Who's reading what?

Was Albert Camus a better goalkeeper than George Orwell? Have your say here.
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Ros
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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Ros » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:25 pm

At present I'm reading The Time-traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century which is very good. I now know the difference between ale and beer. Did you know that by the end of the century men's shoes had got so long and pointy they had to tie the ends to their garters?
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by David » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:30 pm

I've seen that. It does look good.

It was a book about the 14th century - A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, by Barbara Tuchman - that resparked my interest in history a few years ago. Wonderful stuff.

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by k-j » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:08 am

Wabznasm wrote:KJ - I'm impressed you're tackling Gibbon. I think even Virginia Woolf said it bored the tits off of her at points.
I'm finding all the Christian theological disputes quite wearing, and Gibbon's almost total disregard for the common man takes some getting used to, but I just adore the way the sonorous, magisterial tones of the prose contrast with the sardonic cattiness of the footnotes.

Wish I had some Latin. Perhaps it's time I learnt some... then I could be privy to the naughty bits.
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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Raisin » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:19 am

David wrote:Indeed she is not, but if she shares my daughter's character traits it's probably time she went to tidy her room.
How did you know that?! My room is an utter tip at the moment. :oops:
In the beginning there was nothing, and it exploded. (Terry Pratchett on the Big Bang Theory)

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Travis » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:21 am

I wish David was my dad. It's a ninja thing.
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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Ros » Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:34 pm

Select Samaritan wrote:I wish David was my dad. It's a ninja thing.
David's a Ninja? :shock:
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by David » Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:26 pm

Raisin wrote:
David wrote:Indeed she is not, but if she shares my daughter's character traits it's probably time she went to tidy her room.
How did you know that?! My room is an utter tip at the moment. :oops:
Good! It's not just her then.
Ros wrote:
Select Samaritan wrote:I wish David was my dad. It's a ninja thing.
David's a Ninja? :shock:
It sounds improbable, I know ...

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by OwenEdwards » Fri Jun 26, 2009 1:01 am

Gibbon and Macaulay can both suck my unmentionables, frankly, for the hatchet jobs they did on all sorts of things. And Macaulay also rehabilitated Cromwell. Ugh.

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by k-j » Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:15 am

OwenEdwards wrote:Gibbon and Macaulay can both suck my unmentionables, frankly, for the hatchet jobs they did on all sorts of things. And Macaulay also rehabilitated Cromwell. Ugh.
Care to give an example in the case of Gibbon? He seems pretty even-handed to me, considering his period and my own scanty knowledge of the subject.
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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Raisin » Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:13 am

Started to read "History of my Life" by Casanova which is pretty interesting. I think I might have to concentrate for the first couple of chapters though, I find it quite hard to settle in to this kind of writing style, but I'm giving it a go!
In the beginning there was nothing, and it exploded. (Terry Pratchett on the Big Bang Theory)

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by brianedwards » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:21 am

BenJohnson wrote: I haven't read Atonement, but I found the film pretty dire.
YES! The film was massively over-rated (although beautifully photographed). I was actually surprised to see it adapted to be honest, as the book is as much about writing as anything else. It's one of my favourites of his.

Currently reading Don Delillo's "The Names": fascinating as ever, but not his best. Poetry-wise, been grappling with Berryman's "Dream Songs" and enjoying the manuscript of Rick Stansberger's newest collection "Stark, Ohio" (coming soon!) for which I have been asked to write a blurb.

B.

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Wabznasm » Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:52 am

Go on then Brian, how did you get that job?

I'm blitzing through Cormac McCarthy's The Road right now, and while it's not as good as others of his (i.e. Blood Meridian), it is rather immersive. I'm a bit bored of the way he sets up similes though, but then you have to just accept that as him. After that, I'm taking another step in my Faulkner journey. I still think he is the best best best best best thing ever. Well, second to George Eliot maybe.

Poetry wise, Heaney's The Spirit Level.

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by David » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:55 pm

Faulkner, eh. I picked up The Sound and the Fury in a second hand bookshop on Saturday. We'll see how we go.

