What Book Did You Read Last Night??? (1 Viewer)

jonah

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Two recent 5/5 reads from me, both totally different, both made me cry.

 

travispickle

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Just started My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Backman - I enjoyed his other book A Man Called Ove - this one is off to a great start.
 

hermie

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The Pornographer by John McGahern. Really brilliant. Have only read Amongst Women besides this but now definitely want to check out all the rest.
 

Bernie Lomax

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Scary as hell
 

Cornu Ammonis

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The Pillow Friend by Lisa Tuttle
Cool novel about growing up, sex, losing one's sense of reality, and general uncanniness. It's a tad Young Adult-ish in places (not a criticism, but not a world I delve into often these days) but the sense of the fantastic permeating an otherwise normal suburban girl's development is wonderfully creepy.


On the Periphery: David Sylvian - A Biography by Christopher E. Young
An interesting topic but a very poorly written book on Sylvian's post-Japan years. Lots of leaps of logic, unnecessary repetition (the author says "As we shall see"/"As we have seen" so often I'm convinced it made up one third of the book), and glossing over information that presumes that the reader is innately familiar with the Japan story and Sylvian's early years (I know it wasn't the focus of the book but it wasn't even dealt with in the introduction). Luckily I got this as a lend from someone as opposed to spent money on it.





The Message by Philippa Holloway
The Violet Eye by Mike Fox
Broad Moor by Alison Moore
Jutland by Louise McKnight Hardy
Chapbooks from the excellent Nightjar Press. If you're into short stories and new writing, I highly recommend buying these as Nicholas Royle who runs Nightjar picks some truly brilliant stories for publication. Jutland in particular is highly recommended and McKnight Hardy has a novel coming out later this year - definitely going to pick it up on the back of this.


Copsford by Walter J.C. Murray:
Limited edition (and beautiful) reprint of this autobiographical work about Murray's time living in an old, dilapidated cottage as he worked for the summer collecting herbs for selling at markets. It has shades of a ghost story and comes across as a more poetic and engaging version of Walden (which has wondering passages but is a trudge).


Mothlight by Adam Scovell
If W.G. Sebald wrote an unsettling tale of the weird, he'd write this. Very much in Sebald's style (right down to the vintage photos used to further the narrative), I initially thought this was at best a pastiche but by the end I had really fallen in love with the book. I learned a lot about catching moths too.


Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience by Mark H. Johnson and Michelle de Haan
I'm sure we've all got a copy of this, right?


Selected Stories by Mark Valentine
A collection all based in the sort of romantic and far flung places that you'd expect of Joseph Conrad or the like. Valentine runs the excellent Wormwoodiana blog and edits the Wormwood journal, and you can really see how his voracious and varied reading feeds into these stories that are packed with lots of detail that make them really feel like lost works of the Decadent era.


The Ballet of Dr. Caligari and Madder Mysteries by Reggie Oliver
I've raved about Oliver earlier in this thread and this latest collection is no disappointment. I think he may just be the best writer of the supernatural and the strange now living.


Wire: Everybody Loves a History by Kevin S. Eden
Although I'm pretty much only into the first three Wire albums, the band have always fascinated me. I never knew this book existed until I found it at the TCD second hand book fair a couple of months ago. It was a fiver or less so I took a punt. It was very enjoyable, and filled in a lot of detail (up to the early 90s anyway) - including some wonderful backstory on the Michael O'Shea album that recently got reissued.


Books of Blood Volumes 1-3 by Clive Barker
I had read some of Barker's stuff in the late 90s/early 00s based on the fact that I loved Hellraiser. I didn't like any of it. However, I decided to give him a go again and I enjoyed his work much more this time. I think a lot of what I didn't like about him (the fantastic, the refusal to follow a typical mainstream horror narrative) is something I've come to appreciate through my other reading. I'm looking forward to reading more of his books now in the next few months.


