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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #4721
    Djan Seriy Anaplian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Breakers View Post
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    Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. awesome book about India!
    Shantaram is one of my favourite books but keep it to the book and don't visit. I worked in India for a few weeks and also visited for an ex: Shantaram is a wonderfully written fable, but nothing more - it's escapism done best.
    I hate India. Been twice for work, fuck that. It's AWFUL.
    Aye it's a fucking hole.
    The city's are horrendous i will concede, but once you get out into the mountains/jungle/beaches it is really incredible!
    Eh i've always preferred Indonesia, but outside of Delhi i've only been to goa/agra/mumbai so i'll take your word for it.

    I've always wanted to visit Meghalaya, interested to hear from anyone that has.

  2. #4722
    Joe Appleby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halka View Post
    Out of curiosity, what device are you using when not leafing through dead trees? It's about time I start planning some presents for the family.
    Kindle paperwhite. Cheap, works great, Calibre is the software to use to put all your third party epubs on it.
    nevar forget

  3. #4723
    Mrenda's Avatar
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    Read two books recently; A Line Made by Walking and The Book of Disquiet.

    A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume is about a depressed woman who retreats to her dead grandmother's cottage to try and get herself back together. It was decent in that it captured a depressed, slightly obsessive mind well, but ultimately it overplayed its hand by keeping that the issue for far too long. There's a conceit in there where she rehashes artwork she studied in college, testing herself to see if both her knowledge and she herself is still relevant and applying it to her current life, but having used writing approaches like that myself I can see it as a bit of a mcguffin to break up your prose. I'll still do it, it's worthwhile, but you really need to key it into the rest of the story for it to work. Overall, it's an ok book, probably 100 pages too long, but still effectively showing a depressed mind, and the fight with that depression, and in many ways (being the trigger of the depression) a person's irrelevance as the transition from a university, student life where they're not quite adults, to the responsibility of making your own way through life..

    The Book of Disquiet by Fernandoa Pessoa was written mostly in the 1930's, rediscovered in his belongings long after his death, collated and first published in the 1980's. It's a series of diary entries, or small pieces of writing on thoughts running through the head of the Pessoa's heteronym, Bernardo Soares, a clerk who spends his time writing, doesn't really engage with people or wider life, and dedicates himself to examining his own outlook and views on life. There's a lot of rumination in it, thoughts on what tedium means, and sleep, relationships with society, love, people, nature, etc. Pessoa was also a poet and almost all his writing is done via him taking on a persona as the author. The Book of Disquiet is pretty much about metaphysics, and the nature of things, especially internal existence as it stands against external stimulation. Soares, the supposed author doesn't engage with anything, is seemingly content living an isolated life and mulling over his own attitudes and perspectives on what he is to himself and other things. It's beautifully written (and translated from the original Portuguese.) Definitely worth reading if you're looking for something on how a solitary existence can work, with only your mind and deflated passion for an outlet.

    I've just started Solar Bones by Mike McCormack which is on the Booker longlist (shortlist out tomorrow.) It's published by the same publisher as a Line Made by Walking. It's written as entirely a single sentence, with everything flowing into everything else. I'm only twenty or so pages in but it's rather an easy read so far, even if all the protagonist's rumination and picking over memory isn't quite hitting it off with me. I'll probably take the book out for a beer at some pint, and if I find a comfy chair I can see myself making good headway into it.

  4. #4724
    Mrenda's Avatar
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    I heard an author, Danielle McLaughlin read at a short story festival last Wednesday, then just happened by chance upon a short story she had published in the New Yorker. I'm really impressed by her writing. There's something very quiet and slow about it, unpresuming in a lot of ways and not pretending to be dressed up in deep literary metaphysics. What really strikes me is how the small moments she tells, and little bits of description really stand out as instructive in and constructive for the entire element of what she wrote. The story she read on Wednesday was about a little girl, and there was a very brief moment of an old man being leery with her, grabbing her, and getting chased away by another woman who lived in the same building with the girl. It was a very small element of the story, almost an aside, but the reaction of the little girl, almost a lack of reaction and misunderstanding of the situation really set up the mental space for the author to see the world as the girl sees it, and so understand that broader narrative.

    Anyway, it's only a short read but I'd recommend this New Yorker story to get a taste of her writing. I could have bought her short story collection at the time, but didn't so now I'll have to hunt it down elsewhere. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2...osaurs-planets

  5. #4725
    Mrenda's Avatar
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    I just finished Solar Bones by Mike McCormack. It was longlisted for the Booker, and Irish lit twitter was a little peeved when it didn't make the shortlist, although some of that might be dramatics for the sake of encouragement. It's not bad. The conceit of it being one long sentence mostly works, and it draws you through the novel quite easily. That could as well be the prose not being really challenging, and the events of the story not very out there. Like the other book I read from the publisher it seems more like a single idea really hammered home over the course of a 200 page novel, with not much that draws thought out as you read, until the end, which I did really enjoy. The blurb on the back of the book tells you the protag is dead, so everything is coloured by that, and I do wonder if it wasn't for this knowledge and a desire to see how it ties together would the story work as well. It's mostly a treatise on family. Family, relationships, and what a nondescript, average, normal life means to someone. I read most of it in two days, so if you're looking for a quick read it's worth a shout. I haven't read any of the shortlisted books for the Booker so I don't know if it was hard done by, but my immediate thought without being able to reference it against anything else is it's a fair call from the judges.

