With apologies to Sophie Mackintosh for the title.I am way behind on my reading as ever, I’m almost finished Ball Four which I wrote a bit about on the Baseball books thread. Yes, I’m cheating on you guys with the other ILB and I’m not remotely sorry. I have several other baseball books to read, but I want to read some fiction next. Reading all this nonfiction is unnatural to me and I spend a lot of time reading up on real events or watching YouTube clips of stuff depicted. Top of my list is Sophie Mackintosh’s Cursed Bread, which I now have a signed copy of, and Nicole Flattery’s debut novel is out this month as well. I’ve also got about six Ali Smith books and I need to finish Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour as I started it and remember liking it a lot. And the Elena Ferrante books have been calling my name a while now. And you?
― limb tins & cum (gyac), Friday, 24 March 2023 10:42 (two months ago) link
I have started properly reading RADIO BENJAMIN: a very extensive Verso collection of Walter Benjamin's writings for radio, from the late 1920s and early 1930s.
― the pinefox, Friday, 24 March 2023 11:38 (two months ago) link
Courtesy link to prior WAYR thread: Please use the receptacle provided: What are you reading as 2023 begins?
― more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 24 March 2023 16:05 (two months ago) link
Nikolai Gogol - Dead SoulsI always thought that this would be darker since I associate it with the Joy Division song, or let's be real, the NIN cover, but it's really more of a hilarious romp.
Mezz Mezzrow - Really the BluesAbsolutely fantastic memoir about early jazz and occasional crimes, starting in the '20s. Almost every sentence has some wild turn of phrase or slang. I think it's out of print, it was a birthday gift.
Adrian Tchaikovsky - Children of MemoryMy trashy sci-fi indulgence, third in the trilogy. I actually think he's improved as a writer, but at this point it's so wrapped up in the worldbuilding (literally, lol) of the first two books that some of it would be hilariously impenetrable if you hadn't read them. But that's unsurprising for a third act. I don't know if I could honestly recommend it as "good" but I sure am enjoying it.
― change display name (Jordan), Friday, 24 March 2023 16:49 (two months ago) link
Previously read this year:
Mat Johnson - Pym (decent & fun, good concept, ok writing & execution)Stanislaw Lem - The Futurological Congress (just delightful)Jonathan Lethem - The Arrest (decent, flawed but also probably his best in awhile?)Hernan Diaz - In the Distance (really enjoyed this on NA's recommendation, sort of a good-hearted and more conventional take on Blood Meridian)Katie Kitamura - Intimacies (sorry but thought this was pretty bad)George Saunders - A Swim in the Pond in the Rain (really enjoyed it, especially 'The Nose' which is what sent me on to Dead Souls)
― change display name (Jordan), Friday, 24 March 2023 16:52 (two months ago) link
just finished Bono - SURRENDER. liked the first half but the second half is less about the music and the band and more about activism and Steve Jobs this and Condi Rice that and kinda bored me, tho I did find it funny that he recalls cillian murphy ,by all accounts a close friend, telling him earnestly about how big a fan he was of their earlier records up until joshua tree which murphy loves but that they have since lost him.about to startNatsou Kirino - OUT which is about 4 women factory workers in Tokyo ,one of whom kills her husband and the others help her dispose of the bodyxpgyacs review of ball four in the baseball thread is great and made me want to read it.also someone asked if we had the nicole flatterly book today. we didn't and I've never heard of her. should I have?
― oscar bravo, Friday, 24 March 2023 21:57 (two months ago) link
I reviewed her short story collection here: Lilacs Out of the Dead Land, What Are You Reading? Spring 2022Her novel has had a few writeups in the Guardian, FT, etc, I hadn’t seen them till now cos I just preordered the book and it went onto my huge to-read pile. I personally liked her short story collection. You can read one of her stories here and see what you think.
― limb tins & cum (gyac), Friday, 24 March 2023 22:25 (two months ago) link
Reading Tracey Thorn's memoir *Bedsit Disco Queen*. Thorn's like Hatfield Rock: despite her self-deprecation, humility, her desire for a kind of present invisibility, she's like her EBTG lyrics: quietly wise and herself right to the bone - even as she's constantly admitting that self is a product of middle-England banality.
― Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 24 March 2023 22:31 (two months ago) link
Whoa. Just read ' track' , thx for the link. Found it really funny but then felt bad for finding it funny. Very horrible and off-putting but in a compelling way. Will try to track down her collection from the library.
― oscar bravo, Friday, 24 March 2023 23:02 (two months ago) link
civilization of the Middle Ages, Norman cantor
― brimstead, Friday, 24 March 2023 23:03 (two months ago) link
I'm glad that someone else has been reading SURRENDER.
― the pinefox, Saturday, 25 March 2023 09:21 (two months ago) link
also someone asked if we had the nicole flatterly book today. we didn't and I've never heard of her. should I have?
I really enjoyed her short story collection Show Them a Good Time - very good contemporary Irish fiction. RIYL Colin Barrett. Her new one is a novel that sounds like it might be interesting:
― bain4z, Saturday, 25 March 2023 09:56 (two months ago) link
I'm reading The Garden of the Gods, the third book in Gerald Durrell's series about his family's stay in Corfu. Which is to say I'm reading warmed over table scraps.
