Reading Books in 2021

Ooh, I really liked Exit West, did you read that? Definitely going to have to pick this up now then

I wrote a short story in high school in second person based on The OC if that would interest you? :smiley:

I’ve recent read: ‘Eleven Kinds of Loneliness’ by Richard Yates. I saw the movie and read ‘Revolutionary Road’ a few years ago, and aside from a couple of Michael Shannon chewing the scenery, I didn’t particlarly like either, so I can’t remember what prompted me to order this. I think it’s because I saw The Jacket episode of Seinfeld for the millionth time and wanted to read something by the guy that inpired the character of Elaine’s father. I thought it was a pretty good collection of short stories. Before reading it, I had in my mind that it would be like a series of Edward Hopper paintings, only in short story form. In that regard, it didn’t disappoint, although I prefer Raymond Carver for this kind of thing.

I also just finished ‘Everything Under’ by Daisy Johnson, which I also liked a lot, although I can understand its flaws. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I really liked her first book (again short stories) and the world it created, so I particularly liked a reference right near the end of Everything Under that suggests at least part of it is set in the same location as Fen.

I’m now reading Dracula by Bram Stoker.Spoilers! I don’t know how to spoiler things on here but does explaining the essentials of Dracula require a spolier? Let me know. I’m only 25 pages in, and I like the fact that the castle setting, Dracula not having a reflection, blood, and cruxifixes are already established. Also like the fact that Count Dracula reads books of English train timetables in his downtime.

I haven’t read Exit West, but the basic premise absolutely intrigues me. I’ve got a lot of free time coming up so I might order both Exit West and The Reluctant Fundamentalist for summer reading.

I also wrote a story in the second person when I was in 6th form called ‘2000 Man’ which was partly inspired by ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot’ by Grandaddy.

I’m not sure if I’m saddened or glad that I don’t have any copies of the stories I wrote earlier in my life. For my A-level in English lit (Which I took in 2010 as an evening class at the age of 27) I remember submitting two stories, both dystopian - one was inspired by the Prefab Sprout song ‘Cars and Girls’ and another, which I remember trying to write in the same cadence as ‘Together’ by Together (aka that Thomas Bangalter side project with DJ Falcon), about a flock of geese landing in an apocalyptic version of Cardiff. 99 both of these were shit but I got an A* so maybe not?

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It is. Currently re-reading it, having not read it since I was a teenager. It perfectly captured the cynicism and dispair of her own private and professional life at the time she wrote it.

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Another bountiful haul from my visit to the library yesterday:

Really looking forward to reading Barbara Pym, described by Philip Larkin as ‘the most underrated writer of the (20th) century’, having never read any of her work before, and Yuko Tsushima, too. Obsessed with Japanese literature at the moment and I’m hoping I’ll enjoy her work as much as I do Yoko Ogawa, Sayaka Morata, Banana Yoshimoto etc

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Nearly at the end of Last Exit To Brooklyn and it’s brilliant but so grim. Normally when I read books fast I forget them easily but don’t think that’s gonna happen here.

On a more positive note I think I’m fine with no holidays if I can sit in the garden and read and drink beer all summer.

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Two come to mind:

If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino. One of my favourite ever books, unlike any other book written before or since. Basically its the story of how you, the reader, are attempting to read the book but keep being thwarted. It sounds wank but it’s done just so brilliantly.

Song of Stone by Ian Bainks. A much more straightforward narrative, post apocalyptic survival sort of thing, but told in the second person.

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NK Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy is partly told in 2nd PP

Paul Auster’s Invisible is also partly 2nd PP

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This is absolutely how I felt too.

I sort of want to reread but I’m not sure I can deal with feeling that horrible afterwards.

I’m really liking the Name of the Rose, I love that noir-like sense of this mystery taking place amidst huge societal change - except instead of post-war anxieties or whatever, it’s these really obscure religious factions and their arguments about greed and control in the early modern world that still resonate centuries later.

Other than Foucaults Pendulum, which is def on my list, what of Eco’s other novels come highly recommended?

In memory of memory of Maria Stepanova

kind of auto fiction type book about the author’s search around her family’s history, taking in the world wars and early 20th century soviet history

I enjoyed reading it for the most part, she’s an eloquent and engaging writer. there were some moments of real insight and ingenuity. definitely some elements of WG Sebald, Orhan Pamuk and Olga Tokarczuk.

However, I don’t think it really deserved the plaudits that has come its way- there seems to be a rush to applaud any of this kind of metafiction at the moment. I don’t think it has the consistent moments of interests that elevate Sebald’s work, and while I think the general concept, of unearthing her family’s history and making it ‘present’ is admirable, I wasn’t as compelled as when other writer’s have done it. Quite simply, the story/history just wasn’t as interesting.

I’m now reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson… really like it so far. The narrator’s voice is really compelling and humanistic

Went online to buy a particular Jose Saramago book, and ended up buying a whole bunch of his books that I haven’t read yet:

I didn’t even end up buying the book I was looking for! (Cain)

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Baudolino is my favourite away from his first two. I found FP even more entertaining and absorbing than NOTR; definitely one of my favourite books ever and has seen about half a dozen re-reads over the years.

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reading the most recent Rebecca Solnit one, ‘Recollections of My Non-Existence’. There’s a lot to ponder. Her descriptions of 1980s San Francisco are great and her writing is just brilliant, absolutely brilliant. It takes me ages to read because I keep stopping to think about what I think about the kinds of (gender) violence that she’s describing.

Finished reading ‘Surrounded By Idiots’ by Thomas Erikson. Which is around human behaviour - this once covers DISC model but there are others out there. I’m sure plenty of people have done them at work (Red, Yellow, Green, Blue people). I have covered these in work but followed other models but they are essentially talking about the same thing so a lot of this wasn’t new. The book itself was quite repetitive and you could tell it had been translated from Swedish - you just got a sense of different culture but I do find the subject matter fascinating and is quite a laugh when you start seeing yourself and friends in the different categories.

Currently Reading Exhalation by Ted Chiang which I am kind of enjoying, the stories this time around almost feel like Black Mirror episodes, you’re waiting for the punchline but the stories have definitely made me think for days after. The Lifecycle of Software Objects felt like slog at time but covers so many themes It ended up really getting to me.

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I’m reading ‘My Year of Rest and Relaxation’ by Ottessa Moshfegh as my sister kept telling me it was amazing. I’m about half way through and I’m not enjoying it so much. It’s stupid to say, but nothing really has happened so far? She sleeps, then wakes up and goes to a shop. For 100 pages.

I think it could be a story better suited to being a TV show or film where you could flit through her memories in an interesting way. I plan to finish it anyway as I need a break from reading the Brothers Karamazov which is too smart for me

I fucking hated Eileen by her, one of the most grudging reads of my life. Was bleak but also meaningless and slow which ain’t a winning combo

I’m a big fan of everything I’ve read by Moshfegh but she’s like Noah Baumbach / Alex Ross Perry in terms of being someone who’s work I really like, but totally understand why people find them insufferable

I started Running Dog by Don Delillo today. That opening chapter is pure lowkey noir atmos and I love it - perfect for how groggy I’m feeling today

Long standing Dissers might be interested to know about this (the author used to post here)

https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/283398/pope-lonergan.html?fbclid=IwAR2RRzzp9YgqVKYUQZI-8RSrDkIIheP9HkwSCzpXpWxp5fBThejtTvGq6fI

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Just finished Girl A by Abigail Dean and loved it. I only really like books that are a bit dark?

Anyone read any good fact or fiction around cults? I like cults.