Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 96162 times)

buttgammon

  • You can't trust a man what's made of gas
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #750 on: September 22, 2019, 01:05:39 PM »
I've only read Woodcutters, which I loved, but have been meaning to read some more of his work, especially after I enjoyed Adam Ehrlich Sachs' novel so much recently (he's talked quite a lot about Bernhard as an influence, and based on my limited reading he does seem to write in a similar-ish mode).

Well, you could well be in for a treat! Extinction is absolutely brilliant, and probably the best one to read next if you fancy reading some more Bernhard.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #751 on: September 22, 2019, 04:04:44 PM »
Well, you could well be in for a treat! Extinction is absolutely brilliant, and probably the best one to read next if you fancy reading some more Bernhard.

Thanks! Will check it out.

buttgammon

  • You can't trust a man what's made of gas
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #752 on: September 22, 2019, 05:42:17 PM »
Thanks! Will check it out.

The same goes for me and Sachs, who sounds like my cup of tea (but not until my current to-read pile has reduced).

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #753 on: October 02, 2019, 03:05:36 PM »
Before The Fall by Noah Hawley - A pretty strong effort from the Fargo / Legion showrunner, all about a plane crash where only one man and a young boy survive, which uses the situation to explore the lives of those who died, attack the kinds of cunts who work for Fox News style networks, and the way the media exploits tragedy in general. A couple of the chapters about the deceased aren't really needed but overall I enjoyed it a lot.

grassbath

  • But I feel better having screamed, don't you?
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #754 on: October 09, 2019, 05:09:01 PM »
I just got back from a holiday, which is where I have the sufficient mental space to do most of my reading nowadays. This time I chose to re-read something that I had loved on first encounter. It was between The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead, and The Sound and the Fury. In the end I settled for the Faulkner, and largely binged it on a night train from Bucharest to Istanbul. It's hardly a novel that needs another reader singing its praises, but it is staggering. A dreamlike, horrible tale of obsession, failure, childhood and adulthood, sex, race, God and time.

Rightly it is praised for its more experimental qualities, but maybe my favourite thing is the absolute control of the more conventional dramatic elements. Faulkner gets so inside his characters and is such a master of voice that he can write out a very sparse bit of dialogue, just 'he said' and 'she said's, and it be movie-vivid and deeply emotional and probing. Mrs Compson and Jason are appalling, some of the best villains in fiction. Despite having essentially no redeeming qualities at all, they never feel cartoonish but are eminently real and historical in their pathetic malevolence, avatars for every human failing you can name.

I love how the childlike simplicity of Benjy's chapter semi-accidentally lapses into Biblical grandeur and intensity, fitting his role as a kind of unassuming 'seer' of events: 'We went along the fence and came to the garden fence, where our shadows were. My shadow was higher than Luster's on the fence. We came to the broken place and went through it.' And when Quentin recalls the ambiguous details of his incestuous relationship with Caddy, the prose pure blooms with the madness of adolescent sexuality, and despite its abjection and violence is queerly erotic.

Fuck, it's good. Now i'm reading By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart, which is so far navel-gazing, melodramatic prose-poetry bollocks with no room to breathe in it at all, but I guess it had a lot to live up to.

buttgammon

  • You can't trust a man what's made of gas
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #755 on: October 09, 2019, 08:26:29 PM »
I just got back from a holiday, which is where I have the sufficient mental space to do most of my reading nowadays. This time I chose to re-read something that I had loved on first encounter. It was between The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead, and The Sound and the Fury. In the end I settled for the Faulkner, and largely binged it on a night train from Bucharest to Istanbul. It's hardly a novel that needs another reader singing its praises, but it is staggering. A dreamlike, horrible tale of obsession, failure, childhood and adulthood, sex, race, God and time.

Rightly it is praised for its more experimental qualities, but maybe my favourite thing is the absolute control of the more conventional dramatic elements. Faulkner gets so inside his characters and is such a master of voice that he can write out a very sparse bit of dialogue, just 'he said' and 'she said's, and it be movie-vivid and deeply emotional and probing. Mrs Compson and Jason are appalling, some of the best villains in fiction. Despite having essentially no redeeming qualities at all, they never feel cartoonish but are eminently real and historical in their pathetic malevolence, avatars for every human failing you can name.

I love how the childlike simplicity of Benjy's chapter semi-accidentally lapses into Biblical grandeur and intensity, fitting his role as a kind of unassuming 'seer' of events: 'We went along the fence and came to the garden fence, where our shadows were. My shadow was higher than Luster's on the fence. We came to the broken place and went through it.' And when Quentin recalls the ambiguous details of his incestuous relationship with Caddy, the prose pure blooms with the madness of adolescent sexuality, and despite its abjection and violence is queerly erotic.

Fuck, it's good. Now i'm reading By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart, which is so far navel-gazing, melodramatic prose-poetry bollocks with no room to breathe in it at all, but I guess it had a lot to live up to.

Really good post! Must read The Sound and the Fury again - what a book!

Currently reading Silas Marner and really enjoying it; it's one of those classics that I've wanted to read but have constantly felt a bit embarrassed about never having read before. I'd like to give Middlemarch a crack when I have some time.

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #756 on: October 09, 2019, 08:35:41 PM »
Just finished The First Bad Man by Miranda July, a very odd but pretty funny read all about a quiet and very passive woman whose life changes when her employer's daughter comes to stay, I was fond of it right up until the ending which was a bit of a disappointment. I'd still recommend it (especially if you like July's films) because it made me laugh a good few times, and it's a very easy and fast read too.

H-O-W-L

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #757 on: October 09, 2019, 08:55:59 PM »
IT by Stephen King, and it's sort of doing a number on my psyche just because of how dense it is in terms of content.

grassbath

  • But I feel better having screamed, don't you?
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #758 on: October 09, 2019, 10:22:52 PM »
Really good post! Must read The Sound and the Fury again - what a book!

Thanks mate. Always nice to have longer posts vindicated, when you feel driven enough to put them together. And yes, you really must!

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #759 on: October 20, 2019, 08:22:23 PM »
Jude: Level 1 by Julian Gough - An incredibly infuriating read, sometimes very funny but sometimes tedious in the extreme, I almost stopped reading it when I was about sixty pages in as I was getting fed up by it's ridiculous nature, then it got better for a bit but I'm still not sure whether I should have stuck with it, especially as it doesn't really end and just leads in to a sequel that I'm definitely never going to bother with.

Blinder Data

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #760 on: October 21, 2019, 10:31:33 AM »
I gave up on The Sound and the Fury because I just found it too confusing and wearing during my commute. I must rectify that soon.

Following recommendations on here, I'm on Happy like Murderers by Gordon Burn about Fred and Rose West. Holy Moses. I'm only 90 pages in but this is easily one of the grimmest things I've ever read. True crime doesn't get any truer. I love the style though, how he sets the scene by describing the bleak details of the lives of people adjacent to the Wests instead of the murderers themselves. Utterly compelling. You feel like you're in that disgusting house with them. Bit scared about what's to come now though :S

Twit 2

  • Unutterable Anguish
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #761 on: October 21, 2019, 12:06:29 PM »
Gonna give Don Quixote a bash. Got an old yellow and black penguin classics edition, JM Cohen translation.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #762 on: October 21, 2019, 09:00:52 PM »
I gave up on The Sound and the Fury because I just found it too confusing and wearing during my commute. I must rectify that soon.

Following recommendations on here, I'm on Happy like Murderers by Gordon Burn about Fred and Rose West. Holy Moses. I'm only 90 pages in but this is easily one of the grimmest things I've ever read. True crime doesn't get any truer. I love the style though, how he sets the scene by describing the bleak details of the lives of people adjacent to the Wests instead of the murderers themselves. Utterly compelling. You feel like you're in that disgusting house with them. Bit scared about what's to come now though :S
It's a cracker of a book, definitely. I think he did one on Peter Sutcliffe too, which I also enjoyed.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #763 on: October 23, 2019, 12:16:34 PM »
Bit short on funds at the moment, so have been re-reading a couple of Saramago's books that I first read about 15 years ago and have been sitting on the shelf ever since.
I enjoyed Blindness as much as I did the first time as I think that, despite the sometimes awful subject matter, its the most accessible of his books I've read, perhaps because at its heart are truly compassionate human relationships. His writing style also seems less austere than in his other novels.     
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, which I remember admiring more than liking the first time around, I thoroughly enjoyed. It's much funnier than I remember, and there's a particular highlight when, having been told god's plan to use him to institute a new religion, he asks God whether his death will be the last one necessary and receives an extremely thorough answer. 

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #764 on: October 23, 2019, 12:23:57 PM »
Recently finished Hunger by Knut Hamsun. Pretty extraordinary though difficult to get through for someone like me.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #765 on: October 23, 2019, 02:38:45 PM »
Just finished "Tudors" by Peter Ackroyd, the second volume of his history of England. Pretty good, if a little too much about the machinations of kings and queens and a little too little about the rest of England. For example, this volume covers most of Shakespeare's life and he doesn't so much as get a look-in (his name is maybe dropped once), which seems odd...at least until you remember Ackroyd wrote an entire book about him. I'm going to take a rest before part 3 and go for "Mao's Last Revolution", which is waiting for me at the library. I've been interested about that whole thing for a long time, and it was another post on here that sparked the idea of reading it.

Twit 2

  • Unutterable Anguish
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #766 on: October 23, 2019, 03:12:43 PM »
Recently finished Hunger by Knut Hamsun. Pretty extraordinary though difficult to get through for someone like me.

You should have read an English translation.

NJ Uncut

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #767 on: October 25, 2019, 07:14:09 PM »
Recently finished Hunger by Knut Hamsun. Pretty extraordinary though difficult to get through for someone like me.

Aww I read that at like age 17 because of a Rebel Magazine sampler or whatever it was called

In hindsight it's Dostoevsky-lite written by an eventual Nazi sympathiser but it grabbed me and was good on its own bleak terms and holds up well.

As fella above say: translations count. The one I read was very clear and not difficult to parse at all

---

Currently reading Stephen King's The Institute.

Don't often go into post-accident King satisfied, though late books like 11/22/63 are amongst his very best.

Only halfway into it but it's gripping me in a way I haven't for a while. Feels fairly original for King also which is remarkable for this late stage, is genuinely appalling (as in "reactions to what happens") and scary (not in a traditional horror sense perhaps, I'm really liking the setting, reminds me of WORK!!).

I just like it!

samadriel

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #768 on: October 28, 2019, 06:54:57 AM »
edit:  Realised this should go in the comics thread, really.  Posted there.

finnquark

  • come un sogno che va via, ti svegli triste
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #769 on: November 05, 2019, 06:09:38 PM »
Over half term I finished off Bitter Freedom: Ireland In A Revolutionary World by Maurice Walsh, which was an exceptional and interesting approach to the period 1918-1923, in which he focuses on locating Ireland in the broader trends that swept the world after WWI. Despite some areas lacking as much coverage as I would like (Connolly and the Limerick Soviet, for instance), overall it effectively tied that part of Irish history into the wider changes that were going on after the war, and did so in a way that was even handed and sobering. The conclusion, based around the funeral of De Valera, was especially good.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #770 on: November 06, 2019, 07:21:34 PM »
Absolutely fuck all as usual

Artie Fufkin

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #771 on: November 07, 2019, 09:02:03 AM »
Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones.
It's a take on the werewolf story, seen through the eyes of a kid.
Kind of like an adult fairy tale.
It's ok. About half way through now.

Blinder Data

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #772 on: November 13, 2019, 03:27:21 PM »
Happy Like Murderers was grim, utterly grim. Interesting how the murders made up less than 5% of the book's content - it was all about immersing you in the West's world. Really affecting, not for the faint-hearted.

