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What are you reading at the moment?


ChrisN
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I’m just finishing off Newton Thornburgs ‘Cutter and Bone’. George Pelecanos gave it a great write-up and described it as one of the books that influenced him when he was starting out as a writer. It’s the story of an aging gigolo who abandons his family and his job and relocates to L.A. Things don’t work out for him and he ends up living with a bitter, one legged Vietnam vet. One night he witnesses a body being dumped and hits upon a scheme where him and his friend decide to try and blackmail the person they think dumped the body. One last score to set them up for life.

A low key slice of 1980’s California. Recommended.

I’m still trudging through Dan Simmons ‘The Terror’. I’m 700 pages in and starting to waver. I reckon Simmons wrote such a long book to mirror the suffering of the characters in the book. Every painful step they take is mirrored by every chapter I struggle to the finish off. It’s enjoyable and all but a thousand pages is a big ask.

I have the new Michael Marshall to start as well. I used to fly though his books as soon as I got them but I’m getting a bit weary of him now. I’d love if he wrote another science fiction book.

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Currently reading My Word is my Bond by Roger Moore. It's not fantastically written and he does appear to become friends with almost everyone but it moves along at a decent pace and he's more than aware of his reputation of not being a very good actor. He's just started directing The Saint in the section I'm reading now.

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I’m reading ‘1974’ by David Peace at the moment, and I have to confess to being slightly disappointed. It reminds me a lot of James Ellroy (as quoted on the cover), but even more suicidally depressing. In fact, it’s so unrelentingly bleak and grim that it becomes comical after a while – the main character is like a cross between Job, Suicidal Syd from Viz, and Calamity James from the Beano. I think it detracts from the believability of the narrative to be honest, it’s like the author is deliberately shitting on him, and seems a little overwrought. The writing style annoys me a bit, as well:

Thursday December 21 1974. Driving down Motorway One.

Bay City Rollers on the radio. Their manager was a puff.

Burnt-out gypsy camp on the left.

Saw a girl’s face in the trees. She’s dead. Had an abortion. Dog ate it. Shit.

Tried to light a cigarette with broken fingers. Dropped it.

Life is fucking shit. FUCKING SHIT LIFE IS.

Jack fucking Whitehead, raping my dead father. Cunt. I smelled smoke, and remembered my father’s funeral.

Car was on fire. I didn’t fucking care. Swerved on the icy road, and ran over a robin. Fucking robins.

I mean, fucking hell, cheer up. I bought the book after Luke Haines bigged him up and David Peace’s other novels have been getting rave reviews – hence the disappointment. The plot of the book isn’t all that interesting either; it seems a confusing mess of different conspiracies and I’m finding it hard to keep track of who’s blackmailing who. Still, I haven’t read the whole thing yet, so hopefully the story will come together at the end.

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Come round our house and you will find shelves crammed with classic literature and intellectual tomes, books on literary analysis, feminism, science, art. Books which scream "THIS IS A WELL-READ MAN!"

But it's all a lie. Tucked away in a cabinet in my bedroom is a secret stash of what I really read.

In short:

Currently reading The Tomb of the Cybermen by Gerry Davis.

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Just finished Andrew Marrs 'A History of Modern Britain'...... A very nicely written book and very interesting indeed! Focuses on the period 45-55, if you're into that kind of thing.

Ah, I've read this, a very concise and interesting book.

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I’m reading ‘1974’ by David Peace at the moment.

I really got into the Red Riding books. 1974 is grim but compared to the later books it’s fairly lightweight – when the ripper gets going things really get bleak.

I started a couple of new ones over the weekend; Outlaws by Kevin Simpson and Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem. I really liked Powder by Kevin Simpson but Outlaws isn’t great, the narrative keeps switching between 3 characters but they all seem to speak with the same voice so it’s getting a bit tedious. Fortress is a strange one. The story of 2 friends, one black and one white, growing up in New York in the 1970’s who develop super powers. Pretty ace so far.

Also, after 800 pages Dan Simmons The Terror just got amazing. I would have finished it last night but I was too tired. I'll be back on the ice tonight.

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Just finished reading El Diego (Diego Maradona autobiography). It was entertaining but it didn't endear me to him. A lot of the stuff he said came across as being untruthful or at the very least overly defensive.

Can't decide whether to read Garrincha's biography by Ruy Castro or Homicide by David Simon next.

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Just finished I Am Legend as I watched the dire film and heard (from here and from other people) that the novel was very different and much better - it was. The film in no way covers the novel either emotionally or intellectually (as usual). It was only a 160 pager so I read it in three sittings and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Just started The Road after good recommendations in the film folder and thus far it is stunning - poetry/prose and a has a real soul. Only just started it.

This year I've read World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide, I am Legend and a little bit of The Road - I'm worried that I've inexplicably picked end of the World themed books though - I seriously didn't do it on purpose so I'm concerned for my physciatric well being at the moment.

Got The Road for £2.99 on Play.com if anyone is interested :P

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Balls, paid more than that for a 2nd hand copy in anticipation for the Rllmuk Book Club next month.

I'm well into my pop science books at the moment, so am reading through Voodoo Science in my lunchbreaks. Good, enlightening read - I never realised quite what a crock of shit homoeopathic medicine is - although it could do with being a mite longer and expansive at points, there certainly seems to be the material available.

