Reading Books In 2024

Ho ho!

Please be better than Beautiful World :pray:

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assuming this is about the sandwich outlet

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Contemporary Gothic Reading Group 4: John Langan, The Fisherman Tickets, Wed, Jul 10, 2024 at 5:30 PM | Eventbrite_gaOTc3NjU2NjEwLjE3MTgwNTQ4ODA._ga_TQVES5V6SHMTcxODA1NDg4MC4xLjAuMTcxODA1NDg4MC4wLjAuMA…

Cool link bro

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I love that book so much

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Enjoying this so far

Just finished the new Rachel Cusk, Parade. I absolutely loved the Outline Trilogy, her auto-fiction books from a few years back and I have read both her books since that. The Guardian review pretty much captures it with their opening line “Rachel Cusk’s repeated attempts to exterminate the novel while still writing one are genuinely impressive.”

It is impressive, but I found it hard to enjoy as it was deliberately fragmented and didn’t really have much of a narrative arc to it at all. There is a central story about the narrator and her relationship to family and art, and then three other stories about artists called ‘G’ - a painter, a sculptor and a film maker. Some gorgeous writing in it though, I am pleased I read it.

Never been to a book tour event before. Lovely day for it. Too shy to ask a question and then thought of a banger in the car. Ah well

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Just started reading Private Rites myself. Would have loved to have gone to a book tour event for it but there wasn’t one local to me this time.

About a fifth of the way through already. Good stuff but not as immediately gripping and intriguing as ‘Our Wives…’ so far.

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I’m curious! What was the banger?

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People were asking about filmic and other literary influences, and I was curious about music cause where there’s deeply evocative atmosphere, my mind always goes to music (and it’s always interesting how it does or doesnt figure into writers’ processes)

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Reading material for my family sojourn in the Isle of Wight…

Especially looking forward to reading the newly republished Barbara Pym. Great to see so much of her work being republished, highlighting a renewed interest in her work.

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Really enjoyed the Kevin Barry interview the other day, really interesting and thoughtful and quite funny.

Paul Lynch interview was interesting as well, thought he had a bit more of a Serious Important Writer air to him though whereas Barry seemed very down to earth.

Both did signings after but I didn’t bother queuing up.

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Bargain here for any Kevin Barry fans, £4

Annoyingly they’re not priced down in the shops but you can order it online for collection at that price. Did so a month ago or so for £5, they’ve now dropped the price by another quid and he’s gone in and signed all the ones in the shop I got it from, ffs.

Just finished that. Kinda hated it tbh but it’s an easy read. Anybody want it?

Alan Garner fans - still a few tickets left if you’re near jodrell bank. Sounds really good

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Shuggie Bain - Douglas Stuart - Booker winner, Scottish boy and his dysfunctional family. It took a while to click, and was overlong, but I liked it in the end. 7/10

The Overstory - Richard Powers - Pulitzer winner. The first third of the book was completely amazing. 9 or 10 seemingly unconnected stories, all with some link to trees and the amazing things they do/are. If you like trees, then this is a thing of pure beauty. I was intrigued to see how it would all tie together, and it did a bit as it went on, but it lost a bit of its specialness. Still really liked it despite that though. 8/10

Corey Fah Does Social Mobility - Isabel Waidner - shortlisted for this year’s Arthur C Clarke award. This is a story of Coreh Fah, a writer who has just won the prize for the Fictionalization of Social Evils. But the trophy is a kind of flying UFO, which they can’t quite collect, and so can’t get their prize money. and then some eight-legged bambi spider creature appears, and some tv show with the presenter interviewing people, wanting to find a wormhole that he came from… Delightfully strange, although not quite as good as their Sterling Karat Gold book. 8/10

Until August - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - saw this out on a display table at my local library, so picked up this newly released short novel of his. He wasn’t quite happy with this novel before his death, but his family obviously wanted to share it with us/get some extra coins. A happily married woman travels to an island each year to where her mother is buried, and sort of looks for love/one night stands. It was a very slight read, and I think maybe 1/4 of the length that he wanted it to be, but nice enough. 7/10

The Offing - Benjamin Myers - post WWII, a teenage boy decides to wander around England/to the seaside, before he has to follow his father’s career in the mines. He comes across this very intriguing/strange older lady, and a nice friendship of sorts builds up. It wasn’t quite as great as his Cuddy book, but definitely want to read more. 8/10

Companion Piece - Ali Smith - I originally thought this was an extra book as part of her Seasons quadrilogy, but a separate book, albeit similar kind of themes, set in covid/post covid times. A bit similar to How To Be Both. I had high hopes to begin with, but it didn’t quite match up to the intrigue that it started with, but I’ve still not read a bad book by her. 7/10

Y/N - Esther Yi - I was in Oslo last week, and had a sore knee from hiking, so decided to stop in their amazing library, and read this book in one sitting over 4 hours. A Korean American woman in Berlin becomes obsessed with a K-pop idol and becomes intent on meeting him. It’s the lowest rated book I’ve read on Goodreads (2.97 stars), but I’ve no idea why. It’s a delight of a claustrophobic book. 8/10

And Then She Fell - Alice Elliott - @sweetbeans wrote about this not too long ago. I considered giving this book up when I was 1/3 of the way through. I found the main character too frustrating, with the way she was acting with her husband and her life. I understand why it was like that, but it just didn’t appeal to me that much. I checked reviews, where some people then said they didn’t like the weirdness as it went on, and thankfully that made me continue as I enjoyed that side of things a bit more, not knowing how it was all going to end up. 7/10

Things To Make And Break - May-Lan Tan - I zoomed through this short story collection. Gritty, sexy, unhinged, beautiful, strange. Not often that I really love a short story collection. There were maybe one or two stories that I wasn’t too sure on, but they were short, and most of them were pretty great. 9/10

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I finally got round to reading Children of Paradise yesterday and today. Fantastic book, thanks for the recommendation. It reminded me a bit of working in shops between 2004 and 2009 which all kept closing after having various administrators and buyers coming in and acting a lot like Andrew in this book.

Will add a point about the efficiency of Amazon Poland here. I ordered this book in January and it arrrived on the 15th of May.

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I took a big break from reading between March and June for various reasons (cat, health, lack of motivation) but I finished two books this week!

Children of Paradise by Camila Grudova - Really liked this, as mentioned above

The Colony by Audrey Magee My enjoyment of this book was slightly spoiled by the fact I read the first half three months ago and the second half in one day last weekend, in which I hade a huge disconnect between the plot and who each character was. Probably should have re-read the first half again but whatever - It’s not such a complicated plot. Felt like I was missing something by not really being the most knowledgeable about Anglo-Irish relations (entirely on me) so I really wasn’t sure when the book was set (between chapters there are recounts of actual sectarian violence irl but I didn’t realise these were real until I was in the latter stages of the novel and googled them). But the main narrative is about an English painter going to a remote Irish island to paint the coast. He doesn’t do that exactly, and kind of interferes with the local community who are a bit sceptical of him. There’s plenty to chew on here, with issues of language (dying or retaining it) different cultures co-existing and a right to autonomy, as well as some insightful points about painting.

Can’t really say if I liked it or not due to massive gap between reading the two halves, but I think I liked it, but I sometimes feel like I should do some background reading sometimes

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Nice to see you back round these parts, I was just wondering where you were! :slightly_smiling_face:

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