― more difficult than I look (Aimless), Saturday, 25 March 2023 16:23 (two months ago) link
Nadis and Yau, A History in SumWilson, The Difference Between God And Larry EllisonMeier, The Lost Spy
― alimosina, Sunday, 26 March 2023 00:55 (two months ago) link
Currently: Harry Crews, A Childhood: The Biography of a Place (omg)
― dow, Monday, 27 March 2023 00:57 (two months ago) link
finished trollope's barchester towers the first novel of his i've read: had not expected his fiction to exhibit such a level of irony & occasional outright satire as this did... almost farcical in places
started on a reread of the moonstone and now somewhat tempted to explore some of wilkie collins' less known/regarded novels
― no lime tangier, Monday, 27 March 2023 05:06 (two months ago) link
Moonstone is a lot of fun.
― Daniel_Rf, Monday, 27 March 2023 09:35 (two months ago) link
i changed ereader half-way through and lost my place. haven't picked it up again.
― koogs, Monday, 27 March 2023 11:26 (two months ago) link
I finished Volume 1 of Principles of Psychology by William James (please clap). Unfortunately it was good enough that I will probably also need to read Volume 2. Introspection is an indispensable tool for thinking about how the mind works, which makes it worthwhile to pursue, despite the innate difficulties - e.g. the lack of well-defined consensual terms for mental phenomena, difficulties of observing oneself "in media res" since the act of observing by necessity takes one out of the activity that one sought to observe, etc.
― o. nate, Monday, 27 March 2023 16:02 (two months ago) link
Finished a little chap by Iain Sinclair, as well as one by Fred Spoliar and Maria Sledmere, as well as Ed Steck’s Sleep as Information/ The Fountain is a Water Feature, a strange book of poems dwelling in insomniac preoccupations.
― Goose Bigelow, Fowl Gigolo (the table is the table), Monday, 27 March 2023 16:08 (two months ago) link
I am now reading Andrew Crisell, AN INTRODUCTORY HISTORY OF BRITISH BROADCASTING (1997). It shows a very fine analytical understanding, modestly and clearly expressed. I have never seen the basic relations between diverse media so succinctly defined.
― the pinefox, Monday, 27 March 2023 17:54 (two months ago) link
Today I started An Inventory Of Losses by Judith Schalansky
― touche pas ma planète (flamboyant goon tie included), Monday, 27 March 2023 21:07 (two months ago) link
I read REFUGEES: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION as a bit of swotting before a related job interview. The author is Gil Loescher, who had his legs blown off doing NGO work in Baghdad, the same bombing that killed De Mello. It's very useful, informed summary of the history and issues, cleanly written.
All of the VSIs I've read have been excellent - would gladly hear recommendations.
Also, as a bit of relief during a stressful month, I'm reading a 2003 kids' adventure book, BARTIMAEUS: THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND, which rules.
― Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 27 March 2023 21:11 (two months ago) link
I considered buying THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION today. Maybe I wanted to learn the things that John Lanchester won't tell me.
― the pinefox, Monday, 27 March 2023 21:25 (two months ago) link
New York Review Books, in more evidence of their impeccable taste, published Ernst Jünger's On the Marble Cliffs, which I've picked up.
― the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 27 March 2023 21:32 (two months ago) link
I'm reading a 2003 kids' adventure book, BARTIMAEUS: THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND, which rules.
I have read this! And the sequel. With my 9-yo (at the time). It's true it's very well done (if you like that kind of thing)
― Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 28 March 2023 09:10 (two months ago) link
I v much enjoyed doing the voice of Bartimaeus fwiw
― Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 28 March 2023 09:14 (two months ago) link
Antonio Vieira - Six Sermons. I have wondered what might be a satisfying equivalent in Portuguese to Cervantes (Spanish), Rabelais (French), Boccaccio (Italian), Browne, maybe Grimmelshausen (German) and these Baroque sermons from the Portuguese priest might be it. They are full of eventful proserly flights that take in references from antiquity to a bunch of theologian medieval scribes to (of course) the Old Testament to deliver sermons that are meant to, in turns, cheerlead the troops in the fight against the Dutch, pacify slaves, to moralise left right and centre, to talk up Portuguese priests that should be Saints, etc. You sort of don't care what its in service of because it looks so good on the page.
― xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 28 March 2023 20:43 (two months ago) link
Good to know! Mine's only 3 years old so lots of time to practice the voice. Right now all my voices sound like Bernard Bresslaw for some reason.
― Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 28 March 2023 22:04 (two months ago) link
Wow, Cervantes and Rabelais?? That's a tall order for some sermons. I'll have to reread.
― Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 29 March 2023 09:09 (two months ago) link
It has also set me on the direction of compiling Sermons to read. Donne for sure, don't know who else.
― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 29 March 2023 09:33 (two months ago) link
I've begun to read The Leopard, Di Lampedusa. I've noticed that ILB admires this book fairly unanimously and the ilx film mavens love the film extravagantly. Also, I seem to be past my bout of "light reading" and capable of something with a bit more fiber to it.
