Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 129031 times)

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #960 on: July 09, 2020, 04:40:07 PM »
It occurs in a lot of Scottish place names, e.g. the Water of Leith (the small river that flows through Edinburgh). Not sure if this ever occurs south of the border.

I’ve never heard it used in this sense as a stand-alone noun, though.

I dated its disappearance a bit too far forward by the way. The glossary says: 'This was still done in Ireland fifty years ago. See "William Allingham's Diary," 1907, p. 46.' But this is a publication date and looking at that diary entry it was written on March 15, 1849:

Quote
Ballyshannon. Plant ivy round the Old Barrack ruins, accompanied by three pairs of slate castanets. Walk through fields at Coolcolly, with sycamores, green mounds, and rillet hid within a hedge, a place of mysterious beauty to me in old old days of childhood; and so across the Abbey river, round Legaltion Lough, and home. Mem.: the word 'brook' not used here: they say 'river' or 'water'; and 'water' is also applied to large streams. After dinner down the Mall; boys with hoops leaping wall. Aboard Kent. Sailors on boat, a coarse and reckless set. 

Small Man Big Horse

  • Member
  • **
  • Writers wanted for comedy website, pls click below
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #961 on: July 09, 2020, 10:59:33 PM »
French Exit by Patrick DeWitt - A very arch comedy of manners concerning a mother and son and their close and often sweet friendship, half way through the novel it becomes darker when it becomes increasingly clear that she intends to commit suicide now that she's almost lost everything and been forced to move to Paris to live in a friend's apartment for free. It has an unusual cast of supporting characters, a nicely odd fantastical element when it's suggested that their cat Small Frank is possessed by the long deceased husband/father, and DeWitt imbues his characters with many a superb turn of phrase, making them often very funny. While I'm not quite certain about the ending, it's a book which made me laugh out loud a good deal, and as a whole it's another novel by DeWitt that I'm very fond of.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #962 on: July 10, 2020, 10:20:57 AM »
French Exit by Patrick DeWitt - A very arch comedy of manners concerning a mother and son and their close and often sweet friendship, half way through the novel it becomes darker when it becomes increasingly clear that she intends to commit suicide now that she's almost lost everything and been forced to move to Paris to live in a friend's apartment for free. It has an unusual cast of supporting characters, a nicely odd fantastical element when it's suggested that their cat Small Frank is possessed by the long deceased husband/father, and DeWitt imbues his characters with many a superb turn of phrase, making them often very funny. While I'm not quite certain about the ending, it's a book which made me laugh out loud a good deal, and as a whole it's another novel by DeWitt that I'm very fond of.

I really enjoyed this one as well - and I just saw on Twitter that it's going to be a film. Which could be appalling, of course.

An interview I read with DeWitt around the time of French Exit's publication led me to read Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, which I thoroughly recommend, particularly a specific scene with Mrs Bone and her worries about the menace of birds.

Small Man Big Horse

  • Member
  • **
  • Writers wanted for comedy website, pls click below
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #963 on: July 10, 2020, 08:09:02 PM »
I really enjoyed this one as well - and I just saw on Twitter that it's going to be a film. Which could be appalling, of course.

Hmmm, yeah, not sure about the film idea at all, it could work but only with the right cast, and they better not give it a happy ending either!

Quote
An interview I read with DeWitt around the time of French Exit's publication led me to read Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, which I thoroughly recommend, particularly a specific scene with Mrs Bone and her worries about the menace of birds.

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll definitely keep an eye out for that when I'm charity shop shopping.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #964 on: July 10, 2020, 10:20:07 PM »
"The Memory Police" by Yoko Ogawa

Written in the 90s but not translated into English until this year (I think, at least), it's incredible. Sort of like if Albert Camus had written a fantasy novel about state repression making peoples' memories literally disappear. I don't know if I liked it or not, but there were some beautiful bits. 

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #965 on: July 11, 2020, 03:18:24 AM »
Just finished The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima, loosely based on the burning of a 500+ year old temple in Kyoto in 1950. A great deal of obsession with and introspection on the nature and impermanence of beauty, with a large amount of misanthropy besides. Thought it was a very interesting book.

Currently on to Joseph Conrad's Nostromo.