Also started Second Lives by Tim Guest, who had a monthly column in Edge a little while back about virtual worlds. It's a little Second Life-centric so far but the story regarding the severely handicapped people using their in-game avatar as a means of expression is inspiring.

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I have the new Michael Marshall to start as well. I used to fly though his books as soon as I got them but I’m getting a bit weary of him now. I’d love if he wrote another science fiction book.

Which one is that, The Servants or Bad Things? I'd love it if he wrote another SF book but crime sells better so it's unlikely he'll ever write anything like Spares or Only Forward again. :lol:

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As per uglifruit's recommendation, I've just finished Luke Haines' Bad Vibes, which I can't recommend highly enough. It's an incredibly dark but also very funny memoir that demands to be read at breakneck speed. I don't think being a fan of the man or his work is necessarily essential - I could never really get on with The Auteurs but I laughed out loud on numerous occasions.

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Which one is that, The Servants or Bad Things? I'd love it if he wrote another SF book but crime sells better so it's unlikely he'll ever write anything like Spares or Only Forward again. :)

Bad Things is the one I have here. I do enjoy his non sf stuff but I was kind of hoping he'd do an Iain Banks/ Iain M Banks and alternate between genres. Not likely though.

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Just finished G.H. Dahlquist's Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, which I enjoyed. It's got elements of steam punk, gothic literature, crime fiction and horror in there. The pacing was a bit too frenetic mind, I thought he could have done with slowing it down a bit at points.

Next up is a History of the Arab People or a biography of Oppenheimer that is so large I could throw a cloth over it and use it as a dining table.

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As per uglifruit's recommendation, I've just finished Luke Haines' Bad Vibes, which I can't recommend highly enough. It's an incredibly dark but also very funny memoir that demands to be read at breakneck speed. I don't think being a fan of the man or his work is necessarily essential - I could never really get on with The Auteurs but I laughed out loud on numerous occasions.

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I read that recently as well, and yeah, it's hilarious. It sometimes got a bit tedious listening to Haines whining about what amounts to a fairly successful music career, where he's been allowed to make exactly the kind of music he wants to and has been paid fairly handsomely as well, but he undercuts all that anyway with his disdain for his own snobbishness.

It's quite scary in places as well - the bit where he starts hearing voices and hallucinating when on tour was horrible - but there are some amazing anecdotes, like the one about putting his drummer on a mock trial when on acid, or the other epic acid story at the end. I really liked his candidness, like the way he doesn't even hold back a little bit when slagging off the Boo Radleys or Elastica or [whisper] Kula Shaker [/whisper]

I went to see Haines do a reading from the book a few weeks ago, and he did a predictably half-arsed job, which is why I love his stuff so much.

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I just finshed an Incredible Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Excellent bok, I loved the mix of philosophy and psychology within the fiction and the collage approach to the passage of time. Now reading my first Murakami - Kafka on the Shore. I've read about the first 200 pages, and to be honest, it's good enough to keep going, but I don't find it amazing so far. I'll probably read Norwegian Wood soon as well, but perhaps I am missing something?

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Re. the Haines book, if you enjoy music business anecdotes and even if you don't then I can't recommend 17 by Bill Drummond highly enough. It's my book of the last two years at least. At heart it's about his efforts to reimagine music from scratch but along the way he indulges repeatedly in the anecdotal digressions he does so well, including some excellent stories about his music career. There are also many wonderful stories of his choir project and assorted art shenanigans and also very simple suggestions for a better life and mind. It's a brilliant Zenmasterpiece of a book and if you've still got a functioning Zavvi near you you may now be able to pick up the hardback for a fiver.

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Finished, The Illuminatus! Trilogy after two failed previous attempts and several years.

Far too much to take in properly after one read. Much like the Cosmic Triggers, I'm going to have to read this again five years down the line.

Tonight I shall be starting my Christmas present:

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Finished the Last King of Scotland at the beginning of the week. The pretentious literati inside me doesn't want to admit it, but I prefered the film a fair bit more. It only follows the novel's narrative loosely and is much more dramatic. The book is still recommended for the bits where Amin actually features, but they're not as frequent as I'd like.

Also completed Amsterdam by Ian McEwan last night. I finished it in a day so it was certainly readable, but I'm not really sure why it won the Booker. Seems like one of those books you have to study if you want to get the most out of it.

Am now reading Thud! by Pratchett.

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Last book I read was The Forever War. I absolutely loved it. Time dilation stories have always been a favourite of mine, even though I generally don't read many of them. The sheer concept and story possibilities that it allows tick all the correct boxes of Sci-Fi in my mind.

Anyways went into Waterstones today and bought three books, Death and the Penguin as seen in the book club thread, Revolutionary Road because I've heard the film is depressingly brilliant and Atomised because it had a woman in her panties on the cover.

Was going to buy Lolita and Brave New World, but the former wasn't in a 3 for 2 offer and the latter wasn't in stock.

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I’m reading ‘1974’ by David Peace at the moment, and I have to confess to being slightly disappointed.

I read 1974 yesterday on the strength of this glowing review and I found it 'enjoyable' (I couldn't really say that without putting it in quotes, considering) although a bit too ambitious at times - I came away with a few questions I don't think were adequately answered. But I've ordered the other three books. If it was set in LA it'd be history's most audacious act of plagiarism, but the Yorkshire setting and the choice of time period amount to more than a simple veneer and the book dragged me into its smoke-stunk yellow and brown world very effectively. Hopefully in the following books Peace won't overegg the pudding to the same degree.

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