Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 1965

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I really disliked Stoner FWIW, I thought the gender politics were messed up and Stoner himself was a cipher, Butcher's Crossing is much better

Heh. ILB has a real Stoner Schism. I am one of the handful of haters but have given up trying to solve this broken riddle.

A Stop at Quilloughby (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 6 May 2021 10:22 (five months ago) link

Peter Sellers was once asked "If you had a chance to live your life over again, what would you do differently?" Sellers answered "I would not read 'The Magus.'"

(I have read it, I do not recall it, that quote perversely makes me want to read it again so I can similarly hate it.)

I was born anxious, here's how to do it. (ledge), Thursday, 6 May 2021 10:26 (five months ago) link

Count me with the Stoner haters.

I was born anxious, here's how to do it. (ledge), Thursday, 6 May 2021 10:26 (five months ago) link

Maybe Dune then?

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 6 May 2021 10:30 (five months ago) link

Maybe. But Stoner voting bloc is quite significant, they just haven’t shown up yet.

A Stop at Quilloughby (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 6 May 2021 10:34 (five months ago) link

Stoner is like some Thinking Man’s Bartleby, idgi.

A Stop at Quilloughby (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 6 May 2021 10:36 (five months ago) link

Smallcreep's Day is not by Victor Gollancz Jr but I'm not at home to check who it is - it's a fun little curio that is basically a mash up of Kafka and Robert Tressell except obv rubbish in comparison

The Magus is also rubbish but good and I've had weird moments of nostalgia for it in the last year, probably best left to it's natural teen boy audience tho

Stoner is just good but y'know, you people ffs

Dune might be an honest vote but I suspect the really great books in this list aren't the ones I've read

Chickpeas, Scamps and Beeves (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 6 May 2021 11:22 (five months ago) link

Smallcreep's Day is by Peter Currell Brown, pretty good book, I would compare it more to Chaplin's Modern Times than Kafka or Tressell

A viking of frowns, (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 6 May 2021 11:35 (five months ago) link

haha yeah I accidentally put in the publisher - even had a chuckle to myself, "haha, witty of this guy to have his pseudonym end in ltd".

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 6 May 2021 12:25 (five months ago) link

I think I'd go Cosmos, just ahead of PKD

ignore the blue line (or something), Thursday, 6 May 2021 15:13 (five months ago) link

Perec, I guess.

pomenitul, Thursday, 6 May 2021 15:13 (five months ago) link

Huh, I thought by the '60s I'd be stumped every year by too many options, not too few. But this is another year of "read other books by these authors but not these ones", with a couple of "seen the film, not read the book" entries.

I don't remember all that much about what actually happens in the Dark Is Rising books, but I do remember thinking they were fantastic as a child, so I guess I'm voting for Over Sea, Under Stone.

emil.y, Thursday, 6 May 2021 15:54 (five months ago) link

I liked Stoner well enough. The female characters are poorly drawn but its bigger crime - for all its control and precision - is being a bit boring.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Thursday, 6 May 2021 17:14 (five months ago) link

loved stoner but anyone attacking it for its misogyny is otm

i also agree that butcher's crossing and augustus are much better. augustus freakin rocks

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Thursday, 6 May 2021 17:20 (five months ago) link

wiki sez: Smallcreep's Day is the first studio album by English guitarist and songwriter Mike Rutherford, released in February 1980 on Charisma Records. It was recorded in 1979 during a period of inactivity from his rock band Genesis, during which Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks recorded their first solo albums. The 24-minute title track is based on the 1965 novel Smallcreep's Day by Peter Currell Brown which tells the story of Mr. Smallcreep and the journey of self-discovery he takes through the assembly line of the factory he has worked in for forty years.
Dune is thee first, best volume of the trilogies written by series creator Frank Herbert (haven't read subsequent entries by son Brian H. & collaborators): a "scientific romance" in 19th Century, don't-sweat-the-science classic basis, but also 60s as Hell in several ways, incl. ecology, psychotrophic drugs (Spice, the crucial product of planet commonly known as Dune, necess for griot navigation, since computers have been banned in wake of Butlerian Jihad), and teen heir to throne, though carefully groomed since conception, doesn't wanna be Emperor of Universe dammit, like Peter Parker->Spiderman and see the Dune thread ffs---but would prob vote for the PKD if I thought I remembered it anywhere near as vividly sd Manchild In The Promised Man, which I always assumed was a straight-up memoir?? But maybe too consistently micro-detailed an urban panorama und bildungsroman for that---anyway, an amazing book, getting my vote.

dow, Thursday, 6 May 2021 17:21 (five months ago) link

the last twenty pages of stoner are like the most spellbinding depiction of death i've ever encountered in a novel tho

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Thursday, 6 May 2021 17:21 (five months ago) link

Er, Manchild in the Promised *Land*, yeah, sorry.

dow, Thursday, 6 May 2021 17:28 (five months ago) link

Yeah, the final act of Stoner is pretty astonishing. 'What did you expect?'

