Author Topic: The All-New Books Thread  (Read 28732 times)

Twit 2

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #540 on: August 07, 2017, 11:25:05 AM »
I was looking into this and noticed that there's a second volume of Seedtime coming out in English later this month, which you might already know. I think I'd actually be more interested in his poems than the journals having seen some examples of both online. Do you know if the Selected Poems 'with' Derek Mahon translations comes with the French poems too? The look inside option is working for the wrong book.

Ooh, didn't know about volume 2. I wonder if they'll eventually put them together into one volume?
I have the Mahon translations, definitely worth getting (and yes it's a bilingual edition). I also have his stuff on Bloodaxe. I love Seedtime, maybe even prefer it to the poems themselves. In any case, he's a great poet far too unknown in the English speaking world.

BritishHobo

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #541 on: August 09, 2017, 09:45:13 AM »
I finished History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund today and I'm not really sure what to make of it. Parts were really really great but...

I won't say any more because I think at least 2 other people on here will be reading this soon(ish).

Finished! I'm with you, I think. It's given me a lot to think on, and I still need some time to digest it. But I'm not entirely sure. It reminds me a lot of last year's Eileen, and not just because they're both about a sheltered teenage girl in a lonely town getting caught up in something adult and complex. More because both seem to drag their feet about getting to the incident (its nature intentionally kept vague) they're loudly hinting at and foreshadowing.

How is Solar Bones? Gonna start that today.

billtheburger

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #542 on: August 09, 2017, 10:13:32 AM »
For August I've just done a double whammy of anti-American novels.

Pygmy - Chuck Palahniuk - was the view from an outsider. Read like it was written through google translate and in some places quick difficult to decypher and laborious. But it is really funny and scything. 4/5

Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - was the view from the insider. Flew through this as it is written as though someone who speaks English & writes in English. I hate how idiots use the title as an excuse to post food and drink and pussies on social media instead of discussing the book. 4/5

Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #543 on: August 09, 2017, 11:52:51 AM »
'Breakfast of Champions' I'm pretty sure was an advertising slogan for a breakfast cereal before Vonnegut used it, though.

billtheburger

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #544 on: August 09, 2017, 12:10:33 PM »
It was and it is specifically said twice in the novel.
Quote from: Vonnegut
The expression "Breakfast of Champions"  is a registered trademark of General Mills, Inc., for use on a breakfast cereal product. The use of the identical expression for the title of this book is not intended to indicate an association or sponsorship by General Mills, nor is it intended to disparage their  fine products.
A waitress attempting to solicit tips says the expression every time she serves a Martini.

Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #545 on: August 09, 2017, 01:28:05 PM »
Finished! I'm with you, I think. It's given me a lot to think on, and I still need some time to digest it. But I'm not entirely sure. It reminds me a lot of last year's Eileen, and not just because they're both about a sheltered teenage girl in a lonely town getting caught up in something adult and complex. More because both seem to drag their feet about getting to the incident (its nature intentionally kept vague) they're loudly hinting at and foreshadowing.

Yeah, there was a line in a (largely dismissive) Guardian review that said "Fridlund carries on meticulously dressing her traps long after they’ve been sprung", and I really agree with that and feel it was the major flaw with what is a really good debut. It's hard to discuss without Spoiler tags so I might comment on your blog once you've reviewed it.

How is Solar Bones? Gonna start that today.

It's hard work! I don't have the best attention span any more and the whole book being one long sentence means it's quite a struggle. There aren't even paragraphs and it really demands your full attention. I'm only a short way in to it and am going to persevere but so far it seems like a work I appreciate rather than like.

Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #546 on: August 09, 2017, 02:18:08 PM »
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemmingway. Classic case of 'wanted to like'. Was a mainly boring grind. 490 pages, maybe 150 where something actually happened. May have been fresh and exciting in the 1940s, not now.
 
Survivor  by Pahalniuk. Enjoyed but the nihilism stuff maybe getting a bit dated or clichéd now. Write your own Palahniuk:
" blah blah  TV blah blah Consumerism blah blah description of disease symptoms. ...blah ..blah menial jobs...etc

MoonDust

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #547 on: August 10, 2017, 11:47:18 AM »
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemmingway. Classic case of 'wanted to like'. Was a mainly boring grind. 490 pages, maybe 150 where something actually happened. May have been fresh and exciting in the 1940s, not now.

This is one of my favourite books. However the one thing I dislike about Hemmingway's writing is his dialogue writing is awful. Especially when it was Robert and Maria talking to each other. Toe-curling to read.

BritishHobo

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #548 on: August 10, 2017, 06:37:50 PM »
Yeah, there was a line in a (largely dismissive) Guardian review that said "Fridlund carries on meticulously dressing her traps long after they’ve been sprung", and I really agree with that and feel it was the major flaw with what is a really good debut. It's hard to discuss without Spoiler tags so I might comment on your blog once you've reviewed it.

It's hard work! I don't have the best attention span any more and the whole book being one long sentence means it's quite a struggle. There aren't even paragraphs and it really demands your full attention. I'm only a short way in to it and am going to persevere but so far it seems like a work I appreciate rather than like.

Oof, you're not wrong. I started reading late last night, thinking 'this is a nice, neatly structured prologue, I'll just finish this chapter'. Immediately discovered my mistake. I'm really intrigued by the idea, but it does seem like it could be another Satin Island; an interesting experiment, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #549 on: August 10, 2017, 08:05:31 PM »
Oof, you're not wrong. I started reading late last night, thinking 'this is a nice, neatly structured prologue, I'll just finish this chapter'. Immediately discovered my mistake. I'm really intrigued by the idea, but it does seem like it could be another Satin Island; an interesting experiment, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Ha ha! Yeah, it warms up a little but I don't find myself looking forward to it. I saw Fiona Mozley's entry in Waterstones today and that seems far more up my street, but will try and finish this first.

I was thinking today, when the shortlist is announced mid-September are you still going to read the ones that didn't make the final 6 (presuming you'll still have some of the 'losers' left to read)?

Twit 2

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #550 on: August 12, 2017, 11:55:04 AM »
Nan Shepherd - The Living Mountain

Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #551 on: August 12, 2017, 02:01:50 PM »
This is one of my favourite books. However the one thing I dislike about Hemmingway's writing is his dialogue writing is awful. Especially when it was Robert and Maria talking to each other. Toe-curling to read.

Yeah the entire romance plot was tedious. I the only bit that really gripped me was Pilar's story about the fascists being executed. That bit was really great and I thought we were getting started, but then it was back to the cave for another couple hundred pages... I liked some of the stuff with Pablo, the actual bridge attack was ok and liked the very end.  Could have cut a lot out and I would have enjoyed it more. Felt like a bit of a chore to read it for most of it.

BritishHobo

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #552 on: August 12, 2017, 02:42:43 PM »
Ha ha! Yeah, it warms up a little but I don't find myself looking forward to it. I saw Fiona Mozley's entry in Waterstones today and that seems far more up my street, but will try and finish this first.

I was thinking today, when the shortlist is announced mid-September are you still going to read the ones that didn't make the final 6 (presuming you'll still have some of the 'losers' left to read)?

Aye, I figured I might as well. I considered leaving some that I foresee being shortlisted until after the announcement, but I'm terrible at guessing, so I'll just have to see how it falls.

MoonDust

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #553 on: August 14, 2017, 10:29:42 AM »
Yeah the entire romance plot was tedious. I the only bit that really gripped me was Pilar's story about the fascists being executed. That bit was really great and I thought we were getting started, but then it was back to the cave for another couple hundred pages... I liked some of the stuff with Pablo, the actual bridge attack was ok and liked the very end.  Could have cut a lot out and I would have enjoyed it more. Felt like a bit of a chore to read it for most of it.

Yes Pilar's story of the revolution in her home town was gripping. Apparently it's based on real events which took place in a town called Ronda in the south of Spain.

But I think my favourite bit was El Sordo's last stand on the hill. The bit where Joaquin is rambling on about La Pasionaria as the planes are approaching, then immediately switches to saying the Hail Mary, even though he's a communist, so most likely atheist. Sent chills through me that did. Good example of someone suddenly trying to find hope in a God when staring death right in the face. But the whole scene is written flawlessly. Genuinely feels like you're there, with the constant description of the roar of the plane engines as they're getting closer and closer. Relentless.

The song "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica is about El Sordo's last stand. Not sure why that belongs as the opening theme to Zombieland...

hewantstolurkatad

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #554 on: August 14, 2017, 10:36:52 AM »
Robert Caro - LBJ 2: Means of Ascent
Again, like the Power Broker and LBJ1, this was mostly a great listen with some absolutely insane delving into details. For some reason Caro seemed to fall in love with LBJ's rival in the period covered, a pro-states rights racist in favour of keeping everything in the 19th century. Would've been entirely possible to tear into Johnson without the ridiculous overlooking of just how much of an old cunt this dude was. Having read over an absolute drove of responses (and Caro's retorts) over his coverage of this dude, I find it near impossible to grasp exactly what Caro's point was.




Also, thanks for the recs a few pages back guys! I've three or four of them reserved in the library right now, and another few added to my goodreads list.

Smeraldina Rima

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #555 on: August 14, 2017, 10:14:45 PM »
Has anybody read any David Jones? I'm currently enjoying, but also struggling with some of, In Parenthesis, 80 years old this year, based on his remembered experiences of the First World War but seen through the character John Ball and his battalion. It's known as an epic poem, but I've been surprised by how it's actually written. It could easily be considered a novel with some unusual present tense narrative and line disruption, and, at least in the first three parts, mythology doesn't need to disrupt a straight reading if that's what you want. Having said that, I've started to realise how much dense poetic allusion I've been missing and am not sure of the best way to use the notes at the back - only afterwards, at the end of the parts, or whenever a footnote occurs. I wanted to watch Owen Sheers' BBC documentary about this but it's no longer available.

Smeraldina Rima

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #556 on: August 15, 2017, 01:15:33 PM »

BritishHobo

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #557 on: August 17, 2017, 03:29:17 AM »
Finished Solar Bones. Took me eight days to read two hundred pages, but it was worth it. A beautiful experiment, might be my favourite off the longlist so far.

Not decided which to read next, may flip a coin. Hopefully I'll have a review for Reservoir 13 up tomorrow though.

Large Noise

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #558 on: August 17, 2017, 05:34:22 AM »
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemmingway. Classic case of 'wanted to like'. Was a mainly boring grind. 490 pages, maybe 150 where something actually happened. May have been fresh and exciting in the 1940s, not now.

I chucked this after about 100 pages, after loving The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast. I think there's something about his austere style that suits vaguely glamorous stories ('starving artist' is a type of glamour) but becomes a slog when the subject matter is bleak. Still intend to get round to A Farewell to Arms.

MoonDust

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #559 on: August 17, 2017, 11:27:55 AM »
I chucked this after about 100 pages, after loving The Sun Also Rises and A Moveable Feast. I think there's something about his austere style that suits vaguely glamorous stories ('starving artist' is a type of glamour) but becomes a slog when the subject matter is bleak. Still intend to get round to A Farewell to Arms.

If you think For Whom the Bell Tolls is a slog, you most certainly will think A Farewell to Arms is too. I liked For Whom the Bell Tolls, but it took me 2 months to read A Farewell to Arms. It was a massive slog, but I still wanted to finish it. Should have chucked it, really.


I'm halfway through Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. The first two parts about neolithic humans and the agricultural revolution was a very interesting read, and some ideas I'd read before in The Origin of Family, Private Property and the State by Friedrich Engels (which is definitely worth a read if you liked Sapiens and curious about reading further on primitive societies and where things like hierarchy comes from). However, I'm in two minds whether to carry on reading it. I'm currently reading the bit about empires, and I feel the writing style takes a downward turn once he starts writing about written history. Whereas the first two parts were in depth and backed up by numerous studies, the parts about empire are very shallow, hardly backed up at all, and seems to be more the author's opinions rather than anything grounded in fact.

Reading brief reviews of the book I'm not the first one to think this. At least two reviews say the book starts off good but then gets worse, with lazy writing and dubious assertions. It's kinda put me off reading the rest of the book, sadly. Should I persevere?

Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #560 on: August 17, 2017, 12:26:43 PM »
Finished Solar Bones. Took me eight days to read two hundred pages, but it was worth it. A beautiful experiment, might be my favourite off the longlist so far.

Not decided which to read next, may flip a coin. Hopefully I'll have a review for Reservoir 13 up tomorrow though.

I'm almost at the end now. Not quite sure what to make of it but whilst I definitely don't feel it's a favourite and enjoyed the Ali Smith and Jon McGregor books far more, it would be a deserved winner. I didn't find it particularly engaging - the bits about cement have been the most gripping so far - but it's not like anything I've read before. The 'plot' wouldn't really work without the form and the form wouldn't work with anything with a more driven story (if that makes sense) but I feel that neither form nor story made the book particularly enjoyable. Then again, I don't think it set out to be 'enjoyable' or whatever and I'm not sure that the prime consideration for Booker judges should be how good a story is.

BritishHobo

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #561 on: August 17, 2017, 12:44:46 PM »
I definitely think it's the first one to seem like a truly worthy winner to me. I've not been properly wowed by anything on the list yet; nothing has knocked or shaken me as heavily as The North Water did.

Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #562 on: August 18, 2017, 09:34:06 PM »
Blade Artist  by Irvine Welsh.
Was ok but the character wasn't Begbie. It just simply was not him.  Read the Xmas at the Begbie house story from Reheated Cabbage straight after and it ridiculous that we're supposed to buy that they're the same character. 
Cash-in on the Begbie name only. Will have to pretend this doesn't exist when re-reading the earlier stuff.

Serge

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #563 on: August 18, 2017, 09:48:52 PM »
Weirdly, before I read 'The Blade Artist', I thought that this would be a problem I'd have with it, believing that Begbie could change so radically. As it turned out, I thought it worked, and I liked the idea of Begbie as a calmer, nicer person. It's just a shame that Welsh couldn't stick with it for the duration of the book and had to go over the top with the ultraviolence (probably with one eye on a future film adaptation?), because I think it would have worked better if Begbie had stayed peaceful and someone else had done all of the violence. The torture scene near the end is completely gratuitous.

Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #564 on: August 21, 2017, 05:45:20 PM »
I see Karl Ove Knausgaard has a new release this week.  Did they ever release the 6th book of his my struggle series over here?  If not, presumably there's plans to?

Smeraldina Rima

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #565 on: August 21, 2017, 08:24:43 PM »
The last translation's due out Autumn 2018. In the meantime you might enjoy Thomas Bernhard's childhood and writer's life memoirs Gathering Evidence and My Prizes.

Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #566 on: August 21, 2017, 10:48:28 PM »
Finished Solar Bones. Took me eight days to read two hundred pages, but it was worth it. A beautiful experiment, might be my favourite off the longlist so far.

Not decided which to read next, may flip a coin. Hopefully I'll have a review for Reservoir 13 up tomorrow though.

I'm about half way through Elmet and, whilst it's enjoyable and entertaining, there is no way whatsoever that this is one of the best dozen English language works of fiction of the last 12 months. Imagine a Shane Meadows drama for primetime ITV and you wouldn't be far off. As I say, I'm enjoying it (as I would a Shane Meadows drama for primetime ITV) but it seems so 'standard' particularly after Solar Bones (the last few pages of which were fucking phenomenal).

BritishHobo

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #567 on: August 22, 2017, 01:42:43 AM »
Aw, right? I was loving it all the way, but that last section was devastatingly beautiful.

I'm almost done with Home Fire. Really vital, compelling story. Lot of mention of it being a reimagining of Sophocles, but even for a culturally-ignorant buffoon like me, who's never read any, it's still a bitingly urgent, complicated, layered, perfect little thing. Just absolutely spot-on. I've got about fifty pages left and I really hope it sticks the landing.

billtheburger

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #568 on: August 23, 2017, 04:03:42 PM »
Holiday tomorrow - stack of unreads:

Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.
Less Than Zero.
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.
Naked Lunch.

I'm leaning toward Bret Easton Ellis, but can be convinced.

Serge

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Re: The All-New Books Thread
« Reply #569 on: August 23, 2017, 08:24:18 PM »
'Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas' is one of my two favourite books of all time (the other being 'The Good Soldier Svejk'). 'Less Than Zero' is one of the few Bret Easton Ellis books I haven't read, so can't comment on that. Exactly the same situation for 'Something Wicked this Way Comes' and Ray Bradbury. 'Naked Lunch' isn't really a holiday read. 'Easy Riders...' is great.