Reading books in 2022

Also just finished this and loved it, certainly my favourite of hers. I struggled with The Glass Hotel a little but I think some of that was down to expectations and timing when I read it.

Need to read To Paradise, Cloud Cuckoo Land is another that is similar and also long.

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I personally really preferred Human Acts to The Vegetarian so I definitely recommend that to you!

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Thanks. That was my intended next port of call.

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To Paradise, by the A Little Life author is 99 pence on Kindle today. Much easier than reading the giant paper book version! I really liked it anyway.

Am also tempted about getting Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes, which is 99 pence today too. Medusa and Greek gods type stuff.

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Stone blind looks right up my street! Thank you.

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My novel of the year is Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, I imagine there would be a lot of fans of it here tentatively checks thread

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Not read it, but it’s on the list!

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Sounds interesting, will put it on the to-reads.

Currently reading a former-DiSer’s book on non-league football.

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I started The Voids by Ryan O’Connor this morning on my flight. I bought it partly because I saw some really good reviews and partly because it’s set in Glasgow.

Some of the writing is wonderful but I was expecting something a bit more magical realist/ social commentary than the list of grim experiences that it’s turned into.

Keep on meaning to buy it, heard nothing but good things.

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Just read Lavinia by Ursula le Guin. Picked it up ages ago. It’s to The Aenied as Song of Achilles is to The Illiad.

Enjoyed it, enjoy most of the different perspective of classics. Other then the Atwood one.

Picked up the Aenied and Ariadne by Jennifer Saint just now so will see what that’s like.

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Has anyone read the new Mariana Enriquez yet? I’d not seen a physical copy until yesterday…oh boy, that’s one long book! 736 pages.

Blows my mind you can write short stories then produce a breezeblock of a novel.

Really hope its great, i love her

I’ve still yet to start it since picking it up in October, will certainly be starting it in the new year. @nicholasurfe had a copy as well.

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Didn’t realise this is now 30 years old

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Indeed, I have a copy of Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez. And I have read it, and thought it was really, really good. I’m not a huge reader of the genre (horror / dark fantasy / black magic) and I’m probably not good enough at defining genres so I might have got it wrong.

I read both The Dangers of Smoking in Bed and Things We Lost in the Fire during the summer, and loved both of them. I loved the locations, the characters and the constant feeling of being on the edge of understanding what’s going on when a completely supernatural, or seemingly supernatural thing takes place. That’s the feeling I got with this book.

If it helps the approach, the book is clearly divided into definitely seperate sections, in different time periods covering the lifetimes of the main characters. It all contributes to the whole story, but it makes the book more episodic and each section is great in its own right.

To use banal comparisons - I think of her short stories as being like mini Twilight Zone episodes, but this book reads more a miniseries

I also like the references to music in her work. I can’t remember which of the short story collections starts with a Will Oldham quote as the epigraph - and surely Things We Lost in the Fire is a reference to the Low album. The last section of Our Share of Night is called ‘Black Flowers that Grow in the Sky’ which is a Manic Streee Preachers reference. One of Enriquez books, not translated into English yet, is a book about walking around cemeteries, including searching for Richie Edwards in Havana.

I really hope Our Share of Night gets enough of an English audience that her other books get translated.

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Read a few books recently that I haven’t written about on here:

Stuart Braithwaite - Spaceships Over Glasgow. - mixed feelings on this. Loved the insights on Mogwai - explanations of a few song titles, putting together albums and the early days. Got bored as I often do with rock n’ roll autobiographies where it’s just a seemingly endless list of drugs and alcohol tales and lists of famous people Stuart became friends with.

