Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I seem to be 30 years behind everyone else

Why have I never read The World According to Garp?. Written by John Irving (oh, I just realised we share the same birthday, albeit 16 years apart), this is an absolutely fantastic book. I should have known I would like it because one of my favourite singers - Al Stewart - wrote a song about it (available on a fans-only CD) and there was also a successful film starring Robin Williams (playing one of his less excitable roles from what I've read). I'm about a third of the way through and have already planned on buying Hotel New Hampshire when I've finished - that is also meant to be a masterpiece

There are often authors/musicians/films/plays out there that have taken on legendary status and one always means to find out more about them but forgets. I only got a copy of 'Garp' when I recently took a pile of unwanted paperbacks to a new English expat shop here. They have a swap club; I took in 14 and came home with some gems - an Asimov and Le Carre (can't do accents any more now I'm using Ubuntu) that Mr FF had not read, a Kate Atkinson that I'd not read and loads more good sounding titles - the jewel being 'Garp'. I also got a large jar of marmite at the very good price of €4 (it's that price for a small jar here in the supermarkets).

Marmite on toast and books - it's the simple pleasures that are best of all.


LadyFi said...

I'm not a Marmite fan.. but BOOKS - yes please!

Garp is a fantastic book - read it years ago at university. Mmm.. perhaps time for a re-read?


Lulu LaBonne said...

Aaargh - you've just made me really really want marmite on toast and I can't do that without a LOT of butter and I'm trying to lose weight!!!

I tried another Irving years back which wasn't my cup of tea so I didn't try Garp either - I will go and find a copy now which means that you are no longer the last to discover him.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

There are so many books I want to read, FF, but right now I have to close my mind off from them. Little Mr.H. shares my bed so I cannot read in bed at night (easily the best place for reading). I've decided to catch up on everything in a few years time. I've noted John Irving though and will mentally file him away (along with loads of others).

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss French Fancy
Yes, books and Marmite fit the bill exactly....
so glad you're loving Garp.
I went on a John Irving tear a few years ago and was a very happy camper while it lasted.
I'm staying in Tappan( a very old village) in NY State but 2 miles away in New Jersey there is a ShopRite
with an English section: baked beans, Marmite, Digestive buscuits, PG Tip..........
I'm reading
The Elegance of the Hedgehog which is excellent.

Dumdad said...

Marmite and books - perfick!

I've read Garp and seen the film, both excellent. You should read Irving's A Prayer to Owen Meanie - another masterpiece.

And I have most of Al Stewart's music.

What good taste you have!

Steve said...

You're not alone. I've made a career out of being behind the times and missing out on the next best thing until the next best thing has become yesterdays old best thing...

Nora Johnson said...

Marmite and books go together like a horse and... oh, well, you get the picture!

Am unfamiliar with Irving but will slink off now to peruse...

Wish we had a book-swap club here (even without added Marmite!)

PS thanks for stopping by - commented back to you at end of previous post! xx

A Super Dilettante said...

Hello, my dear FF, I've got lots of catching up to do with your blog! I've got a cold and I had to give a talk today so I had to come in to work. Like you, I should have been lying on my sofa reading books or listening to some Bach or Scarlatti at home. It's been raining all day.

Carol said...

The Garp book is wonderful (I've not seen the film) and, like Dumdad, I can highly recommend 'A Prayer for Owen Meanie' won't be disappointed!!

A little Marmite spread over cheese on toast washed down with a hot cup of tea.....just can't be beaten!!

C x

Contemporary Troubadour said...

Haven't had Marmite myself, but I just discovered cream cheese with fresh blueberries -- I put the two on bread and warm it in the toaster oven until the berries begin to split. Mmmm.

Jennysmith said...

I;m with you on that, FF. Books can bring the greatest happiness. Confess I have never read either but know the films. Couldn't take Hotel New Hampshire but really loved Garp. Wouldn't mind seeing it again actually


jelly girl said...

Personally, I think his best book is A Widow for One Year. He is an excellent writer overall. Anyone who lives in France and reads Irving gets 5 stars in my book!

willow said...

The swap club is a great idea. Wish they had those here.

Ann said...

Don't like Marmite, discovered M&S crumpets, melted butter, cup of tea, only problem, and I do annoy myself, reading a book while trying to juggle aforesaid articles, main concern is keeping fingers and tea from book, usually succeed, t-shirt has to suffer.

Garp a bizarrely enjoyable book, not seen the film.

I have Tired of Being Alone, with the gorgeous voice, his, not mine, running through my head.

Waves back FF, I am amazed, shocked, astounded, astonished, dumfounded, staggered, they lasted so long.

bindu said...

I hadn't heard about this book ... sounds interesting!

Veggie Carrie said...

Your love of marmite reminds me of VH stocking up on jars of peanut butter whenever he returns to Canada. I'm not a fan of marmite (I am in the hate it camp) but I agree with you about reading. I like Kate Atkinson (I recently enjoyed 'When will there be good news?') but I haven't heard of Garp before.

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Book sounds good will look out for it. Swap club a great idea and a life without marmite is unthinkable of course.

