What Book Did You Read Last Night??? (4 Viewers)

Lili Marlene

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August is a Wicked Month by Edna O'Brien.

Funnier than I expected, if still quite intense and sad. A lot of it is "Imagine the cunts from the Great Gatsby if they had to live with the consequences of their actions."
 

David Kronenbourg

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About to start Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock.
I love the premise of this (magical wood bordering a crumbling English estate, 3 square miles on the outside, but endlessly vast and ancient on the inside, which contains infinite incarnations of figures from British folklore) but one of the characters explains the premise in such matter of fact detail and the other character just accepts it without question, in the first 30 pages, that it sort of takes the fun out of it.
 

riath

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I’m half way through “Malice”.
It’s book 2 of John Gwynne’a The Faithful and the Fallen series.
It’s a brilliant fantasy series and a complete one too, so no waiting on the rest of them.
Basically there’s going to be a God-War and people need to pick a side without really knowing who’s good and who’s bad. There’s Humans, Giants and the odd monster. Plenty of battles without it greeting in to Grimdark territory, a good mix of personalities and some funny moments.

My only issue is there’s a lot of main characters and each chapter is from their own perspective (kinda like asoiaf) so I keep having to look up the characters to see who they are again.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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That was one of the ones that put me off reading more of his. I don’t think I’m really an Iain Banks guy though in fairness, even that Wasp Factory one that everyone loves does nothing for me.
 

egg_

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I didn't like Wasp Factory or Song of Stone or a few others of his without-the-M books. Love most of his sci-fi though. His good guys are too cool and his bad guys too bad to be relatable, but they're so much fun, and the breadth of imagination gets me every time
 

Cornu Ammonis

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I think The Player of Games was the only one I thought was really good. I have another one on my To Read shelf, The Algebraist, but it’s massive so it will probably stay there until I book a holiday somewhere.
 

pete

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Today I read Project Hail Mary. It's proper good Nerd MacGyver Science Fiction, like The Martian in space (yes, I know) because it's by Andy Weir, who wrote The Martian.
 

pete

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Today I read Project Hail Mary. It's proper good Nerd MacGyver Science Fiction, like The Martian in space (yes, I know) because it's by Andy Weir, who wrote The Martian.
I read his other one, Artemis, yesterday and it’s a bit different to the one before and after it but he’s basically publishing movie treatments as novels.
 

Lili Marlene

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Riffs and Meaning: Manic Street Preachers and Know Your Enemy by Stephen Lee Naish. A short essay on the Manics sixth album. Really it only spends a couple of chapters on the album and Cuba gig. Mostly a short history of the band. Some opinions are not great, but an enjoyable read for a fan. Better than wasting a couple of hours on the phone anyway. Interesting to read thoughts of a fan who wasn't around for the Richie era.
Read this last night. Some serious OPINIONS in there aren't there? I wouldn't recommend it as an intro to anyone but not bad all the same.
 

chris d

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Read this last night. Some serious OPINIONS in there aren't there? I wouldn't recommend it as an intro to anyone but not bad all the same.
Yeah. It was really a blog post in book form. I read the 33 1/3 on the holy bible not long after and it was similar stuff. I wanted the minutia of how they recorded the album track by track, but it was mostly another short history by a younger fan. Again, grand. I bought Everything then, but haven't gotten round to it yet. Read it years ago when I had already split company from the band. Simon Price isn't without his problems, but I'm expecting it to be at least a bit more music journalisty.
 

Lili Marlene

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Yeah. It was really a blog post in book form. I read the 33 1/3 on the holy bible not long after and it was similar stuff. I wanted the minutia of how they recorded the album track by track, but it was mostly another short history by a younger fan. Again, grand. I bought Everything then, but haven't gotten round to it yet. Read it years ago when I had already split company from the band. Simon Price isn't without his problems, but I'm expecting it to be at least a bit more music journalisty.
God yeah, Everything. I gave it to a mate 20 years ago and haven't seen it since but can still pretty much quote it verbatim. I know Price is working on a new edition at the moment, I think he's a great music journalist meself.

There's a book of three extended essays on the Holy Bible called Triptych that's excellent. Well, two of the essays are excellent, the third is embarrassing over-academic impenetrable for the sake of being impenetrable gibberish. Would still recommend to anyone interested in Deep Manics Theory tho.

And there's that website which is just essays about the album in insane detail. A bit much at times but interesting all the same. The entire album's lyrics seem to come from a single issue of Living Marxism (aka Spiked lol)

 
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chris d

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Yeah, i like him to be fair. I remember the intro to that book having a little bit of cringe where he was trying to come across as best mates with Nicky Wire. Maybe he was, but i can deal with that level of fandom and want anyway. Must check out that link.
 

snakybus

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More reviews/showing off from me.

The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu – Second in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series. After reading the first book in this I thought there was no way he could improve on that but this one completely floored me. It got better as it went along and for most of the second half my jaw was hitting the floor. And now I will say two very silly things: (1) Cixin Liu to me feels like the Tolstoy of sci fi, and (2) sci fi feels like the only place in which these sprawling romantic epics can now be told. there, I said it. Sorry.

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright – My emotions went all over the place with this story about an extra-marital affair set in Ireland in the early 2000s, as I found it hard to like any of the characters who were all Celtic Tiger CUNTS, despite the incredibly skilled writing and storytelling. I was wondering what the writer, who had hidden herself from view throughout, was trying to tell me. But then in the final chapter it completely opened up and turned things around and was a delight, really. I'm not sure if it was her intention to piss me off and then turn it all around at the eleventh hour. Risky tactic if so. But anyway, I can see why she’s one of our most respected writers.

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells – This is Book 2 in the Murderbot diaries. Grand. Didn’t have the emotional impact of the first one. The plot had me feeling that the author has now realised this is an episodic thing, and there’ll be more stories to tell of Murderbot going around helping the nice folk while he/she/they searches for who he/she/they is and murders baddies. I’m kind of disappointed to have figured this out by only the second book. I don’t want to feel like I’m watching an ‘80s TV show. What was good is a new character it introduced called Art who was just fantastic. And Murderbot is still a moany teenager, so there’s that.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks – I didn’t like this at all, and I would go so far as to say it’s a weak work. Reams of pages of the kid going around an island killing wasps and rabbits was simply not enough to shock me, and I guess that’s meant to be the point of the novel, or at least that’s how it was received when it came out. I mean, maybe it’s cruel to kill animals but I can name several incidents from my youth that would put Frank in the shade. And while you can trace animal cruelty to psychological disturbance, for me this wasn’t explored in any depth and this is especially a problem with regard to the actual shocking but unexplained human murders (sorry, spoiler). There was also the older brother who goes psycho over seeing something gruesome, not to mention Frank’s cautious reaction to the brother which seemed completely inconsistent with his own sociopathic ways. None of it was believable and the ending (no spoilers) I felt was a damp squib and not just because it has dated poorly. I’m baffled how Iain Banks couldn’t get The Player of Games published, but The Wasp Factory was not only published but championed by all sorts. Glad I didn’t read this book first! I’ll make my next foray into Banks to be a Menzies one.

Man With a Seagull on His Head by Harriet Paige – I thought this was really good, and written with a lovely and often genius eye for description. Only criticisms was that it was a tiny bit twee and I also found that it was a bit stifled by its own intellectual aspirations as it reached for grandeur that it didn’t quite achieve – but almost did. Definitely a “book club book”, if that makes sense – real brain appeal. Or maybe very “indie” – like e.g. Wes Anderson films or the film Amelie, its slightly cartoonish (but not in a funny way), stock-but-not-stock characters take part in a dance towards an emotional payoff that should work, feels right at the time you see/read it but just isn’t resonant, isn’t long-lasting. But ...that’s a bit unfair because the writing was superb and the story was great and I wasn’t bored for a second. I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Beatlebone by Kevin Barry – This was great and I preferred it to Night Boat to Tangier. An historical fiction (but close to fact) about John Lennon’s visit to Dorinish Island in Clew Bay, which he had purchased, and his dalliances with the Screamers. I really enjoyed a chapter where the author breaks the fourth wall and talks about how he wrote the book, right in the middle of it. A delightful idea in what is a really strong novel overall. He talks a lot about getting the John Lennon voice right – less so the Mayo voice, which veers just a hair towards Barry Fitzgerald territory.
 

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