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Post Info TOPIC: Last book you read, and review


High Mookish Shaman

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RE: Last book you read, and review


'Fight Club' by Chuck Palahniuk.
It was the best book I've read in ages... society crashing down around us whilst we continue to go to work and school and we socialise and collect furniture all just to die in the end anyway.
Absolutely excellent.
(By the way, I've never seen the film- it's on my -to-watch- list.)

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Mookish Deity Most High

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That film is very very good!
I'll keep a look-out for the book.

The last book I read was Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis from the Chili Peppers. It's his autobiography, and I'm not that huge of a fan or anything but I couldn't put it down - very entertaining. :)

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High Mookish Shaman

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Just finished two books, one for a class and one for pleasure - the one for the class gave me a hell of a lot more pleasure than the one read recreationally, which was Orange Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. It's a semi-autobiographical novel about a girl brought up in a zealously religious community who finds she is a lesbian, but doesn't consider at any point her love might be wrong until they actually try to exorcise her. I can see it's an intelligent read but, when she described in her introduction that her preferred method of reading and writing as reading and writing 'in spirals', leading to a non-chronological or cut-up narrative, all I saw was the insertion of various symbolic texts to flesh out what could have been a perfectly self-demonstrative piece of writing, as if the supernatural were somehow an extraillustrative point (a similiar problem in a perfectly good book occurs in Beloved by Toni Morrison, which won her the Nobel Prize so it's probably just my personal grouch). I'd have preferred allusive writing as opposed to parallel and often incomplete or truncated storylines between the main story. I thought the inelegance of the narrative ruined some very humorous and bright writing, although not my all-time favourite. I'm not the biggest fan of Winterson mind; I read this book to see if my mind would change.

The one for a class was The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, which begins, "This is the saddest story I know." It revolves around the intertwined fates, personalites and love affairs of two married couples, one English, one American, all pretty dreadful people, in the inter-war period. An extract was first published in the Vorticist magazine 'Blast', evidently because it was considered revolutionary in its style. It's one of the bleakest and most controlled books I've ever read - nothing is written for filler or by accident. It's also rather darkly amusing, the way everyone is so tight and proper and they all end up dead or mental or awful. I highly recommend it - it is also non-chronological, told in a series of flashbacks by that great Modernist pioneer, the Unreliable Narrator, and an example of how non-chronological narrative can be really quite brilliant.

Yeah, not such a clever review, but it's late and I can't marshal my criticism.

-- Edited by clockbox at 03:07, 2008-11-24

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Honoured Mook

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Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

Its the fourth book in the Twilight series, nd the last.

I cannot tell wat its about because then i would be giving away the end of the vamp story.

Soooooo........you will have to read it for yourself to see wat its bout. XP

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Regular Crew

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After meaning to for ages, I've just read: God of small things This was excellent and really gets into the minds of the twins, but the indian characters are a little confusing in the first chapter - Baby Grand aunt kochamma for example. I had to read that first chapter really slowly because almost all the characters are introduced.
x sky

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Annointed Queen of Mook - Founder and Editor

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clockbox wrote:
The one for a class was The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, which begins, "This is the saddest story I know." It's one of the bleakest and most controlled books I've ever read - nothing is written for filler or by accident.

I like your reviews :) I haven't read any FMF. If you liked this form of writing and you haven't yet tried it, read a bit of Henry James. He's famous for books like 'Portrait of a Lady', 'The Europeans' and 'What Maisie Knew'.

Like FMF, he doesn't waste a word, and is controlled as all hell. He specialises in social relationships and who has control, and the differences between America and England. He also plays with perspective, having books written from the POV of a narrator that can't be trusted to think straight. With Henry James, so much is revealed by what he doesn't say as much as by what he does. I found reading him hard work, but I loved it.

 



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High Mookish Shaman

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The only Henry James I've ever read were some short stories, 'The Jolly Corner' and 'The Real Right Thing' and something else, and I remember admiring the prose style, although I admit I found reading him something of an intellectual challenge - which is a good thing if you're not tired.

I'll go for 'The Europeans', purely because a title like that bodes well for the expression of the American / European differences (which is actually something I've very interested in; the Modernist poets, esp Eliot and Pound, were mady concerned with it and so, by proxy, it interests me). Thank you very much for the recommendation!

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Seasoned Mookster

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Just finished 'The Christmas Mystery' by Jostein Gaarder.

It's about a boy who gets an old advent calendar - the kind with pictures rather than chocolate - that's never been opened. Each day he opens a door and finds a picture and a piece of paper telling a story about a girl called Elizabeta, who chased a lamb from a department store and met an angel, and started a journey back through time to the birth of Christ.
As it turns out, in 1948 a girl called Elizabeta disappered from a department store...

This is a real story within a story; a plot device that Gaarder has used before--but excels at.

If you see this post and think 'ugh, bible-bashing', then don't let the mention of Jesus deceive you. Whilst there are a lot of religious references in this book, it doesn't ram religion down your throat (yay!).
The book is great, though - compared to some of the other stuff I've read by the same author - the ending wasn't so good.

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High Mookish Shaman

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I've read truck loads recently, but the only thing I've picked up out of curiosity and not course-related has been 'An Awfully Big Adventure' by Beryl Bainbridge.Funny and strange, although at times slightly too obvious, but then it is supposed to be a work of theatre and drama and contrived displays of emotion, so she gets away with it. Reminds me of Muriel Spark, who I think she gets compared to a lot.

Also just re-read 'The Tempest' by Shakespeare for an essay. I am convinced that Prospero is in love with Ariel, having desired the intellectual control and purely cognitive, disembodied power that Ariel is supposed to represent, but given that he is human he naturally projects onto the physical form of Ariel physical desire (for example, he requests that Ariel be invisible to charm Ferdinand but also asks Ariel to dress as a nymph of the sea, inherently useless if he, Ariel, is invisible to everyone but himself - I believe he just wants to be able to look at sexless Ariel in a mythical but traditionally seductive form). The confusion of the corporeal and the mental and Prospero's insistence on keeping them seperate (when in fact this is impossible for a human) is the great metaphor behind Ariel, Prospero and, to a lesser extent, Caliban's relationship. Loads more I can say - so excited by 'The Tempest' - but it would take up hella room.

Man I love Shakespeare, he really is the bee's knees.

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Seasoned Mookster

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'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman. As per usual with his writing, it's a cleverly written fantasy--a real page-turner! It took me three days to read on and off but I could easily have sat down, started reading, and not closed the book until I'd finished it! There's a real air of intrigue that carries on throughout the book as to why Nobody Owens' family was murdered, yet the bad guys charading as good guys are blatantly obvious, enough so that I found myself thinking, 'Oh no Bod, don't go in there!' The characterisation is great; even the minor characters are fleshed out with full personalities and their own funny little nuances.
This book has made me want to go and hang around a graveyard and look at all the old stones!

As usual, Neil Gaiman's work kicks ass.

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MookyDuchess

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Neil Jordan is making The Graveyard Book into a film.

Clockbox, have you seen Derek Jarmen's version on the Tempest?

I finished reading Mark Thomas' excellent expose of Coca Cola, Belching Out the Devil, and it's really funny. And depresing, when you realise how a massive corporation lies through pr and has no cares for the people it makes suffer. (Or indeed, its employees who are murdered in their factories).

Makes me glad to be boycotting Coke.

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High Mookish Shaman

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LBD- The Great Escape. It's a kids book (well, younger teenager anyway), but I love it! 3 Girls go to "Astlebury Festival" (I think it's supposed to be Glastonbury), and end up having a really cool adventure!

It's probably my most-read book. All of the pages are falling out. :/

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High Mookish Shaman

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Kitty Fire wrote:

Neil Jordan is making The Graveyard Book into a film.

Clockbox, have you seen Derek Jarmen's version on the Tempest?

I finished reading Mark Thomas' excellent expose of Coca Cola, Belching Out the Devil, and it's really funny. And depresing, when you realise how a massive corporation lies through pr and has no cares for the people it makes suffer. (Or indeed, its employees who are murdered in their factories).

Makes me glad to be boycotting Coke.





I saw Mark Thomas do some stand up about Coke. I felt pretty guilty and I don't even drink the stuff. Now I wince when I see my flatmate with a glass of the fizzy black evil. I'd like to read the book, I reckon.

Funny you should mention Jarmen... I had my tutorial on the essay today and my tutor told me to go and watch it. He said it was partly wonderful for all the gay sailors jumping around ("it's a real bum fest"), and partly worth watching for the exaggerated and/or atypical approach (depending on how you read Miranda) to Miranda's treatment of Caliban. In his own words:

"I think Helena Bonham Carter or someone equally feral looking was playing her... Anyway, she's having a shower, all sexy and naked, and Caliban is watching. When she notices, she starts to wash with unequalled sexy fervour... She's really fucking with his mind, and poor Caliban is running about like a little erect penis on legs."

Sounds GREAT.

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MookyDuchess

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I saw Mark Thomas do the Coke stand up too. (And later, his stand up against the arms trade...)

Of course, you boycott Coke, you boycott Schweppes. Which also means Cadburys. (Cadburys Schweppes...)

And it's Toyah Wilcox as Miranda...

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Seasoned Mookster

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"Nanny Ogg's Cookbook" by Terry Pratchett et al. Part cookery book, part humor, part fantasy... It's fiction, presented as if it were fact--basically a collection of recipes from Nanny Ogg and other characters from Pratchett's 'Discworld' novels. The book is full of amusing comments and recipes that can actually be used!

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The last book I read was "Sleepers" by Lorenzo Carcaterra.

I found this to be a rather depressing story, not perfect, but compelling nonetheless.

An unfortunately true story, based on four young boys lives on the streets of an american neighborhood in the 60's. The boys are brought up in a society overrun by crime and violence, beaten at the hands of their fathers and witness to brutality on a daily basis. They themselves are more mischievous, rather than hardened criminals like the rest. But when a prank goes horribly, what unfurls is horror story- the boys are sent to a correctional home when the spend the best part of their sentenced being physically, mentally and sexually abused at the hands of the guards. The time spent at this correctional facitlity turns two out of the four boys into cold-blooded murderers; members of a street gang, infamous for its brutality. The two boys run into one of the former guards, years later, and shoot him, dead, an act of revenge finally served. Within hours, they are caught, arrested and its up to the other two boys to try and save them from life imprisonment.

Chilling and disturbing.

-- Edited by Saiyuri at 01:49, 2009-02-01

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High Mookish Shaman

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Just started and finished 'The Book of Proper Names' by Amélie Nothomb. Short, readable, silly. I can see why she has a bit of a cult, it's very self-consciously pretty and introspective and a bit odd, but I wasn't that impressed. Still, if you fancy a larf.

Nearly finished King Lear. Have to skip my seminar though, because it's on Coriolanus and I don't have to guts to walk into the Lear sem because the sem leader doesn't know me and so won't let me get away with it and will send me straight back to the Coriolanus I haven't read and don't care about.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I ordered about 8 books off Amazon after Christmas 'cause I got a voucher as a present, so here's a little review of a couple of them!

Cherry Bomb - Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna

This is fantastic, it's like the Mooky bible! It's a guide to living life like a rock star, it has sections on drinking Absinthe, on personal style written by Betsey Johnson, a drum lesson from Peaches' drummer, how to perform a striptease written by Dita Von Teese, how to be the perfect hostess, get backstage at gigs and other such mooky topics.
Would definetely reccommend it as a fun & inspiring read!

The Philosophy Of Andy Warhol - Andy Warhol

My favourite out of all the books I got. The chapters are given titles like 'love', 'money', 'beauty', 'fame' and contain little anecdotes from his life, snippets of phone conversations and other little paragraphs explaning his philosophy on the subject. I've had quotes from it running through my head ever since I read it, 'cause he has a good way of looking at the world, I think. :) It's very easy to read, it doesn't have very complicated language like many other philosophy/sociology books do.

Naive. Super - Erlend Loe

Oh, I loved this! It's by a Norwegian (I think, somewhere around there anyhow!) author and it's written in a very simple style, about a 25 year old who can't find meaning in his life.. he writes lists, faxes his friends, becomes fascinated by the concept of time and enjoys bouncing a ball against a wall. That is a rubbish description. I'll just say, it's a lovely, slightly lonely, description of his search for meaning in life. Read!





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MookyDuchess

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Affinity by Sarah Waters. It's set in a Victorian women's prison, where a spiritualist, Selina, is serving a sentence for attacking a young girl. She claims it was her spirit guide, Peter Quick who did it. A visitor to the gaol, Miss Prior, who is grieving for her father and being given morphine to cope with the grief, becomes infatuated with her and they fall in love.

It's told in the form of journal entries, both Miss Prior's contemporary writing and flashbacks to Selina's journl, telling how she developed as a spiritualist.

It's a wonderfully haunting romance, with a proper twist at the end. The sort of twist that kicks you like a pissed off mule on a really bad day, and leaves your stomach hollow and truly changes the way you look at the entire novel.

I got into Sarah Waters through Tipping the Velvet, and I worry she's becoming marginalised as little more than lesbian author, which is a shame as she's one of the best story tellers you'll find working. She always creates good, solid characters, whom you find yourself missing once you've put the book down. (It's months since I finished reading Tipping the Velvet and I still miss Nancy.)

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Seasoned Mookster

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Kitty, have you seen the movie of Affinity? It was on TV a few weeks ago, was pretty good! ^_^


Most recent book I read was Pinocchio...much prefer it to the Disney version! The copy I have is from the 40's and has all those cute little bookplates in--unfortunately some are scribbled on by a previous owner!
I should think almost everyone knows the story of Pinocchio but just in case:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinocchio
Most enjoyed the part where he started to turn into a donkey!

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MookyDuchess

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The movie wasn't as god as the books, it was very much the greatest hits version of the book. And it missed out all the atmosphere and a lot of the emotion.

Basically, if you liked the movie, you'll love the book.

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High Mookish Shaman

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'Wetlands' by Charlotte Roche.

I have a very high tolerance for this sort of thing. 'Story of the Eye' is one of my favourite books.

AND I GAGGED.
I mean, I read a bit, walked to the bookshop, thought about an extract, paused at the traffic lights, and then dry retched.

I also read 'Howards End' by Forster, which was stunningly good. I disliked every single character in it though - I don't think Forster was sympathetic at all, or if he was he failed to arouse my sympathy. Must be class hatred / self hatred. I'm way too much like a cross between Leonard Bast and Helen Schlegel. But the fact that it left me frowning so much is just a mark of how excellent the character development is, and how incisively the issues raised - intellectualism, the middle classes, money, leisure and learning, the concept of 'culture' and 'cultured' - were dealt with. Still relevant, I think.

-- Edited by clockbox at 00:54, 2009-02-16

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Honoured Mook

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Watchmen. Finished it the other day. Wow.

Honestly, I was a little bit bored in the beginning, and I found the textual interludes to be a bit tedious even though they were packed full of information about the characters. It wasn't until Rorschach's chapter that I really got into it. Dr Manhattan's chapter reflecting on his past (being deliberately vague here in case anyone else hasn't read it yet) really spun me out and I had to put it down for a few hours just to process it all. The story was brilliant, and had such an unexpected ending (I really hope they don't change the overall outcome for the movie :S I know they've taken out the "thing" at the end, but I can live with that). Looking back on it now that I've had a few days to process it all, I can really appreciate it for the work of art it is. At first I felt like I was missing the point, but I think it just took time for me to absorb it all. And now I'm probably going to have to go and re-read it :D

Without trying to buy into the hype of it that's going around at the moment, it really is worth the read. Though I suspect I'll still love Sandman more once I've finished reading that.

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High Mookish Shaman

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Chuck Palahniuk- Choke.

The front cover said "Choke is Fight Club for sex addicts", so I thought I'd read it to see if it was.
There were some literary devices that were similar to Fight Club, such as the support groups and the lists, and a scene where there is some guided meditation.
It was a good book, a little mixed up in parts but I'll read it again probably and it will make more sense.

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High Mookish Shaman

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Read 'The Graduate', like the film much better, actually find the book rather dislikable. Having said that, I have a personal grudge against all Holden Caulfieldesque fictional middle class American youths who are all over in oppurtunity that I could really use and make nothing of it. Ugh, disaffection.

Also read 'Les Enfants Terrible' by Jean Cocteau, in the Rosamund Lehmann translation. Weird book, has the effect of making you feel like you've come out of a deep sleep afterwards, and the world itself is slightly unreal. It is as if the reader has been playing the Game the characters play, in the Room. Not sure if that's Cocteau's prose or Lehmann's translation workin' the magic. My copy's blurb gave away the ending without explaining what the book was actually about. Grumble. 

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I loved Watchmen too, its one of my favourite books. Its a bit of a chew on sometimes to get through though. I love Rorschach, think he's brilliant. I cant wait to see the film too, and its out this week smile.gif I just hope they havent messed it up like they have with so many other books.

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MookyDuchess

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I finished re-reading Watchmen again a couple of weeks ago and I found myself really disliking Rorschach more than ever. He's far too black and white for the grey world in which we live in. It's awesome how Alan Moore made you think him a hero, even when he's little more than a fascist.

I'm still not sure which is my favourite character, I love the fact they are all so flawed.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I see what you mean about him, but I liked him because of this. We very rarely get a chance to be so black and white like him.

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MookyDuchess

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Which is possibly a good thing, by the end of the book, we see the danger in his Manichaen view.

Spoiler

The character is written, as all of them are, to appeal in one sense, but disgust in another. Re-reading the book made me realise just how objectional I found a lot of Rorschach's views. He's very much an extreme Daily Mail reader. There was a wonderful documentary a while back about Steve Ditko, who created Mr A, where Moore cites this bleak, fascist character as part of the inspiration for Rorschach.

Piss, I really should have written my Watchmen article this week, but I've been feeling far too meh (well, beyond meh, actually, but that's neither here nor there as far as this topic is concerned), so hopefully I'll get it done this weekend. (Along with my long gestating 10 Graphic Novels you Really Should Read...)


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High Mookish Shaman

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"Battle Royale" by Koushun Takami.

Bloody brilliant. Nuff said.

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