Book thread 2018 📚


Just finished wind up bird chronicle which I enjoyed much less than kafka on the shore and norwegian wood. It was better than 1Q84 at least.

About to finish in the miso soup, which has been a fine book. Hasn’t really grabbed at me though.

No idea what to read next. Was thinking of re reading catch 22


Half way through Kingley Amis’ I Want it Now and I’m enjoying it. It’s ok. I don’t find Kingsley as interesting a writer compared to (80’s) Martin, but I’m finding his cynical narrator perspective of 60’s counter-culture refreshing.


Read the first two Rivers of London/PC Grant books over the last couple of days. Wasn’t really sure on the first, but ultimately found them really dry.

Found parts of them really problematic too, while it addresses systemic racism and has some really great female characters, its portrayal of women overall is kind of both sexist and racist.

Gonna give the rest a miss, I think.


Read the first two Gormenghast books. Really enjoyed although felt a bit defeated towards the end of the second. Going to hold off on the third for a bit. Thought I’d read something lighter next. What I chose was ‘my idea of fun’ by Self which was pretty fucking vile in parts although great for most parts as well. Don’t know what to think really… Graphic depictions of violence and dismembered good penis’s flooping out of mouths didn’t seem as light as I hoped. There was fair warning at the beginning admittedly.


Finished The Dispossessed earlier this week.

The first third is turgid but the last third was better.


Not exactly book chat, but still!


I finished Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson yesterday. Not sure how it ended up on my list but most of the stories were really interesting.

Some very grim content (Stasi prisons and paedophiles) but those stories are also the most rewarding.


Just started on Death’s End, which I’ve been fighting shy of since I picked it up at Christmas, partly as it’s the end of what has been a really good, but dense trilogy, and partly as it’s a doorstop.

Really good so far.


Really in the mood to read something either whimsical or feel goody. Anyone read anything good along those lines lately?


The third Gormenghast book often gets a rough press. Peake was clearly not at his peak (sorry!) and I think wrote it just before his death and left it in a fairly unfinished state. It’s also a book that involves Titus but not the castle itself so doesn’t have the thing that made the first two so appealing.

That said, I think there are enough flashes of descriptive genius to make it will worth reading, but don’t expect more of the exactly the same when you do get round to reading it.


reading the Antony Beevor book on Stalingrad. Still getting through all the Operation Barbarossa stuff which is really interesting. It just seems amazing how many obvious mistakes (perhaps more obvious in retrospect) that both sides made.


Is giving up on a book 54% through stupid? Don’t hate it it’s just the sections that grab me are few compared to the passages that don’t engage me.


Got some of her short stories from the library but can’t get into them atm, often have this problem with short story collections idk why :frowning:

Also been reading Whatever Happened to Gloomy Gus from the Chicago Bears by Robert Coover which I thought was pr great


finished reading attica locke ‘the cutting season’ a couple of days ago. extremely neat plotting and the human relationship dynamics felt very accurate. don’t remember seeing a playlist in a book before, faves…


can i do some polls please?

do you have a mental image of a character in your mind (if they have been described physically)?

  • clear picture
  • vague & blurry
  • no

0 voters

do you have a mental image of a character in your mind (if they haven’t been described physically)?

  • clear picture
  • vague & blurry
  • no

0 voters

can you see the characters in relation to a location when it’s described?

  • yes
  • no

0 voters

if you were to read an invented name or noun, and it wasn’t immediately apparent how it is pronounced, would you work out a pronunciation for yourself verbally or just accept the collection of letters as having meaning without sounding it out?

  • i always have a pronunciation in mind
  • the letters just have a meaning that isn’t really verbal

0 voters

did you understand the last poll?

  • no
  • me neither

0 voters

can’t work out how to express that lol.

if you can do these things do they come automatically to you or do you have to make a conscious effort?

  • all natural baby
  • conscious

0 voters


Just finished I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. Really chilling and amazing research, she was such a good writer, and made a very repetitive sort of ream of content into something lovely (lovely is not really appropriate but whatever). I thought the fact she died before finishing it would put me off but it didn’t matter at all. Not your typical true crime novel by any stretch.


Ooo 99p on kindle too. That’s my next book sorted.


Read 3 Rebecca Solnit books over the weekend (they’re short).

I myself was pretty late to the Solnit party, but heavily recommend Mother of All Questions for anybody interested in feminism (actually more so if you aren’t), and Hope in the Dark was a cogent argument for hope in place of the useless fatalism I know a lot of people are subject to. She’s a very warm and approachable writer, even when pointing out very few of us do anywhere near enough in the way of activism.


I bought an incredible book called Russia Dispatches by a Guardian columnist from the 80’s called Martin Walker. Just a collection of really eye-opening articles from the time. Only a few stories in, but they’re really readable - there’s a piece about the selling American electronic goods on the black market, one about a shortage of sanitary products, another about the trade in pensioners vouchers for rationed foods. Absolutely fascinating.


she’s gr8, her edward muybridge book is also brilliantly written