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Currently reading Crime and Punishment and oh man this book is addicting. Can't remember the last time I was so gripped by a book, let alone an old classic. I thought it would be much harder than it is but I'm blitzing through it. The language is easier than I expected, maybe it's to do with it being a modern translation (I'm reading the Pevear and Volokhonsky version).

I read that Dostoyevsky is the master at portraying the paranoid mind, and I can see what they meant with that now.

I highly recommend this book.

I'm considering War and Peace next, or I might try some more Dostoyevsky. But I'm thining maybe I shouldn't burn through the Russian classics sequentially, so I might read something else altogether, not sure what though.
That’s my go to for the Russian classics.
 

2cents

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Currently reading Crime and Punishment and oh man this book is addicting. Can't remember the last time I was so gripped by a book, let alone an old classic. I thought it would be much harder than it is but I'm blitzing through it. The language is easier than I expected, maybe it's to do with it being a modern translation (I'm reading the Pevear and Volokhonsky version).

I read that Dostoyevsky is the master at portraying the paranoid mind, and I can see what they meant with that now.

I highly recommend this book.

I'm considering War and Peace next, or I might try some more Dostoyevsky. But I'm thining maybe I shouldn't burn through the Russian classics sequentially, so I might read something else altogether, not sure what though.
Forget Tolstoy, go for The Brothers Karamazov next. My favorite book.
 

Twigg

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Forget Tolstoy, go for The Brothers Karamazov next. My favorite book.
Alright, I'll bare it in mind. I was thinking about it earlier after reading a couple of quotes, this one in particular I thought was fantastic:

There was an old sinner in the eighteenth century who said that if there was no God, He would have to be invented. And man has actually invented God. And what would be marvelous, is not that God should really exist; the marvel is that such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could enter the head of such a savage, vicious beast as man. So holy is it, so touching, so wise and so great a credit is to man...But you must note this: if God exists and if He really did create the world, then, as we all know, He created it according to the geometry of Euclid and the human mind, with the conception of only three dimensions in space. Yet there have been and still are mathematicians and philosophers who doubt whether the whole universe, or to speak more widely the whole of being, was only created in Euclid's geometry. They even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid can never meet on earth, may meet somewhere in infinity... I have come to the conclusion that, since i can not understand even this, I can not expect to understand about God... I advise you never to think about it either, especially about God, whether He exists or not. All such questions are utterly inappropriate for a mind created with an idea of only three dimensions

So yeah, of the Russian lot I'll probably read that next. Not sure if directly after Crime and Punishment or if I'll read other things first, but I am digging the vibe at the moment.
 

Suv666

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Currently reading Crime and Punishment and oh man this book is addicting. Can't remember the last time I was so gripped by a book, let alone an old classic. I thought it would be much harder than it is but I'm blitzing through it. The language is easier than I expected, maybe it's to do with it being a modern translation (I'm reading the Pevear and Volokhonsky version).

I read that Dostoyevsky is the master at portraying the paranoid mind, and I can see what they meant with that now.

I highly recommend this book.

I'm considering War and Peace next, or I might try some more Dostoyevsky. But I'm thining maybe I shouldn't burn through the Russian classics sequentially, so I might read something else altogether, not sure what though.
The Brothers Karamazov is one of the best books ever written. Its Dostoyevsky at his peak. Notes from Underground is amazing too.
I wasnt able to finish War and Peace, its hard to keep track of so many characters. Anna Karenina is a brilliant read though.
Dr Zhivago by Pasternak and The Master and the Margarita by Bulgakov were very enjoyable. I need to read more Russian literature.
 

SteveJ

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As above, but I'll add that:

The Devils is somehow frightening, as it examines characters who are often a) pitiless yet lacking true motivation for their acts, and b) pitiless yet driven by conviction; both are chilling. The complacency of the others is less exasperating than an indictment of their collective intelligence, care and nous - they are society people, yet they understand little of the social classes beneath theirs.

The Idiot is a sentimental work (which, granted, isn't to everyone's taste) but the contrast of the Prince and Rogozhin is haunting.

Because of Dostoyevsky's timeless excellence and concerns, the novels mentioned in this thread rarely seem dated regardless of the 'topical' 19th-century matters sometimes discussed in them.
 
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MoskvaRed

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Best Russian reads (IMO):

Bulgakov - Master and Margarita
Turgenev - Fathers and Sons
Nabokov - Speak, Memory (written in English)
Chekhov - any short story
Tolstoy - Anna Karenina

Pushkin can’t be read in translation (likewise Gogol), while Lermontov is too much of its time. Dostoevsky I find just too Russian.

For a non-Russian view of Russia, I’d recommend “Under Western Eyes” by Joseph Conrad.
 
