B is for Black Books. #AtoZChallenge

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In the Middle Ages, ‘one’s books’ was the esteem in which one was held by others. To be ‘out of someone’s books’ meant you were no longer part of their life.  To be ‘in someone’s black books’ seems to have started with Robert Greene in 1592, who intended to publish his Blacke Booke, which was to list the misdemeanors of various classes of criminal. The University of Oxford kept a register recording any person who affronted the university – who would then not be awarded their degree.  Even Hitler had a black book!

Black Book is an online arty-farty magazine aimed at hipsters, people with more money than sense and anyone I would try to avoid at a party.

A Little Black Book is a book that a ladies’ man keeps, listing all his actual and hopeful sexual conquests.

Black Books is one of the best TV shows ever.  Dylan Moran stars as Bernard Black, a cynical alcoholic who loves his books and hates his customers. His friend Fran (Tamsin Greg), and his ‘assistant’ Manny (Bill Bailey) help in making his life as difficult as he thinks it is.

And here is a list of books I’ve read recently that are in my black books:

Ian Rankin Even Dogs in The Wild – I like the character of Rebus but I find the stories too slow moving.

Paula Hawkins Girl on the Train  – disappointing ending.

BA Paris Behind Closed Doors – unsympathetic characters and totally unbelievable situation.

Nick Hornby Funny Girl – easy to read, fairly amusing romp through the TV industry in the 1960s, but I was disappointed by the ending (a common problem, I find!)

Linwood Barclay Final Assignment – a short story in the style of Harlan Coben. Disappointing from start to finish. But inspiring for a newbie writer as I thought, ‘Bloody hell, I could easily do better than that!’

Jodi Picoult Picture Perfect – 436 pages where I waited for something interesting to happen or a plot twist to arrive.  It didn’t.

Anyone in your black books lately?

 

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31 thoughts on “B is for Black Books. #AtoZChallenge”

  1. Black Books the TV programme was brilliant! There used to be a small bookshop in Northampton that was somewhat similar in that the two people who ran it just spent most of their time drunk and in the nearest pub, The Racehorse. When the programme came out it brought back happy memories!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you for the history here – I didn’t know it! I didn’t even manage to read Girl on the Train. I read the synopsis and found nothing likable about the characters and that was the end. The main one I remember giving up on was Stephen King’s Needful Things – I was 700+ pages in and just couldn’t get through the last few 100. That made my black books!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post. I’m with you 100% about Girl on the Train.

    I heard a joke once that seems appropriate for a Black Book.
    Doctor: I’m sorry, sir, but the test results came back. You do have rabies.
    (Man pulls out a pad of paper and begins writing furiously)
    Doctor: I understand. There are probably many people you would like to say good-bye to.
    Man: Good-bye? Hell, no! I’m making a list of people I want to bite.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the Black Books TV series. Recently I read the Jack Ryan original novels by Tom Clancy. They started off good, but soon became tiresome and far too long – they have entered my Black Book list!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the history of books. I remember that you could be in someone’s ‘bad books’ – not a book I ever wanted to be in as a child! In my list of black books I would include The Great Gatsby – it’s supposed to be a classic, but I just didn’t care about the characters. There will be many others in the list, but I can’t remember them just now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes it is true that many books have disappointing endings. As if the writer had an idea but then didn’t know where to go with that. Kind of reassuring for a lot of us who start writing something and then find it is not what we thought it would be.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely post!! I am finally reading the Harry Potter series and am halfway through the Order of the Phoenix…I needed something light after a series of wonderful, yet emotionally draining, books: Night Trilogy (E.Weisel), Beloved & Song of Solomon (Toni Morrison), and Enders Game (Ordonia Scott Card). I am catching up on books I’ve had for years and not read, dubbed ‘Recycled Reads’. The Potter series is a favorite of my oldest son, The Bibliophile, and I needed to be in the right head space for it. He’s currently re-reading ‘The Hobbit’, his favorite book. I’ll be moving on to the sequel of The Giver (Lowery) when I finish the Potter series,as I finally read that this year as well and consumed it. I also picked up a new-to-me Ray Bradbury book, Dandelion Wine, which I’ll get onto next month😊 So many books, so little time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent, lots of books to add to my reading list, thank you.

      I got to book three of Harry Potter but then had a baby and gave up…fifteen years later, I still haven’t picked them up again! I must admit, I think I prefer Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy to Harry Potter. His writing is fantastic. But, yes, so many books!!

      Liked by 1 person

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