July 8th, 2007

krazy koati

We're anxious to try it

After the trouble I went through to get a CD player functional in my car it seems like I ought to actually mention some of the books-on-disc that I have been ``reading''. The first was sort of a hand-me-down from my father, who didn't like the adaptation of PG Wodehouse's Love Among The Chickens I'd taken from the library after he asked me to get something for him to listen to. Unfortunately he didn't describe what he disliked about it in any detail, and I can't find a reason he might dislike it. It's an early but I don't think atypical Wodehouse novel, combining as it does a genial protagonist with poor dating skills, the difficult-to-contain Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge, novel ideas about the raising of chickens, and a golf tournament. The particular reader says Ukridge's middle name the way it's spelled with four whole syllables, rather than as ``Fanshaw'', but I don't know if that's meant to be part of the joke. (I would guess he might have disliked that a fair bit of the novel is pretty casually plotted and features the protagonist overthinking his situation, but on the other hand my father loves the Alexander McCall Smith novels about Professor Dr von Igelfeld, which seems to me to have a viewpoint character from the same part of character phase space.)

Another book-on-disc I got was a BBC Radio adaptation of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, which I never got around to reading because, I think, it was a required book. I've somehow missed other adaptations of it, including the movies, musicals, and too-literal cartoon characters, although I did see the SCTV episode where a commercial promised that SCTV would show an adaptation of the book, starring Tommy Lasorda as, well, you can probably guess. It's quite trimmed, about four hours compared to the eleven hours an unabridged CD version I saw indicated, and it suffers from something about radio performances that has always bothered me, the phenomenal exaggeration of the sound of people pouring drinks and then drinking them. (SPLASH splish splish - glug GLUG glug GLUG glug GLUG GLUG GLUH -- tch -- AAAAAH.)

Also in this adaptation -- and I don't know if this is a problem in the full book since I haven't read it -- it seems to me Oliver just doesn't have much of anything to do with the plot. After he decides to ask for more gruel, everything else is people pressing him into schemes, taking him away, kidnapping him, swiping him back, or tracking him down for mysterious purposes that seem like they could have been done anytime in the backstory and saved Oliver a lot of trouble being a little waifish pinball. Does he have more to do in the actual book?

Trivia: The first issue of The Wall Street Journal was issued 8 July 1889. Source: The Great Game, John Steele Gordon.

Currently Reading: The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery, Wendy Moore.