Blu said...

Marmite yumm, I am currently without a book to read and I must rectify this, but it has to be about France, what can you recommend?

Cynthia said...

Thanks for sharing your reaction to the book, TWATGarp.

I wouldn't have thought to read it because the movie was a strange kind of film. I remember a disturbing oral sex-car accident-bite off scene that was freakishly depressing and repellent. Robin Williams can be brave...but I don't think it worked in this film.

How fortunate that you have a book swap!

Have a beautiful day. <3

French Fancy said...

Fi - I seldom reread books but I reckon Garp could be read every ten years or so

Lu - I have a love/hate relationship with Marmite. Mr FF adores it and until I lived with him I had never even tried it. On a winter's day, on hot buttered toast it is so lovely though

Hadriana - my reading in bed is my 'me' time. I have the dogs and Mr FF to think about all day and I love just lying quietly in bed thinking and reading

ewix - hello there, I don't think we've met before. I'll be coming by shortly to say hello. When I think of New Jersey I think of one of my favourite tv programmes - The Sopranos

Dumdad - I'm going to order that 'Meanie' book of his, Carol also recommended it (see further along)

Steve - glad I'm not the only blogger behind the times,

Back in a mo to finish the rest

French Fancy said...

Nora - people have been telling me how good this swap library was - it 's only taken me 18 months to get there

ASD - my dear how nice to see you back again. Hope the cold shifts soon

Carol - yep, you and Dumdad recommending the Owen Meanie book means that it will shortly be ordered from the Book Depository

Contem - blueberries are so expensive out here in rural France. You really only see seasonal things around, it's not like the UK or the USA when you can get everything all year round

Jen - I didn't know that Hotel NewHampshire had also been made into a film. I really need to find out more about Irving - the book 'Garp' is so impressive

hello jelly girl (I like your name) I must come and find out more about you. I think I had just best order everything that Irving has written and discover the whole range

willow - maybe you should start one

Ann - if you knew how often your generosity was talked about in the FF household. Maybe one day you'd think about a holiday out to see us. We would both love to meet you

bindu - it's fabulous

will do the others tomorrow - sorry

Owen said...

Although I've been listening to Al Stewart for the past 30 years or so, I never heard of a song by him about Garp. Another book he wrote a great song about was The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. Do you have a copy of that fans-only CD ??? Hmmmm, I wonder what it might take to bribe you into e-mailing me an MP3 file copy of that song so I could hear it ??? Maybe saying "Pretty please with a cherry on top" ? I saw Al play a few times in the US back in the eighties, never get tired of listening to pieces like Roads to Moscow, etc...

And I guess while on the subject of John Irving, it would only be appropriate for me to toss in a, "and don't forget A Prayer For Owen Meany"... :-)

Larry M. Brow said...

Did a game, years ago, at work. It started with a conversation in which two of us knew and loved a book, and the third had never read it. So.... we got a piece of paper and each, in turn, wrote down five books and five movies we each thought EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW. You couldn't double up on anything previously nominated. Total list, about fifty in each category. Then we each initialed the titles we had already read or seen. [I think everyone had seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, for instance.] Then we posted the list on the wall, and as you saw, or read, something from the list, you could add your initials. No one had seen or read them all. Many more movies had been shared than books. And we certainly learned a great deal about each other's tastes and amusements.

I remember, in particular, a French movie, Delicatessen, which was spectacularly strange fun, and which I would have never otherwise have even heard of.

I miss pleasure reading, but this semester I'll be getting plenty of the other kind.


claire p said...

I've never read it either, but I did see the film years ago. I will look out for it now though x

French Fancy said...

Cynthia - yuk, you've quite put me off seeing the film now and if that is a scene from the book I've not got to it yet :)

Hiya Owen - I've got the fan club CD on a mini-disc - it is called SLAGIATT (seemed like a good idea at the time) and I'll find out how I can send you a copy. If you have a mini disc machine I'd gladly send you my copy to try and duplicate it.

I love Roads to Moscow and Trains and Three Mules. We try and coincide out trips back to the AGIATT (actually, come to think of it it might be on another fan club CD I have called Courtesan - hmm, I'll have to look into this tomorrow)

Larry - is the time looming now for you to begin yet more studies? will be over soon to find out. Delicatessen is one of those films I always meant to see and never managed it

claire - I really recommend it

the fly in the web said...

Book swap club....would be lovely, but most of the b....s round here have trouble flicking through the fashion magazines. I look out for one enterprising lady at the vide greniers and stock up, but it's not strong on lit.

French Fancy said...

hello fly - hope things are going well for you. Shame there are not many good books around your area - perhaps you will need to start a book swap club

Clarity said...

When I was very little, I watched the Garp video about three times along with the adults - not the TV of child appropriate, inadvertently my family never read the blurb at the back. So I found out about trannies, adultery and scary marriages before I should have :)

I would love a local book swap and I adore that you adore Byron.

French Fancy said...

Clarity - I've just been trying to find acopy on amazon but there doesn't seem to be a new one. I've not really enjoyed film adaptations of books I've loved but I would be curious to see Garp.