What are you reading at the moment?

Digimonkey

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The last book I read - quite something - the author's story of living rough in London - with a chronic drink problem - for 15 odd years. His writing style is beautifully laconic, terse - there is not a spare word in the whole thing. 'Sober and precise, grotesque, violent, sad, charming and hilarious all at once' - Literary Review - pretty much sums it up. I read the whole thing in two or three sittings - it was so engrossing. The end is a bit odd - it just kind of stops. Healy's escape route from alcoholism and the streets - well - I didn't see that coming. I shan't spoil the surprise. It was recommended and gifted to me by @Blademonkey - thank you P. - even at this late juncture - this is one of the best books I have read this year. I - in turn - couldn't recommend it too highly. Astonishing. Cheers - I.

@Scotshave @Missoni
 

Blademonkey

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The last book I read - quite something - the author's story of living rough in London - with a chronic drink problem - for 15 odd years. His writing style is beautifully laconic, terse - there is not a spare word in the whole thing. 'Sober and precise, grotesque, violent, sad, charming and hilarious all at once' - Literary Review - pretty much sums it up. I read the whole thing in two or three sittings - it was so engrossing. The end is a bit odd - it just kind of stops. Healy's escape route from alcoholism and the streets - well - I didn't see that coming. I shan't spoil the surprise. It was recommended and gifted to me by @Blademonkey - thank you P. - even at this late juncture - this is one of the best books I have read this year. I - in turn - couldn't recommend it too highly. Astonishing. Cheers - I.

@Scotshave @Missoni
I'm so pleased you enjoyed the book as much as I have done Iain, I'm re- reading Orwells Down and out in Paris and London at the moment and although a vey interesting read it's not a patch on The Grass Arena and once I'm done with Orwell I shall read The Grass Arena once more, it's been a few years! :) P.
 
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If ever you wanted to know how the U.S.A. (and possibly the rest of us) got to where we are, this is a must. Things have happened quickly since its 2017 publication (withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord; top-tier changes in personnel (Tillerson, Paul Ryan, e.g)). Nonetheless, it’s a vital one. Not the most optimistic book (thus far, I’m halfway through); but for anyone who sees Trump as an aberration, straight out of a vacuum, this should challenge such a thought.

Congruence of factors such as corporate branding, advent and salience of reality TV and the divisions brought about by neoliberalism and its concomitant greed and individualism have led us to this point over the last half century; economically and ecologically.

It is, of course, written from a left realist perspective and will undoubtedly jar with those with different standpoints. It still demands to be read.
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J.G. Ballard: The Atrocity Exhibition

Going into free association with this one. I’ve always been intrigued by the early Ballardian-inspired lyrics of artists like John Foxx and it’s another one that has a title that begs to be read (and have songs based on it: Joy Division, q.v.).

I wouldn’t call it a novel in the linear sense; more a loosely connected series of vignettes. There are common touchstones, though: Elizabeth Taylor, JFK, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Albert Camus et al. Surrealist artists are represented by Max Ernst; with reference to works including Europe After the Rain and The Eye of Silence and Dali with The Persistence of Memory.

It is quite disturbing; sex, death, car crashes, underpasses, overpassses, and architecture, amongst more. I’m not sure whether it’s the innermost workings of a protagonist under mental breakdown or a critique of mass media and associated voyeurism (to add to the confusion, the main protagonist changes surname in each chapter). I’m only part-way through, however.

Ballard himself suggested that one way to approach it is to choose pages at random and read paragraphs that picque the interest. Very post-structuralist (death of the author, and all that); but that, allegedly, is the way he compiled the book. This edition has annotations by Ballard at the end of each chapter; to offer background and context.

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Ferry-shave

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My recent reading. All highly recommended. Depending on what you like to read of course. Cheers - I.

@Scotshave @Ferry-shave @Blademonkey @Missoni @patw @donnie_arko
@Digimonkey Iain, random convestation in the pub on Thursday evening - the Desert Island Disc episode for Winkle Brown is rated as one of the best? Can't judge on that as have not listened yet - however, the guy who was chatting to me about it was enthused. Hope all is good,

Chris
 
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