what book are you reading?

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alongwaltz
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by alongwaltz » Tue Apr 14, 2015 2:44 pm

After much hesitance my curiosity got the better of me and I picked up Twee: The Gentle Revolution In Music, Books, Television, Fashion, And Film by Marc Spitz from the library.

As an indiepop devotee I naturally take issue with many of his main arguments. For instance, he claims that Brooklyn is the epicenter of twee culture and that things like mustaches, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and Anne Frank are twee. Nirvana gets a full chapter whereas Sarah Records gets about a page.

That said, he does come up with enough interesting comparisons and lineages that I will finish the book and not just toss it aside. Pee-Wee Herman, Maurice Sendak, and They Might Be GIants are some of the topics that I was pleasantly surprised to read about in addition to the obvious topics like Belle And Sebastian, French New Wave cinema, Jonathan Richman, and The Catcher In The Rye.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by This Is Helena » Sun May 24, 2015 11:43 pm

I'm reading Yeah Yeah Yeah for about the fourth or fifth time and I can see myself reading it many more times. I'm also reading Brideshead Revisited again. What I want to be reading is Pride and Prejudice but the copies in the library are a bit dirty (yeah I'm a freak) and I've not had time to get to a bookshop.
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by tonieee » Mon May 25, 2015 11:22 am

This Is Helena wrote:I'm reading Yeah Yeah Yeah for about the fourth or fifth time and I can see myself reading it many more times. I'm also reading Brideshead Revisited again. What I want to be reading is Pride and Prejudice but the copies in the library are a bit dirty (yeah I'm a freak) and I've not had time to get to a bookshop.
If ebooks are a possibility for you it is available in Project Gutenberg for free: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42671

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by This Is Helena » Mon May 25, 2015 11:52 am

tonieee wrote:
This Is Helena wrote:I'm reading Yeah Yeah Yeah for about the fourth or fifth time and I can see myself reading it many more times. I'm also reading Brideshead Revisited again. What I want to be reading is Pride and Prejudice but the copies in the library are a bit dirty (yeah I'm a freak) and I've not had time to get to a bookshop.
If ebooks are a possibility for you it is available in Project Gutenberg for free: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42671
Thanks, tonieee.
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by humblebee » Mon May 25, 2015 9:35 pm

Image

It's got a very fashionable sort of a feel which I can't quite put my finger on (maybe it's just that dreadful cover). I dunno - it's good, excellent in places. But there's something just a bit too this-is-seen-as-exemplary-writing-in-2015 about it.

Is it just me who's feeling a bit jaded by the templatey feel of a lot of new writing just now?

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by indiansummer » Tue May 26, 2015 10:13 am

i've only read The Electric Michaelangelo of hers, humbo, and i enjoyed that a lot without being blown away, or without feeling like there was anything being bashed into my skull about how contemporary it was. although that said, must've been about 2008ish that i read that one.

i'm reading The First Bad Man by Miranda July, which feels very 21stcenturyamericanfiction, but i'm enjoying it regardless
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by tonieee » Tue May 26, 2015 10:33 am

humblebee wrote:Is it just me who's feeling a bit jaded by the templatey feel of a lot of new writing just now?
Slightly related - I've been reading a lot of books the last few weeks (mostly sci-fi with the odd bit of fantasy) and I've noticed a pattern in them which has become boringly frustrating - they all alternate chapters between two different viewpoints (either from two different characters or groups of characters or from the same character at two different points in time), ending each chapter on a cliffhanger. Now I've noticed the pattern I can't help keep noticing it and it's slightly off-putting. I've thought back through all the books I've read this year and they all do the same except for one. They're not just new books though, from 70s to last year. The book I'm currently reading is slightly different in that it has two chapters per viewpoint and occasionally throws in a couple of chapters from the viewpoint of a different character from the main two.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by crystalball » Tue May 26, 2015 10:53 am

humblebee wrote:Is it just me who's feeling a bit jaded by the templatey feel of a lot of new writing just now?
No! I think that's why I was so blown away by The Deadman's Pedal a couple of years back. It felt like I was reading something written in a moment of madness almost, with no consideration for the audience but with an absolute love for the reader. Hadn't quite realised how important that was. Same with Lorrie Moore's stuff. By the end, you want to be one with the author, having cracked the code - not part of their gang where they keep showing off. I'm explaining this very badly, sorry.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by noLooking » Tue May 26, 2015 11:43 am

