Author Topic: Books [split topic]  (Read 90430 times)

sirhenry

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2010, 02:05:57 PM »
Slaughterhouse 5, the jolly tale of hiding in an abattoir in Dresden while we firebombed it to oblivion. A crackling read.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2010, 07:55:53 PM »
You might as well go with "Slaughterhouse Five", but if you want something a bit more science fiction-y "The Sirens of Titan" is a good one too. Or his short stories. Probably not "Breakfast of Champions" or any of his much later stuff.

I'm just finishing "The Ashes of Waco", which is a surprisingly level-headed account of all that David Koresh nonsense from a few years back. It's a rare thing indeed to find an author who manages to find the humanity of both sides of a conflict like that, without scrimping on the rotten things both did (although it's fairly clear where his sympathies lie).

non capisco

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2010, 05:54:12 PM »
You might as well go with "Slaughterhouse Five", but if you want something a bit more science fiction-y "The Sirens of Titan" is a good one too. Or his short stories. Probably not "Breakfast of Champions" or any of his much later stuff.

As well as 'Slaughterhouse Five', I'd also recommend 'Cat's Cradle' and 'Mother Night' as good starting points into Vonnegut. Both very strong standalone stories and not as self-referential as later stuff like 'Timequake' and 'Breakfast Of Champions', which are decent reads but are probably fairly impenetrable without foreknowledge of his earlier works, especially the former.

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2010, 10:06:32 PM »
I'm really tempted to buy a Kindle, at £149 they're not as steep as I had previously imagined them to be.  Worth the plunge?

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2010, 08:15:37 AM »
I think there's a thread on them here somewhere, people discussing the e-ink and all that shenanigans. I guess the poor answer is "depends".

Alberon

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2010, 08:42:40 AM »
I've got one of those Kindle things and it does work very well. Not as good as a real book of course, but pretty damn close. It is so small and light that it makes reading 900 page SF epics a hell of a lot easier on my wrists. The free web browser (while slow and limited in what it can show) on the 3G model is a good bonus.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2010, 04:47:36 PM »
Brief heads up for those that enjoyed The Corrections.  Jonathan Franzen's new novel Freedom is out on Thursday.  Word on it is overwhelmingly positive.

Serge

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2010, 07:38:23 PM »
Oh why do they do this to me? David Mitchell has a new novel out, too. I'll be scouring those charity shops in six months time.

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #38 on: September 19, 2010, 02:45:18 AM »
A nice way in with Dubliners is to read the two versions of the first story, The Sisters. The first one is his first published story, and it's the most accessible he ever got (by publisher's request he 'played to the common understanding for once') but ten years on he opens Dubliners with a very pared down version. Everything is gone but lyrical facts and perfectly pitched mimesis. I love Dubliners and I want you to too, and approaching it in this way does show you exactly what he's trying to do.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #39 on: September 19, 2010, 12:34:17 PM »
I'm trying to read "The Book of Dave" by Will Self at the moment, but I have wisdom tooth issues and the pain is making it difficult to concentrate on what is a book which demands quite a high level of it. I'm tempted to go back to the pile of unread comics on my shelf til the removal appointment, but that's not for a month. And where I live is shit for emergency dental stuff.

Apologies for drifting from the point. Self, if you're reading this you can use this on your next cover blurb - "difficult to read while waiting for your wisdom teeth to be removed".

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #40 on: September 21, 2010, 08:54:11 PM »
Rather than bump the old and mostly-ignored Thomas Ligotti thread:

http://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=16517.0

I thought I'd mention that I've just stumbled across this new publication, his first new work in many a year:



Quote

"The Conspiracy against the Human Race sets out what is perhaps the most sustained challenge yet to the intellectual blackmail that would oblige us to be eternally grateful for a 'gift' we never invited."
    --From the Foreword by Ray Brassier

"The Conspiracy against the Human Race is renowned horror writer Thomas Ligotti's first work of nonfiction. Through impressively wide-ranging discussions of and reflections on literary and philosophical works of a pessimistic bent, he shows that the greatest horrors are not the products of our imagination. The worst and most plentiful horrors are instead to be found in reality. Mr. Ligotti's calm, but often bloodcurdling turns of phrase, evoke the dreadfulness of the human condition. Those who cannot bear the truth will pretend this is another work of fiction, but in doing so they perpetuate the conspiracy of the book's title."
    --David Benatar,
    author of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence; Department of Philosophy, University of Cape Town, South Africa


Brrrr...icy.

