Books that you've read lately



Continuing in the post-Halloween gothic vein, having finished We Have Always Lived In The Castle (loved this; I hadn’t read Shirley Jackson before reading Haunting a month or so ago, and I’m definitely interested enough to look into her less well-known works), I started reading Dracula.

I’m basically enjoying it a lot thus far. Here are some observations.

  • I read (most of it) when I was 18 for an undergraduate module, and it made me laugh when Dracula invited Harker to “make [his] toilet” before dinner then and it still makes me laugh now.
  • Reading this (or at least the first section with Harker in the castle) feels so much like playing an old survival horror game. Obviously survival horror games are influenced by all that epistolary stuff, but the whole oppressive danger of the situation being conveyed through found documents is so survival horror-y.


I also got an Audible free trial and downloaded the Secret History of Twin Peaks audio-book. I don’t normally listen to audio-books, though I listen to a fair few podcasts; the clincher on downloading this was the involvement of some of the Twin Peaks cast members (and the fact I could get it free).

Having listened to the first two chapters or so, I’m currently wondering how familiar Frost (and Lynch for that matter) is (slash are) with Pynchon; just cause the strange paranoiac goings-on in the early days of the US are bringing to mind Mason & Dixon (which I’ll be re-reading after I finish Dracula, I think - I want it to be closer to Christmas to fit with Rev. Cherrycoke’s framing narrative)


been reading about gender,baby
currently on Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine, basically debunking loads of studies into biological differences between mens and womens brains. i’m easily blinded by science but it seems well researched

also just whizzed through that Grayson Perry book about masculinity. it’s a bit handwavey at times as you’d expect from a 140 page not very academic book that covers that much ground, really good though. wish i’d read something like it age 15, important subject isn’t it. might give my copy to a teenager


Read Norwegian Wood over the summer and thought it was good, but I keep on thinking about it now. Loads of it keeps on returning to me like the bit where he sits in the shop as the building across the road burns down. Really haunting book imo


Recently finished An Ice-cream War by William Boyd.

A real pageturner. Loved the multiple narratives and how they weaved into each other, and the dark humour peppered through. Really captured the absurdities/tragedies of the First World War in East Africa. Really great novel.


I’m not sure Murakami is very DiS. No indie points on offer for that.



TBH I had the same reservations but Ellroy is operating on some really weird pre-edgelord levels. Absolutely love his LA trilogy and the American Underworld series but I appreciate the weird ethnic shit can be hard to parse. I think he writes like a writer would if they were “in that time”, which I know full well is weak but I try to look at the actual stories - invariably, the women and ethnic minority characters turn out to be far wiser/more moral than his protagonists.

Personally I think he pushes far beyond Chandler, hits that spot that only really good genre fiction can hit, a spot far more insightful and profound, dammit, than any literary fiction bullshit can hit wrt the “human condition” or what have you.


I did think about this as I read, but I’m using it to support my point that we’re stuck in genre basics territory - if all the women are liars and use their sexuality to advance or protect themselves, doesn’t that just make them Femme Fatale?

It might be closer to the real world where everything is dirty and corrupt but I think there’s too much relish in the unpleasantness (possibly the mark of an uber edgelord) to make it enjoyable. I’ve still got White Jazz to read but I haven’t enjoyed the best bits of Ellroy as much as the worst of Chandler.


Book of Dust #1. GOOD!

just finishing The Loney. GOOD! Spooky!


This is true tbh, I can’t think offhand of a non-femme fatale character. Maybe Kay Lake from Black Dahlia? Although she’s definitely a damsel in distress.


I just finished Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett, which I picked up randomly in Waterstones cos it looked good and was part of an offer. It was honestly fantastic, one of the most insightful books I’ve read about family dynamics and mental illness, and it’s both very sad and darkly funny. The characters feel so lived-in and believable.


Wanting to read some more DeLillo having really enjoyed White Noise, but not sure where best to go from there. Anyone got any particular favourites or ones to avoid? And was anything Brett Easton Ellis did, apart from American Psycho, worth reading?


Maybe Libra or Underworld? Wasn’t a huge fan of Cosmopolis. I know I’ve read another one (maybe the Body Artist?) but can’t remember it.


Glamorama is quite trashy in the best kind of way. Less Than Zero and Rules of Attraction both do dead-eyed college kids narratives but they do different things with them (definitely recommend both.) The Informers is bleak and hard to enjoy but it is short stories. Anything is after Glamorama is worth avoiding.



My Christmas list sorted lads


The pressure!


I really liked cosmopolis and loved underworld!

I’m fairly sure I hated falling man and Americana.


I’d second Underworld, the first chapter of that book is incredible.


Just finished Tenth Of December. Absolutely bloody brilliant. One story in particular nearly had me crying my eyes out.


Just finished Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman after someone on here recommended it. Was fantastic! I like to think its made me be a more rational, slower thinker - but dunno.