Books that you've read lately



ficciones by borges

sort of baffled meself a bit with this, started out googling & reading around all the stories but that was a bit tiring, knocked that on the head and just bundled my way through it. probably too many ideas for me. like a stock cube, you wouldn’t just eat a stock cube on it’s own. enjoyed tho.

breakfast of champions by vonnegut

weird that two books in a row were full of synopses of imaginary books & that, want to read every one of those kilgore trout stories, some genius when you can throw away ideas that good on a joke. he’s always really funny & kind but thought this was the saddest & least hopeful thing of his i’ve read, the end is unpleasant reading. bit of a mess structurally too, felt like he was proper casting about personally and the uncertainty comes through in the writing :frowning: still good tho, drawings are beautiful. what’s the apple about?

digging up mother by doug stanhope

brother got it me for my birthday, wouldn’t have read it off my own back but felt kinda obligated. man’s a right bellend, his relationship with his mam made me sad though, the right to die stuff hit me pretty hard, it’s a weird thing to read about someone you find unlikable go through awful situations.

russia - class & power 1917-2000

really readable marxist analysis of the ussr (NEVER SAYS DIALECTIC, phew), still would like to read a straight history if anyone can recommend. the stuff about the entrenchment of bureaucratic power & the ease of transition from brezhnev to putin was fascinating, didn;t know much about that time. hard to see how people (non-leftists & tankies both) can reconcile that with the idea that it was a genuinely socialist state.

some really lovely bits of colour in there - brezhnev’s generation of leaders was so long in power they had to build a secret elevator to the top of lenin’s tomb so they could wave to the crowds, the joke around that time was “in feb 1984, at the age of 71, after a long illness, and without regaining consciousness, konstantin cherenko became leader of the soviet union”. another good one - “capitalism is the exploitation of man by man, under our system it’s the other way around”. that’s like a perfect joke.

poem about stalin that got the poet killed -

he forges decrees in line like horseshoes
for the groin, for the forehead, temple, eye

not all fun

kill all normies by angela nagle

the potted history bit at the beginning is all over the place, needs major editing. there’s a bunch of petty twitter beef stuff in there and she seems super into her own position as old-school-leftist-not-interested-in-idpol which is always :face_with_raised_eyebrow: for me, bit TERFY too? but mostly once she gets deeper into the alt right side of things (majority of the book) it’s genuinely fascinating look at the ideological underpinnings of that and to what degree the people involved in it actually adhere to them or are useful idiots.

the tumblr side of it seems way overblown, she says tumblr/left wing campus culture is the second most dangerous movement in politics after fascism… i mean, nah m8. i’m sure that overly pc callout culture has tipped a few edgelords over to the darkside & isn’t actively helpful to playing the culture war game but it’s strange to take such a strong stance against it & blame so much of the rise of fascism on it when it’s miles from the dominant culture.

post too long.


Breakfast of Champions is the only Vonnegut I’ve enjoyed start to end. Absolutely love the reduction of mental illness to bad chemicals in your brain.


yeah, that stuff he does reducing things to their simplest elements and then showing the inter-connectivity between them is weirdly deep innit.

i’m really not sure what i though of it tbh, it’s quite a complicated book for me. he’s def written much more coherent stuff imo but comes across in that post a bit like a didn’t enjoy it when i really did. maybe not as much as sirens but up there with most everything else he’s done.


Lincoln in the Bardo wins the Booker Prize. Looking forward to reading that one. Anyone read it?


Not yet but Tenth of December is one of the best things I’ve ever read. Can’t wait to read this. I read the first few pages in a bookshop whilst waiting at Waterloo for someone and it was great. Get in, George.


Another no, but it’s probably the one from the shortlist I am most interested in reading.

I’ll get round to it this time next year.


absolutely loved it.

get the audiobook as well if you can get a deal with them together. it’s beautiful.


Yeah. I liked it, but not sure I was blown away. It’s funny and it’s sad, and there’s a great range of voices, but somehow it didn’t quite add up for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s at least an eight out of ten, but I was hoping for a ten. Victim of expectations innit.


Good to know. But, yes, managing of expectations is vital. Anticipointment is a ballbag.


The repetition of shifty dark-skinned characters in Ballard’s novels is pretty awful tbh


Partway through Alberto Toscano’s “Fanaticism”, which tries to redeem apocalyptic/millenarian thinking from the ill-repute it has fallen into since, well, almost forever. It does a mostly good job too and includes a good take-down of Norman Cohn, who again, is one of those mid-20th Century English social-critics/philosophers/historians whose interminable dullness and third-way thinking seems, still, impossible to scrub off.

On a related note, I just finished Frank Kermode’s “The Sense of an Ending”. I am utterly baffled by Kermode’s reputation in England - on his death he was lauded as one of our best critics, but I couldn’t find much evidence for it under the protracted, simplistic (but somewhat intuitive) metaphors and the general idea that anyone who believes in anything is a bit touched.

I miss reading fiction tbh


Read this a couple of weeks ago and loved it. I think the use of quotation and multiple narrative voices really works really well; its formally unlike anything I’ve ever read yet still managed to be emotionally engaging. Would thoroughly recommend!


‘The Zahir’ is, I think, my favourite of the Borges short stories I’ve read in this collection thus far. It’s the most interesting / successful marriage of a really interesting idea with a sort of narrative context. If I have an issue with him (and really this is probably more of a problem with me) it’s that he seems quite fond of heavily referencing materials with which I - as a youthful capitalism-addled dumb-dumb - am unfamiliar.


he likes to invent refenrences so if there’s stuff I’m unfamiliar with I just act like he’s made it up entirely

I bought the Book of Imaginary Beings the other day - I’ve only dipped into it a bit so far, but it’s based on real imaginary creatures, using real sources. The Squonk has been my favourite so far.


Liked this book


Gone back to my fiction book for home-reading and non-fiction book for commute / about town reading thing I had going nearer the start of the year. Bought We Have Always Lived In The Castle, which I’ll start soon; and got Mark Fisher’s The Weird and the Eerie out of the uni library.

Started reading a bit of the latter on the way home, and am looking forward not only to Fisher’s take on some personal favourites (there’s a chapter on Lynch!) but to just his views on these concepts and society in general. As someone who has become interested in the idea of how people search for transcendental experiences (whether through religion, drugs, culture, aspiration, etc.) in a world increasingly expressed as a purely rational and predictable one (if any of this makes sense), I’m really thrilled by what I’m reading.


anyone on goodreads?




wanna be pals? what’s your url


Errm can’t see how to work this out from the app on my phone, I’ll pm you when my laptop is on the go