― more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 31 March 2023 16:47 (two months ago) link
although it's pretty light, i must say
― the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 31 March 2023 16:49 (two months ago) link
compared to Bill Bryson it's bound to look like Melville
― more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 31 March 2023 17:57 (two months ago) link
Camilo Jose Cela - The Hive. The just released new translation from NYRB is a must. It's set just after the fascists have won the civil war in Spain and it's composed of a series of 1-2 page character sketches and conversations -- much of it in various bars and cafes in Madrid. Some characters and their fates are followed up on, others are not. Over and over again there are these grotesqueries laid out in a superb style. The pessimism is of the highest order.
Celine and Malaparte are cited at the back and you can see why. As all were either collaborators or kept working to the order of the day. But they all wrote some amazing pages and are dead so I'll read them.
― xyzzzz__, Saturday, 1 April 2023 11:02 (two months ago) link
i feel like i've been reading diana wynne jones's novel dark lord of derkholm for my whole life but probably a couple of weeks, i'm just slow.poetry-wise it's been dipping into some elizabeth-jane burnett (her book of sea) and the collected poems of r.f. langley & w.s. graham
― tambourine, Saturday, 1 April 2023 22:10 (two months ago) link
Camilo Jose Cela spoke at my commencement! He won an honorary degree. I remember his fierce Sam the Eagle profile and his denouncement of "las vicisitudes de la juventud."
― the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 1 April 2023 22:42 (two months ago) link
Sorry -- I just consulted my notes. It's worse lol. He denounced "las tonterías de la juventud." His address went down like a kick in the belly.
― the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 1 April 2023 22:47 (two months ago) link
lol bill bradley spoke at my commencement . . . about the horrors of the national deficit
everyone was like fuck you talk about basketball
― mookieproof, Sunday, 2 April 2023 00:45 (two months ago) link
I'm going to discuss The World and Everything That It Holds by Aleksander Hemon tomorrow morning with my book club. I'm predicting most of them won't have liked it. It is difficult but is pretty amazing. It is a tale of being a lifelong refugee, starting in 1914 with the assassination of archduke Ferdinand in Bosnia, and continuing from there into a prisoner of war camp in Galicia in western Ukraine, and eventually to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Turkistan in Kazakhstan, and across the Gobi desert to Shanghai.
It is written in English, but with a lot of Bosnian and Spanjol (the diasporic Spanish sephardic equivalent of yiddish)
― Dan S, Sunday, 2 April 2023 01:05 (two months ago) link
I did finish Ball Four earlier this week and wrote about it here. Anyway, back to fiction! I started and finished Sophie Mackintosh’s new novel, Cursed Bread, within 24 hours. It’s short, but I could have done it faster: I kept going back to reread particular sentences that I loved.In the room he looked at the rose of damp on my ceiling, took off his brown raincoat.The book uses this event as a highly fictionalised backdrop: Mackintosh is not theorising on the real life event but draws from the mass hysteria and mystery. The narrator is Elodie, the baker’s wife. In common with some of Mackintosh’s short stories, some characters are named (Elodie, Violet, various Mmes) but mainly others are referred to by their roles (the ambassador, the grocer’s wife). This has the effect of giving it a fable-like feel, and also underlines the small-town setting of everyone. Every day Elodie sells bread to the townspeople and barely hears their secrets, is it a surprise that the names begin to blur and fade after a while?Mme F had launched into another complaint about Josette, how she would stop talking for days at a time, like an anchoress taking a vow of silence.Of course the antagonist of this book is Violet, who sometimes feels she should have her name in all caps: VIOLET. She is enigmatic and both desired and despised by the people of the town. There is a scene where the ordinary women are doing their washing at the lavoir, where Violet outsources this labour to older women, where they exclaim over the luxe and sexual items Violet has stained with her life, until they start trying them on and end up damaging some of the garments in a frenzy. It reminded me a bit of Malèna.They gather around me with wet cloth in their hands, drowned cloth, marked with blood that won’t wash out.Sex and longing for it permeates this book like the scent of bread baking weaves its way through a house. It’s there in Elodie’s constant yearning to be touched by her husband, who denies her both calmly and coldly until she is almost screaming. It’s there in Elodie and her husband watching outside the bedroom door. It’s there in Elodie‘s fantasies about Violet and the ambassador both, where it’s never quite clear if she desires them for themselves, or to be them, or both. I have read other people say that they don’t like the epistolary aspects of this book but I liked the way they are spliced through the present day narrative, so you are plunged from cloudiness and increased confusion into clarity and back again.I enjoyed this a lot, but it’s not for everyone.
― limb tins & cum (gyac), Sunday, 2 April 2023 13:08 (two months ago) link
Haha yeah I bailed on this a few pages from the ending because the oppressive, sordid misery just came to be too much. Def creates a mood though, and makes me think Franco's Spain was much like Salazar's Portugal - just grey miserable days in cafes nursing petty grievances because expanding your horizons is prohibited so this is all that there is.
― Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 2 April 2023 15:00 (two months ago) link
In A Childhood: The Biography of a Place, the earliest memory of Harry Crews is of waking up under a tree with his excellent dog Sam, both of them in early morning sunlight: he's a sleepwalker who's hit it lucky, in and out of place. The place, into which he now centered by tobacco farming, is late 30s Bacon County, Georgia, sometimes extending across the St. Mary's River into Jacksonville, Florida's Springfield Section of tiny shotgun row houses and cigar factories, with the youngest children, like himself, left to their own devices. In Bacon and the Section, he's the mostly the audience, including that of the glossy people in the Sears Roebuck catalog, so fantastically intact, unlike almost every one else he sees, that they must have wounds under their clothes: he and his friend Willalee and Willalee's grandmother, Auntie.a self-proclaimed conjure woman and ex-slave, tell each other stories about the Sears people: the audience continuing through the creative process.Little Crews also responds and is responded and susceptible to an increasing number of people, becoming "a parade" of vistors to his bedroom, when he's confined with "infantile paralysis" (nice work, Dr. Colombo). Many of these are people he knows or recognizes---though not the faith healer from the next county---in a new context, with him more an audience than ever, but for their attentions. Scary, especially when Aunties dropping knowledge, though things were already disturbing enough, hence the sleepwalking, and now he feels in place (for one thing, he can't wake up in a dark field, because he can't get there).The second session is even better: almost boiled alive, he now qualifies for actual treatment, by drying light and soothing spray (which becomes a protective coating) while he's under a protective shell, which he compares to the top of a carriage, with his Sears Roebuck Catalog and a tablet for his detective novel, about a boy detective who carries fireworks for protection. He's also allowed to keep an attentive baby goat in there---all things for the twice-struck child---Before, in between, and after these confinements, he can disappear like a tiny Ishmael, one whose reappearances become more self-revealing, traced in and out of place, for keeps---spoiler of sorts: a mind-fuck evangelist appears, an alibi of sorts, but a plausible one, as far as he goes, which is pretty far, in a professional way. Even I, Boomer suburbanite, was singed by one during a brief middle achool encounter, while preschool Crews and his crew get the extended treatment, as isolation's captive audience.There are what I take to be fictional outcroppings, but not much to stumble over. He learns from the stories of men (character-driven, funny) and women (action, cutting the surface)--the former told while taking a break, the latter not so much.
― dow, Monday, 3 April 2023 04:48 (two months ago) link
"Spoiler of sorts" because this kind of person is always likely to turn up/be drawn to this kind of setting (and of course is still very much with us in the Deep-Ass South: on radio, basic cable, antenna TV, the Internet, or otherwise as close as they, usually he, though always with an entourage, can get).
― dow, Monday, 3 April 2023 04:56 (two months ago) link
― the very juice and sperm of kindness. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 1 April 2023 bookmarkflaglink
The man was a bastard. Utterly unpleasant by the sounds of it.
― Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 2 April 2023 bookmarkflaglink
I think a lot of that is to do with the poor/working class characters he is sketching. But yes it's striking how there is nothing like a hope for better, like there could be in a more communist novel of the period where even a character in jail is yearning for something bigger and better.
― xyzzzz__, Monday, 3 April 2023 09:09 (two months ago) link
I continue with Crisell's excellent, lucid, prim INTRODUCTORY HISTORY OF BRITISH BROADCASTING.
― the pinefox, Monday, 3 April 2023 09:51 (two months ago) link
What A Plant Knows Daniel Chamovitzbook on the sense experience of plants. Pretty interesting and a quite fast read.Looks at a lot of stimulus reactions witnessed and experimented on plants.Looked like it could be interesting when I was walking around the library a couple of weeks ago. Glad I read it anyway.
Not A Nation of Immigrants Roxanne Dunbar Ortizher book on the US and settler colonialism which came out last year. Been wanting to read it since it was released. Got it a few weeks ago.
Racism ed Martin Bulmerbook of excerpts and essays from a lot of writers work on various aspects of the subject. Read some very good bits , have been cherrypicking so maybe should try reading it from start to finish or something.Book turned up in a library iin the next town over as I popped over there last week.
― Stevo, Monday, 3 April 2023 18:53 (two months ago) link
I finished DAMASCUS by Christos Tsiolkas over the weekend. It's the story of Saul (aka Saint Paul), told from multiple perspectives and set in a nasty, violent world. A lot of bodily fluids, a lot of raping, torturing and killing of children (a recurring theme is of parents leaving their unwanted newborns on the side of a mountain where they are eaten by wild animals). Tsiolkas is not a subtle writer, and keeps hammering in his themes and contrasts. But the book gives a good insight in the different early christian factions competing for dominion.
― ArchCarrier, Monday, 3 April 2023 19:25 (two months ago) link
I finished Tracey Thorn's *Bedsit Disco Queen*. It traces (yes) her life in suburban north London, the time with the Marine Girls and then the years through EBTG and, eventually, her leaving behind songwriting for motherhood. It might be odd to call it comforting, given her (and Watts') profiles, but it was absolutely that. She's great and wise company. The one thing I can't shake since finishing it is how relatively *easy* everything came to them. Thorn's style is quiet, understated and ironic and she uses understatement as a kind of corrective against smugness, I think; but what gets left out, what never gets examined, is the *talent* - that ineffable thing at the heart of her, that thing without which none of the *life* happens. There are various points in the book where the default line is 'so Ben and I wrote a bunch of songs', as if it was painting a bedroom. Maybe that process is as ineffable to her as to the rest of us and should remain off-stage, as it were, but I would have liked some discussion or acknowledgement of it.
Anyway, that sounds like a moan and it isn't. To speak of the ineffable, my other big takeaway from the book, and from having listened to a few interviews with her since, is that Thorn is *happy*.
I'm reading a Reacher book at the minute, which is as close to not-reading as reading gets and just about bloody perfect, thank you.