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Revan

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Finished 'Guns, Germs, and Steel'. This book came to my attention after finishing 'Why the West Rules', and it tries to answer similar questions. However, unlike Why the West Rules which is focused only in Euroasia, this book on the other hand tries to explore all human civilizations (in fact, Euroasia is quite peripherical). In the end, I found it a decent enjoyable read, but nowhere as good as Why the West Rules. It gave me some information about the other civilizations (especially those of Oceania) that I knew nothing about.

Finished yesterday 'The Communist Manifesto' and I was really disappointed. Was expecting so much more than the ramblings of a half-lunatic.
 

Suv666

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Finished East Of Eden. It was interesting to read about life in America in those times. A bit meandering at times and Steinbeck could have been more subtle about the Caine and Abel theme, still a very enjoyable read. I get why its such a beloved novel.
 

esmufc07

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Have you read Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety @SteveJ ?

Also can anybody recommend a good book on the Tudor Period? General overview sort of stuff ?
 

SteveJ

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Have you read Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety, SteveJ ?
That's a coincidence, mate - I'm actually reading it now! :D
This is the second time I've read it and it's funny how, in my mind, some the characters have changed - despite his charm, I now view Camille as a kind of monster.
 

esmufc07

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That's a coincidence, mate - I'm actually reading it now! :D
This is the second time I've read it and it's funny how, in my mind, some the characters have changed - despite his charm, I now view Camille as a kind of monster.
Ah would you recommend it then?
 

SteveJ

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Yeah, I definitely would. :) But it's not as polished in structure and style as the Cromwell books.
 

Revan

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Just finished 'The Black Hole Wars' by Leonard Susskind. A very fascinating read written by one of the brightest minds of our era. In some parts of the book, I felt totally dumb and missed most of the explanations in the string theory chapters. It seems that anything that goes beyond relativity, is too hard to be understood from my brain (I was trying to keep up with some of the analogies in quantum mechanics, but not with a lot of luck, and on string theory it was just hard to follow). Still, I enjoyed it a lot and felt that I learned a lot of things from it.

I would appreciate any recommendation for similar books (please, only from top scientists, not science popularizers).
 

esmufc07

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Started Dissolution by CJ Sansom this morning - murder mystery set in the Tudor period. Enjoying it so far.
 

Dirty Schwein

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My wife really enjoys the Arlo Finch books by John August... Can anyone recommend me anything else that's like these?
 

SteveJ

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Jesus, it's hard to be a fan of the Smiths these days...and that's before even considering Morrissey's political opinions.

Anyway, I had the dubious fortune to re-read his Autobiography the other week (I briefly reviewed it earlier in the thread). I hadn't realised, at the time & until some further reading, how very one-sided it was, what with me being rather ignorant of the famous court case and so on. Now, I can only echo what some of the one-star Amazon reviews state: that the book is an overwritten, often tedious tale. There are fine moments - a rather poetic, haunting, and poignant trip to the Moors, for one - but, sadly, the literary mist of painfully try-hard descriptive writing soon obscures the best episodes again. There are good reasons why so few writers excel at both poetry and prose and unfortunately it appears that Moz was always best in three or four-minutes bursts of lyricism.

Morrissey's desperate desire to be betrayed by those he cares about, idolises, or is acquainted with is entirely clear. My guess is that he's actually fundamentally nowhere near as interesting as his lyrics & public image frequently suggested, so he actively lies in wait for any perceived personal letdown just to convince himself that he's more passionate and devoted (about all sorts of things and people) than others. This strange desire naturally and conveniently gives him a reason to write sniping and memorable lyrics, and to utter 'dramatic and outspoken' interview soundbites. In this, one can almost hear the mounting of his literary debt to famously waspish writers and diarists from Wilde to Kenneth Williams. One wonders if he's engaged in constructing a more interesting personality than he actually possesses at heart. Of course, it's no surprise to find him to be self-indulgent and self-centred - in context, a fan might feel 'disappointed' to find he isn't like that - but I found myself thinking that he's basically confirmed everything his critics dislike about him. Some of these negative aspects of his personality seem played for effect while others reveal him to have such an ingrained, almost determined, air of misery that absolutely nothing could change him for the better. An example of this is the account of his relationship with his late grandmother, who seemed so mired in hardship and stoicism as to be joyless all her life; while Morrissey undoubtedly plays up the 'tough Northern life' he and his family had, this account is so grim that it almost provokes laughter. Even when one sympathises with him in matters like these, or about his rather awful school-days experiences, or his heartfelt complaining of the crassness of the music industry, boredom or annoyance are never far away from the reader. It says everything that even when his criticisms are pretty much justified (for example, he moans about the Rough Trade label boss for page after page), Morrissey comes across as being exactly what his detractors claim he is: 'difficult to the point of nightmare'. It genuinely appears that the only people he has time for are the few friends who haven't yet disappointed him and the idolising fans who validate his 'greatness' and his opinion of himself by mobbing him at virtually every concert. I would've been interested to read his intelligent opinion as to the curious and telling homo-eroticism on display at so many gigs but, no, he doesn't really question these things. There's more insight on this even in fleeting, throwaway lyrics of the drab Dagenham Dave.

