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Everything posted by hux

  1. Biscuits (custard creams in particular).
  2. Happy Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band
  3. Zoom - Fat Larry's Band Next Category: Snacks
  4. Where to begin. In terms of the writing it was an enjoyable read but my, the hype was not justified. At the very minimum I expect a book to be an enjoyable read. Truth be told this was a Mills and Boon romance novel for the contemporary age. Every time a book like this wins awards and gets praise, I come to the conclusion that modern books are written for the growing demographic of people who... don't like reading books. Firstly, there's nothing remotely 'normal' about these two characters. I'll skip over the predictably dream-like otherness of Marianne and focus on the utterly non-existent Connell. I'm sorry ladies, but that guy (calm, thoughtful, caring, emotionally mature, intellectually honest, culturally sensitive etc) only exists in the heads of women -- women writers in particular. Connell isn't just these things by the end of the book. No, he's these things from the very start, as a teenager. You know, like most teenage boys are. These two people are highly popular, good looking, the smartest in school, having regular sex, and are apparently off to university where they'll be going travelling around Europe and becoming writers. Normal people, you say? F*** off. I was genuinely quite irritated but this book. It's everything I hate in fiction. I was half-expecting a final chapter to reveal that Marianne was sexually assaulted as a child (perhaps by her father, maybe even by her cartoonishly evil, moustache twirling brother) but thankfully, that didn't happen. I was also slightly offended by the implication that women (or men, for that matter) who enjoy rough sex have some kind of underlying mental health problem. I did, however, like the ending. These two millennial idiots can't seem to communicate their feelings. Even at the end she tells him to go to New York. I do wonder what point Rooney was making though. It's not as if her generation are emotionally closed off. If anything they're more prone to expressing their feelings than any other generation. Maybe she was criticising that - modern people sleep with everyone without consequences but... gulp... maybe there are consequences. Sigh. I honestly couldn't tell if the book's title was ironic or if it was a clever twist on those awful romance novels (what if, instead of a pirate and a curvy wench, it was a saucy romance between two... normal people). Geddit? This is an airport book. Stop celebrating this kind of crap. Go read the Leopard. EDIT - had I read this book without all the hype, I might... I might have been more willing to forgive its many flaws.
  5. I bought and read this because it was a Booker prize winner (2007). It's about the death of an Irish woman's brother and the memories associated with him. And while it's very good, very readable, with nice short chapters and a compelling narrator, it always felt just a little... I dunno... obvious. Modern books all seem to be like this. Slightly dazed (and somewhat robotic) narrators who 'gaze at the begonias and think about Richard and the summer when we held hands that time.' It's all a bit by-the-numbers and predictable with an author who talks about the world as though they have a unique perspective that other people just don't have (they're always bored by sex while their partners are very keen). Again, I dunno. It just felt like I've read this already (I strongly suspect 'Normal People' will be very similar). The twist, if you can call it that, was another cliche. Perhaps it was a mistake to read this after reading 'The Leopard.' That book was a sweeping epic with dense, fluid prose and lyrical language with subtle themes exploring the decay of life, the passing of time, and the fragility of the human condition. This, by comparison, hits you over the head. I dunno. I might need some time to digest it. Very readable though.
  6. Did a moderator/administrator add the author's name? I couldn't see how to do it.
  7. Not sure it's possible to be scared by a book. Maybe creeped out or anxious. Kafka is good at that.
  8. By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa This might be the saddest book I've ever read. It's kinda heart breaking. It begins in 1860 and introduces us to Don Fabrizio, the Prince of Salina. We follow his life and that of his children and his nephew Tancredi during the period of the reunification of Italy under Garibaldi. The language is so rich and fluid and provides a sumptuous picture of Sicily until you can almost feel the sun on your back and hear the waves crashing below. Occasionally, the writing is a little dense and meandering and lost my interest a little but when it worked, it really was quite beautiful and lyrical. Don Fabrizio is an aristocrat with ties to the past but equally embraces the changes taking place at the time (especially encouraged by his progressive nephew Tancredi). Concetta, his daughter, is in love with Tancredi and for a moment it seems as though he's interested in her but then we are then introduced to the beautiful Angelica, daughter of an up and coming member of Sicilian society (new money). She is described as being quite exquisite, mesmerising everyone. Tancredi is also impressed by her beauty and the two soon begin a relationship to the delight of Don Fabrizio. The novel then jumps ahead. We see more of their lives. Garibaldi is successful. Tancredi and Angelica marry. Then we jump ahead further. And again and again. Then Don Fabrizio dies. Then comes the final chapter set in 1910 when Concetta is in her 70s and Tancredi is dead. Then we discover something. And it's heart breaking. Despite some of the writing being a little dense, this is one of the most amazing explorations of death, mortality, the loss of traditions, the passage of time, the inevitability of mortality, the dying of passion, and the blindness of youth, I've ever read. The major theme is that of wasting our lives, losing them to time. It reminded me of Atwood's Blind Assassin in many ways (she owes a lot to this book) though her book hits you over the head with its themes and doesn't come close to this level of genius. Lampedusa takes a far more subtle and brilliant look at the fragility of human existence. This book doesn't tell you that it's a question of living for the moment or that you shouldn't waste your life; it tells you that living for the moment is impossible. That we will all, in some way, waste our lives. Poor Concetta.
