/ What are you reading?
Me? ..... The Valley of Unknowing - Philip Sington
Bought secondhand after stumbling across a glowing review on-line. 100 pages in and so far its excellent. Characters are well developed, the main protagonist and narrator, Bruno Krug, can be very amusing in a dry way. It's set in Eastern Germany in the 80's, Bruno is an author who has had some decent success but is struggling to write a sequel to his acclaimed novel. Then a manuscript is presented to him by his publisher untitled and with no authors name. He reads it and realises it is the sequel to his book and it is brilliant. It is also potentially political dynamite in the DDR and the following events turn the story into a real page turner . I would categorize it as noir fiction bordering on thriller. Hope it continues in same vein to the end.
'Waterlog' by Roger Deakin - and this summer am going to swim a lot!
Have 'Wild wood' on order by same author, the writing is perfect.
I loved Waterlog. I'm currently reading Turning by Jessica J. Lee, another in the recent swathe of wild swimming memoirs. She managed to write this one, about swimming in the lakes round Berlin, whilst also doing her PhD - christ knows how one manages that. Hopefully this summer I'll finally try open water swimming for myself.
No Country For Old Men - McCarthy, Good read but difficult at times. I get out of breath in my head from reading his stuff!
Re-reading Misha Glenny's, McMafia.
"The English Civil War" by Dianne Purkiss, with very many thanks to those of you in UKC who recommended it to me.
A really interesting and enlightening read.
"A little White Death" by John Lawton.
The Red Sparrow Trilogy (Jason Mathews - ex CIA) interesting trade craft in the new cold war. Recommended by James Comey (in the New York Times, I think), of all people.
Each chapter ends with a sketchy little recipe of something that was eaten in the previous chapter, which is an entertaining diversion.
Adaptive Learning of Polynomial Networks
Nikolaev and Bae
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. Near-future sci-fi from fifteen years ago. Have read it before but not for some time.
Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker. Good stuff, but my inner misanthrope keeps fighting back against the relentless carpet bombing of good news.
No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Current audiobook for my commute. Unabridged version narrated by Tom Stechschulte, who has a great voice.
Some tech books about machine learning and linear algebra.
> The Red Sparrow Trilogy (Jason Mathews - ex CIA) interesting trade craft in the new cold war. Recommended by James Comey (in the New York Times, I think), of all people.
Hopefully better than the aimless and dreary film adaptation. Do all the books feature different protagonists or is it all Dominika? I got the impression from the film that her story was finished with and that there might indeed be a larger tapestry of tales, IF there were more (I didn't know that it was based on a book series at the time I sat through it)
We Are Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler.
Picked up fairly randomly from the book-donation-swap shelf at my local independent cinema. A shelf that contains 80% pulp (bad chick-lit, worse autobiographies etc) but which does throw up the occasional interesting-looking thing. Had never heard of it nor the author (who turns out to be famous for this and for The Jane Austen Book Club).
Enjoyable book so far, I am about 2/3 of the way through (not been making time to read in the past two weeks, sadly), being so far mostly the childhood reminiscences and college-year reminiscences of a 40-year-old woman. I know that doesn't sound very appealing but it is really engaging and Fowler has an very strong writing style with some superbly efficient phrasing and a nice "breaking the fourth wall" trick where the character, writing in first person, addresses you the reader, to acknowledge that she's done stuff such as deliberately withholding a key bit of information until a certain point in the narrative. I like that, as it always annoys me in written and cinema fiction, when "tension" is falsely created simply by hiding something that ALL CHARACTERS know, from the audience.
Just finished reading Jerry Moffatt's autobiography called Revelations. Would highly recommend, gives a fantastic insight into his rise through the ranks and the attitude he and many others took to climbing in ye olden days.
Just finished Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth- a good long pageturner. Started on Yuval Noah Harari's- Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind so far very readable.
The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo
An attempt to get the boy to read more means I am also reading his books to enable discussions on plot etc.
I really enjoyed Pillars of the Earth. I have World without End on the book shelf, but have never picked it up (other than buying it). It's size makes me shudder and I think it's destined to join me on a trekking trip rather than a nightly half hour before lights out.
Not seen the film - but it doesn't seem to be a book that would go in that direction anyway. Amazon reviewers seem to feel that the book is a lot better than the film. It (the book) can get a bit repetitive - but it is an enjoyable read (into the second ATM). It does seem to be all Dominika and "what a nasty piece of work Putin is" - so it feeds nicely into my personal echo chamber.
The Forgotten Soldier - Guy Sajer. I've read it before but not for many years, interesting to see how my reaction to it changes with my age. It's by a Frenchman who volunteered for the Wehrmacht and experienced fighting on the Eastern Front, eventually joining the Grossdeutschland SS Division. Tragic.
Lost Lanes West - Jack Thurston. Getting ideas for bike rides with my kids. Can't wait to get out there!
In the Far Country - Nevil Shute. A love story set in rural Australia in the post-war years. Picked up at the book swap in Tesco. I'm a sucker for Nevil Shute as he reminds me so much of my time in Australia.
Like a couple upthread I am also part way through the Pillars of Earth. Though I put it down a couple of years ago - should finish it but I can't suspend my disbelief for some of the characters.
This is going to hurt, by Adam Kay and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.
Both perfectly decent books but I’ve not read anything that has really lit my fire for a couple of months now. Might go mad and splash out 8 quid on Henry Marsh’s Admissions, purely on the strength of how excellent his previous book, Do no harm, was.
