Cool. I’ll dig back in. Thanks for that.
You should also check out Lemire’s new ongoing series called Black Hammer. Really good.
Just finished reading Daniel Clowes Patience. It’s quite fun in its take on the old time travel theme.
Nothing really new in how he solves the big ol’question: what happens if someone goes back in time to change events? But it still surprises you with the ending somehow. There’s maybe too much text in it, but that’s Daniel Clowes (and European/American, authorial graphic novels in general) I guess. Anyway, it was an enjoyable and enticing read, as most Daniel Clowes is!
I just finished Maylis de Kerangal’s Mend The Living, which is far out in front for ‘book of the year’ for me. I don’t want to say too much here, and most of what I would say is covered by M John Harrison’s review for the Guardian. Suffice to say: poetic, singing, and bursting with empathy and sympathy; sentences that go on for pages and dart around consciousness; incredible lingusitic play, and a stunning piece of translation.
(American readers: Réparer les Vivants has been retitled The Heart for your territory, because subtlety is dead).
I’m also a big fan of Warren Ellis! I also read a couple of his novels: Gun Machine started great but ended just okay, but Crooked Little Vein was excellent!
Just finished Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and now enjoying the crap out of The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie.
a classical composer from vienna, herbert zipper started an illegal orchestra at dachau
with no instruments, clandestine built violins etc…
while there he composed the 'dachaulied
I have just finished Cosey Fanni Tutti’s art sex music (faber) a diary based chronological account of her time in the various incarnations of Coum , Throbbing Gristle, Chris and Cosey plus her work in the sex industry and the ways she turned this into her various fine art projects. Found her writing style quite flat and monotonous- though the periods covered and the scenes describes are quite fascinating if you grew, like me, with TG being one of your first entries into the avant garde, noise and art. I didnt come away from the book with any great insights into the music, their thinking or ideas and there isnt much detail about their equipment and processes. At first her exposing of Genesis P-O as a bully and hypocrite is rather delicious. ( I think we had guessed the egomaniac part already) but 200 pages on this theme gets a bit tiring. The whole XTG saga reads as quite a depressing one ending in lawsuits and debts.
In the light of her frank discussions on sex and working as a stripper and porn model I thought there might be some conclusions about the sex industry but she keeps it all quite anecdotal. I also thought she might have undertaken some re-evaluation of TG stuff- was any of it over sensationalist or irresponsible ? Cosey doesn’t seem to reflect on any of this. The little girl photo on the cover of their DOA lp gets mentioned a couple of times- but no suggestions that this might have been going too far- or at least acknowledging that this kind of shock tactic comes across very differently today , post Jimmy Savile. I felt it was a shame she didn’t get into any of these kind of issues.
The Nick Cave quote on the back ‘I love CFT’ is quite telling - it neatly side steps whether her writing is any good. But reading the book you do find your self loving her and admiring all she has done. her work ethic was amazing and she has been under represented and under estimated. She has also been through some really horrible times , bad health and some awful family situations and there is a definite honesty to the way she portrays all this.
I suppose it wasn’t the book i hoped it would be- and I generally don’t like autobiographies anyway- so you don’t take my criticisms too seriously. If you ever liked TG, Coil, C&C, PTV there is loads of fascinating background details to pick up on.
Had a weekend away and finished:
Christopher Priest: A Dream of Wessex = fantastic very dream-like story about a collective lucid dreaming experiment conducted in a bunker beneath Maiden Castle in Dorset. Pastoral futurism. It possibly inspired Inception (Nolan made the film of Priest’s The Prestige) and definitely influenced If Then by Matthew Abuiata.
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy = I read it as an amusing satire of corporate anthropology, think tanks and agencies (not a million miles from my day job). Not much plot, but entertaining and short.
That’s a Priest I don’t know - by and large, I completely adore his work. Pastoral futurism definitely puts it on the list (and already is drawing correlations to Pavane for me).
I had to give up on Satin Island. It was too much like reading friends’ blogs.
I finished Murakami’s 1Q84 a couple of days ago. I think it was a bit too long, and I didn’t like some parts of it but it was not bad overall. Definitely not his best, though.
And I just started Europe In Autumn (The Fractured Europe Sequence Book 1) by Dave Hutchinson, because it was recommended by Warren Ellis in a recent newsletter, and so far I really like it…
I also read the Kindle preview of “H is for hawk” based on previous recommendations in this thread and I’ll probably get it at some point but right now the Kindle version is twice the price of the massmarket book and even more expensive than the paperback (seriously, what’s up with ebooks pricing ?) so it’ll have to wait for a bit.
Generation П by Victor Pelevin (available in English as “Homo Sapiens”)
It’s as if Burroughs meets with Murakami in Moscow.
best endorsement i’ve heard in a while. i’m in!
