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Stout & Vetiver's books

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Kitty Flanagan's 488 Rules for Life

2 stars

Inspired by a certain Canadian lobster aficionado, Australian comedian and writer Kitty Flanagan, sets about to provide the reader with her Rules for Life. Through 488+ vignettes subdivided into a range of social settings and activities Flanagan provides sensible (?), but funny, advice and/or etiquette and in doing so skewers the idea that something so complex as life could be dealt with in only 12. However, the joke wears thin fairly quickly.

By chance I saw Flanagan's stand-up show around the time I picked up book from an op-shop. Many of the themes and jokes from the book get a run in her show and they just come off better and funnier in the live environment. So, give the book a miss and catch any of Flanagan's shows would be my recommendation.

For fans of Fisk.

Mikkeller's book of beer

2 stars

Bit of a strange one this book. Probably meant as a coffee table book and not suited to the ebook format I read it in. What you have here is a tome by Mikkel Bjergso of Mikeller beer fame ( . The book is part autobiography, part business study, part beer appreciation guide, and part home brew beer manual. It doesn't really do any one part justice. There are plenty of better books to learn about brewing beer at the DIY level or what vessel to serve which style of beer in but what really could have been valuable here was Bjergso's knowledge of brewing at commercial scale, beer design, the business of beer, and of course his own history in beer. All of these topics are touched on but not enough to satisfy the reader.

The Night Circus (Paperback, 2012, Vintage Books, Random House Export Editions) 4 stars

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday …

The Night Circus

3 stars

A pretty fairy-tale about a pointless magical duel conducted over an extended period of time at a circus that is both real and surreal.

There is romance, manipulation and illusion as the central characters, unbeknownst to them, fight out some proxy war over theories in learning magic.

It's an enjoyable fantasy but I found it easy to put the book down and forget about it for a while. I wasn't fully immersed in the fable nor invested in the characters.