Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Current Reading - Books best thread

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Yeah, I quite enjoyed that as well, despite it not being my usual kind of thing.

    Comment


      Yep, thirded on All The Light We Cannot See, and welcome to OTF, mmm.

      Hello again everyone. I started Half Of A Yellow Sun before Christmas, and then my girlfriend had ten days off work and only went back today, which has played merry hell with my reading time. As today's MOTD hasn't yet been uploaded to the website I watch it on, I might read a bit more after I've had a catch up on here, although I've also got Christmas University Challenge to watch on YouTube.

      Comment


        Currently reading Anthony Burgess' Malayan Trilogy, which I am finding unexpectedly delightful even though I mostly hate 50s English fiction.

        I have basically given up reviewing individual books and just gone for year-end reviews. On the off chance you;re interested, there are links to my 2018 in fiction and non-fiction. Tl;dr: Top in non-fiction were Peter Guardino's The Dead March (re: the Mexican-American War), Lawrence O'Donnell's Playing With Fire (re: the 1968 US election), Colin Jones' Paris - The Biography of a City, Alex von Tunzelmann's Blood and Sand (Suez/Hungary 1956), Benn Steil's The Marshall Plan, Svetlana Alexeiveich's The Unwomanly Art of War and - top pick - Timothy Snyder's The Road to Unfreedom. In fiction the best books were Therese Bohman's Eventide, Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach, Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory, Matthew Weiner's Heather, The Totality and - top pick -Eshkol Nevo's Three Floors Up. All excellent stuff.
        Last edited by Anton Gramscescu; 04-01-2019, 09:36.

        Comment


          Did you feel The Unwomanly Art of War suffered from being a Pevear and Volokhonsky joint? I only got into Chernobyl Prayer when I tried again with the Penguin edition (nothing to do with P&V but the original translation was very clunky).

          I've got Boys in Zinc in my to read pile which has thankfully been translated by Andrew Bromfield who I rate due to his Pelevin translations.

          I read very little last year but feel I've got back into the swing of things recently.

          Comment


            Not really up on translators tbh. It read very much like Second Hand time so presumably same ones. Language is stilted, but then Russians do kind of talk like that - in literature at least. So yes it sounds odd occasionally, but in a very Russian way so it doesn;t spoil the effect

            Comment


              Currently reading the Orlando Figes' "A People's Tragedy; The Russian Revolution" and trying to recall what i've forgotten since university (lots). Finished Simon Sebag-Montefiore's 'The Romanovs' before Christmas, which is a superb tome. I hope to read more this year, so should probably give up the massive non-fiction volumes for a while and concentrate on fiction once i've finished this.

              Comment


                Just finished Gogol's Dead Souls, which is as bleakly funny as you would expect from a classic of Russian literature, a comparison with Dickens would not be out of order, not in terms of literary similarity; more in terms of the major appeal of the work is his description and depiction of the various characters. The ending of it is very strange, especially significant portions of the work were lost and/or never written in the first place, which is not something that I had been initially expecting and marks it as fairly unique in my experience of the classics.

                Comment


                  Originally posted by RobW View Post
                  Currently reading the Orlando Figes' "A People's Tragedy; The Russian Revolution" and trying to recall what i've forgotten since university (lots).
                  I read that when I was in Cuba about twenty years ago. Left it with our tour guide.

                  Comment


                    Recent reading: Perfidious Albion by Sam Byers, a satire of little Englander politics, social media and opinion columnists. I really enjoyed it at the start, although by about halfway it started to feel a bit unsubtle - the targets weren't exactly challenging to satirise - and the end fizzled out. Worth a week of your time though.

                    Before that it was The Town by Shaun Prescott, which is hard to categorise - a novel about a nameless writer travelling through melancholic Australian towns that are figuratively and literally disappearing (see review here). It felt a bit like Bret Easton Ellis - his doomy, hopeless side rather than his garish, ultraviolent side - rewriting Welcome To Night Vale.

