Hey, what do you think of the new website? Be honest, because if I cry it’s not like you have to see it.
Anyway, I continue to read a bizarre range of books – in this post, the memoirs of a doctor so funny it hurts, a sci-fi classic, and a charming historical gay romance. I’m also still reading Mary Poppins on the toilet. It’s a big book, okay?
Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – 3/5 perfect number of dinosaurs but the children survived
Dinosaurs are objectively the best and, no, that isn’t an inappropriate use of ‘objectively.’
Jurassic Park has an excellent number of dinosaurs, from an adorable little triceratops called Ralph to the main protagonist, the unnamed T Rex who we will, in a burst of imagination, call T Rex.
We all know the premise of Jurassic Park: the InGen corporation has genetically-engineered live dinosaurs and plans to display them in a zoo-cum-theme-park in Costa Rica. But on the crucial weekend when the mastermind behind InGen first invites outsiders to the island, the park is threatened by the arrival of Tim and Lexie, two heinous children who must be stopped before they ruin the park with their whiny, high-pitched child voices.
T Rex is a well-developed and sympathetic protagonist with a clearly defined motivation that I was right behind: find, kill, and eat the children. He has every advantage – the electric fences are down, he’s 40ft long, and the dickhead kids keep screaming like the most enticing Cheetos in existence – yet in a surprise twist, this is one of those novels where the bad guys win. T Rex is defeated and the children return to their disappointed parents, unscathed.
I’m sorry, but I just can’t get behind that. I like a happy ending.
A Lord To Love – Sara Dobie Bauer – 5/5 so cute it should be a kitten in a cravat
I’ve been a fan of Sara Dobie Bauer since her hilarious Bite Somebody series, over which we began a beautiful Twitter relationship. I knew she was the author for me when she said if we ever met, we could sit at opposite ends of the room and communicate via text.
I’ve read many of her books and short stories since, and her newest offering is this short and sweet m/m romance:
During negotiations for a truce between the feuding Price and Morgan families, Lord John Morgan makes a shocking offer: he will give the Price family their land, in exchange for Harrison Price’s hand in marriage.
John has long been enamored with Harrison, the beautiful son of his late rival. Harrison is nineteen, inexperienced, and known for being cold and bitingly brilliant. The union seems impossible, but John is determined to win the affections of his young obsession.
Will the frigid Harrison concede, or will the object of John’s adoration leave him alone at the altar?
John and Harrison are so adorable it hurts, and Sara continues to shame me with her beautiful prose:
He is an untamed masterpiece of intellect and wild beauty, and I am the luckiest man alive.
John’s been lusting after Harrison for years in an intense, brooding, hard-on-straining-against-breeches kind of way. Harrison is dark, mysterious, and inscrutable – until John shows his hand, and asks Harrison for his.
Smelling like “spiced black tea,” Harrison proves… not adverse… to such an arrangement, and things get anal in a deliciously carnal kind of way. I gotta tell ya, I gathered my skirts and flicked open my fan in the receiving room.
Now excuse me while I go and sulk that this story isn’t 400 pages long.
This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor – Adam Kay – 5/5 solid warning against de-gloving a penis on a lamp post
I don’t usually ‘do’ memoir, but I’m so glad I bought this. Adam Kay is both an ex-doctor and a comedy writer, and this book is an edited version of the diaries he kept as a junior doctor in the NHS. Some of the entries are hilarious, many are poignant, and some even manage to be both, which is a testament to Adam Kay’s writing skill.
It’s been a few weeks since I finished this and I have the memory of a concussed goldfish, but I still remember some of my favourite stories:
- The doctor who REMOVED THE WRONG KIDNEY from a patient, leading to a new policy of drawing an arrow on the side of the patient’s body that was to be operated on. It’s comforting to know surgeons are apt to dive in with a scalpel and cut out whatever looks convenient before they refer to the patient’s notes. At the meeting where this new policy was explained, Adam asked what happens if a patient already has a tattoo of an arrow on the wrong side of the body. He’s pleased to get a laugh. The following day he had an email sincerely thanking him for his input and confirming that there was now a written procedure for dealing with patients who arrive for surgery complete with their own, permanent, arrow tattoo.
- The time Adam was reviewing notes and saw that every patient on the ward had a pulse of 60 beats per minute. He surreptitiously observed the nurse and saw him place his fingers on a patient’s wrist and diligently count the number of seconds in the minute.
- Adam’s utter contempt for orthopaedic doctors, which is inexplicable and almost certainly unfair, but hilarious. He refers to them as the Neanderthals of the medical profession, unable to tell an ankle from an elbow, and wonders how they became surgeon when they had to sign a form to do it. The writing equivalent is the people who devise the headlines for magazines like Take A Break, where “MY SISTER HAD MY HUSBAND’S BABIES” turns out to be the sister acting as a surrogate, “I DUG UP MY GROOM’S LOVER AS HE LAY DYING” means she snooped on his Facebook while he was a bit ill with a cold, and “I HAD SEX WITH MY DEAD STEPFATHER’S GHOST” turns out to be… well… accurate, on a publication with the tagline “The real life magazine.”
- The patient at Christmas-time who boasted that she’d put the Christmas lights up herself. But wait, she didn’t mean on the tree. She really had put them up… herself.
- The penis de-gloving. A drunk dude jumps from the roof of a bus shelter to shimmy down a lamp post and find that lamp posts are superbly effective as exfoliators. So effective that they don’t just slough off dead skin cells in the gentle, blissful way suggested by cosmetic ads, but sandpaper-off every layer of skin to leave the penis looking like “a string of spaghetti in a dab of tomato sauce.” If you wanted to have sex with a penis tonight – or ever again – apologies for ruining that for you.
Allow me to finish with a direct quote, because I can’t do it justice:
This morning I delivered little baby Sayton – pronounced Satan, as in King of the Underworld.
It’s hard to believe he’ll get through his school career unbullied, and yet we merrily wave him off on that journey. (Or maybe he’s actually the devil and I should have just shoved him back in.)