The Book Thread 2023

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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#21  Postby don't get me started » Jan 17, 2023 3:25 am

Evolving wrote:I don't get Ulysses. Tried, failed.

The first few chapters are OK, while it's still making normal sense, but once the stream of consciousness starts: no. Can't get into it.


I'm the same with Henry James. Started 'The Bostonians' a few times. Never made it past page 50.

(denizens of these book challenge threads know that I'm very fond of The Waste Land),


The above mentioned Banks SF novels have two books with titles drawn directly from Eliot's masterpiece.
Consider Phlebas & Look to Windward. I've often wondered why he chose those two quotes in particular.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#22  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 17, 2023 4:48 am

don't get me started wrote:
The above mentioned Banks SF novels have two books with titles drawn directly from Eliot's masterpiece.
Consider Phlebas & Look to Windward. I've often wondered why he chose those two quotes in particular.


Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
                                   A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
                                   Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.


My guess is it's something to do with hubris as these two books are about the violent clash and consequences of the Idiran and the Culture, two star spanning behemoths whose lofty arrogance (particularly the Culture) brings them to the brink of their own annihilation (actually and figuratively respectively), with Phlebas acting as an Ozymandias style warning.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#23  Postby Blip » Jan 18, 2023 2:32 pm

1. The Moose Paradox by Antti Tuomainen
2. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
3. French Braid by Anne Tyler
4. The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

A collection of beautifully-written short stories; not easy (for me) to read because they include so much suffering. I know, I know, but...
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#24  Postby Evolving » Jan 18, 2023 2:58 pm

You're making that recommendation less tempting than others, Blip.

I know what you mean, and I often feel the same. The next entry on my list will be something in that vein.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#25  Postby UncertainSloth » Jan 21, 2023 10:05 am

1. the reading list - sara nisha adams - 8/10
2. fairy tale - stephen king - 8/10 - very much a book of two halves...the king i love is in the first half, then he heads down the light fantasy route...i was hoping for a much darker, deeper exploration of fairy stories and folk tales but there were only the lightest of references

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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#26  Postby Animavore » Jan 21, 2023 10:40 am

Anyone read Spare yet?
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#27  Postby Blip » Jan 21, 2023 4:05 pm

1. The Moose Paradox by Antti Tuomainen
2. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
3. French Braid by Anne Tyler
4. The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr
5. Mislaid by Nell Zink

The Observer reckons, apparently, that this is 'scalpel-sharp, shockingly funny'.

There are indeed several amusing lines.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#28  Postby Evolving » Jan 21, 2023 5:40 pm

1. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.
2. Im Westen Nichts Neues, Erich Maria Remarque

This is the novel whose English translation is called All Quiet on the Western Front.

It's sheer coincidence that a new film based on this book has just come out and is apparently expected to do well at the Baftas.

This is not a book in which characters develop with their interactions with each other. It's a story in which one character after another dies; while this is going on, we learn what the hell that they are experiencing is doing to them as human beings; and at the end, the narrator is the only one of his friends left.

It's very well done and is an easy read for that reason, but it's a tough read at the same time, for its subject.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#29  Postby Blip » Jan 24, 2023 8:42 am

1. The Moose Paradox by Antti Tuomainen
2. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
3. French Braid by Anne Tyler
4. The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr
5. Mislaid by Nell Zink
6. for thy great pain have mercy on my little pain by Victoria Mackenzie

Fictionalised intertwined autobiographies of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, gently shining a modern light on their visions and decisions. I loved it.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#30  Postby NamelessFaceless » Jan 24, 2023 4:05 pm

1. The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder
2. Basil - Wilkie Collins
3. The Eyes Have It and Other Stories - Philip K. Dick (audiobook)
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#31  Postby Animavore » Jan 26, 2023 6:14 pm

1. The Three-Body Problem.

Best fictitious novel I've read in ages. In fact I don't really read them any more, I get through a few chapters and get bored, but this gripped me from page one.

Will have to try get all three books in before the Betflix series.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#32  Postby THWOTH » Jan 26, 2023 11:26 pm

I think there's a fourth book now too.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#33  Postby Evolving » Jan 28, 2023 8:07 pm

1. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.
2. Im Westen Nichts Neues, Erich Maria Remarque
3. The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker

That was a good recommendation, Blip, thank you for that. (That is, it was your report on the sequel that I read: was this one on a previous list of yours? I didn't see it if it was.)

Thinking back to what I said late last year (in the previous thread) about the Iliad: this is indeed more like it. In this version of the story, a woman is actually a person, imagine that. And this is indeed what it would probably have been like for her, if the events of the legend had actually happened.

At first I assumed that this would be a realistic re-telling; but in fact it turns out that we're supposed to accept that the mythical elements of the story are real. Though, on the other hand, not many of them actually figure in the book, compared to Homer. Am I making sense? Most of the supernatural elements in Homer's version are left out here, but those that are not left out, we are evidently supposed to take seriously. I first realised that when divine Thetis actually arrives in person, in the flesh, out of the sea to visit her son, Achilles. I could have realised sooner, when the plague actually happens in apparent response to the prayer of Chryses, but I assumed this was mere coincidence.

So that was a bit unexpected, but you get used to it, settle down and enjoy the story; and I was rather gripped by it. At some point I'll read the next instalment.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#34  Postby Blip » Jan 29, 2023 7:40 am

Evolving wrote:[...]
3. The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker

That was a good recommendation, Blip, thank you for that. (That is, it was your report on the sequel that I read: was this one on a previous list of yours? I didn't see it if it was.)
[...]


I read it a while ago and I think I was participating here at the time. I certainly enjoyed it. ETA yep, a pre-lockdown read in 2020.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#35  Postby Evolving » Jan 29, 2023 8:35 am

I was a bit distracted by Barker's frequent use of purely English expressions ("why was he born so beautiful"), and English, moreover, of a certain age ("half a crown"). Updating the classics in translating them has a long tradition, and that's all very well, but I found it, yes, distracting to see the story anchored so firmly, linguistically speaking, in pre-decimal-currency England.
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Re: The Book Thread 2023

#36  Postby Blip » Jan 29, 2023 5:01 pm

1. The Moose Paradox by Antti Tuomainen
2. Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
3. French Braid by Anne Tyler
4. The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr
5. Mislaid by Nell Zink
6. for thy great pain have mercy on my little pain by Victoria Mackenzie
7. Infinite Ground by Martin MacInnes

Apparently starting with a semi-retired, widowed 'inspector' seeking to trace a missing person, it seems to me that this is about extreme grief and its effect on sanity, while questioning the relationship between consciousness and external reality. I felt the influence of Kafka, which was for me less successful than the passages which invoked the nature of dreams. Interesting, though.
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