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oneniltothearsenal

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For fans of Cormac McCarthy, I definitely recommend The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu.

It mixes in a small element of weird western magical realism but it fits the nature of the narrative. It's vivid and feels like it would be perfect as a graphic novel or hbo mini series.
 

Suv666

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How is it so far? I'm not a massive sci-fi fan but isn't the book rated, but the original film was really boring?
Read it earlier this year. Really good and looking forward to the new film. I've been told the sequels are a bit crap though
 

Pickle85

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For fans of Cormac McCarthy, I definitely recommend The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu.

It mixes in a small element of weird western magical realism but it fits the nature of the narrative. It's vivid and feels like it would be perfect as a graphic novel or hbo mini series.
Love love LOVE Cormac McC. This sounds great. I'm reading a collection of Richard Ford short stories atm. Just finished The Dutch House - Anne Patchett - which I really liked.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Love love LOVE Cormac McC. This sounds great. I'm reading a collection of Richard Ford short stories atm. Just finished The Dutch House - Anne Patchett - which I really liked.
I've only read Bel Canto, is Dutch House similar in writing?
 

Pickle85

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I've only read Bel Canto, is Dutch House similar in writing?
Haven't read the other in afraid so can't comment, but it's a well told story. She's not the kind of writer that makes you think 'wow, that's a beautiful way of conveying that' but she tells a good story, constructs her character believably and writes with a real humanity. The story itself reminded me weirdly of the Secret History (though not as good - absolutely love that book).
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Haven't read the other in afraid so can't comment, but it's a well told story. She's not the kind of writer that makes you think 'wow, that's a beautiful way of conveying that' but she tells a good story, constructs her character believably and writes with a real humanity. The story itself reminded me weirdly of the Secret History (though not as good - absolutely love that book).
That's a great way of describing her writing since I'd say Bel Canto fits that description really well.
 

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Finished Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary. I really liked it, even with the pseudo science technical stuff it was very interesting I thought. I'd read more in this series if he wanted to expand on it.
 

Pickle85

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Finished Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary. I really liked it, even with the pseudo science technical stuff it was very interesting I thought. I'd read more in this series if he wanted to expand on it.
Sounds good, I read too little nonfiction. What's it about?
 

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Read it earlier this year. Really good and looking forward to the new film. I've been told the sequels are a bit crap though
Thanks,seems everyone rates it, which is promising.
I'm trying to not buy new books at the mo', as we're moving soon, which is annoying.

Just started reading Orlando. Loved Mrs Dalloway, but hated The Waves, so will see how it goes.
 

Hamnat

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Sounds good, I read too little nonfiction. What's it about?
It is sci fi. The basic gist is extinction level event detected for Earth by the scientific community. The worlds scientists join together in the biggest effort to figure it all out. Suicide mission to space for cutting edge science experiments to give humanity a chance....
At the end of the day what can humanity achieve when forced to come together pool all our resources to solve one major problem that no one can hide from rich or poor.

I called it pseudo science because I have no idea if all the scientific terms, and ideas are actually real. But, it did add to the story and tension.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Finished The Nix by Nathan Hill. A fantastic novel that has both interesting use of language and some great commentary on the human condition without being too demanding to read. He's clearly influenced by Pynchon but with a much easier to penetrate set of references and Hill himself said John Irving is a big influence. I think a lot of the regulars (and lurkers) in this thread would enjoy this book.
 

Nickosaur

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Finished The Nix by Nathan Hill. A fantastic novel that has both interesting use of language and some great commentary on the human condition without being too demanding to read. He's clearly influenced by Pynchon but with a much easier to penetrate set of references and Hill himself said John Irving is a big influence. I think a lot of the regulars (and lurkers) in this thread would enjoy this book.
I will be adding both this and Tom Lin book you mentioned above to my shopping list. Pynchon and McCarthy comparisons making me giddy!
 

oneniltothearsenal

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I will be adding both this and Tom Lin book you mentioned above to my shopping list. Pynchon and McCarthy comparisons making me giddy!
Awesome. Let me know what you think when you're reading.
 

