Saturday, March 01, 2008


Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast Pillow Book by Bill Richardson

Monday, December 10, 2007

Canadian Book Challenge: Manitoba
This hilarious book is the the third in a series about twin brothers living on a island, who turn their home into a bed and breakfast for readers. Sounds appealing, doesn't it? Don't ask me why I started with No. 3, but I fully intend on reading the other two as soon as I can get my hands on them. The brothers, Virgil and Hector, are over fifty and wonderfully eccentric. Actually, all the characters in this delightful novel are, well, characters. There's Hector's girlfriend, Altona, who paints his toenails while he sleeps; Caedmon Harker, the handyman; Mrs. Rochester, the parrot who has a fitting quote or scripture for every situation; as well as neighbors, past patrons who write letters, and interesting pets. Then there are the quotes from a local deceased author's book, "Hygiene for Boys." Don't read this poem if the subject of zits makes you queasy:
When you find a pimple, lads,
You mustn't make a fuss,
Although I know you're eager, boys,
To see that gush of pus.
Leave the nasty welt alone--
Don't give the thing a squeeze.
And if temptation proves too great,
Then wipe the mirror, please.
So I was totally grossed out, but rolling on the floor laughing. Along with the chuckles and guffaws, I enjoyed Richardson's style of writing. He uses such a wonderful variety of words, words that I knew and understood, but don't come across very often. I wish I had such a awesome command of the language. Here are some passages of the many that I particularly responded to:
From the chapter: Hector's books for bathroom browsing ----- "There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't seek to enliven the time we spend attending to the baser dictates of biology. Nor is there any reason why we shouldn't feed, or a least tickle, the mind while we disabuse ourselves of the slag for which the body has no further use. A good bathroom book (as opposed to a good bathtub book, which is something else altogether) should be provocative, enduring, entertaining, educational, and sufficiently pithy that it can be absorbed in brief spurts. It should be easy to put down and inviting to come back to, but not so enthralling that it keeps the reader enthroned for hours at a stretch, mindless of the queue that might be forming outside the door."
Virgil's rant about the world's move away from sentimentaility: "When did "sentimental" become a perjorative barb? I do not at all share the notion that a piece of music, or a poem, or a film that bypasses the brain and aims straight for the heart, and canvasses for an emotional rather than an intellectual response, should automatically be heaped with scorn. I think it is symptomatic of a sad and dangerous impoverishment of spirit."
After many years, Hector conquers the hula hoop: On this frabjous day I won an unexpected victory and made the wounded welkin ring with raucous cries of praise and thanksgiving. Glory be! Hallelujah! Laud creation! Hot damn! Given that no historian will consider my accomplishment worthy of attention, and as I am certain it will rate not even a footnote in the eventual annals of these, our perilous times, I will set down the news here. Perhaps some future curiousity seeker will read it and be coaxed haltingly to the understanding that the thunderous, flesh-tearing, terrain-sundering doings of the generals and industrialists are not what power the turning of the planet, but rather the dull, quotidian and largely overlooked progressions of ordinary pilgrims."
Along with these marvelous passage are some great chapters that I must mention: A letter from a former guest who tells of the bittersweet experience of visiting his childhood home to find his parents have changed everything; Virgil's books for baby Matirna's first five years; the letter from a woman whose bookclub had recently visited the B & B; and Hector's chapter, "A dishwasher is a wonderful thing." BBBPB was such a fun book to read, with memorable gentle characters, and beautiful writing. I recommend it for when you need something lighthearted and funny.
Rating: 4.75
Posted by Framed at 9:48 PM

Candleman said...
Great little poem, I'm going to have to memorize that one.
12/11/2007 4:54 AM
Cassie said...
This sounds like a fun read, I'll have to borrow it from you, so no mooching.
12/11/2007 8:52 AM
Carrie K said...
Oh, I'd forgotten about these books! Or more properly, I didn't realize there were more.
12/11/2007 6:07 PM
Stephanie said...
This is one of the books I want to read for this challenge. I liked the Title!! Sounds like a good one!
12/12/2007 10:13 AM
Les said...
I loved the first in the series, but didn't care too much for the sequels. If you loved this one, you're in for quite a treat (and lots of laughs) with the first. Enjoy!
12/12/2007 5:00 PM
John Mutford said...
Your the second participant to go for this book this month. I agree it's a funny book- and one most booklovers would be into.
12/12/2007 7:37 PM
Nan - said...
I think I am the other one John means, but I didn't read the third; I read the first. Speaking just for me, the second and third were too "over the top" for me. I preferred the more serious tone of the first book, though there was humor, it wasn't quite so broad.

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