2019 Winter: The What Are You Reading thread that came in from the cold

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Another one on the JM list and another one read gulped whole in a day - The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy.

Over the last handful of years I’ve read more and more of this kind of writing - acts of liberating and of motherhood. non-dogmatic explorations of love and grief, of separation from the patriarchy and its imposed categories, especially but not only gender. of managing to create and care and be when your time is not your own. Didion, Rivka Galchen, Maggie Nelson, Kate Briggs (who suggests Roland Barthes’ late lectures provide a sort of structure for this sort of writing), an occasional facet of Helen deWitt. Often mutually referential. Part of me thinks they are, or should be a new way of writing.

In some respects this didn’t excite me as much as some of those other names. But it is very good on writing, and that reflects a focus on the carefully written sentences. (it is also good on grief, pain, loss, being a woman - i say that last with an awareness that it sounds stupid - what could *you* know - but all i can say is that it speaks lucidly of what other women have said on similar subjects).

it made me want to read some of her fiction.

Fizzles, Friday, 4 January 2019 21:28 (eleven months ago) link

The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts - blasted through this in a day. great, fun hard SF with cryogenics, AI, black holes and deep space, deep-time travel. only realised the message within a message wasn’t a weird kindle/OCR artefact about 20 pages in as it appeared in light grey rather than vivid red.

I'm reading this too (almost done), got it from the same twitter thread. The concept is fun, writing is decent I guess, but the constant profanity in all the dialogue sounds so dumb and unnecessary. Do sf writers do this to try and balance out the pretension of all the techno-speak?

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 4 January 2019 21:34 (eleven months ago) link

Also I'm looking for something fun to read on an upcoming trip to Argentina. Too bad this won't be out in time (Nocilla Trilogy by Agustin Fernandez Mallo):
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374222789

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 4 January 2019 21:43 (eleven months ago) link

afraid to say i read your post Jordan and said “Really?” because it didn’t jump out at me at all. but it’s perfectly possible i may be obscenity blind. so i just went back in at random and did find a few fucks etc.

i think it’s because these are intended to be weary working stiff, cynical engineers but forced almost against themselves to hold some sort of dream of what they are (even negatively: Viktor). the language just helps emphasise that a bit. as i say, didn’t bother me particularly or feel forced.

well i say that - i did just find a page that contains this:

“They don’t trust us,” Kai said, rolling his eyes. “Eight million years down the road and they’re afraid we might—what? Trash our own life support? Write *Sawada sucks farts* on their scale models?”

so uh... i mean i don’t even really know if that makes sense. is that a thing people *say* even?

Fizzles, Friday, 4 January 2019 21:43 (eleven months ago) link

Haha. I don't have a problem with profanity in general, it was just overused and made the tone feel juvenile (not as bad as 'The Martian', which I couldn't get through, but similar).

Ummm, tmi but also I was reading it out loud to my partner bedtime story-style, which made the dialogue really stick out. Otherwise I probably would have glossed over it.

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 4 January 2019 21:57 (eleven months ago) link

oh no i quite like reading out loud/bedtime story (assuming it’s been requested of course lol) and there’s nothing like it to reveal quirks of style.

Fizzles, Friday, 4 January 2019 22:10 (eleven months ago) link

At least 2 pf the Nocilla books can be ordered from the UK

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Friday, 4 January 2019 23:32 (eleven months ago) link

*goes to Patagonia*

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Saturday, 5 January 2019 00:05 (eleven months ago) link

