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What are you reading at the moment?


ChrisN
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I'm reading Never Let Me Go as my toilet book on the iPhone. Interesting stuff. I want to see the movie.

Hopefully if the postman shows up I shall be reading the brand new Stainless Steel Rat book. Surprisingly it got an excellent review in Interzone so I'm really looking forward to it. At 85 I never expected another book from Harry never mind a new Rat book. Good times :)

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I'm reading Never Let Me Go as my toilet book on the iPhone. Interesting stuff. I want to see the movie.

Hopefully if the postman shows up I shall be reading the brand new Stainless Steel Rat book. Surprisingly it got an excellent review in Interzone so I'm really looking forward to it. At 85 I never expected another book from Harry never mind a new Rat book. Good times :)

I don't know how Never Let Me Go will work on the screen. I'm interested in seeing it, but I'm sure they'll ruin it.

I'm in the 'not going to work' category, though I've heard good things. The trailers for it make me wretch.

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I just finished 'The Cryptographer' by Tobias Hill. His prose is very deliberate and delicate, which was quite satisfying to read, HOWEVER - the plot development about 3/4 through totally confused me. I didn't realise I'd missed some key information until I'd read too far to want to go back, and ended up finishing the book in somewhat irritated incomprehension.

Can someone who has read it please explain to me

why SoftGold fails, what this has to do with Nathan and Lawrence, and what Law was actually hiding?

Thanks.

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In addition to reading Ellroy's Blood's A Rover recently (discussion in the Ellroy thread), I got through a good number of other books.

I finished The Third Policeman by Flann o' Brien. A very peculiar book, and I found it genuinely unsettling at times, as well as being extremely funny. The strange diction of the characters, informed I think by literal translation of Irish Gaelic speech patterns, was often used to great comic effect, and I absolutely loved the footnotes describing the fictional savant De Selby and his eccentricities and the scholarship set up around him. A very clever book.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt is one that I had recommended to me by a friend and it was an excellent book. Very eloquent and formalised language and narration that was somehow still readable and engrossing, and the tale it told gripped me from start to finish. The way mundane, everyday aspects of college life became twisted into aspects of murder and cover-up was skilfully done, and the humour took me by surprise.

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, a semi-autobiographical novel about a year in the life of a 13-year-old boy in 1982, was another excellent book. I was expecting good things after reading number9dream recently, and this lived up to them. The period is evoked perfectly throughout, although it can be a little too winkingly pleased with itself such as when Betamax is mentioned as being sure to beat VHS. You can all but feel Mitchell smugging wildly at you through the pages. There's also some pretty heavy-handed commentary on the Falklands, ("Our defence secretary John Nott would never lie to us, we're British!") but these are minor issues in a very affecting book. Mitchell has a fine eye for detail and I breezed through this novel, even going back afterwards to re-read sections of it immediately. The climax of the book was immensely satisfying, and indeed the best bits are when bleakness and humour juxtapose, with a warmth of emotion making it a very positive story overall. I need to read more Mitchell, definitely.

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I love The Secret History, I've read it about 5 times now and I enjoy it more and more each time. Her other book, The Little Friend isn't as good but still excellent.

I'm re-reading The Corrections by Jonathan Frantzen as his new one is out next month over here and is supposed to be the book of the year. I really liked The Corrections the first time round, but trying to take my time with it this time instead of going through it in 2 days like last time. Also got Jonathan Wilson's Inverting The Pyramid, which is a history of football tactics, to read on the tube.

Oh, also read the new Stephen King, Under The Dome, which was good. Bit of a crazy premise but he brings the story along at a good pace and some of the characters are very well drawn out.

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Reading "Room" by Emma Donoghue

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Room/dp/B003X27L9U/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1?ie=UTF8&m=A3TVV12T0I6NSM

It is pretty harrowing.

It’s Jack’s birthday, and he’s excited about turning five.

Jack lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there's a world outside . . .

Told in Jack's voice, Room is the story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible. Unsentimental and sometimes funny, devastating yet uplifting, Room is a novel like no other.

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I love Michael Marshall Smiths science fiction stuff. Only Forward is amazing, I must read it again.

I just started it today. Most excellent. A fun, easy and above all utterly mental read. It's a bit like Pratchett does Richard Morgan.

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I'm doing some travelling at the moment, it seems to be the only time I get to make contributions to this thread. Been through this lot so far:

The Incredible Shrinking Man - Richard Matheson

Decent but didn't really grip me, needed more spider. The psycho-sexual aspect was really unexpected but very unsettling. The end was a bit meh and was something I had been thinking throughout.

Scott thinking he would just disappear, rather than continue to shrink to the size of germs. Probably just due to the time it was written but still, it annoyed me throughout

.