― Shard-borne Beatles with their drowsy hums (Chinaski), Tuesday, 4 April 2023 07:31 (two months ago) link
I think that with things like a year zero anybody can do it level paradigm shift era like punk which I think the Marine Girls came out of, or certainly came out of teh aftermath of the idea of talent is still deeply present. Like you find that people did not think their talents lay in that direction trying things out and finding they do, but you also find a lot of people who realise it's just not for them. Subsequently not advancing further because they can't really do anything along those lines and their talents do lie elsewhere.So you will find that people either can actually do something inventive with a lack of technique which will reveal areas of further investigation. Can do something coherent with words and melody or other structure that is worthy of further investigation and will also reveal something worthwhile. & you also get incoherent noise, cliche and lack of rhythm from others. THough conceivably one could do something semi interesting with that if one had talent to do so.Also you can have over educated players without an iota of creativity making identikit copies of current taste and not finding out what they do and do not actually like or feel really turned onto investigate in a creative way.So yeah would think talent was relevant even there , it's not as egalitarian as one would really like possibly.I just think punk and a couple of other scenes did turn things over so one didn't need to be completely schooled in how things 'should' be and allowed a lot more self expression and some of that stands the test of time and some of it was pretty self indulgent.
― Stevo, Tuesday, 4 April 2023 10:13 (two months ago) link
I will do you the courtesy of not posting to ilx quoted out of context
― michel goindry (wins), Sunday, 4 June 2023 12:54 (six days ago) link
I finished Alan Hollinghurst's *The Line of Beauty*. It took me a week and it was an absolute pleasure to be part of.
― Stars of the Lidl (Chinaski), Sunday, 4 June 2023 19:10 (six days ago) link
'To be a part of' is a weird construction but absolutely fits the novel's Jamesian palpable present-intimate feel. It's an astonishing feat of close writing.
― Stars of the Lidl (Chinaski), Sunday, 4 June 2023 19:13 (six days ago) link
fwiw le Carré's first two novels are, I'll have said here before, a delight - I wouldn't skip them!
― the pinefox, Sunday, 4 June 2023 19:27 (six days ago) link
The Line of Beauty, thought Chinaski as he gazed back across the garden at dusk, was something rather intimate. He found himself feeling almost sentimental, like the mother of the bride in a country town on a summer evening, as he realised how astonished he was to have been part of something so palpably, closely present.
― the pinefox, Sunday, 4 June 2023 19:30 (six days ago) link
Well put, Chinaski
― the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 4 June 2023 19:43 (six days ago) link
Hehehe. Nicely done, pinefox. Cheers Alfred.
― Stars of the Lidl (Chinaski), Sunday, 4 June 2023 19:50 (six days ago) link
I finish ROOM AT THE TOP. Thinking about varieties of 'realism' and how this novel is a kind of exemplar of a 'return to' such, I remark that it has diversity of voice, point of view, mode - with sections of fantasy (like BILLY LIAR you could say), extrapolation, pastiches of official discourse dreamed up by the narrator, moments of 'out of body experience' where he refers to himself in the 3rd person; not to mention the altered states of drunkenness and passion. A good instance of the nuance and complexity of fictional modes that are readily thought simple and unitary from a distance.
I said that the fact that the novel is set in the 1940s hadn't been much noticed. Actually one critic, Dominic Head, does point it out, noting that the novel is narrated from 10 years later - so it's a late-1950s POV on a 1940s life. Technically that's from a Conservative era to a Labour one, and in this particular instance this needn't be quite an incidental link. The later era is "you've never had it so good" time, and the character's earlier passion for life has been lost.
I return to Sean O'Casey's 1933 play WITHIN THE GATES. It's four acts, rather overlong, each act (or 'scene') showing one seasonal moment in a city park. A range of characters often without proper names come and go. A Bishop, a couple of atheist orators, an engaging young Yeatsian poet, a beautiful, passionate but physically ailing young woman. I don't think the balance in this play is quite right, or that a central action is particularly visible amid the melée. A flaw, I find, is O'Casey's very bad rendition of phonetic English (especially working-class) voices. I believe that O'Casey lived in England by this time, which must have emboldened this approach.
― the pinefox, Sunday, 4 June 2023 20:30 (six days ago) link
I've only seen the movie of Room At The Top, long ago, but yeah it left a lingering sense of England still marked by the War, finding ways through that, and he meets a fellow veteran of a certain campaign, who was an officer, now condescending to this member of the lower class/
Finished Exit Ghost, which was good enough to be frustrating: I would be following Zuckerman,back and forth, tolerant of his handheld camera/baseball catcher's mask (there's usually a sense of a grid, of wires in the view, but ok; he turns the camera on himself, effectively enough at times), then one of the other characters would get into close-range deposition, spilling their guts in response to his nosy questions---he's the great novelist Zuckerman, and he wants to know! Speaking of xpost rattling machinery: some of this seems good, but there's so much of it---and this is the "real" talk, interspersed with Z.'s increasingly long-ass compulsive fantasy scripting of dialogue with the fabulous WASP literary aspirant, from the loveliest old oil money neighborhood in Houston, which Roth seems to know something about, along with a lot of other things that could have come across a lot better in third-person narration, with characters not having to explain themselves to Zuckerman, which also tends to make good scenes go on too long, as the yadda-yadda format becomes distracting.
