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    Self-Isolation reading list

    Books read, being read, and waiting to be read during the present difficulties. No reviews just stars out of five.

    Read:

    A Simple Plan — Scott Smith ***

    Savage Season — Joe R. Lansdale ****

    The Mystery of the Tunnel — Alexander Wilson * (didn't finish)

    Zoo Station — David Downing ****

    Silesian Station — David Downing *** (didn't finish)

    Queenpin — Megan Abbot ****

    Die a Little — Megan Abbot ****

    Farthing — Jo Walton ***

    The Big Goodbye — Sam Wassen ****


    Current:

    The Mirror and the Light — Hilary Mantel *****

    Night and the City — Gerald Kersh *****

    A History of Private Life: Revelations of the Medieval World — Georges Duby (ed.) ****


    Upcoming:

    The Expandable Man — Dorothy B. Hughes

    The Man in the Red Coat — Julian Barnes

    Valley of the Serpents — S H Payne

    #2
    Read:

    The Body Lies-Jo Baker ***
    The Narrows-Ronald Malfi ***
    The Other Americans-Laila Lalami ****
    An American Marriage-Tayari Jones *****
    Fallow-Daniel Shand ***

    Reading:

    Will Wiles-Care Of Wooden Floors ***
    Roy Hattersley-Borrowed Time ***

    To Read:

    Craig Brown-One Two Three Four
    Jon Savage-Joy Division Oral History
    Glen James Brown-Ironopolis

    Comment


      #3

      Read-

      Power of the Dog- Don Winslow ****

      A Divided Spy- Charles Cumming ***

      not much but have been clearing out drawers and baskets of old WSC, Cycling Weekly and French, Spanish equivalents

      Reading-

      The Primate Directive (a Star Trek/Planet of the Apes graphic novel) **/***, an amusing idea

      My Childhood - Maxim Gorky

      old collected pieces books by Charlie Brooker and Kermode- again for clear out purposes


      To come-

      well the world, or most of a wall, is my lobster but probably...

      One of the old Simenons in French I got from our library when they shut languages down.

      Ditto there’s a little pile of Daeninckx

      had a notion to revisit early Sillitoe...

      Comment


        #4
        Raced through two books this weekend, both of them five-star recommendations. A novel by David Constantine 'The Life-Writer' a kind of primer for anyone suffering profound grief, or thinking they might need to prepare for it, but also with a moving, multi-layered narrative. Then a memoir by novelist and musician and addict Rob Roberge, 'Liar', that was explicitly honest, dark and funny and brimming with mind-boggling excess and anecdotes. It was published in 2016, he's only a year younger than me, and my first thought upon finishing was, "Christ, I hope he's still alive." Just checked - he is.

        Comment


          #5
          Good timing. I just finished High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess. It's about Jerry Bruckheimer's old partner, who co-produced high-energy classics like Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Days of Thunder, Bad Boys, Crimson Tide, and others. He's a one-man case study in excess; mainly sex, alcohol and drugs. Lots of drugs. Your standard rise and fall story, it's worth the time.

          Comment


            #6
            Finished The Expendable Man. It is very good. Largely because Hughes is a canny enough to hold back vital information in order to reveal more about her central character. I realise that sounds needlessly opaque, but I don't want to say more as it would reduce the impact of the story. It's a book you're better off knowing nothing about before you start reading it.

            Comment


              #7
              Been re-reading (in translation) Ronald Reng's "Matchdays", a history of the Bundesliga which uses Heinz Hőher as a kind of human running narrative. Interesting stuff. Is Reng still writing?

              Comment


                #8
                Yes, he came out with a biography of Miroslav Klose in 2019

                Though it looks as if his most recent work has not been translated into English.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I've also been reading some academic sports essays, such as this one:

                  https://www.academia.edu/197995/Conc...ard=view-paper

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Sporting View Post
                    Been re-reading (in translation) Ronald Reng's "Matchdays", a history of the Bundesliga which uses Heinz Hőher as a kind of human running narrative. Interesting stuff. Is Reng still writing?
                    I love that book, though I've never read a bad one by him (have also read his books on Lars Leese and the one about the talent scout, which has a similar format to 'Matchdays'). Not that interested in Klose, though. Enke one's waiting on my shelf, but I'm not sure I'm ever going to be in the right mood to read it.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I'd recommend the Enke book Imp, it's a tough read alright but worth it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I’m physically struggling to sit and read books/kindle right now, due to a bout of sciatica which gives maximum discomfort when seated in the same position for longer than 5 minutes, so I’ve piggy-backed my wife’s Audible account instead, as I can listen on the headphones whilst moving around. Never really fancied talking books much before, but am enjoying it. A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Mirror and the Light gobbled up already. Think I might revisit Middlemarch next, which I haven’t read since Uni days but I remember as my favourite Victorian novel.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by imp View Post

                          I love that book, though I've never read a bad one by him (have also read his books on Lars Leese and the one about the talent scout, which has a similar format to 'Matchdays'). Not that interested in Klose, though. Enke one's waiting on my shelf, but I'm not sure I'm ever going to be in the right mood to read it.
                          I've now started re-reading Ulrich Hesse-Lichberger's Tor! The story of German football to keep the Bundesliga etc. theme going and was surprised to discover a couple of things about it that I didn't notice before: it's not a translation as I had assumed; and it was published by WSC Books, the author having evidently contributed to the magazine.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            He was on this message board for a while, posting as Book Author

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Updated list.


