Books - What are you reading?

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  • I dip into the Booker prize shortlist* from time to time. I reckon Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh was worth the effort. Quite dark, maybe excessively so sometimes, but the twist towards the end feels like a great reward for persevering through all the grimy details.

    *or longlist... whatever

  • I didn't care for The Road To Wigan Pier when I read it a couple of years ago, I found the writing style almost condescending or patronising to the people it's focusing on. I think it's probably just a result of the time when it was written rather than an intentional thing, knowing Orwell's politics. Maybe the style just hasn't aged that well, I found Down And Out In Paris And London to have similar issues.

  • I would imagine most people pick up on some of his glaring contradictions and sometimes snobbish hypocrisy. He does address it on a couple of occasions though to be fair to him. I found his writing style pretty maniacal in places, darting off on long winded tirades about the pitfalls of class structure despite being one of the ‘bourgeois’ himself and seemingly proud of it. I found some of his predictions interesting, especially about the rise of Hitler and the prospect of a Second World War in relation to the job crisis and given it was written in 38/39 a very accurate prediction. I think many of his critiques of socialism still hold true today though, especially the damage created to the movement from it being so closely linked and compared to communism. He comes across as a genuinely virtuous and honest character but pained that Britain is too broken to allow Socialism to save the day before the Fascists move on in. Having recently read A Brave New World proved to be timely too, given his numerous comments on it.

  • Nearly finished this and it's great so far.
    Five characters stories which span hundreds of years centered around a book.
    I really enjoyed his previous novel.

    https://www.anthonydoerr.com/books/cloud­-cuckoo-land


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  • Which book by Edward St. Aubyn should be the first one I read?

  • Never Mind was enough for me.

  • I’m pretty sure there’s an order to them

  • Not sure if this is a dirty word round here or not but I’ve started reading a ‘Jordan Peterson’ book.

    12 rules for life and something or other.

    It’s not bad so far but he’s mainly talking about lobsters

  • dirty word

    Pretty shitty yeah

  • Can't see anything in the search; anyone tried White by Bret Easton Ellis? I was an Easton Ellis fan up to Glamorama, which I struggled through. I never tried Lunar Park. However, spotted White while browsing in Waterstones and thought it might be interesting. I always had this background feeling that although I liked Easton Ellis's books, I probably wouldn't like him as a person and I think this book might expose that.

  • I don’t know anything about him. A friend recommended it.

  • He has a bad reputation for many people. Toxic masculinity ahoy

  • Turns out rule 13 is “get addicted to opiates and be abducted to Russia by your daughter to detox in a medically induced coma”

    Man’s a fraud, as well as being a colossal right wing arsehole

  • I remember reading that at school and enjoying it. Ofc he turned out to be an anti-democratic, petty-nationalist theocrat but you can't have everything.

  • It’s a decent book, some interesting points raised. As for the author, I know little about him but he seems to be a polarising character. I know he initially caused a splash in Canada with a freedom of speech argument to do with trans rights and pronouns, and he instantly gained equal amounts of lovers and haters, right and left etc.

    He’s also a devout Christian apparently, which kind of blows my mind reading his first book.

  • I would recommend The Lion and the Unicorn for some more bizarre political theorising from Orwell.

    Again it combines a lovely turn of phrase with a weird kind of elitist egalitarianism. I'm pretty sure that at some point he talks about "conservative socialism" as being the kind that could win over the British public (idea: have a socialist revolution but keep the monarchy).

    It's written during WW2 and based around how it coule potentially be a catalyst for real social change (which in a way, it was). Even though it's mainly interesting as a historical document it's quite perceptive about the English character at times:

    "In all countries the poor are more national than the rich, but the English working class are outstanding in their abhorrence of foreign habits. Even when they are obliged to live abroad for years they refuse either to accustom themselves to foreign food or to learn foreign languages. Nearly every Englishman of working-class origin considers it effeminate to pronounce a foreign word correctly."

  • I'm just finishing off Jude the Obscure.

    It was quite bleak but also fascinating, but it's just taken an even darker turn which I should have seen coming given how miserable Hardy is.

  • I’ve just read Akala’s Natives and Orwell’s Down and Out, both very good in their own right.

    I enjoyed Down and Out in London and Paris, there is something very charming about it. I thought it was an easier read than The Road To Wigan Pier and you can see how the later came to be from reading it. Also, having previously worked as a chef for a good long while it was funny to see very little has changed in almost a century.

    I’m halfway through Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall - very good so far. I picked these up this morning for the next month or so. Thanks for the recommendation @EB


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  • Homage to Catalonia is great.
    I read Down and Out In Paris and London immediately before reading Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Both are written from the perspective of someone impoverished living in Paris and London but they have fairly different perspectives...

  • You're welcome, hope you like!

  • Reply to many above:

    Start at: Never Mind

    Peterson can’t even feed himself properly (a diet consisting purely of Meat and Opiates) probs not worth taking his advice on anything.

    Jude the Obscure is great but so fucking bleak

  • having previously worked as a chef for a good long while it was funny to see very little has changed in almost a century.

    Aye. Including the terrible hygiene, also the terrible pay and people working in exploitative conditions seemingly just for the love of the job because everybody's being paid shit apart from the few who make it to the top of the pyramid.

  • I read another Beryl Bainbridge as a palate cleanser after Jude the Obscure.

    Every Man for Himself is the best book of hers that I've read so far. I wasn't too keen on Young Adolf but I found this really hard to put down. It's basically Titanic but with a bit more going on. If you've got a soft spot for the film and still have the images from it burnt into your mind, having this play out in the set that's already familiar is great.

  • I found Down and Out a bit annoying in lots of ways, I couldn't help thinking of that line from Common People "if you call your dad he could stop it all."

    It's fine when it's more investigative and reporting on conditions that most people would have had no clue about - but also quite irritating at times.

    If you want to be irritated even more by Orwell, Keep the Aspidistra Flying has an even more infuriating and self-denying main character, and an unbelievably tolerant love interest.

  • Keep the Aspidistra Flying

    Fuck, I hated that. I should be the last person to accuse someone of being a misanthropist, but it's the way he seems to revel in it for the sake of edginess that really put me off.

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Books - What are you reading?

Posted by Avatar for chris_crash @chris_crash

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