(Also he sticks in this long thing about George Plimpton, who may have died while the book was being written, as happens in the book.)(This while some other promising material is left to become merely anecdotal, although pretty good for that.) I found Nemesis, which I think is all third person, and looks like there aren't any writers in it, as far as I've skimmed. Will also check Everyman; thanks again for the tip.
― dow, Sunday, 4 June 2023 20:48 (six days ago) link
Jenny by Sigrid Undset (1911). A young independent female painter falls in love... one of those books where I would dearly love to know the thoughts of the author, intentional fallacy be damned. Jenny gets mansplained at by a friend who thinks the most important thing is work (artistic, or otherwise intellectually fulfilling) but all women eventually - given the chance - give it up for the sake of a man. Women are 'completely devoid of self esteem', 'Woman has no soul', 'You admit more or less openly that love affairs are the only thing that interest you'. We don't really hear Jenny's side - 'She thought he was right in some things and wrong in others, but she was not inclined to discuss them' - I don't blame her! But she does seems to agree with his basic idea - 'But that is how we are made - all of us'. One of her friends, also a painter, has just given it up completely for a man and a life of housework. We do hear of a man, her fiance's father, who gave up his dreams of being an artist for the sake of marriage, and a loveless one at that. But he has a job, the housework is 100% his wife's responsibility - and she resents it, but the idea that these things should be shared more equally has not come up. Clearly these women, independent and artistic at the beginning, seem doomed to become the prisoners of their patriarchal society, while the men claim it's all down to biology. I'd just like to know how clearly Undset herself saw things.
― ledge, Monday, 5 June 2023 08:45 (five days ago) link
been meaning to update the thread properly, but i’ve just picked up the blazing world by jonathan healey, as pre-bedtime break from solonoid and wtf is going on with this dude’s style. after an enjoyable boost seeing “enormity” used uh.. “correctly” on the first page, i began to realise that there is something terribly wrong with his style, which is clipped to the point of being ungrammatical, producing crippled sentences like“But it was also fragile and thoroughly traditional. *A place still dominated by the land and turn if the seasons*”that’s not a sentence my man. i don’t care much about And and But starting sentences, but their proliferation makes for some seriously choppy progress down the page. “Population was growing, but the economy wasn’t developing in such a way to cope, leading to a serious poverty problem …”what in blazes is going on here. the vanished “the” before population throws me into a mock barnsley accent, emphasised by “the economy” shortly after. but lest you dwell too long on that you’re dealing with “but the economy wasn’t developing in such a way to cope” (visions of the economy wailing “i can’t cope!”). better *if* you’re going to do this to have “but the economy couldn’t cope” maybe, but do economies *cope*? you need an implied mechanism there. cope *with what*? “cope with the rising demand for food or requirement for people to make a living” maybe. then the coup de grace — “leading to a serious poverty problem.” see what you’ve got here mate, you’ve got a serious poverty problem. maybe try “leading to widespread poverty”? perhaps? poverty *is* a problem. goddam fucker sounds like mealy mouthed corporate politician. that is all. had to get it off my chest. hope it’s just the introduction. feels horribly deliberate. like he’s trying to capture history as a news bulletin. it sounds like he’s writing via a telegraph communication.
― Fizzles, Monday, 5 June 2023 21:17 (five days ago) link
“towns were reborn as social hubs”towns were not reborn as social hubs.
― Fizzles, Monday, 5 June 2023 21:19 (five days ago) link
I think that the rule (if it's a rule) that you mustn't start a sentence with 'But' is a bad rule.
It is actively useful and helpful to logical argument and clarity to start sentences with 'But', and correspondingly unhelpful to be forbidden from doing so.
Terry Eagleton, as I recall, has long flouted that rule, which will have had an influence on my sense of these things, since my teens.
Starting a sentence with 'And' I feel is a somewhat different matter, less helpful and probably lacking elegance, but I still wouldn't ban it.
― the pinefox, Monday, 5 June 2023 21:45 (five days ago) link
"the economy wasn’t developing in such a way to cope"
Good critique of this. Isn't it actually missing "as"? Needs to be: "the economy wasn’t developing in such a way as to cope". Otherwise it's meaningless.
― the pinefox, Monday, 5 June 2023 21:47 (five days ago) link
"The country's population was growing, but its wealth was not, and poverty per head thus steadily increased."
How about that?
― the pinefox, Monday, 5 June 2023 21:48 (five days ago) link
I think that the rule (if it's a rule) that you mustn't start a sentence with 'But' is a bad rule.It is actively useful and helpful to logical argument and clarity to start sentences with 'But', and correspondingly unhelpful to be forbidden from doing so.Terry Eagleton, as I recall, has long flouted that rule, which will have had an influence on my sense of these things, since my teens.Starting a sentence with 'And' I feel is a somewhat different matter, less helpful and probably lacking elegance, but I still wouldn't ban it.
― Fizzles, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:00 (five days ago) link
Do you mean 'And'?
Does your last point mean: don't make it two separate sentences but one long sentence with 'and' in it?