Vidyoyo

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What did you think?
Odd but not in a bad way. I liked the nods to nerd/tech culture and there were lots of 'oh I know what that is' moments.

I suppose I was struck most by how the book is filled with paranoid ideas but how it focuses it through interconnection between characters and events rather than a single source of confusion. It seemed to me like it was looking at social network theory in the online age, where everything is linked and sort of loses meaning by being placed so close together.

The main character spends her looking for a Tech Giant Leader which turns into a sort of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle quest, similar in a sense to Oedipa Maas in The Crying of Lot 49. All her time is spent searching for him rather than finding answers any actual answers, like a trip down some sort of Wikipedia rabbit hold. The amount of conversation is dizzifying at times.

It's typically brash and comic, written with a lot of zest. I would recommend :)

P.s. Have you read a lot of Pynchon? Aside from the mentioned books I've only read V. and half of Gravity's Rainbow (struggled massively with that). I'd quite like to read Mason & Dixon.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Odd but not in a bad way. I liked the nods to nerd/tech culture and there were lots of 'oh I know what that is' moments.

I suppose I was struck most by how the book is filled with paranoid ideas but how it focuses it through interconnection between characters and events rather than a single source of confusion. It seemed to me like it was looking at social network theory in the online age, where everything is linked and sort of loses meaning by being placed so close together.

The main character spends her looking for a Tech Giant Leader which turns into a sort of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle quest, similar in a sense to Oedipa Maas in The Crying of Lot 49. All her time is spent searching for him rather than finding answers any actual answers, like a trip down some sort of Wikipedia rabbit hold. The amount of conversation is dizzifying at times.

It's typically brash and comic, written with a lot of zest. I would recommend :)

P.s. Have you read a lot of Pynchon? Aside from the mentioned books I've only read V. and half of Gravity's Rainbow (struggled massively with that). I'd quite like to read Mason & Dixon.
Yes, I loved Gravity's Rainbow one of my all-time favorites though I remember that first section being difficult to get a handle on. I also loved Vineland and Inherent Vice even though those two aren't typically among his fans' favorites. I really need to re-read Against the Day, I sort of powered through that one and missed a ton of stuff.
 

esmufc07

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Need to get back into the routine of reading. Started I’m thinking of Ending Things earlier. Only about 50 pages in but it’s intriguing and dark so far. Enjoying it. Only a short book so I imagine I’ll be finished with it in a day or two and then I’m going to start Never Let me Go which has been on my list for a while. Never read any Ishiguro before but heard good things.
 

Vidyoyo

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Need to get back into the routine of reading. Started I’m thinking of Ending Things earlier. Only about 50 pages in but it’s intriguing and dark so far. Enjoying it. Only a short book so I imagine I’ll be finished with it in a day or two and then I’m going to start Never Let me Go which has been on my list for a while. Never read any Ishiguro before but heard good things.
You and I both.

Let us know how you get on with Never Let Me Go when you get round to it. I really like the book myself. It's very bittersweet. Like a grapefruit.
 

esmufc07

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You and I both.

Let us know how you get on with Never Let Me Go when you get round to it. I really like the book myself. It's very bittersweet. Like a grapefruit.
Will do but I don’t like grapefruit.
 

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"Review" found on Goodreads of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Jul 29, 2013 David rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult-childrens

If you give a mouse a cookie is the story of the perversity of desire, and more particularly the stunted pleasures of the bourgeoisie. Written by the exquisite Laura Numeroff, in what can only be assumed was a violent passion for sterile aloofness from the society which she condemned, and a lust for concision which would socialize her treatise against the deadening wants, making it accessible to the masses. I can imagine her, unbathed, ignorant of her own hunger and thirst, cutting every insignificant word in a Flaubertian frenzy for le mot juste.