This Is Helena wrote:What I want to be reading is Pride and Prejudice but the copies in the library are a bit dirty
Austen filth!
humblebee wrote:Is it just me who's feeling a bit jaded by the templatey feel of a lot of new writing just now?
I seem to have given up on most new fiction these days. The only things that have really caught my attention that I've read in the last year were usually new books by established favourites (Donna Tartt, Jonathan Coe, Will Self), which were all admittedly excellent (especially Self's "Shark", which pulled him out of a long term slump in my opinion). Best newish thing? Elenor Catton's "The Luminaries", but precisely because it didn't feel like a "look at me, I'm a modern novelist" sort of thing, much more located in the 19th century, Wilkie Collins sort of tradition that I'm a sucker for.
tonieee wrote:Slightly related - I've been reading a lot of books the last few weeks (mostly sci-fi with the odd bit of fantasy) and I've noticed a pattern in them which has become boringly frustrating...
Yeah, I tend to think sci-fi can get a bit formulaic, even my favourites like John Wyndham and Philip K. Dick seem to have their own templates that they recycle again and again. The only sci-fi I've read recently was Ken Macleod's "Descent", which rambled along pleasantly enough but failed to be more than the sum of it's parts, intelligent politically but a bit simple minded in terms of being a novel.

I remember an interesting sci-fi novel you might like (if you don't already know it), "Glasshouse" by Charles Stross, which turns on the ability of people to change gender easily and gives rise to all sorts of transgender (in a very literal sense of the word) insights. With a bit of perspective, I can see it's probably hugely derivative of Ursula Le Guin (who I've still failed to read but will eventually) but still very dense and satisfying. It also featured a very good 'blind' element in the plot, it was one of those things that you seemed to be constantly working out as you went along.
crystalball wrote: I think that's why I was so blown away by The Deadman's Pedal a couple of years back.

Another one I need to remember. And are you still saying Evie Wyld's any good? Being immensely tardy, I'm still getting round to that one but it did stick in my mind.

Anyway, I seem to keep reading non-fiction now - Martin Aston's (awesome) "Facing The Other Way" about 4AD this week, getting on to Phil Cowley and Rob Ford's "Sex, Lies And The Ballot Box" soon. Descending into political nerdery, a sure sign that something bad is about to happen in parliament...

Oh, have I rambled on for half a page to very little consequence? Not like me at all then...

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by tonieee » Tue May 26, 2015 12:46 pm

andyiong wrote:Yeah, I tend to think sci-fi can get a bit formulaic, even my favourites like John Wyndham and Philip K. Dick seem to have their own templates that they recycle again and again.
I only ever read science fiction really so I am familiar with this (having said that, see: Sturgeon's Law) but I'm quite a conservative person and enjoy familiarity in my reading. But I'm no Sad Puppy and sci-fi books that push the boundaries are usually my favourites (and the publicity around the kind of books the Sad Puppies hate have given some books to add to my to-read list that I might have otherwise missed :-)).
andyiong wrote:The only sci-fi I've read recently was Ken Macleod's "Descent", which rambled along pleasantly enough but failed to be more than the sum of it's parts, intelligent politically but a bit simple minded in terms of being a novel.
I haven't read any of his books but I am aware of him and have thought for a while that it's the kind of thing that I would like (left wing, hard science fiction, space opera - ticks all my boxes!). Simple minded is probably a plus point for me :-).
andyiong wrote:I remember an interesting sci-fi novel you might like (if you don't already know it), "Glasshouse" by Charles Stross, which turns on the ability of people to change gender easily and gives rise to all sorts of transgender (in a very literal sense of the word) insights. With a bit of perspective, I can see it's probably hugely derivative of Ursula Le Guin (who I've still failed to read but will eventually) but still very dense and satisfying. It also featured a very good 'blind' element in the plot, it was one of those things that you seemed to be constantly working out as you went along.
I did start reading is Accelerando (which according to that wikipedia link, Glasshouse is a not-quite sequel to) on my phone as an ebook but as I usually read on my phone when I'm out and about and without a book and since I've broke my leg I haven't really been out and about without a book, I've stalled a bit on it. I will get back to it though and I'll give Glasshouse a read (anything remotely like Ursula Le Guin will be great for me). I haven't yet got far enough through it to form an opinion yet but it is set in the future where people speak a lot of mid-noughties internet jargon and memes which probably made it seem hip when it was released but now makes it read quite dated.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by crystalball » Tue May 26, 2015 10:11 pm

andyiong wrote: And are you still saying Evie Wyld's any good? Being immensely tardy, I'm still getting round to that one but it did stick in my mind.
She's a great writer but it didn't blow my mind in the end. Is it ridiculous to want to have your mind blown every time you read something? I need it, dammit.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by holyzombiejesus » Fri May 29, 2015 11:50 pm

humblebee wrote:Wow! Amazing.

