Books The BOOK thread

2cents

Historiographer, and obtainer of rare antiquities
Scout
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
11,619
One more thing @Suv666, I’d avoid any work that is just using the Crusades to push an agenda about modern day relations between Islam and the West/Clash of Civilizations, etc. It’s a really weird, bizarre and fascinating period that needs to be understood in its own context, authors who try to relate it to modern issues just end up obscuring things.
 

Suv666

Full Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
4,985
One more thing @Suv666, I’d avoid any work that is just using the Crusades to push an agenda about modern day relations between Islam and the West/Clash of Civilizations, etc. It’s a really weird, bizarre and fascinating period that needs to be understood in its own context, authors who try to relate it to modern issues just end up obscuring things.
Thanks for your suggestions mate.
Yeah often reading about contentious issues like the Crusades its hard to find an unprejudiced account which is entertaining at the same time.
I'll give Tyerman a go but at first glance it looks too dry for me. I've enjoyed more impenetrable books though, so who knows
 

oneniltothearsenal

Caf's Milton Friedman (and Arse aficionado)
Scout
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
8,788
Supports
Brazil, Arsenal,LA Aztecs
Actually that does sound less daunting if the books are quite distinct and I can mix in the odd other book to break it up. I have a mental block about opportunity cost if I read a super-long book, ie I could have read two or three others in the meantime.

Give us a review if you do go for the Murata.

@Nickosaur will have a look at Last Evenings on Earth, thanks.
So I read Convenience Store Woman and I loved it.

A refreshing original voice. It's really short (less than 200 pages) and it goes by quickly but that doesn't take away the quality. It's what I call a low-stakes epic. No mass murder or political corruption or starships but it's the type of novel that constantly makes you think and empathize while also being wonderfully entertaining.

I would absolutely recommend reading this in between more dark and gritty works as it's the perfect balance to something intense. I really can't praise the voice and how she develops Keiko enough. The book says so much from just Keiko's point of view.

Definitely give it go, especially in between books of 2666 ;)
 

2cents

Historiographer, and obtainer of rare antiquities
Scout
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
11,619
Thanks for your suggestions mate.
Yeah often reading about contentious issues like the Crusades its hard to find an unprejudiced account which is entertaining at the same time.
I'll give Tyerman a go but at first glance it looks too dry for me. I've enjoyed more impenetrable books though, so who knows
I just finished it last night. It’s packed with detail, and in parts assumes a knowledge of medieval European politics, terminology, etc. which I didn’t always have. On balance I really enjoyed it and the general approach Tyerman took. But I can’t pretend that some parts weren’t a bit of a struggle, especially around the Second Crusade. Once I got to the Third Crusade I breezed through most of the rest.
 

Offsideagain

Full Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
744
Location
Cheshire
One more thing @Suv666, I’d avoid any work that is just using the Crusades to push an agenda about modern day relations between Islam and the West/Clash of Civilizations, etc. It’s a really weird, bizarre and fascinating period that needs to be understood in its own context, authors who try to relate it to modern issues just end up obscuring things.
The First World War and the fight against the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent divvying up of the Middle-East between the UK and the French is a major cause of the troubles in the Middle East. Read any book on Lawrence of Arabia for the details.

Read ‘A Year at the Circus’ by John Sopel concerning twelve months at the Trump Disneyland aka the White House. If only half of it is true it just shows how the American people have been duped by this egotistic, lying muppet. The prospect of four more years is scary.
 

Jippy

Sleeps with tramps, bangs jacuzzis, dirty shoes
Staff
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Messages
47,145
Location
Jet fuel doesn't melt steel beams
So I read Convenience Store Woman and I loved it.

A refreshing original voice. It's really short (less than 200 pages) and it goes by quickly but that doesn't take away the quality. It's what I call a low-stakes epic. No mass murder or political corruption or starships but it's the type of novel that constantly makes you think and empathize while also being wonderfully entertaining.

I would absolutely recommend reading this in between more dark and gritty works as it's the perfect balance to something intense. I really can't praise the voice and how she develops Keiko enough. The book says so much from just Keiko's point of view.

Definitely give it go, especially in between books of 2666 ;)
That was quick! That's really good to hear, thanks, glad you loved it. I'd built up pretty high expectations in my head, so good to hear it lives up to them.

Also, it will continue my slow diversification away from books by dead pre-war white English men. 2666 is on the list!
 
Last edited:

WeePat

Full Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
1,304
Supports
Chelsea
I just finished Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult which has been sitting on my shelf since at least 2018.

The story centers around an AA female nurse who, during a routine check of a newborn, is accosted by the baby's father, who is openly a white supremacist, and he essentially instructs the nurse's supervisor that he doesn't want an AA person touching his baby. Stunningly, the supervisor complies and instructs the nurse to swap patients with a white nurse. Baby tragically dies whilst still in hospital care. Racist father accuses AA nurse of killing his baby. Nurse is first suspended, then arrested as the hospital chose to protect themselves against a hefty lawsuit and so they throw the nurse to the wolves. Story goes on, things happen, and the nurse eventually winds up on trial for murder, represented by a white female public defender doing her first ever murder trial. They clash at first but form a bond, and after some decent lawyering, she winds up beating the case and eventually opens her own medical clinic and lives happily thereafter

I don't know whether I would recommend this book. Premise of the story is fine, but I always have a problem when every character is just a walking stereotype, like a really extreme version of that type of person. It also has no business being 500 pages, it could have been at least 100 pages shorter.

It earns some bonus points because it did somewhat attempt to tackle racism, especially towards the end during the trial there were some passages about race relations in America that I really liked. Overall, it was just okay. I'm glad I read it, but nothing particularly special or poignant that will stay with me.
 
Last edited:

Tiber

Full Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2014
Messages
6,676
I would like to read the Witcher books, but I have heard that they are a hard read. Im not sure that means they are badly written or issued caused by the translation.
 

giorno

Full Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2016
Messages
16,569
Supports
Real Madrid
I would like to read the Witcher books, but I have heard that they are a hard read. Im not sure that means they are badly written or issued caused by the translation.
Depends. If you let a lot of time pass between books then sure, they might be difficult i guess

Read them one after the other and they're really not, at all
 

Vidyoyo

Self-confessed coffee shop chat-up expert
Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Messages
5,323
I finished Point Omega this week, which I vaguely remember reading a few years ago.

This is peak late Delillo, make no mistake about it. He's not interested in plot; he's interested in unravelling the psyche of trauma and how people adjust to losing control.

This comes through the character of Elster, a former Pentagon employee involved in foreign conflict whose daughter goes missing on a vacation trip.

There's angst but no drama. Elster is helpless and unable to wrought control from the escalating mystery; a lot like how we must divorce ourselves from the horror of war.

There's also a character who dreams of nothing more than filming a man standing against a wall. Not sure what it's about but Delillo talked a lot about performance art during this period (e.g. The Body Artist).

It's sandwiched by trips to a museum to watch a 24-hour version Psycho. The voyeurism of a spectacle slowed down to a point that it's unrecognizable. We're seeing things in new ways.

He's got a new book coming out this month, The Silence.
 

Nickosaur

Full Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2011
Messages
9,739
He's got a new book coming out this month, The Silence.
Nice. Although I feel I need to read a few more Delillo novels before I try his latest one. I've only read White Noise, Mao II and Libra. Great Jones Street and The Names are next on my list.
Sounds like Point Omega is definitely worth a read too.
 

Suv666

Full Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
4,985
I would like to read the Witcher books, but I have heard that they are a hard read. Im not sure that means they are badly written or issued caused by the translation.
I've only read the first two they were light reads. Maybe it gets more complex when the main story kicks in.
 

BD

technologically challenged
Joined
Sep 1, 2011
Messages
15,985
Just finished The Handmaid's Tale. Found it dragged a bit, but overall was pretty good. Not amazing though.
 

Vidyoyo

Self-confessed coffee shop chat-up expert
Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Messages
5,323
Nice. Although I feel I need to read a few more Delillo novels before I try his latest one. I've only read White Noise, Mao II and Libra. Great Jones Street and The Names are next on my list.
Sounds like Point Omega is definitely worth a read too.
Sorry, I got distracted by work when I first saw this.

Point Omega is a lean novel and a little more abstract than it is coherent (so, in some respects, similar to Mao II and much less like Libra). I was reading an interview yesterday and apparently he wasn't too pleased with it, though I personally like it more than the book that came after (Zero K).

The Names is good. I definitely recommend that.

My personal favourite is Endzone. Nobody talks about it but it's a really funny novel (and if you liked White Noise then I think you'd enjoy it).

Weirdly, I'm still not enamored by Underworld which gets a lot of buzz. I think it's too long and that Delillo does better concentrating his ideas down.

I bought The Players in Waterstones yesterday. Having a bit of a Delillo binge :drool:
 

Suv666

Full Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
4,985
Read Yuvi Herrera's Signs Preceding The End Of The World. A short but incredibly moving story about a woman who enters the US illegally to look for her brother.
 

Nickosaur

Full Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2011
Messages
9,739
Sorry, I got distracted by work when I first saw this.

Point Omega is a lean novel and a little more abstract than it is coherent (so, in some respects, similar to Mao II and much less like Libra). I was reading an interview yesterday and apparently he wasn't too pleased with it, though I personally like it more than the book that came after (Zero K).

The Names is good. I definitely recommend that.

My personal favourite is Endzone. Nobody talks about it but it's a really funny novel (and if you liked White Noise then I think you'd enjoy it).

Weirdly, I'm still not enamored by Underworld which gets a lot of buzz. I think it's too long and that Delillo does better concentrating his ideas down.

I bought The Players in Waterstones yesterday. Having a bit of a Delillo binge :drool:
Cheers for your thoughts mate, much appreciated.
 

oneniltothearsenal

Caf's Milton Friedman (and Arse aficionado)
Scout
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
8,788
Supports
Brazil, Arsenal,LA Aztecs
I read The Silence this week and thought it was really good but felt more like a novella than a novel. It's super short (took me less than 2 hours to read it). and is more a riff on ideas than a complete story. I need to read some more Delillo now. I've read White Noise, The Names, Running Dog and Players plus some of his short stories. Thinking about reading Underworld or Libra after the three books currently on my in-progress list.
 

Vidyoyo

Self-confessed coffee shop chat-up expert
Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Messages
5,323
Signs Preceding The End Of The World
Interesting. I've had it on my to-read list for years and you're the first person I've heard mention it since I put it on there.

I read The Silence this week and thought it was really good but felt more like a novella than a novel. It's super short (took me less than 2 hours to read it). and is more a riff on ideas than a complete story. I need to read some more Delillo now. I've read White Noise, The Names, Running Dog and Players plus some of his short stories. Thinking about reading Underworld or Libra after the three books currently on my in-progress list.
Yeah, I've heard it's super short, which is okay by me as I think Delillo is better when writing shorter content.

Underworld, despite its plaudits, is a bit too long IMO. It feels like an amalgamation of ideas he used for other novels.
 
Last edited:

oneniltothearsenal

Caf's Milton Friedman (and Arse aficionado)
Scout
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
8,788
Supports
Brazil, Arsenal,LA Aztecs
Interesting. I've had it on my to-read list for years and you're the first person I've heard mention it since I put it on there.

Is it out now where you are? Amazon aren't sending it my way until the 29th...
Yeah, it just came out this last Tuesday.