Books that you've read lately



I’m reading 100 Years… now, which is surprising me with how funny it is at points. Having read the first 80-odd pages, I second this recommendation.


Yeah I’m thinking of Gormenghast in the near future—thanks for the tip. Taking a little break from fantasy and sci-fi for a few books though I reckon.


Reading Zadie Smith’s ‘White Teeth’ at the moment. Really not sure how it’s taken me this long to get around to it. It’s ‘a riot’—moves along at a real clip, very tight and often quite amusingly dialogue, a few moments of real pathos. I guess I had always assumed it was shit because of seeing people reading it on holiday and on trains and stuff for years, which is the kind of snooty and ridiculous assumption that leads to missing some very enjoyable books indeed.


The Divine Child. Human condition shit (isn’t everything?!). Ridiculous euphemisms. Robert Walser’s Microscripts (lovely presentation) next.


I started The Broom of The System this week. I quite like it.


Into the time machine plunges Jomo, the black militant leader of BURN. ‘Revolution then’ is his motto; he’s going to rearrange history so the blacks get a fair shake - or, preferably, world dominance.

But in another area of time, rabble-rousing white supremacist Billy Roy Whisk is also at work - fixing history so that the slaves are never freed.

Worlds spin in and out of existence. And through the paradoxes of time, another black man is pursuing Jomo and Whisk, trying to stop them before their experiments wipe out the world forever.


the wasp factory by iain banks

picked this up cause i read the first couple of pages on that and they were obtuse & fun.

silly innit, feels like it was written by a really precocious child or something. can proper tell it’s a debut novel, there’s one chapter where the protagonist is having a conversation with his pal which might as well have been titled The Authors Views On Violence. the edgelord shocking-for-the-sake-of-it stuff made me feel a bit ill, especially the babby :frowning: ugh.

that’s all probably The Point though eh? idk

i liked the bits describing him building damns/mooching around the island in long winded detail.

i’m reading ficciones by georgey borgey now - wish i knew anything at all about philosophy so i could keep up, the stuff about a language without nouns was beaut “upward behind the onstreaming it mooned”… ooh lovely sentence. wonder if people have written poetry as though translated from that language.


I like the name Georgey Borgey. I’ve taken to saying Jorge Luis Borges (mainly just thinking it in my head, admittedly) as a substitute for “jeez Louise!”

He’s an author I keep meaning to read, due to his influence on a lot of what I like.


Ah I love The Wasp Factory. Was chatting to my manager about it earlier today in fact. Definitely pretty grim at points, but in a way which absolutely works for me.


ha, i might join you, it’s one of the great names.

it’s easy reading & he seems really really interesting but where the later magic realist stuff sort of has a sprinkling of the philosophical concepts this is all pretty thickly connected and referential of that stuff. feel like i’m missing a fair bit. what is a spinoza anyway?

they’re beautiful concepts though, make for good fantastical stories.


ah, this is why i don’t like slagging things off. feel bad now.

would you agree it’s silly though, like intentionally so? dunno. i did feel he was doing most of that stuff on purpose, not like it was poorly written, just not my bag.

i’m a big soft lad, really can’t handle the grim stuff. i actually threw up in my mouth reading geek love last year :face_with_thermometer:


I haven’t read The Vorhh so I may be well off track, but the way you describe it makes it sound like a less good version of Jeff Vandermeer’s Area X books. Think the first one is called Annihilation, and it’s worth a read if weird fantasy is your thing.


Gonna start Circe by Madeline Miller tomorrow maybe.


Finished The Complex Cosmicomics by Italian Calvino yesterday. A few of the stories were less than amazing, but most of them were quite amazing. In summary, mostly quite amazing!


The image that always sticks with me is the skeleton of the child attached the kite (is that right?), circumnavigating the world on an endless thermal. Had a grotesque beauty that I can appreciate, being a misanthropist with an English degree! Hehe. It definitely has a fiercely individual charm. His next book, The Bridge, is entertaining and a lot less grim, though much less distinct as a consequence.


Borges is beautiful. Totally unique, and a complete piss-taker for the most part. Love all the nonsense bibliographical stuff in it that highlights the constructed nature of reality.


this is really really good. beautiful even:


I read his book about hauntology recently. I’d bought it for researching my dissertation doc idea, but I started properly reading it shortly after he sadly died.

That whole subculture stemming from the Warwick Uni “cybernetic research unit” or whatever it is is really fascinating and strange.


Spell it Out - a history of English spelling. Orthography is sexy.


Finished The Dambusters by James Holland the other day.

He is one of my favourite modern day historians, writes in a really engaging way - almost novel-like in many ways, even though he’s writing about non-fiction. I was reading Max Hastings’ account of the Second World War recently and it was so dry. Every other sentence began the same way - almost like a seven year old “And then… And then… And then…” Holland doesn’t fall into that trap.

I saw him talk 3 years ago at the BBC History Festival and he was so passionate, engaging and entertaining. I bought the book then and have only just gotten around to reading it, having loved the Paul Brickhill book from the 1950s that the movie is based upon.

It’s inspired me to get more of his other books - I have Fortress Malta and Battle of Britain, plus some of his fiction…