I haven't read many memoirs, but Molly Brodak's Bandit seems like a near-perfect balance of show x tell, an integration of astute speculation and crisp declaration, both evocative as hell, without getting too arty---a few whut-does-this-mean turns, but maybe more re my simple male minds, and she's enough of a story teller to know when and how to come back to certain things left hanging, though can't (sometimes won't) answer all questions.
Title refers to Daddy (also Molly, as collegiate semi-pro shoplifter), who claims trauma as a Vietnam War vet and as youngest member of a family of refugees,who mostly survived forced labor in the Nazi penal system, but not every such durable and resourceful offspring becomes a gambling addict (and what does that mean anyway), and not every gambling addict becomes a serial bank robber, and not every serial bank robber does time, comes out and gets his job with GM back, retires and eventually gets busted again (first in 1994, second 2009), and is an elderly jailbird still, or as of the book's publication in 2016.
Construction and compartmentalization of professional and private life certainly runs in the family, and ain't that America. Relevant observations of educational system (especially guidance counseling, medical (esp. post-op) and mental health diagnoses (passing templates, incl. addict, bipolar, schiz, and from the Psychopath to spectrums).
Had to pace myself in reading, because it's so intense and dense, mostly in good ways, with the seamless editing of ritual and metamorphic thought, incl. figures in a clearing, discoveries made while putting it all into public words, into prose (only previous book a prize-winning collection of her poetry).
Another reason not to binge on it: tends to turn up this reader's sense of self-observation.

dow, Sunday, 6 January 2019 17:10 (eleven months ago) link

Rosamond Lehmann's The Echoing Grove. My first by her. I now sense I didn't pick the best one to start with. Somewhat typical mid-20C womens' fiction (and therefore very much my kind of thing if done well). A love triangle in which a woman has an affair with her sister's husband. Lehmann obviously had talent to burn, and writes very well but she occasionally veers into a more, heightened/poetic/impressionistic/free associative style that I found a bit hit and miss. I found myself skimming at times.

All the same I'm still interested in picking up another of her books (apparently TEG isn't very typical). I've also picked up the bio by Selina Hastings which I'm enjoying very much so far.

frankiemachine, Sunday, 6 January 2019 18:19 (eleven months ago) link

By complete coincidence, I picked up today a Rose Macaulay poetry collection (from 1914, original edition) because it looked intriguing, and because the poetry I saw in it was great...and then upon ilxsearching found that Aimless damn well kicked off this thread with her! I will have to read Towers Of Trebizond now...

imago, Sunday, 6 January 2019 23:17 (eleven months ago) link

Finished the last of the Neapolitan quartet, which is an ungainly name for what is undeniably one novel in four volumes, which should probably be called “my brilliant friend” based on the titling in Italian but we’re obliged to use as the title of volume 1. Anyway, a moving and confounding work with all the best qualities of a thriller.

Also at times a reflexive and ambiguous commentary on autofiction and the undermining of women’s writing, to which Ferrante’s pseudonymity adds further involucration.

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Monday, 7 January 2019 07:16 (eleven months ago) link

I just read ‘the Torture Garden’, by Mirbeau (inspired by a 2000AD story) - I liked the writing very much, though obviously a difficult read. Is anything else by him worth reading? I think I’ve heard people say ‘21 Days of a Neuresthenic’ is good?

Leaghaidh am brón an t-anam bochd (dowd), Monday, 7 January 2019 12:39 (eleven months ago) link

The Diary of a Chambermaid is the only one I've read, but it was lurid and good.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Monday, 7 January 2019 22:56 (eleven months ago) link

Starters the year with a couple of sharp Archipelago Press titles: Bacacay by Witold Gombrowicz and Love by Hanne Ørstavik. The former I don’t j ow how to talk about without being deeply tedious (something something warped short stories dipping far enough into the absurd to be fascinating and feel pointed something something). The latter I can’t really talk about without being spoilery but it’s really Norwegian and it’s really brilliant.

Tim, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 09:16 (eleven months ago) link

I just finished Stacie Williams' BIZARRO WORLDS.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 15:19 (eleven months ago) link

Hi Fizzles, back in Sept. I pasted-reposted a Rolling SF etc conversation about Watts from way upthread: one James Morrison advises, "Start with Blindsight, then Freeze-Frame Revolution." Think he's also the mentioner of another good 'un set in the Blindsightverse. I've only read (and enjoyed!) a few anthologized stories. All of Watts' stories were posted on his site, free reads, but then he warned about bogus downloads being sold, might've removed them.

dow, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 17:08 (eleven months ago) link

Love by Hanne Ørstavik is great and incredibly sad

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 01:20 (eleven months ago) link

