What Book Did You Read Last Night??? (2 Viewers)

flashback

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I'm now reading Howl's Moving Castle to the kids.

It's not bad. Previous to that I read... em Ronja, The Robber's Daughter.

Both of them were good kid's book. Ronja is actually a bit heartbreaking.
 

Lili Marlene

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Ronja is great! God it's been years since I read it though, I studied in in college!


I recently finally got around to reading the Overstory by Richard Powers. Was alright, wayyyyy too long. Lots of "good" (i.e. indistinguishable from everyone else) writing, I can't think of anything specific that I think was bad but there was just so much of it and it didn't feel like it justified the length.

I'm now continuing (ish) with the tree theme and reading Ursula LeGuin's The Word for World is Forest - decent so far.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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My current bedsite TBR
View attachment 13939
Saga is AMAZING! I have bought it multiple times now as I keep giving it to people to read so I ended up buying the recent compendium (all 54 issues in a 1200 paperback) and looking forward to reading it again (and giving my current copy of volume one to my friend).

What's "Gyo"? The cover looks cool.
 

jonah

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Saga is AMAZING! I have bought it multiple times now as I keep giving it to people to read so I ended up buying the recent compendium (all 54 issues in a 1200 paperback) and looking forward to reading it again (and giving my current copy of volume one to my friend).

What's "Gyo"? The cover looks cool.
I bought Saga at least a year ago and kept starting but not finishing, so i want to actually sit down and give it some proper attention.

Gyo is a Junji Ito horror manga, if you like that kind of thing, his stuff is fantastic. This one is a story about a couple fighting off some zombie fish, which really gets my gears a goin
 

Cornu Ammonis

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It's been a year since I've mentioned what I've been reading so... here goes.

Underground - Haruki Murakami
I'm not a massive Murakami fan, I've read his one novel a few times and it's only really that good that first time. I like his non-fiction though, I think his book about running is very inspirational and this was a nice, detailed view of the Tokyo sarin gas attacks that filled in a lot of the gaps in my knowledge.

Just One More Question - Niall Tubridy
A momoir by Ryan Tubridy's brother who's a neurologist. I found it to be utterly forgettable.

The Bleeding Horse & Other Stories - Brian J. Showers
Brian runs Swan River Press, a Rathmines-based publisher of the ghostly and the weird. This is my first time reading his own fiction and it's pretty good. All set around the Rathmines area and blurs fact and fiction beautifully.

Modernism, History, and the First World War - Trudi Tate
This is about 20 years old so the ideas expressed in it are fairly established now but a good overview of the links between the acute and societal effects of WW1 on the development of modernism. Was interesting enough but not sure I'd recommend it unless you were really interested in modernism or war. A good passage on shell shock at least.

Cat & Mouse - Günter Grass
I read The Tin Drum as a teenager and remember loving it but this was a chore to read. It was at least interesting to read from the modern perspective, knowing that Grass served in the SS for a brief period.

Headcleaner - Blixa Bargeld
Einstürzende Neubauten lyrics in German and English, with an interview interspersed through the book. Sehr gut!

The BFG - Roald Dahl
The Twits - Roald Dahl
The Witches - Roald Dahl
Esio Trot - Roald Dahl
Fantastic Mr. Fox - Roald Dahl
Fantastic Mr. Fox is the only one I hadn't read to death as a child. Reading these to the 4yo, her favourite is The Witches.

The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry
I loved this, I thought it was perfect. Would definitely read again (once I've read her other books).

Bad Blood - John Carreyrou
The story of some American biotech company who scammed people out of millions with a very dodgy and frankly bananas biomarker technology. There was a TV documentary about it too, worth watching.

Swans: Sacrifice and Transcendence - Nick Soulsby
Oral history of Swans. Pretty much captures Michael Gira's intensity and the power of the music, along with some funny and scary stories about life on the road. No mention of Larkin Grimm though at the end which I felt was a deliberate move to avoid unpleasantness, which was a shame.

Killer in the Rain - Raymond Chandler
My first dip into Chandler, really excellent stuff. Need to follow up on this, I love that hard-boiled detective vibe.

Norse Myths - Kevin Crossley-Holland
Modern tellings of the classic Norse stories about Odin, Thor, Loki, etc. Very cool illustrations and easy to read. Looking forward to reading it to the kids when they're a bit older.

Mercy and Other Stories - Rebecca Lloyd
The Child Cephalina - Rebecca Lloyd
New author to me and very much recommended. The first is a collection of short stories that get under your skin wonderfully, the second is an eerie novel set in Victorian London about a man taken in by a very weird orphan girl. Like Dickens given the HBO treatment.

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference - Greta Thunberg
Her speeches. Fucking brilliant.

