robin

Well-known member
Can't stop reading Wodehouse so far this year.

I've read most of them before anyway, but I seem incapable of reading anything else at the moment. Read about five in the last fortnight.

Downloading them all for free from the amazing Project Gutenburg.

https://www.gutenberg.org/

I'd highly recommend Uncle Fred in Springtime, I'm in the middle of it at the moment, I'd never read any of the Uncle Fred books before but this one is great, it has as perfect an opening as I've ever seen in any of them, laughed out loud several times over the course of the first few pages.
 

empty mirror

remember the jackalope
I am reading Nostromo.

I read the first 125 pages 15 years ago but had too much going on.
Still have a lot going on but it is going a bit better now. 150 pages in!
 

Ness Rowlah

Norwegian Wood
Just finished "Neuromancer" (William Gibson) - excellent as expected.
Just started on Patrick Modiano's (last year's Nobel winner) "Missing Person":
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Missing-Person-Verba-Mundi-Book/dp/1567922813/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

50 pages or so in. Different level of writing, they might get the peace prize wrong, but this is proper lit: arty, moving slowly in circles and proving that you don't have to write long to write good (just 160 pages or so).
 

benjybars

village elder.
I'd highly recommend Uncle Fred in Springtime, I'm in the middle of it at the moment, I'd never read any of the Uncle Fred books before but this one is great, it has as perfect an opening as I've ever seen in any of them, laughed out loud several times over the course of the first few pages.

Yep, the Uncle Fred books are excellent.

I watched this Wodehouse documentary recently.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbiwROt0yL8

He's a funny character - seems like he really didn't want to anything whatsoever apart from write.. even if there was a party going on his house he'd just lock himself away in his study, come out now and again to check that people were having a nice time, and then go back and carry on writing. The ending to the documentary is pretty poignant.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I am reading Nostromo.

I read the first 125 pages 15 years ago but had too much going on.
Still have a lot going on but it is going a bit better now. 150 pages in!

I really enjoyed this when I got a copy from Rich a couple of years ago. Takes a while to get going but when it does, the artistry is almost intimidating. If I can fault the writing it's that it's almost too nuanced: if you want in-depth descriptions of the precise type of sardonic irony expressed by the precise angle of the half-smile on the face of a young man from a certain subsection of the Parisian haute-bourgeoisie of the 1900s, then Conrad is yer man.

I just started rereading The Great Gatsby yesterday - well, boshed half of it on a flight, it's pretty short - having not really 'got' it when I read it at school. I'd like to thank Sick Boy for singing the book's praises when it was mentioned here a few years back, as it is actually pretty fucking great. Also not going to bother with Luhrmann's recent adaptation on the advice of pretty much everyone.

Finished Ligotti's Conspiracy the other day - cheers again, droid - going to give Laird Barron a shot next, I think.
 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Finished Ligotti's Conspiracy the other day - cheers again, droid - going to give Laird Barron a shot next, I think.

Ive previously suggested 'the beautiful thing' as a starter, but 'Occultation' is probably the one to start with. Very tempted to read it again actually.

Did I ever send you Peter Heller's 'Dog Stars' btw?
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Best non-spoiling short review I could find.

“The Dog Stars” takes place in Colorado, nine years after a super-flu has killed ninety-nine per cent of the people on the planet. (Nuclear Armageddon, the pretext for most early postapocalit, has been largely replaced by viral plagues.) The main character, Hig, lives at an abandoned airstrip with a violent wacko named Bangley and one of the most lovable dogs in recent literature, Jasper. The story concerns their struggle for resources and survival, which pits them against various desperadoes and also leads Hig to an unlikely romance with an epidemiologist, which leavens the book’s mournful tone. “The Dog Stars” doesn’t have zombies or super-vampires in it, à la Cronin; the dangers in Heller’s world are real, and all the scarier for being so casually deadly. It also has some of the best flying scenes I’ve ever read; it’s like “Deliverance” in an airplane.

