Please use the receptacle provided: What are you reading as 2023 begins?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

The time has come to carve out a dedicated space in ILB for mentioning, criticizing, praising, dissecting, dismissing, summarizing, or simply naming the books we are reading in these first few months of 2023.

The prior WAYR thread can be found here: The (S)word in the Autumn Stone: What Are You Reading, Fall 2022?

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 30 December 2022 20:00 (one month ago) link

I have four active right now:

Properties of Thirst, Marianne Wiggins. I cannot recommend this enough. Marianne has always been an immensely talented writer, and this is her best book yet. She has really captured the feel of life in the Central Valley. It's all the more remarkable achievement because she suffered a stroke before the book was completed, and finished it with the help of her daughter.

The Widow Queen, Elżbieta Cherezińska. The jury is still out on this one. If memory serves, it's a fantasy/romance I got for free from tor.com. It's OK, but I have a feeling that the translation (from the Polish) is lacking.

Collected Fiction Part 1: The Novels, by Leena Krohn. Highly recommended by Jeff VanDerMeer, who wrote the foreword. Again, something might have been lost in translation (from Finnish).

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, by M.R. James. I picked this up on the strength of a reading I heard on a podcast of "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book." I haven't made it yet past that story, but this kind of horror is my jam.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Friday, 30 December 2022 20:11 (one month ago) link

Tove Ditlevsen - CHILDHOOD, YOUTH, DEPENDENCY

finished childhood and almost done with youth really liking it so far though as with p much all auto fiction I'm always amazed/ sceptical about the amount of detail people can recall about their childhoods. my memory just doesn't work like that.

oscar bravo, Friday, 30 December 2022 21:08 (one month ago) link

carlo collodi, "pinocchio"

LaMDA barry-stanners (||||||||), Saturday, 31 December 2022 00:01 (one month ago) link

The last few chapters of Howard Zinn A People's History Of America. Or possibly going back over a couple of chapters

Guy Deutscher's Through The Language Glass

Thinking Fast & Slow Daniel Kahneman
may get back to this after Through the Language Glass

Surviving Genocide heffrey Ostler
A history of the contact between indigenous people in America and the incoming Europeans. Xmas present from my brother last year taht I really wanted to read at taht point and now haven't a year later because i did read everything else i read;. & now have picked up again and it is looking really good

How To write About Africa Binyavanga Wainaina
book of short articles by a Kenyan writer my brother sent me for Xmas alongside the Richard Koloda Holy Ghost which I've already finished

The five : the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper Hallie Rubenhold
feminist author attempts to fill out the biographies of the women killed by Jack The Ripper and stop them being quite as faceless entities.

A history of the world in seven cheap things : a guide to capitalism, nature, and the future of the planet Raj Patel

The Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair Calvin Jones

a few other bits and pieces since I have my library loans fully occupied with things so 16 books there
& I have been picking up books from charity shops to great degree so have piles of those around everywhere. Probably have several years worth of reading sitting here already and i don't know if i will ever repeat the amount I got through this year.
Oh & also have had one of the main book shops in Galway around the corner from the course I've been studying. Subsequently have been picking things up from there too.

bell hooks The will to change : men, masculinity, and love
which has been traveling around in my bag for months since I bought it

A restorative justice reader : texts, sources, context / edited by Gerry Johnstone.

West of the Revolution : an uncommon history of 1776 Claudio Saunt
the other events around the Americas at the time of the Declaration of Independence since it was a pretty dynamic year for a number of other populations around thanks to other colonising settlement etc and movement of indigenous tribes.

Stevolende, Saturday, 31 December 2022 00:31 (one month ago) link

I have pinnochio started recently cos I picked it up in a charity shop a few weeks back. Saw most of the Guillermo Del Toro animation since picking it up but I think I nodded off for a bit in the middle.

