I like books, even the ones I don’t want to read. So having been given a large quantity of books by a relative clearing out their house, and not having room to keep all of them, I decided that the best thing to do was to pass the majority on to a local charity bookstore. But not before memorialising some of them with a flippant short summary, of course!
Prague Made Easy
This guide to the Czech capital offers the following advice to those visiting the National Museum who find it disappointing:
“Try to enjoy it as a period piece in its own right, for its dusty showcases are as venerable as the building itself.”
It also entices you to the Loreto Shrine with the promise of “a bearded lady, severed breasts and a flying house”. Okay then.
Kepler, by John Banville
Possibly the only book I read as a child to include the phrase “shit-eating toad” on the third page.
The English Patient
Not the best of the Mummy films – after the flashy pyrotechnics of the previous films, this “origin story” steeped in adultery and betrayal not only breaks the mood, but also clearly breaks continuity with the origin established in the first film. No stars.
The Good Cook: Vegetables
Contains recipes for “turnips in cider”, “turnip soufflé” and most terrifyingly of all, “turnip custard”. Also “meat stuffing for vegetables”, which seems to kind of miss the point.
Italian Phrase Book
I have never been able to take phrase books seriously since I read James Thurber’s masterful depiction of the phrases as those of a family whose holiday is slowly devolving into a nightmare. Some choice phrases from this one:
- “My denture’s been broken, can you fix it?”
- “Do you need a permit for that?”
- “We can’t sleep for the noise.”
- “The room is full of cockroaches.”
- “Happy Birthday! Please accept my condolences.” (technically two consecutive entries, but I couldn’t resist)
Cell And Molecular Biology, by Gerald Karp
Clearly the best textbook ever, as page 7 has this Rube Goldberg illustration to demonstrate the complexity of cell processes.
Biochemistry, by Campbell and Farrell
“Immature rats are fed all the essential amino acids but one. Three hours later they are fed the missing amino acid. The rats fail to grow. Explain this observation.”
Scientists hate rats?
The A-Z Of Family Health, Volume 1: A
Includes entries on Amyl Nitrate and Amputation. If you are considering Amputation, you may want to go beyond the advice of a “collect the installments” home guide.
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