Discussion in 'books, films, TV, radio & writing' started by editor, Jun 13, 2008.
Keep the Aspidistra Flying
Just finished Iain Banks' The Steep Approach to Garbdale.
A bit of a return to form (not hard after the steaming pile of shite that was Dead Air), an enjoyable enough read, but ultimately still rather weak with a very obvious ending.
Now about 150 pages into Franzen's The Corrections (at last) and loving every page of it
I really need to read this again - I love 'Coming up for Air', even if the end is a bit of a mess, his evocation of childhood and the brooding feeling of the soon to come World War is fantastic.
I'm reading this book called 'Laurel Canyon' which I am *really* enjoying. Its about the canyon from about the early 60s onwards, taking in Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and all those players who lived there; the parties, the touring, the changes on the strip, the groupies, Frank Zappa and his lot, cocaine coming etc etc. I've read a few music bios like this, but this one is really standing out for me for a few reasons. Def recommend it. I also saw a recommendation in it for a book about the link between counterculture, music and drug taking, called 'Waiting for the Man' I think, which is now on its way to me. Nice.
I'm about to start reading the Ancient secret of the flower of life.
It looks quite bonkers in a "geometric shapes spinning round inside your soul" kind of a way. So I think I'll enjoy it
Anyone else read them?
London Fields by poor old misunderstood Martin Amis. I think the problem with Amis is that he's actually too talented for his own good, tending to stray towards postmodern flourishes that start to grate after the first few chapters. Hopefully I'll finish it without wanting to throw it across the room...because he can be a funny fucker when he wants to be.
so how where his anti islamic witterings misunderstood then?
"Ilium" is still on going and i must be enjoying his writing as I have just ordered The Hyperion Omnibus - and Olympos - from Amazon
no way near as good as illium&olympos. Worth the time though.
The Great and Secret Show - Clive Barker.
A mate has passed me all her old books as she is leaving the country for a couple of years. I have pulled out a few there which look like a good read...
Bloodtide - Melvin Burgess
Urban Dreams-Rural Realities - Daniel Butler
The Flood & Dead Souls - Ian Rankin
Our Lady of the Forest - David Gutterson.
A few to be getting on with....
Aspidistra was ok -- he's never boring, Orwell -- but this was a bit stiff and unconvincing and repetitive. It's Orwell trying to get something out of his system. Coming Up For Air is a much better novel imo -- tenderer, funnier, better-written.
Started and finished The Rock Pool by Cyril Connolly. I was surprised at how good it was. Young English snob with literary pretensions spends the summer in the South of France getting on the nerves of an assorted bunch of painters, composers, spongers and Corsicans. The first time I've ever read a book by a bloke called Cyril.
Now re-reading Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh. Still funny.
Never said they were. But there's more to the man than that rather messy episode.
I read 'Notes on an exhibition' by Patrick Gale and was utterly disappointed
then i read 'Blind faith' the latest Ben Elton which was just the same as every other book he's written
Now I'm reading 'Engleby' by Sebastian Faulks and I'm really enjoying it. The only other book of his I have read is Charlotte Grey but off the back of this I may get hos others off the book shelf and finally get round to reading them too.
Started 'The Boy with No Shoes' by William Horwood. Got bored rapidly. So started on a Victoria Wood biog by Neil Brandwood
The problem is that the effects of that messy episode may linger for along time. It would be good to see him recapture the form of the earlier novels, where there is a marriage of form, substance and style.
And I have managed to find something to read: 'The Ornament of the World' by Maria Rosa Menocal.
apple, tree etc.
Maybe he should just concentrate on writing a half decent novel?
I liked ground beneath her feet, and SV is at turns frustrating and great.
As for the writing a half decent novel thing, thats advice to us all
I gave up on Banks after Whit and Song of Stone. If you think they were good I'll not bother, but if you think they were bad maybe I'll have a look a that one.
DC - I think that you are confusing Rushdie and Amis?
How are you getting on with 'The Satanic Verses'?
So I am
Rusdie keeps sideswiping me with plotting just when I get annoyed by his prose. I recall this similar sense of exasperation and admiration from reading ahrundati roy's 'God Of Small Things'. The purpely prose noodlings hide a fearsome skill with reader-manipulation
Emilio's Carnival (aka As A Man Grows Older) by Italo Svevo
I have fond memories of The Hyperion Omnibus and The Endymion Omnibus summer last year. Good books those. I can still remember them in detail, when that happens I know they left me with a lasting impression. Enjoy!
So how are you getting on? Enjoying it?
In SV I found that his prose was the least of his problems, there were far deeper problems relating to structure and his attempt to explore more than one story. There are moments when you might find yourself thinking 'Damn, this is actually very good' (particularly the way he handles material which relates to early Islam)......only to find yourself presented with Rushdie taking the text in an entirely different direction.
Keep at it though - it is worth reading.
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
Started it last night and it's shaping up to be a blinding read
Finished this, it was great. Not as great as Zeno, but not much is. Would have made a fine Bunuel film, I reckon.
I only got two-thirds of the way through that for a reason I forget, but I liked it a lot.
Pierre Menard - Author of the Quixote
Separate names with a comma.