I'm increasingly fascinated by the way Europe's optimism in the 1950s was expressed not just politically - through the creation of social security programmes, universal healthcare, transnational political structures - but aesthetically, through design and architecture. (Modernism? Is that modernism? I only really understand modernism in its literary sense, which came a few decades earlier, so I never quite know how to use the term in other contexts. Anyway, yeah.)
You should check this out...

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by holyzombiejesus » Sat May 30, 2015 12:35 am

humblebee wrote: Is it just me who's feeling a bit jaded by the templatey feel of a lot of new writing just now?
Sorry for quoting two of your quotes on the trot, I'm not a stalker or anything. Anyway, I echo the 'no's above. I even disagree with you about Sarah Hall (although that short story collection isn't one of her best books; check out The Carhullan Army (AKA Daughters of the North) or her latest, The Wolf Border).

The best new stuff I've read in ages is by a Welsh author called Cynan Jones. I don't come here enough to know if anyone else has mentioned his stuff here but I might just edit and repost some badly written guff I spewed out about him on another (rather unpleasant) forum.

The Long Dry, Jones' first novel, is ostensibly about a man wandering round his farm looking for a lost cow; it's only about 120 pages long but it's just... ah... I'm not great at describing stuff but this is just so beautifully written. I have a 30 minute train ride to work and usually put this away after 15 minutes so I can just take it in. It feels like concentrated writing, no flaff or waffle, yet so readable; brutal, searing, visceral. I got about 2/3 of the way through the book today and there was a 9 word sentence that just floored me.

His most recent, The Dig, is described by Granta as... "built on the interlocking fates of a badger-baiter and a disconsolate farmer, and set in a stark rural setting"
and some bod from that publisher said “Jones writes of the physiology of grief and the isolation of loss with piercing brilliance, and about the simple rawness of animal existence with a naturalist’s unsentimental eye .There is not a whiff of the bucolic pastoral or the romanticized sod here. The Dig crackles with compressed energy and it swells to fill more space than at first glance it occupies.”

One review of The Dig states "These are sentences written not for the eye or the ear but for some deeper sense" and that's just as true for The Long Dry.

Seriously, get both of these...

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by crystalball » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:09 am

I'm on a slightly insane sleep schedule right now because World Cup and heat and stuff and, after I finished reading Michael Cunningham's The Snow Queen, I decided to go back and read it all again. Never done this with a novel before, this need to dive even deeper straight away. But you know when words, sentences, whole pages just won't leave you and you have to succumb and let go of your anxieties about death vs mountains-of-books-to-read. So yes, middle of the nights, all the nights - this, again. You should read it, if you haven't already. It's beautiful.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by This Is Helena » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:44 am

I've just finished reading Morrissey's Autobiography. I always forget that he can drive. I think I would have liked a few lines about him learning to drive and taking his test.
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by This Is Helena » Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:26 pm

I've just finished Stuart David's In the All-Night Café. A lovely book. I could almost feel like I was in those places particularly when he describes the gig in the flat. I even got worried at the part when Stuart Murdoch was considering going to America even though I know how things turned out.

I'm currently reading The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. It's kind of terrifying. I'm amazed at the way he maintains a sense of tension all the way through. I won't say more so as not to spoil it for anyone else reading it.
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by ShaunBrilldream » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:05 am

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Best described as 'uncompromising', this. It's about his damaged childhood, but the writing is so brilliant it kind of pulls you through the bad bits. I'm not sure how he writes with such clarity and detachment at the same time.


I got sent a book of short stories by Burnside and I've been reading him on and off ever since. He could pop into my top twenty writers if he's not very careful.
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by noLooking » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:51 am

Just finished reading 'The Bone Clocks' by David Mitchell. I kind of think that, once you take away all the flash and bang, his novels are a bit less substantial than he thinks they are and the strong sci-fi element here makes that doubly so. No 'Cloud Atlas' but I still enjoyed it.

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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by This Is Helena » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:44 pm

This morning I received my copy of Tracey Thorn's Bedsit Disco Queen and I've hardly put it down all day. It's bloody brilliant. I wish I had the ability to explain how good it is.
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Re: what book are you reading?

Post by duglasette » Sun Aug 16, 2015 6:32 pm

I'm currently reading The Bees by Laline Paull. Its a really good take on the traditional adventure story what with them being bees and mostly female and all. I haven't finished it yet but so far its pretty addictive.

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