The Books of My Numberless Dreams

Gender imbalance

Posted on: April 29, 2007

By Tuesday, I realised, my reading would be monopolised by testosterone, once I started Don Quixote for Tilting at Windmills and The Good Soldier for Slaves of Golconda. So I examined my bookshelves ie browsed through LibraryThing, and picked out Diplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse by Brigid Keenan. Yes, I know, it’s the dreaded memoir (shudder) but this one seems to be a lot of fun rather than woe-is-me accounts of life without daddy or how I conquered dyslexia.

I bought it after reading Ahdaf Soueif’s recommendation of in The Guardian last year: Another book with perfect tone – although of a very different kind – is Brigid Keenan’s Diplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse (John Murray). I alarmed people by laughing out loud while reading it. Its comedy is perfectly judged; it’s surprising, astute, brilliantly observed and very human.

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5 Responses to "Gender imbalance"

I see we share a dread of memoirs! Once in a while they’re ok. And one that makes people laugh out loud sounds better than most!

I like your WTF category. Maybe every blog should have a WTF category.

Those are about the only ones I can stand, the exception being karen armstrong.

Thanks and I do think every blogger should have one. There are enough crazy occurrences to justify it.

If Soueif liked it enough to recommend it, maybe it has some merit! I quite like memoirs personally – not the abused child genre so much, but Martin Amis’ Experience was pretty good. Proved my friend’s point about him selecting words nobody else would use – I have never had to refer to a dictionary so much while reading an Eglish language work!

I often stay away from memoirs too, unless I have reason to think it’s really, really good — I guess I’m more likely to pick up a middling novel than a middling memoir. But when they are good, they can be great — I like Karen Armstrong too.

booktraveller even more than Banville, who has quite a fondness for obscure literary terms? That would be impressive.

Dorothy I’m with you there, Keenan being only the 3rd memoir I’ve ever read; the other (besides Armstrong) is Sedaris’ which were more like hilarious short stories than anything else.

My campus librarian recommended the Armstrong to me–she described it as a memoir for those who don’t like the genre. Seems she was right.

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