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Raisin » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:29 am

Starter for Ten by David Nicholls, I bought the film with James McAvoy and really liked it, so decided to read the book :)
In the beginning there was nothing, and it exploded. (Terry Pratchett on the Big Bang Theory)

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Ros » Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:18 pm

Just finished When Will There be Good News? by Kate Atkinson - quite a lot of fun to read, def. a page turner, but far too many characters running into far too many coincidences (and massacres). Young, fearless, female all-alone-in-the-world heroine reminded me of the character in Lesley Glaister's Now you See Me, which was also enjoyable but didn't seem to add up to much in the end. Perhaps I'm expecting too much from Modern Writing.
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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Charles » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:39 am

Getting through Crime and Punishment slowly, I'd like to say that it is because I don't want it to end and I'm drinking in every word, which is partly true, though to be honest somewhere in my student lifestyle I lost the stamina for novels. It is one of those texts that sparks off so many ideas in your head though, and it's such a disturbing read - I warn you, if life has not already taught you its lessons, you will never be able to show kindness to a stranger in quite the same spontaneous way ever again after reading that one.

Also rediscovering a poet from the mists of my childhood, Brian Patten. I, personally, think he is an absolute genius. His style seems so unrefined at first glance- his imagery is akin to a child being let loose with a box of crayons, here there is great depth and meaning, here there is nothing more than a very simple cliche that doesn't go any deeper no matter how much you think about it, to someone used to more intellectual poetry these phrases stick out like a sore thumb. But therein lies its beauty! His style it retains that aura of childlike simplicity and faith in the basic goodness of the world while dealing with life's darkest and most complicated issues. And such originality! I've already exhausted his Selected Poems, and am now considering hunting down each of his individual collections.
At the centre of his own faith there lied the convincing mystery - we were made in God's image. God was the parent, but He also was the policeman, the criminal, the priest, the maniac and the judge.

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Raisin » Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:30 pm

New reading list:

"Charlotte Gray" by Sebastian Faulks, loved "Engleby" and "Birdsong" so I should enjoy this one.

Also, "Playing Sardines" by Michele Roberts, "The Looking Glass" was brilliant. And... "Blackberry Wine" (again) by Joanne Harris, because I find it hard to get bored with her books.
In the beginning there was nothing, and it exploded. (Terry Pratchett on the Big Bang Theory)

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Wabznasm » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:13 pm

I'm reading Lawrence Norfolk's 'The Pope's Rhinoceros' at the moment and was wondering if anybody has heard of him? He writes these great enyclopaedias of novels containing just about anything he can throw in (the first chapter is about the ending of the ice age and herrings), all historical, ultra po-mo, somewhere between the wry laddishness of Julian Barnes and the unrelenting inclusiveness and seriousness of Pynchon. I ask (and patronise everyone a bit) because it's really, really hard to find much information on him, especially when he seems to be trying desperately to a 'great' author, definitely in the tradition of big-book authors, ala Melville, Pynchon, Wolfe, etc. Saying that though, a big book full of reference, intelligence and good writing doesn't mean it's going to be a masterpiece, so I'll see...

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Wabznasm » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:20 pm

It ain't that good.

Reading a lot of German stuff at the mo, too, and eagerly reccomend the newish Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann, and (an oldie) The Visit by Friedrich Duerrenmatt. Bloody great, both of them, and both easy to get in translation.

(Die Vermessung der Welt and Der Besuch der alten Dame for David and PhillipCF)

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by David » Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:06 pm

We did Romulus der Grosse for A-level.

The visit of the old lady?

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by juliadebeauvoir » Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:07 am

I'm reading "Lady Chatterly's Lover" for a second time but its going slow. Also, Anne Sexton's "Love Poems".
"Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you."

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Wabznasm » Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:09 am

David, is that the one where Romulous talks to chickens for the entire play? Or something along those lines? It sounds great.

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by David » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:37 pm

Ahem. This is over thirty years ago now, you understand. I had forgotten those hens, although I've looked it up in Wikipedia and that's reminded me of them and of a whole lot more.

The only things I think I remembered were that mood of the world coming to an end, fairly quietly and fairly boringly, and one of the names: Spurius Titus Mamma.

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by Wabznasm » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:23 pm

Wow, that is a name. It's nearly as good as my favourite odd name, Mannekin Pis. The poor chap who writes the Brussels Diary section in the current affairs magazine Prospect is unfortunate enough to be lumbered with that stinker.

Anyway, back to books. Onto Buddenbrooks next.

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Re: Who's reading what?

Post by k-j » Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:58 pm

Wabs, are you reading these German classics in German or English? I just finished Billiards at Half-Past Nine by Heinrich Böll. There was some fine writing in it but I found the structure chaotic to no purpose and the moral discussion surprisingly flat-footed. Not my favourite of his. I still want to read The Safety Net. Would love to hear how you get on with Buddenbrooks.

I'm currently reading the Odyssey (in the recent Fagles translation) side-by-side with Ulysses - alternating a book / chapter at a time. It's proving more rewarding than I could have hoped. Reading them together is almost like reading a new text, it's fantastic.
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