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Thursday, 6 May 2021 17:34 (five months ago) link

I've read a few of these. "Dune" was for a few years, circa junior high, my favorite novel. Later, Vonnegut became my favorite writer, and one of my faves was "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater". In college, I took a class called "Countercultural Literature" in which I was assigned "An American Dream" and "Manchild in the Promised Land", the second of which I preferred to the first. Finally, and much more recently, I read "Stoner". Purely on the merits this should probably be "Stoner", though I'm tempted to toss the vote to "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" or "Dune".

o. nate, Thursday, 6 May 2021 20:02 (five months ago) link

Sure, Smallcreep's Day inspired a prog rock concept album, but Dune inspired at least three that I know of - Klaus Schulze, Richard Pinhas and Zed. Plus the Maiden song. Having said that I voted PKD, just edging out the Chester Himes which probably isn't as good as I remember it.
Wonder how the Harry Harrison Heinlein spoof holds up nowadays? That was the one where the sadistic military trainer was called Deathwish Drang and had tusks. Bowb!

electrical wizard (Matt #2), Friday, 7 May 2021 01:56 (five months ago) link

I get the feeling I wouldn’t be a huge fan of Stoner but I did really like Butcher’s Crossing. Have had Miss Marguerite My Darling staring at me from the bookshelf for ages. Love most of the Martin Beck novels but never got through Roseanna. I suppose I’m voting Three Stigmata, not his most polished by any means but has amazing speed-addled off-the-rails bad vibes. Not a great book to read if you plan to take psychedelics in the near future.

JoeStork, Friday, 7 May 2021 03:17 (five months ago) link

The couple of these I've read could not be described as favorites of mine by any stretch. Abstain. Again.

sharpening the contraindications (Aimless), Friday, 7 May 2021 03:30 (five months ago) link

I think I'm voting the same as Joe Stork, for the same reasons; I haven't read Stoner, love the Martin Beck books but can't stand Roseanna. Three Stigmata isn't my favorite Philip K. Dick but I remember really loving the opening chapter so I may as well vote for it.

Lily Dale, Friday, 7 May 2021 04:48 (five months ago) link

Unless I'm getting it confused with a different Philip K. Dick novel which is entirely possible.

Lily Dale, Friday, 7 May 2021 04:49 (five months ago) link

I read The Animal Family years ago, after reading Randall Jarrell's essay on Kipling, and it filled me with the kind of vicarious embarrassment you get when a writer reveals more of themselves than they meant to - what Kipling calls "bleeding on the work."

Lily Dale, Friday, 7 May 2021 04:54 (five months ago) link

Garden, Ashes is a gem, have read it several times since finding it the well stocked for distraction college bookstore. Also love Miss MacIntosh, My Darling, The Painted Bird, and Stoner. Really like Pictures from an Institution, will have to give The Animal Family a go.

bulb after bulb, Saturday, 8 May 2021 01:10 (five months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Sunday, 9 May 2021 00:01 (five months ago) link

Three Stigmata is a v.good book, but I'm voting Perec. Wish I hadn't lent my copy to a friend, as I'd really like to re-read it now!

Mark E. Smith died this year. Or, maybe last year. (bernard snowy), Sunday, 9 May 2021 15:02 (five months ago) link

Dune might actually be the 'correct' choice, though

Mark E. Smith died this year. Or, maybe last year. (bernard snowy), Sunday, 9 May 2021 15:05 (five months ago) link

Is dune more admirable than enjoyable though?

I was born anxious, here's how to do it. (ledge), Sunday, 9 May 2021 17:10 (five months ago) link

It's a very fun read, plenty pop smarts.

dow, Sunday, 9 May 2021 18:45 (five months ago) link

I read Dune in high school, fifty years ago. In fifty years I've never had any inclination to go back and reread it. I recall it as sufficiently entertaining in a wtf way.

sharpening the contraindications (Aimless), Sunday, 9 May 2021 18:53 (five months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Monday, 10 May 2021 00:01 (five months ago) link

SF tie! I'm glad I went with my gut and voted for Dune. So many weird ideas went into building that universe, but it never seems like just a bunch of weird ideas. In some ways it set the standard for me for how a book can let us step briefly into another world.

o. nate, Monday, 10 May 2021 01:54 (five months ago) link

Perec is a lot of fun in what I've read of him anyway. need to get a copy of Life A Users Manual since I last read it about 35 years ago.
But not read this one.

Trying to think what the Violet Leduc i read was which again was like 30 odd years ago.

Wole Soyinka has a nice turn of phrase in his plays so I think I need to read some of his prose.

would like to read more Raymond Queneau.
Have wanted to read Le Chiendent since it turned up in Rowland S Howard's Guide to teh artist as a consumer. Tried reading it in the mid 80s but had other things going on. So think that was as teh Bark Tree and it snow around as Witch Grass.
Also really want to read the academic text on Queneau's books on the Easter Rising which was done bu an NUIG staffer and released before the pandemic but because it was an academic text it was also like really expensive. Sounded fascinating though.
Now got to read the books themselves too.

Did read a couple of Dune way back too, think I meant to read more but then didn't. Think I grabbed some of my uncle's copies when he died.

Stevolende, Monday, 10 May 2021 12:02 (five months ago) link

Upon reflection, tendency is to vote for (one of) the perceived ILB favorite(s).

Working in the POLL Mine (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 10 May 2021 19:54 (five months ago) link

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