Small Man Big Horse

  • Member
  • **
  • Writers wanted for comedy website, pls click below
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #966 on: July 14, 2020, 10:07:42 PM »
No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July - I was very fond of her novel The First Bad Man but this was less satisfying. Nearly all of the short stories in the collection revolve around unusual individuals struggling with loneliness, whether they're in a relationship or not, and though there's some tales that I enjoyed a lot, with one about a woman obsessed with Prince William being especially weirdly amusing, others don't really go anywhere or don't have anything to say that July hasn't already written about elsewhere. Too many of the characters sound nigh on identical to each other as well, no matter their age or sex, July has a slight obsession with adults being obsessed with children / teenagers in a sexual way that made me feel uncomfortable, and again it's the repetitious nature of such an idea without her really saying anything insightful on the subject which made me wonder why it's a recurring theme, and though it definitely has some merit I wish there had been a little more variation in the ideas and themes she explores.


samadriel

  • WHA' HAPPEN?
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #967 on: July 15, 2020, 12:10:25 PM »
I'm reading "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond at the moment, currently up to the slaughter in South America by the Spanish against Atahualpa.  It's amazing the sheer level of domination they seemed to gain solely from horses and firearms -- that's to be expected, but the sheer disparity of numbers should surely have given the 'Indians' some advantage!  But it seems not.

Perhaps when I've finished this, I'll have a go at 'Collapse', which is a similarly famous JD book... on the other hand, I'm sick of reading most tomes by futurists and anthropologists and so on which will depress me -- I feel I'm sufficiently informed to do the maximum good I'm capable of as a single person, I don't need to hear anything new about how we're off to hell in a handbasket.

Last year I was reading the creatively titled "Open Borders" by Bryan Caplan and Zach Weinersmith, which was in some ways depressing because it described so many good ideas that are politically impossible, but was heartening in that it broached the subjects at all, which is the first step in making change.  As the title suggests, it's about the consequences of completely open national borders.  A few years back I recommended on here ZW's other book with his wife Kelly, "Soonish", which is a book about imminent technologies, what stands in their way, and what will make some of them a Big Deal.  That book has resonated with me over and over as I've watched and read various works of science fiction, most recently the Greg Daniels series Upload; it wasn't so much the central conceit of uploading minds that synced with the book, but the issues of AI in driverless cars, which are an important plot point in that show.  Again, I recommend "Soonish".

Small Man Big Horse

  • Member
  • **
  • Writers wanted for comedy website, pls click below
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #968 on: July 21, 2020, 02:51:48 PM »
Benighted by J.B. Priestley - A horror novel written in the 1920's that sees a group stuck in a weird old house thanks to a torrential downpour, all are unsettled as they feel it has an odd and strange atmosphere from the moment they arrive. It's a tale which builds nicely but the ending is shit, a very disappointing affair where it turns out that the only bad thing about the house is that one of the inhabitants is a mental bastard, yes he is responsible for the murder of one of the characters but he's then dispatched with remarkably quickly, and this would have been a lot more effective if he'd featured in it a lot more.  6.1/10

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #969 on: July 23, 2020, 12:57:33 AM »
Half way through Magnus Mills's latest, sad to see it is self published, the back cover simply (and rather bleakly) says the author was nominated for the booker prize in 1998. It's his weakest effort I'd say.

I'm working my way through all the long-form journalism I can find by William Langewiesche, mostly in the atlantic or vanity fair. Reading this grim article (by another writer) sent me on an aviation binge, and I somehow ended up finding his investigative analyses of air disasters. Compelling.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/a3115/what-really-happened-aboard-air-france-447-6611877/

This is him on MH370
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/07/mh370-malaysia-airlines/590653/

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #970 on: July 25, 2020, 03:56:08 AM »
Just finished The Wastelands by Stephen King.

I'm pleasantly surprised that these Dark Tower books gotten better with each installment so far.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #971 on: July 25, 2020, 07:43:25 AM »
Currently reading The Golden Calf by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov and and it's really funny.
I don't read many comedy novels but I remember being rather disappointed by A Confederacy of Dunces which is often cited as one of the best, but this has aged really well for a Soviet novel from the early 30s and is inventive and playful. Apparently they travelled across America during the Great Depression and wrote a book about it that I'd be interested to read.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #972 on: July 26, 2020, 06:14:31 PM »
Fuck, I lost Wizard and Glass in NYC, I forgot.

I am a completist usually but read the synopsis and saw 850 odd pages of mostly flashback and thought fuck is that necessary?

So i'm skipping straight to The Wolves of Calla. Will I be missing out?

Also, fuck me these are fucking massive aye. I'm okay with standalone epics like The Stand being massive but these entries in a full seven part series take the piss a bit don't they?