Marisha Pessl - Night Film - Really enjoyed this. Crime fiction, a bit of a murder mystery kind of thing even though it’s not a murder at the heart of it. I feel like Pessl read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and thought 'I can do a better version of this. And does so - I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in films as the heart of it is a mysterious film director (I think Stanley Kubrick was probably the inspiration) and the story definitely goes meta for a while so you can compare it to John Fowles ‘The Magus’ (one of my favourite books) and the David Fincher movie ‘The Game’

Arthur Schnitzler - Dream Story - This is the book that Stanley Kubrick adapted for Eyes Wide Shut. It’s kind of interesting how faithful an adaptation it is. It is basically the plot of Eyes Wide Shut. It’s really short (I read it in one day). Read it as part of my ongoing ‘Kubrick films are better than the books he adapted’ cause. This was good, but so sparse and the film adds stuff that makes it more of an experience.

Joshua Cohen - The Netenyahus - Bought and read this because it won the Pulitzer prize. It’s a fictional account of a real encounter between Harold Bloom and Benzion Netanyahu (IE Benjamin’s father) in the late 1950s. I have always been a bit wary of books whose blurb describes them as ‘funny’ as I rarely LOL at books. I also listened to a podcast where Colm Toibin was talking with Cohen and said that at various times he literally fell to the floor laughing. Totally did not get this book. I feel like Cohen is a very clever writer, but I just felt like a simpleton reading this book. The inciting incident doesn’t take place until 120 pages into a 220 page book, by which time I felt like I’d been lectured so much about Jewish history and although I kind of liked the last 100 pages, I knew this book was not for me at all.

Alex Horne - Wordwatching - This was kind of fun. Yer man from Taskmaster and No More Jockeys tries to get words that he and his friend have invented into such popular usage that the dictionaries have to get noticed. This book was published in 2010 so I don’t know whether the 'comedians writing books where they do a challenge was still in vogue or past its peak - (aside - I’ve been out of the UK for 12 years so is still a genre?) I’m a sucker for books about language so that’s why I singled it out.

Alexander Weinstein - Children of the New World - Short story collection, so some are better than others. I bought it because I really liked the film ‘After Yang’ but it wasn’t my favourite story from the book. All very ‘Black Mirror’ about technology and dystopia. Liked it a lot, but felt like Weinstein was a bit obsessed with that sex is like in the future. Enjoyed it enough to buy his other book.

I’ve got a pile of books to read (I buy my own Christmas presents) so let me know if you liked any of these:

Geoff Dyer - The Ongoing Moment
Henry Hitchings - Language War
Stanley Tucci - Taste
Fernanda Melchor - Paradais
Marishya Pessl - Special Topics on Calamity Physics (as recommended by @riverwise )
Ryszard Kapuscinski - Nobody Leaves
Nathan Hill - The Nix
Alexander Weinstein - Universal Love
Jonathan Coe - Bournville
Camille Deangelis - Bones and All
Eley Williams - The Liar’s Dictionary (as recommended by @keith )

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Sounds great look forward to getting into it as is exactly what I’m after by the sounds of it from reading her short stories.

On your other post. For Pessl I was a big fan of Night Film and think it edged it over Special Topics on Calamity Physics for me but that may be because I came to that book due to recommendation of it being like Secret History which skewed expectations. Was still an enjoyable read and I appear to have logged both as 4 star.

I’m going to pick Paradais and Bournville up as well. Have you read Hurricane Season by Melchor? It’s a brutal dark read with an interesting writing style, absolutely loved it once I got into get. She gets a lot of comparisons to Bolano, so I’ve high hopes for Paradais.

asked for this for Christmas on the back of this thread as well. Also got a bunch of @ghostly books saved for when they hit paperback next year - think we have very similar tastes!

enjoyed this quite a lot. I think it suffered a bit as I read it quite close to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which I adored at the time. They aren’t super similar, but both were big long winding things with lots of story strands, dealing with internet and games culture, the nature of family and men in modern society, American politics etc. Basically both felt like modern entries into the whole Great American Novel genre. Just enough to group them together in my head and make me think worse of the one I didn’t like as much

but it was a very good read, raced through it given how long it is, page turner but still gave me lots to reflect on, imagine it might feel even more relevant now given how the world has gone in the last 5 years. So, a recommend for sure

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Liar’s Dictionary is good. For a first novel, it’s pretty distinctive, and confident too…if that makes sense.

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The Nix is decent, very readable

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