Books The BOOK thread

WeePat

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I hit 52 for the year last month, just not gotten round to posting it. Was pretty easy in the end, but in future I wouldn't only read novels -I've missed non-fiction. Also I need to get up to speed with modern writers after filling in loads of gaps on the classics front.
Blood meridian was my favourite. She is the most execrable thing in print, avoid at all costs.

1. Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of champions
2. Evelyn Waugh, Handful of dust
3. George Orwell, Burmese days
4. Philip K. Dick, Cosmic puppets
5. Cormac McCarthy, Blood meridian
6. Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse five
7. Hilary Mantel, The giant, O’Brien
8. Ian McEwan, The child in time
9. HG Wells, The history of Mr Polly
10. Graham Greene, Travels with my aunt
11. Ian McEwan, The cement garden
12. Samanta Schweberlin, Fever dream
13. Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
14. Albert Camus, The outsider
15. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The great Gatsby
16. Evelyn Waugh, When the going was good
17. H. Ryder Haggard, She
18. John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire
19. Edgar Allen Poe, The narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
20. Graham Greene, Our man in Havana
21. HG Wells, The invisible man
22. Denis Diderot, The nun
23. Albert Camus, The fall
24. Cormac McCarthy, Child of God
25. John Steinbeck, The grapes of wrath
26. Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
27. John Buchan, The thirty-nine steps
28. JG Ballard, Crash
29. Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and punishment
30. Kurt Vonnegut, Mother night
31. Hilary Mantel, Every day is Mother’s Day
32. John Steinbeck, Of mice and men
33. Charles Dickens, Great expectations
34. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
35. Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway
36. Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca
37. László Krasznahorkai, Satantango
38. William Faulkner, As I lay dying
39. Jane Austen, Emma
40. Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
41. Charles Dickens, Hard times
42. Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
43. Philip K. Dick, Ubik
44. László Krasznahorkai, War and war
45. Virgina Woolf, The waves
46. Colette, Claudine married
47. Thomas Hardy, Under the greenwood tree
48. Margaret Atwood, The handmaid’s tale
49. Margaret Atwood, The testaments
50. Iris Murdoch, The bell
51. Sylvia Plath, The bell jar
52. Sayaka Murata, Convenience store woman

A few more since:
John le Carré, A most wanted man, bit meh
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 100 years of solitude, excellent
Nikolai Gogol, Dead souls
Evelyn Waugh, Scoop
How much reading do you get done per day? Do you set time aside to read, or is it more of natural process where you pick up a book when the fancy takes you? I'm only asking because I sometimes struggle to fit reading into my day so I end up taking a book with me to bed but usually knackered so I don't get more than 20 minutes in before I'm dozing off.

I set a goal of 30 books this year, and I got into great groove during lockdown 1.0 - got through about 12 books in 2 months - but I have since reverted back to the usual routine, so barely managed 3 books in the last 6 months.

I'm quoting you because your post is kind of related, but the question is for everyone really.
 

Jippy

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How much reading do you get done per day? Do you set time aside to read, or is it more of natural process where you pick up a book when the fancy takes you? I'm only asking because I sometimes struggle to fit reading into my day so I end up taking a book with me to bed but usually knackered so I don't get more than 20 minutes in before I'm dozing off.

I set a goal of 30 books this year, and I got into great groove during lockdown 1.0 - got through about 12 books in 2 months - but I have since reverted back to the usual routine, so barely managed 3 books in the last 6 months.

I'm quoting you because your post is kind of related, but the question is for everyone really.
I don't have a regimented reading time, more habitual times when I'm more likely to read. One big thing is that I watch a lot less TV than I used to. I had a health issue last year that made the glare from TV screens give me horrendous headaches. It knocked me out of the habit of always having the TV on, often just as background noise, and watching random rubbish while I flicked around the channels. Now I often just switch off if there's nothing else on after something I watch and read.

Also, I was initially aiming for 36 books this year, but got on a bit of a roll and was enjoying it. If you look at that list I read, the books in the first half are mainly c200 pages long, but then I realised it was stupid not reading longer ones I wanted to read just because of some arbitrary target that no-one cares about, so then I read whatever. I'm reading Bleak House now and it's huge.
 