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #973 on: July 26, 2020, 09:38:30 PM »
Edit - I ain't letting King win like this!

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #974 on: July 26, 2020, 10:29:34 PM »
I read The Vicar of Wakefield and enjoyed a few parts about grief, elegies and sudden depression. In the part below, the vicar describes the happiness to be found in having children before hearing that one of his children is stolen away. He quickly becomes depressed:

Quote
‘But let us have one bottle more, Deborah, my life, and Moses give us a good song. What thanks do we not owe to heaven for thus bestowing tranquillity, health, and competence. I think myself happier now than the greatest monarch upon earth. He has no such fire-side, nor such pleasant faces about it. Yes, Deborah, we are now growing old; but the evening of our life is likely to be happy. We are descended from ancestors that knew no stain, and we shall leave a good and virtuous race of children behind us. While we live they will be our support and our pleasure here, and when we die they will transmit our honour untainted to posterity. Come, my son, we wait for a song: let us have a chorus. But where is my darling Olivia? That little cherub’s voice is always sweetest in the concert.’—Just as I spoke Dick came running in. ‘O pappa, pappa, she is gone from us, she is gone from us, my sister Livy is gone from us for ever’—‘Gone, child’—‘Yes, she is gone off with two gentlemen in a post chaise, and one of them kissed her, and said he would die for her; and she cried very much, and was for coming back; but he persuaded her again, and she went into the chaise, and said, O what will my poor pappa do when he knows I am undone!’—‘Now then,’ cried I, ‘my children, go and be miserable; for we shall never enjoy one hour more. And O may heaven’s everlasting fury light upon him and his! Thus to rob me of my child! And sure it will, for taking back my sweet innocent that I was leading up to heaven. Such sincerity as my child was possest of. But all our earthly happiness is now over! Go, my children, go, and be miserable and infamous; for my heart is broken within me!’

This part concerns the appropriate emotions and subjects for contemporary elegies:

Quote
It was within about four days of her intended nuptials, that my little family at night were gathered round a charming fire, telling stories of the past, and laying schemes for the future. Busied in forming a thousand projects, and laughing at whatever folly came uppermost, ‘Well, Moses,’ cried I, ‘we shall soon, my boy, have a wedding in the family, what is your opinion of matters and things in general?’—‘My opinion, father, is, that all things go on very well; and I was just now thinking, that when sister Livy is married to farmer Williams, we shall then have the loan of his cyder-press and brewing tubs for nothing.’—‘That we shall, Moses,’ cried I, ‘and he will sing us Death and the Lady, to raise our spirits into the bargain.’—‘He has taught that song to our Dick,’ cried Moses; ‘and I think he goes thro’ it very prettily.’—‘Does he so,’ cried I, then let us have it: where’s little Dick? let him up with it boldly.’—‘My brother Dick,’ cried Bill my youngest, ‘is just gone out with sister Livy; but Mr Williams has taught me two songs, and I’ll sing them for you, pappa. Which song do you chuse, the Dying Swan, or the Elegy on the death of a mad dog?’ ‘The elegy, child, by all means,’ said I, ‘I never heard that yet; and Deborah, my life, grief you know is dry, let us have a bottle of the best gooseberry wine, to keep up our spirits. I have wept so much at all sorts of elegies of late, that without an enlivening glass I am sure this will overcome me; and Sophy, love, take your guitar, and thrum in with the boy a little.’

An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog.

Good people all, of every sort,
Give ear unto my song;
And if you find it wond’rous short,
It cannot hold you long.

In Isling town there was a man,
Of whom the world might say,
That still a godly race he ran,
Whene’er he went to pray.

A kind and gentle heart he had,
To comfort friends and foes;
The naked every day he clad,
When he put on his cloaths.

And in that town a dog was found,
As many dogs there be,
Both mungrel, puppy, whelp, and hound,
And curs of low degree.

This dog and man at first were friends;
But when a pique began,
The dog, to gain some private ends,
Went mad and bit the man.

Around from all the neighbouring streets,
The wondering neighbours ran,
And swore the dog had lost his wits,
To bite so good a man.

The wound it seem’d both sore and sad,
To every Christian eye;
And while they swore the dog was mad,
They swore the man would die.

But soon a wonder came to light,
That shew’d the rogues they lied,
The man recovered of the bite,
The dog it was that dy’d.

‘A very good boy, Bill, upon my word, and an elegy that may truly be called tragical. Come, my children, here’s Bill’s health, and may he one day be a bishop.’