The titular mouse is a scathing manifestation of our ruling, yet tirelessly servile, middle class – his small figure manifests the smallness of our self-worth, and the relative largesse of our smallest desires. Every visible aspect of the overall-clad hero hearkens us to the plight of the middle class in the late twentieth century. The mouse, like man, is easily won over to new “needs” – endlessly trying to fill the vacancy of his own heart, deadened by the loss of illusion, by the evaporation of virtue, and the brutal ennui of routine. But as the significantly unnamed mouse usurps his pleasures and whims from his remote human benefactors, we too usurp our desires. Whether from the conspicuous consumption of the upper classes, from the romantic visions of novels and television programming, or from the simple white noise of broadcast advertising, which we subconsciously mold into our own desires – desires for things which we do not want. René Girard identifies this parallel with chilling accuracy to our present condition: "The distance between Don Quixote and the petty bourgeois victim of advertising is not so great as romanticism would have us believe.” It is easy to replace “bourgeois victim” with our murine hero, raising to idolatry his search for false desires, which leads to a parodically circuitous odyssey of “want.”
Numeroff’s story is one of deceptive simplicity, but with a jarring impact. In less than three-hundred words, she is captures the movement of emotion of her literary predecessors, primarily of French origin, though also hearkening back to the Homeric epics. Proust, James, Balzac, Dickens are among Numeroff’s literary forefathers, and her precision for language shows a heavy influence of Flaubert, contemporarily manifest in the logical exactitude of Truman Capote and Ernest Hemingway. Take or example the opening sequence:
If you give a mouse a cookie,
He’s going to ask for a glass of milk.
When you give him the milk, he’ll probably ask you for a straw.
When he’s finished, he’ll ask for a napkin.
Then he will want to look in a mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache.
Immediately we are drawn into a contained cosmos of desire – which is postulated in a hypothetical, though illustrated in an ever-present reality. While we are kept somewhat distanced from our mouselike counterpart by the conditional, we are drawn in by the seeming reality of the action, the omniscience of the narrator, an almost godly knowing, reminds us of a master Chess player, foreseeing the hero’s moves, up to his ultimate epiphany, from the first line. We are acquainted with the mouse with such immediacy, we feel we know him, we feel as though he is a part of us, or perhaps more than we are – despite his size. Though we are removed from the hero’s consciousness, we feel he is both naïve of his circuitous desires, but also disturbingly manipulative. This contradiction, this naïvete matched with perturbing self-possession, concerns the reader – how aware am I of my own desires? We are moved, our uncertainty of the hero’s self-awareness is never satisfied. We observe the seeming naïvete and it enlightens us to our own short commings of self-awareness. “To see someone who does not see is the best way to be intensely aware of what he does not see” argued Barthes, and it is precisely the salient power of If you give a mouse a cookie.

The godless landscape of If you give a mouse a cookie is one marked by a total secularization of morality and gratification. The parallels to our own secular society, in which we are diminished to figurative animals - beasts of pure will driven in the vain effort for satiety of our animalistic desires. Instead of a God, the world within the story is governed by a maternalistic hand - more reminiscent of Neo-Marxian doctrine of entitlement than it is to the classical Judeo-Chrisitan rule of centuries past. Instead of being ruled by virtue, or protagonist is ruled by the ever-demanding "want!" of his body. Cookies, milk, soft bedding, but no time for self reflection, no orison nor even secular gratitude is shared by our profane hero. We compare the mouse's struggle for "want" to the Defoe's struggle for need in Robinson Crusoe, and we are dismayed at the descent from virtue of our present day society, in which our vices and excesses have supplanted our virtues and reservations.

In his gustatory pursuits, we observe his coy glances, his polite demeanor, but ultimately his ingratitude. And what disturbs us as the reader is his humanlike disposition, his canny vanity, his concern with appearances and hygienic preoccupations, and his servility to routine. His look into the pierglass is so human that one expects to see our diminutive friend the next time we check for our own milk-mustaches – the parodic symbol of self-indulgence and minor fall from poise. The vanity implicit in our héros de rongeurs is startling parallel to our own fall from grace, manifest in Milton's Paradise Lost. Despite his many pleasures, his many "wants" they are startlingly mundane to us, they are self-serving but unambitious. He foregoes the search for self-discovery, for transcendent pleasure, for the pleasures of immediacy, which feed his vanity and his comfort. His look into the mirror reveals to us a world of pleasures forgone, given up, in the vain restraints of society, with which he is disturbingly complicit. His concern for his milk-mustache, his imagined need for a haircut - a purely imaginary need for our rodent friend, one which is purely vain and removed from true necessity, disturbs us, but warms us to him. He is made more human to us, but that is precisely the element which disturbs us and makes us question our own vain pursuits.

But our hero’s desires are manifold. What begins as a novel of unhealthy appetite of necessity and hunger, become a hunger for a higher appetite: the hunger for the aesthetic.
He’ll probably ask you to read him a story. So you’ll read him one from one of your books, and he’ll ask to see the pictures. When he looks at the pictures, he’ll get so excited he’ll want to draw one of his own. He’ll ask for paper and crayons.
What began as low hierarchical needs (according to Maszlow), rises with expediency to needs of self-realization in his pursuit for artistic expression. This passage is the greatest drop of the mask of our narrator revealing her greater purpose: to expose the mimetic nature of our deepest desires. Upon hearing the story, which we imagine is the very story we are reading – a classical representation of the meta-literary play often attributed to post-modern writers, and seeing the illustrations, he is moved by a previously unknown desire. Due to the constrained world in which the narrative takes place –a small house, presumably in the suburbs, a set-manifestation of the class so brutally satirized – we must consider this desire within the constraint of the story. What moves our hero to request a bedtime story? We can only assume it is a routine he has usurped from his benefactors, a further emulation of their posh lives which they take for granted. The story is so moving to the mouse that he is immediately affected. What author can claim artistic impulse in a void? Certainly no contemporary author is without his or her literary influences. Literature too is circuitous in its search for the truth: every author seeks the “answers” behind his characters, behind his plot, behind the meaning of his life’s work, but each author usurps his questions from his literary forefathers (or foremothers). Where is literature without Homer? Without Sophocles or Plato, Plutarch? The question we are never answered is what moved the unnamed author of the unknown bedtime story to write it? We know only that our bourgeois protagonist seeks emulation of that art.

If you give a mouse a cookie ends with an almost Borgesian nihilism: “ Looking at the refrigerator will remind him that he’s thirsty so…he’ll ask for a glass of milk. And chances are if he asks for a glass of milk, he’s going to want a cookie to go with it.” Thus desire begets desire, begets desire – the search for fulfillment is endless, and our hero is left always hungry for something new, but can never identify what that is. We are left haunted by this “children’s” story, but the foolishness of the petite protagonist, who wants big things – but those “big things” seem very small to us. It makes the reader turn in upon himself/herself and wonder: what do I want? And what is the ultimate path of my “wants”? Can I ever be fulfilled or am I resigned to the mazy route of routine-desire?

Imagine waking up to realize the fruition of your ultimate desire is only the begetting of more desires? Desires of things which you only believe that you want? Chilling.
 

Vidyoyo

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Started Rabbit, Run yesterday. Almost 100 pages in and it's very bittersweet so far. Like a grapefruit.

The woman in the second hand used bookshop seemed enamoured by my choice but added it was very misogynistic, which seems true.

I really want to try and read more.
Whenever I pick up a book, I seem to manage a few pages before I'm fighting to keep my eyes open
Contrary to popular expression I've never felt reading is a good activity at night. I struggle to read in bed more than pretty much anywhere else.
 

Igor Drefljak

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Contrary to popular expression I've never felt reading is a good activity at night. I struggle to read in bed more than pretty much anywhere else.
I've got Dune to read, and I've heard nothing but good things about it, but the only time I find to read is at night :lol:
 

esmufc07

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Finished I’m Thinking of Ending Things

I need time to digest and fully understand the ending. Everything I thought about where the story was headed was flipped on it’s head in the last 20 or so pages. A really interesting, disturbing read, though. Would highly recommend. It’s been made into a Netflix film so I’ll watch that at some point this week (though I generally always prefer books to film).

Will start Never Let me Go next and see what the fuss is about. If I don’t enjoy it @Vidyoyo I am coming to Nottingham.
 

