Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 140335 times)

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1020 on: September 07, 2020, 08:59:22 PM »
Been reading Skeleton Crew, the short story collection by Stephen King, and just finished The Jaunt. Wow, that's the first story that's actually disturbed me. I can't really go into much detail without spoiling the story, but it's about teleportation. "Longer than you think!"

bgmnts

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1021 on: September 08, 2020, 12:05:53 AM »
Yeah Jaunt is great. I wonder if that story influenced the film Event Horizon.

I had a similar short story idea, before I read the king work, about the conscious perception of time (but in the context of death) and I may explore it someday without it being too derivative.

Thomas

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1022 on: September 08, 2020, 11:43:23 AM »
Wuthering Heights. I'd anticipated that it might be a bit of a slowey, but it's moving at a fair and charismatic pace. I'm only on chapter six or seven, and I've already had to consult a JPEG of family trees to orientate myself. Love ghosts, old houses, moors, Kate Bush.

I decided to give Kafka a go so started with The Metamorphasis. Seems good so far.

I bought a bundle of Kafkas a couple of years ago, and read a few of his books in a row. One thing that struck me about The Metamorphosis was its humour; the protagonist prosaically worrying about how he'll get to work now that he's inconveniently been transformed into a hideous bug-thing.

Artie Fufkin

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1023 on: September 08, 2020, 12:56:04 PM »
Been reading Skeleton Crew, the short story collection by Stephen King, and just finished The Jaunt. Wow, that's the first story that's actually disturbed me. I can't really go into much detail without spoiling the story, but it's about teleportation. "Longer than you think!"
Love that story so much. I love King's short stories. Cracking stuff.

Spoon of Ploff

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1024 on: September 09, 2020, 02:05:52 PM »
I've been reading and enjoying Alan Moore's Jerusalem and - ah fuck a 50 page chapter done in the style of Hob's Hog from Voice of the Fire... and I thought I'd be finished by Christmas.


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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1025 on: September 09, 2020, 03:06:46 PM »
I've been reading and enjoying Alan Moore's Jerusalem and - ah fuck a 50 page chapter done in the style of Hob's Hog from Voice of the Fire... and I thought I'd be finished by Christmas.

I gave that to a friend for his birthday two years ago and he joked about reading it "When he has sixth months off work", now that he has I really should check to see if has read it.

Artie Fufkin

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1026 on: September 09, 2020, 04:13:13 PM »
I gave that to a friend for his birthday two years ago and he joked about reading it "When he has sixth months off work", now that he has I really should check to see if has read it.
I've been reading and enjoying Alan Moore's Jerusalem and - ah fuck a 50 page chapter done in the style of Hob's Hog from Voice of the Fire... and I thought I'd be finished by Christmas.
Definitely want to read Jerusalem. Do I need to read Voice first?

bgmnts

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1027 on: September 09, 2020, 04:15:32 PM »
Jerusalem is a slog for me, even in audiobook form. Lots of interesting little stories though.

Spoon of Ploff

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1028 on: September 09, 2020, 07:26:13 PM »
Definitely want to read Jerusalem. Do I need to read Voice first?

Naw, but they both delve deep into Northampton lore, so its possible to get a little bit more from Jerusalem if you read Voice first.

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1029 on: September 11, 2020, 09:11:57 AM »
Klopp Actually by Laura Lexx - This pains me to write as I really like Lexx as a comedian, but I struggled with this. The premise is that just prior to the lockdown she wrote some fun if daft tweets relating to Jurgen Klopp's very sensible reaction to being asked about the pandemic (I'm a football manager, my opinion doesn't matter, go ask an expert) and she pretended they were married and she was enormously turned on by his rational way of thinking. The tweets were a hit and became enormously popular, and a book deal ensued. For the first thirty or so pages the book's fairly fun too, and she expands on the idea a little by bringing a child in to it all allowing her to make jokes about parenthood, but after a while it just gets painfully repetitious, the innuendo's that end each extremely short story / observation become tedious, and by the end I only finished the book as I was sent it to review, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered. 2/5

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1030 on: September 13, 2020, 06:52:03 PM »
I've been reading and enjoying Alan Moore's Jerusalem and - ah fuck a 50 page chapter done in the style of Hob's Hog from Voice of the Fire... and I thought I'd be finished by Christmas.

Is that the Lucia Joyce chapter?  That did take me about a month. 

Spoon of Ploff

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1031 on: September 13, 2020, 07:21:59 PM »
Is that the Lucia Joyce chapter?  That did take me about a month.

yep.

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1032 on: September 14, 2020, 09:36:14 AM »
Or Highlander, The Very Depressed Version, as a not quite immortal guy ages very, very slowly and lives for centuries, most of the time in a rather miserable fashion. It moves at a slow but enjoyable pace right until the end when it oddly rushes the finale in a strangely throwaway fashion with one contrivance occurring after another, all of which definitely could have been handled better, while the final few pages where the central character attempts to explain the meaning of life is all a bit patronising too, and it's a real shame as until then I was very fond of it. 3.25

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1033 on: September 15, 2020, 09:11:36 AM »
Or Highlander, The Very Depressed Version, as a not quite immortal guy ages very, very slowly and lives for centuries, most of the time in a rather miserable fashion. It moves at a slow but enjoyable pace right until the end when it oddly rushes the finale in a strangely throwaway fashion with one contrivance occurring after another, all of which definitely could have been handled better, while the final few pages where the central character attempts to explain the meaning of life is all a bit patronising too, and it's a real shame as until then I was very fond of it. 3.25

Oops, I missed the title out above, it's a review of "How To Stop Time by Matt Haig".

The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman
I loved Kaufman's novella "All My Friends Are Superheroes" but this is flimsy and lacking in substance in comparison, there's some fun ideas but they often feel a bit forced, the characters are poorly defined and the lazy ending could be seen a mile off. Worst of all is that it's ridiculously short, and took only an hour to read (with 30 pages of another novel by him added to the back of it to flesh it out), it's essentially a short story being sold as a full length book and at £6.99 it's a rip off. 2/5

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1034 on: September 16, 2020, 03:19:52 PM »
Sir Walter Raleigh's "The History of the World" (1614)

He wrote it in prison at James's pleasure.

The final chapter covers ancient Egypt... more recent history was apparently not considered important to the history of the world. Most of it seems to be biblical type history. I'm almost definitely skim reading most of this...

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1035 on: September 17, 2020, 07:35:23 AM »
Correction! What I was sold was, although over 400 pages long, merely the first of FIVE books that Raleigh wrote! Apparently the complete work would consists of some one million words... which in perspective is roughly 10 averaged-sized novels back to back.

I do wish I could buy the entire thing since so far I absolutely love the preface - which is long and hints at the more interesting, more "modern" history that comes after the end of this book. This first book is, to my chagrin, entirely a retelling of old testament biblical "history", which unfortunately I know next to nothing about.

I was a little outraged because I paid 15 euros for one fifth of the entire work, and I last night arranged immediately for a refund, but now I'm thinking I should keep it after all... it would be nice if they could make some money reprinting public domain books on demand like this, and did I really expect the equivalent of 10 novels for 15 euros? I suppose I should look into ways of bookmaking at home. How hard is it to print out your own booklet format pages and to give them some sort of rudimentary cover?

BritishHobo

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1036 on: September 27, 2020, 03:31:48 AM »
Halfway through Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz, second book in a series. I'm so excited by this guy's daft brilliant fun career at the moment. I've been a fan since childhood due to his versatile range of kid's books (spy thrillers, detective noir, epic fantasy), and now he's carving out a whole new niche as a purveyor of odd meta-crime series. He's got one series (containing The Word is Murder and The Sentence is Death) which mixes his real life with fiction, following Anthony Horowitz the author as a Watson-type foil documenting cases for a (fictional) detective, set against the backdrop of his actual real career.

And he has this other series, which started with The Magpie Murders. The main conceit of this series is it follows the literary agent of the creator of fictional detective Atticus Pünd, solving mysteries that the author left clues about in his novels. The main hook here is that each novel in the series also contains the fictional novel in full. Not just thd relevant bits, or whatever, but literally a complete second novel inside the first one. You have the 'real life' mystery set-up, and then the full two-hundred-page manuscript of the relevant Pünd novel-within-a-novel, before returning to the main plot, where the literary agent has to try to figure out what secret knowledge the author slipped into his novel, and what light it can shed on the mystery.