Stevolende, Saturday, 31 December 2022 00:33 (one month ago) link

By Bus, Erica Van Horn, an utterly delightful book that I could have finished today and which I'll probably actually finish before 2023 rings in. I have anxiety about what to read first for 2023 -- there's several Big Books I'm eager to get to, but I'll also be traveling soon, I don't love having to cart a giant doorstop with me while traveling -- at the same time, I'm always traveling, I should resign to it. Will I read Anna Karenina? Or attempt The Golden Horde, even though nonfiction tends to slow me down? Maybe Palace Walk, but do I have the rest of Cairo Trilogy somewhere in the house or not? I picked up Swann's Way last month, I could dive right in, but there's so much else I mean to get to, too -- these Tibetan Buddhist books are really thrilling for me, I'm not used to using that wrestling-thinking part of my reading brain so much as I did when I was devouring old Vaisnava scripture all the time. I could get back into Volodine & his heteronyms, there's a few more of those on the shelf, they're almost uniformly great. Moravia? I've read Morante but never Moravia, I could do that. I'm not sure! I'll finish By Bus tomorrow and then think about it some more!

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Saturday, 31 December 2022 03:02 (one month ago) link

Dwight E. Brooks - That's the Way of the World (33 1/3 series)
John le Carré - A Delicate Truth

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 31 December 2022 03:04 (one month ago) link

Don Winslow - The Border
Nyanapoinka Thera - The Heart of Buddhist Meditation

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Saturday, 31 December 2022 10:33 (one month ago) link

I've picked up Delillo's Underworld again over Christmas after abandoning it for a couple of months. It's often frustrating - occasionally quite good!

cajunsunday, Saturday, 31 December 2022 16:16 (one month ago) link

Jane Eyre

ArchCarrier, Saturday, 31 December 2022 18:18 (one month ago) link

Started The Dark is Rising. I don't think that I read past the first volume as a teenager.

Focuses for 2023: probably lots of fantasy and horror, and I want to learn more about French theatre, beyond the handful of things I've read already.

jmm, Saturday, 31 December 2022 18:35 (one month ago) link

Shin, The Cryptopians
Ollier, Wert and the Life Without End
Savage, This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else

Happy New Year!

Reading books is a kind of enjoyment. Reading books is a good habit. We bring you a different kinds of books. You can carry this book where ever you want. It is easy to carry. It can be an ideal gift to yourself and to your loved ones. Care instruction keep away from fire.

alimosina, Saturday, 31 December 2022 23:17 (one month ago) link

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell

Dan S, Sunday, 1 January 2023 01:23 (one month ago) link

What are your favorite recently published short stories?

the pinefox, Sunday, 1 January 2023 14:02 (one month ago) link

which should I read?
remain in love by Frantz
book of drugs by Doughty
Echo spring by Laing
crude by Laing

calstars, Sunday, 1 January 2023 14:11 (one month ago) link

Already finished the first book of the year: Hua Hsu's memoir Stay True, about his zine-making, indie rock-loving college years and unlikely friendship with a Dave Matthews Band-loving preppie student who was tragically murdered. Very touching and hits the right 90s cultural touchstones.

Chris L, Sunday, 1 January 2023 15:00 (one month ago) link

Will flip between:

New Juche - Mountainhead
Derek Jarman - Through the Billboard Promised Land Without Ever Stopping
Colin Barrett - Homesickness

bain4z, Sunday, 1 January 2023 15:39 (one month ago) link

picked up The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound by Roberto Mangabeira Unger again. It really is tremendously invigorating reading. I think the critics cited in the wikipedia article have it exactly right:

vintage Unger: exhortative, deeply romantic, full of moral intensity, relentlessly hopeful, marginal to professional philosophy. The work is part essay (after Emerson or the German romantics), part sermon, part political manifesto, and part critical theory. It is a left-romantic-existential-political Wake-Up Call. There is an American optimism and energy about it too. It seems more spiritually akin to Whitman or Emerson than to the "Pragmatists" it celebrates.


inject it into my veins. I’m curious to know what his policy programme when he was part of Lula’s ministry was. Again critics are right to point out, it’s all very abstracted from specifics about practical application in the world so understanding how he applied his thinking in a policy role is of interest.

The Eleven (Les Onze) - Pierre Michon trans. Jody Gladding and Elizabeth Deshays.

