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hux

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Everything posted by hux

  1. Steppenwolf - Hesse Serotonin - Houellebecq
  2. I read this purely because it was number 5 in Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century. I was slightly disappointed to discover it's a rather formulaic action adventure story regarding a group of Chinese communists in 1927. Truth be told, I found reading it a bit of a slog. Malraux is very articulate and writes sweeping sentences that contain a million ideas and thoughts. But as a style, it's not always compelling to read and while I might condemn the translator more than the writer for that, I think that would be too simplistic. Malraux clearly meanders a great deal and produces a swamp of words t
  3. Man's Fate - André Malraux
  4. The Drinker - Hans Fallada Even remembered to use the Amazon link here to buy it.
  5. The book is set in France in the year 2022 where, with the help of the socialists, a Muslim political party is elected into government. This is the premise of Houellebecq's controversial novel. The book follows an academic called Francois who teaches literature at a university and specializes in the work of Huysmans. Before long, only Muslims can teach at the University and he loses his job. Meanwhile, education is altered and women are taken out of the workforce. Francois struggles with his place in the world and seeks answers. Like in most of Houellebecqs books, he finds none, and only ac
  6. After enjoying Norwegian Wood I thought I'd give this a go. And while I enjoyed the reading experience once more, I wasn't exactly convinced by the writing. There were things that only mildly bothered me in Norwegian Wood but which I dismissed because I saw them as one-off issues for that particular book. Kafka on the Shore, however, demonstrated that they're part of Murakami's entire style. The endless descriptions of what every character is eating or drinking at all times (I know how food works, thanks), and the fact that everyone seems to express even the most basic degree of fondness for o
  7. The most interesting contemporary writer in my opinion. https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/july-2021/laughing-laureate-of-western-decline/
  8. This book took me by surprise. It's stunningly original, especially given that it was published in 1890. I kept having to check that particular date because it felt so contemporary and modern. I'm genuinely curious to know if this book might qualify as the first truly 'modernist' novel. There might be other candidates out there but this is certainly a contender. There is no plot (a marker for many modernist novels), and the book is a first person narration filled with inner dialogue and occasional stream of consciousness writing. Hamsun also has a curious habit of switching tenses (which I don
  9. Against Nature - Joris-Karl Huysmans
  10. This was a fun read. I won't go into too many details regarding the plot because the book is very much dependent upon its plot as it moves along. Suffice it to say a man (a fugitive) on the run from the Venezuelan authorities hears of an isolated island in the Pacific that has a reputation for being a place that is uninhabitable for people and he chooses to hide there. On the abandoned island there is a large dilapidated building (referred to as a museum), a Chapel, a swimming pool and a small mill, and the man lives in the museum alone. That is until, one day, a group of strangers suddenly ar
  11. This book is sublime. That much is clear but how much of it is fiction and how much is simply Dazai's final thoughts on the world (he committed suicide after this book was completed) is hard to tell. Actually, that's not true. At no point did I ever feel I was reading about the fictional Yozo. I always felt that I was reading Dazai's thoughts. And yet fact and fiction are sometimes the same thing. The book is presented to us as an epistolary novel. A series of notebooks that have been found and explore the mind of a character called Yozo. As a boy he quickly fails to grasp human beings and
  12. No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai Been wanting to read this for a while.
  13. How are we defining difficult? Some literary fiction is immensely readable, some is appalling. I suspect that's true of most genres. I sometimes wonder if the notion of 'difficult literature' isn't actually something the literary establishment deliberately promote themselves. They want certain books to have touch of snobbery to them. The very notion that books can be difficult might be what puts some people off. Then again some people just like some escapist detective nonsense.
  14. After reading the first 15 pages, I wanted to put this book down and quit. The narration was all over the place and had a style reminiscent of stream of consciousness without ever quite being stream of consciousness. I hated it. But I continued regardless and gradually the narrative style started to pull me in. The writing is lyrical and disjointed but flows in a way that mesmerises. I've never really liked stream of consciousness writing but this was wonderful to read with a strong sense of the characters and the world they inhabit without ever describing anything in the traditional sense. It
  15. Well, it's arrived so here goes...
  16. The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller. Never heard of this woman or her work but she won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2009 for goodness sake so she must worth reading. Right? We'll see. This book is apparently her most commercial.
  17. I found this. Apparently it's common in literature in general but I'd honestly only ever noticed it when reading a kindle book. http://wormhole.carnelianvalley.com/on-the-reasons-for-censoring-names-and-places-in-victorian-literature/
  18. I decided to read this because it was free on Kindle. My only real knowledge of Black Beauty came from snippets of the Thames TV show of the mid-70s which made it seem like Black Beauty had various weekly adventures (essentially a horse version of the Littlest Hobo). But actually, the book is a life story, one narrated by none other than the horse (very original for 1877) and has short pithy chapters which presumably explains why it became so popular with children. It's essentially the tale of all the people that own Black Beauty through his life and the various jobs he has as a working hor
  19. That reminds me. I'm currently reading Black Beauty on Kindle and every now and then there'll be a name of a person or a street but it will be blank (or a solid black line) such as 'I went to meet him on B------- Street and etc.' I've noticed this before with other classics I've read on Kindle but never known why.
  20. A book will always have a sensory tactile pleasure to it which an electronic device can't ever replicate. I've read a few books on Kindle and the experience was fine (though when I want to quickly read a chapter, it becomes a pain to click on the icon, wait a thousand years for it to load, then click on the book I want, then wait another thousand years before the thing comes up). And I agree with the article about having a better sense of mapping where you are with a real book. There's a sense of knowing where, both in terms of the chapters and the book as a whole, cert
  21. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (because it's free on Kindle).
  22. I demand a referendum!
  23. I'm not asking for a prime time show. Stick it on channel 4 at midnight on a Wednesday and make sure the guests all have five pints before they go on.
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