Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Books wot I have been reading

Archduke Franz-Joseph just fails to make his ground during the crucial Fourth Test in Melbourne.

Recently I’ve been reading two books that have given me tremendous satisfaction, so I thought I might share.

The Radetzky March by Austrian writer Joseph Roth is an account of the decline and decay of the Austro–Hungarian Empire as seen through the lives of the Trotta family while Out of the Running by cricket writer Gideon Haigh is an account of the decline and decay of the Australian test cricket team as seen through the life of Ricky Ponting.

Although at first blush, the two books seem widely dissimilar they have in common a number of themes.

One book is a masterly account of the slow decline of a once great power through a combination of inertia, excessive bureaucracy and greed, presided over by a paternal authority figure who is gradually losing his touch.

The other is a book about the Austro–Hungarian Empire*.

Taken together, they make an ideal gift for the loved one in your life who has an excessive interest in test cricket and Eastern Europe**.

* Boom, and dare I say, tish.

** True, this would probably rule out everybody in the English reading world apart from me and possibly Perseus, but that’s your problem.

16 comments:

squib said...

I loved that book. I don't think I need to clarify which one

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Understood, Squib.

What did you think of Gideon's take on the Boxing Day Test?

squib said...

Is that something to do with bibles in hotel rooms?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Umm, no.

Happily I can provide a detailed explanation.

Lewd Bob said...

apart from me and possibly Perseus

ahem

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Sorry, Bob.

The Gideon Haigh book really is a cracker.

patchouligirl said...

the slow decline of a once great power through a combination of inertia, excessive bureaucracy and greed . . RIP The NSW Labor party.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Nice metaphor, Patchie.

squib said...

I told BigSquib (now she's studying Russian history) there were loads of hot revolutionaries. I think I lied and now need to back up my claim. Come on, there must have been one

Mr E Discharge said...

Not that I'm an expert, Squib,
but unless you can convince BS that the whole Russian Revolution was organised and run from Cuba and Bolivia, you're pretty much screwed.

Ramon may have other ideas, but for me, Trotski was the hottie of the bunch.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I'm with Mr E on this one.

They were a pretty gruesome bunch, generally speaking.

squib said...

unless you can convince BS that the whole Russian Revolution was organised and run from Cuba and Bolivia

That might not work so well in the exams

Trotsky? pretty much screwed then

Mr E Discharge said...

That might not work so well in the exams

Consider a well timed Wikipedia edit.

Alex said...

Trotsky? pretty much screwed then

Oh, come on. Just look at this.

Mr E Discharge said...

Deftly done Alex,
What better way to get the thread back on topic than to imply that Comrade Trotsky was "batting for the other side".

Alex said...

I can't take credit for that one, Mr E.

Sadly.