Saturday, September 20, 2008

I just finished The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland.

As I read more of his books, it seems like I am enjoying Douglas Coupland more and more. I've read Generation X, Microserfs, Jpod and this book.

In my post about Jpod, I complained about the post-modern extras being annoying and distracting from the main virtues of the book. The Gum Thief lacks most of those distractions, possibly because there are a lot of self-referential things going on in the epistolary entries already. There is a coda to the book that is just too self referential and undermines the rest of the book a little, but mainly there are fewer gimmicks and that lets the characters and the story shine through.

The plot involves a middle aged drunk, his ex-wife, and some of the people he knows from the Staples he works at, particularly one young Goth who he forms a connection with. It also features a novel within the novel that is hilarious.

Highly recommended, particulary for people who have liked his other novels.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Last night I finished Born Standing Up by Steve Martin, his autobiography.

It mainly covers his youth and the years up to when he gave up stand up comedy and started making movies, with a few mentions of events after that. As the title indicates, it is really about him as a stand up comedian and there is a lot in the book about how his act developed, his influences, the ideas behind his act, and why he gave up stand up comedy.

Like a lot of autobiographies, it's a light read, but fun and pretty informative. Unlike most, Martin actually wrote it himself.