Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 44912 times)

Artie Fufkin

  • Let Me In, Sparks
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #570 on: January 24, 2019, 09:18:48 AM »
I've just read Josh Malerman's Bird Box. I really enjoyed it, actually. I liked his style of writing. A couple of tense sections in there. A couple of obligatory stupid bits in there. And an ending that I wasn't frustrated with. It's a miracle !
Gonna watch the film over the weekend.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #571 on: January 24, 2019, 09:46:14 AM »
Reading Orwell's essays. Interesting - some of the subjects appear superficially to be current (English socialism, anti-semitism, imperialism, nationalism) but they're definitely products of their time.

Reading one now which is a critique of Dickens. It's quite provocative.

Black Ship

  • Where there is TEA, there is HOPE.
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #572 on: January 25, 2019, 02:27:59 AM »
Currently reading Scratchman, the adaptation of the "lost" Doctor Who film, by Tom Baker.

Yes.

Tom Baker.

I read "The Boy who kicked Pigs" and it had a rather grim sense of humour about it, so I have high hopes for this.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #573 on: January 25, 2019, 01:12:53 PM »
I'm working my way through The Beastie Boys Book. It's great so far.

Pingers

  • With the ill behaviour
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #574 on: January 29, 2019, 10:02:32 PM »
As the mighty non capisco says Happy Like Murderers will give you the right royal heebie jeebies, and then some. There’s something about the pure bumpkin cunning and practical barbarity of Fred and Rose that is terrifying on a whole other level. Gordon Burn went a bit troppo writing this one I seem to remember, and I can see why. The Wests were steeped in depravity, magnets for it. Mundane things became evil in their orbit. There’s a great (or, more accurately, fucking horrible) stretch in it talking about Freds fascination with excavations and being underground that has haunted me ever since I read it. It’s a very powerful piece of writing, incredible, really. I want to read it again and also never to have ever read it at the same time. Hannah Arendt called it the banality of evil, but Fred wasn’t just banal, he was a fucking dick head. A thick, smiley faced, gap toothed, frizzy haired, flares wearing, yokel illiterate tosser who also happened to be some kind of idiot savant for murder and abuse. He was also a fucking cowboy when it came to building work which just about puts the old tin lid on it as far as I’m concerned.

>bit in the middle<

1 I am aware that DFW did some horrible things and has subsequently been cancelled. And I'm not offering excuses for him. But the best thing about his cancellation is that the type of people who cancel people are exactly the type of people who would have bought that commencement speech they released as a little boutiquey gift book type thing and possibly even given it to other fucking plankton as a life affirming book of healing magic rather than the collection of half-arsed truisms that it was and would have since found themselves cancelled for promoting the thoughts and views of an author who has been cancelled by the very people they had gifted the book to. Thus the wheel of wokeness turns. Enjoy the ninth circle of hell you vindictive pricks.2

2 I've had to make my own little footnote things, for christ's sakes. There's your Brexit Britain, people. Coming down.         

Great stuff, as per.

Re: the cancellation of David Foster Wallace, it was interesting that the two most vehement diss pieces that I read about him were by people who were, by their own admission, properly into him before they found out all the shit about him. Like, properly into him in a way that's not really healthy. This person for example, tells us that

"His words climbed down into the pit with me and kept me company when I most wanted to die. I adored him for a couple years afterward. I read everything he had ever created, tracked down obscure, old interviews and radio segments on him from the early days of the internet. When I ran out of his own work, I read books that were tangentially about him — including Mary Karr’s Lit and The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides."

Now without wanting to sound too harsh, authors as a distinct subset of the population strike me as a bit of a strange bunch overall, with more than a few rum 'uns I would warrant. I mean, DFW wore that thing on his head all the time - bit of a sign, maybe? Perhaps think about whether this is the man you need to choose as your personal Jesus? I'm not sure why anyone would want to chuck their lot in with one of them, if I'm honest. Don't do that and you're already ahead of the game, I reckon.

So, old Devon Price there, he/they (writes itself, this stuff) thought DFW's writing was great before he/they found out what a shit he was. But that means it's still great writing, yes? Not that hard to separate the art and the artist really, is it. What we're being asked to participate in here is a self-cleansing ritual performed by someone who was a bit naive and went a bit overboard and now regrets that, but can't do that in private.