Echopraxia is the Blindisght sequel, and you very much have to have read Blindsight first, ideally immediately beforehand, in order to remember what's going on.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 01:21 (eleven months ago) link

Paul Schrader The Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer

flopson, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 18:50 (eleven months ago) link

I think I read that book before seeing any Ozu, and having a wrong impression that Ozu would be much less fun than he is.

jmm, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 19:12 (eleven months ago) link

For fun, I picked up a NYRB collection of stories by Conan Doyle, The Adventures and Exploits of Brigadier Gerard. In spirit and quality they are somewhere midway between Alexandre Dumas and "A Boy's Own Paper", but unquestionably fun.

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 10 January 2019 01:58 (eleven months ago) link

Is there a particularly good story you'd recommend? Doyle meets Dumas sounds right in my comfort zone, but I've struggled with the Gerard stories when I've tried them in the past.

Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, 10 January 2019 15:34 (eleven months ago) link

Virginia Woolf, TO THE LIGHTHOUSE

the pinefox, Thursday, 10 January 2019 16:16 (eleven months ago) link

You perhaps misunderstood my allusion to the "Boy's Own Paper" aspects of the stories. They lack all the nuance and deeper psychology of Dumas, instead delivering their adventurous derring-do along with some gentle comedy to deflate any chance the hero will be taken seriously. If I may invent a category for them, they are first rate throwaways.

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 10 January 2019 19:47 (eleven months ago) link

xpost to dow - thanks for that. really must make an effort to keep up with that thread more.

also want to read Love by Hanne Ørstavik.

in the meantime The Order of the Day by Éric Vuillard, trans. Mark Polizzotti. An enjoyably strange book: a novelistic history of the outbreak of the second world war. Its tone veers around a bit - some in the “gallic style” - cheerfully carefree judgments on people and the contents of their heads (reminiscent slightly of Paul Hazard in his excellent Crisis of the European Mind), occasionally careful reference to documentation, and novelistic gusto and verve with anecdote. but it has some moments of very high impact. the complicity of industry with nazi politicians as just the normal cost of doing business present in the opening scenes, a vivid contempt for the English aristocratic and political classes (Chamberlain collecting rent from Ribbentrop as he left his role as ambassador to go back to his new role as Foreign Minister in the Third Reich). The mixture of fatalism and helplessness of politics during these moments of great significance is conveyed extremely well.

i see it just got a bad review in the spectator as well so an additional gold star for that.

Fizzles, Saturday, 12 January 2019 20:49 (eleven months ago) link

our man james gave it a good review

mookieproof, Saturday, 12 January 2019 20:50 (eleven months ago) link

Alex in Numberland. Book on maths that I started last year then I think drifted away onto something else without getting very far into. Now getting much further into.
& I saw its sequel while i was in London. Finding it pretty interesting so far.

Broadway Babies Say Goodnight Mark Steyn
HIstory of musicals which i picked up from a charity shop last year, started then drifted off to other things and have again picked upa nd got further into. Just reading about Hammerstein.

Memphis 1968 Stuart Cosgrove's 2nd Book on Soul and cultural history.
Read the Detroit 67 last year and really enjoyed it. Now got one chapter into this and reading about james Carr etc.
Looks like it should be about as good.

Stevolende, Saturday, 12 January 2019 21:24 (eleven months ago) link

yes, i’ve been rinsing out james’ 2018 list at the beginning of the year: there were a number of things, this last included, that i really wanted to read. and as expected they’ve all in some way hit the mark.

Fizzles, Saturday, 12 January 2019 21:44 (eleven months ago) link

moominvalley in november

it has such a sad, strange vibe

twitter is bad not good (||||||||), Saturday, 12 January 2019 22:26 (eleven months ago) link

I'm going to read a few of those from james' list too, I think: convenience store woman ; other minds ; love ; order of the day ; and, maybe, moon of the crusted snow

twitter is bad not good (||||||||), Saturday, 12 January 2019 22:29 (eleven months ago) link

I would love to read a fraction of what Real ILB James reads, but I can't keep up any longer. Not saying, just saying.

Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 12 January 2019 22:36 (eleven months ago) link

Where what who is 'James' list'?

Reading Will Storr's Selfie. I should have known from the title but there's an interesting book in there, amongst all the pages of barely-hidden research, the fact that everyone he quotes is a 'Professor' (as if it's a badge of honour, or he's trying to justify the 'and now this' nature of the narrative) and the breathtaking amount of supposition. I'll probably persevere because, well, it's January.

Ben Myers' The Gallows Pole was excellent. Like The Proposition co-sung by a pissed David Peace.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Saturday, 12 January 2019 22:42 (eleven months ago) link

in the meantime The Order of the Day by Éric Vuillard,

I've since read another by him, Sorrow of the Earth, which is a similarly done look at the treatment of Native Americans in the early 20th Century, and the weird showbiz career of Sitting Bull in Buffalo Bill's circus. Not as good as The Order of the Day, because it shoehorns in a completely unrelated story at the end to try to hit an uplifting ending, but still very interesting.

xpost

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Saturday, 12 January 2019 23:56 (eleven months ago) link

it keeps resonating for me. it’s a really good book i think. almost like a series of dioramas, vividly painted, a flair for interpretational flourishes. i don’t think there’s a more powerful depiction of how these events, images, and great historical catastrophes emerge from and are present in the common run of things.

it’s v hard to believe this isn’t written with an eye to current events both in general aim and with specific references (hitler promising to build the largest bridge, the tallest building etc). normally i’m v wary of “relevance” and especially wary of the ww2 and current day neo-nazism, alt and far right analogies(continuity and reference, fine, ww2 and build up as analogue not). yet vuillard makes as convincing a case as i’ve seen by displaying in condensed form a set of understandings (social, intellectual, ideological, pragmatic, narratorial, emotional etc) about how history operates, which is v impressive.

Fizzles, Sunday, 13 January 2019 12:37 (eleven months ago) link

I really hope more of his work gets translated.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Sunday, 13 January 2019 22:40 (eleven months ago) link

should i read Third Reich by Bolaño?

flopson, Sunday, 13 January 2019 23:03 (eleven months ago) link

Yes. The only work of serious literature that mentions the Judge Dredd role-llaying game.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Monday, 14 January 2019 00:46 (ten months ago) link

Sorry, Chinaski, "James's list" is my blather here: http://causticcovercritic.blogspot.com/2018/12/excellent-books-what-i-read-this-year.html

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Monday, 14 January 2019 00:57 (ten months ago) link

Giving Le Guin’s ‘Always Coming Home’ a second chance. I enjoyed it when I first tried to read it, but I got lost somewhere along the way.

Leaghaidh am brón an t-anam bochd (dowd), Monday, 14 January 2019 12:18 (ten months ago) link

Just a note that the very, very good HUMAN VOICES is a quid on kindle at the mo

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 14 January 2019 23:06 (ten months ago) link

Two books published by the Dorothy Project (the first two of theirs I've read, will definitely read more): "Wild Milk" by Sabrina Orah Mark and "Dan" by Joanna Ruocco. Both exist in dreamy (maybe kind of Pynchonny) worlds of ungraspable semi-reality to variously pointed effect, I took the point in each (at least in part) ot be patricarchy's slippery distortions.

Both are VG but of the two I'd pick "Wild Milk" as my favourite, partly because the instability seems to come from within the language of the stories. I have no idea about SOM's approach but I found myself speculating that she takes a story premise and does some kind of cut-up or word association on it and then allows that distortion to drive a new story. Consistently interesting and affecting.

Tim, Tuesday, 15 January 2019 14:02 (ten months ago) link

Finished Selina Hastings bio of Rosamond Lehmann. Her life reads like a glossy soap: celebrated beauties (women and men), minor aristos, aesthetes, marriages, divorces, celebrity, multiple/often disastrous affairs, devastating bereavements, monstrous egotism, borderline looniness. Hastings does a good job of capturing it all for the general reader: it's a professional, properly researched bio that resists the temptation to sacrifice readability for scholarly heft and reads almost like popular fiction. All very enjoyable.

