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  • Occasional STW bookclub thread: special pre-Christmas edition.
  • noteeth

    Just finished: Haruki Murakami’s sufficiently weird 1Q84 (Books 1&2). Not sure that it’s one of his best, but it’s enough to get you lost in the kind of slightly-parallel world that HM has made his own. As ever, the sense of dislocation is sometimes subtle, and sometimes utterly outrageous (& he seems more obsessed by sex than usual). Still, the two central characters are compelling enough to make me want to read part 3… which, I guess, is the idea.

    Just about to start: New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani. Got high hopes for this – a paean to the importance of memory and language.

    Book I am looking forward to reading in a Boxing Day stupor: Amanda Foreman’s World on Fire – a veritable doorstop of a book documenting British involvement in the American Civil War, and hefty enough that you could fire it from a cannon.


    I’ve got 1Q84 on audiobook, not bad but a bit odd in places, poss due to the narrators.

    For a similarly in-depth slightly alternative reality have you tried “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell”?


    Just finished: Leaf Fielding’s ‘To Live Outside The Law’ an interesting and informative account of the events surrounding the ‘Operation Julie’ LSD busts of the ’70s.. some great writing on the subject of experiencing LSD and fairly interesting anecdotal tales on life at the deep end of the Brit hippie movement..

    Reading in the bog: Re-reading Irvine Welsh’s collection of short stories ‘Reheated Cabbage’ It does exactly what it says on the tin with further LSD accounts.. if you can imagine a thorough mixture of Fielding’s and Welsh’s handling of the subject matter you can get a glimpse of what the turn of the century LSD aficionado in a rough and ready SW seaside town might have experienced..

    Book I am looking forward to: Whatever Mrs Yunki has seen fit to procure for xmas..

    (hopefully nothing too trippy.. 😯 )


    a bit odd in places, poss due to the narrators

    The bit about the little people and the dead goat probably defies any attempt at sensible reading… 🙂

    Haven’t read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – iirc, it attracted plenty of attention. Will check it out.


    Read the new finnish grammar,in italian, a few years ago.
    It’s got some great moments,and there aren’t that many novels on translators.could have been great,very nearly is.But it’s very good.
    just finished sajer’s forgotten soldier,reccomended here.thanks.terrible.should be read by everybody.
    then read solaris,by lem.Surprised at how different it was to the film.
    Also surprised how much Tarkovsky managed to convey,and so well.
    Excellent book.

    Dunno what to read next,got a great big pile.tried to start the innocents abroad,by twain.but don’t seem to be in the mood.
    reading some heinleim quotes today.

    here’s one.

    “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
    — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love


    “A human being…”

    Should also be able to true a wheel, imo.

    Premier Icon vinnyeh

    About halfway through the Lee Child/Jack Reacher novels in some sort of desperate charge.
    A lot more enjoyable and engrossing than I expected- thought I’d only last one or two before giving up.

    Yunki – MrsYunki may want to slip this in your stocking 🙂

    Read the reviews – quite grounded!


    Just finished Moments of Reprieve by Primo Levi – a collection of true stories each focusing individuals he came across whilst he was in Auschwitz. He gives some personality and insight into some of the people who were victims of the Nazi extermination camps

    Currently reading The Crest of the Wave by the famous risk seeking boat designer Uffa Fox in which he recounts his early years in the 20s & 30s sailing his home made canoes dinghies and bigger boats around the UK over to France and across the Atlantic & back He’d be possibly be given serious ‘advice’ from the coastguard if he was doing today what he was doing back then.

    Also currently reading The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane and despite it’s title it’s not about war or a detective novel. It’s non-fiction writings about nature & fly fishing. All the best fishing literature is written by fly-fishers. Any other fishing writing’s pornography about catching big carp 😕

    @Yunki.. if you’re into the pschedelic stuff I’ve got a biography about the acid loving 13th Floor Elevators and all the drug related shenanigans they got up to if you want to borrow a crackin’ read over Christmas 🙂


    Yunki – We were busted in the op Julie raids. I was a baby at the time though!
    Best book I’ve read this year has to be ‘No direction home’ – Woody Guthrie Auto biog. Also ‘ Asearch for secret India’ Paul Brunton. Written in the 1930’s but you would hardly know it.

    Premier Icon DezB

    Just finished Life – Keith Richards. Fascinating and funny. One of the best autobiogs

    Currently reading Black Rabbit Summer – Kevin Brooks. Bit of trash really, but quite a gripping story!

    Looking forward to Naked and the Dead – Norman Mailer. 2nd World War classic

    Premier Icon molgrips

    Just finished the book of Dances with Wolves. A bit odd really – the film was long, epic, slow moving and introspective; the book whilst superficialy the same was a really quick read and light on detail. Read a bit like a teen novel in terms of the writing. I reckon if you were a quick reader it’d take a similar amount of time to read the book as watch the film. The main character came over a bit different too – much more likeable and cheerful. However, the subject matter is still pretty powerful and I did not want to put it down for the short time I had it. Still reckon the film is better overall though.

    Not sure what to read next. I have a book called Teatoro Grottesco on the Kindle ready to go, by a chap called Thomas Ligotti, but I am not sure I’m in the mood. Last few books I’ve read have been by people who do weighty epics with a light touch and good humour, so I might look for some of that.

    Not sure what I am looking forward to either. Something random chosen from Amazon’s recommendations maybe.

    Oh, in non-fiction I am half way through ‘Inside your Child’s Brain’ which is about brain devleopment and, whilst technical in places is an essential read for any parent I reckon.


    Just finished: nothing, I’ve been reading my current one for months
    Currently reading: Infinite Jest. After a couple of months of perserverance I’m into the meat of it, and hopeful of finishing it over Christmas.
    Looking forward to: some sci-fi, Reynolds or Banks.


    On the brain subject I’ve got this waiting (on recommendation); ‘ The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World’

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    Been given an interesting book by my father in law – Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. My FiL is a guy who reads voraciously but very seldom makes recommendations – he reckons this one is off the charts, so I defo want to read it but need to make time for it (It’s one of the classic samizdat books of the soviet era that might need a bit of effort to get to grips with).

    Freedom By J Franzen is apparently top drawer, according to my missus who read my copy before I had a chance to pick it up. So that’s another one on the waiting list.

    For Crhistmas I would like-

    The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

    The God Collar by Marcus Brigstocke

    Anyone read them? I heard Brigstocke being interview by Aled Jones on Radio 2 one Sunday morning and it seemed quite interesting


    Just finished One Day, very well written, easy, bit sad.

    Currently reading No One gets out of here alive, a biog of The Doors, bit shit, may stop

    Looking forward to [b] Dreading a bit ‘cos it looks hard [/b] neccessary illusions by Noam Chomsky, political, Sara’s making me. 😐

    Premier Icon IHN

    molgrips – if you haven’t already, try Lonesome Dove. Incredible book, to call it a ‘western’ is doing it an injustice, but it’s still really evocative of the Old West


    emsz – Member

    Just finished One Day, very well written, easy, bit sad.
    Try to imagine Anne Hathaway trying (and failing) an English accent as you read it, that should cheer you up. Or encourage you to never read it again…


    thanks simon and rich.. I will look into those if I get time over chrimbo..

    I’m chowing through Frankie Boyle – Work! Consume! Die! at the moment.. very christmassy..

    Premier Icon cu dubh

    In the middle of Matterhorn at the moment. Very festive. Brilliant read though but looking to get on to some Iain M Banks for light relief once its finished.

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