"Men of few words are the best men." - William Shakespeare, King Henry V, Act III, Scene II

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

QMBC XXIII: Wetlands


Charlotte Roche

The Globe, George's St, Dublin.
15th October 2013

One Sentence Summaries

Ramius Valderón: itS MEGMA once you BRAKE the back of it.

Mycroft Webb: Charlotte Roche. More like Hot Rectal Chore.

William Clay: Scheisse.

Whitby Syme: "Charlotte, that's a helluva book. What do you call it?" "The Aristocrats!"

Carl Jameson: (no one sentence summary provided)

Tiger McGavin (in absentia): Wetlands? You mean "Let's try and shove it up my ass"-lands.

(McGavin went on...) It was a book that added nothing to society or to literary sciences. It should be burned, like I wanted to burn my eyes after reading it.


Whitby Syme: 31/83
Characters: 10/20
Execution: 12/20
Food for thought: 4/10
Plot: 5/20
Extra points: 0/13

Carl Jameson: 44/83
Lady info: 20/20
Quincey Morrisness: 4/10
Butt stuff: 20/53

Ramius Valderón: 19/83
Plot: 4/20
Plausibility: 1/23
Body exploration: 10/20
Length and girth: 4/18

Mycroft Webb: 44/83
Interestingness: 12/20
Well writtenness: 15/25
Plot: 4/15
Quincey Morrisness: 3/13
Weird bonernicity: 10/10

William Clay: 2/83
Dislikable characters: 6/10
Memorableness (unfortunate): 7/10
Motion sickness: 3/5 days
Quincey Morrisness: 0/15
All that's good and decent in Christendom: -14/43

Tiger McGavin: 15/83

Wetlands earned a QMBC rating of 25.83 / 83.

This score makes Wetlands the most poorly received book read by the QMBC to date, perhaps stirring up nostalgia for the heady days when we enjoyed works like Galileo's Dream or The Cobra. It seems useful at this juncture to view the rating in context:

One might look for trends in such a chart, though I fear the only conclusion we can draw is that the gentlemen of the QMBC are as capable today of polishing published words in their nomination pitches, as they were when the infamous Hero with a Thousand Faces was brought before the group.

Jameson, on pitching Wetlands, aroused certain anticipations in the group which, when confronted with the reality of the book, were struck down as if by the proverbial wooden spoon in the hand of a legitimate masseuse.


The theme for this meeting's nominations was 'classics'.

William Clay:
- Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey
- Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome

Whitby Syme:
- Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence

Carl Jameson:
- The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
(Jameson acknowledged that a novel from 1973 could hardly be considered a classic, except as a classic of the time-travelling-sex-with-self genre.)

Mycroft Webb:
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville

The Voting

Three Men on the Bummel------
Lord Jim-100200100-400
Seven Pillars300300300--900
The Man Who Folded Himself----100100
Moby Dick100-100200300700

Next: Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Nearly: Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

Monday, August 26, 2013

QMBC XXII: Me Talk Pretty One Day


Me Talk Pretty One Day
David Sedaris

O'Neills, Suffolk St, Dublin.
26th August 2013

One Sentence Summaries

Tiger McGavin: Le coq sport'daris.

Carl Jameson: Me Thought Pretty Funny Gay.

William Clay: Nil point.

Guisseppe Wellman: Me Read Happy All the Way, Hard to Better this.

Ramius Valderón: As the book rots to a black pulp me nibble it occasionally.

Mycroft Webb: Naughtobiographical.

Whitby Syme: Funny book.


