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I've a few things on the go at the moment which for me normally means nothing has fully grabbed me. But these are all pretty decent.

I'm halfway through The Dark Angel by Elly Griffith. The 9th? 10? 11? book in the Ruth Galloway series. The main character is a forensic archaeologist who helps the police out in their investigation. This book relocates out to Italy where Ruth is helping an old flame on a dig.

Like the rest of this series this is very well written and plotted. The characters are well written and it's nicely paced. When a series moves to a new location it normally suggests the writer is running out of ideas but I'll give Elly the benefit of the doubt here.

I'm well into A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Written in the 60's it's the story of a big fat guy who rails against everything 'modern' and is convinced the World is out to get him. He avoids work, sponges of his mother and writes his own stories reflecting the World.

This has been on the my shelf for an age so I got it down during the snow here. It's really good - very funny in places, surreal and kind of touching as well. Ignatius, the central character, is a great creation and he's fab company in the sleazy World of 60's New Orleans.

Finally I'm about 100 pages into Brett Andersons biography Coal Black Mornings. I'm a huge Suede fan so this has been a real treat so far. Very funny, very sad and very well written. I'll take my time with this one. 

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On 19/02/2018 at 21:52, deerokus said:

Senlin Ascends, a previously self-published debut novel that was recently picked up by a large publisher and put out in paperback. That alone is kind of inspiring. Anyway, it's really good so far, a beautifully written and times quite bizarre novel about a stuffy headmaster who goes on an adventure of sorts through the Tower of Babel, each section of which is a weird and unique environment of its own. The world is the star of the show, a very strange and fantastical setting that is quite fascinating to explore with excellent world building.  

 

I had never heard of it before but picked it up in the recommended sci-fi/fantasy* section of Waterstones and I am glad I did so far. 

 

*it's arguably more magical realism than SFF though with a load of steampunk, which I don't normally like. 

 

Thanks for this recommendation, hobbled it up and moved straight onto the sequel. Felt like a breath of fresh air in the fantasy market where every other author has moved from mindlessy aping Tolkien to mindlessly aping George R.R. Martin. By which I mean they still mindlessy ape Tolkien, but now their chosen one characters say fuck and cunt and there are lots of scenes with whores. Reminded me of Terry Gilliam in his prime. 

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Just finished Tin Man, which I thought was moving and really well written - the kind of book that rattles along really well, but you need to sit down and think it through to really process the characters.

 

My current Audible book is Born to Run, which is fascinating, but I find the writing style a little too magazine article-y for my personal preference. 

 

Starting Left Hand of Darkness now, which I know is well thought of on here.

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I'm reading Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry, which is about the impact of the Japanese tsunami on the most impacted communities. Started it this morning, and realized halfway through that it was 7 years ago today. It's tremendously moving, the opening chapters about the school that was destroyed were really hard to read. I'm not sure I can say that I am enjoying it, but it's a compelling read. What I mainly remember from the time was the focus of the media on the nuclear reactor failures, but this is much more focussed on the destruction of the communities.

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I finished Brett Andersons book, it was fantastic. And I also finished the new Elly Griffith, I was right to be a bit suspicious of the author relocating the characters to Italy. This was pretty poor stuff from a normally excellent series.

 

I'll hit up Amazon after later and see what the algorithm has for me.

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11 hours ago, Sirloin said:

I'm reading Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry, which is about the impact of the Japanese tsunami on the most impacted communities. Started it this morning, and realized halfway through that it was 7 years ago today. It's tremendously moving, the opening chapters about the school that was destroyed were really hard to read. I'm not sure I can say that I am enjoying it, but it's a compelling read. What I mainly remember from the time was the focus of the media on the nuclear reactor failures, but this is much more focussed on the destruction of the communities.

 

I read his article in the guardian last year about a school that was destroyed in the tsunami (The School Beneath The Wave) - heartbreaking stuff. 

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51mOJxcE2PL.jpg

 

This was an interesting read.  It seems Mr Rotten is actually a very entertaining writer - he explains himself incredibly well and it's a very honest book.  And although I disagree with him about plenty of issues (this is no bad thing!!) he is at least consistent.  And it made me appreciate Never Mind The Bollocks a lot more too!

 

I've never really got PiL though, so there's a lot of this book that doesn't really appeal, but when talking about his life away from music, he's certainly an interesting character and far more likeable that I would have imagined.

 

"Don't believe the hype, baby" indeed. 

 

A good read overall, but it could have been 25% shorter.  

