The Book Thread Of Year '19




Higher English

If you’ve got high-end GCSE resources or A-level I will happily take them from you.


Ah sadly I’ve never taught it although I would love to. We’ve been stuck on perishing “an inspector calls” for the last fifty syllabi.


finished delusions of gender, so informative and thorough, definitely given me confidence to take on the Jordan Peterson fans in my life (3rd friend fell under his spell recently, someone I actual rate this time :(), also made me feel quite silly for what i’ve thought about some things in the past.

Also great to see some Simon Baron-Cohen bashing in this book and to learn he is just as much a villain outside of the realm of Autism (also read a critical review of this book by him as think its always good to get both sides, his defence is so weak, complaining his work has been mischaracterised as it only argued their are some moderate differences due to biology, then why did you call your book ‘the essential difference’ SBC?).

Also kept in mind DB’s comments about how the authors arguments have been misappropriated by TERFs while reading it. It is a real shame it doesn’t touch on transgender issues, I guess that was outside the scope of the book, and at the time of publication it hadn’t become the widespread hot button topic it is now.

I have often wondered about the tension between seeing gender as a socially constructed thing and many trans people experiencing it as a very innate thing. in the past I reconciled it by thinking people should just be free to do whatever they want and shouldn’t need a cohesive framework that explains everything and often trying to make one is part of the problem.

But I think the book actual does offer a potential answer, in that it suggests that desire to identify with a gender group is innate (though i’m sure this doesnt apply to everyone more a tendency than rule) and to join in with the activities and behaviours of their gender group whatever they may be in their society, but those activities and behaviours themselves are not innate or fixed but culturally contingent. So I think if a trans person, through some developmental reason, has the innate desire to identify as another gender, doesn’t mean the gender roles themselves aren’t culturally constructed (really hope I haven’t said anything off base or insensitive here, and i’m definitely not saying there needs to be an underlying innate reason for people being transgender, it should be as simple as just respecting peoples wishes, was just trying to read this book with a mind as to how they might fit into these arguments, interested in any recommendations on this subject if i’m off track). Any way great book, sure it is old news to many around here but I found it eye opening.

Also read ‘kill all normies’ I know this books is supposed to be pretty bad, and it is, the chapter on ‘tumblr liberalism’ and how it is blamed for the rise of the alt right is ridiculous, seems like it was written by someone living on a different planet. But think it is good for giving an overview of various events leading to the rise of the alt right, and shining a light on the darker corners of the internet, the chapter on ‘the manosphere’ is terrifying, I know that culture crops up even in mainstream internet but wasn’t fully aware of these extremes. It was also good in that reading some critical responses to the book were themselves quite informative

Also finished all the wrong questions, shouldn’t you be in school. finding it a total chore compared to asoue, glad I only have one to go. Think i’m going to stick with non-fiction for a while.

Also, despite what I said in the HMV thread, i’m loving my Kobo e-reader now. Reading a book in the dark with it set to candlelight mode is optimal.


A welcome addition to any text, imo.


Really don’t understand why he is still considered the U.K. leading expert, there should be an autistic vote of no confidence in him


Here’s a couple off the top of my head I remember using: – this one was really useful on my first read (and once during this one, actually) for just clarifying that what I thought happened actually did happen. It’s essentially very short summaries of each individual section that also offer good reminders (like if you’re writing a dissertation and need to remember where the hell you’ll find a certain passage). – The PynchonWiki (chock full of fun annotations by passionate readers that can be too much if you just want to enjoy / engage with the books on yr own terms, but that also offer some fun extra context) has an alphabetical index that was useful for similar reasons to above. Especially when you’re faced the question of “have I encountered this ridiculously named person before?”

I feel like making these recommendations are making it sound like a more daunting novel than it really is (there are more in that video I linked to in the OP, btw, and his companion videos are really good, unpretentious insights from someone who is a big Pynchon fan but also willing to accept that it definitely veers into the incomprehensible at times). With that in mind, it was quite interesting (considering it and Pynchon’s reputation) seeing a letter written by TP that is archived at some university where iirc he’s saying how he didn’t want GR released as a hardback bc he wanted it to be affordable and therefore accessible by everyone.

I just reached part 2 this weekend, which - thus far - is way more of a total pageturner than I remember it being. Chock full of mystery!

(I’ll try to curb my lengthy Grav Ray (the affectionate name I gave the novel when I was 20/21) posts a bit more, I promise!)


forgot to report back on ordered a couple of taschen books, super slow delivery but well packaged and books seemed brand new so definitely going to use them again as the prices are so good (these were £6.39, invisibles volume 1 £10 vs £20 on amazon, buffy season 10 library editions £16 rather than £25 on amazon, dont understand how they are undercutting amazon)


About to start reading Jack Ketchum’s ‘Off Season’, loved ‘The Lost’ and ‘Girl Next Door’. He’s a bit on the dark side eh?


Thank you so much!


this sounds reactionary and sneering but i was hearing a lot about this writer and book so i finally got around to reading some press about it cos money is tight rn

A superb evocation of a couple at Trinity College Dublin who show what it is to be young and in love

He and Marianne are like figure-skaters, improvising their discussions so adeptly and in such perfect synchronisation that it surprises them both.

So much can be read into the aspiration of the male character Connell to one day “start going to dinner parties and having conversations about the Greek bailout” – a dream for a young man with preconceived ideas about what successful adults do.

it sounds exactly like every other middle class novel, i’m so jaded :pensive:


in more positive scenes i read this the other week, from 2018 but i’m counting it anyway!


I started Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie last night.

I’m not fully impressed by how much of a chauvinist Poirot is.


I was intrigued by it (still am kind of), but it does look like all that “voice of a generation” stuff (none of which, in fairness, she’s courted) is following with that media assumption that all millennials = relatively well-off city professionals.

I have to say I was prepared to hate that article but yeah, the narrative that you need to get yr break young is really negative in loads of ways (creating insecurities about not achieving by a certain age what is infrastructurally more or less impossible for loads of people). Big up the idea that older success is possible / to be lauded (as of course are the wunderkinds)


yeah it’s not her fault, the press are ridiculous. but idk, the themes/story don’t intrigue me all that much. partly it is my own issues, with my background and all i don’t feel particularly represented in these kinds of books. i went through that phase in my early 20s where you read all the books you’re “supposed to” and except for the pynchon and the eugenides and stuff, which i loved, i just couldn’t connect with them. i realised about a third of the way into some jonathan franzen/dellilo thing that these tales of manners, hysterical realism or whatever we call it, just aren’t for me. it was a big relief to also realise this was perfectly fine and crack on with my ellroy and le guin and whatnot.

thinking of DS records and hoping this is right tbh :wink:


This tweet swung me back to more interested


this is also a good and correct opinion tbh


Finished Eleanor Oliphant. Pretty good innit. Obvs nothing groundbreaking but it’s my kind of thing really.

Next up: The rider by Tim Krabbé


The Vatican Cellars. Farcical romp. Enjoyed.

Have started Growth Of The Soil by Knut Hamsun.


what should I read?