Reading books in 2023

going on about this whenever it’s mentioned, but as its a topic close to my heart … it’s based on a real cinema in Edinburgh. So if you ever find yourself here you should go take a look/see a film there and see how it matches up to your vision!

As it’s part of the Picturehouse chain instead of fully independent your thoughts on uniformity still stand - but as an actual venue and vibe, as soon as you step inside I think it still stands out compared to any Vue/Cineworld/Everyman. It still reads as a bit of a love letter to the place as it is now, to me

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I am well up for checking out a film there if I ever visit - which cinema is it?

The Cameo, been a cinema continuously since 1914

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I mean, if there is one cinema that I wouldn’t want to visit after the descriptions of a fictional version of it and its cleanliness levels, then this is definitely high up the list! :smiley:

Great book anyhow!

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Struggling to stick with stuff at the moment.

Most recent reads that I enjoyed:

  • There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura
  • Penance by Eliza Clark
  • Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby van Pelt
  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

…please recommend me things, easy to read but not total shit, nothing historical / fantasy.

Reading 11.22.63 by Stephen King and absolutely loving it so far. Great to dig in to a rich tome over the colder months.

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The Leftovers, Our Wives Under the Sea, Children of Paradise, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

From my read list this year that could appeal

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Oh yes, read Tomorrow x3 :two_hearts::two_hearts::two_hearts:

Thank you for the others!!!

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also Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt (and I’m guessing her new one too) definitely hit the same spot as Eliza Clark’s work

A bit trickier to read but well worth it

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I love that book, easily his best this century.

I am working my way through the Booker Short List over the last couple of months. Just the winner and one other to go.

My favourite so far has been Western Lane. A very short novel, which on the surface is mostly about a young girl playing Squash. I loved it, found it really moving. It has a lot to say about families, grief, and finding a place in the world.

as my usual posts in here go - i’ve been lazy and not reviewing books and why am i such a chump

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed - Mariana Enriquez
one of those short story collections that mainly serve to remind me why i don’t read many short story collections lol. Some great unsettling moments and turns of phrase, but usually the stories ended right as I was getting engaged in them. Basically only really got into the few that were 30+ pages long, that’s my minimum for thinking of something as a “short story” rather than just a sketch of an idea

The Leftovers - Tom Perrotta
great setup, very readable and engaging, a page turner with some thought behind it. Felt its age slightly with some of the physical character descriptions, but nothing egregious. Was interesting seeing how … simple? the novel played out though, compared to how off-kilter the TV adaptation ended up being. Meant that they were both well worth it though, since they covered similar ideas in quite different ways

Bleeding Edge - Pynchon
oh yeah, good shit. The sprawl and twists of Gravity’s Rainbow, but with the easily readability of Crying of Lot 49 (note: the 3 Pynchon novels I’ve read). Was great fun reading this while visiting 2023 NYC, written in 2014, set in 2001 - seeing history repeating itself, or not, or a sense of the … innocence of some of the pre 9/11 Western world. Also never get bored of stories about New Yorkers judging other parts of NY, or inter-borough conflicts. Very likeable main character to drag you through some of the weirder sections too (not sure I ever really got what he was going for with Windust though). Also enjoyed the way he wrote about tech, clearly some was/is dated but it felt like it captured the right vibe, which is all you really needed tbh

Poor Things - Alasdair Grey
a pretty perfect book? Funny, smart, unexpected, some formal twists, sad, touching. Looking forward to the adaptation a lot more now (though it’ll be quite a change, Glasgow is such a key character to this whole thing) and to getting round to reading Lanark next year

tbh @plasticniki I’d recommend this as the best thing I’ve read all year. My other suggestions were more linked to your specific listed interests, but for pure quality I’d still suggest this

Trust - Hernan Diaz
I loved In the Distance, but this took some time to warm to. Once I worked out what was actually happening it definitely opened up a bit and got more enjoyable, but was one of those “appreciate more than love” situations, overall. A little cold

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I have just finished this, and i loved it. Found myself totally lost in it, could believe the Crow-on-Sea world, and enjoyed the way the end played out. Would read again.

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I like Claire Keegan, I’ll read more books by her I reckon

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Yep. Don’t think I’ve enjoyed any authors more than her recently.

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Just finished Bluebeard’s Castle by Anne Biller (director/writer/editor/costume designer etc of The Love Witch)

So it’s not a retelling of Bluebeard as such, Bluebeard as a fairytale exists within but the story mirrors it. Lots of nods to gothic fiction with violent men with Rebecca and Jane Eyre being mentioned a lot.

So there are cycles of abuse, reconciliation and trauma. It’s uncomfortable, frustrating and it doesn’t pull it’s punches. It is good, I’m not sure how much I enjoyed it but it is sitting with me.

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As if she can write books as well as all the rest, fuck off

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I liked this book / set of stories, but I agree that a few of her stories just sort of ended without getting resolved or there feeling like a point to it. I definitely felt that with her other short story collection, Things We Lost In The Fire, which I finished last week and felt that it had too many stories that I was a bit nonplussed by. I think you can have <30 page stories that don’t feel like just sketches of an idea, but maybe some authors just seem to prefer that for their short stories!

and just to group it together, last month I finished Salt Slow by Julia Armfield, which had similar feelings for me - interesting ideas, but sometimes the story ended and the next one started before me realising that I wasn’t satisfied that it had enough content/plot in it. Although I absolutely loved the story about people and their ‘sleeps’ - it felt like a story that Jose Saramago would have written/approved of.

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and just to round up my other books of late:

Shy - Max Porter
I really liked Lanny, and moderately liked Grief Is The Thing With Flowers. This one had its moments, and it had its usual strange writing and brevity, but I still found myself wanting to skip through most of it. I can’t even really remember the plot despite only finishing it three weeks ago.

Beyond The Door Of No Return - David Diop
Set in the 1700s/1800s, a French man on a research expedition in West Africa, and his obsession about finding an African woman who had escaped from slavers. A bit slow at times, but I liked it overall.

Unexpected Stories - Octavia Butler
Found this as a short audiobook with my library. The first longer novella, A Necessary Being, was great. It felt like an Ursula Le Guin type story, and I would have been happy for it to have been made a book or even a series. The second story, Childfinder, didn’t interest me at all, but at least it was short.

Little Eyes - Samnta Schweblin
I loved this one! Lots of short chapters, sometimes with one off characters/stories, and other times having some characters/storylines we’ll meet with again through the book. Little robotic toys called Kentukis are randomly matched up with another person anywhere in the world who can watch/control them remotely. and then just lots of different scenarios of privacy and trust issues with them, and different reasons why people might want to ‘own’ one, or ‘be’ one. Not a very hope-filled book, but I was gripped and interested throughout. I also have her (very short!) Seven Empty Houses audiobook on my phone, so will give that a listen soon.

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