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  • Evariste Euler Gauss
    replied
    I've thought about getting that, AdC, mainly because I read a collection of DFW non-fiction essays recently ("Consider the Lobster") and thought most of them were absolutely brilliant. But liking someone's NF is hardly a guarantee of liking their fiction, so I've been a little hesitant to take on something so big and innovative, especially as my literary taste is mainly very conservative (nothing I like more than a good 19th century realist novel). But I was in a second hand bookshop a few days ago (the excellent Cambridge Amnesty one) and bought his short story collection "Oblivion" as a toe in the water. If I like those, I'll try Infinite Jest.

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  • Amor de Cosmos
    replied
    I'm reading Infinite Jest. I only hope I live long enough to finish it.

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    Yes, Timms' is the only one I get on an Amazon.com search.

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  • ursus arctos
    replied
    Is the biography the Timms book?

    That is primarily focused on the diaries, whereas there are other German biographies that cover more of Haag's remarkable life

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    Originally posted by Sam View Post
    Sounds fascinating. A look on Amazon UK suggests it's not been translated into English, though there is a biography of Haag available for £38 in paperback or £35 on Kindle.
    The author of the biography edited the diary so I'd assume the biography translates numerous diary extracts.

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  • Jobi1
    replied
    Just finished The Whale Tattoo by Jon Ransom. Intended I think to be edgy, raw, uncompromising, etc., to me for the most part it came across as bleak and listless. The attempts to be 'uncompromising' were the very graphic snippets of sex and occasional violence, which I guess are intended to shock but to me (and I'm no prude by any means) elicited more of a reaction of 'eww'. For fans of Irvine Welsh, Brett Easton Ellis, etc., I suppose.
    Last edited by Jobi1; 13-08-2022, 08:09.

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  • Sam
    replied
    Sounds fascinating. A look on Amazon UK suggests it's not been translated into English, though there is a biography of Haag available for £38 in paperback or £35 on Kindle.

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  • ursus arctos
    replied
    Sounds like a very important addition to the literature. Will keep an eye out for it.

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  • imp
    replied
    Anna Haag's 'Denken ist heute überhaupt nicht mehr Mode: Tagebuch 1940-45' ('Thinking is completely out of fashion these days: Diary 1940-45') - German feminist describes day-to-day WW2 life in the suburbs of Stuttgart in a diary she keeps hidden in the coal cellar. She mainly recounts conversations with neighbours, family and other friends and acquaintances, or stuff overheard on the tram, to give you an idea of how the German public was (not) thinking during this time. Some of the more entertaining conversations are with the pharmacist who lives next door, a self-proclaimed Nazi insider who regularly gives her the lowdown on how Hitler's going to win the war. Whenever she asks an apparently innocent counter-question, he parrots the Party line while contradicting himself several times over. Haag also has trouble keeping her opinions to herself (her lovely Nazi son-in-law, whose marriage to her daughter has broken down, threatens to turn the whole family over), and constantly fears getting turned ratted out to the Gestapo for her verbal indiscretions.

    Couldn't put this down until I'd got to the end, despite knowing the ending (SPOILER - the Nazis lose, much to the author's delight).

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  • Jon
    replied
    I love talking about books and have often thought about joining a book club. But it does seem like homework, having to read a book a month and your post seems to allude to that, Balders. Plus, I'm just such a desperately slow reader anyway that I just know it wouldn't go well.

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  • Balderdasha
    replied
    I hadn't been reading much recently. When I was depressed over winter I started re-reading some of the Terry Pratchett books in the house. Then I started doing a few book swaps with a friend who lives on the same street as me. She invited me to join a book club back in April and I've been starting to read a book a month for that. It's taken me that long to get back up to the speed where I finish the book each month. This is what the choices have been so far.

    The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune - only read the first few chapters of it online the day I joined the book club. Interesting. Set in a fantasy world where a social worker is investigating care homes for children with magical powers. Haven't bought it or finished it.

    A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman. Slow going but beautifully written. Marvellous Ways is an elderly woman living alone. The book flits between her life and the life of a soldier returning from the second world war. I'm about halfway through. So far, I'd recommend it.

    It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. Absolutely dreadful book. Finished it and wished I hadn't bothered. Paper-thin characters. Turns domestic violence into a schmaltzy romance story. Would recommend extracting from charity shops if seen and burning.

    Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Really enjoyed, though hard to tell if this was partly relief given how rubbish the previous month's book was. Combination of a coming of age story, a murder mystery, and a lovesong to the nature of North Carolina. Wonderful sense of place, good character building, slightly predictable (though I seem to be the only reader who thought this). Went to watch the film of this too, which I enjoyed, but probably only because my reading of the book was giving the film more depth than it has as a stand-alone piece.

    This month we've been assigned The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak. Haven't started it yet.
    Last edited by Balderdasha; 26-07-2022, 01:03.

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  • ad hoc
    replied
    Originally posted by Jobi1 View Post
    I absolutely blasted through The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, found it really compelling.
    It might be my favourite novel. Ever. It's certainly in the top 5

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  • Jobi1
    replied
    I absolutely blasted through The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, found it really compelling.

