One in two
There are many, many good reasons to travel in a car across Siberia. Love. Money. Communism. Crime. Finding the best watermelon seller this side of Omsk. But travelling in a car across Siberia in order solely to write a New Yorker article about travelling in a car across Siberia is not one of them - and certainly not when that New Yorker article is so boringly gargantuan that it stretches out over two magazines. This is what writer Ian Frazier has done, and in the process he has demonstrated how utterly pointless the theme of his article is: because instead of enjoying the writing about Siberia, you end up just thinking about what the hell the writer is doing in Siberia.
Quite aside from anything else, if you are going to write an article about travelling in a car across Siberia, then there's no need to actually go travelling. A much easier method for writing the article is readily at hand: by lying. You'd produce an article better than this one, too.
I put my New Yorker magazine down at the end of this article, not wanting more, but wanting less. Is it possible to unread an article?
Two in one
Some enterprising publisher has been re-releasing old Eva Ibbotson titles in a series of 'two-in-one' books. Ibbotson has written enough small books, and enough good books, to really pull this concept off.
Have I rhapsodised about Ibbotson before? I will now. Here are a few two word phrases that describe her writing: brilliantly plotted, wonderfully witty, heartwarming satire, hell crazy good. That last phrase was three words, not two: that's how good she is.
At the moment I'm reading a two-in-one combination of 'Not Just a Witch' and 'Dial a Ghost'. I'm halfway through the second, having zipped my way through the first on a Sunday afternoon.
Ibbotson has a delicious turn of phrase, with the ability to make you bark with laughter by saying just one or two words. (I love how she describes one old man 'sitting pinkly in his bath'.) And what better way to establish the moral wickedness and nastiness of characters than by saying this:
Because Fulton wasn't kind at all; he was evil, and so was his sister Frieda. The school that they ran was called Sunnydell, but no place could have been less sunny.
I want to read more. So I'm going to do it now. While sitting pinkly in my bath.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
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