It seems an extraordinarily flat-footed translation, clunky and v difficult to read. It’s possible that this book on which Michon apparently spent 15 years working is substantially different from the previous ones translated by Anne Jefferson, but the same elements are clearly there. It just feels like it’s been translated extremely literally with little sense for Michon’s tone and rhythms (something Wyatt Mason seems to imply in his superbly enjoyable NYRB article)

Izumi Suzuki - Terminal Boredom

Interesting and playful experiments in science fiction, gender and psychology so far.

Jacques Roubaud - The Great Fire of London

I take a fairly dim view of what i consider “writers block” novels - writing about your failure to write feels like a failure regardless. However this is quite a lot of fun, with anecdotal and emotional substance, and formal and intellectual intrigue. V enjoyable.

John Gordon - The House on the Brink
Oh this is excellent and I didn’t realise until I looked him up that he was also responsible for the also very good and weird The Giant Under the Snow. Weird teenage supernatural story partly in the MR James mode (East Anglia, supernatural materialises in carefully handled ways) but with sharp picture of adolescence.

Fizzles, Sunday, 1 January 2023 17:43 (one month ago) link

i read giant under the snow aged 10-ish and liked it, so was super-keen when house on the brink came out -- it was enthusiastically reviewed in puffin post! -- and i think no book has ever frightened me as much, though i've never entirely identified what it is about it

i still proceed quite gingerly when i pick it up again now

mark s, Sunday, 1 January 2023 17:55 (one month ago) link

I think I got The Giant Under the Snow from Puffin Post as well! (see also Robert Westall, John Christopher, Susan Cooper, Rosemary Sutcliffe)

Yes, it’s not at all clear what it’s about, in quite an unnerving way. I like the way the children are *extremely* sharp edged.

Fizzles, Sunday, 1 January 2023 18:03 (one month ago) link

I'm reading a thing I was sent to blurb and my expectations were low but it's very enjoyable crime fiction! a nice new year's surprise

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Sunday, 1 January 2023 19:01 (one month ago) link

^ That's a good blurb right there.

jmm, Sunday, 1 January 2023 20:28 (one month ago) link

Can you tell us what it is, or do we have to wait for you to finish and write the blurb first?

A Kestrel for a Neve (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 1 January 2023 20:32 (one month ago) link

So just finished A People's History by Howard Zinn. Enjoyed.

& got further into West of The Revolution by Saud which is talking about devastation felt by various native tribes around the continent. Does seem to be something I want to get through. & hopefully get through Surviving genocide before too long.

I need to get further into W.E.B. Du Bois The Souls of Black Folks which is actually in the same bag within my shoulder bag that bell hooks The Will To Change is in. I think I started it a few months ago and not read more of it despite it being in that bag or possibly because it is in that bag

Stevolende, Sunday, 1 January 2023 20:35 (one month ago) link

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which I last read 30 years ago.

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Sunday, 1 January 2023 21:11 (one month ago) link

I've been wondering lately if it was time for me to go back to re-read Huck Finn. One of these years I'm going to designate as My Year of Mostly Re-Reading. This would be a great year for that, but I just bought a ton of new and used books, so I have at least a year's worth of stuff I never read before sitting in piles and I need to address them, too.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Sunday, 1 January 2023 21:25 (one month ago) link

I like the idea of a year of re-reading. My main resolution is the same as last year: more forrin/translated fiction.

My other main resolution is to either a) not buy any new books and only read from my monstrous 'to read' pile/shelf/cathedral or ii) be frank about what I want to keep from my 'to read' vault and exorcise the least likely before buying anything new. The latter feels like the best approach, as the books are more likely to have been bought on a whim and don't yet have the attachment of longer-owned books.

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Sunday, 1 January 2023 22:03 (one month ago) link

Can you tell us what it is, or do we have to wait for you to finish and write the blurb first?

this right here. I didn't make the galleys blurb deadline, which was like 4 days after I got the wire-bound reader copy, but the press deadline is later. it's a good read, I've been in a genre fiction mood lately with Italian noir stuff -- this isn't that, Italian noir is its own zone, but it's good

J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Sunday, 1 January 2023 22:48 (one month ago) link

The technology trap : capital, labor, and power in the age of automation Carl Benedikt Frey,
library book that has been sitting around teh bed waiting for me to continue. Book on why labour saving technology doesn't seem to save much labour in the long run. One idea being that time freed is soon taken up by other tasks.
THis book is looking into the history of the interface between mankind and technology. I've just got up to the point where the author has been looking at the power of the guilds to put off the introduction of labour saving technology. He's looked at Europe and China and come back to look at the UK. Apparently the decline of power of the guilds there meant less opposition to the introduction of labour saving technology and from that the Industrail Revolution ensued.

