Houllebecq‘s title Platform was quite the exercise in hedonism, with some dark celebration of globalisation and capitalism thrown in. Some have called it pornographic, and it’s true, it does stray into male fantasy many times, but it was also extremely readable and super sexy. I enjoyed it and I’m giving it 4 stars.

The publishers of Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd have tried to have it both ways – package up a simple, readable, man-in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time premise with a dust jacket that talks “serious fiction” and try to persuade both reader demographics that it’s for them. Only it isn’t that good really. A page turner yes, preposterous and movie plot-worthy yes, but there’s too many daft things going on that are improbable here. The casual killing of a treacherous aquantaince, the seamless romancing of a policewoman, the transformation from white-collar worker to successful street beggar. Just silly stuff and I really wasn’t convinced at all. It almost felt like a young adult novel to me, though it did whiz by quickly. 3 stars.

In a rare moment of vocal enthusiasm about books, Kim recommended Shadowboxing (her Book Club homework) – a memoir by Australian Tony Birch. So much so that she persuaded me to try it in the 6 days she had left before it got returned. I’m glad I did and I managed with several days to spare. These are simple stories of a poor disfunctional family (mostly dad’s drinking) in Fitzroy in the 1960’s. The directness of the prose and the brutality of the behaviour made you wonder how the bloke survived into adulthood. It reminded me of I, Romulus – short, very readable and completely captivating. 4.5 stars.