Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 102014 times)

buttgammon

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #780 on: November 19, 2019, 10:07:39 AM »
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.

That sounds about right based on the book. There's probably lots of rain and mud too.

Although I've never seen it, I have heard about the cat scene, which caused some problems with the BBFC who seemed to think it was real.

Famous Mortimer

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #781 on: November 19, 2019, 02:11:14 PM »
I have heard about the cat scene, which caused some problems with the BBFC who seemed to think it was real.
It's one of those scenes where I hope they faked it, but I genuinely can't see how. To say I have no desire to revisit it would be an understatement (no disrespect to Bela Tarr, but I doubt there's anyone who wants to watch Satantango more than once).

To drag this back on topic, I'm giving "The Dark Tower" a go finally. Not bad so far!

dr beat

  • You're dealing with loved ones, I won't have it
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #782 on: November 26, 2019, 10:30:56 AM »


Dead Fashion Girl tells the story of the unsolved murder of Jean Mary Townsend in 1954 but it tells us much, much more than that. It’s set in London, the demi-monde; a world of petty criminals, aspirant gangsters, aristocrats, fashionista’s, light entertainers, an emergent ravenous youth crawling from the shadows of WWII hellbent on rejecting the shackles and restrictions of their elders, and absolutely shitloads of raving queens. Chelsea Art College balls, Bombsite gangs, showbiz orgies (featuring Bob Monkhouse), the Duke of Edinburgh, the Cunt of the Month club, the twitchy curtains of suburbia, vanishing American Airmen and an ambiguous and surprisingly sinister cameo form Lionel Blair – all circle in unlikely orbit around a corpse in Ruislip. The Krays are there, of course, mere lads at this point, gawd bless ‘em, but learning their trade and already fucking horrible. It’s lavishly illustrated and beautifully fragmented. Published by Strange Attractor who knock out some right nice stuff. It’s a whodunnit of sorts, but as with most of these things I couldn’t really give a monkey’s who dun. Who shot JFK? Who was Jack the Ripper? Who killed this poor girl? Too little, too late, mate. After all, it was you and me. Oh yes, we are all of us trapped in the spectacle.


I'm definitely going to give this a go.  I found an extract online and it brought to mind the rather excellent Another Nickel in the Machine blog about scandalous 20th century London: http://www.nickelinthemachine.com/

dr beat

  • You're dealing with loved ones, I won't have it
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #783 on: November 29, 2019, 08:58:01 AM »
Started reading DFG last night.  Absolute corker. Cheers for the recommendation!

I noticed Paul Willets' Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia is cited in it, which is what I might turn to next.

buttgammon

  • How thick is wall?
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #784 on: November 30, 2019, 12:54:57 PM »
Just started Patience by Toby Litt and bloody loving it so far. It's about a disabled boy in a Catholic care home in the late 1970s who has very little movement, so he's basically forced to look at whatever surroundings his wheelchair is put in, and he conjures up extremely rich images from seemingly mundane things like the gradient of the paint on a white wall, the detail in a biro drawing of a man getting a blowjob, or a gherkin being thrown against the window of a coach. I feel like this post isn't doing justice to it, but it's great anyway.

Kryton

  • (Not) An actual threat to humanity.
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #785 on: December 02, 2019, 05:02:54 PM »
Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell.
Only a couple of chapters into it, but it's absolutely gripping.
The execution of the Lollards was a chilling scene, the author is unflinching in his depiction of the clergy back in the day. Foul-mouthed hypocrisy.
Beautifully written too.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #786 on: December 03, 2019, 02:35:29 PM »
Bloody hell, it took me a long time to read part 1 of the Dark Tower. Old me would have knocked it off in an afternoon. I hear it gets a bit odder as it goes on, so I look forward to whatever happens to be wandering through Stephen King's mind at the time being put on the page. I've just looked at the back cover of part 2 and Roland goes to the then-present day USA in the 1980s. Hmmm.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 04:41:45 PM by Famous Mortimer »

Artie Fufkin

  • Let Me In, Sparks
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #787 on: December 03, 2019, 03:20:50 PM »
I'm about a quarter way through Doctor Sleep. He don't 'alf waffle on, don't 'e? It's bloody good waffle, mind.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #788 on: December 03, 2019, 06:05:30 PM »
Big Town- Doug J Swanson
Pretty much always the non-fiction for me. On this occasion however, I found myself ill with nothing to read, and chanced on this down the cats protection charity shop. I remembered enjoying it around fifteen years ago. Hard-boiled, smart dialogue and one liners, and enough twists to legitimately be referred to as a “caper.” Always like these down-at-heel detective stories. Probably ought to see if he's got anything else on a***zon[1]

Apathy For the Devil- Nick Kent
Enjoyed this. Much what you'd expect from Kent. Malcolm McClaren comes across much more of a c*nt than I'd hitherto suspected. Should have been obvious really.

Supercrash – Darryl Cunningham
A graphic novel about the 2008 financial crash, linking it to Randian philosophy (with a potted life-history), and neo-liberalism. Very interesting, though obviously bleak.

________________________________
[1] Just checked and there's a few in the same series, which pleases me. I remember now I read 96 Tears by him as well.

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #789 on: December 04, 2019, 01:22:32 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.

I’m reading The Man Who Loved Children now and it’s one of those books where five pages in you think “this is great” then 100 pages later you hate it because they’ve only just finished breakfast.   

Recently read the Teachings of Don Juan which I found very entertaining.  Especailly if you read all of Don Juan’s lines in the voice of Ren Höek. 

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #790 on: December 05, 2019, 09:06:38 PM »
The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin - Really well written crime thriller set in New Orleans in 1919 and based on a true story where a series of murders took place supposedly committed by a jazz playing serial killer who was never caught. It even manages to include a young Louis Armstrong as a major character, and though this sort of thing isn't normally my cup of tea (I'm not sure why but thrillers are something I rarely read, though I should probably rectify that) I enjoyed it a lot, and the ending satisfied as well.

Artie Fufkin

  • Let Me In, Sparks
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #791 on: December 06, 2019, 08:03:54 AM »
The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin
Yeah, I have this in my 'to read' pile. My brother has read the trilogy and loved it.

Artie Fufkin

  • Let Me In, Sparks
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #792 on: December 06, 2019, 08:04:57 AM »
And looking at my 'to read' pile, I wonder if I'll have the time to read them all, and yet I still keep grabbing them.....

buttgammon

  • How thick is wall?
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #793 on: December 06, 2019, 09:41:24 AM »
And looking at my 'to read' pile, I wonder if I'll have the time to read them all, and yet I still keep grabbing them.....

Always the way, isn'it it? (I've had a bit more time on my hands since tutorial teaching stopped a few weeks ago, so I'm actually down to the last book of the pile).

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #794 on: December 06, 2019, 03:51:25 PM »
Yeah, I have this in my 'to read' pile. My brother has read the trilogy and loved it.

I'm forcing a "One in, one out" process on myself right now, as I have 27 books in my "To read" pile, though I break the rule if I spot something in a charity shop I've wanted to read for ages (which keeps on happening, annoyingly, hence the ridiculous amount to catch up on!).

And I definitely plan to get the other two books in the trilogy at some point as I did like this a lot, I just hope they're as strong and don't diminish the effect it had on me. I'm a little dubious about the fact that Louis Armstrong appears in them too, he pulled it off once but doing it a second and a third time might be a bit much.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 04:01:35 PM by Small Man Big Horse »

Artie Fufkin

  • Let Me In, Sparks
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #795 on: December 06, 2019, 04:42:28 PM »
I'm surprised Louis Armstrong pops up in those books.
I said pops up.
Pops up.
Pops.

Oh, never mind.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #796 on: December 12, 2019, 02:46:46 AM »
Stop Fannying About You Cunt And Sort Your Life Out- Jonas Hans

One of the newer self-help titles, like F*ck It and The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, whose title exults in its profanity. Hans takes no prisoners as he exhorts the reader to "defeat the dragon of inaction" and join the select tribe of life's winners. Full of vim but ultimately disposable. His advice on quitting smoking- "bin the fags and stop fannying about" is particularly unhelpful.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #797 on: December 12, 2019, 02:49:04 AM »
Paying For It- Chester Brown (graphic novel)

Recommended by Gout_pony a while back. I thought it was good. Not quite what I was expecting. The author takes us through various encounters he had as a john, a punter paying for sex. In the intro he explains that some of the conversations he'd had with the prostitutes were edited to avoid giving away personal details that would make them recognisable. This is laudable, but I think the book suffered a little due to this- the women's characters were flattened somewhat. Still I found it interesting, and I've ordered another of his off the back of it. The ending was not what I expected, and rather touching I thought. The afterword contains a lengthy diatribe in favour of the legalisation of prostitution, which made a lot of sense.

buttgammon

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #798 on: December 12, 2019, 09:14:49 AM »
Currently reading Last Witnesses, Svetlana Alexievich's harrowing account of the lives of children in the Soviet Union during World War II. It's composed of lots of small sections taken from interviews with people who survived the war. What is striking is that the majority of the people interviewed were orphaned; I'm not sure if this was a conscious decision she took or if that's just a reflection on the scale of destruction. It's an exceptionally grim book, but is well worth a read, especially if you've read Chernobyl Prayer.

Blinder Data

  • Use your library
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #799 on: December 16, 2019, 08:37:41 PM »
Just finished Eugene McCabe's Death and Nightingales - one of the best novels I've read in ages (though, as it was published in 1993, it's not exactly new). It's set on a remote farm somewhere outside Enniskillen in 1883 and its main characters are a moody land owner, his disenchanted stepdaughter and a local ne'er-do-well. That makes it sound like Angela's Ashes-style misery porn stuff which usually turns me off, but it's fantastic. The dialogue is so clever and intricate without being annoying, and the prose is so effective. It might help to know about Irish Independence in the late 19th Century and Irish words/culture generally (or maybe this would help teach you?). Either way, the book is just 250 pages of cold brilliance.

Just started on CS Lewis's Narnia series for the first time due to my wife being a longtime fan. It won't be the same reading it as a post-Catholic adult rather than an impressionable child, but I appreciate how quickly it zips along. And at least it's fun, which my previous novel was not. Edmund's a little shit though.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #800 on: December 18, 2019, 03:24:57 PM »
I'm re-reading Strange Days Indeed, by Francis Wheen - the prequel to How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World.

It's a whistle-stop round-up of international politics in the 1970s - including Nixon's paranoia, Heath's paranoia, Wilson's paranoia, the Red Army Faction's paranoia... and many, many, more.

It's especially good on Nixon and Kissinger.

Like I say, it's a fairly shallow round-up - not quite glib, exactly, but quite wry. Your taste might vary, but I don't think I could really be bothered with anything more involved though.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #801 on: December 18, 2019, 04:53:08 PM »
I'm re-reading Strange Days Indeed, by Francis Wheen - the prequel to How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World.

It's a whistle-stop round-up of international politics in the 1970s - including Nixon's paranoia, Heath's paranoia, Wilson's paranoia, the Red Army Faction's paranoia... and many, many, more.

It's especially good on Nixon and Kissinger.

Like I say, it's a fairly shallow round-up - not quite glib, exactly, but quite wry. Your taste might vary, but I don't think I could really be bothered with anything more involved though.
I read the Mumbo-Jumbo one, and it was alright until he started banging on about his mates and how smart they all were. My old probably faulty memories of it indicates it was rather guilty of a lot of both-sides-ism too.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #802 on: December 21, 2019, 03:59:30 PM »
"Venusberg" by Anthony Powell.

Twit 2

  • I have cum now and the foolery is over.
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #803 on: December 22, 2019, 03:05:59 PM »
The Dig by Cynan Jones. If Cormac McCarthy wrote a novella about badgers...

buttgammon

  • How thick is wall?
Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #804 on: December 22, 2019, 04:52:15 PM »
Wanted to get stuck into a big novel I haven't read before over Christmas, so I'm midway through Middlemarch at the moment. As you'd expect of an 800 page monster, it has boring bits, but it's such a witty, funny novel with so many great characters (Dorothea, Lydgate, Edward Casaubon) that it's well worth plodding along through them. The thing I'm enjoying most of all is that a big, serious novel about the state of England at a time of great change is also so funny and entertaining.

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #805 on: December 22, 2019, 06:34:37 PM »
Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes - In which Hitler wakes up in the 21st century and after a bit of initial confusion becomes a big hit on a satirical tv series. I'd seen the film based on the book and for once that was much better, as this hammers home it's central joke (Hitler compares a modern day thing to something from his war years / or is completely confused) over and over again and at the 200 page point I was starting to struggle. It's a shame as the central concept is a strong one, and Vermes has a fair amount of fun with it for the first half of the book, but it's painfully repetitious after a while and the ending's all a bit limp too.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #806 on: December 22, 2019, 08:32:02 PM »
Wanted to get stuck into a big novel I haven't read before over Christmas, so I'm midway through Middlemarch at the moment. As you'd expect of an 800 page monster, it has boring bits, but it's such a witty, funny novel with so many great characters (Dorothea, Lydgate, Edward Casaubon) that it's well worth plodding along through them. The thing I'm enjoying most of all is that a big, serious novel about the state of England at a time of great change is also so funny and entertaining.

There's a bit in there which reminded me a lot of PG Wodehouse, the misunderstanding about the proposal in a garden. I haven't read it in years, so can't remember the details, but it's a great novel that I need to re-read.

I've just read A Christmas Carol for the first time for a course I'm doing. It's the easiest Dickens story I've ever tried to read, couldn't get into A Tale of Two Cities because, most of all, the unnecessary, and mountainous, altogether too obnoxious, commas. But yeah Christmas Carol is much easier, and more enjoyable. Knowing the story so well doesn't diminish it at all.

Small Man Big Horse

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Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #807 on: December 22, 2019, 10:47:03 PM »
There's a bit in there which reminded me a lot of PG Wodehouse, the misunderstanding about the proposal in a garden. I haven't read it in years, so can't remember the details, but it's a great novel that I need to re-read.

I've just read A Christmas Carol for the first time for a course I'm doing. It's the easiest Dickens story I've ever tried to read, couldn't get into A Tale of Two Cities because, most of all, the unnecessary, and mountainous, altogether too obnoxious, commas. But yeah Christmas Carol is much easier, and more enjoyable. Knowing the story so well doesn't diminish it at all.

Great Expectations is my favourite Dickens, it's a fun yarn that leaps all over the place, though I have to confess to my eternal shame that I've never read A Christmas Carol.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #808 on: December 23, 2019, 03:47:33 AM »
Stardust by Joseph Kanon. Hollywood in the 40s at the dawn of the witchhunt. Great dialogue and characterization that zips along.

Re: What are you reading?
« Reply #809 on: December 23, 2019, 02:16:17 PM »
Great Expectations is my favourite Dickens, it's a fun yarn that leaps all over the place, though I have to confess to my eternal shame that I've never read A Christmas Carol.

Wittles boy, I need wittles.

GE is the only Dickens I've ever read, other than our Mutual friend at school, which I found unbearable.

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