Stevolende, Monday, 2 January 2023 09:33 (one month ago) link

Rereading can be good, even essential, and I've been rereading certain books for my whole adult life, but at this point I think I'm still keen to read and learn as much as possible of books I haven't already read.

I sympathise with the point about 'reading what's actually on your shelves' rather than going out and seeking even more.

I continue with short stories:
What are your favorite recently published short stories?

the pinefox, Monday, 2 January 2023 11:29 (one month ago) link

With Hope, Farewell, Alexander Baron - One of those writers you run into a lot if you get interested in old East End stuff. So far, very good on the competitiveness of young boys and the awkwardness of trying to suss someone out whom you've just met and aren't going to see for long. The portrayal of anti-semitism is hardly subtle but then I'm sure neither was the experience of it in 1930's Britain.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 2 January 2023 11:44 (one month ago) link

I recently finished Candy House by Jennifer Egan; she does what she does well; she has experience.
I have a book of short stories and a novel by Claire Louise-Bennett with which I am trying to engage; I think I will read Pond first. Do you think it is important to read short stories in one sitting?

youn, Monday, 2 January 2023 13:20 (one month ago) link

I reread at least one novel a month.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 2 January 2023 13:26 (one month ago) link

The Westing Game: fun, original, pretty woke (for the 80s)

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 2 January 2023 15:53 (one month ago) link

Do you think it is important to read short stories in one sitting?

No, but if you add a long bath into the mix, then yes

(last bath was: The Garden of Forking Paths)

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 2 January 2023 15:57 (one month ago) link

Alfred, did I dream that you read while walking, and, more to the point, walking at 6.30 in the morning?

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Monday, 2 January 2023 16:08 (one month ago) link

Rereading is easily a third of my reading. I don't feel like I have a handle on any kind of complex book after just one reading. There's also just a different feeling to rereading. I'm not as conscious of my progress in the book, the width of the remaining pages, or like I'm running a marathon to get to the end.

jmm, Monday, 2 January 2023 16:29 (one month ago) link

Melville - Just started Bartleby, the Scrivener. Also plan to read The Confidence Man, though not sure if I will start that immediately after.

Unfairport Convention (PBKR), Monday, 2 January 2023 17:22 (one month ago) link

^both amazing works

speaking of rereading, starting on my second go through of christina stead's the man who loved children... been at least 20 years so my memory of it is fuzzy, pretty much just remember the overweening egotism of the father & the misery it causes for the rest of the family. in the collection of her shorter works i've just read there are a couple of autobiographical pieces which put a more positive spin on her relationship with her father/family life, but you can still feel some slight exasperation peeping through.

no lime tangier, Monday, 2 January 2023 18:59 (one month ago) link

The Confidence Man
Not that much like any other Melville or anything else I've read, but Melville as hell, when he'd apparently long since given up on acceptance in his lifetime: fuck it, he's just doing what he wants, taking it as far as he wants, apparently. Whatever you've read about it, the TCM reading experience is its own thing. Mark Twain prob understood it (see esp. MT outtakes in the University of California Press collections and some Library of America as well, I think).

dow, Monday, 2 January 2023 20:03 (one month ago) link

Alfred, did I dream that you read while walking, and, more to the point, walking at 6.30 in the morning?

― Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski)

Yep. No one around, sun's coming out.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 2 January 2023 20:08 (one month ago) link

I think it's great and yet have no idea of the logistics! All power to you, of course.

Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Monday, 2 January 2023 20:52 (one month ago) link

Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo - clearly an absurd character but I'm not finding it laugh out loud funny, should I be?

ledge, Tuesday, 3 January 2023 09:03 (one month ago) link

I usually have one fiction and one non-fiction book going - right now it is:

Tim Powers - Forced Perspectives: second book in his Vickery and Castine series and, sadly, probably the last I'll read. I love Powers' previous para-historical novels, but the swerve into contemporary urban fantasy is bumming me out. Both this and the previous Alternate Routes feel like they exist solely to be spun off into some other medium: streaming cable, comics, or...