JJ12

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Any body read about Genghis Kahn? Any recommendations?
 

Invictus

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Any body read about Genghis Kahn? Any recommendations?
I would be wary of reinterpretation and modification by non-native prisms when it comes to this particular subject. The Secret History of the Mongols is the only surviving historical record by the Mongols themselves (initially composed just a few decades after Temüjin's death and passed down phonetically through the centuries), so maybe check out the shortened open-source transcription by Igor de Rachewiltz (not Urgunge Onon as that's a bit more embellished), and if that sufficiently piques your interest you can acquire the two/three-volume set.


 

JJ12

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I would be wary of reinterpretation and modification by non-native prisms when it comes to this particular subject. The Secret History of the Mongols is the only surviving historical record by the Mongols themselves (initially composed just a few decades after Temüjin's death and passed down phonetically through the centuries), so maybe check out the shortened open-source transcription by Igor de Rachewiltz (not Urgunge Onon as that's a bit more embellished), and if that sufficiently piques your interest you can acquire the two/three-volume set.


Thank you very much!
 

Salt Bailly

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Just finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. A delight from start to finish, I didn't want it to end.

Next up: The Rise of Endymion, the final novel of Dan Simmons's Hyperion Cantos. Top drawer science fiction.
 

Vidyoyo

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My dad text me the other day to tell me this book he found under my old bed was proving to be hard work.

Turned out he'd randomly decided to read Gravity's Rainbow :lol:
 

Suv666

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Reading Foucault to seduce ethereal bisexuals who mostly wear black.
 

Jippy

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My dad text me the other day to tell me this book he found under my old bed was proving to be hard work.

Turned out he'd randomly decided to read Gravity's Rainbow :lol:
Is it any good? This from wiki intrigued me:lol:

Although selected by the Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction for the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Pulitzer Advisory Board was offended by its content, some of which was described as "'unreadable,' 'turgid,' 'overwritten' and in parts 'obscene'".

@Carolina Red even the Pulitzer committee uses the word turgid!
 

Vidyoyo

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Is it any good? This from wiki intrigued me:lol:

Although selected by the Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction for the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Pulitzer Advisory Board was offended by its content, some of which was described as "'unreadable,' 'turgid,' 'overwritten' and in parts 'obscene'".

@Carolina Red even the Pulitzer committee uses the word turgid!
I only got about 300 words into it so I can't really say. It's got a great reputation amongst literary types but it's certainly hardgoing.

Anybody here finish it?
 

Nickosaur

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I only got about 300 words into it so I can't really say. It's got a great reputation amongst literary types but it's certainly hardgoing.

Anybody here finish it?
I absolutely loved it. While the plot becomes more and more fragmented, it's always a joy to read throughout. Massively ambitious piece of fiction that is worth experiencing imo.
 

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It's been a memorable year, but the books I read made it life-changing! Some of you would've read these books below and know what I'm talking about. They've astounded me! Truly, I've been reborn.

I started off with the relatively commercialized books "Sapiens", "Homo Deus" and "21 Lessons for the 21st Century" - which all piqued my interest. This led me to the fantastic "A short history of nearly everything" and after that I went on an epic discovery.

  • The Ancestor's Tale
  • The Selfish Gene
  • The Emperor of all Maladies
  • The Disappearing Spoon
  • Quantum; Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate of the Nature of Reality
  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb
  • Quantum Man
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • The Elegant Universe
  • Beyond Weird
  • The Demon-Haunted World
I took the red pill! Whooooo!
 

Suv666

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Is there any major difference between the normal Kindle 10th gen and the Paperwhite 10th gen version?
Worth spending a couple of extra bucks?
 

esmufc07

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Finished Jamaica Inn today. Good read. Starting a Tree Grows in Brooklyn later.
 

utdalltheway

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"Finished" Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (didn't actually finish it, got over half way through but wasn't bothered with the rest). Found it pretty decent at the start but quickly settled into boringness. Oh well
This came highly recommended to me by a friend while we were teens. I struggled through it too.
Then for fits and giggles I picked it up again about a year ago thinking as I've aged I'd find it more enjoyable. Turns out it was more sufferable. I didn't even finish it this time.
 