  9. I'm trying to expand my reading beyond the European tradition and started with this. It's short and sweet and covers the period of a character's life (which feels extremely autobiographical) that would generally be described as bildungsroman (early years to adulthood). The main character is a gay man coming to terms with his homosexuality and obsession with death just prior to the war. He's in love with another boy called Omi (though sometimes it's seems more like admiration than attraction) and in his late teens he develops a relationship with a woman called Sonoko which might lead to marriage. Eventually, he calls it off knowing he can never love her and despite her later marrying someone else, the two of them begin to meet again on a regular basis but in a purely platonic way. The book ends with them at a dance where he gazes lovingly at a half naked man knowing that he can never truly be happy. This is pretty groundbreaking stuff for 1949. I'm frankly amazed he was willing to publish given that the character in the book is so clearly the author. I like the style of writing though it's always hard to judge such things when it's a translation. I was impressed enough to look into reading more of Mishima.
  10. Poverty tourism. Any other writer would have been condemned for it by now. Orwell will be afforded a honeymoon period.
  11. I'm just starting 'In Search of Lost Time' by Proust and I've immediately noticed that he is writing this way. 'I would watch as father... Mother would kiss me... Mr. Swann would walk around the gardens.' Weirdly, it feels as though Proust is telling not showing. Not putting you in the narrative but very specifically reminiscing about it. "Reminiscing past tense" would seem to be a good term for it.
  12. One of those books you feel like you've read before you have. I finally got round to it and must say the prose is magnificent (in book one especially). I found it lost it's way in part two when the book goes from his detailed and beautifully described obsession to a more straight-forward narrative about 'what happened next.' Listening to Humbert explain his perversions, justify them, make sense of them, was very enjoyable and despite the content and subject matter, the language used was so lyrical and fluid that it was a joy to read. In part two, however, it becomes a little dense and stolid given that he's now on the run with Dolly and detailing their day-to-day existence. I found myself losing interest. Then we have a kind of plot twist with a character (Quilty) that was so forgettable to me that when he was returned as Humbert's great enemy, I honestly wondered who the hell he was (I thought I'd missed some pages). Then the book descends into melodrama and murder and blah blah blah. I adored the first half of this book when it was... 'I would walk along the lake,' but struggled with the second half when it was... 'I walked along the lake.' Very Good though.
  13. I checked 'The Blind Assassin' by Atwood because I was sure she wrote like this in that and sure enough, there are lots of examples. "In the morning I would help Laura to dress -- that had been my task even when mother was alive -- and make sure she brushed her teeth and washed her face. At lunchtime Rennie would sometimes let us have a picnic." Of course, Atwood is writing about a woman (she begins most chapters in present tense) who walks around and reminisces about her childhood (which is where the word 'would' begins to occur more often) though it doesn't occur as much when she's reminiscing about her adult past. I still don't know if there is a name for this technique though. Or when it's acceptable to use it.
  14. Exactly, so what would that type of narration be called? It's obviously first person, past tense, but there's something else going on, a kind of 'distant first person' quality. I'm generally starting chapters in that way, then focusing in on a particular day or event and switching to the more conventional style (I stood on the hill and... etc).
  15. Interesting but doesn't really cover it. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a term, phrase, or something out there that clarifies the difference. 'I stood on the hill and waited for Julie'... plonks you into the narration a little more whereas... 'I would stand on the hill and wait for Julie'... feels more like I'm telling a story from a greater distance. I'm using them both interchangeably and I fear this is probably bad.
  16. I'm writing a novel but I'm not very good with the technical side of writing. The book is first person narrative, past tense, but I find myself often writing in a way that is muddying the water a little. In other words, instead of writing something like: 1) We sat on the wall and watched the kids playing football in the street... I find myself writing: 2) We would sit on the wall and watch the kids playing football in the street... Is there a term for this second style? It feels more distant (past, past tense) but I'm mixing it with the former style which is confusing me.
  17. I read the book years ago and it had no impact on me and I certainly wouldn't want to read it again. At the time I thought the writing was superb, I now tend to view it as... adjective heavy.
  18. hux

    Have a Rant!

    We were never leaving. Run the clock down then extension then 2nd referendum (which doesn't involve leave as an option). And that's when things will really get interesting.
  19. In part II, the son does indeed blame his mother, and the mother accepts she was to blame.
  20. I have no problem separating the artist from the art. In the case of Jackson, I'm not sure it's entirely relevant. Other than hardcore fans, who is listening to his stuff? Most of it is pretty dated now.
  21. Fascinating and disturbing watch. Not sure how anyone can keep deluding themselves that he wasn't a paedophile. So patently was. Simpsons have already announced that they're pulling the Michael Jackson episode from TV And streaming services.
  22. Girl You'll be a Woman Soon - Urge Overkill
  23. Happiness is a Warm Gun - The Beatles
  24. Book - Ham on Rye. TV - Orange is the new black (binge-watched the whole thing). Movie - Bros: After the screaming stops (unintentially hilarious) or Avengers Infinity war (lot of fun with a genuinely dark ending).
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