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Free books and media – days 14 to 17

Posted by Graeme in Books at 2:27 am on Wednesday, 3 August 2011

More than half way through and I have had no difficulty sticking to the rules, except with regard to music, and I have resisted temptation there — although I may have not-so-accidentally heard quite a lot of non-free music put on by other people. Video is not that important to me, and the free books have actually been better than what I would otherwise have read.

I have returned to one of my favourite authors of this experiment, in fact simply one of my favourite authors. I read two more books by G. K. Chesterton: The Ball and the Cross and Manalive.

Both have everything one expects from Chesterton: humour and charm while dealing with serious issues. The more I read Chesterton, the more amazed I am by his writing. He is patriotic without being jingoistic, presents a view of history that sees freedom as having been subverted by the rich in a way that is readable and enjoyable, and combines fantastic plots and behaviour with likeable, and often believable, characters.

If I could choose to be able to write like any one writer, I would choose Chesterton.

I also finished the book of American short stories I mentioned in my last post. It was amusing, but a little disappointing as the humour and style did not vary as much as I expected of a broad anthology. I also found the background of a racially divided society, and the taking for granted of gross racism, became more annoying as I read more. One cannot, of course, expect modern standards in this respect from old books, but these, as a collection, had too much for me.

I did read another collection of American short stories that I did enjoy a great deal. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Flappers and Philosophers. There is not much to say, except that if you have not read his short stories, they are more fun than his novels (his novels are good, but not exactly light hearted).

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