David Foster Wallace: great writer, proper cunt, wore a stupid thing on his head. There, job done. I'm available for book jacket reviews, thanks.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #575 on: January 31, 2019, 10:32:23 AM »
As the mighty non capisco says Happy Like Murderers will give you the right royal heebie jeebies, and then some. There’s something about the pure bumpkin cunning and practical barbarity of Fred and Rose that is terrifying on a whole other level. Gordon Burn went a bit troppo writing this one I seem to remember, and I can see why. The Wests were steeped in depravity, magnets for it. Mundane things became evil in their orbit. There’s a great (or, more accurately, fucking horrible) stretch in it talking about Freds fascination with excavations and being underground that has haunted me ever since I read it. It’s a very powerful piece of writing, incredible, really. I want to read it again and also never to have ever read it at the same time. Hannah Arendt called it the banality of evil, but Fred wasn’t just banal, he was a fucking dick head. A thick, smiley faced, gap toothed, frizzy haired, flares wearing, yokel illiterate tosser who also happened to be some kind of idiot savant for murder and abuse. He was also a fucking cowboy when it came to building work which just about puts the old tin lid on it as far as I’m concerned.
       

But at least he never shat himself in the Dublin Castle.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #576 on: January 31, 2019, 09:32:08 PM »
I've started A Confederacy of Dunces and I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far, it's hilarious! I imagine it's a firm CaB favourite.

non capisco

  • My valve is screaming for appeasement.
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #577 on: January 31, 2019, 11:56:54 PM »
I've started A Confederacy of Dunces and I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far, it's hilarious! I imagine it's a firm CaB favourite.

It's certainly a favourite of mine. I rate "My valve is screaming for appeasement!" as one of the funniest sentences I've ever read in my life, in context.

Pingers

  • With the ill behaviour
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #578 on: February 01, 2019, 07:59:23 AM »
I've started A Confederacy of Dunces and I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far, it's hilarious! I imagine it's a firm CaB favourite.

Pretty much a CaB set text I should think. "I. Abelman, Mongoloid, Esq" remains by favourite ever opening line for a letter. I bet Henry Root was kicking himself.

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #579 on: February 02, 2019, 01:24:39 AM »
Currently reading Scratchman, the adaptation of the "lost" Doctor Who film, by Tom Baker.

Yes.

Tom Baker.

I read "The Boy who kicked Pigs" and it had a rather grim sense of humour about it, so I have high hopes for this.

Sadly, it's a novel by James Goss based on Tom Baker's original script. I didn't actually know it was out yet, I'm not sure whether to read it soon, trying to slot it into my Who marathon (currently about four books from the end of the original TV run) or leave it until I've finished them all and then go back to it.

I got Wind / Pinball for Christmas, so I decided to use it as an opportunity to revisit Murakami after a few years. There are still a few I haven't read, but for the most part it's nice to be able to revisit these to see how much I remember and assess how the books hold up on a second read. I wasn't at all excited about Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, as it's a rare Murakami book that has a pivotal plot point, but that actually gave me the chance to read it from a different perspective which was very enjoyable, even if I do have a few quibbles with the structure.
I started Norwegian Wood yesterday. Being his most grounded novel, it seemed very dry in comparison with the preceding three, but I'm sinking back into it very nicely. I know it's almost a controversial novel in his canon because of its commercial nature, but it really is beautiful.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #580 on: February 02, 2019, 03:14:30 AM »

I got Wind / Pinball for Christmas, so I decided to use it as an opportunity to revisit Murakami after a few years.

I found these quite dull. I think Murakami only gets good with Wind Up Bird, which probably exposes how conventional I am. A lot of his earlier stuff is boring though, isn't it?

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #581 on: February 02, 2019, 11:31:56 AM »
Hear the Wind Sing is like a few chapters from a Murakami novel with all the plot-advancing chapters between removed. Pinball, 1970 is very intriguing, though, as you can almost witness him developing his style over the course of the book. It starts like its predecessor, but when it climaxes with the pinball machine scene you can almost see him realising the approach he should take in the future.