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On 2/17/2018 at 09:59, Kingpin said:

I’m currently reading Pompeii by Robert Harris. I’ve read Fatherland and The Ghost by him previously and loved them. This one is Roman historical fiction about the engineer responsible for the aquaduct before the volcano blows. Only about 20% in now but I’m loving the setting and the build up. 

 

Finished Pompeii - all the researched Roman detail stuff is excellent, the inevitable eruption scenes are awesome. Unfortunately, the characters and plot are really bog standard and don't do justice to the setting. Not bad though, but my least favourite of his so far. I would read his Roman trilogy though, and one of of recent books Conclave, is a thriller set in the Vatican around the election of a new pope so that's also on the reading list based on the synopsis alone. 

 

I just polished off Annihilation which is book one of the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Had to read it as I want to watch the Alex Garland film. It was really good - I didn't know anything about it and from the opening, I was expecting something like Rendezvous with Rama but ultimately, it was a really intense, tripped-out first person journey. Hard to explain (and better to go in blind) but I really got into it. I think it's one of those mysteries where it's more about the ride, rather than having everything neatly explained. Works well as a standalone novel too, though I will read the sequels.

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I’ve just read Winning The Ashes Down Under by Andrew Strauss, which is about England not being shit at cricket for once. I like books and I like cricket, so when I saw this for one pound in The Works I decided to buy it. Strauss doesn’t seem to have employed a ghostwriter, as it reads like a summer holiday report from a child, this happened then that happened then this player with a nickname ending in Y said this and then that player with a nickname ending in Y said this. Good sports books end up being about more than the sport concerned making the sport more interesting due to its context, whereas this actually makes me less interested in the sport concerned as it seems you can play cricket having no appreciable personality or intelligence (though I could have guessed that from Ben Stokes). Long story short, I now no longer like cricket, reading, the jeans of Levi Strauss or the music of Richard Strauss.

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I'm reading Under A Watchful Eye by Adam nevill. It's set in the South West - Torquay, Paignton, Plymouth and I'm from here so I like that about it and I recognise and know a lot of the locations. It's creepy and I'm really enjoying it. I've read a fair bit of his stuff and one criticism I had before reading this was that he seemed to take far too long to get anywhere and quite often, he'd retell the same situation/scenario more than once so it would become repetitive (The Ritual did this for chapter after chapter of "we walked through the woods and it was wet and horrible") but this one isn't like that at all.  It's nowhere near the length of Last Days but it does have some characters from that novel in this one - it isn't a sequel though (or I don't think it is).

 

It's really excellent and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a creepy horror story.  Adam Nevill is becoming one of the best British horror writers and if he keeps going, I think he'll carve out quite a career.  This is his 8th book so he already has a body of work and he seems to just get better. I follow him on Twitter and he's Tweeted me back so he engages with his fans too. 

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Skipped it to the top of my pile of shame and read Conclave by Robert Harris. I find the upper eschelons of the Catholic Church to be really weird and fascinating, and the nature of the papal election makes for a good closed-room thriller. 

 

It wasn’t that thrilling to be honest - the nature of the uncovered scandals of some of the candidates were very tame compared to real-life examples but still, Harris is the king of research and I was satisfied by the voting process and all the background detail. 

 

It gets really interesting towards the end, and at the very end, absolutely ridiculous. I literally laughed at the ending and people will either love the absurdity of it, or hate how stupid it is. 

 

Extreme spoilers - don’t click if you have any intention to read this. 

 

Spoiler

The new pope is actually a womanz!!!

 

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1 hour ago, Splunge said:

Just finished Ready Player One. Not sure if I enjoyed it or if it was the biggest load of 80s fan boy nonsense ever. Probably the latter.

the first third is really awful but I loved the middle if I"m honest, as you say just a totally self indulgent wander down memory lane

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5 hours ago, Kingpin said:

Skipped it to the top of my pile of shame and read Conclave by Robert Harris. I find the upper eschelons of the Catholic Church to be really weird and fascinating, and the nature of the papal election makes for a good closed-room thriller. 

 

It wasn’t that thrilling to be honest - the nature of the uncovered scandals of some of the candidates were very tame compared to real-life examples but still, Harris is the king of research and I was satisfied by the voting process and all the background detail. 

 

It gets really interesting towards the end, and at the very end, absolutely ridiculous. I literally laughed at the ending and people will either love the absurdity of it, or hate how stupid it is. 

 

Extreme spoilers - don’t click if you have any intention to read this. 

 

  Reveal hidden contents

The new pope is actually a womanz!!!