― the pinefox, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:02 (five days ago) link
A watershed had been reached in 1588−9, when a pamphlet war exploded in which scabrous publications under the pseudonym of Martin Marprelate (‘Martin Bash-bishop’) made noisy calls for the abolition of the episcopacy.now it’s been a while since i’ve read any of the MM tracts but - feel like i’m going slightly mad here - “Marprelate” does not carry any of the insinuation that “bash-bishop” does, right? i mean my immediate response was excruciated laughter, but then i’m not a 17th century expert, so maybe it’s… intended?
― Fizzles, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:06 (five days ago) link
Do you mean 'And'?Does your last point mean: don't make it two separate sentences but one long sentence with 'and' in it?
― Fizzles, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:08 (five days ago) link
“why are you reading this, fizzles?”anton howes, who i think is pretty good, mentioned it approvingly.
― Fizzles, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:10 (five days ago) link
I think you're neglecting the consideration that on your model, sentences could become very long, and on mine they could become shorter and more manageable.
There is a place for long sentences when necessary, but in general I think one should be aiming to minimise, not maximise length.
― the pinefox, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:12 (five days ago) link
Thinking of the tonal difference that I intuitively feel between 'But' and And' here, I find myself thinking that 'And' can feel journalistic.
MANCHESTER UNITED boss Eric Ten Hag is planning a sensational swoop for England captain Harry Kane.And Old Trafford chiefs have promised the Dutchman a sizeable war chest to land his target.
And Old Trafford chiefs have promised the Dutchman a sizeable war chest to land his target.
― the pinefox, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:15 (five days ago) link
Whereas 'But' to my mind can usually be used for the purpose of relatively elegant logical development.
Baudelaire, to be sure, was a romantic, a poet of the halo and the swan, who might have been at home in one of Byron's narratives. But he was also a realist, an urban analyst who was the contemporary of Marx and the early Flaubert.
― the pinefox, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:20 (five days ago) link
my model, such as it is, is vary short and long sentences. this writer’s model, such as it is, is fire sentences at you as from a mitrailleuse.
― Fizzles, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:21 (five days ago) link
you’re pushing at an open door. i don’t know how many times i have to say i’m not against using and or but as sentence openers. just don’t overdo it.
― Fizzles, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:22 (five days ago) link
― the pinefox, Sunday, June 4, 2023
ok, I will circle back to them!
― Dan S, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:38 (five days ago) link
just got a fit of the giggles thinking about the phrase “i’m going mar my prelate”. i’m supposed to be asleep ffs. early start. also “fear about witchcraft was at its height”. “fear *of* witchcraft”. i’m being picky, sure, (not on bishop basher - that’s egregious), but it’s v choppy. choppy and hamfisted. damn thing reads like a work email.
― Fizzles, Monday, 5 June 2023 22:43 (five days ago) link
And/But he's got you reading and writing and thinking and writing some more about it. What more could a writer want, aside from money?
yo pinefox, this is even better:
Baudelaire, to be sure, was a romantic, a poet of the halo and the swan, who might have been at home in one of Byron's narratives. But (H)e was also a realist, an urban analyst who was the contemporary of Marx and the early Flaubert.
― dow, Tuesday, 6 June 2023 03:35 (four days ago) link
― dow, Tuesday, 6 June 2023 03:40 (four days ago) link
Dow: I don't agree that your version is an improvement. I think it's an alteration, fine in itself but with a slightly different meaning from what I wrote.
― the pinefox, Tuesday, 6 June 2023 08:05 (four days ago) link
Dow was an ILX poster. But he was also resistant to some aspects of the Internet.
Dow was an ILX poster. He was also resistant to some aspects of the Internet.
Both valid statements, but not the same.
― the pinefox, Tuesday, 6 June 2023 08:07 (four days ago) link
I've started Sean O'Casey's 1942 play RED ROSES FOR ME.
― the pinefox, Tuesday, 6 June 2023 08:08 (four days ago) link
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 6 June 2023 10:28 (four days ago) link
Silvia Federici Caliban and the WitchSo far I've only reached the end of the first chapter. Interesting to read about discrepancies between how feudalism etc are taught and some of the reality. Like how much push back peasants had against their landlords supposed masters. I think things are somewhat simplified in school history :-) so interesting to see the version presented here.I think this is something I have been meaning to read for a while. I have just recently listened to the Books On Fire series on the book which was interesting. They have a current series on the Dawn of Everything which I also need to read as I think I need to read the rest of Graeber.
How Europ0e Underdeveloped Africa Walter Rodneyhis book on imbalance between continents and how the once advanced area of Africa got robbed and backburnered and colonised and all those shit things.I just read a couple of paragraphs describing the arrival of my dad's tribe in East Africa from further North which si much later than I'd assumed. He's saying 16th century, not sure when I'd assumed but could have been as much as a thousand years earlier so I really need to read a history of the tribe.
Sara Ahmed The Feminist Killjoy's HandbookAustralian author looks into the stereotype that's associated with feminism and explores what positive could be morphed out of that. Very interesting book. I need to read more of her work, I read Living A Feminist Life a couple of years ago.
How To Read A Suit Lydia EdwardsThe development of men's formal attire since the invention of the suit in the late 17th century, I think up to the end of the 20th.A book I think I need a copy of that isn't borrowed from the library. Especially with there only being one copy in the system and at least one person waiting to get hold of this after me.Great book anyway, got some nice photos of clothing and breakdown of the elements thereof.I think I'm also going to need to read her initial book in this miniseries How To Read A Dress. Think I need to be able to salivate over the pair of these books at my leisure though. & see what I can incorporate into my own designs.
