The end of the year (the beginning of the new year in the case of the late and lazy, like myself) is invariably a time of stock-taking: in the case of shopkeepers, literally. The rest of the world, not being shopkeepers, makes lists with boring titles like The Best Whatever of 2015. I flatly refuse to write The Best Whatever of 2015… so stealing the title of a well-known spaghetti western instead, please see below The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of 2015. At least it will be… novel.
(And as the first year of Waterblogged was only a half-year, you’re in luck; this post is only going to be half as long as everybody else’s.)
The Good, the Bad and… the Ugly?
Stealing a title is very well. But it would be good if the accompanying post made sense.
We can straightaway dispense with the idea of trying to judge last year’s best post – clearly an impossible task!… As for a worst post – I beg your pardon?! So we need a different approach: let’s try main characters.
A cup of tea and some biscuits later…
I clearly need to do something about my hero fixation because there are far too many heroes in this year’s reading, from Sperthias and Boulis (who survived) to the defenders of Fort St Elmo (who died to the last man). Not to mention Leonidas and the three hundred (also died to the last man – minus two). All, including the minus two, are clamouring for the title of the Good. No shortage in nominees for the role of the Bad either – where you have heroes, you’re bound to have villains!
Two days and thirty-two revisions later…
Black smoke continues to rise from the chimney on top of the Sistine Chapel… no decision yet on the next P… I mean to say, the Good. Or the Bad. (There’s a clear outright winner for the Ugly, mind: Mizoguchi.)
So a change of approach: How about the best and the worst book of 2015?
Now that’s easy.
The frigate Princesa by Luis Delgado Bañon. That’s for worst book. And let’s follow that up with worst author – I regret to say that all of Delgado Bañon’s books are bad. I should know: I have so far read five out of the twenty-four he wrote. (Okay, I mostly read five. I skipped several pages in each.)
I’m not a masochist, by the way. The reason I keep reading him is because I want to learn a bit about Spanish maritime history – from a Spanish point of view. And improve my Spanish en route. But the good admiral can’t write for toffee. He’s no C.S. Forester or Alexander Kent. Sometimes I think that even I could write a better book. (Well, I can think.) Maybe I should opt for reading a proper Spanish naval history instead of his Saga Marinera Española. Is there a Spanish version of Commander? If not, I’ll stick with Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Boy, he can write. He can write so well I find it difficult to blog about his books.
…And… er… the Ugly
Slight hold-up here: what makes a book ugly? An ugly cover? An ugly character? (Cue Mizoguchi.) An ugly idea? An ugly…?!
Death in the Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa. A very good book, by the way. (COMING SOON TO A BLOG NEAR YOU)