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    Never cross the streams though.

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      Yeah, I like Damon Runyon and Tolstoy, but I wouldn't want to read Runyon writing a 600 page novel.

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        I think I'd probably try to read a DG 600 pager, but, like Ulysses, need an annotated/lexicon copy to get all the references

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          My punk-forces brat -in Germany roman à clef on the other hand, will only come in at 250 pages or so but will be equally impenetrable for those unaware of Sham's concept album

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            Originally posted by danielmak View Post

            It does and doesn't. The first third (roughly) is narrative. Then it shifts to an interview format, with each chapter featuring an interview with a character and those interviews are mostly about characters in the first third. Then the last third returns to a more standard fictional narrative. I really enjoyed this book a lot. I also read one of his collections of short stories (Last Evenings on Earth) that was also really good. 2666 has been sitting on the shelf for a while. I've been focused on football and music books, so I can't say when I will get around to this one. I think I posted before but I was thinking in advance and purchased the paperback version of this since it's busted into 3 different books. Much better for a commute than lugging around a weighty hardback.
            For me, it definitely stayed the course, I absolutely loved every last page and have been missing it since finishing it in a 200-page binge at the start of the week. It's effectively a series of inter-connected short stories with recurring characters, but I liked the somewhat chaotic structure. A bit like dipping into a boxed set of b-sides and rarities by your favourite band. Will check out the short stories (which are recommended in the book's After-Word), and put 2066 on my long term to-read list.

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              The War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard

              Ever since reading Q (the book not the magazine), things about the Peasant's War have been a must buy. But I feel I've been ripped off here. I'd be happy with this 66 page piece in a collection, but on it's own, at a full paperback price there is no way.

              That's 66 pages in a big typeface btw. I don't mind short novels when they are good, Blue Self-Portrait, The Rider, the works of Danilo Kiš or Jean-Philippe Toussaint all stand up.
              Last edited by Gregario; 09-01-2022, 15:24.

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                Got Chris Frantz's ode to Tina Weymouth/Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club Remain In Love for Christmas and read it in a few days. It is largely awful and desperately needed an editor. His student days at RISD where he ended up meeting Tina and David Byrne was quite interesting, as was his description of living in New York in the mid 70s as TH formed. However the endless pops at Byrne get on my wick (though they are no doubt warranted). He is incredibly proud of the fact that he and Tina are still going strong (whereas DB's marriage failed), but there really isn't enough about how they kept together and their secrets of a successful marriage. Vast amounts of the book are given to the Talking Heads tour of Europe supporting the Ramones (needless to say, everywhere they went, Talking Heads were brilliant and Johnny Ramone was a dick), and their subsequent European tour of 1978, yet there is barely a paragraph towards the end when he admits that Weymouth left him for a week, with their kid(s) and rather than straighten himself out, he went on a massive bender and later had to have treatment for drug addiction.
                Poor old Jerry Harrison barely gets a look in either, apart from one paragraph when it appears that he too had a substance abuse issue.

                Started re-reading All The President's Men before Christmas as I was isolating, and got another 3 books on Nixon to read this year. Also borrowed Shuggie Bain from my mum and started that yesterday .

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                  I thought Shuggie Bain was wonderful. The quote from the New York Times review that seems to be in most editions summed up my feelings about it.

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                    Shuggie Bain was beautifully written, but fuck me it was bleak. One book like that a year is more than enough for me.

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                      I thought that after I'd read it, but it was exceeded in bleakness by the next book but one I read - The Discomfort of Evening, which I tried to sum up on the previous page. The two novels contrast completely in terms of setting and style, yet there were some common reference points ; both debut novels, both narrated from the point of view of a child in the midst of family trauma, both about struggles with sexual identity.

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                        Sid Watkins, Life at the Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula 1 - 3.5/5

                        "Prof" was Formula 1's head of their medical response team for 26 years, and was there attempting to treat Ayrton Senna after his fatal crash. He writes movingly about getting to know Senna and trying to save his life. The book is unfortunately a lot of who he had dinner with, who he saw at the track, and has a few "humorous" incidents that really have not aged well. Still, an entertaining read overall.

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                          Kitchelny 434-Alan Warner. At last finished a book since early December. Though what to make of it is a problem. Anyone familiar with author will know he can tell a tale. But he not going o make it easy. And so it is with this one. Crofton Clark is long time mate of Mark (Marko) Morrell. Marko has all the musical talent which has taken time to flourish in late 1960s but by by late 1970s he is a rock god & Crofton has been with him all the way. Not musically but as gofer/butler/estate manager . Latter point is significant as Marko has bought a country pile with his wealth & Crofton is running it. Where novel first goes wrong is the length of detail Crofton gives to the estate. Adds nothing and self-defeating unless your thing Pevsner guide to architecture. When dialogue is introduced the novel improves as does the introduction of characters outside the self enclosed walls of the estate. But although Warner knows his musical history it still doesnt work. Crofton swaps his Jethro Tull shirts for Gary Numan identity. Marko gets scared about Devo. At times veers into Tom Sharpe territory-ludicrous irritable but somehow laughable. But still. Being based on music biz and 1970s a hint of young groupies are proposed and tempted. Difficult to sum up without spoilers but Crofton 20 years on reaches a redemptive state which gives the novel a satisfactory ending it just about worth ploughing through.

