Book Reviews, Andy Capp, Blogs I Miss, and ROW80

Good thing I added reading to my ROW80 goals!

I finished The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling the other day, and would highly recommend it, especially for fans of detective stories. I love the authors characterisation.

Then I read My Dancing Bear by Helene de Klerk, a brief biography of Andy Capp's creator Reg Smythe written by his niece. The book is interspersed with quotes from conversations with Smythe, and has a really 'close' feel, as if you're reading about one of your own distant family members.

The best part for me were the two aspects that could also relate to writing. The first was the glimpse of Smythe's complete dedication to his work. Even with a full time job, he would come home every evening and spend hours on his strips, sometimes working with a timer - one strip every half an hour. If he finished earlier, he carried over that time to the next strip. Day after day, without fail, even after he'd achieved a certain level of success.

Then there's the 'fresh fish sold here' test for clear and concise writing. In Smythe's words "...the fishmonger takes out 'sold' because customers know he's not giving it away, then he takes out 'fresh' because it implies his fish aren't, then he omits 'here' because if anyone is reading the sign it means they have found him... That leaves 'Fish'. Simple and to the point."

An intriguing titbit was learning where Andy Capp's name came from: after fiddling with a few name combinations, Smythe decided on Fred Capp, but then thought more about what sort of man he'd be, a "right pain and a definite handicap to anyone" - and that's how he became Andy Capp.

Just for fun, here're a couple of screenshots of some classic Andy Capp:

Thanks to everyone for coming by during the Songs of Summer blogfest! Can't wait to discover all your songs, too.

Haven't had a chance to visit many blogs this past week or so, and there are quite a few I miss! Here are a handful of blogs and bloggers I'd love to catch up with:

So many blogs, so little time!

Any other blogs that you would recommend?
I'm always looking for book recommendations, too!


Jamie has been posting lately. But you're right - haven't heard from Kitty in a while.
I love the "fresh fish sold here" tip. Something for every writer to remember.
Denise Covey said…
Hi Deniz. I think Michael is busy with paid editing jobs etc. Good for him. A lot of bloggers are blogging less (including me) as we are all trying to finish our project/s. I love blogging but am reading a lot of negative posts about being sick of reading posts on book reviews etc, which is a bit judgemental I think. I like to read what bloggers think of books, seeing I read more than I blog, hahahaha.

I'm not sure our tastes in reading are the same, so I won't recommend any books.

What do I have to do to become a blogger you miss? I find these lists a bit guilt inducing.

I really enjoy your blog, even though you do book reviews, lol!

Good morning Deniz!! I love the Andy Capp snapshots :)
S.P. Bowers said…
I haven't been around enough to know what's happening on the blogosphere so no help here. Hope your summer is going well. How's the new home?
Lara Lacombe said…
Sounds like a good book! I like the writing tip!
Carol Riggs said…
I remember reading Andy Capp in the newspaper piles at my grandma's house! :) (LOL on the "handicap" and AndyCapp bit!) Right now I'm reading Shannon Messenger's LET THE SKY FALL and am really enjoying it! :)
Cherdo said…
I'm a huge Andy Capp fan, too!
DMS said…
I learned a lot about Andy Capp today! I had no idea where the name came from and it was wonderful to read about the dedication of Smythe. The story about "Fish" speaks volumes.

Thanks for sharing.
Hi Deniz .. fascinating post to read and great tutorial on telling it like it is!

I love Andy Capp - he's just such an amazing character and has stood the test of time ..

Thanks for the thumbs up re Rowling's latest ... and hope all well your end of the world .. cheers Hilary
Stephanie Faris said…
I think many of us have fond memories of childhood that involve waking up on Sunday morning and looking for the comics. We used to call them "the funny papers," I remember! It isn't the same now, since kids can view comics at any time online now.
Kelly Steel said…
I love all the books you recommend and post about.
Anonymous said…
Andy Capp reminds me of childhood. I used to grab the comics first thing Sunday morning.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks so much all, glad you enjoyed it!

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