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    Originally posted by WOM View Post

    As previously reported, I have no powers of concentration for fiction, but I can plow through non-fiction like a trooper. I mean, good fiction is a joy, but these endless chum piles of mass market fiction...who could be bothered?
    What is a chum pile?

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      Mass market books churned out like sausage. Recently all called 'The Girl With....', 'The Girl On...', 'The Girl Who...', 'The Girl That...' and so on.

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        The funny thing is that every now and again I pick up some landfill fiction, and can fly through it in hours, or a couple of days, but it is all so utterly unremarkable that my the time a week has passed I can't recall a thing about it. I actually don't really mind reading it, but it is absolutely the literary equivalent of watching House Hunters or Survivor or Gray's Anatomy. It's just fluff to fill the hours in a mildly entertaining but intellectually empty way. It is reading for those times when I do have no powers of concentration.

        The thing with fiction like that is that at least it has a narrative thread, no matter how flimsily constructed. And I find that's what I need most these days. I have real trouble with a lot of non-fiction that's either really just a series of essays, so there's nothing pulling me on to read the next thing; or is a chronological description (my current Hot Springs book is well enough written and the content is interesting, but there's nothing that leaves you asking "I wonder what happened next..."). And without that narrative drive I find I don't get caught up in a book and I'll read a page or two and put it down, and it takes me forever to battle through to the end.

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          Originally posted by WOM View Post
          Mass market books churned out like sausage. Recently all called 'The Girl With....', 'The Girl On...', 'The Girl Who...', 'The Girl That...' and so on.
          Don't forget 'The [Job title] of [Central or Eastern European, or at a push Middle Eastern, City]'!

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            Originally posted by Sam View Post
            Don't forget 'The [Job title] of [Central or Eastern European, or at a push Middle Eastern, City]'!
            Also, 'The [day of the week plus possibly time of day, followed by quirky concept] Club.'

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              laverte I am also sorry to hear you are no longer getting the maximum out of one of life greatest pleasures.

              On matter of recent discussion on balance I think current thread works best for keeping abreast of poster recommendations, appraisals, or even just bringing to attention. Saw a stat a number of years ago along the lines of 10% of readers account for 90% of literature read. Would put myself in such a grouping anecdotal or not. But its a vast literary world out there with no chance of being able to reference even a fraction of publications. This thread helps redress that inequity.

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                I'm now reading 'Missing Fay' by Adam Thorpe, and it's excellent so far. Also, very unusual to read a novel set in Lincolnshire, mentioning villages and coastal resorts I know so well.

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                  I finished A Visit From the Goon Squad this afternoon. It's really quite something. Cacophonous at first, until you work out what's going on and then it becomes symphonic. It's very entertaining and very, very good.

                  When I go to bed in a little while I'll be getting stuck in to Girl, Woman, Other.

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                    Originally posted by Sam View Post
                    When I go to bed in a little while I'll be getting stuck in to Girl, Woman, Other.
                    TMI...

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                      Arf.

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                        Originally posted by imp View Post
                        I'm now reading 'Missing Fay' by Adam Thorpe, and it's excellent so far. Also, very unusual to read a novel set in Lincolnshire, mentioning villages and coastal resorts I know so well.
                        Have had an interest in that story for a while now without doing anything about it so your recommendation could be a timely push to attention. Have just finished Emily St John Mandel 'Glass Hotel' which enjoyed as much if not more than Station Eleven.

                        Am also finding Tony Fletcher Smiths saga 'A Light That Never Goes Out' much more engaging than expected. Certainly more than the Johnny Rogan biography.

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                          Originally posted by ale View Post
                          Have had an interest in that story for a while now without doing anything about it so your recommendation could be a timely push to attention.
                          I can see no reason why you wouldn't love it - I finished it yesterday and couldn't settle down to anything until it was done. I've got 'Ullerton' on my bookshelf waiting too, reputedly his classic. I also assumed that Thorpe either lived in Lincolnshire or had grown up there, but he lives in France and grew up in Wiltshire, France and Cameroon. He really nails Lincoln and the county, though.

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                            I know we've talked about moving on from the Current Reading thread, but I think I need to put this in here because the book seems too lightweight for a thread of its own.

                            Anyway, just finished reading a lovely little novel called Nothing To See Here, by Kevin Wilson. It feels lightweight, short, very easy to read. But I think it's much better than that. The conceit is fascinating - twins kids who sponatenously combust when they get agitated, who're being looked after by the narrator who is a misfit woman who never thought she'd have kids. It's basically about how she gets this connection with them and parenthood - her ersatz parenthood in comparison to all the real ones, I guess. And power dynamics and who protects the weak.

                            I think I'd really recommend it, and it won't take much of your effort or time to enjoy. My only criticism is that this is not the first time I've seen a new book set some time in the mid-90s as a narrative device to helpfully take the internet out of the picture.

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                              Finished Girl, Woman, Other last night. Pure coincidence that I read it immediately after A Visit From the Goon Squad, because there are similarities in the way they're constructed: both made up of a series of chapters about different individuals that could pretty much stand on their own as short stories, both skip about through time (AVFTGS between about 1960 and the early 2020s, GWO between the mid-19th century and 2018ish) and both are held together, albeit loosely, by each character's connection with a figure who's central to the narrative (although this is rather more obvious in AVFTGS). I had no idea about any of this when I picked either of them up, so it was pure felicity that I read one after the other.

                              Tonight I'll start Piranesi by Susanna Clarke.

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