On paper it sounds unbearably wanky, but it's never navel-gazey or trying to be clever, it's just a really fun format written with a great sense of humour. They're not trying to be literary or experimental, just great compelling stories. Both series enable Horowitz to be really playful with his extensive experience in the UK publishing industry, and conjure up quite unique, twisty mysteries. He never takes his characters too seriously, always puncturing their meta nature in the story to show they are imperfect - or often that they're nasty pricks. The fictional author of the Pünd series - who is roundly considered to be a spiteful bastard by most other characters in the series - buries a lot of references to the 'real' mystery in his manuscripts, so it's a really fun, fresh experience reading through them trying to pick out clues. Horowitz has always been a proper talent at mystery stories, always a step ahead while tipping a wink that sends you poring back over what you've just read, certain you're overlooking a crucial clue. And with these two series he's breathing a new life into a genre that can feel fairly stultifying.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1037 on: September 27, 2020, 09:14:50 PM »
The only book I have read by him was that Sherlock Holmes one - House of Silk - that I found quite lame, mainly because I worked out what was supposed to be a huge reveal about halfway through. Might well try this though, could be something to read over Chrsitmas.

Did you bother with any of the Booker list this year?

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1038 on: September 28, 2020, 10:01:14 PM »
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray - An all rather special novel, it's the tale of the boys and teachers at what's supposed to be one of the finest schools in Ireland. And as the title reveals, one of them does indeed die, and the first 2/3 lead up to that event, with the final 1/3 dealing with it's repercussions. It's a rare work which is charming, funny and then brutal, and even more impressively it's also thoughtful and wise, and has a lot to say about the craziness of existence. 4.75/5

bgmnts

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1039 on: September 30, 2020, 06:53:07 PM »
Deciding to sack off Dostoevsky and going to get through my pile of non fiction, starting with a little baby book about Owain Gyn Dlwr.

Artie Fufkin

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1040 on: October 01, 2020, 12:42:59 PM »
Just getting into Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl. Brilliantly written. Not sure where it's going. Everyone's starving in the future. Huge agri-companies gene-ripping. That kind of thing. Set in Thailand. Hot! Elephant carnage!

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1041 on: October 03, 2020, 04:25:39 PM »
The only book I have read by him was that Sherlock Holmes one - House of Silk - that I found quite lame, mainly because I worked out what was supposed to be a huge reveal about halfway through. Might well try this though, could be something to read over Chrsitmas.

Did you bother with any of the Booker list this year?

I've not read his official sequels, like Sherlock or Bond. Not sure why, as I've consumed pretty much everything else he's done. I'm not totally sure how I felt about Moonflower Murders. I really love the formats of his two ongoing series, they make for really entertaining reads with some properly clever elements. There's something quite exciting to me about reading the full manuscript of the novel within the novel, and then afterwards having the literary editor protagonist talking about the  But the solutions don't always live up to the cleverness of the premise - in the case of Moonflower Murders especially, in which the solutions to both the central murder and the murder in the book-within-a-book feel a little underwhelming and don't take great advantage of the whole 'clues buried in the book-within-a-book thing'. In this book, MAJOR SPOILERS, the solutions are in both cases, the husband did it.

I think I'm not a huge mystery guy generally. It's such a tricky thing to get right. It's unsatisfying to me when you have all of these different elements set up regarding all of these different characters, and then at the end most of those elements by necessity have to turn out to be incidental.

Also there's an odd element with regards to homosexuality in the books that I'm a bit baffled by. In his other series, his fictional detective is a homophobe, much to the horror of the liberal quasi-fictional Horowitz (although this does come with a few 'got to be careful what you say these days' sections), but in this series I feel like the treatment of gay characters is a bit strange. Less so in The Magpie Murders, but in this they mainly seem to be a collection of deceitful, nasty perverts.

