid’s books. I quite liked Tracey Beaker, as although she came across as a bit of a brat, there was more depth to the character that implies the reasons for her brash exterior.

      I have not tried the any of those; I will have to keep an eye out for them.

      • Nemma says:

        Not read any of the Tracey Beaker books Ive got to admit,
        I love the Robin Jarvis books though, They are quite gritty though, In fact I’d say they are probably more suited to young adults than kids, for example the rats catch and peel mice and it gives quite vivid descriptions of how they do it so definately not for the faint hearted.

  5. BookMama says:

    Sorry you didn’t like the book – I know that I’m one of the people who steered you toward it. I admit that I hadn’t looked at it from the angle of Greg not being a very nice kid. BB loves these books and re-reads at least one of them each week, it seems – I will have to pay attention to whether he seems to be picking up bad behavior from the book. (He IS 8, so he’s getting *some* bad behavior from somewhere, but I can always hide these books if needed … )

    I’m happy to say, though, that BB’s reading interests are quite varied, and I don’t worry about that at all. Just this evening at dinner he was reading his third (fourth?) Edward Eager book. 🙂

    • Mr Geek says:

      I can imagine Bart liking them too; I just did not like Greg. It is a bit like when you don’t like one of you child’s friends. I just want to limit his exposure to “bad influences” … or at least not deliberately expose him to them

  6. mrsvierkant says:

    Kudos to you for doing some reading. I haven’t read anything good lately. Hoping that will change soon enough!

  7. tendrils says:

    I’m teaching about the Holocaust now in my 8th grade English classes. We just finished reading Anne Frank and now we are reading the novel, Yellow Star. My kids are very intrigued, horrified, and captivated by this topic. I should try reading ONCE. (I too was not impressed with the Wimpy Kid books….but my students read them, so for that, I have them on my shelf in my classroom!)

    • Mr Geek says:

      I remember going to the Anne Frank house when we were in Amsterdam. Truly moving, but hard move on from when on a holiday. It is a subject I think is both very important and very interesting, yet so achingly, heart wrenchingly, evil it makes me ashamed to be part of the same species.

      Once is very good, and I am led to believe that The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is too. I intend to read it when I am ready for my next batch of misery.

      As for The Wimpy Kid books, it is not that I wont let Bart read them (if he comes across them himself) but I figure there are enough books out there that he will love, I don’t need to actively give him one that I dislike even if I think he might enjoy it.

  8. Marinkina says:

    Кстати, если закончаться фото Одри, то можешь в фотошопе старые фото накладывать на новый фон, так и разнообразие будет и ты работать продолжишь

    • Mr Geek says:

      This is presumably spam … but it translates to …

      By the way, if zakonchatsya Images Audrey, you can in Photoshop old photos to impose a new background, and diversity and you will continue to work

      So it might be relevant if I could understand russian better than google 🙂
      I thought it was amusingly odd and thus left it (I have stripped the links though 🙂 )

  9. Nemma says:

    Where are you?????????
    Not updated for ages. HOpe things are well in the Geek Household!

    • Mr Geek says:

      Yes. I’m alive and all are well here with the Geeks but I have been snowed under with work. Between my full time job and the Wedding/Prom season I have had to be very disciplined and not allow myself to get distracted and thus my absence(Shh … you have not seen me OK 😉 !?!).

  10. Nemma says:

    lol. Welcome back!

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