Books I've been reading

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Constance on Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:59 am



People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. Very good! Give it a try.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  eddie on Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:00 am



After reading Preston and Spezi's account of the incompetence and corruption endemic to the Italian Justice system, it's quite impossible to believe that Amanda Knox had anything to do with the murder of Meredith Kercher.
The same mad, self-serving Public Prosecutor who was involved in the so-called "investigation" into the "Monster of Florence" latter-day Ripper killings is the same knobhead who's gunning for "Foxy Knoxy".


Last edited by eddie on Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:07 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Constance on Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:02 am

Mary Shelley by Miranda Seymour. Halfway through.


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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Doc Watson on Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:15 am

eddie wrote:
Doc Watson wrote:Stone Alone by Bill Wyman. I read it several years ago and I decided to take another look.

It's not bad.

Bill- a little older than the other band members- was always the band's archivist. His son helped him transfer all his old scrapbooks of yellowing press clippings etc to his PC. Also, as a general rule, the rhythm section (Bill and Charlie) tended not to reach the same prodigous level of chemical consumption as certain other band members. So, for these reasons, his account of events seems reasonably reliable.

Not bad at all.
Yes and it is interesting to compare with Keith's account , especially the early days.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Lee Van Queef on Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:13 am

The Albert Speer book (written by the excellent Gita Sereny) I read was brilliant, not sure if I've already mentioned it. Since then, I've read 'The Day Britian Died' by Andrew Marr. It was OK, I wouldn't recommend it though. Two other books of his I would recommend: 'A History of Modern Britain' and 'The Making of Modern Britain'. Both are interesting, enjoyable and accessible.

Not sure what I'm going to read next. I'm contemplating George Orwell's '1984', which I haven't read in years.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Lee Van Queef on Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:19 pm

TickleCockBridge wrote:

Not sure what I'm going to read next. I'm contemplating George Orwell's '1984', which I haven't read in years.

Am now past half way. Novel's don't get much better than this, in my opinion.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Andy on Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:44 am

This summer was particularly fruitfull, thanks to Kindle and one very inspiring course.
I read:




- partly situated in my home town, which adds to it for me.





While it's interesting to compare Erasmus' and More's humanist interpretation of the Enlightment to Voltaire's rationalist rendition of it, what struck me in all 4 of these works was the striking absence of any serious in-depth psychology of any of the characters.



After seeing a terrific performance of this play - which is sometimes said to be a source of inspiration for John Milton's much more famous Paradise lost -, I truly enjoyed reading the archaic text. Hands down the best text written in Dutch ever, if you ask me.


Without Mahler it's just not the same.


The 'flyer version', so to speak, of his first critique.



Surely one of the best books I ever read bar none.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  eddie on Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:41 am

Monty Pyton writer and performer Michael Palin's diaries, volumes I (The Python Years) and II (Halfway to Hollywood).

Palin is not quite the national teddy bear and all-round Mr Nice Guy his media-created public image depicts (through no fault of his own). He does have a temper, for example, but that makes him more human and correspondingly even more likeable. And he IS a genuinely nice man.

After a hard day's work on the LU project, his diaries are like stepping into a warm bath.

Recommended.


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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Constance on Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:58 pm

I've finished two books of memoires by Marya Hornbacher, both thrilling, gruesome, and ultimately rewarding. First, Wasted, a memoir of bulimia and anorexia, and second, Madness: A BiPolar Life.






Read both if you're the slightest big interested in addictions.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  fiberNz on Sun Sep 25, 2011 4:13 am


My ex bought this for me on our anniversary. We have long since split, so after the tiring subsequent brooding I decided to read it out of spite. Finishing the first few chapters, I saw it all as an opportunity to sorta detoxify and restore a type of chemical balance within me. This is where the book helped, considerably-bly-bly. They say your body is built with the same blueprints as the World, with your head being the Heavens, veins being ethereal rivers, etc. Things are now very much easier and lighter and smoother and earthly and even more fun.
PSYCHE, I burned this sucker along with the rest of the hogwash that was left. Last I checked, you can't read ashes. Twisted Evil

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:42 pm

eddie wrote:After reading Preston and Spezi's account of the incompetence and corruption endemic to the Italian Justice system, it's quite impossible to believe that Amanda Knox had anything to do with the murder of Meredith Kercher.