Ramius Valderón: 47/83
Writing style likeability: 12/20
Plot: 0/20
Humour peak: 35/43

William Clay: 34/83

Mycroft Webb: 48/83
Well writtenness: 12/20
Action: 3/10
Unputdownableness: 10/15
Characters: 11/23
Humour: 12/15

Carl Jameson: 53/83

Tiger McGavin: 61/83
Interestingness: 15/15
Well writtenness: 13/13
Sexiness: 4/8
Action: 8/13
Quincey Morrisness: 3/14
Unputdownableness: 18/20

Whitby Syme: 47/83
Characters: 14/20
Execution: 15/20
Food for thought: 2/10
Plot: 8/20
Extra points: 8/13

Guisseppe Wellman: 48/83
Page turnability: 21/28
Comedic value: 22/27
Future impactness on my life: 5/27

Me Talk Pretty One Day earned a QMBC rating of 48.29 / 83.


The theme for this meeting's nominations was books which were written in a language other than English.

Ramius Valderón:
- A Pimp's Notes by Giorgio Faletti

Guisseppe Wellman:
- The Trial and Death of Socrates by Plato

William Clay:
- Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

Mycroft Webb:
- Blindness by Jose Saramago

Carl Jameson:
- Wetlands by Charlotte Roche

Whitby Syme:
- Genocidal Organ by Project Itoh

Tiger McGavin:
- Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

The Voting

A Pimp's Notes300300100----700
The Trial and Death of Socrates-200--200200100700
Planet of the Apes100-200--100-400
Genocidal Organ----100300-400
Norwegian Wood---300---300

Next: Wetlands
Nearly: The Trial and Death of Socrates / A Pimp's Notes

Theme for next meeting's nomination: Classics

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

QMBC XXI: Inferno


Dan Brown

The Bull and Castle, Lord Edward St, Dublin.
26th June 2013

One Sentence Summaries

Ramius Valderón: An infernal damnation of monochromatic text.

William Clay: Dantexpect a good book.

Whitby Syme: I felt as though I were running on foot through the Florentine streets of Florence with pursuing military-trained soldiers in hot pursuit.

Mycroft Webb: (1) What grade will I give this book? H+
(2) Would I read another Dan Brown book? I'm Inferno more.

Tiger McGavin: Unfortunately I couldn't find the secret passage to escape this book.

Carl Jameson: Not so much an Inferno as a hot steaming pile.

Guisseppe Wellman: Overpopulated with nothing iconic.


Whitby Syme: 43/83
Characters: 4/20
Execution: 10/20
Food for thought: 6/10
Plot: 14/20
Extra points: 3/13

Ramius Valderón: 35/83
9 Circle of Hellness: 9/9
Ocean's 11: 0/11
Better than Big: 5/15
Speed of Read: 10/18
Eideticness: 1/30

Tiger McGavin: 46/83
Action: 9/13
Well writtenness: 2/13
Sexiness: 4/8
Quincey Morrisness: 10/14
Interestingness: 6/15
Unputdownableness: 15/20

William Clay: 25/83

Mycroft Webb: 40/83
Well writtenness: 5/15
Action: 10/20
Unputdownableness: 8/20
Characters: 4/15
Art Historyness: 13/13

Carl Jameson: 32/83
39%: 32/83

Guisseppe Wellman: 39/83
Page Turnability: 19/27
Plot: 14/28
Characters: 6/28

Inferno earned a QMBC rating of 37.14 / 83.


As a change of pace, the nomination process was run differently at QMBC XXI. The titles and authors of the nominated books were undisclosed, and the gentlemen of the QMBC were privy only to the contents of page 99 of each nominated book (taking the idea inspiration from The Page 99 Test).

Below are the notes which were minuted during the readings of each page 99, followed by the identities of the books which were revealed after voting was concluded and the winner known.

Ramius Valderón:
Notes: Hawthorne. BJ. Skull. Three way? Showers. Earpiece. Military? Garden. Family discussion.
Book: Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridway

Tiger McGavin:
Notes for nomination 1: Pyjamas. Bed. Girl-woman. Cock. Virgin Mary.
Notes for nomination 2: Camel toe. ROFL. Charlie Sheen. Daddy. Ronan. Northside accent. Cigar.
Book 1: Women by Charles Bukowski
Book 2: The Shelbourne Ultimatum by Ross O'Carroll Kelly 

Whitby Syme:
Notes: Cats.
Book: Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin

William Clay:
Notes for nomination 1: Toilet. Piss. Guts. Eggs. Jamie. Pub. Walk.
Notes for nomination 2: Fire. Omi-san. Blackthorn. Barbarian. Boy fainted. Samarai. Hai. Piss.
Book 1: The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Book 2: Shogun by James Clavell

Mycroft Webb:
Notes: Fear. School. Exists. Panic attack. Boy. Sweaty.
Book: The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

Carl Jameson:
Notes: Filthy hands. Trapped. Turd. Plunger. Dinner parties. Easter.
Book: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Guisseppe Wellman:
Notes: Humiliation. Hebrew. Rome. Herod census? David.
Book: The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago

The Voting

Hawthorn and Child--100---300400
The Shelbourne Ultimatum-----200-200
The Wasp Factory100------100
Tuf Voyaging300--200---500
The Pale King--300100200-100700
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ200200--100--500
Me Talk Pretty One Day-1002003003003002001400

Next: Me Talk Pretty One Day
Nearly: The Pale King

Theme for next meeting's nomination: Books which were originally published in a language other than English.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Currently Reading ....

Dan Brown


'Seek and ye shall find.'

Amazon.com Review:
With these words echoing in his head, eminent Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon awakes in a hospital bed with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object that is found hidden in his belongings.

A threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a breakneck chase across the city of Florence. Only Langdon's knowledge of hidden passageways and ancient secrets that lie behind its historic facade can save them from the clutches of their unknown pursuers.

With only a few lines from Dante's dark and epic masterpiece, The Inferno, to guide them, they must decipher a sequence of codes buried deep within some of the most celebrated artefacts of the Renaissance - sculptures, paintings, buildings - to find the answers to a puzzle which may, or may not, help them save the world from a terrifying threat.

Set against an extraordinary landscape inspired by one of history's most ominous literary classics, Inferno is Dan Brown's most compelling and thought-provoking novel yet, a breathless race-against-time thriller that will grab you from page one and not let you go until you close the book.

P.S.:  This book is clear proof, if any was needed, that Ireland's foremost contrarian-elitist gentleman's book club can still slum it with the best of them! I wonder will the learned Professor Langdon finally manage to unravel the mystery of the runes and at last come to know his own one-dimensional nature. We can but hope....

Yours etc,

Mycroft Webb QMBC

Monday, May 27, 2013

QMBC XX: A Confederacy of Dunces


A Confederacy of Dunces
John Kennedy Toole

Kennedy's, Westland Row, Dublin.
27th May 2013

One Sentence Summaries

Mycroft Webb: Dem guys and gals from Pulitzer loved this here book - and so did I. Ooo-wee! I guess that's Boethius.

Carl Jameson: What mongoloid created this abortion?

Ramius Valderón: Its nauseous humour releases the valve.

William Clay: Penguin hardly essential.

Whitby Syme: He's a Paradise gas man.

Tiger McGavin: I hope Iggy and Mizzy get busy.


William Clay: 50/83
Jack Reacherness: 0/10
Quincey Morrisness: 1/20
N'orleansness: 49/53

Tiger McGavin: 72/83
Action: 9/13
Well writtenness: 13/13
Sexiness: 5/8 (the scene with the dog)
Quincey Morrisness: 10/14
Interestingness: 15/15
Unputdownableness: 20/20

Carl Jameson: 60.5/83
(=The Gingerman)

Whitby Syme: 66/83
Characters: 20/20
Execution: 18/20
Food for thought: 5/10
Plot: 16/20
Extra points: 7/13

Mycroft Webb: 66/83
Well writtenness: 17/20
Interestingness: 18/23
Discussableness: 5/10
Characters: 18/20
Unputdownableness: 8/10

Ramius Valderón: 67/83

A Confederacy of Dunces earned a QMBC rating of 63.58 / 83.