    Leave a comment:


  • RobW
    replied
    Originally posted by RobW View Post
    Started Owen Hatherley's Red Metropolis: Socialism and the Government of London
    Fastest i've finished a book in yonks. I've now started Murakami's The Wind Up Bird Chronicle which will no doubt take me bloody ages to complete. Not read any of his works before, so I hope enjoy it.

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  • Sam
    replied
    I finished Shadow City on Sunday afternoon. It's beautifully written, very interesting indeed and, given events in Afghanistan since its publication, heartbreaking in a few places.

    Because I really need to cheer myself up now, I've started a book by Andrea Pitzer called One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps.

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  • RobW
    replied
    Started Owen Hatherley's Red Metropolis: Socialism and the Government of London

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  • Jobi1
    replied
    I've just finished Andrey Kurkov's Death and the Penguin, which was absolutely wonderful, everything a good crime novel should be with plenty of tension and intrigue, but with an all-pervading and kind of beautiful sense of melancholy, and, of course, a penguin, which after a few pages you just accept. Unlike with Richard Osman up-thread, I think I probably would like to read the sequel to this.

    The Death and the Penguin main character's job is writing obituaries, and that reminded me that I'd had sitting unread on my shelf for some time For Club and Country, a collection of Brian Glanville's football obituaries from between 1996 and 2008. I think we're probably all familiar with Glanville's style on here, but it's great to read about these players from days of old, some more famous than others. As well as the information you'd expect, always delivered with a certain warmth, there are some brilliant little details dropped in that cause you to do a bit of a double-take, or even laugh out loud, such as on John Charles: "Charles's years in Italy had their disappointments such as the end of his marriage to his first wife, Peggy, who at one stage decamped with a bathing attendant"; on Peter Osgood: "Osgood was never likely to see eye to eye ... with his Chelsea manager Dave Sexton, a devotee of Jesuit philosopher Teilhard de Chardin"; and on Joe Baker: "During an unhappy season [with Torino] he knocked an inopportunate paparazzo into a Venetian canal". I'm only about a third of the way through but I'm enjoying it so much I don't think it's going to take me long to finish!

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  • Felicity, I guess so
    replied
    Long day at the hospital yesterday, so I took a Mick Herron pre-Slow Horses novel called The Last Voice You Hear. Partly cos it's a soft pb I could hold open one-handed.
    Really impressed. I'd read one of the Zoë Boehm series before but this one really worked. Soul music, charity shops, social realism and stylishly written.

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  • Satchmo Distel
    replied
    The Black Dahlia is a tough read, as his nonfiction book on his mother's murder.

    I've finally embarked on Peter Guralnick's Elvis two-volume set.

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  • Felicity, I guess so
    replied
    Reading Walter Mosley Walkin the Dog
    for some reason while I always love his books, I haven't devoured them all, the way I have with other writers.

    May be cos this is hardback and shelv ed apart,but it's really good stuff.

    Also dipping into Vonnegut Timequake

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  • imp
    replied
    Just finished the late Jenny Diski's book of mainly LRB reviews and essays Why Didn't You Just Do What You Were Told? Have loved her writing since reading her first novel Nothing Natural in my 20s. She was weird and brilliant, and so is the book.

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  • RobW
    replied
    Finished David Cannadine's Victorious Century, which focuses largely on the political and socioeconomical history of Britain from 1800 to 1906. It's a good accompaniment to A. N. Wilson's single volume history 'The Victorians', which I thought focused a lot more on cultural history.

    Back to fiction now, and reading 'The Black Dahlia' which was 99p on Kindle.

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  • Simon G
    replied
    Thirded, it really is a good book. I read it without realising it was non-fiction until about halfway through.

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  • elguapo4
    replied
    Originally posted by tee rex View Post
    One Grisham book definitely worth a read is the non-fiction "The Innocent Man". A sort of beginner's guide to miscarriages of justice, in this case Oklahoma. As so often, the authorities quickly decide on their own verdict, and pushing back from that is a nightmare ordeal, where evidence to the contrary no longer matters.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_In...n_a_Small_Town
    Absolutely agreed, that's a terrible miscarriage of justice.

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  • Jobi1
    replied
    I'm currerntly on with My Sand Life, My Pebble Life, a kind-of-memoir by Ian 'Bard of Barnsley' McMillan, published recently. I went to see him read from it and tell his usual tales and appalling dad jokes at a festival in Scarborough a few weeks ago, and then by his own (dad joke) admission making my copy far less rare by having him sign it. The premise is he was asked to write a book about the coast, but after a previous bad experience writing something book-length, asked if instead of 1 set of 50,000 words, he could write 50 sets of 1,000 words. And so that's what we have - a collection of short pieces, love letters to the British coast really, based around IM's memories (some more embellished than others, as he told us) of seaside trips throughout his life.

    Is it going to challenge for big literary prizes? Of course not. Will it make you chuckle and feel quite moved in the appropriate places? Absolutely, unless you have a complete heart of stone. Whatever you think of him as a writer in general (if I'm honest I've never been a great fan of his poetry - his son Andrew in only three collections is already streets ahead), it cannot be denied that he is very, very good at this style - the warm, humorous, touching, short riffs on life. Highly recommended to while away a few lazy summer hours.
    Last edited by Jobi1; 26-06-2022, 23:29.

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