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                            The Lincoln Highway-Amor Towles. A road trip novel with echoes of quests of yore. Backdrop is mid 1950s USA. The Watson brothers set out for fresh start in California having lost their father and being abandoned by their mother. They are unexpectedly joined at the outset by two reform school inmates on the lam who shared time with Emmett the older brother. Naturally nothing goes to plan and the trip becomes a meandering trawl complete with madcap escapades and settling of historical scores. The flaw being that while Towles can tell a yarn -stuffed full of folksy home spun wisdom and philosophy-he is too erudite to make the characters believable. They suffer from a crushing weight of incredulity crammed with literary and historical references which mainly frustrates and irritates. Put simply these characters can only exist in an authors head-which is the point of fiction but needs to be tempered far more than here for purposes of credibility. And yet. Just when you have settled for a virtuous complacent conclusion without edge in fitting with the story to date-and as said Towles is a natural story teller whatever the faults-the ending becomes one with all manner of doubt and suspicion that the author might just have misled you throughout.

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                              Shuggie Bain was equally wonderful and dreadful to read. Goodness me, how beautifully written. Back to non-fiction, i've got The Victorians by A. N. Wilson to finish before giving it back to dad, and The Sopranos oral history on the go.

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                                I am having a bit of a Mount Everest deep dive just now. I have just finished Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and have now begun The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt.

                                Both books are accounts of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster that saw 8 climbers perish. Krakauer's book includes a few criticisms of Boukreev and apparently The Climb is Boukreev's response to that book.

                                There is a good chance that both men are telling what they believe to be the truth. Can anyone really be sure of what they experienced that day with lack of oxygen such a key factor?

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                                  My current bedtime/coffee shop book is the highly lauded Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby. Two middle-aged men, one black the other white, meet at the graveside of their sons, a murdered couple. They rub each other the wrong way, Neither are remotely 'woke,' they've both done serious time, but neither can rest until they find out who dunnit. You can practically hear the film rights for this book going up as you turn each page. That's not to say it's bad, far from it. It's exceeding well written, but it has no edges, no idiosyncrasies, no curiosities. It's Hollywood smooth. I'm sure the movie will make a lot of money.

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                                    I'm deep into Oliver Sacks' autobiography On The Move, which is just brilliant.

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                                      He is so badly missed

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                                        Burning Houses & Other Ruins-William R Soldan. A collection of short stories set in Ohio which is the second time in recent months have read literature set in this region. And at no time has any encouragement been given to wanting to visit never mind reside. The stories themselves are of a theme-the human psyche though mainly the male one-caught up in suffocating claustrophobic lives. From birth. And nothing in their subsequent years has improved inheritances of limited opportunities or chances for redemption . Addiction,failure to hold down regular employment,maintain relationships,inflict the same failings on their own offspring. Over a novel length this could be a problem. Over a collection of short stories the bleak sparse prose works very well.And just as impressively Soldan gets you to empathise with his flawed characters.

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                                          Took a chance on Paul Morley’s biography of Tony Wilson with a voucher this week. What convinced me was the flick-through in the shop that showed it had elements of being an oral history. If it was all like his book The North, it’d be an almighty struggle. The 2014-train-ticket-acting-as-a-bookmark remains steadfastly on page 47 of that.
                                          Last edited by Giggler; 04-02-2022, 10:58.

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                                            Just finished reading The Partition: Ireland Divided 1885-1925 by Charles Townshend. Fairly topical in the light of current events - perhaps this post really belongs in the world forum? Anyway, it's unusual to read an English historian with (what appeared to me) a very balanced and knowledgeable understanding of the history of this fair isle. Irish history is quite a contentious topic at the best of times, so curious to know what others think of him.

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                                              Took me a while, but have just finished The Dawn of Everything. If you've not got a copy, get one now.

                                              Now off to bed (I finished this just now before going to bed because my brain does this thing recently where if I finish a book in bed, however tired I am, it goes, 'you've not actually stopped reading because you wanted to, or because we're tired, you know ...' and refuses to let me sleep). So I shall soon begin The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey. The plan was to start the short story collection Los peligros de fumar en la cama by Mariana Enríquez (which, in its English translation as The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, was one of the nominees for last year's International Booker), but my girlfriend's reading it at the moment and is using the jacket flap as her bookmark, so I'll need to wait until she's awake so we can agree who's going to use which bookmark in it.

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                                                have just finished The Dawn of Everything.
                                                Meanwhile I'm half way through another David Graeber work, Bullshit Jobs, which is excellent so far. Important points made, and presented very engagingly. The second writer called David (the first being Foster-Wallace) who I've first learnt about, and very much admired, after he has died. I owe this site for my introduction to DG; DFW I could of course have learnt about years ago from here but in fact I learnt about him from receiving his essay collection Consider the Lobster as a present from one of my grown-up daughters.

                                                I also got Debt: the first 5,000 years for Christmas, so will be on to that before long.

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                                                  Bob Mortimer's autobiography And Away... arrived earlier today and has been read in one sitting. A thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish, and I actually caught myself crying laughing at one part (his account of filming an ad for Cadbury's Boost in the 90's).

                                                  Recommended.

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                                                    Finished The Daughter of Time last night. Entertaining enough. I'll be starting Los peligros de fumar en la cama (see my previous post) later.

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