The prose bears an obvious debt to manly sentence-smiths like McCarthy, Hemingway, and Jack London, but it also has lyrical descriptions of landscape and nature reminiscent of James Dickey’s poetry. Heller is a longtime outdoors author and magazine writer, for “Outside” in particular, and he takes a “Big Two-Hearted River” approach to his nature writing, constructing the natural world block by verbal block. Indeed the book can be read not merely as a horror fantasy but as an extended allegory about climate change and environmental degradation. The elk are gone, because of some mysterious disease, and “the trout are gone every one. Brookies, rainbows, browns, cutthroats cutbows, every one,” because the creeks are too warm. Throughout the book Heller plays a wrenching minor chord of abiding loss.

I would also add, on a personal note, that it’s always exhilarating (and quite rare) to see a journalist forgo familiar ground for the uncharted territory of fiction, and make such a brilliant success of it. Because what journalist doesn’t secretly dream of doing the same?

—John Seabrook
 

woops

is not like other people
if you want in-depth descriptions of the precise type of sardonic irony expressed by the precise angle of the half-smile on the face of a young man from a certain subsection of the Parisian haute-bourgeoisie of the 1900s, then Conrad is yer man.

yeah big fan
 

CrowleyHead

Well-known member
All due respect to founding fathers of the site, er, but... No thanks on K-Punk's first book.

On a brighter note, had to speedread Chinua Achebe "Things Fall Apart" and that was a great read.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Has anyone read 'The kindly Ones' by Jonathan Littel?

"A 900-page work written in impeccable French by an American, albeit one educated in France, was always going to be talked about. But the main reason for the book's notoriety is its subject matter. The novel tells the story of the Holocaust and Nazism through the eyes of one of the executioners, an SS Obersturmbannfürher on the Eastern Front who is attached to the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile execution squads whose task it was to kill Jews, partisans and other "undesirables" in the wake of the German advance. Both in France and across Europe, there were fierce debates about the morality and feasibility of giving voice to such a character. In Germany, Littell was accused of being "a pornographer of violence".

...The Kindly Ones also owes its success to its quality as a work of fiction. Notwithstanding the controversial subject matter, this is an extraordinarily powerful novel that leads the stunned reader through extremes of both realism and surrealism on an exhausting journey through some of the darkest recesses of European history.

Max Aue, the narrator, is a jurist by trade, a classicist by training and an aesthete by nature. He reads Flaubert as he treks through northern Pomeranian forests escaping oncoming Russian forces and savours the finest claret. (As German critics pointed out, Littell is more at home with French cultural references than German ones.) Aue is interested in the potential philosophical justifications for the mass murder of Jews and regularly consults Plato. At the same time, he is a closet homosexual who once had an incestuous affair with his sister and is a suspect for the brutal murder of his mother and stepfather. Whether all these elements add up to a plausible character (or even a plausible Nazi) is debatable. But as Littell has stated, with his interest in Greek philosophy and his cold, ironic eye, Aue is an excellent prism through which historical events can be examined...

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/feb/22/history-holocaust-books-jonathan-littell

Ive read a bit about the WWII, The Eastern Front, the Caucasus and the Holocaust over the years and this is really amazingly, meticulously well researched. Epic and quixotic as well - reminds me of Bolano at times.

5 stars.
 

Corpsey

bandz ahoy
Sounds good, although reading a 900 page book seems a Herculean task to me at the moment. I've just read ''A Little History of the World'' by E.H. Gombrich, with the intention of educating myself about history and getting back on the reading horse after falling off it for a fortnight. It was a great read, and, for an ignoramus like me, extremely educational. Already I find the dates and names slipping into the mire of my memories, but I hope I shall retain the broad brush-strokes of historical narrative and a conception of how extraordinarily dramatic the last five thousand-odd years have been.

It also made me want to read a biography of Napoleon - does anybody know of any good ones?