Following Chuck's recommendation I put Human Voices onto my Kindle although it cost £1.99 rather than a quid.

frankiemachine, Tuesday, 15 January 2019 16:45 (ten months ago) link

That biography sounds good !!

the pinefox, Tuesday, 15 January 2019 22:28 (ten months ago) link

David Foster Wallace: 'E Unibus Pluram: Television & U.S. Fiction' (essay written 1990, published 1993; a different media age)

the pinefox, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 09:57 (ten months ago) link

reading the vuillard.... 50 pages in, hmmmm not sure... it reads more like a (very opinionated) essay rather than fiction per se

||||||||, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 22:37 (ten months ago) link

JUst got Heavy Metalloid Music by Jesse locke been wanting to read it since I heard it existed.
IN depth history of Hamilton ONtario's Simply Saucer including post band bio of Edgar Breau the singer/guitarist and then the reunion /band reappearance since I'm not sure how many of original band are in the 2010s version.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 23:06 (ten months ago) link

I think it IS an opinionated essay rather than fiction, or maybe it's some other odd cross-genre exercise

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 17 January 2019 01:51 (ten months ago) link

yeah it’s a rum one. right at the beginning he talks about the descriptive opportunities fiction can afford, which he makes use of, but will also lean periodically on the presence of documentary research, without that doing much more than assuring you that such documents exist. eg its reference to Schischnigg’s memoirs means it’s quite difficult to discern what is directly taken from the memoirs and what is fictional imagination.

his moral judgments are straight out of the certainty of the high gallic style, of which i’m quite fond - shriving off the necessary caveats and sketched alternatives of historical uncertainty and leaving your main judgment forcefully asserted.

i’m happy with the blurrings. i think the selection of depicted events and the overall force and brevity make it feel like a highly insightful dream.

Fizzles, Thursday, 17 January 2019 07:46 (ten months ago) link

er. um.

(Aimless pulls his lips inward and looks at the ceiling)

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 16 March 2019 03:11 (eight months ago) link

David Foster Wallace: OBLIVION

the pinefox, Saturday, 16 March 2019 10:56 (eight months ago) link

haven't been on this thread in a while. finally fucking finished Crashed, I'll try and get round to posting something more extensive on it. For the moment: it was good, though the post-Crash socio-political implications section was not as strong as I'd hoped it would be, and in fact the whole book raised questions (which Tooze himself has raised) on the nature of writing of history about political economy during a crisis of legitimacy of same.

Now picked up Dan Davies' Lying for Money: How Legendary Frauds Reveal the Workings of our World. I don't know why I wanted to pick up another *money* book after Crashed but the manner here is much more relaxed but still highly knowledgable about his sphere and also enjoyable and in the footnotes enjoyable digressive - similar in many respects to his twitter presence.

Also Otaku: Japan's Database Animals by Hiroki Azuma, an application of theory to the social phenomenon of anime and manga fandom. I don't really give two hoots about anime and manga, other than having seen Tetsuo and bits of Akira. But the theoretical treatment of something of a patient zero for extremely online fandom and digital consumption generally is of great interest and I hear good things about it. So far it's good.

Also as posted on the writers diaries/notebooks thread, the Journals of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Fizzles, Saturday, 16 March 2019 12:20 (eight months ago) link

er lol that should read 'other than having seen Akira and bits of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Fizzles, Saturday, 16 March 2019 12:21 (eight months ago) link

The Big MIdweek Steve Hanley's memoir of his time in the Fall.
I've been meaning to read this for a couple of years. Then was in the local 2nd hand/remainder book shop when i was waiting for an event to start. So was sitting in the art section looking through some boolks and saw this sitting on a shelf in the to be shelved section. So got it pt aside, picked it up Wednesday. Now got several chapters in. THink he's just got back from touring the US for the 2nd time and his brother who was too young to get intyo clubs on the tour has replaced Karl Burns in the band again.
Very interesting.

Drinking Molotov Cocktails With Gandhi Mark Boyle
political tract about deep unfairness and violence underlying society. Quite interesting.

