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ChrisN
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How High We Go In The Dark - recommended on this forum. I don't know how far along i am in this as i'm deliberately not checking this. It's simultaneously a really well written book but also a tough read. The author focuses on the individual stories and sense of loss of myriad characters following a catastrophic global pandemic. The chapters involving children were heartbreaking to read. I think it's a book i'd recommend to anyone but i would warn them it could be a difficult read depending on their mental health and/or personal circumstances. I'm glad i was ecommended it, without a doubt.

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Really enjoying Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle. Took a little while to set the scene but is quickly developing into a really well written crime potboiler. What it’s particularly great at doing is grounding you very much in the experiences of racial inequality in New York in the 60s. It’s educational as part of the plot, nothing feels shoehorned in. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin 

This is getting an awful lot of hype and rave reviews, it’s in 4.4 on goodreads. It’s a novel with gaming at it’s heart and the relationship between two life long friends who make games and fall in and out platonic love together.

However, I’m going to have to put this one in a Did not finish pile. Like Ready player one it’s self satisfied nods to real life games is a big grating and I don’t really care about the main characters. It’s become a chore to finish and so it’s going to have to be put on the don’t bother list.

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  • 1 month later...
12 hours ago, MansizeRooster said:

I really, really enjoyed A Confederacy of Dunces. A lot of what I liked was that it was written pre-internet. Does anyone have any similarly funny and memorable novels?


John Irving’s The World According to Garp?

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On 31/07/2022 at 07:27, little che said:

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin 

This is getting an awful lot of hype and rave reviews, it’s in 4.4 on goodreads. It’s a novel with gaming at it’s heart and the relationship between two life long friends who make games and fall in and out platonic love together.

However, I’m going to have to put this one in a Did not finish pile. Like Ready player one it’s self satisfied nods to real life games is a big grating and I don’t really care about the main characters. It’s become a chore to finish and so it’s going to have to be put on the don’t bother list.


 

Just finished it over a week and a half of commutes.  I enjoyed it, it’s good but perhaps as great as I’d hoped from the reviews.  Perhaps, I wanted to get into this as much as I did chabon’s Kavaloer and Clay back in the day, but it didn’t quite pull me in in the same way.   

 

I appreciate what the mixed race and asian protagonists and some exploration of the third culture identity.  On the other hand I also wish the grandparents and their relationship with Sam got a bit more.  I know it’s not trying to be Pachinko but it felt like an absence in the story.  

 

The author says it’s a book about work, but it feels like she’s to quite confident in concept of making games by itself that there had to be a lot other things added in for drama.  I don’t mind the references to games and the errors in them, but I wish the story was a bit more focused on the creative partnership without the tropes that made the main characters feel a bit less real and distracted from the central relationship.  

 

They story evokes for me both the standalone episode from season 1 of Mythic Quest -  “A Dark Quiet Death”, which is an obvious comparison, and also the second season pair of “Backstory!”  and “Peter” in terms of the relationship between the protagonists.  I know there will likely be a movie adaptation of this, but I think those short episodes of Mythic Quest were more poetic in many ways.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm currently reading Psalms for the End of the World by Cole Haddon.

I saw a brief description about it on twitter a month back and subsequently the goodreads reviews which compelled me to buy it .  

Nearly half way through and it's absolutely brilliant..I suppose it can be compared to Cloud Atlas with its multiple protagonists and timelines, but the fact that I'm enjoying it as much as (as far as I remember) Cloud Atlas should speak volumes.  There is a metaphysical mystery woven into it which I'm nowhere near understanding yet , and hopefully it won't disappoint when it reveals itself .

Based on the half of the book I've read I would say this should be bought and read as your next book.

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Having watched numerous TV and Film adaptations of her work, realised today I've never read a Agatha Christie book. Think this popped my head after starting to watch the Lucy Worsley documentary series on BBC about her, earlier.

Can anyone recommend any of her novels which would be a good starting position to try out of hers, just to see if I enjoy her style etc?

 

Thanks 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm trying to read The Infatuations by Javier Marias but it's not really clicking for me. Maybe it's the translation but it's almost overwrote if that makes any sense. Ah well, all I can do is push on and hope it gets better 

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On 07/07/2022 at 13:25, joemul said:

How High We Go In The Dark - recommended on this forum. I don't know how far along i am in this as i'm deliberately not checking this. It's simultaneously a really well written book but also a tough read. The author focuses on the individual stories and sense of loss of myriad characters following a catastrophic global pandemic. The chapters involving children were heartbreaking to read. I think it's a book i'd recommend to anyone but i would warn them it could be a difficult read depending on their mental health and/or personal circumstances. I'm glad i was ecommended it, without a doubt.

I really wanted to read this and I have it on my kindle but this is putting me off a little! Is it awful?  I can’t deal with bad things happening to children anymore.

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5 hours ago, Laine said:

I really wanted to read this and I have it on my kindle but this is putting me off a little! Is it awful?  I can’t deal with bad things happening to children anymore.

I'm been recommending this on here all year and would encourage everyone to give it a go. However, from your post, I think you'll really struggle with one of the best chapters in the book. You could bypass it as the chapters are largely self-contained stories based around the story's pandemic. 

 

The chapter I'm talking about is 

Spoiler

concerning a theme park which is where terminal kids are taken to for one last pleasurable day before being euthanised. 

I found it an emotional tour de force so think you might not get on with it. I don't think it's gory but the essence is upsetting. 

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Artemis - fucking hell this main character is so badly written and hateable. I'm 40% in and kind of want to see where the plot ends up but there's this zany, immature, unrealistic bitch in the way! It'll be worth it if she gets what's coming to her I guess.