  6. #4726
    phoenix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halka View Post
    Out of curiosity, what device are you using when not leafing through dead trees? It's about time I start planning some presents for the family.
    Kobo Aura One, pondered it a while, not the cheapest, but i really do like its size.

    That said, my old Kindle did the job too. And for somebody as a present a 'simple' Paperwhite might be better. Ofc one is hooked to amazon with it if not using calibre or the like....

  7. #4727
    Ted Breakers's Avatar
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    Ran out of material so starting this thread from the beggining (lord give me strength and neg/reps)

    So far done some of the Honor Harrington, first 2 were good next 2 not so much...

    Think im gonna put these aside and hit Old Man's War, The Quantum Thief and Hyperion.
    Last edited by Ted Breakers; September 21 2017 at 03:40:08 PM.

  8. #4728
    Mrenda's Avatar
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    The Reluctant Fundamentalist was a good read. Possibly even more interesting was reading the reviews after, and the focus, especially the US newspapers give to post 9/11 sentiment and comment in the book, which is evident and the lessor focus they give to the individuality of the protagonist narrator. Mohsin Hamad is obviously trying to set metaphor and allegory in a lot of what he's written, but apart from the occasional comment about the protagonist being "not entirely likable" (to paraphrase,) the critical commentary on it quite often doesn't engage with the significance of the narrator''s experience. There's definitely something, "other," about the narrator, but then again that's the whole point of the book. He's supposed to be other to western ways, despite his attempts at opposing his instincts, and in his attempts to live the American Dream. The language of the storytelling is also, "other." The prose is written in fluent language but with a fluency from a narrator whose mothertongue isn't fully anglicised and speaks with an educated phrasing. There seems to be a reluctance to read the book and its story at a personal level. This may be typical for literary review, trying to cast the book in light of greater significances but its especially telling in this instance because humanisation and huamnity is at the core of the story.

  9. #4729
    Donor Sponk's Avatar
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    New Ann Leckie book is out.
    Contract stuff to Seraphina Amaranth.

    "You give me the awful impression - I hate to have to say - of someone who hasn't read any of the arguments against your position. Ever."


  10. #4730
    Movember 2012 I Legionnaire's Avatar
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    This Hallowed Ground

    I decided to go back and read some Civil War history since most of my education focused on ancient Europe. This is a fantastic book written in narrative style that gives a broad overview of the war. Even though it was written in '54 the language is approachable, not dry. The copy I have was released in 2012, so I'm not sure if they adjusted the language since the original publication. In any case, it won a Pulitzer and I can see why.

    These two are next on the hit-list.

    Battle Cry of Freedom

    Landscape Turned Red

  11. #4731
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    Foundations of Mechanical Accuracy

    A book about how to bootstrap metrology & machining, following along with the development of the Moore No. 3 Universal Measuring Machine (and other less accurate tools on the No.3 chassis). Includes quite a bit of the history of metrology. There's a whole section on machining (and measuring) down in the millionths-of-an-inch (100s of nanometers) range.

  12. #4732
    Djan Seriy Anaplian's Avatar
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    My mum just sent me a beautifully illustrated version of the Hobbot from 1966.

    It's really quite fun so i'm happy to post pics to those interested.

    I really want to buy a Dracula first edition, but the prices are astronomical and it's either that or a new watch. Handling one in the British Library gave me chills.

    Disclaimer: i buy these things; to keep, read and store well. Not to trade.

    Also this is a long shot, but, London peeps, do you know of an excellent book binding service that cover in heavy leather with marbling on the pages? This would be for the culture serious/one offs

  13. #4733
    Dahak's Avatar
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    In light of Annihilation being turned into a movie I decided to get it off my to read list. It was described to me by the store clerk as "Lovecraft without all the horrible racism", which was fine by me since I love Lovecraft and find the racism dispensable.

    I think their description was quite fitting. It's not a long book, only ~190 pages, but for the bulk of it I didn't not feel like the protagonist was at all safe. A sense of creeping tension pervaded everything, when there wasn't active danger from whatever terror the protagonist was confronting at the moment. Gave it four stars out of five and four out of five, then went to buy the other books in the trilogy. I think a good analogue would be Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space".

    #2 is a very different book. Not only longer by a decent margin but different in feel. I believe a blurb on the back describes #1 as an adventure novel with a heavy layer of weird while #2 is a spy novel with the same. I don't think it was quite as good, call it a weak four out of five, but still quite enjoyable. It answers a few questions about #1 but raises a few more. I started #3 late last night so only got a little way in, hopefully it ends well. I don't need all the answers, just enough.

  14. #4734
    Donor Sponk's Avatar
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    Finally got to Strange Dogs (expanse short story).

    Not bad. I like the writing style.

    Next up is Leckie's latest, then I think I'll swing back and go through the Atrocity Archives because I don't think I've read the last few.
    Contract stuff to Seraphina Amaranth.

    "You give me the awful impression - I hate to have to say - of someone who hasn't read any of the arguments against your position. Ever."


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