The Ghost - Robert Harris

Flew through it, loved it. It was just great fun, was over quickly and had a great ending. Perfect holiday book I suppose. Was funny reading it after Blair's recent visit to Dublin.

Dream On - John Richardson

I play a bit of golf, quite badly. This guy's goal was to play an under-par round within a year so it has that challenge element, like a Tony Hawks book. He also goes a lot into his motivational techniques, my favourite one being his imaginary friend Seve, who calls him a 'deeeeek' quite a lot when he's not practicing properly. Fun read for aspiring golfers anyway.

Now reading Neverwhere but only just started that one.

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Reading The Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffrey/Mercedes Lackey. I'm liking the story and characters, but the prose sometimes comes off like this is a 'young adults' book or something. The words that are obviously deployed to avoid swearing in the dialogue are very conspicuous and cringeworthy. Also, pointlessly replacing things just because it's scifi - "he glanced at his wrist-chrono..." What, they don't have watches in the future? :angry:

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Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, a semi-autobiographical novel about a year in the life of a 13-year-old boy in 1982, was another excellent book. I was expecting good things after reading number9dream recently, and this lived up to them. The period is evoked perfectly throughout, although it can be a little too winkingly pleased with itself such as when Betamax is mentioned as being sure to beat VHS. You can all but feel Mitchell smugging wildly at you through the pages. There's also some pretty heavy-handed commentary on the Falklands, ("Our defence secretary John Nott would never lie to us, we're British!") but these are minor issues in a very affecting book. Mitchell has a fine eye for detail and I breezed through this novel, even going back afterwards to re-read sections of it immediately. The climax of the book was immensely satisfying, and indeed the best bits are when bleakness and humour juxtapose, with a warmth of emotion making it a very positive story overall. I need to read more Mitchell, definitely.

I've just started Ghostwritten, his first novel. The only other book of his I've read was Cloud Atlas, which I enjoyed, but perhaps felt there wasn't as much of a connection between the stories as I'd have liked. It felt under developed. It's funny really, because in Ghostwritten, everything seems to hang together much better so far.

Anyway, I like Mitchell for the most part. He does a lot of research into his novels and they're also quite engrossing. Can't wait to read number9dream either.

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I'll be reading Ghostwritten next, then Cloud Atlas. His prose is very readable so it's easy to work through his books, and he doesn't have too many out yet so that's nice. I have a bad habit of getting into authors that have huge back catalogues, and I'm not even a big fantasy reader.

I love those, Ghostwritten is best I think. I'm reading Jump! by Jilly Cooper at the moment and loving every word of it. :D

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I've just finished Nothing to Envy, amazing stuff. There are bits in that I can see sticking with me for a while - the kindergarten teacher who recounts her classes getting smaller as the famine reduces the headcount by 70%, the doctor who defects and stumbles upon a Chinese farmhouse where the food left out back for the dog is better than anything she's had in years, the trials of defectors and how they struggle to fit in once they finally get to South Korea. Then I turn on my computer to browse the Kindle store in colour and see a load of fannies moaning that Facebook is down :lol: It's a hard life.

Ended up buying Stephen Fry's The Hippopotamus for an easier read, I couldn't imagine him as a novelist before but the few pages I've read have been very Fry and seem promising. Also on the lookout for some kind of approachable single volume beginners guide to the history of China now, after Nothing to Envy.

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I've just finished Nothing to Envy, amazing stuff. There are bits in that I can see sticking with me for a while - the kindergarten teacher who recounts her classes getting smaller as the famine reduces the headcount by 70%, the doctor who defects and stumbles upon a Chinese farmhouse where the food left out back for the dog is better than anything she's had in years, the trials of defectors and how they struggle to fit in once they finally get to South Korea. Then I turn on my computer to browse the Kindle store in colour and see a load of fannies moaning that Facebook is down :lol: It's a hard life.

Ended up buying Stephen Fry's The Hippopotamus for an easier read, I couldn't imagine him as a novelist before but the few pages I've read have been very Fry and seem promising. Also on the lookout for some kind of approachable single volume beginners guide to the history of China now, after Nothing to Envy.

John Keay's History of China is good, it should be out in paperback by now, but the hardback cover is lovely if you can find it on the cheap.

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After reading the second Skullduggery Pleasant, which was just as fun as the first one, and the excellent Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror, I've started reading Lives of the Monster Dogs. It's very odd, but strangely compelling so far. Synopsis here:

'A group of dogs who can talk and walk upright become celebrities when they arrive in New York in 2008. Refugees from an isolated town, the dogs retain the 19th-century Prussian culture and dress of their human creator. They find adjustment difficult and are threatened by a mystery disease.'

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