What are you reading tonight?

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by TANGODANCER » Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:59 pm

Lost Leopard Spot wrote:
Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:52 pm
Le Carre's latest "A Legacy of Spies".Superb story telling.
I'll be looking out for that one Spots. I'm a Le Carre fan. Currently re-reading the whole Jane Austen Omnibus I got bought as an anniversary present. People look at stories in her work, but her plots are very thin, un sensational and not what attract me. Her life and times historical character studies are fantastic, funny, mickey taking and sometimes moraly serious, but always interesting. Her ability to instill feelings of love, hate, humour and indifference are amazing. I've read all her works at least half-a-dozen times and never tire of them.
The wisest and the best of men, nay, the wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke...Darcy. Pride and Prejudice.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by WTW » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:42 pm

I finished Mohsin Hamid’s Booker short-listed ‘Exit West’ today. I enjoyed his ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ hugely, and while this, IMHO, doesn’t quite hit that mark, it is a powerful, tense, intelligent, gripping work. At the heart of it are Saeed and Nadia, citizens of a Muslim country (unnamed) under assault from insurgents, who are taking the city they live in district by district, imposing iron rule, arrests, arbitrary trials and executions and decorating the streets with the bodies of those that have been hanged and left to rot – since no one dares to take them down.

They are new lovers (in a place where that has to be hidden). Saeed holds his faith lightly. Nadia has forsaken it. They decide to escape – and the novel follows them on their migration.

One of its triumphs is that it doesn’t follow the journey (that is what we see documented so many times, the transit ‘camps’, the struggles at guarded borders, etc). Rather, they find a ‘black door’ for each move and we meet them as they arrive in their new destination – a Greek Island, London, San Francisco, and finally, five decades on, a return to their homeland city. It is a novel about arrivals, its challenges, its dangers and its regrets. It is about discarding – your previous self, your former life, your ways of living, your friends, your family, everything that once defined you. ‘That is the way of things, for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.’

The pages turn, putting on the kettle is delayed for another chapter, and I wanted to talk about it as soon as I’d finished. I’ve put it on top of my wife's pile. And she’s given me Nadeem Aslam’s ‘The Blind Man’s Garden’.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Lost Leopard Spot » Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:40 pm

WTW wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:42 pm
I finished Mohsin Hamid’s Booker short-listed ‘Exit West’ today. I enjoyed his ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ hugely, and while this, IMHO, doesn’t quite hit that mark, it is a powerful, tense, intelligent, gripping work. At the heart of it are Saeed and Nadia, citizens of a Muslim country (unnamed) under assault from insurgents, who are taking the city they live in district by district, imposing iron rule, arrests, arbitrary trials and executions and decorating the streets with the bodies of those that have been hanged and left to rot – since no one dares to take them down.

They are new lovers (in a place where that has to be hidden). Saeed holds his faith lightly. Nadia has forsaken it. They decide to escape – and the novel follows them on their migration.

One of its triumphs is that it doesn’t follow the journey (that is what we see documented so many times, the transit ‘camps’, the struggles at guarded borders, etc). Rather, they find a ‘black door’ for each move and we meet them as they arrive in their new destination – a Greek Island, London, San Francisco, and finally, five decades on, a return to their homeland city. It is a novel about arrivals, its challenges, its dangers and its regrets. It is about discarding – your previous self, your former life, your ways of living, your friends, your family, everything that once defined you. ‘That is the way of things, for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.’

The pages turn, putting on the kettle is delayed for another chapter, and I wanted to talk about it as soon as I’d finished. I’ve put it on top of my wife's pile. And she’s given me Nadeem Aslam’s ‘The Blind Man’s Garden’.
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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Lost Leopard Spot » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:00 pm

WTW wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:42 pm
I finished Mohsin Hamid’s Booker short-listed ‘Exit West’ today. I enjoyed his ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ hugely, and while this, IMHO, doesn’t quite hit that mark, it is a powerful, tense, intelligent, gripping work. At the heart of it are Saeed and Nadia, citizens of a Muslim country (unnamed) under assault from insurgents, who are taking the city they live in district by district, imposing iron rule, arrests, arbitrary trials and executions and decorating the streets with the bodies of those that have been hanged and left to rot – since no one dares to take them down.

They are new lovers (in a place where that has to be hidden). Saeed holds his faith lightly. Nadia has forsaken it. They decide to escape – and the novel follows them on their migration.

One of its triumphs is that it doesn’t follow the journey (that is what we see documented so many times, the transit ‘camps’, the struggles at guarded borders, etc). Rather, they find a ‘black door’ for each move and we meet them as they arrive in their new destination – a Greek Island, London, San Francisco, and finally, five decades on, a return to their homeland city. It is a novel about arrivals, its challenges, its dangers and its regrets. It is about discarding – your previous self, your former life, your ways of living, your friends, your family, everything that once defined you. ‘That is the way of things, for when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.’