The same mad, self-serving Public Prosecutor who was involved in the so-called "investigation" into the "Monster of Florence" latter-day Ripper killings is the same knobhead who's gunning for "Foxy Knoxy".

4 years later and justice, of a kind is finally served: Amanda Knox was acquitted last night and is on her way home to the US.

The original Italian Public Prosecutor I mention above was in thrall to a nutty woman who runs a kind of psychic conspiracy theory website, and she it was who first fingered Knox and her boyfriend for the Kercher murder- an insane theory swallowed whole by the PP, who should now face charges himself for gross dereliction of duty.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  eddie on Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:57 pm

Any Magnus Mills fans in ATU land?

Magnus drove a London bus for 12 years before his first novel "The Restraint of Beasts" was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and Whitbred AWard. I bought his latest last week, which I'll get around to reading when the opportunity offers.

Here's the Guardian review:

********************************************************************************

A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In by Magnus Mills – review

Magnus Mills's seventh novel is as odd, endearing and disturbing as ever

Ian Sansom
Friday 23 September 2011 22.55 BST

Wordsworth, in the essay "Supplementary to the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads", reminds us that "every author, as far as he is great and at the same time original, has had the task of creating the taste by which he is to be enjoyed: so has it been, so will it continue to be." With A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In, his seventh novel, Magnus Mills continues the apparently never-ending task of teaching readers how to enjoy him.

It's quite a job. Because, we should admit it, Mills is not always an easy writer to enjoy. He's an easy writer to admire, of course, but that's different. We might admire Beckett's novels, but we don't necessarily enjoy them. Do we? Mills is admirable in the same way that Beckett is admirable. He has the courage of his convictions. Which can make him seem sometimes odd, cold, and displeasing, with a deficit of affect, though perhaps "dry" would be a better word than "cold". Mills once remarked in an interview: "I can't tell which bits are funny. I just put dry things in." His work occupies the very outermost regions, the semi-desert distant steppes of what we usually think of as the declared realm of the novel, which is why he is sometimes compared to Beckett, or to Kafka, or Calvino, outliers all, though in A Cruel Bird he comes closest in fact to the territory of another great literary outsider, Mervyn Peake.

One might go so far as to argue, on the evidence of the latest novel, that Mills is constructing his own vast, sprawling Gormenghast, adding towers and escarpments to his extraordinary earldom, brick by brick, and book by book. All Quiet on the Orient Express (1999) was a recapitulation of the themes in his Booker-nominated first novel, The Restraint of Beasts (1998). And The Scheme for Full Employment (2003), Explorers of the New Century (2005), and The Maintenance of Headway (2009) have played basically the same delightful games and tunes around and about the nature of work, and about organisations, and about human systems. Fantasy literature is one way of describing it, as long as your definition of fantasy literature includes not only Peake, but also Tristram Shandy, the work of Bruno Schulz, and Gombrowicz's Ferdyduke.

Mills has not only his persistent themes, but also his persistent kinds of characters, with whom he perpetually tinkers: there is usually a naive narrator, caught up in some sort of pointless toil with a small group of earnest eccentrics who talk to each other continually at cross-purposes. His consistency of purpose as an author might be described negatively as a kind of pathology, a form of self-plagiarism almost, or it might, on the other hand, be praised as a form of profound attention, and a sign of true greatness. It all depends on the quality of the tinkering. And the nature of the work being tinkered with.