Vidyoyo

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Finished I’m Thinking of Ending Things

I need time to digest and fully understand the ending. Everything I thought about where the story was headed was flipped on it’s head in the last 20 or so pages. A really interesting, disturbing read, though. Would highly recommend. It’s been made into a Netflix film so I’ll watch that at some point this week (though I generally always prefer books to film).

Will start Never Let me Go next and see what the fuss is about. If I don’t enjoy it @Vidyoyo I am coming to Nottingham.
You can come anyway. We'll play Xbox ;)

Also I'm adding that book to my list. It sounds very interesting.
 

esmufc07

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What would we say are the best review sites for books? Some of the shite I've read that has 5 star ish reviews on Amazon doesn't bear thinking about.
Goodreads?

Tbf when I’m looking for something to read I tend to just flick through random pages on this thread…….
 

esmufc07

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You can come anyway. We'll play Xbox ;)

Also I'm adding that book to my list. It sounds very interesting.
You should. It’s one of those books you immediately want to discuss/read further into. I’ll definitely have to read through it again at some point because the ending lends a whole new perspective
 

Jippy

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What would we say are the best review sites for books? Some of the shite I've read that has 5 star ish reviews on Amazon doesn't bear thinking about.
I prefer Guardian and NY Times. Always a bit wary of Amazon, Good Reads etc...It might sound odd, but I tend to only read brief plot synopsis' before reading a book and maybe a review after I've read a book if I hated or loved it to see what others think. Reviews too often contain massive plot spoilers.
 

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Goodreads?

Tbf when I’m looking for something to read I tend to just flick through random pages on this thread…….
I wondered about goodreads, the reviews don't tend to be as generous, which may be a good sign that they are more authentic. Amazon reviews are clearly corrupted as nearly every book scores way too high. I'm going to check out I'm thinking of ending things, looks really intriguing.

I prefer Guardian and NY Times. Always a bit wary of Amazon, Good Reads etc...It might sound odd, but I tend to only read brief plot synopsis' before reading a book and maybe a review after I've read a book if I hated or loved it to see what others think. Reviews too often contain massive plot spoilers.
Thanks Jippy, I quite often use the NY times bestsellers as a go to guide. I've found a couple of great books way out of the scope of my normal reading, Where the Crawdads Sing, springs to mind.
 

celia

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What would we say are the best review sites for books? Some of the shite I've read that has 5 star ish reviews on Amazon doesn't bear thinking about.
I use Goodreads too, most of the regular reviewers know how to put the spoilers behind tags. But I mostly skim the reviews. And they are usually go more with the enjoyment that the literary side.

You can also find fake or too nice reviews/ratings too (so if there are only few ratings, you can check the profiles of the reviewers to see if they rate high, are small authors or have only one or two books they rate) but once more people rate/review; the page gives a more accurate and diverse picture.

I like there are usually people disliking the most popular books and explaining why. It feels nice not being alone when I don't get some praised books.
 

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Just finished reading Winterdance by Gary Paulsen. If you like dogs and sledging across Alaska you’ll like this. True story as well. He ends up with some dogs that other other teams deem too aggressive or soft or whatever to be decent sled dogs. It’s about how he acquires them one at a time and assembles, I suppose, a Dirty Dozen dog sled team. He enters the Iditarod race across Alaska. Great story if you like non fiction.
 
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hungrywing

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Some non-fiction:

The Problem with Science, R. Barker Bausell
The Reality Bubble, Ziya Tong
Know This, edited by John Brockman
Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire, Rebecca Henderson (haven't finished yet)
 

esmufc07

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You and I both.

Let us know how you get on with Never Let Me Go when you get round to it. I really like the book myself. It's very bittersweet. Like a grapefruit.
I’ve just finished Part 1, really enjoying it so far. Intrigued to see how the story develops further. Feel like there’s much more to come! I like Tommy - I hope things go well for him. Should have it finished by the weekend.

Got The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes for my read after this one.
 

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Andrei Kanchelskis - Russian Winters
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The Biography of Frida Kahlo
 

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Currently reading Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup.