Books that you've read lately

books

#1042

Currently reading Dark Money by Jane Mayer which iirc was on a couple of best sellers lists last year.

The underlying ideas are probably a fairly familiar one to most, secretive billionaire’s essentially trying to coopt democracy for their own nefarious ends but Mayer’s writing paints an incredibly interesting picture of people like the Koch Brother’s and the roots of their philosophy.

One thing I didn’t realize before is the tax laws surrounding private charitable organizations, I used to think funding of galleries/museums was down to purely philanthropic reasons when in fact a lot of it is essentially redistribution not from the billionaires themselves but the bank who pay them interest.


#1043

Last book I finished was Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. Wonderful, really moving and quietly harrowing novel about a post-apocalyptic society where humanity is slowly recovering itself. Really humane and some beautiful stuff on the stuff about modern life that we take for granted.

Also read If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor, which I really enjoyed too. The central premise was maybe a bit overplayed (trying to avoid spoilers) but the writing was so lyrical and poetic that you just lose yourself in it and forget there’s meant to be a plot anyway.


#1044

i read the wallcreeper by nell zink and i loved it despite it depressing me a lot. she’s pals with franzen and you can kinda tell, not sure if i liked that or not. birds.


#1045

I found Station Eleven annoyingly vague and annoyingly overwritten in places. The settings were beautifully described but I struggled to enjoy any of the characters or the story.


#1046

The Edible Woman. Not as good as surfacing. Better than Handmaid’s Tale. Much better than Oryx and Crake. Probably enough Atwood for me though.


#1047

Just finished Nutshell by Ian McEwan. Bit freaky but easy to read.


#1048

Loved both those two


#1049

Finished Spell It Out. Our language is an absolute mess, but it’s history is really interesting. Gonna start on some Robert Walser now. It’s great having a baby - I can read while feeding him in the middle of the night (the house is not a peaceful place in the day (not because of him!)).


#1050

Infinite Jest is in a whole different league to Broom… —I respect what DFW was trying to do in BotS, but it’s very obviously the work of a young collegiate writer (however talented) who’s experimenting with form and stuff in a way that comes across as basically kind of obnoxious at times.

Infinite Jest is a really patient, humane novel almost all of the time (barring a couple pieces that I won’t spoil but definitely rubbed me up the wrong way, and many others) and is evidently the work of someone who’s deeply, passionately interested in forging intense communication with the reader in a way entirely absent from BotS.

Have you read his short stuff? Definitely recommend checking out Girl with Curious Hair/Oblivion if not.


#1051

I loved most of the essays in A Supposedly Fun Thing… (especially the tennis essays) and I’ll put Hair on my list.


#1052

Read ‘Second Coming’ by John Niven on a whim as I’d noticed the guy on Twitter and thought I’d give him a go.

Jesus comes back to earth and bizarrely enters some American Idol style show with predictable results.

Not sure what to make of it. I can imagine some people really hating it as it is not particularly clever or interesting or well written. I also can’t imagine anyone loving it. It was just sort of alright, like having a conversation who was sort of funny and right on but also actually a bit tedious.


#1053

I’m about to finish Moby’s memoir, Porcelain, and it’s been pretty great on the whole. Focuses on his career pre-Play and is really well written. He does make some weird comments about women occasionally though.


#1054

I’m 100 pages into The Loney and waiting for it to kick in. Atmospheric and well written, but rather slow so far…


#1055

Finished The Power. Was reading just to get to the end by about 2/3 of the way through. Really frustrating as the underlying concept has so much potential. TV has pretty much given up on it at the halfway point. Some spoilery thoughts.

The hard sci-fi element is annoying. How the hell did no one notice this apparently visible lump in, y’know autopsies or surgeries or routine medical exams? Has no woman broken her collarbone in the years before the first use of the power for a surgeon to find the skein??
Still annoyed that the only journalist covering the world events is a man.
The whole Moldova story felt a bit off.
The writing is poor. I found it tiring to read and I’m not someone who is normally a critic of ‘bad’ writing as long as a book ticks along at a good pace.

I’m now re-reading Iain M’s Excession which is just the best. The ship mind dialogue remains one of my favourite things in fiction: “Full Internal Report to follow immediately in High Embarassment Factor code” :heart_eyes:


#1056

Did you ever listen to this:

Podcast where a guy who lent Moby the boxset of old bluesy type stuff he used for a shitload of the samples on Play tracks him down to try and get him to return it. It’s dead good.


#1057

Ooh no thanks will give it a listen.


#1058

Oh, another thing about Porcelain is, much like Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids’, it makes being skint and trying to survive in New York as some sort of poetic idyllic state of mind rather than the fucking nightmare I imagine it would be.


#1059

Yeah, that’s kinda how I felt. Some novels seem like they’re setting up the story for the duration, and never get to the meat of things.


#1060

Reading The Gallows Pole by Benjamin Myers. It’s all earthy and mean at the moment. About coin clippers in 18th century Yorkshire. Worth reading to stare at the scary cover. I’d post a photo, but I’m too lazy to work out how.


#1061

Was just about to post this! Brilliant.