‘With all my heart,’ cried my wife; ‘and if he but preaches as well as he sings, I make no doubt of him. The most of his family, by the mother’s side, could sing a good song: it was a common saying in our country, that the family of the Blenkinsops could never look strait before them, nor the Huginsons blow out a candle; that there were none of the Grograms but could sing a song, or of the Marjorams but could tell a story.’—‘However that be,’ cried I, ‘the most vulgar ballad of them all generally pleases me better than the fine modern odes, and things that petrify us in a single stanza; productions that we at once detest and praise. Put the glass to your brother, Moses.—The great fault of these elegiasts is, that they are in despair for griefs that give the sensible part of mankind very little pain. A lady loses her muff, her fan, or her lap-dog, and so the silly poet runs home to versify the disaster.’


It reminded me of the parts in The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman where Tristram's father, Walter, deals with his different levels of grief and dismay by going upstairs or by going out to the fish-pond for consolation.

Quote
When the misfortune of my Nose fell so heavily upon my father’s head;—the reader remembers that he walked instantly up stairs, and cast himself down upon his bed; and from hence, unless he has a great insight into human nature, he will be apt to expect a rotation of the same ascending and descending movements from him, upon this misfortune of my NAME;—no.

The different weight, dear Sir——nay even the different package of two vexations of the same weight——makes a very wide difference in our manner of bearing and getting through with them.——It is not half an hour ago, when (in the great hurry and precipitation of a poor devil’s writing for daily bread) I threw a fair sheet, which I had just finished, and carefully wrote out, slap into the fire, instead of the foul one.

Instantly I snatch’d off my wig, and threw it perpendicularly, with all imaginable violence, up to the top of the room—indeed I caught it as it fell——but there was an end of the matter; nor do I think any think else in Nature would have given such immediate ease: She, dear Goddess, by an instantaneous impulse, in all provoking cases, determines us to a sally of this or that member—or else she thrusts us into this or that place, or posture of body, we know not why——But mark, madam, we live amongst riddles and mysteries——the most obvious things, which come in our way, have dark sides, which the quickest sight cannot penetrate into; and even the clearest and most exalted understandings amongst us find ourselves puzzled and at a loss in almost every cranny of nature’s works: so that this, like a thousand other things, falls out for us in a way, which tho’ we cannot reason upon it—yet we find the good of it, may it please your reverences and your worships——and that’s enough for us.

Now, my father could not lie down with this affliction for his life——nor could he carry it up stairs like the other—he walked composedly out with it to the fish-pond.

Had my father leaned his head upon his hand, and reasoned an hour which way to have gone——reason, with all her force, could not have directed him to any think like it: there is something, Sir, in fish-ponds——but what it is, I leave to system-builders and fish-pond-diggers betwixt ’em to find out—but there is something, under the first disorderly transport of the humours, so unaccountably becalming in an orderly and a sober walk towards one of them, that I have often wondered that neither Pythagoras, nor Plato, nor Solon, nor Lycurgus, nor Mahomet, nor any one of your noted lawgivers, ever gave order about them.

Quote
The moment he got home, the weight of his afflictions returned upon him but so much the heavier, as is ever the case when the staff we lean on slips from under us.—He became pensive—walked frequently forth to the fish-pond—let down one loop of his hat——sigh’d often——forbore to snap—and, as the hasty sparks of temper, which occasion snapping, so much assist perspiration and digestion, as Hippocrates tells us—he had certainly fallen ill with the extinction of them, had not his thoughts been critically drawn off, and his health rescued by a fresh train of disquietudes left him, with a legacy of a thousand pounds, by my aunt Dinah.

I didn't realise until looking up these similarly 'tragical' extracts from Tristram Shandy that The Vicar of Wakefield was written at about the same time: The Vicar of Wakefield 'written from 1761 to 1762 and published in 1766'; Tristram Shandy 'published in nine volumes, the first two appearing in 1759, and seven others following over the next seven years (vols. 3 and 4, 1761; vols. 5 and 6, 1762; vols. 7 and 8, 1765; vol. 9, 1767)'.

I also liked the part at the end of The Vicar of Wakefield where the vicar puts what he's learned together and considers the different value of heaven for fortunate and unfortunate people. I read somewhere that it was recommended as good and healthy bedtime reading for being a quiet novel.