The pages turn, putting on the kettle is delayed for another chapter, and I wanted to talk about it as soon as I’d finished. I’ve put it on top of my wife's pile. And she’s given me Nadeem Aslam’s ‘The Blind Man’s Garden’.
Just finished it. I have a one word review: Tedious.
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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Prufrock » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:02 pm

I wrote a review of Elmet by Fiona Mozley:

https://link.medium.com/REaqtsrX8Q
In a world that has decided
That it's going to lose its mind
Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by WTW » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:41 pm

Pru... My Review of Elmet on FB...

2018 Booker Award is due to be announced in three weeks time, and, as usual, I bought the previous shortlist and, also as usual, haven’t read all of them before the new winner announcement.
So, today I finished reading Fiona Mozley’s explosive novel ‘Elmet’.

This is just an extraordinary debut, at many times highly poetic, with dialogue that you can best imagine in a stage play, rich with imagery, poetic, emotionally powerful – a beautiful thing to hear... but on the page it runs the risk of looking overblown, indulgent, inauthentic (I felt from time to time).

It is has descriptive passages that are given room to breathe, that push the reader towards a vivid visualisation – of countryside, its characters, its dangers. The writer senses the importance of detail in this and takes her time – to powerful effect.

Its tale could have been told by a medieval troubadour, or a hedge priest, or in a black and white western, or at dusk in a caravanserai as the one thousandth and second Arabian night.
We are in a cruel country. There is a powerful and wealthy landowner. He has his gang of enforcers, and a cowed local community, terrified of his power. But one man is not terrified. A lone man. A bare knuckle fighter who has built his house on the landowner’s land, and is raising – just about – two children – a girl and her younger brother. And this man becomes the focus of opposition to the old regime.

This is handled with power, and tenderness, and love, and longing, and cruelly and torture and bloodshed. Great story telling.

And, above all, and why i really love it, is that it has such rhythmic, entrancing use of English that had me captured from the first paragraph. Our narrator is the young boy, the young brother:

'I cast no shadow. Smoke rests behind me and the daylight is stifled. I count sleepers and the numbers rush. I count rivets and bolts. I walk north... I still smell embers. The charred outline of a sinuous wreck. I hear those voices again: the men and the girl. The rage. The fear... And the lick of the flames. The hot dry spit. The sister with blood on her skin and that land put to waste.'

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Prufrock » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:10 pm

Lovely stuff, Bill!
In a world that has decided
That it's going to lose its mind
Be more kind, my friends, try to be more kind.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Lost Leopard Spot » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:14 pm

Like all my birthday's come at once. Easybutgoodreadingville: The Reckoning by Grisham, Past Tense by Lee Child, Somethin' (can't remember title) by King - all out on the same day + All The Birds.. by Charlie Jane Anders arrived by Amazon post today. Should keep me going 'til next week.
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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by TANGODANCER » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:02 pm

Read all the Reacher books except "Past Tense" and just finished "The Enemy". Still got the Le Carre biography by Adam Sisman and Jane Austen is ever present within reach.
The wisest and the best of men, nay, the wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke...Darcy. Pride and Prejudice.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by TANGODANCER » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:14 pm

Not really had chance to get into it yet, but my daughter bought me Michael Palin's "Erebus-The Strory of a Ship" as a Christmas present. That's to look forward to.
The wisest and the best of men, nay, the wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke...Darcy. Pride and Prejudice.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Dujon » Fri Dec 28, 2018 12:00 am

G'day, TANGO,

I've been intending to make a note here for months regarding Jerusalem by Montefiore (which has absolutely nothing to do with Canadian forest fires). I read first the introduction, which is a book in itself, and then let it lie for a month or so in order to allow some of it to sink in. I then began to read the main part of his exposition with gusto. That settled down very quickly - the gusto bit, I mean.

The book is packed with so many names and events that it's hard to keep track of time. I slowed down and started taking little bites and allowing them to digest calmly. Eventually I finished the jolly thing. That was at least four or five months ago. But, heck, what a presentation! It does make the current furore over Jerusalem look a bit insipid and the proponents of various political stands and their claims rather, well, ingenuous at best. I have not investigated any of the references quoted by Montefiore in his bibliography, which itself is about 30 pages worth of data. Perhaps I should pick out a dozen or so of the references and then explore the background of each of them, but I know I won't.

