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Books... (Read 559974 times)

sherlock

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#2025 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 11:12:04 am
Same, looks great

As for a recommendation, it is a known classic but Donna Tartt's The Secret History is bloody brilliant. 100% worth a read. Made me get off my arse and organise starting French Lessons next year as well
Agree with that. Apart from the French lessons...
The Goldfinch and My Little Friend by the same author are also excellent I thought.

jwi

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#2026 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 11:22:45 am
Same, looks great

As for a recommendation, it is a known classic but Donna Tartt's The Secret History is bloody brilliant. 100% worth a read. Made me get off my arse and organise starting French Lessons next year as well
Agree with that. Apart from the French lessons...
The Goldfinch and My Little Friend by the same author are also excellent I thought.

I read it when I was in uni. It stopped me from taking classes in Classical Greek (thank god) so that is always that.

sherlock

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#2027 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 11:25:16 am
Didn't take much to stop me taking lessons in anything! :chair:

SA Chris

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#2028 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 12:14:55 pm
Loved The Secret History, sadly got about halfway through Goldfinch and gave up. Not enough going on..

JamieG

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#2029 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 12:30:27 pm
.
The Goldfinch

Interesting, I read about 75% of the goldfinch before I couldn't read anymore. I like the author's writing style and it was an intriguing story, so I kept reading on. But I couldn't understand or get on board with the protagonists motivations/decisions especially later in the story and it started to wind me up. It all started to feel completely implausible. 'Jumping the shark' if you will. But I know other people really like it.  :devangel:

seankenny

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#2030 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 03:14:11 pm
Loved The Secret History, sadly got about halfway through Goldfinch and gave up. Not enough going on..

About 75 pages for me before stopping. Incredibly tedious.

jwi

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#2031 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 03:55:55 pm
I'm pretty impressed by how far you managed to get to in the Goldfinch-nonsense. I got like three pages in before putting it down.

(My method is usually to read the first two-three pages, and if it is great I check page 47 to see if that is good as well, then I soldier on. I learned this simple trick from a guy that chaired the committee that decides the Nobel Prize in Literature. He grew up in a neighbouring village)

andy popp

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#2032 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 04:05:55 pm
I love all three of Tartt's novels but my ranking goes:

1. The Little Friend
2. The Secret History
3. The Goldfinch

I sense I'm an almost lone voice in ranking The Little Friend above either of the other two.

sherlock

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#2033 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 04:15:53 pm
I'm pretty impressed by how far you managed to get to in the Goldfinch-nonsense. I got like three pages in before putting it down.

(My method is usually to read the first two-three pages, and if it is great I check page 47 to see if that is good as well, then I soldier on. I learned this simple trick from a guy that chaired the committee that decides the Nobel Prize in Literature. He grew up in a neighbouring village)
That's my Nobel Prize sorted then..... killer 3 pages then shite for 46 then a great page 47 then garbage again for the rest. Or am I missing something?

Muenchener

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#2034 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 04:21:13 pm
(My method is usually to read the first two-three pages, and if it is great I check page 47 to see if that is good as well, then I soldier on. I learned this simple trick from a guy that chaired the committee that decides the Nobel Prize in Literature. He grew up in a neighbouring village)

Similar to a method for monographs that was recommended on an academic blog I was reading recently. Read introduction, first & last page of each chapter. Skim notes & bibliography

SA Chris

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#2035 Re: Books...
December 04, 2023, 04:33:48 pm
I'm pretty impressed by how far you managed to get to in the Goldfinch-nonsense. I got like three pages in before putting it down.

(My method is usually to read the first two-three pages, and if it is great I check page 47 to see if that is good as well, then I soldier on. I learned this simple trick from a guy that chaired the committee that decides the Nobel Prize in Literature. He grew up in a neighbouring village)

Or take "Harry"s approach in When Harry Met Sally"
Quote
When I get a new book, I read the last page first. That way, if I die before I finish I know how it comes out. That, my friend, is a dark side

jwi

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#2036 Re: Books...
December 05, 2023, 08:17:56 am
That's my Nobel Prize sorted then..... killer 3 pages then shite for 46 then a great page 47 then garbage again for the rest. Or am I missing something?

Yeah. If those pages are good, the rest of the book will be read and judged as well.

sherlock

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#2037 Re: Books...
December 05, 2023, 12:16:11 pm
I just knew there'd be a hitch....

sherlock

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#2038 Re: Books...
December 11, 2023, 05:31:40 am
I've just finished a book I think a lot of people here might enjoy (indeed, might have read already). In 1950s Togo, a young boy has a nearly deadly encounter with a snake, recovering he reads a book about Greenland and becomes obsessed with travelling there. In 1958, aged 16, he ran away from home and spent the next eight years working his way through Africa and Europe before eventually reaching Greenland in 1964. In Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland Tété-Michel Kpomassie tells the remarkable (true) story of that journey and, in particular, the eighteen months he spent living among the inidigenous Greenlanders, by whom he seems to have been welcomed without question. It is a rich, vivid, and humane portrayal both of the author as a young man and of a culture even then coming under immense pressure (Denmark does not come out of this particularly well). A highly unusual and very worthwhile piece of travel writing. First published in English in 1981, Penguin reissued it last year.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0bmmvjx
Just thought I'd put this in here as it seems a fit for Andy's recommendation.I haven't listened yet but friends who hadn't read the book have told me it's excellent.

andy popp

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#2039 Re: Books...
December 11, 2023, 07:06:35 am
Thanks Sherlock, I'll try and take a listen.