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #975 on: July 26, 2020, 11:48:58 PM »
‘Lady into Fox’ by David Garnett was mentioned on one of the book programmes last week, I had never heard of it but it’s a cracker.  A man goes out for a walk with his wife and pnoomph she turns into a fox!  The rest of the story is about how he copes and how it gets resolved.  Very, very funny without getting too farcical and brilliantly compact (86 pages even on the big font), well worth a go.

Free download, costing absolutely nothing.

Radio 4 discussion.

shagatha crustie

  • Don't do to me what you did to America
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #976 on: July 28, 2020, 01:09:25 PM »
Fuck, I lost Wizard and Glass in NYC, I forgot.

I am a completist usually but read the synopsis and saw 850 odd pages of mostly flashback and thought fuck is that necessary?

So i'm skipping straight to The Wolves of Calla. Will I be missing out?

Also, fuck me these are fucking massive aye. I'm okay with standalone epics like The Stand being massive but these entries in a full seven part series take the piss a bit don't they?

Been years since I read 'em but I liked Wizard and Glass - a good bit of extra world-building, and without the modern sheen of the others a proper creepy, nasty, atavistic Western - more akin to the first book.

Wolves of the Calla is where it started getting ropey and self-indulgent for me (YMMV), plus I think there's a lot of important reference back to Roland's yoof in the later books, so personally I'd fit Wizard and Glass in if you can find some time and money to fly back over to the states and get your copy back.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #977 on: July 28, 2020, 05:18:58 PM »
Been years since I read 'em but I liked Wizard and Glass - a good bit of extra world-building, and without the modern sheen of the others a proper creepy, nasty, atavistic Western - more akin to the first book.

Wolves of the Calla is where it started getting ropey and self-indulgent for me (YMMV), plus I think there's a lot of important reference back to Roland's yoof in the later books, so personally I'd fit Wizard and Glass in if you can find some time and money to fly back over to the states and get your copy back.

Well I'm over 500 pages through Wolves now so will have to revisit Wizard when I've finished the series.

I get what you mean about self indulgent though. I'm getting back into reading after a decade of brain mush but I am getting a bit tired when he is full on wanking over his own prose, it feels like. He dedicates around 100 pages to some cunt from Salem's Lot that I don't know about.

Maybe I am just attention deficited to fuck, but I reckon you could cut out a good third of his novels and they'd be the same, or better. But fair play to him for putting out so much written word I suppose.

Still undecided on ropey though. To his credit, I am still gripped on the actual story.

shagatha crustie

  • Don't do to me what you did to America
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #978 on: July 28, 2020, 07:24:17 PM »
You probably are attention deficited to fuck, but that doesn't mean he couldn't do with trimming some fat. He's always had a weakness on for banging on too much - even The Stand, great as it is, feels a bit thin and tired by the end of the full-length edition.

Luckily he is also full of interesting and original ideas and has a great sense of character and place, which is just enough to carry you through endless doorstops like IT, Needful Things and Under the Dome.

Twit 2

  • A soft voice whispers nothing.
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #979 on: July 28, 2020, 11:00:37 PM »
Wizard and Glass was my favourite in the series. I stopped reading them/him after Wolves... as I couldn’t be fucked.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #980 on: July 29, 2020, 04:28:35 AM »
Oh jesus I can see what you mean, its getting VERY self-indulgent with Songs of Susannah now. But I shall plough on to the end.

I reckon I'll read Wizard and Glass as its own thing if its the best in the series, seeing as its mostly a flashback.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #981 on: July 29, 2020, 09:28:15 AM »
The stuff about hobby-horses and Uncle Toby's fort was the bit that really go to me in Tristam Shandy.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #982 on: July 29, 2020, 05:31:16 PM »
Did you have a troubling hobby-horse?

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #983 on: July 30, 2020, 01:29:44 AM »
I had a whole stableful.

buttgammon

  • How thick is wall?
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #984 on: July 30, 2020, 09:16:29 AM »
Is A Sentimental Journey worth a read for someone who absolutely loves Tristram Shandy?

chveik

  • DON'T GET THAT COVID, YEAH!?
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #985 on: July 30, 2020, 11:48:22 AM »
yeah it's quite fun