Currently on Between Friends by Amos Oz. A collection of stories following characters on a kibbutz. Melancholic tales, simply told, of people struggling to live correctly. It's lovely stuff and a nice tonic after my last book.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #773 on: November 13, 2019, 05:02:45 PM »
Happy Like Murderers was grim, utterly grim. Interesting how the murders made up less than 5% of the book's content - it was all about immersing you in the West's world. Really affecting, not for the faint-hearted.
Agreed.

I'm working my way through the big pile of books I got at the YMCA book fair a few months back - about half of them have been abandoned after 50 pages because they weren't as interesting as I'd hoped, but I've got lots of gems from there and for about no money (I got a huge box full for just over $30). Now I'm just starting "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde, which I didn't bother with when it came out as China Mieville spent a large portion of a talk he gave, mentioning how wank novels like it were.

It's nice and easy to read, I guess, but I don't like that literally the first thing you read in the book is a quote from in-universe author "Millon De Floss". Was that really the crash-bang-wallop joke you thought to lead your book off with?

Black Ship

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #774 on: November 13, 2019, 06:46:55 PM »
Currently reading, "London's Strangest Tales" by Tom Quinn, which I found in a charity shop. Quite a fascinating read, short pithy chapters means that you can breeze through it quite easily. 

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #775 on: November 13, 2019, 10:31:37 PM »
Agreed.

I'm working my way through the big pile of books I got at the YMCA book fair a few months back - about half of them have been abandoned after 50 pages because they weren't as interesting as I'd hoped, but I've got lots of gems from there and for about no money (I got a huge box full for just over $30). Now I'm just starting "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde, which I didn't bother with when it came out as China Mieville spent a large portion of a talk he gave, mentioning how wank novels like it were.

It's nice and easy to read, I guess, but I don't like that literally the first thing you read in the book is a quote from in-universe author "Millon De Floss". Was that really the crash-bang-wallop joke you thought to lead your book off with?
It got more annoying, so I put it in the give-to-charity pile. It seemed so pleased with itself at every possible opportunity.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #776 on: November 15, 2019, 01:48:45 PM »
Done read 'Flight' by Mikhail Bulgakov, picked it up in an Oxfam amongst some Brecht and Beckett.  Breckett.

Aaanyway, it might just be the nature of the translation but it's hilarious in that absurd Russian modernist manner; mainly about officers of the White Army losing to the Reds and generally going about wondering how best to fall apart.

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #777 on: November 17, 2019, 05:43:15 PM »
The Bad and The Beautiful by Sam Kashner and Jennifer McNair - According to the cover it's a chronicle of 1950's Hollywood and comes complete with a quote from J.G. Ballard saying "A wonderful compendium of sleaze and gossip, The Bad and the Beautiful makes clear that many of the stars were far more interesting off screen than on screen" which just isn't true and it's really a selection of quite disparate essays, some of which are filled with gossip and rumour, some of which are mostly discussions of the films themselves, and it's an odd mix. There's a long opening chapter about Confidential magazine which is interesting but treats the magazine's writers and publisher with way too much kindness given what objectionable cunts some of them were, and the same applies to another chapter on columnists including Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons. Still, there are some interesting chapters on Lana Turner, James Dean and a couple of other well known actors, and it's mostly well written, but it's a shame it's not a more cohesive whole and is such a patchy affair.

buttgammon

  • You can't trust a man what's made of gas
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #778 on: November 17, 2019, 06:39:45 PM »
Just started reading Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahortai, which is best known for a notorious 7 hour-long film adaptation (which I haven't seen). It's weird so far. There is something oddly vague about the book, as if it's trying to paint a picture of a place and a group of people without going into too many specifics. I'm reserving judgement, but I'm as intrigued as I am confused, which is probably a good sign at this stage.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #779 on: November 18, 2019, 09:33:34 PM »
Just started reading Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahortai, which is best known for a notorious 7 hour-long film adaptation (which I haven't seen). It's weird so far. There is something oddly vague about the book, as if it's trying to paint a picture of a place and a group of people without going into too many specifics. I'm reserving judgement, but I'm as intrigued as I am confused, which is probably a good sign at this stage.
I remember it being extremely bleak for a long time, then a child kinda tortures a cat, then some more bleakness, then it finishes. I'm being facetious, a little.