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I'm reading (listening to) John Higg's latest, Love and Let Die, and it is absolutely brilliant.

 

He uses the release of the first Bond film and the first Bond single on the same day in October, 1962, and the cultural behemoths went on to be as the launch point for a discussion on the next sixty years of British cultural and social history. It is an inspired idea and Higgs delivers it in his usual, highly detailed, thoroughly researched style. I'm only up to 1964 and the use of Fleming and his Establishment card carrying, backward looking, misogynistic, regressive colonialist attitudes as the anti quark to the quark that is the working class, forward looking, progressive, future that the Beatles represent is throwing up all sorts of gems that I as, neither a fan of the Beatles nor much of a fan of Bond, am enjoying immensely. I did try to listen to the Beatles again last night but they really are not for me, however interesting their story is turning out to be.

 

That Higg's has a wonderful reading voice makes for an audiobook that even I am able to pay attention to is a real bonus. 

 

Anyways, so far it is shaping up to be as good as the extraordinary history of the 20th Century, 'Stranger than We Can Imagine', and I cannot wait to get back to it whilst cooking later.

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I have started tracking down and reading the 10 Dirty Harry novels that were published between The Enforcer (where the movies were supposed to end originally) and Sudden Impact (when the books stopped being written/published).

 

So far I've finished No.1: Duel For Cannons and it was quite entertaining and true to the character of Harry Callahan, expecially when reading his lines in Clint's voice. Just acquired the second book, Death on the Docks, which I will be starting soon. Has that amazing 1980s used book stench that can only come from seriously yellowed paper and I love it lol.

 

I'm still dubious about how good the series will be however, as the author is supposedly only a pseudonym with different writers doing each book. So I'm preparing for a potential jumping about of quality down the line.

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I'm most of the way through Project Hail Mary at the mo. It took a while for me to get into it, which wasn't helped by the sporadic way I was reading to start with but I do think it was a bit plodding for a while. I'm really enjoying it now though.

 

But yeah, it was slow going for a while, I think the structure harmed it for a significant portion of the book, where the interesting current story was bogged down with frequent flashback sequences. There's a good reason for them and they do explain things, but they also work to delay the good stuff. I remember reading The Martian and not being able to put it down for long stretches, whereas here I was often looking at the Kindle "time remaining in this chapter" readout a little too often.

 

It's maybe a bit too similar to The Martian in style actually, being another "one astronaut with a convenient set of skills has to to science his way out of a bind" story told in first person. I wouldn't want to read it straight after that book, but it's been long enough that it hasn't really bothered me. It's a lot more high concept than The Martian though, and it's quite cool to see the same entertaining, scientific style applied to a more sci-fi situation. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm about halfway through Bret Easton Ellis' new one The Shards. It's a very meta take on his own teenage years with occasional flash-forwards to his adult life. It's about a 17 year old guy called 'Bret Easton Ellis' who's in the process of writing his first book called 'Less Than Zero'. He attends an expensive private school, takes drugs and has lots of sex. In the background of this life of privilidge there's a serial killer called The Trawler operating, who's killing his way across California.

 

I found this hard work at first but once I got the rhythm I started to dig it. There's lots of repetition, lot's of discussion of music, films and consumerism in general - it's very like American Psycho in that regard but doesn't have the same cynicism or blankness as AP. Ellis writes 'himself' in fairly unsympathetic ways. There's some really strange style choices as well - sentences run on for 100's of words, which might be a meta-commentary on his own early writing style but makes for hard work when you're reading. 

 

The plot is fairly thin - idle rich kids taking drugs, drinking and shopping have their lives disrupted when they get a new classmate. This new classmate seems like another rich kid but there are some aspects about his past that makes him a little suspicious. At the same time there's a killer at work. Are these two things related? 

 

I don't know if I'm enjoying this but I'll probably stick it out until the end - all 700 (!) pages of it. There's a woozy, hypnotic atmosphere just following these brats as they go about being rich in 80's LA. It's very funny in places and Ellis seems to posses enough self-awareness to be comfortable looking a bit foolish. 

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1 hour ago, Silent Runner said:

I'm about halfway through Bret Easton Ellis' new one The Shards. It's a very meta take on his own teenage years with occasional flash-forwards to his adult life. It's about a 17 year old guy called 'Bret Easton Ellis' who's in the process of writing his first book called 'Less Than Zero'. He attends an expensive private school, takes drugs and has lots of sex. In the background of this life of privilidge there's a serial killer called The Trawler operating, who's killing his way across California.

 

I found this hard work at first but once I got the rhythm I started to dig it. There's lots of repetition, lot's of discussion of music, films and consumerism in general - it's very like American Psycho in that regard but doesn't have the same cynicism or blankness as AP. Ellis writes 'himself' in fairly unsympathetic ways. There's some really strange style choices as well - sentences run on for 100's of words, which might be a meta-commentary on his own early writing style but makes for hard work when you're reading. 

 

The plot is fairly thin - idle rich kids taking drugs, drinking and shopping have their lives disrupted when they get a new classmate. This new classmate seems like another rich kid but there are some aspects about his past that makes him a little suspicious. At the same time there's a killer at work. Are these two things related? 

 

I don't know if I'm enjoying this but I'll probably stick it out until the end - all 700 (!) pages of it. There's a woozy, hypnotic atmosphere just following these brats as they go about being rich in 80's LA. It's very funny in places and Ellis seems to posses enough self-awareness to be comfortable looking a bit foolish. 

I picked this up at the weekend to add to the backlog, cheers for the write up!

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