Oh, and to cap it all, he often seems borderline misogynistic; in my view, he utterly fails to defend himself against charges of racism despite his efforts, and in spite of mentioning one or two Black artists and musicians he admires; there's barely a trace of the humour that graces many Smiths songs; he's quite obviously desperate to prove to the reader - via boring accounts of sold-out solo gigs, record sales etc - that he 'doesn't need the Smiths'. I could go on etc.

A number of reviewers complained that, for all their studying of this over-long autobiography, they didn't really learn about the essential Morrissey. I disagree, and it's a real pity to conclude - considering how meek, frequently polite, and non-violent he is - that Morrissey stands revealed as very difficult to like. Not that that is so very important - it would've been nice, that's all, basically because eloquence in pop music is rare and so one assumes that a 'thinking' popstar is necessarily a more altruistic being than the norm.

Finally, on a personal note, I've practically zero interest in his solo work. For all his repeated boasts about solo sales and so on, Morrissey without Marr perhaps makes for a kind of late-Elvis legacy act - despite all the mobbing of the man at his concerts, I've even wondered whether it's the godawful trend of going to see a musician or singer ironically which motivates some of his famously 'devoted fans'. What an ongoing waste of time and talent...
 
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SteveJ

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:lol:

Blimey, that review was as long and boring as the book! Still, if you think this sentence ' the literary mist of painfully try-hard descriptive writing soon obscures the best episodes again' is pretentious, wait 'til you gerra loada Mozzer's Moody Musings! :D

TL;DR Idiot is shocked that famously miserable bloke is actually miserable.
 

Vidyoyo

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Good post @SteveJ. Though I do prefer Morrissey's solo stuff better myself (although obviously Marr's musical quality really makes The Smiths).
 
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SteveJ

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Everyone has their own taste, mate, so I'm not going to argue with you about that. :)
 

Vidyoyo

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Everyone has their own taste, mate, so I'm not going to argue with you about that. :)
What a cop-out. I only come online to feel better about myself and here you are, not willing to engage in a battle of wits.

I'll go find a small child to laugh at instead.
 

SteveJ

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All the wit I may possess is secondhand, so it would effectively be a proxy war.
Damn, I sound like Morrissey...
 

Wednesday at Stoke

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I read Post Office by Bukowski in two evenings, it reads like a craigslist rants and raves section.

I just got Ham on Rye, hope this one's a bit better.
 

LuisNaniencia

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I just read Shoe dog by Phil Knight about how Nike was founded and loved it, so I have just moved on to That will never work, about Netflix. However, its started quite slowly and the reviews say it's nowhere near as good as Shoe Dog.

So, can anyone recommend any good business memoir style books?
 

Baneofthegame

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Jesus, it's hard to be a fan of the Smiths these days...and that's before even considering Morrissey's political opinions.

Anyway, I had the dubious fortune to re-read his Autobiography the other week (I briefly reviewed it earlier in the thread). I hadn't realised, at the time & until some further reading, how very one-sided it was, what with me being rather ignorant of the famous court case and so on. Now, I can only echo what some of the one-star Amazon reviews state: that the book is an overwritten, often tedious tale. There are fine moments - a rather poetic, haunting, and poignant trip to the Moors, for one - but, sadly, the literary mist of painfully try-hard descriptive writing soon obscures the best episodes again. There are good reasons why so few writers excel at both poetry and prose and unfortunately it appears that Moz was always best in three or four-minutes bursts of lyricism.

Morrissey's desperate desire to be betrayed by those he cares about, idolises, or is acquainted with is entirely clear. My guess is that he's actually fundamentally nowhere near as interesting as his lyrics & public image frequently suggested, so he actively lies in wait for any perceived personal letdown just to convince himself that he's more passionate and devoted (about all sorts of things and people) than others. This strange desire naturally and conveniently gives him a reason to write sniping and memorable lyrics, and to utter 'dramatic and outspoken' interview soundbites. In this, one can almost hear the mounting of his literary debt to famously waspish writers and diarists from Wilde to Kenneth Williams. One wonders if he's engaged in constructing a more interesting personality than he actually possesses at heart. Of course, it's no surprise to find him to be self-indulgent and self-centred - in context, a fan might feel 'disappointed' to find he isn't like that - but I found myself thinking that he's basically confirmed everything his critics dislike about him. Some of these negative aspects of his personality seem played for effect while others reveal him to have such an ingrained, almost determined, air of misery that absolutely nothing could change him for the better. An example of this is the account of his relationship with his late grandmother, who seemed so mired in hardship and stoicism as to be joyless all her life; while Morrissey undoubtedly plays up the 'tough Northern life' he and his family had, this account is so grim that it almost provokes laughter. Even when one sympathises with him in matters like these, or about his rather awful school-days experiences, or his heartfelt complaining of the crassness of the music industry, boredom or annoyance are never far away from the reader. It says everything that even when his criticisms are pretty much justified (for example, he moans about the Rough Trade label boss for page after page), Morrissey comes across as being exactly what his detractors claim he is: 'difficult to the point of nightmare'. It genuinely appears that the only people he has time for are the few friends who haven't yet disappointed him and the idolising fans who validate his 'greatness' and his opinion of himself by mobbing him at virtually every concert. I would've been interested to read his intelligent opinion as to the curious and telling homo-eroticism on display at so many gigs but, no, he doesn't really question these things. There's more insight on this even in fleeting, throwaway lyrics of the drab Dagenham Dave.

