Topic: Books and the reading of...

Pre fannying about on the www I was a fairly avid reader. Circumstances and modern technology have curtailed that massively. Still read but very infrequently. Decided to start reading more again. This was in part due to reading The Year of Reading Dangerously and just a general realisation of how much time I waste doing meaningless shit.

I've read four books in December, not a bad start, two weren't that long though.

The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller - see thread somewhere.
Animal Farm - George Orwell. I've read practically everything he's written but somehow never read this. Most people read this at school, we did 1984 instead.
The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett. Didn't think I'd like it due to the subject manner but was clever and funny. I found myself reading it with Alan Bennett's voice in my head. That was wierd.
So Here It Is - Dave Hill. Slade guitarist autobiography. Really enjoyed it. I'll put a review up.

Going to try and read 50 books next year. This will be a mix of the huge pile of unread books I have plus more off the massive list of to-reads.

Sssssshhhhhhhh........ I'm reading.....

Site stalwart.


Re: Books and the reading of...

Thanks, Harvest, for kicking this one off.

I look around me and see a world gone off its rocker, so good books and music (and the time to enjoy them) seem even more precious than before.

Recent and current reads:

1. J.D. Vance, HILLBILLY ELEGY. A blunt memoir by a guy raised in a struggling Appalachian family but who has realized the American Dream, whatever that overblown myth may mean.  The narrative has little style or literary merit, but it helps to explain the poor white rage that spawned a legion of working-class Trump voters. His foul-mouthed grandmother is perhaps the best character in the book. 3/5

2. Elizabeth Hawes, CAMUS: A ROMANCE. I've always liked Camus for his personal style (see that great Cartier-Bresson picture of C. with slicked-up hair, dangling fag, and turned up coat collar), moral and political convictions, profound writing and goalkeeping prowess. Philosophy Football never found a better hero. This bio is highly subjective, perhaps too much so, but it is an imaginative take on an amazing life and work.  4/5

3. A. Scott Berg, EDITOR OF GENIUS. Another literary bio (I'm rather partial to this subgenre), on which the excellent film GENIUS was based. Could not put down this eloquent account of the unassuming workaholic editor at Scribner's who basically discovered Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe and a bunch of other talented American writers who might otherwise have been overlooked. 5/5

4. John Betjeman, COLLECTED POEMS. Snooty academics and critics have always loved to diss his poetry as reactionary candy-floss for the common reader. But I see a poet of great technical skill and emotional range, and while admittedly some of his lines are cringeworthy in their old-fashioned upper-class lingo, others evoke an extraordinary nostalgia and uncanny sense of place. I reckon few can match him in capturing in verse the essence of a bygone England and Englishness. And he can be very funny too. 4/5