The Sound of Laughter…

I’ve just finished reading “The Sounds of Laughter – The Autobiography of Peter Kay”. It was a Christmas present, and quite a welcome one too. After my recent daliances with vampires and witches, it made a pleasant change to read something a bit lighter.

Peter Kay is a comedian from Bolton, in the north of England. I’ve seen him interviewed on TV a number of times and he seems to be a really nice guy.

I think this is the first time I’ve read an autobiography, so I don’t know how it compares to others, but I found it really cool. Rather than tell a complete life history from birth to present, he tells a selection of funny anecdotes that describe his life and attitudes, and those of his family. It’s not so much a factual account, as a feel of the way things were.

It’s not a big book, and it’s pretty easy to dip in an out of as each chapter is reasonably self contained. I think he’s got a really good perspective on things and I found myself laughing out loud on a number of occasions. He’s renowned for talking about normal life in a funny way, and he did this again and again. I think I was able to relate to almost everything he said.

Cool!

Cheers

Tim…

Lasher…

Last night I finished “Lasher”, the second book in “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches” series by Anne Rice. As expected, this follows on from the first book, “The Witching Hour”. Same characters and similar “goings on”. Maybe I was distracted by the events of the last few weeks, but I really didn’t get caught up in this one.

Most of Anne Rice’s books have several story lines, each told in chunks, constantly messing with the time, and finally bringing it all together. I seemed to struggle with that in this book. I guess part of that was because I was really into some of the story lines, but quite bored by others. I would reach the end of one chapter, desperate to know what happens next, only to find I had to read 80 pages of dull crap before I could continue.

If the book had been half the size and contained only those story lines I liked I would be saying it was a classic, but it’s not.

Cheers

Tim…

The Witching Hour…

“The Witching Hour” is the first of 3 books in the “Lives of the Mayfair Witches” series by Anne Rice. The later books in the “Vampire Chronicles”, especially “Blackwood Farm”, had links with this series.

Let’s start by saying, this is a seriously big book. I’m not the quickest reader, so it was quite a daunting prospect, but the events of the last few days have left me with more time on my hands.

The book traces the history of a family of witches and their ghostly companion. The story starts 300 years ago in Scotland and concludes in the present day in New Orleans. It skips between each era quite a bit, but is drawn together by the story of the current generation. A pretty cool story and a good introduction to the family…

Cheers

Tim…

Pandora…

Pandora is one of two books by Anne Rice known as the “New Tales of the Vampires”. Pandora is a character mentioned repeatedly in the “Vampire Chronicles”, but very little of substance is said about her in that series. Since this book relates to the other series, I thought it only fitting to read it before I moved on. I know I said I was all vampired out, but it’s a really short book. It’s 400 pages, but the writing is really big, so it only took a few hours to read.

If I have one criticism of the Vampire Chronicles it is this. Most of the Vampire Chronicles are centred around male characters, or male interpretations of female characters. I don’t think Anne Rice has any real sence of what it’s like to be a man, hence all the male characters are overly emotional and typically gay. It would have made a change if one of the vampires was an ugly, hairy-assed geezer who likes nothing better than sinking a few jars with his mates down the pub.

In Pandora, Rice writes about a strong female character, from the the perspective of a female. I find this easier to connect with, maybe because it sounds more “real” to me.

All in all, a good yarn that spans the last 2000+ years, and mercifully short. ๐Ÿ™‚

The last of the vampire books by Anne Rice, Vittorio the Vampire, is totally unrelated to any of the other books, so I’m going to rest this until I’ve read “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches”.

Cheers

Tim…

The Blood Canticle…

Last night I finished reading “The Blood Canticle”, book 10 of the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. There is a drastic change in the style of writing in this book. Most of the sentences are very clipped, unlike the flowing style of the previous books. Also, the lead character, Lestat, seems to come up to date in his language, saying “Pa-lease” and “Cool” a lot. It’s not exactly what I’ve come to expect from this character. It’s still a good story, but it’s difficult to get lost in it with such a staccato style of writing.