Cōnfingō: Spring 2018 - Various authors
Literary journal - short stories, poetry, and photography. Send to me by a friend, keep meaning to buy some more of these, the quality is excellent.

In Praise of Walking - Shane O'Mara
Part pop science, part manifesto about walking by TCD neuroscientist Shane O'Mara. Much more chipper than his previous book on torture (though that one was excellent). Recommended, especially if you're feeling lazy and want inspiration to get out and walk.

The Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie
People die in ingenious ways, then the murderers are caught. Always a fun read.

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy - Tim Burton
I enjoyed this far more than I was expecting to, it's genuinely funny and grotesque in a way that Burton's movies haven't been in years. Though I think this was all written/drawn back when he was still good.

Hell House - Richard Matheson
Got this for free and it was fun but not a patch on I Am Legend. Kind of like a sexed-up Shirley Jackson, it has its place but not a classic.

Phantoms at the Phil - The Third Proceedings - Various Authors
Anthology of short stories, I think I enjoyed it but I've no memory of any of the stories now.

Books of Blood: Volumes 4-6 - Clive Barker
OTT sloppy horror, Clive Barker doing what he does best. The original story for the movie Candyman is in here and it's great.

The Testaments - Margaret Atwood
I liked this, it tied up the loose ends from the TV series very well (it will be interesting to see if they follow the plot in the show). Overall, any sequel to a story like The Handmaid's Tale will diminish the original's power but what can you do?

The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
This was fine but I didn't love it. I know it's a bit of a cult classic but I wasn't feeling it.

Le Détective - HP Tinker
So This Is It - Paul Griffiths
Doe Lea - M John Harrison
Halloween - Nicola Freeman
Four chapbooks of short stories from Nightjar Press. The best of the lot was Le Détective which was like some kind of surreal, Burroughsian version of The Pink Panther.

American Ghosts & Old World Wonders - Angela Carter
Good but not a patch on The Bloody Chamber (the only other thing I've read by her).

The Shadow at the Bottom of the World - Thomas Ligotti
Just fucking brilliant.

Children of the Night: Classic Vampire Stories - Various Authors
From the classic to the hammy to the unexpected, this was €2 and worth every penny. Pairs well with Bauhaus.

Foreground Music - Graham Duff
A memoir built around gigs Graham has seen. It's a really fun book, lots of great stories and a fairly wide range of gigs (not all enjoyable for him!). Think a lot of you would enjoy this.

Henry Cow: The World is a Problem - Benjamin Piekut
I started this at the start of November and I'm still struggling through it. I'm starting to go off the music, the band come across as blandly unpleasant and the ENDLESS. FUCKING. MEETINGS make me dislike them more.

Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone - JK Rowling
Another one read to the kid. She wasn't that fussed about it but liked the movie.

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula Le Guin
Very different to what I expected but enjoyed it a lot. Need to explore more of her work now.

First Novel - Nicholas Royle
Kind of like a middle class Crash with airplanes and lecturers. It's morbidly hilarious and disturbing.

Uncanny Stories - May Sinclair
I don't remember anything about this.

Uncertainties Vol. I - Various Authors
Uncertainties Vol. II - Various Authors
Uncertainties Vol. III - Various Authors
Uncertainties Vol. IV - Various Authors

Anthologies of new strange/uncanny/ghost stories. Brilliant and highly recommended, I'm going to spend a fortune buying stuff by a lot of these authors.

The Abominations of Yondo - Clark Ashton Smith
Lovecraft without the racism. Or at least a lot less racism. Excellent weird fiction/non-Tolkien fantasy.

Nameless Reveries: Three Horror Tales - Various Authors
Two good stories and one so bad that I almost threw the book in the bin.

Shadows at the Door - Various Authors
Anthology of stories from the Shadows at the Door podcast, amazing illustrations and a beautiful, heavy book. I cannot recommend this enough.

Not to Be Taken at Bed-Time - Rosa Mulholland
Victorian ghost stories from an Irish woman who wrote a lot for Dickens's magazines. Wonderful!

Chilling Christmas Tales - Various Authors
I bought this in Fred Hanna's bookshop in the early 90s when I was a kid. It scared the shite out of me and cemented my love of ghost stories. I lost it and couldn't remember what it was called. Through some helpful Facebook folk, I rediscovered it and was able to buy a mint copy for peanuts online (possibly cheaper than when I first bought it).

To be continued...
 

flashback

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Ronja is great! God it's been years since I read it though, I studied in in college!
Really?

Yeah... that book completely blindsided me. I picked it up not knowing anything, thinking it was some Anime write up or some... I dunno. I noticed the style of writing, the ordering of her sentences was interesting, didn't think it was a huge deal. Then I realised it was this searing ground-opening-below-you love story, which connects directly to a bank of emotions you were not expecting to get connected to while reading a "kids book" with some big goofy anime pictures on the cover.

It's almost like you shouldn't form opinions about a book based on the pictures on the cover.

Now I have to probably go looking up what people with degrees think about it. Presumably I missed some other massive central theme.
 

Bernie Lomax

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Books of Blood: Volumes 4-6 - Clive Barker
OTT sloppy horror, Clive Barker doing what he does best. The original story for the movie Candyman is in here and it's great.

Shadows at the Door - Various Authors
Anthology of stories from the Shadows at the Door podcast, amazing illustrations and a beautiful, heavy book. I cannot recommend this enough.

To be continued...
Shadows at the Door sounds great. Must give the podcast a listen.

I have Weaveworld on Audible and have been wanting to give Clive Barker a go after finding The Stand so intolerably boring and silly. Worth a go?
 

Bernie Lomax

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IIRC he's even sillier. Weaveworld was enjoyable nonsense
Don't mind silly as long as it moves along! The Stand is bogged down by hundreds of pages of descriptions of a motorbike or a guitar or a street followed by a short passage about a dark man whose eyes glow red or some shit. Snoozefest
 

Cornu Ammonis

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Go for the Books of Blood by Barker. Very silly but also hits you in a serious way at times (and some of the ideas are really unique, like “In the Hills the Cities”). Also, short stories so not much space for him to waffle like King.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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Following on from my last post:

Dubliners - James Joyce
I don't know how many times I've read this now but it never fails to be brilliant. I get something more from it every time too. I planned to follow it up with his other books but got distracted. Will get back to them soon.

The Far Tower - Various Artists
An anthology of new short stories written for/about/inspired by the life and works of WB Yeats. All very much in the uncanny/strange end of the spectrum. I enjoyed it very much, and it is a stunning looking book to boot.

Aornos - Avalon Brantley
I had read her novel The House of Silence and absolutely adored it. This is a play written as a Greek tragedy in style, plot, characters, chorus, etc. It was impressive as an exercise in writing but not something I'm going to re-read often.

Lost Futures - Lisa Tuttle
Existential multiverse sci-fi/speculative novel, much better than most of these types of stories.

Water Shall Refuse Them - Lucie McKnight Hardy
Folk horror novel, and an excellent one. Kind of reminds me of The Loney but I much preferred this.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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Whoops, hit reply by accident, here's the rest of the post:
The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror - Joyce Carol Oates
I'm a big fan of her short stories but this collection isn't as good as most of her others. Still worth reading though.

Don't Look Now and Other Stories - Daphne Du Maurier
I know and love the movie but had never read the original story. I think the movie is way more effective but Du Maurier is fantastic. Overall a terrific collection, even better than the one that has "The Birds" in it.

The Last Man - Mary Shelley
I've been reading this for WEEKS and it just never ends. Absolutely turgid.

The Plague - Albert Camus
This felt very pertinent at the beginning of the coronavirus emergency, very much capturing the feelings and anxieties of the time. Lots of parallels with reality, particularly in the social responses to the plague.

Translations from the Far Country: Selected Poetry and Fragments - Angus MacLise
Poetry and art from the visionary musician/artist. I could read his stuff forever, it's an absolute crime that he's really only known for being the original Velvet Underground drummer.

A Journal of the Plague Year - Daniel Defoe
Very interesting re-reading this as it really paints a far more organised picture of how England tackled the bubonic plague versus the buffonic plague that is affecting their government now.

Trick of the Light - Andrew Humphrey
Regret - Robert Stone
Two chapbooks, one short story each. The Humphrey one is amazing, a modern re-telling/sequel/homage to MR James's "Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You" that actually delivers in a way that I didn't expect. Actual chills reading it. The other is good too but wow, Trick of the Light is a gem.

Ten Poems About Tea - Various Authors
Something lighter given all the gloom in my reading habits.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher - Kate Summerscale
I thought this was a novel set in Victorian times but it was actually a true crime thing from the early days of detectives. It was a bit grim and unsatisfying (like life).

The Friendly Examiner Vol. 2 - Louis Marvick
The second of three books about a young investigator for an Encyclopedia company in Paris in the late 1700s. It is a perfect pastiche of the Gothic novels of the time, with some very funny self-referential comedy running through it. I really can't wait for the final book to come out and to read them all in one go.

Stranger Than Kindness - Nick Cave
This was meant to accompany an exhibition so I know it is not really meant as a standalone work. That said, it's not very interesting. Original handwritten notes and drafts of his songs, a few photos and collages, and an essay that I didn't enjoy. One for completist scum (like me).

The Feathered Bough - Stephen J. Clark
Surreal fantasy about a patient and his psychiatrist in a 1950s asylum. Heavily and masterfully illustrated, reality warping and highly engaging, I'd definitely recommend it. Shades of House of Leaves to it (but not as annoying to read).
 

Bernie Lomax

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The North Water by Ian McGuire. Brutal historical drama about a group of violent miscreants on an ill fated whaling expedition. Very good. Grim and violent. It's being turned into a miniseries with Colin Farrell and Stephen Graham which I’m looking forward to.
 

hiadudiad?

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Night Letters: Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Afghan Islamists Who Changed the World by Chris Sands and Fazelminallah Qazizai. Great read.

In 1969, several young men met on a rainy night in Kabul to form an Islamist student group. Their aim was laid out in a simple typewritten statement: to halt the spread of Soviet and American influence in Afghanistan. They went on to change the world. 'Night Letters' tells the extraordinary story of the group’s most notorious member, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and the guerrilla organisation he came to lead, Hizb-e Islami. By the late 1980s, tens of thousands were drawn to Hekmatyar’s vision of a radical Islamic state that would sow unrest from Kashmir to Jerusalem. His doctrine of violent global jihad culminated in 9/11 and the birth of ISIS, yet he never achieved his dream of ruling Afghanistan. The peace deal he signed with Kabul in 2016 was yet another controversial twist in an astonishing life. Sands and Qazizai delve into the secret history of Hekmatyar and Hizb-e Islami: their wars against Russian and American troops, and their bloody and bitter feuds with domestic enemies. Based on hundreds of exclusive interviews carried out across the region and beyond, this is the definitive account of the most important, yet poorly understood, international Islamist movement of the last fifty years.
 

Lili Marlene

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I'll be honest - I didn't even started. Got so into Lovecraft Country that I downloaded HP Lovecraft's entire output on audiobook and working my way through them.
LOL, is this any good? Just reading about the upcoming show. It sounds so awful. What's the fucking point of Lovecraft if he isn't spending half the time having a breakdown for failing to meet his own racist standards?
 

Bernie Lomax

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LOL, is this any good? Just reading about the upcoming show. It sounds so awful. What's the fucking point of Lovecraft if he isn't spending half the time having a breakdown for failing to meet his own racist standards?
It's ok. Not a particularly well written book but a quick easy read
 

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Just finished this 3-book-in-one 'anthology' thing of Frank Herbert, the guy who wrote Dune.
First book (The Dragon In The Sea) is this submarine warfare yarn about stealing oil from the enemy (I drink your milkshake), all about the psychology really. Basically it's his futuristic Das Boot, good read but it is just Das Boot basically.
Second book (The Santaroga Barrier) is the most interesting of the 3, about this valley in America that won't interact with the 'outside' (corporate) world, so the corporates send a psychologist there to try and figure out why. There's a great invasion of the body snatchers vibe to it, with a lot more subtlety than the body snatchers had.
Third book (The Dosadi Experiment) is more familiar Dune style stuff, about a galactic conspiracy involving a hidden planet and eugenics breeding type of shit. It's actually probably the worst of the three, although also probably the best-written of the three; I suspect this may be because there are too many likenesses to Dune that make it less interesting. Anyway what is interesting is that Herbert really gives the impression of not liking gay people at all in this one, basically describing them as self-destructive to the human race. Made me wonder if Dune had any shit like that in it, I read most of the Dune books years ago but don't remember any overt anti-gay stances in them.
I wonder what kind of reception the new Dune film will get actually, considering it's a tale about a future totally feudal galactic society that loves the oul eugenics. I suspect there will be very little attention given to this and instead just loads of praise etc. to the acting direction design etc. I like Dune but just think it will be interesting to see how this comes across today. I imagine it'll be another Black Panther, where the country that is ruled as an absolute monarchy that rather than voting decides its leaders based on a fight to the death on top of a waterfall gets praised for being so different to other ideas. It's cool that lowly-paid peons mine the vibranium, at least this time its us paying them fuck all to do it and not other people!!

Anyway have also been reading Dhalgren by Samuel R Delaney, but I might give up on it because it's kind of boring. I mean the writing itself is quality, but I just don't find the book interesting. It's funny, there's a whole lot of great use of language going on, but the book doesn't really have anything to drive it forward. Obviously that's kind of the point, but doesn't really make you want to keep reading when it's all kind of the same thing over and over and over for 800-odd pages.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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Made me wonder if Dune had any shit like that in it, I read most of the Dune books years ago but don't remember any overt anti-gay stances in them.
It’s a long time since I read it too but the main villain in the first book is given a few stereotypical homosexual characteristics to highlight his decadent corruption. Herbert also hated Iron Maiden so I always knew he was an asshole at heart.
 

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