This is going to hurt, by Adam Kay
I picked this up in Waterstones a few weeks ago and a member of staff told me it was brilliant. I didn't buy it in the end for some reason and bought East West Street and Diary of a Bookseller instead. (Probably because it wasn't in the "buy one get one half price promotion" knowing how tight I am ;-)
Do no harm looks interesting, I just stuck it on my list.
Nevil Shute, good reminder...I have been meaning to read A Town Like Alice. Have you read it?
As a counter to the Neville Shute view of Australia I can recommend Richard Flanagan, powerful dark writing. 'The Sound of One Hand Clapping' set in Tasmania and 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' about the Australian PoW experience have both left me with strong impressions - to the extent that I intend to get organised to read the rest of his novels, an improbably systematic approach for me; my reading's usually hopelessly serendipitous.
Yes, it was good. My family has strong ties to Malaysia where the PoW narrative is set so this gave it some extra resonance for me, but frankly that story is pretty compelling anyway. Like all of his stuff it is 'of its time' but for me that is part of the charm. I'd recommend 'On the Beach' too., I picked it up on a campsite swap shelf in Australia and have never looked back...must reread it!
The Executioner by Chris Carter, its the Robert Hunter series........pretty good series so far.....
Hhmm, did you just join this site to reply to my post with a link to something I dare not click on?
I feel privileged
At the moment I’m reading a Karen Slaughter book, but I just read a wonderful book called Eleanor Olliphant is Completely Fine. Absolutely superb debut novel; highly recommended.
Currently White sands by Jeff Dyer, read Another great day at sea and loved it, can see myself reading more by him as this is just as good.
Pepys diaries in bed.
Just read Hitman Anders and the meaning of it all by Jonas Jonasson, a good romp.
The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. Very thought provoking!
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Nope Bro, I just put my thoughts that, I'm reading a great romantic Novel that's it. I thought to put my view on social issue, so I drop my link, I hope you don't mind it
I just finished 'As I walked out one midsummer morning' by Laurie Lee. Recommended. It's a travel book about the teenage Lee's jouney from Gloucestershire to Spain on foot in the 1930's. A fascinating look at vanished England and Spain from a very gifted writer. It's not a long book and doesn't claim to be profound but it really transported me and left me with an ache to see a lost world and to be young again.
I'm currently on book three (of twenty) of the Patrick O 'Brian seafaring novels futtock shrouds, debauched sloths and bentincks. Lots of history, funny, transports me elsewhere
just finished "The Hundred Days", Killick still going strong, and have to wait for a friend to return the next so had to reopen "Eiger Wall of Death" while up at Glenbrittle.
Cormoran Strike - The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling).
Decently written, as you'd expect, and enjoyable... I picked this up after reading the Casual Vacancy, which was also good. I'd got bored working my way through John Le Carre's anthology and needed some light relief!
Thanks for this, just finishing up The Narrow Road to the Deep North, really enjoyed it. Subtle, deep insightful writing touching so many topics, and brings back very fond memories of Tassie.
You lucky bugger, a great series!
> This is going to hurt, by Adam Kay and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.
That's funny, I was reading the same two at the same time. I suppose it's not that much of a coincidence really, as they're both big sellers.
This is going to hurt is great, but I've finished it in a couple of train journeys. I gave up on Norse mythology pretty quickly, I couldn't get remotely interested in it.
I'm now reading The order of time, by Carlo Rovelli. This is brain-bending, and is taking a while as I have to get into the right head space to digest it.
Reading Genome by Matt Ridley.
Its very good was thinking that an 18 year old book on such as subject would be past its sell by date, but it covers the subjects with great interest.
Loved that book! Have you read Patrick Lee Fermor's books on his walk across Europe in the 1930's?
Currently reading China Miéville's book 'The last days of New Paris'.
Moonlight by Michael Chabon. Fiction. A recounting of a dying old man's life stories to his son. Despite the morbid backdrop it's totally full of life, recounting stories from the second world war, his work as an engineer, an attempt to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge, his first love, his amazing wife (a presenter of a late-night Tales from the Crypt-esque horror film show) and her mental health problems. I'm two thirds of the way through, I'm not sure a single over-arching narrative is going to emerge and I really don't care if it does. Love it.
Not yet read the Patrick Lee Fermor books but have added them to my wishlist.
I got halfway through 'The last days of New Paris' but didn't finish it for some reason. I haven't enjoyed the last few China M books as much, not sure why.
I'm currently reading the odd Ann Cleeve 'Vera' book (just finished no.4 I think) which I think are excellent (and I'm not much of a crime fiction fan, Ian Rankin aside). I must start Gnomon by Nick Harkaway soon. It's big an intimidating but his others are excellent and the reviews are very good.
Both big sellers but they’ve been out a while and there seem to be very few of us that frequent the culture bunker...I’d say major coincidence!
Also agree with your assessment of both books. I’ll check out any of your future recommendations with interest.
Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro, I can't figure out how it's taken me so long to read his books. Just ordered The Remains of the Day for when this is finished.
I was reading that on my honeymoon, when the penny dropped I burst into tears on my sun lounger.
‘Judgement on Deltchev’ by Eric Ambler
Having to take it slowly.
I finshed it last night, that end is a killer.
Thanks. Out of interest, have you read The Buried Giant? I thought it was a masterpiece, even better than Never let me go. Most of the people that I recommended it to thought it was terrible.
I found The Remains of the Day brilliant and devastating. I'll add Never Let Me Go to my ever-growing list.
I'll stick it on the list. Cheers.
Well just finished 'The last days of new Paris'. Quite enjoyed it, spent a fair bit of time looking up surrealist stuff online so took a while to read. I thouht the ending was the weakest part though.
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