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Good luck. Jacobson is an undoubtedly clever writer but I regret I couldn't finish this novel. I'll be interested to see how you get on with it.

Neither could I - I got to page 35 before the meeting, and then I gave up. Of the 5 of us at book club none had got more than a 1/3rd of the way through, one member has since nearly finished it. We wondered if you have to Jewish to appreciate it?

 

Had a couple of lighter reads since - and now have to evaluate a sho-jo manga book thats name escapes me. This will be an interesting experience as I have to read it backwards....

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Guest John Self

I take it we're talking Kalooki Nights here? (Went back a couple of pages but couldn't see chuntzy's original post.)

 

It's not a good place to start with Howard Jacobson. I consider myself a fan of his novels and couldn't get more than a third of the way through. He is a taste worth acquiring though. Try No More Mister Nice Guy - dirty but very funny - or Who's Sorry Now? Just don't come running to me when you discover he can't do plots. More of my thoughts on his books here.

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I take it we're talking Kalooki Nights here? (Went back a couple of pages but couldn't see chuntzy's original post.)

 

It's not a good place to start with Howard Jacobson. I consider myself a fan of his novels and couldn't get more than a third of the way through. He is a taste worth acquiring though. Try No More Mister Nice Guy - dirty but very funny - or Who's Sorry Now? Just don't come running to me when you discover he can't do plots. More of my thoughts on his books here.

Yup - that was the one (sorry, the post was rather a long time ago). I'm not sure Jacobson is really my kind of read anyway, but I will pass on your recommendation to my book club pals who persevered! Thanks. :)

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Sorry, can't say. Never read one. It would make him the English Philip Roth if its true.
Well, I have tried to read several and failed each time so the Jewish test doesn't hold up for me. And I'm from Manchester, same as him. Definitely NOT the English Philip Roth in my book!

 

Male and Jewish might do the trick. However, how many books did you say you had on your TBR shelves, G? I would read them all first ;)

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Well, I have tried to read several and failed each time so the Jewish test doesn't hold up for me. And I'm from Manchester, same as him. Definitely NOT the English Philip Roth in my book!

 

Male and Jewish might do the trick. However, how many books did you say you had on your TBR shelves, G? I would read them all first ;)

 

:D . I'm trying, but there's just so much I want to read, and I have a congenital inability to walk past a bookshop without entering it!

 

My Mum's family are all Mancunian, and much more orthodox and religious than I am, plus I went to uni there, so I have some understanding what the city's Jewish community is like.

 

From what I know, I believe Jacobson is generally regarded as a humorous writer, which Roth largely is not. What I meant is from the Roth I've read (which includes "Everyman", one of my favourite reads this year) his sensibilities are very Jewish, even if his characters aren't, and I can see how this might alienate non-Jewish readers.

 

However, your point about being male might actually be the key one, certainly in Roth's case.

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Guest Colyngbourne
Just started Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

 

Oh, that's one of the very few books I love to hate. But I know of people who adore it.

 

I'm reading Dr Haggard's Disease - Patrick McGrath,

 

and avidly re-reading Parade's End - Ford Madox Ford.

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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.

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...Roth is my favourite writer by a mile at the moment...

Perhaps this isn't the best place, but could you give me a few recommendations. I've only read The Human Stain and The Plot Against America, but I really enjoyed both of them. I'm holding off on American Pastoral for now as I usually like to read what's being touted as any author's magnus opus until after I've read most of their others first. Seeing as I'm in Taiwan, and Roth doesn't release his novels as ebooks, I'm limited in my selection. I think my local bookstores have My Life as a Man and I Married a Communist (I'd have to go up to Taipei for any others). Have you read either of them? How are they? How do they rank in his oeuvre.

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Perhaps this isn't the best place, but could you give me a few recommendations. I've only read The Human Stain and The Plot Against America, but I really enjoyed both of them. I'm holding off on American Pastoral for now as I usually like to read what's being touted as any author's magnus opus until after I've read most of their others first. Seeing as I'm in Taiwan, and Roth doesn't release his novels as ebooks, I'm limited in my selection. I think my local bookstores have My Life as a Man and I Married a Communist (I'd have to go up to Taipei for any others). Have you read either of them? How are they? How do they rank in his oeuvre.
SlowRain, I haven't read My Life as a Man and have not seen it recommended as one of his better books. I did read I Married a Communist and wouldn't rate that a one of his best, but you might like it if you enjoyed The Human Stain and it is generally seen as part of a trilogy with American Pastoral.

 

The best one to start with would be Portnoy's Complaint as long as you don't have a delicate stomach and do have a sense of humour! I loved Goodbye Columbus when I read it many years ago but it may seem dated now and its probably out of print. Try the Zuckerman trilogy The Ghost Writer, Zuckerman Unbound and The Anatomy Lesson. However, I would plunge right in to American Pastoral after the early books because it is Roth at his magnificant best. Reading that it gets you on to his wavelength and then the other books become immediately more accessible. If you are interested in the concept of mortality then Everyman is marvellous, though I'm not sure how much this book will speak to the younger reader. It was preceded by The Dying Animal which also contains some fine writing.

 

Hope this helps! :)

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Guest John Self

I've read the first two of the Zuckerman trilogy along with the latest Exit Ghost - see my blog - and am looking forward to The Anatomy Lesson and other Zuckermans like The Counterlife which I have in my TBR pile. I used to hate Roth, or at least not get him, and I must admit it was American Pastoral which won me over completely. SlowRain, there's always the danger if you keep putting it off that it will gain such high expectations in your mind that it's bound to disappoint!

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