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.....

Call me up in dreamland. Radio to me man.

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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

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Re: Books and the reading of...

On Book 3 for the year. Concentrating on reducing my pile of books before I buy anything else off the list.

1. Hemingway's Chair - Michael Palin. Must have had this on a shelf for 20 years. Bit of a comic farce in small town England. Funny in parts

2. Born To Run - Christopher McDougall. See thread below. Great book, so glad I read it. Would recommend.

3. Dangling Man - Saul Bellow. Again, had this at least 20 years, had to blow the dust off. Halfway through it, not really enjoying it but short so I'll carry on. About a bloke in America during the war waiting to be called up and his life just hanging around for that day.

Call me up in dreamland. Radio to me man.

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Re: Books and the reading of...

Harvest wrote:

Dangling Man - Saul Bellow. Again, had this at least 20 years, had to blow the dust off. Halfway through it, not really enjoying it but short so I'll carry on. About a bloke in America during the war waiting to be called up and his life just hanging around for that day.

I'm not all that surprised, as it was his first novel. You might do better with his later stuff. Herzog and Henderson the Rain King, for instance, are superb imho.

Anyway, currently:

Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World by Billy Bragg. Essential reading, I'd say, for aficionados of British pop culture. Only gripe is that Faber has done a cheapo job--poor quality of photographs, poor paper, and poor print. But then I wondered for a moment if B.B. had wanted this as a kind of homage to punk DIY, since he likens the skiffle explosion of the mid-50s to that of the punks twenty years later.

As possibly the oldest fart on OMJ, I remember it well. Two pals and I formed the King Cobras skiffle group in 1958.  With home-made guitars, a tea-chest bass, and three chords max, it was clear within minutes that we were not going to be the next Quarrymen. And that's part of B.B's take on it: out of every ten skifflers, nine were no-hopers like us thrashing away, and one was John Lennon.

Collected Stories by Truman Capote. Having never read "A Christmas Memory", I got this out of the library. At his best, what a writer! More's the pity that he wasted his mind and body in later years. If he'd spent more time at his desk than frittering with the glittering on the NYC party scene, who knows what other brilliant stuff he might have come up with?

Last edited by pipoldchap (Sat 27 Jan 2018 3:23 pm)

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Re: Books and the reading of...

I’ve had a shocker, got off to a flyer and now stuttering along. End of June and read a grand total of five books this year. Book 4 was a travel book based on something I want to do next year, I’ll post more about that when I do it. Book 5 was was one that my sister bought me for Christmas – 100 Poems That Make Grown Men Cry. None did, some were thought provoking, others I just didn’t get.

Call me up in dreamland. Radio to me man.

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Re: Books and the reading of...

I have finally kick strarted my reading after falling into the WWW trap - I am unsure how many books I have read this year but at least 10 i'd say.

I feel I have not been looking hard enough, trying to find books and authors that really interest me and admitting to myself what I actually don't like opposed to what I think I should like.  Does that make sense?

I read two proper airport fiction thrillers on Holiday and guess what, I fucking loved them.  Well one more than the other but proper page turners. 

Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton and The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapenna.

The unreliable narrator was prevalent in both and both had good twists. 

Oh - Dead Woman Walking was better than The Couple Next Door.

I am now reading The Finger by William Burroughs and New York City in 1979 by Kathy Acker.  Both very short before I embark on another Patrick De Witt book.  Undermajordommo.

Aim Low and miss...

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Re: Books and the reading of...

I think I gave myself a target of 20 this year based on conversations here

I've managed 6 - the last one being 'Scream if you want to go faster' which I really enjoyed

At my son's behest I'm going to read one of his Michael Morpurgo books next (possibly cheating but I'm assured they're good for adults too!)

I have a MASSIVE list from here that I need to work through but am not confident of hitting 20

You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event - it is a habit.

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Re: Books and the reading of...

Just finished, Swear Down . Excellent.
Trying a Joe Nesbo now.

To stand aside is to take sides.

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Re: Books and the reading of...

Anyone seen that Joe Nesbo one turned into a film?

Headhunters?

I really enjoyed it.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1614989/vi … _=tt_ov_vi

Aim Low and miss...

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