I like a lot of his earlier stuff, though. A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance are two of his finest novels, I think.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #582 on: February 03, 2019, 12:10:36 AM »
So, old Devon Price there, he/they (writes itself, this stuff) thought DFW's writing was great before he/they found out what a shit he was. But that means it's still great writing, yes? Not that hard to separate the art and the artist really, is it. What we're being asked to participate in here is a self-cleansing ritual performed by someone who was a bit naive and went a bit overboard and now regrets that, but can't do that in private.

David Foster Wallace: great writer, proper cunt, wore a stupid thing on his head. There, job done. I'm available for book jacket reviews, thanks.

Well, it helps if they're dead because then it means you aren't giving them money. Like, however much I think Chester Brown's a talented comics artist, since Paying For It suggests that he might spend his money on badgering sex workers into doing things they don't want to do, including potentially underage kids and trafficked women, I don't want my money to go into his pocket!

There is also the question of whether celebrating great abusive male artists take up the space and attention non-abusive great (perhaps, more often, not male) artists should be getting.

But I think everyone draws their own personal lines in the sand as a reader and consumer.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #583 on: February 03, 2019, 08:37:14 PM »

I like a lot of his earlier stuff, though. A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance are two of his finest novels, I think.

Oh yeah forgot about Wild Sheep Chase. I am dumb, ignore me.

Artie Fufkin

  • Let Me In, Sparks
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #584 on: February 07, 2019, 01:04:42 PM »
Finished George Saunders' Lincoln In The Bardo the other day, which I absolutely loved, once I'd gotten my head round his writing style. Brilliantly written, in fact.
I've now just started Helping The Witch by Tom Cox. I'd read a few good reviews for this book (a collection of old school horror stories), and the first started off really promising, but it's since gone somewhat *mweh*. I'll keep going with it for now.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #585 on: February 07, 2019, 03:41:28 PM »
Finished George Saunders' Lincoln In The Bardo the other day, which I absolutely loved, once I'd gotten my head round his writing style. Brilliantly written, in fact.
I've now just started Helping The Witch by Tom Cox. I'd read a few good reviews for this book (a collection of old school horror stories), and the first started off really promising, but it's since gone somewhat *mweh*. I'll keep going with it for now.


I read that just before Christmas, and, yes, it does go a bit off the boil. Some really good stories in there though.

Utter Shit

  • Snotty Bumstead
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #586 on: February 07, 2019, 04:16:21 PM »
Currently reading Zadie Smith's NW. About 50 pages in and it is absolutely rubbish so far. Written in a really irritating stop-start style. This is my first foray into non-comedy fiction for a long time and I am not impressed so far.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #587 on: February 07, 2019, 06:56:10 PM »
Kristen Roupenian's (of 'Cat Person' fame, contained within this collection) You Know You Want This. So far it's variable, but the first story felt properly bruising - which I think is worthy of some laudation. It's kind of like it R.D. Laing wrote Joyce Carol Oates stories.

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #588 on: February 07, 2019, 09:59:34 PM »
Currently reading Zadie Smith's NW. About 50 pages in and it is absolutely rubbish so far. Written in a really irritating stop-start style. This is my first foray into non-comedy fiction for a long time and I am not impressed so far.
Yeah, that's a great example of a book I really wanted to like and just couldn't get into at all. It's almost like she's intentionally stopping you from getting into it.

Alongside my Murakami re-read I'm going back to my other favourite author, Kate Atkinson, and working through her books in order. Started on Behind the Scenes at the Museum yesterday, and enjoying it as much as ever. The eve-so slightly odd reality and dry humour are spot on.

FerriswheelBueller

  • Golden Todger or
  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • Very tired. Sorry if my recent posts are shit.
    • I am antsy for baseball in the off-season.
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #589 on: February 09, 2019, 10:29:13 PM »
The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop.

An unhappy accountant immerses himself in his entirely fictional baseball league. Enjoying it so far, but you probably need to know a fair bit about the game to get the references so not for everyone. Supposed to have interesting philosophical themes later on but not really noticed anything so far...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Universal_Baseball_Association,_Inc.,_J._Henry_Waugh,_Prop.

The Complete Molesworth

I remember finding a stash of Molesworth books on a random bookshelf when I was about 10 and loving them. I got the full collection the kindle for about 4 quid and I’ve had a few cackles at the diagrams and references to ‘50s British culture already. Chiz chiz chiz, as any fule kno etc etc. Great fun.