A Night on the Moor & Other Tales of Dread by R. Murray Gilchrist
This is a slim book but it took me ages to read. Gilchrist has a good reputation and I thoroughly enjoyed this but his language is dense and obscure. I had to look up so many words while reading that it made it a little bit of a chore. The atmospheres and the imagery though are exceptional, he seems to have been a bit ahead of his time but largely forgotten.


Night Voices by Robert Aickman
Like Reggie Oliver, I've been singing Aickman's praises previously here and this is his last volume of short stories (and some essays). There is some great stories in this but it's not as strong as his earlier collections. There's a novella in it, "The Model", that is enjoyable but highlights why he kept to the short form as it kind of drifts in places.


Maldoror & The Complete Works of the Comte de Lautréamont by the Comte de Lautréamont
The big bang of Surrealism, I started re-reading this on Isidore Ducasse's birthday last week. It's still as strange, funny, and horrific as I remember but seems more tongue-in-cheek now.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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The other David Sylvian biography, The Last Romantic, isn't much cop either @Cornu Ammonis .
I picked it up for less than a fiver though and it was at least worth that much.
I reckon I’ll get through life having read one (bad) Sylvian biography. But good to know, I’d have been slightly tempted otherwise.
 

Lili Marlene

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Ok, so what have I read so far this year, a lot of non-fiction and not enough of the fiction I actually want to read. Sorry for not taking pictures:

A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles
A book club book - the middliest of the middlebrow, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is in favour of the Bolshevik revolution but is imprisoned in a hotel in Moscow for writing a poem that offends the dour communists because HE IS AN ARTISTE AND AN AESTHETHE. We then have to suffer 50 odd years of him/the author being very pleased with himself as he uses his wits and classical literature references to get out of various scrapes, get laid and make the reader feel very clever. In all honesty it’s hard to dislike it but it’s in no way worth your time. I’m sure there’s a film adaptation on the way.

Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions: 1983 and 1984 - Duane Tudahl
A day to day account of Prince at the height of his fame working too hard and recording too much - he’s in the studio 220 days out of the 731 days covered, not to mention recording in his house, playing 60 odd live dates for the 1999 tour, shooting a film, and playing 98 Purple Rain tour dates. Copious amounts of interviews and stories. It’s great if you’re into that and in fairness to the author he works hard to make it engaging and fits on a narrative arc of sorts but it obviously has a limited audience.

A Black Fox RunningBrian Carter
A classic in the very small genre of natural world non-fantasy talking animal fictional books not for children. Very much stumbled onto this, it stands out especially for giving both humans and animals centre stage, each with their own viewpoints and general shittiness towards others. A bit like watching a nature show but with conversations about the cosmos inbetween the animals rutting.

33 3rd - The Raincoats – Jenn Pelly
Jenn Pelly is one of my least favourite current journalists (her sister, weirdly is one of my favourite) but this is one of my favourite albums so I read it anyway. Grand, like. I still don’t like Jenn Pelly or her writing but it told the Raincoats story in decent detail.

My Thoughts Exactly
– Lily Allen
Another book club book, Lily Allen spends 300 large print pages trying to tell you that her life was really hard and she definitely didn’t get a leg up by her parents or anyone who she knew but here’s some pictures of me on the set of several famous films and also the producers all gave me a job when I needed one. Ah but, it’s alright (still) really, poor Lily really put herself through the wringer over the past decade with drink and drugs and from stalkers, she tries to frame her life as getting better by the end but 5 minutes on google tells me she’s as bad as ever. Liam Gallagher makes a great appearance at one point. Harry Enfield emerges as the only decent person she has ever been around.

To Be a Machine : Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death – Mark O’Connell
Ah now this is more like it. Skeptical Irish writer meets the various Silicon Valley and related Transhumanists and asks them WTF they’re playing at. Mark O’Connell has a literary background and this book is full of genuine literary reflections and very funny moments amid his disbelief at these absolute lunatics. I think it falters slightly at the very end but would still recommend strongly on the strength of the writing alone.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh
I loved it. Some things I loved about it:
1) A total page-turner even though nothing ever seems to happen,
2) It didn’t feel like thinly-veiled autobiography, I have no idea what kind of person Ottessa Moshfegh is and that rarely happens with big fiction books these days
3) It’s so unrelentingly mean - I love a good mean narrator.

The Country Girls – Edna O’Brien
This years one city, one book. Really good, really sad, Ireland sucked as much back then as now. Nothing incredible about the writing but I’ll be reading the full trilogy for sure.

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism – Naomi Klein
LOL, Lili reads 2007’s hottest book. It predicts the 2008 financial crisis and pretty much explains why capitalism is the worst and will always be the worst and is plain evil. A real slog to get through in all honesty but I’ve been meaning to read it since it came out.

The Rise of Prince: 1958-1988 – Alex Hahn
A fairly average Prince biography, written well enough but nothing is fact checked and every half rumour is presented as fact. Not recommended.

The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future - David Wallace-Wells
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. But at least I don’t need to read any more climate change stuff, it’s all in here.

After Me Comes The Flood – Sarah Perry
I’ve been meaning to read the Essex Serpent and/or Melmoth for a while now so I read her other book. Sarah Perry has one of those irritating “born into a super religious household I wasn’t allowed eat a Wham bar until I turned 21 and was getting 2 PHDs at the same time” origin stories that everyone seems to have these days. If I sound like I’m reviewing the author rather than the book well then it’s your own fault for using her biography to sell me her books. This books is pretty good but not great - a man spontaneously runs away from his life and accidentally is accepted into an insane asylum/refuge house full of interesting characters. I feel there was a better book in there somewhere but you’d have to rebuild it from scratch, a lot of it is just boring and it never really comes together in the way it wants to. I’ll still try her other books.

Fup –
Jim Dodge
A very, very, very short novel about a crank in the middle of nowhere USA who makes whiskey, his grandson who makes fences, and a huge duck they accidentally adopt. Read it in an hour, a great little story, I’m struggling to work out what I have to say about it in time for bookclub though.
 

hermie

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The Pornographer by John McGahern. Really brilliant. Have only read Amongst Women besides this but now definitely want to check out all the rest.
The protagonists in the erotic fiction the main character writes are called Colonel Grimshaw and Mavis Carmichael. Too perfect!
 

Lili Marlene

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The protagonists in the erotic fiction the main character writes are called Colonel Grimshaw and Mavis Carmichael. Too perfect!
My dad's claim to fame is that McGahern was his English teacher and my dad actually gets a very brief cameo in the Leavetaking (a brilliant book btw, the only McGahern i've read but will definitely be reading more)
 

hermie

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My dad's claim to fame is that McGahern was his English teacher and my dad actually gets a very brief cameo in the Leavetaking (a brilliant book btw, the only McGahern i've read but will definitely be reading more)
Amazing, what's the cameo? He lost his teaching job when one of his books was banned, right?
 

Lili Marlene

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Amazing, what's the cameo? He lost his teaching job when one of his books was banned, right?
Ah he's just a student in a roll-call but he stands out because he's called first and it's out of alphabetical order and it's because my dad was moved class in junior infants and they just wrote his name at the top of the roll. I believe he's explained (with relish) to a few scholars that there's no deep meaning in the order of the roll.

The Leavetaking I believe is fairly autobiographical about how McGahern lost his job.
 
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jonah

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Probably won't interest many of you, really, but really enjoyed Dolly Alderton's book, "Everything I know about love". Such a nice, gentle, relatable read. I love Dolly.

 

Bernie Lomax

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The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates. It's a big gothic about a wealthy, cursed family around the turn of the century USA and it's narrated by a pompous, bumbling amateur historian. It won't be everyone's cup of tea but I like it.
 

_Katie_

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Finished Ian Maleaney's debut Minor Monumnets. Really lovely read. Very emotional. Goes a bit off track at times but I think its b/c the author has a genuine interest in music history and research and could probably do a seperate book on that.

Now reading David Toop's Ocean of Sound. Really good but a bit cumbersome.
 

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