Jippy

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The Thursday Murder Club
No. 1 in the UK this week and by a large margin too. Anyone gotten into it yet?

I've downloaded it on Audible but haven't got to it yet as I'm still re-reading A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving.
I read The Hotel New Hampshire by Irving earlier this year. In parts it was entertaining and funny, others pretty dark, with rape and suicide, plus bits that didn't quite work. I found the metaphors were hammered home a bit too heavily and the Austrian section was a bit silly at times.
One for fans of a good simmering incest plotline.
 

utdalltheway

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I read The Hotel New Hampshire by Irving earlier this year. In parts it was entertaining and funny, others pretty dark, with rape and suicide, plus bits that didn't quite work. I found the metaphors were hammered home a bit too heavily and the Austrian section was a bit silly at times.
One for fans of a good simmering incest plotline.
For me The Hotel New Hampshire wasn't great.
I much preferred The World According to Garp, which was my 1st John Irving book (as a teen). Then I read a few more, but Garp and Owen Meany are my favs.
 

Luffy

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Is there any major difference between the normal Kindle 10th gen and the Paperwhite 10th gen version?
Worth spending a couple of extra bucks?
Both are Paperwhites 4. The first is black coloured and has been shipped since 2018. The 2nd comes in a variety of 4 colours and is a product from 2020.
 

Luffy

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It's been a memorable year, but the books I read made it life-changing! Some of you would've read these books below and know what I'm talking about. They've astounded me! Truly, I've been reborn.

I started off with the relatively commercialized books "Sapiens", "Homo Deus" and "21 Lessons for the 21st Century" - which all piqued my interest. This led me to the fantastic "A short history of nearly everything" and after that I went on an epic discovery.

  • The Ancestor's Tale
  • The Selfish Gene
  • The Emperor of all Maladies
  • The Disappearing Spoon
  • Quantum; Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate of the Nature of Reality
  • The Making of the Atomic Bomb
  • Quantum Man
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • The Elegant Universe
  • Beyond Weird
  • The Demon-Haunted World
I took the red pill! Whooooo!
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Slacks is a narcissistic account of the writer, Rebecca Skloot, gathering data. But she never delves in the actual subject. You need to research more and find out about more than Pulitzer prize winners and glorified bloggers as go to authors. I'm just an amateur reader in the field myself, so my list of recommendations is short, but a few books from your list have been disparaged by critics.
 

Shakesey

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Slacks is a narcissistic account of the writer, Rebecca Skloot, gathering data. But she never delves in the actual subject. You need to research more and find out about more than Pulitzer prize winners and glorified bloggers as go to authors. I'm just an amateur reader in the field myself, so my list of recommendations is short, but a few books from your list have been disparaged by critics.
The HeLa book wasn't about the cells. It was a diary of the writer bonding with the daughter.

It was the worst of the lot, but I still enjoyed it :)

You're, of course, entitled to your opinion. Many people agree with you.

As for "a few books have been disparaged by critics" - that's like saying a few loafs of bread were baked by bakers.
 
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Jippy

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For me The Hotel New Hampshire wasn't great.
I much preferred The World According to Garp, which was my 1st John Irving book (as a teen). Then I read a few more, but Garp and Owen Meany are my favs.
I've not been in a rush to pick up another of his books after Hotel NH. I'm sure I will read one at some point, but they tend to be very long and there are plenty of books ahead of his in my list tbh.
You reckon Garp is his best?
 

SirAF

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Someone got me Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami for Christmas, quite like it so far.
 

utdalltheway

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I've not been in a rush to pick up another of his books after Hotel NH. I'm sure I will read one at some point, but they tend to be very long and there are plenty of books ahead of his in my list tbh.
You reckon Garp is his best?
For me it was. Probably cos it was my 1st one and after that his style wore on me, Owen meany excluded.
 

ThinkTank@Cafe

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Any body read about Genghis Kahn? Any recommendations?
Genghis Khan is legendary ancestor for all Central Asian nations. I am a Naiman; Naimans are a sub-ethnic group within Kazakhs of around 3 million people. Naiman Khanate was the most advanced Turkic-Mongolic nation at the time. It was the last and the most powerful opponent of the Great Khan in Mongolian Steppes. Ghenghis Khan used the writing system, tax code, officials and administration principles of Naiman State when he managed his Empire.

The best fiction book about Genghis Khan is "Zhestoky Vek" ("Cruel Century") by Isai Kalashnikov. It is my favorite book. As far as I know, it was not translated in English, but there is a book called " Ruler of the Sky" on Amazon. People in comments section claim that the book is the copy paste of Isai Kalashnikov masterpiece. If you give it a try, please let me know how good it is.

The link: https://www.amazon.com/Ruler-Sky-No...e+sky&qid=1609242096&s=audible&sr=1-1-catcorr
 

WeePat

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I binge watched The Night Manager this week, and have now decided to delve into the John Le Carre novels.

I found A Legacy of Spies on my shelf, but I'm thinking I should start the George Smiley series from the beginning.
 

Stringer

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I binge watched The Night Manager this week, and have now decided to delve into the John Le Carre novels.

I found A Legacy of Spies on my shelf, but I'm thinking I should start the George Smiley series from the beginning.
I have read a few and enjoyed nearly all of them. ‘The Spy Who Came In from the Cold’ and ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘ are exceptional. You could begin with the former and be fine, or start at the beginning and work through them chronologically. In several of them, Smiley is very much a supporting character, and whilst they are enjoyable, they could be skipped allowing you to focus on the Karla trilogy.
 

MoskvaRed

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I binge watched The Night Manager this week, and have now decided to delve into the John Le Carre novels.

I found A Legacy of Spies on my shelf, but I'm thinking I should start the George Smiley series from the beginning.
Have you read “The Spy who came in from the Cold”? If not, I’d advise you to read it before “A Legacy of Spies” as the latter is, if not exactly a sequel, revisiting the events of the former.
 

WeePat

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I have read a few and enjoyed nearly all of them. ‘The Spy Who Came In from the Cold’ and ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘ are exceptional. You could begin with the former and be fine, or start at the beginning and work through them chronologically. In several of them, Smiley is very much a supporting character, and whilst they are enjoyable, they could be skipped allowing you to focus on the Karla trilogy.
Have you read “The Spy who came in from the Cold”? If not, I’d advise you to read it before “A Legacy of Spies” as the latter is, if not exactly a sequel, revisiting the events of the former.
Thanks chaps. I decided to start at the very beginning and do them chronologically. Call for the Dead and A Murder of Quality is being delivered this week.
 

Jippy

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Thanks chaps. I decided to start at the very beginning and do them chronologically. Call for the Dead and A Murder of Quality is being delivered this week.
I'll give The Spy who came in from the Cold a read at some point, but I found A Most Wanted Man a bit meh.
I guess he had to reinvent himself post-Cold War. It was written in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis and crams in a bank, Islamist terror, US renditions and Russian oligarchs. His writing is engaging, but the plot was light and a transparent vehicle for him to ram his political message home.
 

WeePat

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I'll give The Spy who came in from the Cold a read at some point, but I found A Most Wanted Man a bit meh.
I guess he had to reinvent himself post-Cold War. It was written in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis and crams in a bank, Islamist terror, US renditions and Russian oligarchs. His writing is engaging, but the plot was light and a transparent vehicle for him to ram his political message home.
Thanks.

If I read them chronologically The Spy who came in from the Cold is the next one up after the first two I'm still waiting for, and one I'm really looking forward to because it's usually the first one out of everyone's mouth when I ask about Le Carre's work.
 

celia

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I read the first book, I find it a pleasant reading, more a comfort reading focused on people and their relationships. I am still planning to read the rest.
 

Jippy

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I just finally read 2666 by Roberto Bolano and would highly recommend it. His writing is fantastic- vivid, graphic and sometimes amusing. He goes off on loads of tangents based around very minor, but colourful characters and some of the chapters are quite meandering in their structure, but it's very readable.