Serhii Plokhy - The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine. Outstanding book. Slow going.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 3 January 2023 09:55 (one month ago) link

Confessions of Zeno by Italo Svevo - clearly an absurd character but I'm not finding it laugh out loud funny, should I be?

― ledge,

yes!

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 3 January 2023 10:37 (one month ago) link

I'll see if I can rewire my humour circuit...

ledge, Tuesday, 3 January 2023 11:07 (one month ago) link

xpost continuation of my previous post ... The short stories are good; the writing is vivid in the sense that it calls to mind things that are vivid and feel present. Correction on her name ... it is Claire-Louise Bennett.

youn, Tuesday, 3 January 2023 13:20 (one month ago) link

I could not read in the bath for fear of damaging the book. I hate it when I drop books from the nightstand. I can't bear it when people throw books.

youn, Tuesday, 3 January 2023 13:21 (one month ago) link

Claire Keegan - Small Things Like These
Darryl Pinckney - Busted in New York and Other Essays

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 3 January 2023 13:22 (one month ago) link

It's a curious period where it looked like things were switching over from cinema to TV, with lots of big name directors making multi part shows.

I caught a four part TV drama from the 70s directed by Bergman at the BFI on a Sat afternoon, that's the nearest I've gone to seeing something originally broadcast on TV by an auteur. Otherwise I've seen it in DVDs/Torrents.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 2 February 2023 12:14 (four days ago) link

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Face_to_Face_(1976_film)

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 2 February 2023 12:17 (four days ago) link

Watched a Gian Maria Volonté interview from 1982 where he keeps trying to guide the convo back onto "how our consumption of images has changed", this tying into the Christ Stopped At Eboli TV mini-series he had just done with Francesco Rosi. Pointing out that a viewer has much more agency with television (changing the colour contrast, muting, recording) and that the amount of images produced in a day are comparable to the amount of images cinema produces in a year. I'm not sure what he was getting at in the end, perhaps just obfuscating because he felt a bit ashamed at doing TV, but who knows?

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 2 February 2023 13:01 (four days ago) link

Home recording made a huge difference! Also having choice of pre-recorded for home viewing---though I still wanted to go to the Film Society screenings at theater in Student Center, plus classroom screenings---pass the word on those---and out-of-town, sometimes out-of state, limited theatrical screenings:get it while you can.

dow, Thursday, 2 February 2023 19:23 (four days ago) link

Favorite film books?

dow, Thursday, 2 February 2023 19:24 (four days ago) link

As in? Just in general? I’ve always liked The Devil’s Candy, about the filming of Bonfire of the Vanities. You can read an excerpt from it here.

here you go, muttonchops Yaz (gyac), Thursday, 2 February 2023 19:44 (four days ago) link

Thanks! Yeah, just in general: collected reviews, essays, by single authors, anthologies, re diff eras, genre/subgenre, also about specific films, actors, directors etc.
I don't know many, but usually enjoyed Kael and Sarris reviews in TNY and VV. Bookwise, Agee on Film is a trip; Manny Farber's Negative Space taught me some more things about writing and thinking about what I've seen and am seeing (he's kind of the counter-Agee, but not anti-); Alfred and I enjoyed Robert Gottleib's life-and-works-and-afterlife-incl.-mentions-and-swag bio-anthology Garbo.

dow, Thursday, 2 February 2023 20:23 (four days ago) link

Thanks! Yeah, just in general: collected reviews, essays, by single authors, anthologies, re diff eras, genre/subgenre, also about specific films, actors, directors etc.
I don't know many, but usually enjoyed Kael and Sarris reviews in TNY and VV. Bookwise, Agee on Film is a trip; Manny Farber's Negative Space taught me some more things about writing and thinking about what I've seen and am seeing (he's kind of the counter-Agee, but not anti-); Alfred and I enjoyed Robert Gottleib's life-and-works-and-afterlife-incl.-mentions-and-swag bio-anthology Garbo.

