Books that you've read lately



I finished The Gone Away World (paging @LeeKaye). Thought it was really excellent. Made me think of Banks with the delight the author takes in the world he’s created, and the way characters and mysterious factions are brought to life reminded me a bit of what I love about Murakami. Plus elements of post-apocalypse which is always going to push my happy butttons. Definitely a writing style which delights in being ‘clever’, and I did find it hard to read more than a couple of chapters at a time at points, but it is very clever so it gets away with it. Very funny as well.


Read a couple of good books recently:

Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis

Probably one of the best books on intersectionality I’ve ever read, she has such a brilliant mind and she does an excellent job of showing how Ferguson links to Palestine and the wider question of police militarization.

The Communist Manifesto

Which surprisingly I’d never really read in it’s entirety

Fancied a bit of a change of pace because I’ve spent most of this year reading books about history/political theory/economics so I picked up Armada by Ernest Cline of Ready Player One fame, quite enjoyable despite the reviews being a bit mixed across the board.


Been reading the Shipping News (annie proux) for AGES because my wife said it was good. Not really sure whats happening because I read half a chapter and fall asleep.

I’ve got Butchers Crossing on the bedside table for next.


Sorry, late reply. Nah, if you don’t like it, that’s cool with me. Slag away! I’m pretty ok with violence in books that I’m absolutely not on the screen. It’s certainly a book that goes big on shock value…


Excellent, glad you liked it. I recommend it to everyone I know with some caveats. That it’s long, slightly ‘clever’, and some people hate it. But if you are on board, it’s an amazing read. The fact it’s his first sodding book makes it even better. And yeah, it’s a real melting pot of styles that I like. The couple of twists in it (not saying any more) were really well done and I really came out of nowhere.

I’ve read his second, and whilst good, and again takes you into this world didn’t grab me the same way.


‘I really came out of nowhere’?


I think I was going for ‘I didn’t see them coming’


Really really don’t read this spoiler if you have the vaguest intention of reading The Gone Away World

[spoiler]Totally agree on the twists coming out of nowhere. The bit where he goes home to Leah and she’s with Gonzo was proper jaw-droppingly unexpected. And then when the Voiceless Dragon emerges at the end it felt like he’d nailed the punchline. Voiceless. Mimes. Of course!

Definitely a book I want to go back and re-read in 5 years time with vague memories of where it’s heading. Imagine the first half is totally recontextualised.[/spoiler]


Same disclaimer as Aphex.

Exactly. When the Dragon one was revealed I was almost punching the air. And the other. I had to stop, think go back in the book. As you quite rightly say, the whole thing pivots on that moment.

I read it about 5 years ago probably, so am due a reread. For me it’s a holiday book, as I need to devote lots of time to it. There are digressions that go on for ages…


Holy shit—is it as good as it sounds?


Have to admit I was disappointed with the latter quarter/end of White Teeth. It all felt a bit of a damp squib, and the characters became a little cartoonish when prior to that they had felt very real. Still a very good read, and absurdly accomplished for a debut, so I’ll be reading some of her later stuff for sure.

Picked up a few SF Masterworks 'cause they were cheap in Fopp. PKD - Martian Time-Slip & Ubik, and a copy of Hard to be a God. Also got a bunch of books in the Verso 50% off sale which I’m looking forward to cracking into for a break from (science) fiction.


haven’t read anything in ages. just resumed reading the witches (about salem) but i’ve gone book stupid. you know, when you haven’t read for a sustained period of time so you have to warm yourself up gradually. a paragraph here, two paragraphs there, then three, then four, then a page, etc.


I’m reading a really irritatingly large and floppily covered collection of f Scott Fitzgerald short stories. The actual reading experience irked me so much that I impulse bought a kindle.

The stories themselves are great though they do all tend to blend into one “rich white man is unhappy in love” narrative.


The Dinner, by Herman Koch. Dutch drama set over the course of a dinner between the narrator and his wife, and his politician brother and his wife. Decent portrayal of the characters, slow revelation of family secrets. Very good translation, and has a bit of social commentary about contemporary Dutch society. Not genius, but worth a look.

Also read a couple of Charles Stross’ science fiction: Empire Games, where he picks up on his Family Trade series again after seven years. The series focuses on inhabitants of a medieval level parallel earth, who can travel to Earth, and are making themselves rich by running drugs across their version of America, then smuggling them back into our world. Then the US govt finds out… This is a real return to form and I enjoyed it a lot. Also reading The Nightmare Stacks, book seven in his Laundry Files series (basically a pastiche of British spy novels mixed with Cthulhu-like horror). I’m enjoying it, but I’d be happy if he’d just wrap the series up, it’s been going long enough.


Haha, that was his thing for sure. Poor privileged white man! I suppose it was to show that nothing can cure the human condition. The ‘Pat’ (think that was the character’s name) stories are nice and self-deprecating though.

Nothing worse than a floppy book! Especially when you’re reading somewhere awkward and only have your legs to rest on!


Also Zelda, his wife, basically coerced him into writing the short stories purely to fund their lifestyle, so that’s probably why they don’t deviant much either!


It’s tons of fun. And if you’re after a copy it can be found on a number of internet book sellers for a few quid.


why, we may be a couple-a swells but there’s no cure for life you mad flapper, no matter how many ah swanky uptown hop joints you take your best gal to.


Recently finished Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Ligotti. Love Ligotti. Bit heavy going obviously.


Just started the fourth book in The Expanse series. They are well fucking good.
Also picked up the third Ferrante Neapolitan novel from the library today.
I do enjoy a good series you know.


Just started to read Infinite Jest. I’m pretty amazed, as I expected to be.