Fortunately, A Cruel Bird is as utterly odd, as endearing and as disturbing a book as anything that has come before. The novel's unnamed narrator is the principal composer to the imperial court of a place called Greater Fallowfields, which bears about as much and as little resemblance to anywhere in the actual world as any of Mills' places and locations – it is the world, but the world abridged, stripped and removed of irrelevant detail. The concert hall, for example, the most famous landmark in Fallowfields, and known as the "cake", is described in deliciously vague fairy-tale terms. "Constructed in the days when the empire was at its zenith, the cake was built from a very rare kind of stone, quarried to specification in a faraway land and ferried home in ships."

The plot is similarly indistinct – and, thus, vaguely and impressively massive. In the absence of his exalted highness, the majestic emperor of the realms, dominions, colonies and commonwealth of Greater Fallowfields, the narrator has been left to run the affairs of state, along with Brambling (chancellor of the exchequer), Garganey (postmaster general), Whimbrel (astronomer royal), Sanderling (comptroller for the admiralty), Dotterel (suveryor of the imperial works), Wryneck (pellitory-of-the-wall), and Smew (librarian-in-chief). With very little actual work to do, they are involved in never-ending discussions and wrangling over procedure. As characters they are almost indistinguishable one from another, apart from their names, and so exist only in dialogue, in relationship, and in action. Everything in the book is conspiracy, rivalry, ritual, and the quest for power, particularly after a gang of men from a neighbouring principality are discovered building a railway headed straight for the emperor's court.

"It's all jumbled and disorganised," remarks the narrator on the empire of Fallowfields, "we have a vast hierarchy with serfs at the bottom and the emperor at the top, but in between there exists a pecking order that's vague and unfathomable to say the least." The wonderful thing about the outlandish world of Magnus Mills is that it always sounds familiar.

Ian Sansom's Mobile Library series is published by Fourth Estate.

© 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.


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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:12 am

eddie wrote:
eddie wrote:After reading Preston and Spezi's account of the incompetence and corruption endemic to the Italian Justice system, it's quite impossible to believe that Amanda Knox had anything to do with the murder of Meredith Kercher.

The same mad, self-serving Public Prosecutor who was involved in the so-called "investigation" into the "Monster of Florence" latter-day Ripper killings is the same knobhead who's gunning for "Foxy Knoxy".

4 years later and justice, of a kind is finally served: Amanda Knox was acquitted last night and is on her way home to the US.

The original Italian Public Prosecutor I mention above was in thrall to a nutty woman who runs a kind of psychic conspiracy theory website, and she it was who first fingered Knox and her boyfriend for the Kercher murder- an insane theory swallowed whole by the PP, who should now face charges himself for gross dereliction of duty.

Point taken regarding the PP. But, I am not totally convinced of her and the boyfriends innocence. I found it creepy that she was cartwheeling around the police station after learning of her friend's death. I don't like the fact that the boyfriend claimed to have been at home working on his computer and yet tests carried out on his computer did not back this up. Why does she at one point say she heard Meredith screaming and was covering her ears? Then says she can't remember anything at all including where she was? All too weird for me.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  eddie on Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:34 pm

This is also on my waiting-list.

The London Borough of Hackney lies just to the north of my own manor of Tower Hamlets, so I'll be interested to read what caustic psychogeographer Iain Sinclar has to say about his home turf.

Here's the Observer review:

***********************************************************************************

In passionate defence of his realm

Tim Adams admires the latest scathing dispatch from Iain Sinclair, in which he attempts to save Hackney's soul from Olympic folly

The Observer, Sunday 22 February 2009

No one has ever written quite like Iain Sinclair. He will, without doubt, prove the indelible diarist of our age - our post-punk Pepys - though his diaries take the form of walking tours, striding in particular that margin between obsessive note-making, internal dialogue and scabrous prose. He makes you work to stay with him and if you try to keep pace without a knowledge of underground London phrase and fable, of American poetry and French cinema, you may sometimes fall behind. If you persevere, though, there are many moments in the journey when a paragraph will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, so acute is your guide's comic observation.