                              Books read:

                              The Man in the Red Coat — Julian Barnes ***

                              1632 — Eric Flint * (didn't finish)

                              Stardust — Joseph Kanon ** (didn't finish)

                              The Big Goodbye — Sam Wasson ****

                              Everfair — Nisi Shawl ** (didn't finish)

                              Farthing — Jo Walton ***

                              The Wycherly Woman — Ross Macdonald ****

                              The Periodic Table — Primo Levi *****


                              Currently reading:

                              Quarantine — Jim Crace *****

                              The Fortress of Solitude — Jonathan Lethem *****

                              The Affinity Photo Guidebook — Frank Walters ***


                              Upcoming reading:

                              Valley of the Serpents — S H Payne

                              Tarka the Otter — Henry Williamson

                              Doctor Faustus — Thomas Mann


                              Kind of mixed month. The alternate histories were poor to average. To be fair that's about par for the genre, really good ones are as rare as hens' teeth. But Farthing was OK, and I may look out her later efforts, Halfpenny and Half-a-Crown (naturally!)

                              Barnes latest is as well written as you'd expect, but I was left thinking "so what?" It seemed a bit of a successful author's conceit. Fortunately the month was saved by reliable Ross Macdonald, and Primo Levi. What a wonderful book! Things are presently looking up with Crace and Lethem both of which are really hard to put down and even harder to juggle.



                              Last edited by Amor de Cosmos; 23-05-2020, 14:27.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                I’d like to get hold of the new Peter Paphides and The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness by Graham Caveney after Julie Hesmondhalgh recommended it in today’s Times.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Barnes latest is as well written as you'd expect, but I was left thinking "so what?" It seemed a bit of a successful author’s conceit.
                                  I like him an’all (and he came to Clapton, to the Pinter party) but are any of his books not like that? I’ve read three of his books, remember thinking “this is really great writing”, have forgotten all about the books themselves except that one was set on the Isle of Wight.
                                  Now those, I got from the library, and just as well.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by MsD View Post
                                    I like him an’all (and he came to Clapton, to the Pinter party) but are any of his books not like that? I’ve read three of his books, remember thinking “this is really great writing”, have forgotten all about the books themselves except that one was set on the Isle of Wight.
                                    Now those, I got from the library, and just as well.
                                    There's something in that, — in fact quite a lot actually — though I did like his last novella about rats taking over the UK cabinet. So maybe I'm more predisposed towards him than I should be.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Oh, I really enjoy his work, it's just that it may as well be written in vanishing ink, for all it stays with me. Dunno if that matters.
                                      There are some books whose lines I will never forget, I can quote the first couple of pages of The End of the Affair, and whole sections of Tess, and The Diary of a Nobody, many others.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Books read:

                                        The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller *****
                                        10 minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World - Elif Shafak * (hated it - absolutely hated it)
                                        Diary of a Somebody - Brian Bilston ****
                                        The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau and The Accident on the A35 - Graeme Macrae Burnet **** for both

                                        Currently reading:

                                        Being a Beast - Charles Foster
                                        Rosewater - Tade Thompson
                                        The Child Garden - Geoff Ryman
                                        The Nanny State Made Me - Stuart Maconie

                                        Upcoming:

                                        The Plague - Albert Camus
                                        Human Voices - Penelope Fitzgerald
                                        Pompey - Jonathan Meades

                                        Comment


                                          #21
                                          Originally posted by Amor de Cosmos View Post
                                          Updated list.


                                          Books read:

                                          The Man in the Red Coat — Julian Barnes ***

                                          1632 — Eric Flint * (didn't finish)

                                          Stardust — Joseph Kanon ** (didn't finish)

                                          The Big Goodbye — Sam Wasson ****

                                          Everfair — Nisi Shawl ** (didn't finish)

                                          Farthing — Jo Walton ***

                                          The Wycherly Woman — Ross Macdonald ****

                                          The Periodic Table — Primo Levi *****


                                          Currently reading:

                                          Quarantine — Jim Crace *****

                                          The Fortress of Solitude — Jonathan Lethem *****

                                          The Affinity Photo Guidebook — Frank Walters ***


                                          Upcoming reading:

                                          Valley of the Serpents — S H Payne

                                          Tarka the Otter — Henry Williamson

                                          Doctor Faustus — Thomas Mann


                                          Kind of mixed month. The alternate histories were poor to average. To be fair that's about par for the genre, really good ones are as rare as hens' teeth. But Farthing was OK, and I may look out her later efforts, Halfpenny and Half-a-Crown (naturally!)

                                          Barnes latest is as well written as you'd expect, but I was left thinking "so what?" It seemed a bit of a successful author's conceit. Fortunately the month was saved by reliable Ross Macdonald, and Primo Levi. What a wonderful book! Things are presently looking up with Crace and Lethem both of which are really hard to put down and even harder to juggle.


                                          I liked Stardust but Fortress of Solitude is a book I give other people all the time- it’s wonderful

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            Very true. The odd thing is I don't remember buying it and, so far as I can remember, I'd never even heard of it. Yet there it was on the bookshelf. The only other book of his I've read was Gun, With Occasional Music, which I enjoyed, but thought a little over-cooked. Fortress of Solitude is on another level. It's my bedtime book so I can fall asleep to the adventures of Dylan and Mingus. I wonder if if ursus has read it? It's so good on New York in the 70s/80s he really should.

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              That sounds like something I’d like.

                                              I have Ian McEwan’s Saturday to read next. There was a time when I pre-ordered his books and read them straight away, then I went off him - maybe after Atonement or The Child in Time? I liked Black Dogs. Anyway, he could have written 10 in the last decade, for all I know.

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                Originally posted by MsD View Post
                                                That sounds like something I’d like.
                                                I think you probably would. It has an excellent sense of period, and a lot of musical texture. Going to CBGBs at sixteen with a hot date who you hope, maybe, likes you. The little girls on the block singing skipping songs to The Jackson Five... Lot's of stuff like that including the names of the two protagonists.
                                                Last edited by Amor de Cosmos; 28-05-2020, 16:19.

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