xp: ha, Tom Wolfe and Savonarola! Yeah, thanks for that.

dow, Thursday, 2 February 2023 20:28 (four days ago) link

Agh, too many windows open, sorry.

dow, Thursday, 2 February 2023 20:29 (four days ago) link

I read The Devil's Candy decades ago--I can recall a large amount of time spent by a unit director trying to prove to DePalma that they could do an interesting shot of a plane landing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No2xc_5zd4I

INDEPENDENTS DAY BY STEVEN SPILBERG (President Keyes), Thursday, 2 February 2023 21:15 (four days ago) link

LOve Saves The Day Tim Lawrence
talking about the development of the discotheque largely in NYC in the early 70s. Ties in with the podcast LOve Is The Message where the author and a companion retrace a lot of the same scene and a few related ones. Pretty good so far.

Restorative Justice Reader Gerry Johnstone (ed)
various key texts on teh subject. I've had this around teh bed for months and need to get through it and return it sine they seem to be tightening the renewal process in teh Irish library system. Quite good so possibly good that I got an incentive to read it. Think I stretched myself in too many different directions to get everything I started trying to read last year so some things I really wanted to read go backburnered too much.
Want to read more on the subject anyway.

Stevolende, Thursday, 2 February 2023 21:34 (four days ago) link

DePalma took the correct position. Shots of planes landing can only provide a few seconds of bland filler during a transition between scenes.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Thursday, 2 February 2023 22:05 (four days ago) link

Just starting: Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter

― Ward Fowler, Thursday, F

I read it at a friend's rec about five years ago and it impressed me.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 February 2023 22:11 (four days ago) link

xp Great use of a stock shot, which does seem like its around ten seconds: a mighty airliner flying through glorious skies, headed right and West, then flipped left and East when characters are going back thataway yet again, in John Huston's ace gangster comedy Prizzi's Honor.
It's based on a novel of same title, written by Richard Condon, whose best-known work, I guess, was The Manchurian Candidate---is he good? Sees like he might be, judging by Huston's version and usual taste in source material.

dow, Friday, 3 February 2023 03:24 (three days ago) link

Poster Dow, the film book I own that has most surprised people when they see it on the shelf is David Thomson's NICOLE KIDMAN. 'Why do you have a whole book on Nicole Kidman?'

Mark S, an ILX poster, once wrote a book about a film.

the pinefox, Friday, 3 February 2023 09:20 (three days ago) link

Big thread about film books:

Search: Good, nay essential, books about film

Today I would recommend A Long Hard Look at Psycho by Raymond Durgnat

Ward Fowler, Friday, 3 February 2023 09:25 (three days ago) link

the durgnat is very good yes

(my book is on the other hand very short)

mark s, Friday, 3 February 2023 10:35 (three days ago) link

Such great film writing!

And such small portions!

the pinefox, Friday, 3 February 2023 12:26 (three days ago) link

Poster Dow, the film book I own that has most surprised people when they see it on the shelf is David Thomson's NICOLE KIDMAN. 'Why do you have a whole book on Nicole Kidman?'

The question Thomson would ask if he saw this is, "When did I write a whole book on Nicole Kidman?"

Chris L, Friday, 3 February 2023 12:40 (three days ago) link

Thanks all, incl for reminder about mark s book! Also about that film books thread.
I've never read anything by Thomson that made me want to read more, and that's from anthologies, can't imagine making it through a whole book. Just seems like a solemn slogger.
Think I'll look for a Cahiers du Cinéma collection with Godard etc.

dow, Friday, 3 February 2023 15:14 (three days ago) link

Thomson is pretty much the opposite of a solemn slogger.

More of a rogueish raconteur or mischievous mixer.

the pinefox, Friday, 3 February 2023 15:31 (three days ago) link

dow, it's post-Godard et al, but you can get two volumes of translated Cahiers articles from 68-73 - 'the red years' - as free PDF downloads:

https://monoskop.org/images/7/72/Fairfax_Daniel_The_Red_Years_of_Cahiers_du_cinema_1968-1973_vol_1_2021.pdf

Lots of foundational Marxist-Semiotic-Structuralist film criticism if that's yr thing.