― Stevo, Tuesday, 6 June 2023 11:59 (four days ago) link
― J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 6 June 2023 13:20 (four days ago) link
with a slightly different meaning from what I wrote.
― dow, Wednesday, 7 June 2023 03:01 (three days ago) link
J Edgar, do you know the play? That's interesting.
― the pinefox, Wednesday, 7 June 2023 05:13 (three days ago) link
Dow: roughly, yes. Just as it would be if 'but' appeared in the middle of a sentence rather than at the start of a second sentence.
Finished Valis by PKD. I'm not sure I've had my perception of a book turn on a dime so quickly - I disliked the first half, enjoyed it much more after the movie was introduced. Let's just say I feel for this guy's (five) ex-wives.
Started reading Sergio Pitol's The Love Parade based on xyzzzz's recommendation in the Winter thread. I'm only 10 pages in but the writing is so elegant and I'm loving it so far.
― il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Wednesday, 7 June 2023 11:06 (three days ago) link
I haven't looked at O'Casey since I was too young to understand him but my stepdad was a communist committed to the cause of a free Ireland -- I would try to read him & Behan & all the other stuff on the shelves, fancying myself very erudite & worldly. these sorts of biting-off-more-than-I-could-reasonably-chew moments in my development as a reader were pretty crucial for me
― J Edgar Noothgrush (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Wednesday, 7 June 2023 14:01 (three days ago) link
Started reading Sergio Pitol's The Love Parade based on xyzzzz's recommendation in the Winter thread. I'm only 10 pages in but the writing is so elegant and I'm loving it so far.
― il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Wednesday, 7 June 2023 bookmarkflaglink
ILB poster Tim H has gifted me a copy of his book of short stories. Will let you all know how that is in a month or so.
― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 7 June 2023 14:27 (three days ago) link
I listened to a podcast on Theodore Allen's The Invention Of The White Race earlier. A book I tried reading as a bog book last year but gave up om because I couldn't work out how to deal with the copious amount of endnotes which had link numbers peppering the text heavily. &it was actually important significant notes not just citations. So I either had to go and check them at around the time I passed the number or catch up on a few at the end of a page or something. Just not sure how you keep the flow going and you do need the background info.I'm finding reading Caliban and The Witch very similar, not sure why I didn't mention that yesterday. Like great book I really need/want to read but need to navigate this almost every paragraph.Do I just need to read the book about twice once for sense and again for the context for the notes.
― Stevo, Friday, 9 June 2023 23:06 (yesterday) link
what is a bog book?
― mookieproof, Friday, 9 June 2023 23:14 (yesterday) link
I am determined to get through War and Peace. I have to keep referring to the wikipedia page to remember all of the proper names, nicknames, alternate names, bestowed names and childhood names of each of the characters. It's very confounding but it's worth it
The war scenes get me down, but the intimate scenes between members of the 5 families and their relatives and friends and lovers make me want to continue
― Dan S, Friday, 9 June 2023 23:57 (yesterday) link
― CeeLô Borges (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 10 June 2023 00:11 (ten hours ago) link
j/kI believe it is what we might call in the US a Bathroom Book
― CeeLô Borges (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 10 June 2023 00:12 (ten hours ago) link
I bought War and Peace new for $2.99 and it sat unread for at least a decade before I opened it. I found the experience of reading it engrossing even as I knew I wasn't retaining any more than 0.1% of it.Bondarchuk's films are an excellent adaptation, even the philosophical bits, a lot better than the middlebrow synopsis I feared.
― Halfway there but for you, Saturday, 10 June 2023 01:41 (nine hours ago) link
I'm currently reading "The Triumph of Christianity" by Bart Ehrman. Perhaps a bit repetitive and you feel like he is making an effort to spell things out carefully and clearly for a lay audience, but still I'm learning some new things about the first few centuries of Christianity and the Roman empire.
― o. nate, Saturday, 10 June 2023 02:26 (eight hours ago) link
i read like two-thirds of war and peace last summer and it was fantastic but then i just . . . wanted to read something else
the good characters are *so* good and i love them but they have such flights of certainty like 'this is what i was meant to do all along!' and it's awkward because they're almost always wrong
― mookieproof, Saturday, 10 June 2023 04:14 (six hours ago) link
Bog book is one to read on bog. So short periods of time and probably not full concentration. So totally wrong for some books particularly if they need you to keep looking at several paragraph long endnotes.Endnotes denote scholarship and research not directly placed in narrative flow of main text. So both books mentioned massively researched. So need to be read with more concentration than some others and presumably need time dedicates specifically to them.
Bog= loo = jacks Which is thankfully not shared so I can read without external interruption.
But some books just don't lend themselves as easily to some environments. I think both books I mentioned are widely read so somebody must have found a good way around continually stopping and starting their narrative flow. It really is at least one endnote number per paragraph, sometimes 2 or 3. In the Federici at least. I've yet to het back to Theodore Allen which I'm still planning to do.
Presumably must be a few other books with a similar endnote or end of chapter note set up. That people do overcome. Just seems like you do need to juggle trying to keep up with endnotes and flow of text or do people just get 2 copies so they can have notes open at same time as text?
― Stevo, Saturday, 10 June 2023 06:44 (four hours ago) link