Dingdong

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#2040 Re: Books...
December 13, 2023, 08:09:21 pm
Just finished As I Lay Dying - Faulkner’s most accessible and perfectly written novel imo. I found it a striking story about a family who have trouble communicating, a story about community, personal relationships and dealing with grief both inwardly and outwardly. A really beautiful and sad story.

Will Hunt

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#2041 Re: Books...
December 31, 2023, 10:58:33 am
If you want something exquisitely written and much, much gentler then I can really recommend The Offing. A coming of age novel set around Robin Hoods Bay.

I finished this encyclopedia of littoral, bucolic, and interpersonal clichés this morning. It was very very good.

spidermonkey09

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#2042 Re: Books...
December 31, 2023, 11:36:36 am
That's interesting, I really didn't get on with the Offing. Just found it irritating from start to finish. I loved the grittiness of his other stuff and wanted more!

Will Hunt

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#2043 Re: Books...
December 31, 2023, 01:11:11 pm
That's interesting, I really didn't get on with the Offing. Just found it irritating from start to finish. I loved the grittiness of his other stuff and wanted more!

I'll bet you didn't like The Offing because there was only 1 death in the whole book and it wasn't described in horrific visceral detail  :lol:

I have to say that as someone who doesn't really get poetry (sweeping statement, I know), I did find it pretentious at times.

spidermonkey09

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#2044 Re: Books...
December 31, 2023, 05:35:16 pm
Yeah, Blood Meridian it is not.

I did think it was pretentious, yes. I also thought the female character (whose name is escaping me) was massively overwritten and intensely annoying as a result. I didn't really warm to the protagonist either. But that's the fun of fiction isn't it!

Falling Down

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#2045 Re: Books...
January 01, 2024, 04:37:13 pm
Glad you enjoyed it Will, and Spider, yeah that’s the fun of reading. We can’t like everything. The film is out next year with Helena Bonham Carter as Dulcie.  Good casting I think.

I’m currently a third of the way through Roger Lewis’s ‘Erotic Vagrancy’, his bio of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor.  Very enjoyable, funny and interesting.

James Malloch

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#2046 Re: Books...
January 07, 2024, 09:24:48 pm
I've just finished a book I think a lot of people here might enjoy (indeed, might have read already). In 1950s Togo, a young boy has a nearly deadly encounter with a snake, recovering he reads a book about Greenland and becomes obsessed with travelling there. In 1958, aged 16, he ran away from home and spent the next eight years working his way through Africa and Europe before eventually reaching Greenland in 1964. In Michel the Giant: An African in Greenland Tété-Michel Kpomassie tells the remarkable (true) story of that journey and, in particular, the eighteen months he spent living among the inidigenous Greenlanders, by whom he seems to have been welcomed without question. It is a rich, vivid, and humane portrayal both of the author as a young man and of a culture even then coming under immense pressure (Denmark does not come out of this particularly well). A highly unusual and very worthwhile piece of travel writing. First published in English in 1981, Penguin reissued it last year.

I’m halfway through this at the moment - its a nice book.

The guy was on Radio 6 today at 12:00 til 12:30 (maybe started at 12:05 or something).

I didn’t actually catch it due to changing nappies, but it’s on BBC sounds. The author is 80 now and wants to retire to Greenland.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001v1rq?partner=uk.co.bbc&origin=share-mobile

Dingdong

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#2047 Re: Books...
January 07, 2024, 09:41:51 pm
I’m also halfway through it right now and really enjoying it, thanks to the recommendation from Andy!

Falling Down

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#2048 Re: Books...
January 11, 2024, 05:59:30 pm
In December I got an email out of the blue from the BBC radio producer of the World Book Club who’d been searching on Twitter.

I’d tweeted back in 2020 about this brilliant novel that I’d read. “In the Night of Time” by Antonio Munoz Molina (mentioned a few pages back in this thread). She wanted to know if I’d record a couple of questions for an interview they were doing with him in Madrid in December. It got recorded and my two questions made it in.  It’s a good listen regardless of whether you’ve read the novel.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3ct4xlp?partner=uk.co.bbc&origin=share-mobile

TobyD

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#2049 Re: Books...
January 13, 2024, 10:30:20 am
A few of the books I've read recently:

we are bellingcat Elliott Higgins: fascinating insight into open source investigation and a positive example of someone with good ideas and technical expertise who hasn't decided to do something mercenary with their talent like work for Facebook or cambridge analytica.

a winter's grave Peter May: crime thriller set in a near future dystopian Scotland.  Compelling and fun, though not exceptional. 

the whalebone theatre Joanne Kerr: highly recommended novel about children growing up between the first and second world wars . I thought it had believable and appealing characters who developed in interesting ways through the course of it. I'd imagine it would be made into a film at some point. 

the devotion of suspect x: although I'm only part way through this,  I think I'd probably recommend it- Japanese crime thriller with a distinctly interesting edge to it.  It's certainly highly enjoyable so far. 

 

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