I've actually totally forgotten about the Booker Prize this year. Not even sure what's been nominated. Feels a bit odd. I've hamstrung myself with my stupid centenary blogs so I've not really had time for anything else. I'm done with blogging for a while after this. With reading the books for the posts, and my tendency for procrastination, it eats up so much of my time. I'm going to finally read The Mirror and the Light when I'm all done, and then maybe have a little scan through the list and see what people are rating. Are there any that have been major standouts for you?

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1042 on: October 04, 2020, 07:41:35 PM »
Sketches from a Hunter's Album by Turgenev

loaned to me by my brother 25 years ago, finally able for it and it's great, got fathers and sons lined up too

kalowski

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1043 on: October 04, 2020, 07:50:40 PM »
Just started Jules Feiffer's “Kill My Mother”.
This looks like my kind of graphic novel with delightfully sketched characters.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1044 on: October 06, 2020, 03:02:07 PM »
I've actually totally forgotten about the Booker Prize this year. Not even sure what's been nominated. Feels a bit odd. I've hamstrung myself with my stupid centenary blogs so I've not really had time for anything else. I'm done with blogging for a while after this. With reading the books for the posts, and my tendency for procrastination, it eats up so much of my time. I'm going to finally read The Mirror and the Light when I'm all done, and then maybe have a little scan through the list and see what people are rating. Are there any that have been major standouts for you?

Will post in the Booker thread...

Just finished Sarah Moss' Summerwater, which was great. Reminded me a little of Jon McGregor's interlacing chapters that focus on one narrator whilst also mentioning the book's other characters (I'm aware it's not a particularly new or original approach). It's about 5 or 6 families who all find themselves in a remote, damp caravan park in Scotland. Most of them don't want to be there, especially as there's no wifi and a very loud group of Eastern Europeans who party every night...

I really liked Moss's last book, Ghost Wall but haven't read anything else. Any recommendations?

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1045 on: October 12, 2020, 03:08:22 PM »
I just re-read the handful of George Smiley novels I have (the first few, and Legacy of Spies). I'm going to order a few more, but first off I am reading Spycatcher by Peter Wright.

I'm old enough to remember quite well the shit storm over its writing, but never bothered to read it. Then I noticed my late dad had a copy, so I retrieved it from the shelf before the house clearance people took it.

It's amazing. Glad I left it until now, because the perspective is what makes it. What terrible, terrible people they all are.

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1046 on: October 13, 2020, 06:49:23 PM »
The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
A gentle slice of life novel with a mix of wry and occasionally dark humour, as Nathan Glass moves to Brooklyn presuming it won't be long before he dies, if only as he has nothing to live for, but his surprise friendship with his nephew Tom and his great niece Lucy suddenly turning up on his doorstep looking for help changes everything. It's a lovely little read, not Auster's best but something I'm very fond of. 4/5

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1047 on: October 22, 2020, 09:12:13 AM »
Will post in the Booker thread...

Just finished Sarah Moss' Summerwater, which was great. Reminded me a little of Jon McGregor's interlacing chapters that focus on one narrator whilst also mentioning the book's other characters (I'm aware it's not a particularly new or original approach). It's about 5 or 6 families who all find themselves in a remote, damp caravan park in Scotland. Most of them don't want to be there, especially as there's no wifi and a very loud group of Eastern Europeans who party every night...

I really liked Moss's last book, Ghost Wall but haven't read anything else. Any recommendations?
I really liked The Tidal Zone, not quite as much as Ghost Wall, but still a lot. It's about a family where the eldest daughter has a heart hing. I found it very moving and it really captured a heightened version of relatable parental anxiety.

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #1048 on: October 26, 2020, 04:08:38 PM »
A Spot Of Bother by Mark Haddon - Very middle class antics where George has just retired and starts to panic that his recently diagnosed eczema may be cancerous, and his mental health suffers even more when he finds out his wife Jean is cheating on him. Meanwhile daughter Katie doesn't know if she should marry her fiancée Ray, and son Jamie has screwed up his relationship with his boyfriend Tony and is miserable about that, so all of their relationships are rather messy. It's a gentle affair but an often funny one, and these are an endearing bunch of characters I grew increasingly fond of. Well, bar Jean, she's rubbish from start to finish. 3.75/5

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