Page 179 of 179 FirstFirst ... 79129169177178179
Results 2,671 to 2,679 of 2679

Thread: what are you reading now?

  1. #2671
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    leigh on sea
    Posts
    1,594

    Default

    Just finished Daša Drndić - Belladonna. Like a Croatian Sebald - probably that and Svetlana Alexievich's stuff are the best things I have read in ages. Everything else seems pallid by comparison.

  2. #2672
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    5,026

    Default

    Read Wells's 'The Time Machine' last night. Unexpectedly, reading it I felt the sensation of 'cosmic horror' much more palpably than I ever have reading Lovecraft. The story confronts you with the transience of human history and of the human species, somehow a more resoundingly disturbing fact than the brevity of one's own life.

    This passage, wherein the Time Traveller witnesses the world transforming, so that first it returns to a nightmarish-enough prehistoric state, and then to a completely nightmarish pre-animate state, is the bleakest thing I've read in a long while, and in a gripping and action-packed sci-fi adventure story!

    'As I drove on, a peculiar change crept over the appearance of things. The palpitating greyness grew darker; then--though I was still travelling with prodigious velocity--the blinking succession of day and night, which was usually indicative of a slower pace, returned, and grew more and more marked. This puzzled me very much at first. The alternations of night and day grew slower and slower, and so did the passage of the sun across the sky, until they seemed to stretch through centuries. At last a steady twilight brooded over the earth, a twilight only broken now and then when a comet glared across the darkling sky. The band of light that had indicated the sun had long since disappeared; for the sun had ceased to set--it simply rose and fell in the west, and grew ever broader and more red. All trace of the moon had vanished. The circling of the stars, growing slower and slower, had given place to creeping points of light. At last, some time before I stopped, the sun, red and very large, halted motionless upon the horizon, a vast dome glowing with a dull heat, and now and then suffering a momentary extinction. At one time it had for a little while glowed more brilliantly again, but it speedily reverted to its sullen red heat. I perceived by this slowing down of its rising and setting that the work of the tidal drag was done. The earth had come to rest with one face to the sun, even as in our own time the moon faces the earth. Very cautiously, for I remembered my former headlong fall, I began to reverse my motion. Slower and slower went the circling hands until the thousands one seemed motionless and the daily one was no longer a mere mist upon its scale. Still slower, until the dim outlines of a desolate beach grew visible.

    `I stopped very gently and sat upon the Time Machine, looking round. The sky was no longer blue. North-eastward it was inky black, and out of the blackness shone brightly and steadily the pale white stars. Overhead it was a deep Indian red and starless, and south-eastward it grew brighter to a glowing scarlet where, cut by the horizon, lay the huge hull of the sun, red and motionless. The rocks about me were of a harsh reddish colour, and all the trace of life that I could see at first was the intensely green vegetation that covered every projecting point on their south-eastern face. It was the same rich green that one sees on forest moss or on the lichen in caves: plants which like these grow in a perpetual twilight.

    `The machine was standing on a sloping beach. The sea stretched away to the south-west, to rise into a sharp bright horizon against the wan sky. There were no breakers and no waves, for not a breath of wind was stirring. Only a slight oily swell rose and fell like a gentle breathing, and showed that the eternal sea was still moving and living. And along the margin where the water sometimes broke was a thick incrustation of salt--pink under the lurid sky. There was a sense of oppression in my head, and I noticed that I was breathing very fast. The sensation reminded me of my only experience of mountaineering, and from that I judged the air to be more rarefied than it is now.

    `Far away up the desolate slope I heard a harsh scream, and saw a thing like a huge white butterfly go slanting and flittering up into the sky and, circling, disappear over some low hillocks beyond. The sound of its voice was so dismal that I shivered and seated myself more firmly upon the machine. Looking round me again, I saw that, quite near, what I had taken to be a reddish mass of rock was moving slowly towards me. Then I saw the thing was really a monstrous crab-like creature. Can you imagine a crab as large as yonder table, with its many legs moving slowly and uncertainly, its big claws swaying, its long antennae, like carters' whips, waving and feeling, and its stalked eyes gleaming at you on either side of its metallic front? Its back was corrugated and ornamented with ungainly bosses, and a greenish incrustation blotched it here and there. I could see the many palps of its complicated mouth flickering and feeling as it moved.