                    And before that it was Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (steampunkish fantasy, excellent); Europe at Dawn by Dave Hutchinson (the last in an oddly compelling trilogy about a near-future Europe of competing mini-states, facing a cold war with an bucolic 1930s vision of England that exists in a separate dimension); and Severance by Ling Ma (semi-satirical end of the world novel narrated by a self-obsessed millennial office drone).

                    Actually, I may have mentioned these on a previous page already. Sorry.

                    Currently on a geopolitics kick - working through Vietnam, an Epic Tragedy (the Max Hastings tome), then next is Road to Disaster by Brian Vandemark (which apparently looks at the personalities involved and decisions made in the Vietnam War with more emphasis on psychology and organisational theory), and finally The Caucasus: an Introduction by Thomas De Waal because, basically, I know fuck all about the Caucasus.
                    Last edited by Crusoe; 15-01-2019, 13:02.

                    Comment


                      Just finished No Claim To Mercy by Derek Finkle. Non-fiction story about a (presumed) murder, investigation, trial and wrongful conviction that happened right in my own backyard. It's a story that I've followed with more than passing interest since I was about 23 or 24.

                      Hereafter be Spoilers of all kinds:

                      A pretty University of Toronto student goes missing from a big park near my home. Her boyfriend becomes the suspect, and two bent cops and a biased judge put him away for life. It's clear all along he's innocent, but obviously 'we' didn't know that at the time. Speaking of 'at the time', the Scarborough Rapist was still operating in the area, and hadn't progressed yet to kidnapping and murder. He of course would turn out to be Paul Bernardo, rapist and murderer, and he both lived and studied nearby. Thirty years on, the boyfriend has been long exonerated after doing 8 years of his minimum 17 before parole. Bernardo is in jail for life and will never see freedom. And the girlfriend at the heart of the case is still missing. Her body is presumed to be in or around Lake Scugog, about an hour outside of Toronto. All around gripping for me because of proximity: I went to school with Bernardo; I served the boyfriend his last 'free' meal before his long incarceration; and at least three of the witnesses / trial participants are people I went to high school or university with - most of whom were people I had no idea were connected to the case. And, as I say, it all happened just miles from my home, on streets and in parks that I know by name and layout. And the families of the main actors all live in the same houses they did 30 years ago. So much has changed, but very little at all.

                      Comment


                        Okay, change in plan: just picked up John Lanchester's new book, The Wall. Sixty-odd pages in and it seems a fairly straightforward dystopian isolationist Britain novel. Hoping it goes somewhere interesting.

                        Comment


                          Currently flying through I'll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara. It's the book about the Golden State Killer before he was apprehended. McNamara is the wife of Patton Oswalt, and sadly died before she saw the book published or the killer apprehended. But it's a gripper.

                          Comment


                            Finished The Good Mothers, by Alex Perry. It's about a central group of women who essentially risked their lives to try to bring the criminal actions of the 'Ndrangheta organized crime families in Calabria to justice. A lot of it is pretty rough and disturbing, but the change that they were able to make is inspiring. Perry does a good job of contextualizing this mob's place in Italian culture and hints at how global their reach has become.

                            Comment


                              Co'incidentally, I've also just read a book featuring the 'Ndrangheta. It's a Slovak book, Umlcani (Silenced) and it's about the Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, who were murdered in February last year. It's a fitting and very necessary book ; part biography, part tribute, part explanation of the cases Kuciak was working on. Both text and pictures are intensely moving at times, and there are some bewildering graphics showing the links between various corrupt institutions and individuals.

                              It will need a reissue in time though, because, although the police have arrested, and have compelling evidence against, four people suspected of being directly involved in the killings, the links to whoever the bigger players are remain unestablished. Kuciak's final, unfinished article, certainly showed the extent of Ndrangheta connections with people at the top of the Slovak government. Yet his murder might still have its origins elsewhere. The text of a threatening phone call made to Kuciak by one of the people he exposed, 'controversial businessman' Marian Kocner, is also in the book and is impossible to read without experiencing strong emotion of some sort. That the police didn't act on this when Kuciak is complained to them is yet another sinister aspect of the case.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X