Small Man Big Horse

  • Member
  • **
  • Writers wanted for comedy website, pls click below
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #986 on: July 30, 2020, 06:31:54 PM »
Middle England by Jonathan Coe - The third in the series about Benjamin Trotter and his family and friends after The Rotters Club and The Closed Circle, it examines Britain in the run up to and after Brexit. It's often fun to catch up with these characters but a lot of it feels really heavy handed (all old people are racist, the young are angry and self-obsessed) and when in one chapter he writes from the teenager's point of view it feels like, well, not like any teenager I've ever met or heard speak and is really embarrassingly clunky in places. When it follows Benjamin and his old school friend Doug about it's often quietly amusing, but Benjamin's niece Sophie takes up a lot of the book and her relationship with her boyfriend / husband Ian is frustrating as he's quite the selfish racist idiot, yet despite this even though they split up for a bit she annoyingly ultimately forgives him and ends up pregnant by the twat. A need to be forgiving is clearly the point Coe is attempting to suggest we all do with at least the majority of Brexit voters in general, but I'd grown fond of Sophie so to see her make such a stupid decision frustrated, as it's not just the fact that Ian voted to Leave that makes him such a tiresome cunt. It's all a bit of a shame as normally I like Coe a great deal, but it's such a laboured affair in places, and even quite patronising at times, with an ending that I hated in general, that it'll take some very positive reviews from trusted sources to see me read anything new that he produces now. 4.9/10

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #987 on: July 30, 2020, 08:59:09 PM »
Snap.  I picked that up as part of my pre-lockdown panic buying spree (any excuse).  I enjoyed reading it because I sometimes struggle with characters and here they are all very clear.  Then you gradually realise the reason why the characters are so clear is because they’re all just sock puppets trotting out things Jonathan Coe has read on Facebook.   

I was disappointed but not very surprised that the horrible sexism didn’t get called out in reviews.  A woman with a very successful career and hints of a success on television but, ah of course, all she really wants is a baybay and for her walking meatball of a boyfriend to take care of her.  I’m sure a lot of men think this is the case but don’t applaud him for it ffs.

I also struggled with the ending but mainly because I had no idea the book was part of a series so I didn’t get all the in-jokes.  The ‘Oh Crikey’ sex scenes were a bit nauseating as well.  I’m going to undercut you and give it 3 / 10. 

Small Man Big Horse

  • Member
  • **
  • Writers wanted for comedy website, pls click below
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #988 on: July 30, 2020, 09:18:19 PM »
Snap.  I picked that up as part of my pre-lockdown panic buying spree (any excuse).  I enjoyed reading it because I sometimes struggle with characters and here they are all very clear.  Then you gradually realise the reason why the characters are so clear is because they’re all just sock puppets trotting out things Jonathan Coe has read on Facebook.   

I was disappointed but not very surprised that the horrible sexism didn’t get called out in reviews.  A woman with a very successful career and hints of a success on television but, ah of course, all she really wants is a baybay and for her walking meatball of a boyfriend to take care of her.  I’m sure a lot of men think this is the case but don’t applaud him for it ffs.

I also struggled with the ending but mainly because I had no idea the book was part of a series so I didn’t get all the in-jokes.  The ‘Oh Crikey’ sex scenes were a bit nauseating as well.  I’m going to undercut you and give it 3 / 10.

It's odd as I found it very readable and got through it quite quickly, but was frustrated throughout and the only sections I enjoyed related to Ben's book, the parts with Doug partially worked well I suppose (at least when they didn't involve Coriander) but then fizzled out in a horribly disappointing manner (his face off with Ronald Culpepper especially), as did nearly all the other plotlines for that matter. Like you say, the sexism is bleak and then some and why Sophie couldn't have ended up single and happy is beyond me, it's like Coe didn't even consider it a possibility, and he makes Ian such a dislikeable character from the get go (that comment about Christopher Jefferies, spending every weekend ignoring Sophie and either watching or playing sport or doting on his cunty old mother, his reaction to not getting the promotion) that I can't understand why we're suddenly supposed to like him after one act of minor decency, and Sophie claiming that he was a good guy just didn't ring true at all.

I think I liked it a bit more than you did just because I'm fond of the other two books in the series (the first is ridiculously better, the second not brilliant but still enjoyable) but I agree with everything you say. Oh yeah, and the sex scenes were really bad, weren't they, and how any woman in her fifties could mistake a candle for a penis is beyond me!

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #989 on: July 31, 2020, 01:34:17 PM »
Fimished Dark Tower series, okay;

The Gunslinger - good.
The Drawing of the Three - really good.
The Waste Lands - excellent.
Wolves of the Calla - good.
Song of Susannah - okay.
The Dark Tower - okay.


In short, too long, shite ending.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 04:27:54 PM by bgmnts »

Tags: