Just a little PSA to tell you not to read Andy Weir’s Artemis
Anyone fancy throwing a bunch of non-fiction recommendations? Might stake out the library in the morning, see what I can get
Sapiens and the silk roads are a couple of books I’ve read of late and both were excellent!
Started reading a very musty library copy of Picnic At Hanging Rock this morning.
Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski. He worked for the Polish resistance against the nazis in WWII acting as a courier. He travels all over Europe delivering messages from the resistance leaders and eventually he ends up being snuck into a concentration camp to find out what horrors are happening there before breaking the news to the world.
I finished Capital by John Lancaster this week.
Thought some of the stories were fun but so many characters were straight out of stereotype school.
Finished Demons by Dostoevsky last week, so good. Can’t think of anyone who does plot better than him, especially at the scale he frequently uses.
Now started The Idiot by Elif Batumen which I’m enjoying so far.
Finished Flaneuse by Lauren Elkin - part social history, part literary criticism, part memoir, centering on the female flaneur. Her examples range from Virginia Woolf to Agnes Varda, the history of protesting in Paris, and her own life in various cities. This strange form really came together in Elkin’s figuration of female walkers, as those who look both outwards and inwards. Beautifully written, wise, full of sharp insight which reclaims, never didactically, a history of how women occupy urban spaces and how this transgression has shaped women’s art over time. I want to recommend this to everyone.
Halfway through Patti Smith’s Just Kids which is obviously brilliant.
I bought my wife that Elkin book, with an eye on reading it myself. It’s been sat half finished on her bedside for months, and now she’s started A Suitable Boy, so I reckon I might just nip in and pinch it.
I haven’t read it but love the film and might read this now too actually
I’ll bring my copy for you on thurs if you want?
I’m reading Here is where we meet by John Berger. Kind of metaphysical novel where he meets people from his life in different cities and places.
I have Giovanni’s Room by Baldwin and Extinction by Thomas Bernhard next.
That came out really big huh
anyone else ever get that thing where you’re reading a book in which the same thing happens to one of the characters as happens to you in real life?
had never had bara brith cake until yesterday when my welsh colleague baked some and brought it in for us. got on the train and my book mentioned the same cake (it’s not even a book set in Wales or about Welsh things).
The best time ever was when reading Tender is the Night on a school trip to the battlefields in Flanders. The book is mostly set in the south of France but there’s a chapter where they go to Flanders. I knew a bit about the background and had read the Great Gatsby so knew it was set in the aftermath of the war but was published in 1934. Anyway, just as I approached the Thiepval memorial after seeing the Beaumont Hamel… I started reading this chapter.
I remember reading some of the thousands of names etched into it and laughing almost uncontrollably about how ridiculously obscene and pointless and tragic the first world war was.
honestly dont lend me books
the one im reading I bought on thursday and it’s already dog eared
I give books away once I’ve read em unless theyre like GOAT and I think i’ll re-read em. Up to you!
London Fields was pretty crap, didn’t enjoy anything beyond the first 50 pages or so. Either Money was loads better or I was just younger and less critical when I read it.
Mother Night is good but felt pretty light (wrong word for a book involving WW2 but still) compared to the other novels of his that I’ve read. Maybe it was just the length, but didn’t feel like it was saying all that much outside of the story of this one character in this one setting.
Onto The Sun Also Rises now - less gripping than The Old Man and The Sea so far, but the man does have a way with words.
I currently have three books sort of on the go.
Non-fiction for when commuting / out: I started reading Lynch On Lynch, but I’ve decided I’m going to watch The Elephant Man for the first time before I read the chapter on that, so I’ve been reading some of the essays in Consider The Lobster by David Foster Wallace – which I’m enjoying quite a lot; I didn’t think a 65-page review of a usage dictionary would be as entertaining or funny as it ended up being.
Fiction for home: finished Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay recently. There’s something about this book that I think will linger in the mind (I have my own idea inspired partly by it as well), the fact that it’s kind of a fairly straightforward story but with this absolutely bizarre occurrence / catalytic event constantly looming in the background. Reminded me a bit of We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson.
Started reading CivilWarLand in Bad Decline this morning and loved the titular story (it says it’s a novella, but its twenty-seven pages, pal). The Pynchon endorsement on the front felt earned, what with the blend of black humour, heightened-reality satirical strangeness, ghosts, etc.
This weekend I have read Swansong by Kerry Andrew and Peach by Emma Glass. Highly recommend both. The latter is very much a book to read in one sitting and be completely mesmerised by.
Now rereading His Dark Materials for the first time since I was 11. My name is written on the inside cover and apparently I used to draw little circles to dot my 'i’s