This is a book in search of home. Having done his celebrated circumnavigation of the capital in London Orbital, that rancorous perambulation of the M25, Sinclair here returns to the centre, his centre, to the streets around Hackney that he has walked almost every day for 40 years, from his house in Albion Drive (how he must love the Blakean resonance of that name). Home is in a constant rearguard action against change. Sinclair, or the brilliant construction of himself that narrates these books, is the developers' worst nightmare, the scourge of "progress".

He needs a monumental focus for his rage. In the book in which he found his compulsive voice, Downriver, it was the Big Bang hubris of Canary Wharf; in London Orbital it was the empty folly of the Millennium Dome. Now, a decade on, it is the £9bn hole in the ground, the blue-fenced Olympic site, the crater of dreams. So scathing has Sinclair been of the 2012 project, in particular in an essay in the London Review of Books, that he has become an unlikely pariah among the authorities in his borough. A reading he was due to give at a Hackney library was cancelled at the request of the council. Hackney is therefore "a confidential report", the book Tessa Jowell would love to ban - sort of.

Sinclair is sceptical about many things, among them structure. His film-making career never got off the ground, he suggests, because he never believed in the editing process; there was nothing he ever wanted to leave out. The wanderer was overwhelmed with footage. He adopts the same principle in his writing: nothing and no one that crosses his path appears unworthy of deconstruction. He begins, tellingly, with a digression about Hackney's recycling habit which serves as a handy metaphor for his own method. "We are the rubbish," he declares. "Outmoded and unrequired. Dumped on wet pavings and left there for weeks, in the expectation of becoming art objects." The "we" here is, I guess, everything with a soul and for Sinclair, a soul is the preserve of the derelict and the discarded; it is found in the market where no one ever goes. "It is my own choice," he writes, "to identify with detritus in a place that has declared war on recyclers while erecting expensive memorials to the absence of memory. This is a borough that has dedicated itself to obliterating the meaning of shame."

If this sounds a bleak prospectus, it doesn't stay so for long; there is redemption at every comic turn. Sinclair's quest - for nothing less than the grist and meaning of E8 before it is flattened by the Olympic dream - is enlivened by his fellow travellers, all of whom become, in his hands, remarkable eccentrics. Some are familiar: the indefatigable pamphleteer Stewart Home; the feminist pioneer Sheila Rowbotham; the ever-stylish cultural mortician Will Self. Others Sinclair has made famous before: film-maker Chris Petit, the only man who can make the author seem optimistic; Renchi, his former housemate and alter ego. And there is the expected cabal of unlikely discoveries: the Owl Man of Albion Drive (a long-term squatter with a fetish for stray strigiformes); the Mole Man of Mortimer Road (a resident tunneller who began with a wine cellar and ended with a direct subterranean route to the underground).

You can never work out quite how Sinclair holds this all together, keeps it moving forward. Quests come and go - for the spirit of Julie Christie in Bethnal Green, for the heart of Joseph Conrad's Hackney darkness, for Godard's East End masterpiece. Occasionally an argument surfaces. There's an interesting dialogue at one point with photographer Stephen Gill, who has also been recording the erasure of memory brought about by the Olympic vision. Having gone on a walk with Sinclair, he balks a bit at the relentless apocalypse of the writer's take on things. "Hackney gets so much stick and of course we should present the truth as we see it," Gill writes, "but I would also love to help Hackney get back on its feet." Sinclair includes this, but he does not respond to it, quite. There's no place in his world for regeneration, only regret and the endless spur of curiosity.

It's this latter tension that makes his books, despite all their arcana, so human. Sinclair thought about leaving Hackney before he wrote this. He bought a bolt hole in Hastings, which reminded him of how Hackney had been before the estate agents exaggerated its iniquities. He could have gone, but now he knows he never will; if he discovers anything in these pages, it is that there is too much to stay for. His wife Anna, who has been not much more than the psychogeographer's version of "her indoors" in previous books, is here more of a muse, working as a teacher, raising their three children while her husband's mind wanders.