Though $45 including postage is a bit steep - anyone up for splitsies?

vrailaine

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #41 on: September 21, 2010, 09:03:11 PM »

About halfway through Wait Until Spring, Bandini, the average chapter length is over 20 pages so I'm gonna struggle with it at some point. So far it's very good though, a lot better than I was expecting to be honest. Considering how great At The Dust was, I'm pretty happy that I took the risk of buying three other ones at once.
Funny how I read him initially cos Bukowski recommended him, but I've only read one Bukowski book... there's too many to choose from, I can never settle on a second one to read.

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #42 on: September 21, 2010, 09:36:36 PM »
Wait Until Spring, Bandini blew me away, I thought it was one of the best books about family life I've ever read. The others were OK but Arturo was such a dick that it got quite painful at times.

Serge

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #43 on: September 21, 2010, 11:47:46 PM »
Ah, The Bandini Quartet, another bugger sitting on my shelf waiting to be read...

non capisco

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2010, 11:14:03 AM »
but I've only read one Bukowski book... there's too many to choose from, I can never settle on a second one to read.

If you haven't read 'Ham On Rye' then I thoroughly recommend it.

Cambrian Times

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #45 on: September 22, 2010, 05:12:17 PM »
Am reading "The Trial" by Kafka at the moment, although I'm on a Discworld trip at the moment having found a massive cache of them at my library.

the midnight watch baboon

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2010, 05:23:29 PM »
I have recently finished City of Veils, by Zoe Ferraris. It's a top-notch murder-mystery set in Jeddah featuring a devout muslim desert guide helping the police and a sexy forensics tech solve the apparent murder of a washed up young lass on the beach. Follow up to the equally gripping Finding Nouf/Night of the Mi'raj (different titles around, same book).

Next I'll prolly go for the Cold Six Thousand as I work through the American Underworld series by Ellroy. Though the sentences look even shorter and stilted than in ...Tabloid.

Currently reading the new Mark Billingham (Maid Marian's Gary) book, da Tom Thorne thriller From The Dead. New Sky One series Thorne starts soon starring David Morrissey as Thorne in some of Billingham's earlier novels.

Cerys

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #47 on: September 26, 2010, 12:30:22 PM »
I've just read the original The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  The ending is unbelievably poignant.

Jemble Fred

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #48 on: September 26, 2010, 02:02:09 PM »
Let me just check – does the fact that I have just finished Ben Elton's 'Meltdown', and been rather impressed (with a fair few quibbles), and just started reading 'The First Casualty', make me some kind of philistine? Not that I've ever really been one to care whether people look down on my reading matter, I'm just interested in what the consensus may be on Ben's continued effort to be the modern Dickens.

icehaven

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #49 on: September 26, 2010, 02:47:37 PM »
I'll be scouring those charity shops in six months time.
Go to a library!!

Just finished Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, it's one of the most terrifying books I've ever read. It's better to know as little as possible about it before you read it, [spoiler]but the way it switches in the middle from being what it seems to be about into a completely different kind of story about something else, is incredible.[/spoiler] Fans of[spoiler] Kafka[/spoiler] should definitely give it a go. [spoiler]Eggers over emphasises what a good man he is and how simple and decent and hardworking the family are bit too much, but otherwise the tone is spot on, simple and factual and all the more effective for it.  [/spoiler]

Serge

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #50 on: September 26, 2010, 07:56:20 PM »
Go to a library!