Pingers

  • With the ill behaviour
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #590 on: February 10, 2019, 09:47:00 AM »
"Reality", sa Molesworth 2 "is so unspeakably sordid it make me shudder".

And he hadn't even seen CaB

Artie Fufkin

  • Let Me In, Sparks
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #591 on: February 10, 2019, 01:26:54 PM »
Edit : complete balls up

Artie Fufkin

  • Let Me In, Sparks
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #592 on: February 10, 2019, 01:30:25 PM »
The Complete Molesworth

I remember finding a stash of Molesworth books on a random bookshelf when I was about 10 and loving them. I got the full collection the kindle for about 4 quid and I’ve had a few cackles at the diagrams and references to ‘50s British culture already. Chiz chiz chiz, as any fule kno etc etc. Great fun.

Keep meaning to buy this. I remember my dad reading this to me back in the day, and loving it. Tho I think my dad enjoyed it more.

Artie Fufkin

  • Let Me In, Sparks
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #593 on: February 10, 2019, 01:32:25 PM »
Tom Cox’s book continues to be a little hit and miss. But I really really loved the last story I read in it. And not just because it featured a man wanking off to a goat.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #594 on: February 11, 2019, 08:04:03 PM »
A couple of chapters into Blake, by Peter Ackroyd.

Utter Shit

  • Snotty Bumstead
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #595 on: February 12, 2019, 11:12:49 AM »
Anyone able to recommend a few novels with interesting or original concepts? I know that is a very vague question, I only ask because I don't read much non-fiction and whenever I go into the bookshop looking for one I might like, it feels like 90% of them are whodunnits and I'm not that bothered about them. Doesn't have to be particularly high-concept, just something a bit more interesting than "person gets murdered, loads of red herrings, killer is established, motive, see ya".

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #596 on: February 12, 2019, 11:16:15 AM »
Anyone able to recommend a few novels with interesting or original concepts? I know that is a very vague question, I only ask because I don't read much non-fiction and whenever I go into the bookshop looking for one I might like, it feels like 90% of them are whodunnits and I'm not that bothered about them. Doesn't have to be particularly high-concept, just something a bit fresh.

If you like Sci-fi I’d go for a short stories collection by Philip K Dick. Bursting with wonderful premises and concepts that last just as long as they need to.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #597 on: February 12, 2019, 12:57:51 PM »
If you like Sci-fi I’d go for a short stories collection by Philip K Dick. Bursting with wonderful premises and concepts that last just as long as they need to.

Also, Robert Sheckley. He's a very funny version of Dick, in some ways. A fair few of his stories have concepts which are just as paranoid but are written with a lightness of touch that I don't think PKD reached often. I highly recommend his short story collection Store of the Worlds but if you're after novels exclusively his Dimension of Miracles might fit the bill too. It's great, although if you've read Hitchhikers you'll draw similarities. I think it's just that little bit better, personally.

purlieu

  • Woo-hoo, Lord Nimon!
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #598 on: February 12, 2019, 01:16:18 PM »
Anyone able to recommend a few novels with interesting or original concepts? I know that is a very vague question, I only ask because I don't read much non-fiction and whenever I go into the bookshop looking for one I might like, it feels like 90% of them are whodunnits and I'm not that bothered about them. Doesn't have to be particularly high-concept, just something a bit more interesting than "person gets murdered, loads of red herrings, killer is established, motive, see ya".
Most of yer mainstream novels are of the crime/thriller or "family that gets ruined by the return of a hidden secret" persuasions, but there's plenty of excellent stuff just under the surface. Here are some reasonably well known ones that are very much worth checking out that have some interesting / unusual ideas:

David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
Maruki Murakami - A Wild Sheep Chase
Kate Atkinson - Life After Life
Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies
Julian Barnes - England, England
Scarlett Thomas - The End of Mr. Y
Tom Holt - Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages

Utter Shit

  • Snotty Bumstead
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #599 on: February 12, 2019, 01:43:54 PM »
England, England sounds fantastic, cheers! I'm going to look into everything else that's been mentioned as well, thanks everyone (any more suggestions gratefully received too).