They first came to Hackney half a lifetime ago, full of the Sixties, and they have stuck with it, for better and for worse. Sinclair may have set out wanting to make this book another gazetteer of subversion, but along the way a different tone emerges, one that he perhaps least expected: that of an old-fashioned love story dedicated to a life lived in one place.

© 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.


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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Constance on Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:10 pm

Just finished a Pulitzer Prize winner, March, by Geraldine Brooks. Tedious! Can't see why it won the prize.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Lee Van Queef on Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:02 am

Just started Crime and Punishment. The title keeps coming up in coversations I am having with people, so now is the time.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  eddie on Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:09 am


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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:38 am

TickleCockBridge wrote:Just started Crime and Punishment. The title keeps coming up in coversations I am having with people, so now is the time.

Did you ever finish War & Peace? Neutral

I didn't mind Crime & Punishment, but wasn't as enthralled as Andy. I think maybe a lot is lost in translation?? I will be extremely interested to know what you think Neutral

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Lee Van Queef on Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:06 am

Nah Ville Sky Chick wrote:

Did you ever finish War & Peace? Neutral

I am no longer answering that question as I have answered it too many times. (which I think answers your question... Very Happy )


Nah Ville Sky Chick wrote:
I didn't mind Crime & Punishment, but wasn't as enthralled as Andy. I think maybe a lot is lost in translation?? I will be extremely interested to know what you think Neutral

I picked up a copy for 2 quid from a second hand bookshop. It was printed in 1933 affraid

Will keep you informed. Neutral


Neutral




Neutral Neutral

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  eddie on Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:16 pm

Iain Sinclair's book on Hackney is absolutely superb, free of much of the difficulty and obscurity of much of his previous work.

At times, it almost (but not quite) approaches being a straightforward autobiography.

I'm fascinated by his wife Anna, a primary school teacher who seems to have somehow coped with holding down a regular job, bringing up 3 children in the roughest borough in London and being married to a half-mad genius.

Moony, a good place to start on the vexed subject of psychogeography is with Sinclair's book on Hackney.

I love it when a gang of builders chance upon what might well be a Roman shrine concealed beneath the Sinclair family's floorboards in their house on Albion Drive, Hackney.

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:52 pm

eddie wrote:Iain Sinclair's book on Hackney is absolutely superb, free of much of the difficulty and obscurity of much of his previous work.

At times, it almost (but not quite) approaches being a straightforward autobiography.

I'm fascinated by his wife Anna, a primary school teacher who seems to have somehow coped with holding down a regular job, bringing up 3 children in the roughest borough in London and being married to a half-mad genius.

Moony, a good place to start on the vexed subject of psychogeography is with Sinclair's book on Hackney.

I love it when a gang of builders chance upon what might well be a Roman shrine concealed beneath the Sinclair family's floorboards in their house on Albion Drive, Hackney.
...okay then I'll ring the book-shop on Monday and order it.
...there's a docco on telly where a team has a few days to see what they can unearth in various of England's fields. It's fascinating to see them unearth tiled mosaics from Roman times. Especially when you live in Australia, where many places are essentially still primal. I remember my first thought on viewing the English countryside was that someone had thoughtfully (terrifyingly) lawn-mowed it all away. alien

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Guest on Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:53 pm

...by the way it's saturday night and all I've got in the fridge is beer (hic)

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  eddie on Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:04 am

blue moon wrote:...there's a docco on telly where a team has a few days to see what they can unearth in various of England's fields. It's fascinating to see them unearth tiled mosaics from Roman times.

Do you mean "Time Team"? One of my fave TV progs!

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Guest on Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:09 am

...yes, Time Team. I'd never imagined how near the surface the layers of history are.



...an added bonus is the enthusiasm of the crew (as well as their accents Very Happy )

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Re: Books I've been reading

Post  Constance on Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:51 am

I just finished the most ridiculous book called The Memory Keeper's Daughter and now I've run out of books. Recommendations, please!

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Re: Books I've been reading

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