I've already got shelves full of books myself that I haven't read, so that's probably not a good idea!

Blue Jam

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #51 on: September 26, 2010, 08:17:44 PM »
Just whizzed through Gatiss's novel, The Vesuvius Club.  Fine in so far as it goes, a derivative spy thriller which he was clearly writing with left-over plot strands from Sherlock (or vice versa?).  The plot is decent, if the predilections and vices of the hero are rather predictable.  A worthwhile holiday read.

Just finished this myself, I picked it up expecting to find another magnificent bastard but I was disappointed. I enjoyed it for the first few chapters and then found it ran out of steam and became a mediocre pastiche of the spy genre, following the adventures of a barely-disguised Mary Sue. Gatiss is no Jeremy Dyson that's for sure, and [spoiler]the Club of the title[/spoiler] just reminded me how much better-written Dyson's The Engine Of Desire was. I don't think I'll be bothering with the other books of the trilogy. That said I did admire [spoiler]"She said she could cut her wrists on my cheekbones"[/spoiler].
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 08:34:30 PM by Blue Jam »

vrailaine

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #52 on: September 28, 2010, 10:41:28 PM »
Question about Wake Up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames

[spoiler]Jeeves is imaginary, right? I assumed it at the time but a lot of reviews and things I'm reading here now don't seem to mention it... is it so obvious that it doesn't need to be mentioned?[/spoiler]

Cambrian Times

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #53 on: September 28, 2010, 10:52:52 PM »
Am reading the new Phillip Reeve book, Fever Crumb which is set a few centuries before the Mortal Engines saga. There are more than a few jokes at the expense of popular culture ie mention of Endemol Street, religious cults chanting "Hari Hari, Hari Potter" amongst others.

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #54 on: September 29, 2010, 03:53:55 PM »
I read Slaughterhouse 5 as my entry into Kurt Vonnegut.

I really think it is one of the best books I've read, plenty of great bits and left me thinking about it a lot. So what next - Sirens of Titan or Cat's Cradle?

vrailaine

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #55 on: September 29, 2010, 03:56:39 PM »
I read Slaughterhouse 5 as my entry into Kurt Vonnegut.

I really think it is one of the best books I've read, plenty of great bits and left me thinking about it a lot. So what next - Sirens of Titan or Cat's Cradle?
I thought Sirens of Titan was atrocious, worst thing I've read by him, proto-Vonnegut. Cat's Cradle is probably the best one to go with, but I preferred Mother Night and Breakfast of Champions.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #56 on: September 29, 2010, 04:16:55 PM »
I did an A-Level thing on "Sirens of Titan" and I seriously loved it back then. Haven't revisited it in the last 17 years, mind, so it might be one to read when you're younger.

I'd probably go for some of his short stories to ease you into Vonnegut waters. Or go the whole hog and read "Slapstick".

sirhenry

  • That worked out well...
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #57 on: September 29, 2010, 10:25:05 PM »
Having been reminded of it by the teleportation thread, I reread Larry Nivens' Flight of the Horse collection of early short stories. After the first few Svetz stories which are based on the idea of time travel to a misunderstood past, there are his first stories examining the social effects of the discovery of teleportation. There are murder detective, social studies and physics-based stories, all using the style he later perfected with Ringworld, etc. I'd forgotten how enjoyable his format is, where he starts with a basic premise and then explores the ramifications, whether they're social or scientific. It means that they all read as whodunnits, though more often it's 'why/how did that happen?'. Hugely enjoyable, but probably no longer in print. I read them when they were first publshed in F&SF in the early 70's and definitely remember more of them than are here.

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #58 on: September 30, 2010, 12:45:24 PM »
So what next - Sirens of Titan or Cat's Cradle?

I've never read Sirens, but I really enjoyed Cat's Cradle so I'd go with that.

Cambrian Times

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Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #59 on: October 01, 2010, 12:29:16 AM »
No libraries in Barnet stock Slaughterhouse 5. Outrageous!