Book thread 2018 📚


bought Manhattan Beach (Jennifer Egan) from Oxfam on a whim - didn’t love Goon Club it’s very absorbing. Haven’t read a straight-up NOVEL for a little while. Nice.

Gonna ask for Jenny Hval’s Paradise Rot for Christmas I reckon, sounds festive af


Currently reading ‘The Lost Revolution: the story of the Official IRA and the Workers Party’. 200 pages in have mostly been a history of the IRA from 1950 until the 1970 split between the Marxists and more traditional Republicans. Terrifying to see just how quickly things got out of hand in the country, as well as the futility of the ‘armed struggle’. Would recommend to anyone interested in Irish politics


Finished The Box Man, which - as I think I’ve communicated - I definitely found interesting (maybe too interesting), but also a bit of a chore at times (in that way a lot of clever sixties modernist / post-modernist stuff can be). I was going to say that the same structural things that worked more in The Woman in the Dunes didn’t work so well here because the former was in a more claustrophobic setting, but then it’s occurred to me that The Box Man’s text is essentially the scrawlings of a dude on the walls of the box that he keeps constantly on his head.

As I say though, definitely interesting and there’s a shit ton of possible interpretations (multiple rising up per chapter) relating to social anxiety, the meaning of identity, etc. Like when I read TCoL49 for the first time, this is a slim book that’s feverishly loaded with all kinds of detail and craziness.

I’m onto Kafka’s The Castle now, which - in its relative linearity - is a breath of fresh air (I was considering starting my Gravity’s Rainbow re-read but I might leave that for when I get a nice stretch of free time nearer to Christmas).


Oh also vaguely book-related, I was a bit irked that that Guardian thinkpiece on the Jonathan Franzen rules for writing failed - like a lot of other stuff written on it - to note that those rules for writing were republished from an article in which many writers were asked to give their writing tips… that was published in THE GUARDIAN

I get that Franzen can be a bit of an arse (but not that much of an arse, get real) but it seems unfair that it’s being presented as if he woke up one morning and decided he’s bestow ten writing rules upon the public apropos of nothing


This is something I really struggle with. I’ve kept up with everything that Franzen’s published since The Corrections and aside from the way he dismissed the Oprah recommendation every other controversy seems like it’s a cherry-picked quote taken way out of context. It does feel that because he’s male, midwestern, and white, he’s an easy target.

Having said that, there’s no excuse for him ever to have used the phrase ‘mousing and clicking’. Fucking hell mate.


Yeah, I’ve just started ‘The Blue Afternoon’ and, although I’m enjoying it, it’s not as good as ‘An Ice cream War’ or ‘Any Human Heart’. But then what is?

Recently finished Mohsin Hamid’s ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ in two sittings. Really enjoyed it, having especially liked the conversational tone to the narrative. Really humanised what can be a very dense, opaque subject matter.


I’ve recently had Boyd’s latest. Love Is Blind, out of the library. Couldn’t finish it, absolutely terrible sub-Jeffrey Archer stuff. I loved Any Human Heart and enjoyed the others I’ve read, but this was genuinely awful. One to avoid.


Yeah he is generally perceived as being very hit-and-miss. Still, ‘Any Human Heart’ and ‘An Ice Cream War’ are two of the best novels I’ve discovered in recent years.


who knows about art books?

asked my mam and dad for a book on alphonse mucha for Xmas and there’s a thousand of them apparently. how do I know which ones of them are good? is there like a discogs for art books that tells you which editions have the best prints and stuff? or are there publishers that I should look out for that are good? or just recommend me a book about mucha, or art nouveau generally or recommend a book about kay nielsen too.


Can’t help but I wanted to make the Discogs for artbooks but quickly remembered I don’t know how to make websites.


so many of my good ideas are thwarted by me being unable to do them too


“That Don’t Impress Me Mucha”, a touching account of the artist’s fraught relationship with his perfectionist parents.

But seriously, I can’t help you.


mucha do about nothing

in fact he was very prolific


Amazon is the best bet. I’ve got quite a few artist coffee table type books and not found anywhere definitive. Or if there are sites about him they may have recommendations.


Just read the The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. Gone right up there with my favourite non-fiction ever. Brilliantly written and obviously the space race is endlessly fascinating. Looking forward to reading Bonfire of the Vanities.


there’s so many on Amazon though! and they all have 4.7 star ratings, I’ve got option paralysis.

@xylo is a fancy books guy. maybe he knows


I’ve just remembered I was spammed for a sexy kickstarter thing a while ago. It may have finished but I could dig the details out. Let me know.


yeah publisher is a good way to figure out quality hang on let me look

alright i’d probably hit the Taschen just because (at that size) they’re very VERY well printed books and solid quality in general (this is not true of their folios)


yeah I’m intrigued by this, if you don’t mind having a look.


thanks maaaate.

cheap too! mint.