Reading books in 2023

Shy by Max Porter

I’ve bounced off the author’s stuff before but this fully clicked with me. It’s the same lyrical prose poetry sort of thing, but with a bit more meat on the bones. The main character, Shy, a drum n bass fan at a home for ‘very disturbed young men’ in the 90s, makes it very engaging and propulsive.

Also I imagine it’s a weirdly good pairing with the film Beats, which is no bad thing!


Other than the usual eBay, Amazon etc, can anyone recommend where the best places are to sell second hand books?

The Prestige - Christopher Priest

I’ve seen the film a long while ago, but didn’t realise it was based on a Christopher Priest book (although maybe I hadn’t read any of his books by that point). He’s a great writer, and I loved the way this story developed and how it kept changing from what I was expecting.

Didn’t know he had a new one.

Really liked Grief and Lanny but didn’t understand a word of the Francis Bacon one.

Finally getting into James Kelman’s The Busconductor Hines on the third attempt in 20 years

I would like to read it as the film is possibly the Nolan film I’ve enjoyed the most.

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I tend to use Ziffit because selling books on ebay has been an ordeal in the past.

You won’t make much back but they do take most things. Anything which is super rare might be worth selling via auction though.

Bookswap was a great idea but they’re charging loads for postage now and I don’t think the value is there.

Found Scally’s book really dense as well as emotionally exhausting but was glad to have read it. I like how you use the term “provocation” as I found it very similar insofar as it provoked me to really question somethings that I had just accepted for, well, ever.


Not a book (though they have one I want to read).

Really excellent…

I’m going to finish The Cone Gatherers tonight.

It definitely feels like a Scottish Of Mice and Men except most of the novel seems taken up with justifying the behaviour of the bullies.

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Lapvona was great - not strictly a fantasy novel or a magical realist novel but I think it had what I like about that kind of fiction woven in amongst the peculiar satire and folk horror of it all.

I’m now onto Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe, which I wasn’t planning to read but I saw it in the library and - yeah. I’m only at the beginning but the wealth of research he must have done here is really beautifully drawn in the prose - effortlessly building up a narrative that’s at once very specific (the personal history of the Sackler family) and thematically huge (mental health treatment, the birth of “Big Pharma”, American society in the wake of World War II).