01 September 2009

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of books I have read more than once. Not of course counting set texts, or stories I've adapted. Actually Lord Of The Flies is a special case, yes it was the set text, 1983 Ordinary Level Eng Lit, but I became a fan of Golding's in the process of failing my exam (the shame), and read all his stuff later on, including a revisit to the island of LOTF. Incidentally I think my fascination with Golding's prose style - it had me quite mesmerised - was a contributing factor in my Eng Lit calamity. While I was absorbed in trying to understand the profundities of WG's dark poetics, I omitted to memorise the sequence of events of the narrative, and when asked to comment on specific plot points was simply at a loss. (Something similar went on with me and the drama set text, The Crucible , if I remember rightly). I thought about retaking, as I had wanted to study English at university, but for whatever reason, a cocktail of embarrassment and inertia most likely, signed up for Greek, Latin and French A levels, with a General Studies chaser. Sixteen months after the LOTF debacle, on my eighteenth birthday if you please, I arrived in Oxford for two days of interviews to see if they'd let me in to read Classics. They did, and I became one of a type - the boy from the labouring classes up at Oxford, trying to keep his head, trying to keep up, among the sons and daughters of the moneyed and entitled.

All of which serves as a prelude to my simply recording - I am rereading, not just one of my favourite books, but one of my favourite things ever, Generation X. And looky. Just saw this. Mr Coupland has an announcement to make.

3 comments:

Ms Baroque said...

Oh dear, I seem to know a lot of people this sort of thing happened to - all boys, of course. Including my ex, whose tutor thought it would be jolly fun to set him the Cambridge entrance exam along with his O Levels - just to see how he did, of course...

On another note, there was barely a book I hated more at school than Lord of the Flies. It made me incandescent with rage.

And Coupland is a good thing, is he not? Though I can't say I've ever reread Generation X. I've been thinking lately maybe I should.

sbs said...

Thanks for that. There's much pleasure in revisiting Gen.X, I say. They were exotic cousins in the early nineties, their pre-millenial psychoses perfectly pitched, and bleakly comic. Now their outsider worries about plastics and air travel and consumerist apocalypse are oddly touching. And they haven't aged, but we have - I find myself empathising with the several hapless parents...

belgradequeen said...

If you're interested:

Marina Lewycka reads from her work and speaks at the Bush Theatre Library

( Author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Two Caravans, We Are All Made of Glue)

Saturday 19th of December at 5 pm

Details www.bushtheatre.co.uk/futures

I'll be asking her if she's read books twice..