    `As I stared at this sinister apparition crawling towards me, I felt a tickling on my cheek as though a fly had lighted there. I tried to brush it away with my hand, but in a moment it returned, and almost immediately came another by my ear. I struck at this, and caught something threadlike. It was drawn swiftly out of my hand. With a frightful qualm, I turned, and I saw that I had grasped the antenna of another monster crab that stood just behind me. Its evil eyes were wriggling on their stalks, its mouth was all alive with appetite, and its vast ungainly claws, smeared with an algal slime, were descending upon me. In a moment my hand was on the lever, and I had placed a month between myself and these monsters. But I was still on the same beach, and I saw them distinctly now as soon as I stopped. Dozens of them seemed to be crawling here and there, in the sombre light, among the foliated sheets of intense green.

    `I cannot convey the sense of abominable desolation that hung over the world. The red eastern sky, the northward blackness, the salt Dead Sea, the stony beach crawling with these foul, slow-stirring monsters, the uniform poisonous-looking green of the lichenous plants, the thin air that hurts one's lungs: all contributed to an appalling effect. I moved on a hundred years, and there was the same red sun--a little larger, a little duller--the same dying sea, the same chill air, and the same crowd of earthy crustacea creeping in and out among the green weed and the red rocks. And in the westward sky, I saw a curved pale line like a vast new moon.

    `So I travelled, stopping ever and again, in great strides of a thousand years or more, drawn on by the mystery of the earth's fate, watching with a strange fascination the sun grow larger and duller in the westward sky, and the life of the old earth ebb away. At last, more than thirty million years hence, the huge red-hot dome of the sun had come to obscure nearly a tenth part of the darkling heavens. Then I stopped once more, for the crawling multitude of crabs had disappeared, and the red beach, save for its livid green liverworts and lichens, seemed lifeless. And now it was flecked with white. A bitter cold assailed me. Rare white flakes ever and again came eddying down. To the north-eastward, the glare of snow lay under the starlight of the sable sky and I could see an undulating crest of hillocks pinkish white. There were fringes of ice along the sea margin, with drifting masses further out; but the main expanse of that salt ocean, all bloody under the eternal sunset, was still unfrozen.

    `I looked about me to see if any traces of animal life remained. A certain indefinable apprehension still kept me in the saddle of the machine. But I saw nothing moving, in earth or sky or sea. The green slime on the rocks alone testified that life was not extinct. A shallow sandbank had appeared in the sea and the water had receded from the beach. I fancied I saw some black object flopping about upon this bank, but it became motionless as I looked at it, and I judged that my eye had been deceived, and that the black object was merely a rock. The stars in the sky were intensely bright and seemed to me to twinkle very little.

    `Suddenly I noticed that the circular westward outline of the sun had changed; that a concavity, a bay, had appeared in the curve. I saw this grow larger. For a minute perhaps I stared aghast at this blackness that was creeping over the day, and then I realized that an eclipse was beginning. Either the moon or the planet Mercury was passing across the sun's disk. Naturally, at first I took it to be the moon, but there is much to incline me to believe that what I really saw was the transit of an inner planet passing very near to the earth.

    `The darkness grew apace; a cold wind began to blow in freshening gusts from the east, and the showering white flakes in the air increased in number. From the edge of the sea came a ripple and whisper. Beyond these lifeless sounds the world was silent. Silent? It would be hard to convey the stillness of it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives--all that was over. As the darkness thickened, the eddying flakes grew more abundant, dancing before my eyes; and the cold of the air more intense. At last, one by one, swiftly, one after the other, the white peaks of the distant hills vanished into blackness. The breeze rose to a moaning wind. I saw the black central shadow of the eclipse sweeping towards me. In another moment the pale stars alone were visible. All else was rayless obscurity. The sky was absolutely black.'
    Last edited by Corpsey; 27-10-2017 at 10:51 PM.

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Corpsey For This Useful Post:


  4. #2673
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    11,451

    Default

    im not sure why but ive let my reading spill all over the place and im unlikely to finish many of these
    but im doing the big jameson book on postmodernism becasue postmodernism is more ubiquitous and all consuming than it was then (1990) internet having turbo charged it. great writer. most people like that seem like they just go quote fishing like a university student but he seems like hes actually read and understood every book he quotes from
    im rereading art class and cleavage by ben watson im reading jerusalem by blake which ive been putting off for 20 years
    im reading Constructing the Political Spectacle im reading light from eleusis the surette book about the cantos
    ive been reading a few zizek essays 10 years after they were fashionable and ive been ploughing ahead with finnegans wake and dipping into the joseph campbell book about it at the same time and also dipping my fingers into poets, mostly prynne
    i need to organise myself a bit better but at the same time im worried about making reading a chore or a duty.

  5. #2674

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    most people like that seem like they just go quote fishing like a university student but he seems like hes actually read and understood every book he quotes from
    chortle, I love how low your expectations of him were...

  6. #2675
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    East Loondon
    Posts
    1,211

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jenks View Post
    I've just started it - my son is studying Russian history and I thought I'd be able to help him til I realised how much I had forgotten. I am enjoying it so far.
    You (or your son) might find these of interest Jenks: https://socialhistories1917.wordpress.com/

    A great resource, I've been working my way though 'em.

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to DannyL For This Useful Post:


  8. #2676
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    The Fear - Dublin
    Posts
    6,344

    Default

    An excerpt from the introduction to the excellent '20 days of Turin'.

    ...Giorgio De Maria’s The Twenty Days of Turin is a sinister, imaginary chronicle of the author’s home city as it suffers “a phenomenon of collective psychosis.” Written during the late 1970s, when Italy was tormented almost daily by terror attacks and police-state crackdowns, it balances apocalyptic fantasy with biting cultural observation. And while (we can all hope) the paranormal wrath he describes is pure invention, De Maria did not have to hunt far for scenes of a terrorized society. Wordless fear, determined amnesia and an aggressive impulse to look the other way are the story’s cornerstones, and at least as chilling as its bizarre violence.

    On its release at the end of 1977, the novel found early praise in L’Espresso and La Stampa, the latter hailing it as “a book dipped in the stream of cruel and timely metaphors.” But trying times lay ahead. In the 1980s, De Maria experienced a sudden, almost Gogolian, crisis of art and faith, leaving behind decades of combative anti-clericalism to become a fervently traditional Catholic. Devoting his pen to religious literature, he struggled with depression and would produce no further novels in his lifetime. Meanwhile, The Twenty Days of Turin, his fourth and final work, fell out of print when its small, artistically minded publisher—Edizioni il Formichiere, or Anteater Press—closed in 1983.

    Faced with these hurdles, The Twenty Days of Turin had a significant gambit against oblivion: it was a book that fueled nightmares, and its cult status has endured among a shaken but grateful Turinese readership. One of the novel’s major champions is scholar and critic Pier Massimo Prosio, whose Guida Letteraria di Torino remains the classic overview of Turin’s literary culture—a hyperproductive milieu that can boast Eco, Pavese, Arpino, Levi and Calvino among its famous names. In the third and current edition (2005) of his survey, Prosio judges The Twenty Days of Turin to be “one of the most forcible examples of this starchy, formal city’s capacity for stories of mystery and terror.” Following De Maria’s death in April 2009, Prosio wrote in the journal Studi Piemontesi: “As a storyteller, De Maria belongs to a rather peculiar and exotic tradition of Italian fiction, a writing that lies at the juncture of real and surreal, the blending of reality and imagination in a not impossible conspiracy.” That style, he added, found its “most favorable expression” in The Twenty Days of Turin, “a proper ghost story,* hallucinatory and distressing, in the vein of the great horror masters, especially Poe.” Equally, La Stampa’s obituary of the “reclusive and atypical” De Maria singled the novel out, many decades after it appeared, for its “image of a gloomy, disquieting Turin, stalked by demonic and violent underground forces which anticipate the reality of terrorism.”...

  9. #2677
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    leigh on sea
    Posts
    1,594

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DannyL View Post
    You (or your son) might find these of interest Jenks: https://socialhistories1917.wordpress.com/

    A great resource, I've been working my way though 'em.
    Cheers - that looks really useful, thanks.

  10. #2678
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    لندورا
    Posts
    2,721

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jenks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DannyL View Post
    You (or your son) might find these of interest Jenks: https://socialhistories1917.wordpress.com/

    A great resource, I've been working my way though 'em.
    Cheers - that looks really useful, thanks.
    How interesting, you might also like this http://russianrevolution.marx-memorial-library.org.uk/ lots of documents from the amazing MML

  11. #2679
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Right now I'm reading the second book of the Mistborn thrilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Couldn't recommend it enough if you're a fantasy fan. Brandon Sanderson is a genius.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •