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Posts posted by hux

  1. This will very probably be my last book review posted here. And it's a rather perfect choice, one which reminds me how beautiful literature can be.


    The book of disquiet is quite simply one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.

    There's no narrative to speak of, no plot, only a man giving his thoughts on the world and the human condition. It feels like a diary, and many of the chapters do, indeed, have dates, but most don't and even the ones that do aren't chronologically ordered, but rather placed, haphazardly, in any order. You might read several entries from 1932 only to find, many chapters later, that you're reading his thoughts from 1916. Not that it matters, the whole book could be read in any order, in any way, starting at the middle and moving backwards, or picking any random chapter you wanted. It makes no difference at all.

    Pessoa writes using the heteronym 'Bernardo Soares', and tells us very little about himself other than where he works, his boss, the errand boy, with a few occasional references to the streets and the weather. More than anything, he concerns himself with the nature of existence, the tedium of life, the mystery of being alive. He writes beautifully, almost poetically, and is always accompanied by a sense of melancholy and, perhaps, even despair. The book reminded me of 'Journey to the end of the night' by Celine in its low opinion of humanity. Yet he also sees the beauty in life, and adores nature and and art. He ponders the meaning of things and the emptiness too. It's exquisite.

    I wouldn't recommend this book lightly. If you're someone who prefers a narrative, then this might not be your cup of tea. But if, like me, you enjoy books where opinions are given, ideas explored, and thoughts are allowed to spiral into the darkness, then this is a glorious example of that.


    The book was published long after he died which, given that he spends a moment towards the end of the book contemplating being rediscovered as a writer by later generations, fills me with joy.


    The book is an exhaustive list of wonderfully quotable thoughts such as... 



    I'm almost convinced that I'm never awake. I'm not sure if I'm not in fact dreaming when I live, and living when I dream, or if dreaming and living are for me intersected, intermingled things that together form my conscious self.



    I asked for very little from life, and even this little was denied me. A nearby field, a ray of sunlight, a little bit of calm along with a bit of bread, not to feel oppressed by the knowledge that I exist, not to demand anything from others, and not to have others demand anything from me - this was denied me, like the spare change we might deny a beggar not because we're mean-hearted but because we don't feel like unbuttoning our coat.



    Friends: not one. Just a few acquaintances who imagine they feel something for me and who might be sorry if a train ran over me and the funeral was on a rainy day.



    There are ships sailing to many ports, but not a single one goes where life is not painful.

    There is so much sadness in the character. And you can just picture him, gazing from his window at night, seeking out a small piece of light.



  2. 3 hours ago, tagesmann said:

    Well we can.

    As a test I created one here https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/1148702-bookgrouponline


    Is this an idea people want to take forward?  Of course, instead of giving Facebook your data you would be sharing with Amazon (but only about books).


    How does it work over there? I assumed it was just a billion book reviews (that become difficult to follow as a consequence) and not much more. 

  3. I've created an account there. I don't like their set-up as much as here. It seems a little vague in terms of where to post book reviews. Doing it by century seems more straightforward. 


    I also like the bar on the side that let's you know what the most recent posts are.


  4. 1 hour ago, lunababymoonchild said:

    Suggestion of an alternative site : Good Reads.  Not a member myself but it's worth a try.


    4 hours ago, Clavain said:

    Facebook is not an option for me for many reasons and like Hux will look for alternative forums.


    Good reads is a minefield. Truth be told, the small community here is what appealed to me in the first place (and yet ironically is also the very thing that ensures it can't survive).


    This looks like it might have potential - https://www.bookclubforum.co.uk/community/

  5. Having read my first Houellebecq (Atomised), I resolved to read more. This is my second forray into his work, and while it wasn't as good as Atomised, it was, nonetheless, a wonderful reading experience and frankly, a damn sight more creative and interesting than most of the turgid contemporary novels I mistakenly read because they're nominated for Booker prizes.


    The book is about an artist called Jed who seeks to paint the famous writer, you guessed it, Michel Houellebecq. I enjoyed Houellebecq making himself a character, and especially enjoyed the moments when he mocked his own character (at one point he muses on whether Houellebecq might be a paedophile).


    I'll put the final third of the book in spoilers because I honestly didn't see the it coming.




    In the final part of the book, the famous writer Michel Houellebecq is brutally murdered. Decapitated no less. His murder is not especially important in terms of the plot, or who did it (no-one especially significant), it's more the fact that it's a curious exploration of celebrity and death, Houellebecq's using his own fame as a device for looking at those themes. 


    Frankly, this book, though not being anything profound, was significantly more fun and enjoyable to read than most of the crap I read these days. Original and thought-provoking. I will definitely seek out more of his work.


  6. Honestly can't remember what I read in 2020 but I'll assume I posted reviews of the books soon after I finished them  (though the dates don't add up if you ask me).


    Review posted on March 26 - Confessions of a Mask (Yukio Mishima) 7/10

    Review posted on April 28 - The Leopard (Giuseppe Lampedusa) 9/10

    Review posted on May 16 - The Gathering (Anne Enright)  5/10

    Review posted on May 22 - Normal People (Sally Rooney) 5/10

    Review posted on June 2 - Atomised (Michel Houellebecq) 9/10

    Review posted on June 23 - The Book of Ebeneezer La Page (G. B Edwards) 8/10

    Review posted on July 19 - Blood Meridium (Cormac McCarthy) 3/10

    Review posted on July 25 - The Old Man & The Sea (Hemmingway) 5/10

    Review posted on August 13 - The Peregrine ( A.J Baker) 8/10

    Review posted on August 17 - The Story of the Eye (Georges Bataille) 8/10

    Review posted on September 9 - Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (Machado de Assis) 7/10

    Review posted on October 5 - Journey to the end of the Night (Louis Ferdinand Celine) 10/10

    Review posted on November 23 - For Whom the Bell Tolls (Hemmingway) 7/10








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