Stevolende, Saturday, 16 March 2019 13:24 (eight months ago) link

i have to say, i found the big midweek surprisingly irritating. i say that, because shanley was something of a hero growing up (i walked in behind him and craigness at my first fall gig and was *very* excited, daft sod). there's a sort of interest in hanley's band v smith thing, but i have to say, again surprisingly, i regularly came out on the side of smith. the beard growing thing is laughable and smith finds it rightly so. and the hanley's tacit sometimes explicit belief that the band did the good stuff and smith messed around with it (a dynamic that ultimately destroyed that spine of the group) hides a lot of potentially interesting insight around the small fraction of creative difference that is sometimes the most important.

i think there's one bit where he basically says 'smith used to have one on one sessions with us at his house where we worked on tracks' - he's referring to one scanlon had, and you're made glancingly aware of one of the channels of genius into the music, but that's pretty much the only time.

all that said, it's pretty much indispensable even if, shameless name-dropping here i'm afraid, brix did tell me at a bus stop in north london that hanley had had to cut a load of the more interesting stuff out.

Fizzles, Saturday, 16 March 2019 14:27 (eight months ago) link

xpost, sorry about that last post, meant for another board---but you might like those Henry Adams novels, Aimless!

dow, Saturday, 16 March 2019 19:26 (eight months ago) link

Library of America has them in a sleek volume with Mont St. Michel and Chartres and something else I didn't read.

dow, Saturday, 16 March 2019 19:29 (eight months ago) link

Reading Dick's Skull. More a short story. So it'll be finished tomorrow.

nathom, Sunday, 17 March 2019 08:04 (eight months ago) link

This essay wonders how the American lit scene would've been different if John Williams and Yvor Winters had had their way

I enjoyed this essay and I guess I'm fairly firmly in the Whitman imitative form camp, even if that does feel a bit like revealing a grubby secret. I've been thinking about Williams a bit and while it's clear he's practising an austere, detached (anti-Emersonian?) form, I wonder how the sections below function. These epiphanies appear in his books and often seem to be nexus points, around which the rest of the text arranges itself (I wonder if epiphany is the right word. There are more epiphany without insight or simple affective flares that shine briefly and die once more). Are they evidence of a kind of Emersonian unconscious?

Once, late after his evening class, he returned to his office and sat at his desk, trying to read. It was winter, and a snow had fallen during the day, so that the out-of-doors was covered with a white softness. The office was overheated; he opened a window beside the desk so that the cool air might come into the close room. He breathed deeply, and let his eyes wander over the white floor of the campus. On an impulse he switched out the light on his desk and sat in the hot darkness of his office; the cold air filled his lungs, and he leaned toward the open window. He heard the silence of the winter night, and it seemed to him that he somehow felt the sounds that were absorbed by the delicately and intricately cellular being of the snow. Nothing moved upon the whiteness; it was a dead scene, which seemed to pull at him, to suck at his consciousness just as it pulled the sound from the air and buried it within a cold white softness. He felt himself pulled outward toward the whiteness, which spread as far as he could see, and which was a part of the darkness from which it glowed, of the clear and cloudless sky without height or depth. For an instant he felt himself go out of the body that sat motionless before the window; and as he felt himself slip away, everything-the flat whiteness, the trees, the tall columns, the night, the far stars-seemed incredibly tiny and far away, as if they were dwindling to a nothingness. Then, behind him, a radiator clanked. He moved, and the scene became itself. With a curiously reluctant relief he again snapped on his desk lamp. He gathered a book and a few papers, went out of the office, walked through the darkened corridors and let himself out of the wide double doors at the back of Jesse Hall. He walked slowly home, aware of each footstep crunching with muffled loudness in the dry snow.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 17 March 2019 10:32 (eight months ago) link

Think your speculations are on the right track---With a curiously reluctant relief Yes!

dow, Sunday, 17 March 2019 17:26 (eight months ago) link

I started Big Brother by Lionel Shriver. Pretty readable so far. I guess it's kind of brave of her to write plainly about what it's like being around someone who's morbidly obese (and not always in a wholly sympathetic way). Can't decide whether or not it's in poor taste, but she's pretty good at making her characters come to life and move through the situations she's set up for them, even if some of the characterizations are a bit facile.

