General Reading / Book Thread for 2019

Reading Normal People. Her style is going to take some getting used to…

The lack of quotation makes irked me at first.

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This week on holiday I’ve read:

The Power by Naomi Alderman (good idea; not really fussed about most of the characters or the final few years of plot) and American War by Omar El Akaad (not sure why but I expected it to be more fun; it’s well done but I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it.)

I started Washington Black by Esi Edungyan on the flight back and I like it so far.

I just remember it being absolutely bonkers. The film’s hardly run-of-the-mill scifi, but the book’s just something else

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It’s given me a bit more respect for how it was adapted to cinema. Blade Runner is quite well-known as a sort of neo-noir, but I like how the film noir comparison can be made in its iconic and creative re-rendering of a bonkers somewhat Chandler-esque book (it had never occurred to me before reading that the Rosens (and whatever their equivalent names are in the film - can’t remember) are wicked reminiscent of the Sternwoods in The Big Sleep). 'Bout a hundred pages in so far.

Wondering what I’ll read after. I’m thinking of Kavalier and Clay at some point, but I think it’ll be my Obligatory Christmas-Period Big Novel™ for this year. Maybe Vineland, as part of my big slow ongoing Pynchon re-read thing.

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I’m quite tempted to give it a reread now. I read it long before I read any Raymond Chandler so the noir elements would have passed me by.

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Finished “Being Numerous…” thought it was enjoyable if very brief. Whilst I think there’s a overarching philosophy to the essays which I would say is broadly centered around liberation and anti-authoritarianism, what I probably found most interesting was the detailed reflections and occasional front line reporting on Ferguson, Standing Rock and the J20 protests.

There’s also an interesting contrast between writing on various protest movement and direct action and the more personal confessional tone of some of the other essays particularly the last one.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Recently read it in one sitting and, alongside Heart of Darkness, it has to be the greatest novel written concerning pre and post-colonisation of Africa. Had a very powerful effect on me. Very thought provoking. I loved the vivid style of prose typified by proverbs, story telling and dream sequences, coupled with the minute details of traditional tribes’ belief systems and traditions, that I felt perfectly captured the vibrancy of that traditional way of life in West African tribes pre-European colonisation.

Wonderful novel. Highly recommend.


read woman on the edge of time by marge piercy

it’s mid-70s time travel/anarchist utopia stuff with ambiguous gender so my brain is just comparing it to le guin all the time. much less equivocal on the utopia thing than her, it’s quite a technologically advanced society but not post-work, which is my personal sweetspot. just like reading about communisation tbh, makes me happy.

it’s cool having a working class person as a protagonist in sci-fi, and she never seems able to lose the meanness that living in our time has put in her.

the dystopian future is goofy as.

enjoyed it. piercy’s a poet so the writing is good.


Finished Wyntertide. Very much the second book of a trilogy, but still interesting and entertaining.

Got this on my to-read pile :+1:

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Recently read ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger, pretty interesting read in that I didn’t really think I took much from it at first and then I realized after I’d had the chance to talk about it with other people that it helps provide an entirely different set of tools for analyzing art, culture and advertising.

In short it’s very much about looking at how we can abstract details about how societies are organized not only by the composition of art but by the way it’s displayed and dispersed.

Dipping into a few other books at the moment and I thought I’d read ‘On Liberty’ for a lark, kind of wild how it 1. basically provides a justification for colonialism 2. still pretty much seems like the cornerstone of neoconservative foreign policy.

I finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? this morning

I actually had to go back a bit because, of course, compared with the film, the retiring of the last few andys is pretty quick. Yer man Roy just gets done in in the space of a paragraph! When he was mentioned as being dead in the next paragraph, I thought I must’ve accidentally skipped a page or something.

As I say, it gave me a newfound respect for Blade Runner and how it adapts the source material and kind of makes an alternate world re-telling out of it. The image in my head of the setting was very distinct from the image of the film, too, which I liked (cause obviously the expectation can be that the film will cloud over your own imagination).

My head jumped more towards something like the future world from off of Chrono Trigger


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Going on holiday and I need some book recommendations please*.

Things I like:

  • non fiction
  • sci-fi
  • funny things

*/ needs to be available at an airport book shop because I didn’t get organised enough to think about this earlier.

You could see if they have What If? by Randall Munroe.
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre is quite funny and may be a bit more likely.

Randall Munroe is the XKCD guy right? I will definitely have a look for this. Think I’ve read Bad Science. It’s a good one!

Yep. It is hilarious. Highly recommend it.

His Thing Explainer book is also great, but might be a bit big for carting around on holiday.

The Fractured Europe series has some humour to it.

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Reading the Madonna of Bolton. Really enjoying it, think it’s at least in part autobiographical.

Nearly finished the ‘book of the new sun’ series thank god. Gene Wolfe really likes to make his writing as confusing as humanly possible eh. Also suffers from an awful lot of stupid tropes