Oh, and to cap it all, he often seems borderline misogynistic; in my view, he utterly fails to defend himself against charges of racism despite his efforts, and in spite of mentioning one or two Black artists and musicians he admires; there's barely a trace of the humour that graces many Smiths songs; he's quite obviously desperate to prove to the reader - via boring accounts of sold-out solo gigs, record sales etc - that he 'doesn't need the Smiths'. I could go on etc.

A number of reviewers complained that, for all their studying of this over-long autobiography, they didn't really learn about the essential Morrissey. I disagree, and it's a real pity to conclude - considering how meek, frequently polite, and non-violent he is - that Morrissey stands revealed as very difficult to like. Not that that is so very important - it would've been nice, that's all, basically because eloquence in pop music is rare and so one assumes that a 'thinking' popstar is necessarily a more altruistic being than the norm.

Finally, on a personal note, I've practically zero interest in his solo work. For all his repeated boasts about solo sales and so on, Morrissey without Marr perhaps makes for a kind of late-Elvis legacy act - despite all the mobbing of the man at his concerts, I've even wondered whether it's the godawful trend of going to see a musician or singer ironically which motivates some of his famously 'devoted fans'. What an ongoing waste of time and talent...
Just to add, Morrisey once came into the pub I worked in in Kensington, all he ordered were some chips and his handler/PA tried to stop anyone going into the toilet while he was there. Never spoke to anyone and just came across as a twat.

Back to the thread:

Recently just finished A Happy Odyssey by Adrian Carton De Wiart, which is his memoirs, served in both World Wars and the Boer war and it was a fascinating read. The things that happen to him are outrageous.
 

Vidyoyo

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I read the first part of the complete Cosmicomics and it affirms my suspicion that short stories are not my thing. Love Calvino's other stuff but it's hard finding motivation to go through these in order - better suited to magazines or whatever journals he published them in originally.

Also partway through Confessions of a Mask (Mishima) which is chocked full of homoeroticism (much like Morrissey).

Also in the midst of Mind Game (Susan Greenfield) which I've dubbed my Saturday/Sunday morning park book, and several books about design.

Reading more now than in ages, which is lovely.
 

SteveJ

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Just to add, Morrisey once came into the pub I worked in in Kensington, all he ordered were some chips and his handler/PA tried to stop anyone going into the toilet while he was there. Never spoke to anyone and just came across as a twat.
Not defending him; this is just a general observation: some aspects of being famous must be awful, because not only do you lose much of your private life, you also never know how the public is going to behave towards you.
 

Baneofthegame

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Not defending him; this is just a general observation: some aspects of being famous must be awful, because not only do you lose much of your private life, you also never know how the public is going to behave towards you.
Oh yeah I appreciate that part, but I’ve never had a handler try to stop people from entering a toilet.

The New Zealand Rugby team poured pints and took pictures etc.

Anyway I’ll stop detailing this thread now.
 

Jippy

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I finally got round to reading a Dickens novel earlier this month (Great Expectations) and I'm now baffled by why I took so long, not including A Christmas Carol at school. He's an unbelievably good writer, which is to be expected, given his esteem I guess, but I was pleasantly surprised by how funny he is. He's also a remarkable reader of human emotions and brings to life such vivid characters. Some are arguably just caricatures, but plenty have depth and nuance.
The two different endings issue was a bit of a surprise.

What would anyone recommend as a next Dickens novel to read? Bleak House is frontrunner at the mo'.
 

celia

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Have you read it? Looked at a few 'Top 10 Dickens' lists online, for what they're worth, and it nearly always come in around number 10, so wondering if it should be a bit lower down the list tbh.
I saw it was the most read one on Goodreads and I remember I liked it though I only read four Dickens.
I went to read what I wrote about it : I found the book hard to read because a big part of the book seemed a long intro but I liked the last third of the book.
I should rescind my rec since I found the nice characters were without depth even if I praised a character.
 
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