Anyway, that’s the last book in the series so I’m free for the moment. Ten vampire books in two months is enough for anyone! ๐Ÿ™‚
Cheers

Tim…

Blackwood Farm…

Blackwood Farm is book 9 in the “Vampire Chronicles” by Anne Rice. Like the last book (Merrick), there is far less talk of vampires than the earlier books. Instead, Rice writes an interesting story about a young man with a spirit companion and just bolts the vampire bits in to bring it into the series. I guess there is enough vampire stuff to keep the faithful happy.

Rice sticks to the formula that has worked well before, which although a little lazy, makes for a good read. If you liked any of the books beyond book 3 (Queen of the Damned), you will like this. If you felt confused and disappointed by them, you will get the same from this.

Interestingly, Rice continues to make links between the “Vampire Chronicles” series and the โ€œLives of the Mayfair Witchesโ€ series, which is a very sensible business move. I’ve already been suckered in to buying that series, which was her intention, but that will have to wait until I’ve finished the final book in this series.

Cheers

Tim…

Merrick…

Last night I finished “Merrick”, book 8 of the “Vampire Chronicles”. Another good read, and a different angle to the previous books, as it is based around witchcraft more than Vampires, although most of the characters in the book happen to be vampires. It’s the beginnings of a tie in between the “Vampire Chronicles” and the “Lives of the Mayfair Witches”, another series of Anne Rice books. I’m hoping not to get caught up in those also. I could do without having to read her other 19 books when I’m finished with this series.

Only 2 more book to go. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel… ๐Ÿ™‚

Cheers

Tim…

The Vampire Armand & Blood and Gold…

During the long flights and airport delays, I was able to get through a couple more of the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.

The Vampire Armand – As the name suggests, this fills out the life of the character Armand, introduced in the previous books. As always, it was written in a style that made it very readable, but there were two things that put me off this book. First, there is little new to this story, it just adds more detail to events told in the previous book. It’s not until you read the last 150 pages that you get some good additions to the previous book. Second, the life of Armand is essentially a story of paedophilia. It’s flowered up to make it seem less shocking, but all the same, it’s just plain wrong! I don’t think it would be a crime to ignore the twisted “Mills and Boon” begining and just read the last 150 pages.

Blood and Gold – This book was 746 pages, and the majority of that was re-telling previous stories from the viewpoint of the vampire Marius. There were times where I was sure I had picked up “The Vampire Armand” by accident, such was the similarity. As most of these characters are interwoven, especially Marius and Armand, you expect some crossover, but it just seemed a bit lazy in this case. So much had been said about Marius and Armand in the previous books, there seemed little to justify whole book here. That said, it was very readable and the few additions to the characters were interesting. I guess if you took a break between reading these two books it wouldn’t seem so bad, but reading them back-to-back makes this weakness glaringly obvious.

Cheers

Tim…

Memnoch The Devil…

I fear these posts are going to become a little repetitive. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve just finished reading “Memnoch The Devil”, the fifth book in the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. This book has loads of bad reviews and I was really hesitant about starting it, but I shouldn’t have been. It is brilliant!

It’s not really a vampire book. The whole vampire theme is kind of incidental. It’s more a book about God and the Devil and their relationship. It takes a Christian view of God and the Devil and gives it a twist. I guess views might vary depending on religious beliefs, but I thought it was totally cool.

I’m looking forward to the next book now. I’ll take a couple with me for the flight to the San Francisco.

On that score, things will be a little quiet until I return…

Cheers

Tim…

The Tale of the Body Thief…

I’ve recently finished reading “The Tale of the Body Thief”, the fourth book in the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. This is a rather unusual affair and there is little I can say without giving the game away. It’s very different to the other books. For a start, it seems that every character Lestat comes into contact with, regardless of age or gender, is a past, present or future sexual conquest. The previous books alluded to this, but it’s a little overplayed here. There were a couple of times in the book where I got a little bored, but for the most part I really enjoyed it. The story at the heart of the book is quite nifty, and for the most part it plays out very nicely. I don’t think it’s a strong as the first three books, but it’s not half bad.

My biggest problem now is, do I continue with the rest of the chronicles, another 5 or so books, or do I knock it on the head and get a life? The answer will come in this blog… ๐Ÿ™‚

By the way, I wrote an article on OS Authentication. I’ve been asked a number of questions on the matter over the last few weeks and it just seemed a sensible way to simplify my answers. I’ve purposely not discussed privileged connections, so it’s very basic.

Cheers

Tim…