Sorry for the late reply. Regarding Hope in Dark,
Absolutely. I think everything she’s written is gold.
Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism by Fumio Sasaki
I’ve been getting books on minimalism from my library and this one has been pretty good. People who have gotten rid of most of their possessions are interesting to me, and while I don’t see myself doing it to the extreme shown in this book, I think there are a lot insights to take from the minimalism movement. The book also relates it to a number of different factors: information overload, endless consumption, Zen in the Japanese culture, and recent natural disasters in the country.
Perusing this thread has added way too much to my future reading list. My contribution to the human project of creating, consuming, and digesting information over the past couple of months:
Recently finished for pleasure: Legimitation Crisis (Habermas), The Ethics of Ambiguity (de Beauvoir), Achieving Our Country (Rorty), Catch-22 (Heller), The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (Clark)
Currently in progress for pleasure: Composing Electronic Music (Roads), The Origins of Totalitarianism (Arendt), The Discourses (Epictetus), and rereading Ulysses (Joyce)
Recently finished for work: Quantum Hall Effect (Tong)
In progress for work: Mirror Symmetry (Hori, et al.)
Of course all of this is in between thesis writing and other project wrangling, and so the going has been too slow.
Loved this and trying to get my head around the concepts. Brian Cox’s The Quantum Universe (And Why Anything That Can Happen, Does) covers the same material and is well explained. I find ideas resonate better when communicated differently ie two different approaches to explaining the same idea
Currenly re-reading The Anarchist Banker, a small story written by Fernando Pessoa.
Went to the book fair i found a copy in the “used” shelf for 2€ and couldn’t leave it there.
A bit different than his usual and one they don’t talk about in school (like the poet i too am Portuguese, so we study his writings in school).
Mainly the book is a conversation in a coffee with a banker that is an anarchist, where he explains why he is an anarchist and his personal amd quite peculiar views on anarchism.
It’s not a great book like his others, but probably my favorite of his.
This just arrived - Biofeedback and the Arts. David Rosenboom. we used to have it in the art college library in the 1980’s. Full of brilliant information and very speculative takes on biofeedback… You can still find copies online.
Table of contents:
Books read in June:
Christie Wilcox’s Venomous: How Earth’s Deadliest Creatures Mastered Biochemistry; Octavia Butler’s Fledgling (It’s sadly ironic that an author’s final book be about a very young person who is likely to live for a very long time.); The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland; The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting by Anne Trubek.
Étienne Davodeau’s Lulu Anew. Étienne Davodeau’s The Initiates (Les Ignorants). Pizzeria Kamikaze by Etgar Keret with Asaf Hanuka illustrating. Daniel Clowes’ Mister Wonderful. Moon Cop by Tom Gauld. The final volume of Brian Bendis’ run on Uncanny X-Men (Volume 6: Storyville). The first volume of Cullen Bunn’s run on Uncanny X-Men (Superior, Volume 1: Survival of the Fittest). The second volume of Cullen Bunn’s run on Uncanny X-Men (Superior, Volume 2: Apocalypse Wars). The third volume of Cullen Bunn’s run on Uncanny X-Men (Superior, Volume 3: Waking From the Dream). Anders Nilsen’s Dogs and Water. Sons Of The Devil Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Brian Buccellato (with Toni Infante, illustrations). Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood’s Moon Knight. Moon Knight, Volume 3: In the Night by Cullen Bunn with Ron Ackins. The first volume of Jeff Lemire’s Moon Knight. Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos’ Extraordinary X-Men, Volume 1: X-Haven. Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos’ Extraordinary X-Men, Volume 2. Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos’ Extraordinary X-Men, Volume 3. Corinne Mucha’s Get Over It. Supreme: Blue Rose, from Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay. Miss Lasko-Gross’ Henni. Ultimate Comics: X-Men, Volume 1, written by Nick Spencer, illustrated by Paco Medina. Ultimate Comics: X-Men, Volume 2, more of the same from Nick Spencer, albeit with Carlo G. Barberi as illustrator. Gene Luen Yang’s Superman, Volume 1: Before Truth. Joyce Farber’s Special Exits. Karnak: The Flaw in All Things by Warren Ellis and several illustrators. Jason’s Werewolves of Montpelier. Warren Ellis and Jason Masters’ James Bond, Vol 2: Eidolon. Andy Diggle and Luca Casalanguida’s James Bond: Hammerhead. Glacial Period by Nicolas de Crécy. Jiro Taniguchi’s Guardians of the Louvre.
I recently finished Sean Wilsey’s “More Curious.” Wilsey was heavily influenced by Joseph Mitchell, so I decided that would be the next writer I would read and picked up Mitchell’s “Up in the Old Hotel.”
Both are great nonfiction reads. I’m a journalist myself, so I tend to gravitate to nonfiction.