ghost of miles

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21 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

BIG thumbs up for Brian Moore. :tup:tup:tup 

Haven't read that one yet. What do you think?

It looks promising, but I won't start it until next week.  This one is a bit different from his other work as it mostly takes place in Canada.

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PERSUASION - Jane Austen.

Finishing my Jane Austen project, just have Northanger Abbey left. Not as richly developed as Pride and Prejudice, but still enjoyable and with its own interesting tone. 

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This is one of those underappreciated works that NYRB Classics has a knack for bringing out of obscurity.

According to the back cover, Gold Medal Books — known for their original crime fiction paperbacks with memorably lurid covers -- introduced authors like Jim Thompson, Chester Himes, and David Goodis to a mass readership eager for stories of lowlife and sordid crime. Today many of these writers are admired members of the literary canon, but one of the finest of them of all, Elliott Chaze, remains unjustly obscure.

The story is two star crossed lovers who have plans to make a big score, with a lot of twists and turns.  The writing is simple but with a lot of great ideas.  Some of the dialogue seems as if it could come out of the mouth of Bogart.  He would have been perfect for this book.

A very enjoyable read.

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Interesting Brad. I actually have a number of Gold Medal Book originals from Thompson, Goodis et al but have never read any Chaze. Will check it out. Thanks.

Gold Medal cover:

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Edited by jazzbo

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On 2/29/2016 at 10:39 AM, ejp626 said:

After this Johnson's Oxherding Tale

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This is a wild book.  It feels to me like Ishmael Reed refracted through Tristram Shandy.  I mean that as a compliment.  There is a philosophical component as the main character is supposed to be arriving at a kind of zen Buddhist enlightenment by the end, but I believe the path is the one with koan-like riddles.  Kind of sorry I didn't discover this in college.

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14 hours ago, jazzbo said:

Interesting Brad. I actually have a number of Gold Medal Book originals from Thompson, Goodis et al but have never read any Chaze. Will check it out. Thanks.

Gold Medal cover:

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Lon, think you'll enjoy it.  The book has a nice little introduction by Barry Gifford who, over the years, tried to get it re-published. He said that Chaze wrote many novels but this and Tiger in the Honeysuckle (a novel about racism) were the only ones worth publishing.  He said there were hopes that the book might be made into a movie; Giffords worked on the screenplay. 

There is some great writing in this book.  A shame to finish it. 

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Thanks Brad, I'll get to it. I ordered another Chaze found really cheap to go into my pile. .. so many books to read, so little time!

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NYRB Classics has a book club. Every month they send you a book they're publishing that month.  This way I read books I might not have otherwise read. 

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Preaching With Sacred Fire: An Anthology Of African American Sermons, 1750 To The Present.

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Edited by Matthew

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10 hours ago, Matthew said:

Preaching With Sacred Fire: An Anthology Of African American Sermons, 1750 To The Present.

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That looks interesting.

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Back to Bellow with my old copy, inscribed 1966! A very different sort of novel from the English tradition stuff I usually read. Curiously, the nearest to it (apart from Bellow himself) I've read is L'étranger, which is nearly contemporaneous. I suppose the Bellow does have something of the existential about it.

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7 hours ago, paul secor said:

That looks interesting.

It is an interesting anthology.  It's great to especially hear the voices from the past preaching to the congregation! The book also contains sermons from non-Christians, so it is a good overview of the topic.

Edited by Matthew

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After reading Anne R. Dick's book, I want to re-read several Dick novels, and am starting with this one.

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Practically the last of Wodehouse's fiction that I hadn't read. There are a few short books that Everyman has published (I have the whole series apart from two) that aren't on the official checklist I've been using, plus some non-fiction such as Over Seventy. This one read like a patchwork of several short stories; rambling in other words, but easy reading. Archie is like a blend of Bertie Wooster and Monty Bodkin with a touch of Ukridge. I found this one pretty funny and liked the Archie character.

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Enjoyed this...intriguing historical counterfactual novel with alternative life directions explored. A bit overlong - the (admittedly evocative) Blitz section seemed to make much the same point in several scenarios. 

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Wonderful popular history. Tried to read John Julius Norwich's book on Venice 15 years back and had to give up after 1/3 through as I got my doges muddled. This focuses on the seaborne empire from 1204 though to the 16thC. Especially good in the great set pieces - the sack of Constantinople, the rivalry with Genoa, the Cretan revolt, the Battle of Chioggia, the fall of Negroponte and Lepanto. Good lord it was tough living in the Middle Ages (though it's tough living today if you are unfortunate enough to be in Syria or Iraq). All things I either only had a dusting of knowledge of or no knowledge at all. 

Have his book on the Mediterranean clash between the Ottomans and the West leading to the battle of Lepanto heading my way now. 

Also two music books:

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The Bartok is an excellent read - polished off in just over a week (just to indicate how compelling it was!) - a clear biography but with extensive commentary on the music (a bit too technical for me, but clear enough to use later when listening). I'm in the middle of the second - a beautiful and very humble book from the first violinist of the Takacs Quartet, tracing his arrival as the 'new boy' in the 90s through to becoming an established member. Explores his musical and human relationships with the other members, getting to know the music ever more deeply and the evolution of the quartets themselves in Beethoven's time. 

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2 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

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Enjoyed this...intriguing historical counterfactual novel with alternative life directions explored. A bit overlong - the (admittedly evocative) Blitz section seemed to make much the same point in several scenarios. 

 

I also enjoyed 'Life After Life' immensely. I'm currently nearing the end of the (sort of) sequel, 'A God In Ruins' which concentrates on Ursula's brother, Teddy. Very enjoyable and a bit more conventional than 'Life After Life'. Next up, I'm starting Kate Atkinson's 'Jackson Brodie' books.

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I'm mixing my reading list up just a bit, since we will be traveling, and I wanted a longer book.  I'm going to tackle Smollet's Roderick Random.  Then back to the Brian Moore book.  Also, I need to fit in Emmanuel Bove's A Man Who Knows, since it is due at the end of the month and cannot be renewed (but it is quite short).

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1 hour ago, ejp626 said:

I'm mixing my reading list up just a bit, since we will be traveling, and I wanted a longer book.  I'm going to tackle Smollet's Roderick Random.  Then back to the Brian Moore book.  Also, I need to fit in Emmanuel Bove's A Man Who Knows, since it is due at the end of the month and cannot be renewed (but it is quite short).

Roderick Random is a fine novel. Mind you, I read it as part of a course on 18th century English Literature, so the antiquated language was no shock.

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6 hours ago, Jazzjet said:

I also enjoyed 'Life After Life' immensely. I'm currently nearing the end of the (sort of) sequel, 'A God In Ruins' which concentrates on Ursula's brother, Teddy. Very enjoyable and a bit more conventional than 'Life After Life'. Next up, I'm starting Kate Atkinson's 'Jackson Brodie' books.

You'll love the Brodie's. Very quirky. Plots never go where you expect them. I picked up 'A God in Ruins' in one of those supermarket deals (I know, I know, another sale lost to the local bookshop...except the nearest one is 16 miles away!). Want to read one or two other things first. 

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On 3/12/2016 at 3:47 PM, A Lark Ascending said:

You'll love the Brodie's. Very quirky. Plots never go where you expect them. I picked up 'A God in Ruins' in one of those supermarket deals (I know, I know, another sale lost to the local bookshop...except the nearest one is 16 miles away!). Want to read one or two other things first. 

According to the author's note at the end of 'A God In Ruins', which Kate Atkinson sees as a companion piece to 'Life After Life' rather than a sequel, she talks about wanting to examine the two most important episodes of WW2 (as she sees it) - the London Blitz (in the first book) and the strategic bombing campaign (in the second).

Looking forward to the Brodie's after my next book, 'A Foreign Country' by Charles Cumming, a spy thriller. His 'Trinity Six' was very good so I have high hopes for this one.

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9 hours ago, Jazzjet said:

According to the author's note at the end of 'A God In Ruins', which Kate Atkinson sees as a companion piece to 'Life After Life' rather than a sequel, she talks about wanting to examine the two most important episodes of WW2 (as she sees it) - the London Blitz (in the first book) and the strategic bombing campaign (in the second).

Looking forward to the Brodie's after my next book, 'A Foreign Country' by Charles Cumming, a spy thriller. His 'Trinity Six' was very good so I have high hopes for this one.

The end note in 'Life after Life' talks about her World War II interest. She's a bit older than me but I recognised the point she made about growing up in a world where World War II was everywhere. I don't recall anything like bomb damage but TV, film, comics were obsessed with it. I was an avid collector of little Airfix soldiers as a kid and those sets were dominated by different armies from the participants of World War II. Growing up on RAF bases I saw a Spitfire or Hurricane every time I went in or out of a camp. Until I was in my mid-teens WWII was more real to me than the current Cold War!  

I enjoyed 'Trinity Six' and another of his set in China. Think it was 'Typhoon'. Explored internal terrorism in China from minorities in the Islamic areas of the far west, something we hear little about. 

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2 hours ago, A Lark Ascending said:

The end note in 'Life after Life' talks about her World War II interest. She's a bit older than me but I recognised the point she made about growing up in a world where World War II was everywhere. I don't recall anything like bomb damage but TV, film, comics were obsessed with it. I was an avid collector of little Airfix soldiers as a kid and those sets were dominated by different armies from the participants of World War II. Growing up on RAF bases I saw a Spitfire or Hurricane every time I went in or out of a camp. Until I was in my mid-teens WWII was more real to me than the current Cold War!  

I enjoyed 'Trinity Six' and another of his set in China. Think it was 'Typhoon'. Explored internal terrorism in China from minorities in the Islamic areas of the far west, something we hear little about. 

I grew up in docklands London, near Tower Bridge, and the landscape was mostly bombsites until well into the early 60s. Most of my childhood was spent playing on those bombsites, a wonderfully exciting place for a kid although I'm not sure we had much appreciation at the time of the devastation that had caused them. My Dad was a navigator on Lancaster bombers towards the end of the war. I remember him as a pretty awful map reader in the car so how we didn't end up bombing Coventry is a mystery to me.

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My father was just too young for the war - he joined up in 1945 (the usual lying about his age thing) as a way of getting out of Tregony! One of his older brothers was at Dunkirk and subsequently invalided out; another was at sea and sunk at least twice (he also told a chilling tale of picking up some Spaniards in the late 30s and looking back to shore as the ship sailed out to see executions taking place on the streets. Never worked out if it was Republicans or Fascists doing the shooting). Also had two uncles by marriage, one who went over in the days after D-Day; the other was in North Africa and then Italy. When he died my cousins came across his diaries from the time. Amazing reads - it's as if he'd modelled his writing style on WWI diaries/letters home. There's an astonishing part where he describes the opening of an offensive. Eventually we worked out he was describing the start of El Alamein. 

As is usual, none of them talked much about their war experiences.Though the uncle in the desert had a love of Italy and things Italian for all his life.  

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On ‎11‎/‎03‎/‎2016 at 6:18 AM, BillF said:

Roderick Random is a fine novel. Mind you, I read it as part of a course on 18th century English Literature, so the antiquated language was no shock.

I find Roderick is a bit too hot-headed for my tastes.  I tend to think he deserves much of what happens to him, though it is his companion Strap who keeps getting drenched in urine.  It's a missed opportunity that Mayall and Edmondson never did a version of Smollett (here I am thinking of Steve Coogan tackling Sterne).  Anyway, I'll probably skim Peregrine Pickle, though most reviewers say it falls off sharply after the first 50 pages, and then later in the year, I'll read Humphrey Clinker.  That should be enough Smollett for me.

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