o. nate, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 01:39 (eight months ago) link

yeah chinaski that's very much my impression as well

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 20 March 2019 01:49 (eight months ago) link

Lionel Shriver is obsessed with the weight of her characters.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Wednesday, 20 March 2019 01:59 (eight months ago) link

Just bought a beautiful Penguin Deluxe Edition of the Tale of Genji, hopefully it's gonna be my this year's obsession like the Story of the Stone was last year

Helel Cool J (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:40 (eight months ago) link

I started The Power Broker a few days ago so I'll see y'all in a few months.

Evans on Hammond (evol j), Wednesday, 20 March 2019 20:00 (eight months ago) link

I finished People in the Room by Norah Lange last month, and thought it was astounding. An Argentinian avant-garde portrait of a fracturing mind.

emil.y, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 21:23 (eight months ago) link

Yeah it’s great isn’t it? It’s stayed in my head in the months since I read it, too.

Tim, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 23:29 (eight months ago) link

Who I am reading now: this sounds like an interesting life...
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D2JBFBDVAAAmzJU.jpg

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 21 March 2019 04:28 (eight months ago) link

I’m reading Jane Eyre, guess what it’s good

moose; squirrel (silby), Thursday, 21 March 2019 05:04 (eight months ago) link

SO good

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 21 March 2019 05:22 (eight months ago) link

great book

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 21 March 2019 08:00 (eight months ago) link

Have managed to get Archduke Eduard von Habsburg, great-great-grandson of Emperor Franz Joseph, to tell my wife on twitter to let me buy more Austro-Hungarian books.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 21 March 2019 08:15 (eight months ago) link

Many Hungarian novels...

emil.y, Thursday, 21 March 2019 09:48 (eight months ago) link

So little Hungarian time

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 21 March 2019 12:11 (eight months ago) link

There are still Archdukes?

jmm, Thursday, 21 March 2019 13:42 (eight months ago) link

I'm reading Jane Eyre too!

hot dog go to bathroom (cajunsunday), Thursday, 21 March 2019 16:22 (eight months ago) link

i'm not (it is good though)

i did read that Eleanor Oliphant book after a good review on Front Row. it has sold >1m copies but there's not a single mention of it on ilx. having finished it i am not really surprised. not much to recommend it.

40% of the way through Monte Cristo but am reading one volume a month and alternating it with other things.

koogs, Thursday, 21 March 2019 18:26 (eight months ago) link

I'm rereading Wuthering Heights!

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 March 2019 18:35 (eight months ago) link

(I read JE, WH and Agnes Grey in the same month, all great although WH was too long)

koogs, Thursday, 21 March 2019 20:12 (eight months ago) link

Back to Andy Beckett, PROMISED YOU A MIRACLE. Very readable yet so long that it's taking me ages.

the pinefox, Thursday, 21 March 2019 20:47 (eight months ago) link

A Voice Through A Cloud by Denton Welch, my first of his. All about the piping high gorgeousness of his prose. I kept thinking “English Thomas Wolfe” but god knows I haven’t read Wolfe these thirty years so the comparison is probably bollocksy.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Mosfegh, it’s good, maybe not as good as I’d been led to expect but that’s hardly the book’s fault. I thought I was going to read a kind of Miss Mundane gets into NYC scrapes, which I suppose I did, but the scrapes are much more sombre than the capers with gangsters I (for some reason) had imagined. Nominated for the Wellcome Prize as I understand it, presumably on the basis of it dealing with mental illness and addiction to prescription drugs?

Who Killed My Father by Édouard Louis, super-brief and fantastically sharp piece on what capital does to us, mainly in terms of what capital does to our bodies. Our minds too, but critically our bodies. This nearly had me crying tears of rage on the 63 bus, I think it’s likely the best book I’ve read this year so far. It’s just so fucking fierce, just when you think it’s going to fail to be fierce.

Tim, Thursday, 21 March 2019 23:21 (eight months ago) link


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