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Everything posted by Kenny_Shovel

  1. As they introduced me to Leonid Andreyev, I've signed the petition. So too it seems, has Tibor Fischer.
  2. Haunts of the Black Masseur (The Swimmer as Hero) by Charles Sprawson. And from now on it's six read before I buy one...
  3. I'd seen them at a smaller venue and that suited them, and me, much better. I was seated high on one side too. I'd blagged on a coach trip that was being run by the local sixth form (my flatmate was a teacher there). The trip was only about half full so whilst we went inside he was touting the remaining tickets outside. I'm not quite sure what that was teaching the kids. I can remember the sound wasn't the best, Ryder snr marching across the stage with a giant letter 'E', and it being incredibly hot. So hot, the beers I'd bought when I first got in suddenly became a powerful bartering tool for other things *cough*, hence my recollections of that night being 'hazy'.
  4. I'll go with Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Summer in Baden-Baden by Leonid Tsypin, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz and Wonderful Fool by Shusaku Endo all push it close. If I can finish The Collective Poems of Anna Akhmatova by the end of the year, it may get overtaken. K_S
  5. Was that was the first time they played Wembley? I was there too. Not sure what my fav gig was. I saw Nivarna a few times BITD. Their gig at the Astoria in 91? would be somewhere near the top of the list. I'd seen them at the same place a few years earlier on a sub-pop bill with Tad & Mudhoney and wasn't remotely impressed. Such are my talent spotting skills...
  6. It's a few years since I read The Devil In The Flesh, which with my memory is a lifetime ago. I remember enjoying the book but it clearly didn't make the impression on me it has to Stewart and nonsuch. At some point I'll have to find time for a re-read.
  7. Dawn of the Dumb (Dispatches from the idiotic frontline) - Charlie Brooker The Railway - Hamid Ismailov Out Stealing Horses - Per Petterson The Box Man - Kobo Abe The Bridge on the River Kwai - Pierre Boulle The Wine-Dark Sea - Leonardo Sciascia
  8. Of the two books, I prefer Shipwrecks. What I liked most about One Man’s Justice, was the way Yoshimura allows the reader to come to their own conclusions, rather than force his own viewpoint on you. Following Takuya while he is on the run stops you from standing apart and being judgmental, as you gain enough empathy with the character to examine his motives and place yourself in his position. I was left with questions of motive and personal ethics/morality that weren’t quite as straightforward as I’d have liked. Mixed in is a wider question regarding ‘war-crimes’, one linked to the old saying that history is written by the victors. Regards, K_S
  9. Glad you're enjoying it. War with the Newts is a bit of a forgotten classic of its type. You might also like The Absolute at Large by the same author - a machine is invented that produces cheap, seemingly limitless energy, with only one by-product, those in close proximity are infected by a overwhelming religious fever. Kapek takes the idea to it's (il)logical conclusion. Regards, K_S
  10. Sunflower – Gyula Krudy Incidences – Daniil Kharms (As recommended by a slightly deranged Russian art student) The Year of the Hare – Arto Paasilinna How Bluegrass music destroyed my life – John Fahey (Fav musician of mine. Can he write?) Journey by Moonlight – Antal Szerb The Black Obelisk – Erich Maria Remarque Imanginary Magnitude - Stanislaw Lem Mostly from Foyles in London
  11. I'd only been introduced to them this year. I just adore Catherine Ringer's voice - well lived in.
  12. Just finished: Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer. The jewish inhabitants of a small Polish town in the 17th century turn to a false prophet and unlease hell on earth. Reminded me of the old Ken Russell film, "The Devils". Next up: One of three. Either The Trial, The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova or Fred: Portrait of a Fast Bowler by John Arlott. I'll probably end up reading a fourth option instead...
  13. Letters to Olga: June 1979 - September 1982 by Vaclav Havel
  14. This is quite a strong theme in the children's books of Joan Lingard. Elsewhere it's tackled in a few really good books I could recommend: The Engineer of Human Souls by Josef Skvorecky Dzhan (Soul) by Andrei Platanov The Night in Lisbon by Erich Maria Remarque
  15. Highly Recommended And for myself: Scum of the Earth - Arthur Koestler Cancer Ward - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  16. Perhaps. Although if you translate: "Pushkin and Lermontov are more popular with the young" into a roughly equivalent British version "Byron and Milton are more popular with the young" then I'm not so sure...
  17. Judge Dredd Complete Case Files - Vol 7 & 8 Three Comrades - Erich Maria Remarque (I want to see if this is as good as The Night in Lisbon which I loved)
  18. I hijacked a rather silly email conversation I was having with a Muscovite friend of mine about stupid pet names to ask him about the issue of teaching classics in Russian schools. Here's what he said: Q: Do Russian children get taught many of the classic books in school now? Tolstoy, Dostoyyevski etc A: Yes, they do. But, for example, I haven't read all of Leo Tolstoy myself - only Peace & War and two or three other things, and I have never completed anything by Dostoyevsky. So as far as I understand, almost nobody reads Peace & War nowadays, and I doubt it very much that Dostoyevsky is in better position. Pushkin and Lermontov are more popular with the young I think he's saying that they read the classics in school, but not by choice afterwards.
  19. Just Finished: Wonderful Fool by Shusaku Endo. Kind-hearted French simpleton travels through the seedy, morally corrupt, side of 1950's Japan, effecting all those he meets. Similar themes to his later novel Silence, and just as brilliant. Challenges Bleak House for my best book of the year. I'll review it in full on my blog later. Next Up: The Trial by Franz Fafka. My contribution to the Penguin Classics review blog.
  20. I can’t really claim to be a spokesperson for the Russian education system. All I can say is that the Russians I know seem to have a good grounding in their classics. I suspect that the old Soviet system promoted certain books for political and patriotic reasons, although I believe some western authors like Dickens were also taught, as their work was seen as having an acceptable message. Whether this still holds true I’m not sure. I’ve also been quite impressed by seeing large, full bookshelves in small soviet style apartments. But I’ll not comment beyond that, in case I wander into I’m Alright Jack “all cornfields and ballet in the evening" style generalisations. And yet, somewhere on earth, there will walk a child, conceived whilst in the background gently played the F&S audio book. Not my child - I’m strictly a Marvin Gaye man.
  21. To elaborate on my earlier post: There is a school of Russian literary criticism which holds that Tolstoy and Dostayevski had such differing writing styles and such different world views that readers end up strongly favouring one over the other. I suspect that many, if not most, Russians actually like both, but this maxim appears to be widely known and has been repeated to me on a number of occasions with a wry smile. Of course, these are the same people who have claimed that ‘my car is followed by KGB,’ ‘my father has seen UFO over his datcha’ and ‘you are English Gentleman’; none of which can be proved scientifically. I’ve not read Tolstoy’s longer work, but of the rest I found Hadji Murat to be the stand out. If you want to give him one last go, that may be the place. Interesting to hear John praise First Love as it rather passed me by. Perhaps finding the ending predictable skewed my view? Turgenyev is not someone I’ve read extensively. I really liked Fathers and Sons, a book that seems to divide opinion, whilst I limped through First Love and Home of the Gentry. Perhaps I’ll have better luck with On the Eve and Sketches from a Hunter’s Album both of which sit patiently on my TBR shelf.
  22. Tell a Russian you like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and they'll politely smile before informing you it’s possible to like either writer but not both.
  23. Ended up with something else: Wonderful Fool by Shusaku Endo. So far, one of my best reads this year.
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