So glad to have finished this, felt like an almighty slog. This book made me feel stupid (and perhaps I am); I had little grasp of what the hell was going on for the first third of the book and it didn’t get a lot better after that. So many characters, oblique references to size 38 shoes and milk errands and chapters that gave you no idea who was narrating until some way in. Pah.

Your reading activity
Dates 01 July 2013 – 24 July 2013
Time spent reading 7 hours, 25 minutes
Highlights 10
Comments 5
Used app Readmill

“what surprises me most is the patience of the poor.”

Yes, there’s no such thing as security—and yet there has to be a security system.

Did one have to eavesdrop on one’s children, take them by surprise, to discover their warmth, to gain insight into their lives?

especially since the custom had died out that used in some degree to justify the existence of newspapers: tearing or cutting them into handy squares and spiking them on a nail to be used as toilet paper, as had been the practice at almost every social level: that had been true recycling!

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

See the origin of the word ‘bumf’:

war is always war against farmers

But could Hendler—his mind rebelled against calling him the “impregnator” and he introduced the word “lover” into his thoughts—could Hendler be or have been her lover? The word “lover” reduced the improbability without increasing the probability of the impossible.

Then he explained the virtues of caviar to Luise Schröter, showed her how she must wait for the toast to cool slightly but not entirely, so that it was still crisp and warm but no longer hot enough to melt the butter, and only then to put the caviar on it, “More, more, Luise, fill the whole spoon”

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Top tip for anyone who finds themselves suddenly confronted by caviar. I’ve only ever had it once in my life and remember it being delicious.

It was always a ticklish business offering money, no matter to whom: either they accepted it too quickly and wanted too much, or they froze when he offered it to them;

now the dollar was falling again, and gold rising, because somewhere there had been a putsch, she didn’t even know by whom against whom, had merely glanced at the financial section of the paper; and the dollar would rise again, and gold would fall because somewhere else someone else had started a putsch, never mind against whom.

“We’re the very people who must know Monopoly and play it, it has to be played ruthlessly, that makes it the best introduction for children to learn about the cruelties of capitalism. The cruelties of socialism, of course, are something they learn in school.”

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Reminds me of Louis CK’s thoughts on Monopoly.

Emily Phillips Emily Phillips

This is funny - I was just speaking yesterday about how I took a really long time to understand the (ruthless?) strategy involved in board games (and, I guess, games in general). For example - I thought that the point of Scrabble was to come up with the most interesting words - the idea that you would forfeit the really great word you had to get more points was beyond me. Consider as well, games such as Trouble, when you have a choice whether or not to screw someone over and send them back to the beginning. To win you must be heartless - or perhaps the fault lies with someone who would feel personally offended by their opponent taking advantage of their offensive opportunity. It's only a game, after all - right? ;)

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

I'm trying to get back into Chess at the moment (SocialChess on iOS, username adoran2 if you want a game) and it’s *so* hard, which of course is the pleasure in it. Love the seemingly infinite possibilities on such a small board. It's ruthless, trying to trap your opponent. Here’s the Louis CK video; wonder if he read Boll?