Books that you've read lately



Finished Dracula just now. Kind of respect Stoker for writing a quite long novel and then ending it reeeeeally fast


I really did not like Dracula, but the first section in the castle is good


That’s definitely the strongest point. The “survival horror” feeling I mentioned coming from the epistolary style kind of dissipates for much of the novel after that when everyone becomes a C19th version of Hud from off of Cloverfield and asserts how important it is to document literally everything.

I’ll definitely concede that it could have been way better as a novella.


Oooh also, I’d take a photo but (and I’m just checking now to confirm) my phone camera still ain’t working for some reason, I got my next book out in preparation for starting to re-read it.

Mason & Dixon, maaaaaaaaaaaaaan. It’s twenty this year, and I fancied reading it around the Winter time, given the framing device.


Oh man I’d forgotten just how brilliant Mason and Dixon is.


Yeah, I kind of know what you mean. I was swept along by the very end where XXX discovers XXX and it all weaves threads together. (can’t trust myself with spoilers).


I got Ice by Anna Kavan. I like it but…I’m not sure what to make of it?

Still have Red Plenty to finish too.


I might make this my January project.

Currently 1/3 through Frankenstein. I liked it in 2001 but don’t feel as invested in it this year. Having read a new introduction to my copy, I’ve realised it’s just a new version of Telltale Heart - man does bad thing and is haunted by that thing until insanity/ death.


Has anyone read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine? Is it a suitable christmas gift for a mum who likes light and easy reads with a bit of humour? I see mention of heartbreak and an accident… bonus points if you can tell me what that’s all about in case it hits particular sore points


Mason & Dixon is easy top 3 Pynchon for me. Wonderful book, and more than any of his others is genuinely moving at points.


Yeah, I sometimes find it a bit off that he’s sometimes regarded as a postmodernist devoid of any sincerity or emotional engagement especially due to M&D

Book thread 2018 :books:

Absolutely. All of those of his that I’ve read have really great emotionally engaging sections, but M&D is basically an 800 page paean to friendship. Plus some silly songs, giants and a talking dog.


How readable is it? Because, and not even accounting for length, I found Lot 49 pretty easy and loved it but Gravity’s Rainbow a real struggle.


Hmm… I found it a lot easier than Gravity’s Rainbow, but I think GR was my first Pynchon and so had to slog through some of the more dense sections, whereas by the time I’d read M&D I’d read a bunch of his others so kind of knew how to take it.

Not sure that makes a whole lot of sense.


POTENTIAL SPOILERS for folks who’ve not read IJ

I think there are many interpretations, but the most plausible to me is that his inability is linked to the mold he ate when a child (that flashback, narrated by Orin—“I ATE THIS!”).
DMZ is a super-potent hallucinogen derived from ‘a mold’, discussed by Pemulis a few times throughout IJ, and it’s mentioned as having a soldier sitting in his cell just singing showtunes, while inside his head he’s screaming for help (somewhere in the endnotes).
It might be that it has been somehow ‘activated’ later in life, or maybe its actually that the mold in some way granted him these extraordinary powers of erudition etc. and has now worn off.
There’s a bit where he’s talking to Stice, and Stice thinks Hal’s crying, while Hal is pretty confused as he thought his voice was totally neutral, so it looks as though he’s already slipping into it towards the end of our time with him.

I’ve heard other people say they think it might be a result of having watched The Entertainment after having dug it up out of James’ head.


There’s also the suggestion that it might be related to withdrawal from marijuana (kinda a weird explanation IMO).

Or w/r/t the mold, that he took DMZ at some point late in the book as @schadenfreude says .

Ooh, just Googled to try to find alternative explanations: this one pretty much nails it and is incredibly convincing to me.


Shit, that is convincing. Plus it shows I radically misremembered some fairly important plot points.


Finished Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch recently. The Secret History is top 10 material for me…whereas I didn’t like My Little Friend much. So this is a return to form. Some really nice plot developments towards the end.

She is such an amazing writer.


I’ve been curious about both of those having seen them being shown off at Waterstones so it’s good to hear theyre worth the time.


I’ve lately been reading excellent scifi series The Culture from Iain M. Banks. I’m loving it! It has just the right balance between funny / science / psychology and what if. Seriously recommend checking it out if you are into scifi!