Ward Fowler, Friday, 3 February 2023 15:43 (three days ago) link

Thomson has flaws, but he's not a slog.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 3 February 2023 15:51 (three days ago) link

i have a battered copy of the collected 1950s cahiers du cinema (neo-realism, hollywood, new wave, ed.jim hillier) which is useful for historical access to the thoughts of the nouvelle vague before and as they first started making films -- godard on truffaut's 400 coups etc -- tho not in my opinion for terrifically insightful critical writing (basically they were working towards a cinematic reset to allow themselves space to have success at making movies -- which they achieved! but we live in the wake of the reset and as a consequence much of it seems super-obvious). manny farber is a far better writer (and you already have negative space, which i was rereading and enjoying over christmas)

mark s, Friday, 3 February 2023 16:00 (three days ago) link

That Durgnat book seems kind of expensive these days, thinking of posting on the appropriate thread for such things.

And Your Borad Can Zing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 3 February 2023 16:05 (three days ago) link

TS: Termite vs. Elephant

And Your Borad Can Zing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 3 February 2023 16:06 (three days ago) link

challopsing for team white elephant like there's no tomorrow

mark s, Friday, 3 February 2023 16:09 (three days ago) link

I read a chapter or two of Bono's SURRENDER. He describes his wedding in 1982. Adam Clayton was best man. U2 played at the wedding party, presumably quite ramshackle, with guest appearances from other notable musicians like Paul Brady. The honeymoon was in Jamaica. When they arrived the housekeeper said 'Sting, great to see you again!'.

the pinefox, Friday, 3 February 2023 16:12 (three days ago) link

Now reminded of an Alan Clarke film I saw at the same place I went to see Berlin Alexanderplatz, MoMA, only the former didn't require nearly as much sitzfleisch, this being Elephant, which I believe was about The Troubles iirc.

And Your Borad Can Zing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 3 February 2023 16:14 (three days ago) link

Have mentioned it before on ILX, somewhere, but this is a v well done summary:

https://www.versobooks.com/books/1028-a-short-history-of-cahiers-du-cinema

Ward Fowler, Friday, 3 February 2023 16:16 (three days ago) link

the one i keep hearing recommendations for is, i think, The Zone, which is someone live-blogging Stalker

(googles...)
"Zona: On Andrei Tarkovsky’s 'Stalker' by Geoff Dyer"

koogs, Friday, 3 February 2023 16:54 (three days ago) link

some ppl like geoff dyer but i am not one of them

mark s, Friday, 3 February 2023 17:03 (three days ago) link

That Dyer book was not bad, but between insights there were too many winky "can you believe I'm writing a book about this super-obscure, super-difficult movie?!?" asides.

Halfway there but for you, Friday, 3 February 2023 17:08 (three days ago) link

I went to see Dyer read from and talk about the book. This was fine. But I have never seen the film.

the pinefox, Friday, 3 February 2023 18:11 (three days ago) link

re 'live-blogging a film', I can recommend Jonathan Lethem's THEY LIVE (2010), except that it contains too many references to Zizek. Otherwise contains some very good material.

the pinefox, Friday, 3 February 2023 18:12 (three days ago) link

Cool, thanks also for all Cahiers tips, and I'll give Thomson another shot the next time he happens by, won't seek him out. Should seek out my copy of Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber: says it was purchased in 2013 and never read! Oh well, I've got Negative Space on brane.

dow, Saturday, 4 February 2023 02:37 (two days ago) link

Stevolende, you might like the listening companion to Love Saves The Day, though it's even more wide-ranging than I expected from reading the book. A time trip across the dance floor, but I got into most of it pretty quickly. Bandcamp has digital (flac or whatever you want, as usual), CD, vinyl, though I got CDs from Amazon (a 2-disc set; BC seems to have them sep?). Amazon had mp3 and vinyl as well (the vinyl's sometimes sold out on BC). The only free BC stream is Charles Earland's "Leaving This Planet," though there may be more on other sites.
(All of the listening companion for the equally excellent second book, Life & Death On A New York Dance Floor (1980 - 1983), can be heard for free on Bandcamp.)

dow, Saturday, 4 February 2023 04:02 (two days ago) link

Cool. Thanks. Podcast is quite good too.
Was going to copy the discography in the book to somewhere.

