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Survivor is Sharon Osbourne's second autobiography. Not literary genius I realise, but I sometimes like to read a bit of celebrity. While I enjoyed the first of her books Extreme, which documented her life until around 10 years ago, this new book picks up where she left off. A central theme being the death of her father and events leading up to and around this time. She writes quite a lot about The X Factor, America's Got Talent and Simon Cowell (what an English audience would want I imagine.) While some elements of this book are interesting enough I suppose, I found the whole thing a bit ranty and, well, not very good really, just ranty.
Just a quick report on a couple of recent books. Read a few so-so ones but there've been 2 really good ones.
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson - he normally writes SF but this is more of a thriller. He has an interesting style, kind of choppy and a bit distant but it really works in this book. It's about a woman who works in the design industry as a "cool-hunter" and is also trying to track down a mysterious film that's been released in snippets. There's even a whole angle on forums and the weirdness of having friends who you don't know and will never meet in real life...
The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. Only just started this but so far it's really good. It's about a woman doing a thesis on science writers in the 19th Century. There's a "cursed" book which kills anyone who finishes reading it. She tracks down a copy of it and that's as far as I've got. I like the heroine - she's a bit amoral, quirky and maybe slightly depraved(!) but still sympathetic and with a good sense of humour. There are excerpts from the book and even some scientific/philosophical musings as well so it's interesting on different levels. Hope the rest of the book lives up to the opening.
Will post back when I've finished
Fleshmarket Close by Ian Rankin
Very close to a state of the nation book, this was, with some excellent descriptions of the hellishness of life on the edges of society in this great land of ours.
If Rankin was not a "genre" writer he would have been up for some major prizes for this book in my opinion. I far prefer writing of his sort to the navel-gazing middle class angst and po-faced pretentiousness that seems to pass muster in a lot of the literary prize shortlists. But then I am a Steinbeck boy rather than an Evelyn Waugh boy, me!
I did feel the book tailed off a bit in the last 50 pages or so as Rebus tied up all the loose ends in the case, but nevertheless one of the best contemporary books I have read in a while.
I'm in the middle of reading a book which, somewhat to my surprise, has had me sniggering out loud on the train. It's Our Hidden Lives - diaries of post-war Britain. Very simply, it's diary extracts of several people who kept journals during and after the Second World War. It starts off chronicling the days before VE day and then continues into the first months of peace. Fascinating, funny, interesting and poignant. A fabulous example of social history presented in a lively and entertaining, but principally real way.
Picked it up for £1.50 in the local charity shop
that sounds good sweety - i am going to make a note of that
Now that I am firmly established in one place and firmly established as a member of the local library I must confess that this thread is having a frightening influence on me!
I am currently reading (for the first time which is shocking given I lived there for 12 months) Brighton Rock.
It is fantastic and the threat that hangs in the air is palpable on every page. Obviously it is slightly "of its time" with a lot of slang that has passed out of use but I am really enjoying it.
I also have an Iain M Banks (Consider Phlebas thanks puffy et al for encouraging me to re-try), Al Gores rant about politics in the mdern world and a book that I ordered before the recent trauma called CityBoy - tales of complete beer fuelled debauchery in the City instutions and Kafkas Metamorphosis on the pile. Cannot wait to get through them all!!
So thank you all for reigniting my love of good books!
Brighton Rock!! I've re read that more than any other book, except perhaps "Coming up for air" by Orwell.
You've set me thinking about other Graham Greene now, i liked the end of the affair, and the heart of the matter too.
JB steer clear of Doors Open by Ian Rankin, its absolute rubbish, he should be ashamed of himself.
Currently reading "When Will There Be Good News" by Kate Atkinson, V.good
The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas - belated review. Actually finished this a while ago but keep forgetting to post about it. I really loved this book, it's almost like its own world and you feel a wrench when you finish it and have to leave. I really missed not reading it any more and would thoroughly recommend it. It looks great as well as the edges of the pages are black to make it extra spooky. Interesting story, good characters and I learnt something about philosophy as well. It's one of those books where bits of it pop up in your mind for weeks afterwards.
I've put one of her other books on my Xmas wish list and I'm looking forward to seeing what they're like.
What's everyone else enjoying at the moment?
I've just completed the fourth "Shardlake" book by CJ Sansom. For those who don't know of these, they're basically detective thrillers set in the reign of Henry VIII. The first in the series is Dissolution, in which our hero Matthew Shardlake is a government official and lawyer who has to oversee the dissolution of a monastery but at the same time work out who murdered his predecessor and why. As in all good such yarns there are plenty of likely candidates with motive and opportunity ... but who actually dunnit? Well written in a light style, easy to read and a real page-turner, but lots of interesting historical background and description of life in Tudor times. All of the stories have intricate plots with finales in which you realise the clues were there all along.
Before that was John Simpson's Not Quite World's End, which was enjoyable enough but lightweight and self-indulgent compared to his previous works.
Our Hidden Lives sounds fab Sweetest! Must look out for it.
Having been off work for 2 months I've been reading quite a bit:
Grisham - The Painted HouseSharyn McCrumb - the Ballad of Frankie Silver (quite sad and partly true)Stephanie Meyer - Twilight (really good, a lighthearted book about vampires, quite a hoot) just about to start the sequel 'New Moon' - Crashie has already read it)Geraldine Brooks - People of the Book (found it quite hard going in some parts but really enjoyed it at the end)
My best this year has got to be Diane Setterfield 'The Thirteenth Tale'. Loved it. One to look out for. Real twist at the end.
i hated "turning thirty" by mike gayle - is wish you were here better/different?
I started reading Wish you were Here in France Lurker, they had it in the apartment, but couldn't get into it.
Ian Banks, ace! Walking on Glass was bizarre, loved the Red Crow! I read Dead Air not long ago, thought it was brilliant. I've got loads more to go at, my best friend bought me loads of second hand books from Amazon, lots of Patricia Cornwell that I'm not too keen on. I even picked up a copy of Cider with Rosie at the charity shop cos I haven't read it for millions of years.
you are!! that's cheating
i would not want the complete works - i really did not like some of them, but some are my favourites - that's why i was asking about michael gayle, i thought he might be the same - where some books are ace and some are not
Tim Willocks - The Religion. Just started re-reading it. If you've read his other stuff you won't need persuading but if you haven't it probably won't help if I tell you it's about the siege of Malta by the Turks in 15something or other.
But don't be put off. All of his books are like the literary equivalent of action films on crack and this is no different. Fast paced, sexy, gory - what more could you want?
lust for life - irving stone. great book.
Aitch... wrote (see)
I've just started 'The Time Traveler's Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger
I've read this recently and its great. Its being made into a film I think with Eric Bana and Rachel McAddams (spell?).
Currently reading 'A Piece of Cake' its a true story about a young black girl (Cupcake Brown) in America whose mother dies and she ends up in foster care being beaten and raped from the age of 11. She then gets into drink, drugs and gangs. I'm just in the recovery stage now. Don't read if easily offended by bad language as its full of it.
Have also got 'We need to talk about Kevin' on the go but currently on hold.
The Stone Gods - Jeanette Winterson (2008)
Jeanette Winterson is most famed for Orange Are Not the Only Fruit, a coming of age text about a lesbian that was dramatised on the BBC featuring Charlotte Coleman.
By contrast, The Stone Gods, is a science fiction piece centuring upon Billie and Spike as they embark on a landmark journey away from their ruined planet to Planet Blue in search of a habitable environment upon which the human race might continue.
There is no doubt that this is a complex text, with many plots, subplots and social commentaries (both subtle and unsubtle). However, it is a very readable and enjoyable piece that allows the reader to engage with it at whatever level they feel most comfortable. While I found myself unable to understand the plot in some areas, in others I found it enchanting, uncomfortable and challenging.
An excellent read.
Hi All Been lurking and I thought I'd Join in.
Iron Squishie have you read the Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton? if you enjoyed The Thirteenth Tale (which was fantastic) you should like it. Also having looked at your list have you read any Kelly Armstrong?
Currently I'm reading The Guernser Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which is written in letter form and is about the German occupation. Dear to my heart as my grandfather lived through it and hasd many stories to tell. It's very amusing in a 1947 kind of way so far.
Lista, yep, I've read the Forgotten Garden, loved it. Have you read The House at Riverton by the same author? Never read any Kelly Armstrong. Will look out for her.
Don't know if I mentioned previously and I CBA to look back because it's too slow, but I'd really recommend 'Twilight' by Stephenie Meyer..... it sounds really corny on the back, sort of High School love story with vampires, but it's absolutely brill. There's 4 of them in the series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and finally Breaking Dawn.
Crashie and I went to the cinema to see Twilight on NYE - it was pretty good, we were both prepared to come home slagging it off, but we both really enjoyed it and can't wait for the sequel.
I'm reading a John Grisham at the moment, his new one, The Appeal, which I'm really struggling with!