Ramius Valderón
- The Dinner by Herman Koch

William Clay
- Inferno by Dan Brown ("Tom Hanks in Inferno by Tom Hanks")
- Hell's Angels by Hunter S Thompson
- Broken Harbor by Tana French

Whitby Syme
- The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
- The Night of the Gun by David Carr

Mycroft Webb
- The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Tiger McGavin:
- The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
- Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Carl Jameson
- The Magicians by Lev Grossman
- The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

The Voting

The Wasp Factory100-200-100-400
The Orphan Master's Son200-----200
Lady Chatterley's Lover-100300---400
The Dinner-200---200400
The Magicians--100200300-600
The Night of the Gun---100--100
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet---300-300600
Hell's Angels----200- 200

Next: Inferno
Nearly: The Magicians / The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Currently Reading ...

A Confederacy Of Dunces 
John Kennedy Toole

Amazon.com Review
"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs."

Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole's tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces. This 30-year-old medievalist lives at home with his mother in New Orleans, pens his magnum opus on Big Chief writing pads he keeps hidden under his bed, and relays to anyone who will listen the traumatic experience he once had on a Greyhound Scenicruiser bound for Baton Rouge. ("Speeding along in that bus was like hurtling into the abyss.") But Ignatius's quiet life of tyrannizing his mother and writing his endless comparative history screeches to a halt when he is almost arrested by the overeager Patrolman Mancuso--who mistakes him for a vagrant--and then involved in a car accident with his tipsy mother behind the wheel. One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, Ignatius is out pounding the pavement in search of a job.

Over the next several hundred pages, our hero stumbles from one adventure to the next. His stint as a hotdog vendor is less than successful, and he soon turns his employers at the Levy Pants Company on their heads. Ignatius's path through the working world is populated by marvelous secondary characters: the stripper Darlene and her talented cockatoo; the septuagenarian secretary Miss Trixie, whose desperate attempts to retire are constantly, comically thwarted; gay blade Dorian Greene; sinister Miss Lee, proprietor of the Night of Joy nightclub; and Myrna Minkoff, the girl Ignatius loves to hate. The many subplots that weave through A Confederacy of Dunces are as complicated as anything you'll find in a Dickens novel, and just as beautifully tied together in the end. But it is Ignatius--selfish, domineering, and deluded, tragic and comic and larger than life--who carries the story. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. His fragility cracks the shell of comic bluster, revealing a deep streak of melancholy beneath the antic humor. John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in 1969 and never saw the publication of his novel. Ignatius Reilly is what he left behind, a fitting memorial to a talented and tormented man.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

QMBC XIX: The 39 Steps


The 39 Steps
John Buchan

The McGavin Residence, Dublin.
16th March 2013

One Sentence Summaries

Carl Jameson: The source of the modern action genre.

William Clay: Forrest Gump meets Inspector Clouseau.

Whitby Syme: I had to skip a few steps, and I didn't quite reach the balcony. *

Mycroft Webb: Can this be the one that started it all? This Buchan.

* Poor show for not finishing the book. Note: the eponymous 39 steps did not even lead to a balcony.


Tiger McGavin: 55/83

William Clay: 57/83

Carl Jameson: 60/83

Whitby Syme: 50/83

Mycroft Webb: 39/83

Ramius Valderón: 49/83
Fiskness: 4/25
Self-Pittitude: 10/12
Nationhood protection: 20/28
Adventurality: 15/18

The 39 Steps earned a QMBC rating of 51.67 / 83.


William Clay
- A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Whitby Syme

- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Tiger McGavin:
- The Dubliners by James Joyce

Mycroft Webb
- Women by Charles Bukowski

Carl Jameson

- Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amos
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

The Voting

Making Money100200---300
The Dubliners--200--200
A Midsummer Night's Dream-100-100200400
Lucky Jim---300-300
A Confederacy of Dunces300300-200-800

Next: A Confederacy of Dunces
Nearly: Women