Even if this was a novel, it would be a tremendous achievement.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by TANGODANCER » Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:08 am

^^
Ref the above Dujon; glad you finished it and yes it's a hell of a read. I got it from Will the White originally (and eventually returned it). So much controversy over a city that is the core of peace and goodwill in its message, yet has forever been seen as a territorial prize rather than for its message of peace; it probably always will be, although as a Christian, I pray not. Several things stick in mind about Montefiore's history which is a tremendous achievement in itself, one of them a message scrawled on a wall in the city back in 1917 or so, that said "British soldiers go home!" and a chalked reply "Just give us the chance" defines the real causes of it all, politics, power and control of the millions by using religion, ( and thus ever was back from the time of the Crusades) rather than any desire of the people or message of peace and goodwill.

It's all far too complex to try explaining and probably always will be as long as terra-firma comes before any real spiritual connection; that will always be the excuse for it all.
Amen.... :wink:
The wisest and the best of men, nay, the wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke...Darcy. Pride and Prejudice.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by TANGODANCER » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:29 pm

Something I often wonder about: With the politically correct era we live in, what will our great grandkids be reading by the time they discover reading is one of life's pleasures? Will Tom Sawyer and The Railway Children etc still be around, and fairy stories not be dismissed as unsuitable for children's learning. Many things we found pleasure in are all too soon dismissed as politically incorrect, so just how far will it all go in terms of reading and books? I really do wonder....

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
The wisest and the best of men, nay, the wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke...Darcy. Pride and Prejudice.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Lost Leopard Spot » Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:03 pm

The Book of M. Weird.
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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Lost Leopard Spot » Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:25 pm

I find myself strangely drawn, more and more, to the obituaries pages of the Times. I read all the way through each obituary before taking great pleasure in finding (in the emboldened print section at the end) out what they died of and how long they lived. I'm getting very competitive about it.
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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by TANGODANCER » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:21 pm

Been re- reading a little of A Dickens Anthology in between Austen, the Bible and The Rubaiyat. Still got Le Carre's biography and Erebus in store. I do read for an hour last thing every night on something or other. Read a little of Kipling's The Light that failed lately:

There were three friends that spoke of the dead, -
The strong man fights but the sick man dies-
'And would he were here with us now' they said,
'The sun in our face and the wind in our eyes.'
.....Kipling.
The wisest and the best of men, nay, the wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke...Darcy. Pride and Prejudice.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by TANGODANCER » Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:58 pm

My Uncle - who lived in the next street to us - served some of his war time in Egypt. We used to sit enthralled and fascinated some evenings as he recited this. I've never forgotten it and although some folk mistakenly claim Rudyard Kipling wrote it, he didn't. I was written by J.Milton Hayes in 1911.

The Green Eye Of The Little Yellow God - Poem by John Milton Hayes

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.

He was known as "Mad Carew" by the subs at Khatmandu,
He was hotter than they felt inclined to tell;
But for all his foolish pranks, he was worshipped in the ranks,
And the Colonel's daughter smiled on him as well.

He had loved her all along, with a passion of the strong,
The fact that she loved him was plain to all.
She was nearly twenty-one and arrangements had begun
To celebrate her birthday with a ball.

He wrote to ask what present she would like from Mad Carew;
They met next day as he dismissed a squad;
And jestingly she told him then that nothing else would do
But the green eye of the little Yellow God.

On the night before the dance, Mad Carew seemed in a trance,
And they chaffed him as they puffed at their cigars:
But for once he failed to smile, and he sat alone awhile,
Then went out into the night beneath the stars.

He returned before the dawn, with his shirt and tunic torn,
And a gash across his temple dripping red;
He was patched up right away, and he slept through all the day,
And the Colonel's daughter watched beside his bed.

He woke at last and asked if they could send his tunic through;
She brought it, and he thanked her with a nod;
He bade her search the pocket saying "That's from Mad Carew,"
And she found the little green eye of the god.

She upbraided poor Carew in the way that women do,
Though both her eyes were strangely hot and wet;
But she wouldn't take the stone and Mad Carew was left alone
With the jewel that he'd chanced his life to get.

When the ball was at its height, on that still and tropic night,
She thought of him and hurried to his room;
As she crossed the barrack square she could hear the dreamy air
Of a waltz tune softly stealing thro' the gloom.

His door was open wide, with silver moonlight shining through;
The place was wet and slipp'ry where she trod;
An ugly knife lay buried in the heart of Mad Carew,
'Twas the "Vengeance of the Little Yellow God."

There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu,
There's a little marble cross below the town;
There's a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew,
And the Yellow God forever gazes down.
The wisest and the best of men, nay, the wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke...Darcy. Pride and Prejudice.

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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Lost Leopard Spot » Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:36 pm

This woman:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabine_Hossenfelder
Her book - Lost in Math is profound, and ironically beautiful.
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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Bruce Rioja » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:31 pm

Has anyone read The Italian Teacher yet? Looks like a decent do.
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Re: What are you reading tonight?

Post by Lost Leopard Spot » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:06 pm

"Nearly Assassinated by Catholics" by Howard Roark. Unfortunately the only copy got misposted to somebody else.
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