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Thread: what are you reading now?

  1. #3286
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    Heading to this next week:

    https://flannobrien2019.ie/

  2. #3287
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    Wow really? Was just thinking reading about some of the conferences and stuff about him and thinking they sounded fascinating. I would be keen to hear you report back from that.

  3. #3288
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    Yesterday I got through the post a book called That Lonesome Valley by Melissa Lee-Houghton. First novel (I think) published by Morbid Books which is run by a former dissensian.

    Melissa Lee-Houghton’s debut novel is destined to become a classic of degenerate literature. It ranks alongside Trainspotting and Burroughs’ Junkie as a pre-eminent text on drug addiction and destitution.
    Pleased to see mine is signed too "Who's there? Love Melissa"

  4. #3289
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    Yeah, but the quote says "her" - that's not him is it? So it must be the one who wrote Wise Blood.
    Yeah it was a (very poor) attempt at humour. Never mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    I really liked At Swim Two Birds - I didn't know that he wrote many novels, I had it in my head that most of his writing was columns and essays and the like for some reason.
    I think he wrote five in total - I've got them in a collected volume. Hard to say which I liked best. The Poor Mouth is very funny, much less well known than his two biggies for some reason. It's an affectionate parody of these very serious and dour novels about picturesque rural poverty that were apparently popular in Ireland at the time, and were usually written in Irish, as TPM was originally (the English version isn't by O'Brien, it's a translation by someone else). It's about this poor fatherless boy growing up with his mother in rustic squalor in the middle of nowhere. They live with all their animals in this very basic one-room house, and it's incredibly dirty and smelly because of the animals, so one of the neighbours suggests they build a lean-to. They scrape together what meagre funds they have to pay a builder to build a lean-to, but after a while they give up on it "because they found it to be terribly draughty, so they eventually joined the animals back in the main house" (or words to that effect). It's full of stuff like that. There's also a lot of pisstaking of these very serious Irish-language enthusiasts, who are all very middle-class and live in the nice parts of Dublin.

    The Hard Life is good too, and is also about a troubled boyhood. The narrator's brother is this precocious boy genius, and when their uncle falls ill, the brother prescribes him a home-made potion called "The Gravid Water". Initially it seems to work but it turns out to have the side effect of serious weight gain. However the uncle doesn't get any physically fatter, he just gets more and more dense, until he's so heavy he falls through the stairs in their house.

    There's also The Dalkey Archive, which is probably the weakest of the five although still entertaining. Its characters include De Selbey, familiar from the footnotes in The Third Policeman, as well as (not very flatteringly) James Joyce.
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 10-07-2019 at 05:15 PM.
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  5. #3290
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    Given all the drug chat on here lately I thought I'd have a go at Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. There's a great bit very early on where he's basically just laying into Coleridge, who was mates with De Quincey before they fell out. At one point he very neutrally mentions that a letter Coleridge sent him "got published" (he doesn't elaborate on who published it), in which Coleridge says, in so many words, "I take opium because it's the only thing that affords me any relief from my horrible painful illness; you, Sir, take opium because you're a worthless junky dickhead." (De Quincey suffered chronic toothache, Coleridge from rheumatism.) Then he describes how Coleridge would apparently pay porters and the like to physically prevent him from going into pharmacies to buy opium, and later trying to persuade them to ignore his earlier instructions when he was jonesing hard.

    Most of the first part so far is a pretty tedious account of his education in classics at Manchester grammar school, however, so I might skip a few tens of pages to get to the juicy stuff (assuming there is any).
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 07-08-2019 at 03:34 PM.
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  6. #3291
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    Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit - poetically written account of efforts made and victories won by activists at all levels. Inspiring to read someone who both writes this well, and lays their heart on the line in doing so.

  7. #3292
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    I'm struggling through The Merchant of Venice (Shylock is the only good character) and slowwwly working my way through the Penguin History of the World, which is fascinating, and which makes me think I was robbed of a proper education at school (though of course I'd probably have found a lot of this stuff BORING as a child/teenager).
    Αι ψυχαί οσμώνται καθ΄ Άιδην.

  8. #3293

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    torah in peaces/pieces with the wife and kids.
    when it says bless the lads it means bless the lads.
    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    It says bless the lads and it means bless the lads.
    Quote Originally Posted by sadmanbarty View Post
    i don't know, probably some marxist cultural theory or something
    Quote Originally Posted by thirdform View Post
    gabber terrorism is fun but not all the time, sometimes you gotta be sophisticated or sulky for the ladies.
    https://manifestacionesoterica.bandcamp.com/

  9. #3294
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    I read a Balzac and I read Hobsbawn's age of capital and I read society of the spectacle I'll get back into the bible if people get chatty about it again. Strange burst of enthusiasm but petered out didn't it

  10. #3295

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    Speak for yourselves, I’ve almost finished it. I’m halfway through the Book of Revelation.

  11. #3296
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  12. #3297
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    I just finished the ultimate Dad book, Anthony Beevor's Stalingrad. Incredibly gripping and horrifically brutal. I knew some of this stuff but having it recontextualising it in b&w is pretty mindblowing i.e. 40,0000 killed in the first week of bombing. Also, the idea of self-sacrifice being a uniquely Asiatic trait (the Japanese "banzai" etc) is shown to be totally false, with loads of heroic and pointless self-sacrifice on both sides.

    Fancied some more Russian history so I got this behemoth out of the library:

    071267327X.02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

  13. #3298

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    Orlando Figes is a weirdo who posts bad reviews of other Russian historians and flattering reviews of his own stuff using pseudonyms on Amazon.

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  15. #3299
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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    Orlando Figes is a weirdo who posts bad reviews of other Russian historians and flattering reviews of his own stuff using pseudonyms on Amazon.
    I don't know whether you intended it as such, but this sounds like a thumping recommendation to me.
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  16. #3300
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    Yeah, he's gone up in my estimation now.

    Maybe related - he does seem to go straight for the jugular with character attacks in the opening chapter, in a way I'm not used to in academic writing. Fairly no holds barred judgements passed on Tsar Nicholas, his wife and Rasputin. Seeing as they brought about a revolutionary crisis unprecedented in world history, they probably deserve it though.

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