Cricket Kings – William McInnes
Hachette Australia 2007
How could I resist this novel from our own local Redcliffe boy, William (brag note: with whom I have had the pleasure of conversation on more than one occasion!) – especially when narrated by Himself.
After delighting readers with his uproarious first book of memoirs A Man’s Got to have a Hobby, William published this novel to similar great acclaim. His writing career continues to attract a loyal and enthusiastic fan base.
The Yarraville Fourths are a suburban cricket team comprised of mostly middle-aged men of dubious skills, none of whom would ever have been considered as a contender to wear the baggy green.
However, there is much more than just neighbourhood cricket going on in this hugely funny book. Chris Andersen is really the Everyman figure and his team of assorted characters range from Brian, the intellectually impaired young man to Livey, the constantly farting local butcher – and each one has his own story to bring to the Cec Bull Oval.
Connecting past and present, the local oval is like a hub in the wheel of life in this typical suburban locality. Although, on the one level a very humorous book about an often dysfunctional team, McInnes takes the reader on a journey of exploring much deeper themes and concepts mostly through the eyes of the gentle and kind hero, Chris.
Fat, Fifty & F***ed! : a fast and furious novel – Geoffrey McGeachin
Penguin Australia 2004
Definitely was gravitating towards humour in the last few audio selections and this was a superb choice – the kind that had me sitting in the car at my various destinations just to listen to a little more, and no doubt, passing motorists thinking I am somewhat challenged, driving along laughing aloud for no apparent reason.
Martin Carter is having a serious mid-life crisis day. The manager of a small town bank, married to a cheating bitchy wife with two decidedly unlikeable stepchildren, Martin turns fifty and not a single person remembers his birthday. As it happens, he is also losing his job as his little local bank exists primarily to handle the wages of the local meatworks, now being closed down. Faced with an overwhelming sense of depression and failure, Martin makes a snap decision that shakes him out of his torpor with a vengeance – he robs his own bank.
With $1 000 000 stowed in garbage bags and no real plan, Martin takes off on an extraordinary, and hilarious, road trip – meeting the enigmatic and delightful Faith (a librarian, no less!), becoming embroiled with bikies both dead and alive, getting caught up in a spy scandal of deadly proportions, meeting a millionaire mogul and more – to find his way to an old schoolmate’s place in Far North Qld – and that’s when the action really begins!
Jolly Wicked Actually: the Hundred Words that Make us English – Tony Thorne
Quite interesting and gently humorous, though not riveting, Thorne explores 100 slang terms that define the Englishness of the English.
I particularly liked this excerpt:
Sometimes intensified by the addition of ‘utterly’, ‘totally’, ‘completely’ or ‘absolutely’, barking means abjectly, visibly and audibly – and the implication is hopelessly, on a long-term basis – deranged: possessed of an aggressive rather than a passive craziness. Among hundreds of examples of barkingness gleefully printed by the tabloids since the 1980s have been King George III, a £32, 000 lottery grant to teach the homeless to growl (“Phil Minton …uses the cash to create so-called ‘feral choirs’ of tramps keen to ‘find their inner voices’”) and a bride whose wedding train was carried by pug dogs instead of bridesmaids.
The Camel Book Mobile – Masha Hamilton
In my last couple of schools I had purchased a very attractive and informative picture book called My Librarian is a Camel by Margriet Ruurs – a photo essay of unusual mobile libraries around the world and thus was immediately drawn by the title of this novel.
This novel looks at such a library service in Kenya, staffed by a rather grumpy local librarian and Fiona (Fee) Sweeney who has taken leave from her New York library to bring literature, culture and enlightenment to remote communities. Although her intentions are completely well intended and her passion genuine, Fee is unprepared for the difficulties that this project brings, especially to one little nomadic settlement called Mididima. Conflicting views on the presence of the book mobile along with a clash of traditional and more modern values, complex relationships all contrive to create a situation of great tension within the community.
The ending is quite haunting and I was left feeling a little depressed I think but it was certainly a compelling and well told story. My only complaint was that I did not care for the choice of narrator.