Will try to get to read the 2nd book.

This copy was apparently in a store for some reason. As soon as I get it it has a request lodged so I need to get through it fast.
Surprised it's in a store and therefore not in usual circulation. Would have thought existence of Podcast would mean some demand.
Podcast is Love Is The Message but author is one of 2 hosts.

Stevolende, Saturday, 4 February 2023 08:54 (two days ago) link

Second book better than the first, afaic, and gets into the recuperation of underground music culture into capitalist systems of extraction/exploitation in a way that isn’t didactic.

Goose Bigelow, Fowl Gigolo (the table is the table), Saturday, 4 February 2023 12:42 (two days ago) link

yeah, I loved Life & Death On A New York Dance Floor

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 4 February 2023 13:44 (two days ago) link

After reading over half of NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS, and 40-50pp of (tiresomely earnest and reverential) metatext by the translator and others, I'm bailing out on that book. But I can affirm that it improves as it goes, and chapter 8 is actually quite sharp on the management of carceral space, and the way that baffling, shifting regulations confuse and dismay prisoners. An odd detail, typical of this, is that the prisoner can receive half a glass of milk, but if the cook mistakenly pours slightly more than half a glass into the glass, then it becomes invalid and is set aside and wasted. Crazy.

I bought Michael Bracewell's UNFINISHED BUSINESS (2023) and have read the first chapter. Readable, enjoyable, and perhaps the prose is a bit better controlled than earlier Bracewell.

the pinefox, Saturday, 4 February 2023 15:09 (two days ago) link

xpost the other volume in TL's NYC triology: Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992 Romance of first part of that title well-balanced by research, incl. contending POvs, incl. great quotes.

dow, Saturday, 4 February 2023 19:17 (two days ago) link

Also expert social mapping, as Frank Kogan might put it.

dow, Saturday, 4 February 2023 19:19 (two days ago) link

I was quite impressed by The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. Not sure where I heard about this book, but seems like it deserves to be better known. Ofc there's a voyeuristic aspect to a middle-aged married dude like me reading about the romantic lives of 20-something single women in 1950s NYC, but the book is much tougher and smarter than that synopsis might suggest. Its remarkable how well the book anticipates so many themes that continue to resonate down to the present day. Jaffe sets herself a challenge by weaving together 4 independent stories with 4 main characters (though they all know each other through an office where they worked together), but she needs a big canvas to tell the story she's trying to tell, a story as much about society as it is about individual characters, in which resonances and patterns can accrue between different people's experiences.

o. nate, Saturday, 4 February 2023 20:41 (two days ago) link

Is it better than THE GROUP?

the pinefox, Sunday, 5 February 2023 09:17 (yesterday) link

A quarter through Gwendoline Riley's SICK NOTES (2004), I realise that though some of the writing is lively, the book is annoying. Its protagonist's ennui seems immensely self-indulgent and obnoxious. Question is, can I bail out of another book? I think I have to stay on and finish it.

the pinefox, Sunday, 5 February 2023 09:19 (yesterday) link

^^ My first Riley last year. I'm reading My Phantoms; almost done.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 5 February 2023 16:13 (yesterday) link

Is it better than THE GROUP?

I haven’t read The Group, though it’s been on my wishlist for a while. I guess that one was written about 10 years later, so would be interesting to compare.

o. nate, Sunday, 5 February 2023 16:48 (yesterday) link

Riley is wonderful. I will say, I had a better appreciation of her debut, Cold Water, having read the later novels first. The voice is there fully-formed from the beginning, but it’s easier to recognise what’s working when you know where she ends up, and the twentysomethinginess of those books is less distracting.

Anyway I think she’s very good at writing about miserable things and obnoxious people without leaning on self-deprecatory jokes to sweeten the prose, but also without turning it into a sadistic experience for the reader.

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 5 February 2023 23:32 (yesterday) link

Not sure anything in recent fiction has made me feel sadder than the bit in My Phantoms where the mum texts "bad haircut :(" to Bridget.

bain4z, Monday, 6 February 2023 08:46 (forty minutes ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.