 

I think I've read everything Robert Harris has written, I like this just cos of the insight into the process (!) but yeah that ending is WTF

 

His worst book, by far though, is The Fear Index. Oh my lord is he out of his depth there.

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19 hours ago, Kingpin said:

Skipped it to the top of my pile of shame and read Conclave by Robert Harris. I find the upper eschelons of the Catholic Church to be really weird and fascinating, and the nature of the papal election makes for a good closed-room thriller. 

 

It wasn’t that thrilling to be honest - the nature of the uncovered scandals of some of the candidates were very tame compared to real-life examples but still, Harris is the king of research and I was satisfied by the voting process and all the background detail. 

 

It gets really interesting towards the end, and at the very end, absolutely ridiculous. I literally laughed at the ending and people will either love the absurdity of it, or hate how stupid it is. 

 

Extreme spoilers - don’t click if you have any intention to read this. 

 

  Reveal hidden contents

The new pope is actually a womanz!!!

 

 

There was a massive clue which gave the ending away for me about half way through.  Possibly about 

Spoiler

shaving, although I don't exactly remember and the book went off pronto to charity shop.

 

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@Cosmic_Guru Yeah, that was a big hint but it was closer to the end I think. I thought the twist was going to be:

 

Spoiler

Cardinal Benitez was actually dying of some terminal disease and he was off to Switzerland to get euthanised. He would get elected Pope knowing he only had a short time left and do the reform work that only a dying man could do. But nope, gender reassignment clinic :lol:

 

 

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On 17/02/2018 at 09:59, Kingpin said:

I read Never Let Me Go last year. It made an impression as I continued thinking about it for a few weeks afterwards. Knew nothing about it before reading so went in cold. Interested to hear your thoughts on that one. 

 

I’m currently reading Pompeii by Robert Harris. I’ve read Fatherland and The Ghost by him previously and loved them. This one is Roman historical fiction about the engineer responsible for the aquaduct before the volcano blows. Only about 20% in now but I’m loving the setting and the build up. 

As far as Harris goes you need to read Archangel (his best book) and fear index.  

 

Conclave is plain boring

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On 14/03/2018 at 12:46, Boothjan said:

51mOJxcE2PL.jpg

 

This was an interesting read.  It seems Mr Rotten is actually a very entertaining writer - he explains himself incredibly well and it's a very honest book.  And although I disagree with him about plenty of issues (this is no bad thing!!) he is at least consistent.  And it made me appreciate Never Mind The Bollocks a lot more too!

 

I've never really got PiL though, so there's a lot of this book that doesn't really appeal, but when talking about his life away from music, he's certainly an interesting character and far more likeable that I would have imagined.

 

"Don't believe the hype, baby" indeed. 

 

A good read overall, but it could have been 25% shorter.  

I’m amused you are surprised the father of punk is a good writer :) pistols lyrics are sublime

 

i read No Irish No Blacks No Dogs many years ago, didn’t really care for the first person narrative 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm an Irvine Welsh completest so I've picked up his new book Dead Man's Trousers, which is the 5th (and probably final) episode of the Trainspotting saga.  I was thinking about how to rate it really, it's all over the place, I know Irvine Welsh's career has been much like that but this goes from chapter to chapter or even paragraph to paragraph in terms of quality.  It's the usual Welsh fare too, left wing politics presented like a pub bore (I say this as a trade unionst...) and as a couple of the characters have done well for themselves financially you get the sense half the time Welsh is talking about his own life as a boy from the schemes done good. There are good jokes, there are some chapters which are just embarrassing and you wonder how the hell they made it into the final draft of the book, particularity a lot of the drug use scenes and overall I think it's one of his weakest titles to date.  Can't recommend it really, only pick it up if you have read everything else Welsh has written first. 

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"... And on that bombshell"

 

a potted history of old new top gear, from the clarkson/wilman inception to the bitter end. By one of the writers on the show.

 

its very well written. Detailing the ins and outs of production, and whatnot.

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I, robot

 

Always knew that itvwas an anthology  series but never realised how many stories there were. Just moved through 3 or 4 and some of the scenarios, wit and banter are fantastic. 

 

Getting a slight Lovecraftian vibe from it as well, mainly  because  of  the  strangeness  or otherness of the robot characters.

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I've just recently finished reading Ready Player One (prior to watching the film which pales in comparison) and it's gotten me into the reading bug, so randomly went online last night and had a look for a new one. Was going to go for Armada, also by Ernest Cline, but went for something called Dark Matter instead as it was cheaper and gives me a break to read something from a different author. I Have a feeling I was looking at this too in Fopp the other week thinking about buying it but didn't. 

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