Now I'm trying to choose between

Nabokov - Speak, Memory
Michael Herr - Dispatches
Mervyn Peake - Titus Groan

And some other books. The important thing is to read SOMETHING. To revivify this bold'n'noble new tradition I'm working on.
 

Ness Rowlah

Norwegian Wood
Just finished VS Naipuls "In a Free State", overlong car-journey compared to the tighter and better "A bend in the river".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_a_Free_State

Now on to "Red Harvest", Dashiell Hammett. I read Hammett when I was in my teens-twenties and missed out on this one back then. I'm twice that age now and so far it's stunning. Hard to believe it has not been filmed (1929, it must even be out of copyright), although the wiki page indicates that Kurosawa (and thus indirectly Leone) were inspired by it and that Bertolucci planned to do a movie on it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Harvest

"Nobel Prize-winning French author André Gide called the book "a remarkable achievement, the last word in atrocity, cynicism, and horror." (I've never read anything by Gide, maybe it's time).


Patrick Modiano's "Missing Person" I thought was excellent. Writers like Modiano and Hammett seem to manage to squeeze more into 150 pages than a Knausgaard squeezes into 1500 (I've only read on K book, boring and not well written; but most critics find his detailed diaries excellent)
 
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vimothy

yurp
COME let us pity those who are better off than we are.
Come, my friend, and remember
that the rich have butlers and no friends,
And we have friends and no butlers.
Come let us pity the married and the unmarried.

Dawn enters with little feet
Like a gilded Pavlova,
And I am near my desire.
Nor has life in it aught better
Than this hour of clear coolness,
The hour of waking together.

-- Ezra Pound, "The Garret"
 

148 I.Q. Magical Thinker

Bamber Clatscoigne
Has anyone read 'The kindly Ones' by Jonathan Littel?



Ive read a bit about the WWII, The Eastern Front, the Caucasus and the Holocaust over the years and this is really amazingly, meticulously well researched. Epic and quixotic as well - reminds me of Bolano at times.

5 stars.

Started this on your recommendation - it's very good, isn't it?
Tore through The Dog Stars last week - I was initially turned off by the clipped prose, but the author largely dropped that and enjoyed it more as it strode off toward the horizon like Cormac McCarthy's The Road with a Cessna and many more guns. It's getting back to the cosy catastrophes of John Wyndham, i.e. the apocalypse would be something like fun for a privilege few.
 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Started this on your recommendation - it's very good, isn't it?
Tore through The Dog Stars last week - I was initially turned off by the clipped prose, but the author largely dropped that and enjoyed it more as it strode off toward the horizon like Cormac McCarthy's The Road with a Cessna and many more guns. It's getting back to the cosy catastrophes of John Wyndham, i.e. the apocalypse would be something like fun for a privilege few.

Fun, and monumentally depressing and nerve shattering. First time I read it I loved it but wasn't sure about the prose. Second time round it blew me away. His 2nd book 'the painter' is very similar and equally readable.

As for the kindly ones. it is brilliant, obscene and infuriating. Falls to pieces a bit towards the end unfortunately, but I think he'd said everything he need to say by then.

Currently reading something which describes even more horrific events 'Man on the run' by Tom Doyle

mccartney8n-1.jpg
 

empty mirror

remember the jackalope
man, finished Nostromo, finally.
wow. reminds me of Treasure of Sierra Madre - the way treasure acts as a malevolent force on people. like a dark satellite, only, i guess, the opposite of a satellite, yeah?!

starting in on Morrissey's autobiography, cautiously.
good so far, in his description of 60s Manchester, though i'll have to take his word for it having never been there then or ever. i skimmed it first and noticed he mentioned robert wyatt in what appeared to be not so endearing terms. i didn't investigate further (waiting til I get there to suss it out) but i've heard a lot of people were put off by what moz has put to paper, i reckon that may be something that sticks in my craw.
 

CrowleyHead

Well-known member
Yeah, he's perfect for writing about his childhood, as per usual. But he's still emotionally 10 so when he becomes an adult you want to throttle him.
 
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