Here's a list that gladdens. What Youth and "7 books you will psyche on and should totally read."
I often bemoan the fact that good writing is a dying art. It ain't necessarily true but it sometimes feels that way. The yoof, it always seemed to me, could buy a Canikon for a couple hunge, flood the 'net with images, and call 'emselves artists - easy! But unlike photography there's no shortcut to good writing: no autofocus, no colour correcting software - it's hard fucken work. And the first step toward it is to read lots and lots of great writers. So yeah, glad to see the yoof - What Yoof! - spruiking seven good books. Bit limited in scope and style but a good list nonetheless.
Andy , you haven't lived til you've been on a weekend long bender at " the Tasmanian Babes " apartment complex in St Kilda ...... Mind you , may aswell be on Mars ........ Have to go , these 'shrooms are kicking in !
Is that near the Gatwick? SCBR stayed there once. Road -trip straight outta Fear n Loathing.
Stayed at the Gatwick! Faaark that's keen.
I've done a late night walk through there a few times looking for party enhancers. That's a messed up joint
The moari trannies that we ended up running into though were nice people
Hey up to whoever recommended 'Economix' - Shatner? Turkey? Been reading it the last few nights and it's unreal.
It is a great little book. And available online in its entirety...though I've got a hard-copy for home reference.
And back at ya, I'm re-reading McGahan's White Earth. There's a real 'Australian Gothic' thing happening round work of late!
Regarding Economix, thanks for that Shats, fascinating read and it's quite impressive how much work has gone into that book.
I just finished Barbarian Days and thought it was a case of average writing about an amazing (enviable) life, but having won a Pullitzer I probably have no idea
I can see that the academic study of Marx and Marxism is important, but why should anyone who is outside of the academic world be interested in this? What’s the real significance of Marxism?
You can’t be an educated person and know anything about world history without knowing something about this famous ideology.
Consistent with what I've been posting today, I'd highly recommend Andrew McGahan's White Earth. Get some perspective.
(Tomorrow may be time for some Shel Silverstein.)
Life And Fate , Vasily Grossman. You will probably need to get it as an eBook. To call it the War And Peace of WW2 doesn't even begin to do it justice.
Thanks for the suggestion, BB. I'm looking forward to reading it. I've read a few WWII books recently. One non-fiction, Inside the Third Reich, Albert Speer, and a few novels, The Man From Berlin, and The Pale House, Luke McCallin, and The Eye of the Needle, Ken Follet.
Been looking for inspiration lately. Read an economics text book my son had for uni, Economics; A User's Guide by Ha Joong Chan. Surprisingly well worth the read. If you don't know much about economics this will be a great way to start and I learned good detail about the history of the subject and the development of ideas over the last few hundred years (it basically didn't exist as a subject of study before that)
Finished Adam Spencer's Big Book of Numbers. Well, you have to be interested in numbers for that one, and even though I am I didn't fully engage, and certainly didn't take up his suggestions to work out the Mersenne Prime in the first hundred numbers etc. But what's not to like about Adam Spencer.
Started and finished a sci-fi novel called WE, which was quite interesting, but no it wasn't the one written by Yavgeny Zamyatin that inspired George Orwell and Aldous Huxley among others. In any case, it was good.
My wife is now reading 'The man 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared', which happened to be a book someone left in a place I stayed at in Bali, and I loved it. Sort of a Forrest Gump type tale but he was a clever old man, not a southern intellectually disabled fellow. A really good read, may read it again after she finishes.
Wish I still had my collection of Kurt Vonnegut books from my late teens and 20', they were all lost by a sister who was looking after them for me. That would be good right now.
May try another go at some of the Bill Bryson books that I have lying around.
Looking around for a book titled 'How the Wallabies can beat the All Blacks'. Apparently it hasn't been written yet. That was one boring test match.
From a casual mention from Shatnerd, check out Shel Silverstein. That kunt's a true renaissance man. And if you've got young youngsters his work for said young youngsters is pretty hard to beat. Google him. What a geezer.
& worth mentioning twice.
Will do, TT. But no, the youngsters aren't young, uni student 19 today, one in year 11, both more grown up and mature than most of the people I have met over a life of meeting a fair few people.
But I'll check him out. Love a good cartoonist, Renaissance man? Can he cook, play golf to a single figure handicap and surf? :-)
As a kid I met a kindly American couple in their home town ( San Fransisco ) and they sent me a copy of Where the sidewalk ends a couple of months later back in Oz.
They never offered it or mentioned it whilst I was there so I was stoked to hear from them again , let alone receive a present.
Never heard mention of him before or since till now.
Shats posted some (and I mean some) of his music on that thread. Here's an obit from his best buddy and fellow playwright David Mamet! THE David Mamet!
And then some other fascinating facts about the dude.
Yep, a real renaissance man.
I really enjoyed Mick Fanning surf for your life. 9/10 i couldnt put it down.
Also most of the book by Billy Bob Thornton and Kinky Friedman (the billy bob tapes) except he's a bit negative at the end about critics and whatnot. Good read though.
Just finished "Island" by Aldous Huxley.
As outrageous as 'Brave New World', just different subject matter. This guy was thinking on levels that the rest of the west didn't contemplate for another 50 years, and then only barely. Very apposite to discussions of anarchy on the what's what thread. People living as people rather than as cogs in a great economic machine.
James Kelman has a new book out...DIRT ROAD. Brilliant. But don't just take my word for it.
There are plenty of great reviews. In fact, I challenge someone to find a bad one. Worst I could find was one by Allan Massie. And in that he's mentioned in the same breath as Proust, Mann, Faulkner, James, Conrad. My how things have turned around. Or finally caught up.
Is this one in English?
“The problem with any term like idiom or vernacular used about my work is that it appears to be
a euphemism or synonym for language. I try to say at all times, let’s just call the Scottish working class way of speaking a language. The rejection of it as a language is to do with imperialism and the language of the coloniser. This is the idea that every other culture and therefore language is going to be defined against it. The way we use language is seen as being a debased form of English...
My writing is like a post-colonial, post-imperial kind of voice — where the local people, in a sense, are fighting the imperial voice of authority that has come into their community and said, ‘Your own culture is not good enough.’” - James Kelman
Shats I read an interview with Kelman years ago in which he stated that Scottish was a distinct language. For the rest, my father was from Glasgow and I spent a bit of time there as a youth.
So even though working class Glaswegians are almost indecipherable to anybody who lives outside of Scotland, Kelman wants to call a dialect a distinct and seperate language? Scots are easy to understand on paper, it's when they start talking that things get complicated:)
Did he pinch the idea from Irvine Welsh or vice versa ?
Not able to post links. Not that anyone reads 'em. Or even googles any google suggestions.
There is a New Yorker article about Kelman and his methods that is insightful and informative.
AWAY THINKING ABOUT THINGS by James Woods.
A taste (for the link and google-averse):
"Kelman’s language is immediately exciting; like a musician, he uses repetition and rhythm to build structures out of short flights and circular meanderings. The working-class Glaswegian author knows exactly how his words will scathe delicate skins; he has a fine sense of attack. “The One with the Dog” is only two pages long, and is narrated by a man who begs for money, likes to do so on his own, and is wary of other guys who do it in gangs or go around with dogs. It begins, “What I fucking do is wander about the place, just going here and there. I’ve got my pitches. A few other cunts use them as well.” It’s hard to imagine a swifter, more visceral introduction to this man’s voice and world, a place of pitches and cunts, temporary benefactors and regular rivals. The reader begins to hear the prose as well as read it, ideally allowing its Glaswegian rhythms to speak through the phrasing. If the novelty of this kind of writing has lost a bit of its shine, it’s partly because authors like Irvine Welsh have subsequently rubbed away at the same surfaces. But when this story initially appeared, in “Greyhound for Breakfast,” Welsh’s first novel, “Trainspotting” (1993), was six years away. And, besides, while Welsh has tended to drop Scottishisms (“wee,” “didnae,” “canna’e,” and so on) into fairly established, normative rhythms, a process that might be called tartanizing, Kelman invents his own rhythms, using words and stubs of words with subtle daring. A bit later in the same tale, Kelman’s panhandler complains, “Sometimes I think ya bastard ye I’m fucking skint and you’re no.” The sentence gets all its fighting power from the jabbing of “ya,” “ye,” and “you’re no.”
Or consider the way that Kelman uses the word “but”: “One thing I’m finding but it makes it a wee bit easier getting a turn.” The man is saying that, although he dislikes having a dog tag along with him, he has found that it helps to bring in money. So the sentence, written out formally, would be something like: “One thing I’m finding is that it makes it a little easier to get a turn.” In the formal version, though, the musical pitching of “but” and “bit” disappears, as does the sentence’s weird, hopping rhythm, where the unexpected incursion of “but” forces a caesura, so that the reader has to speak the sentence as: “One thing I’m finding / but / it makes it a wee bit easier getting a turn.” (Kelman often does surprising things with “but,” as in this line of spoken dialogue: “I’ve never been to Carfin but; never I mean have you?”)"
Blindboy, my auld boy's from Paisley (don't call him Glaswegian!), and I've spent a fair bit of time in Scotland too. Surfing and cavorting.
Yet strangely ye can post, say, this! Kelman, like Frampton, comes alive!
Thanks for that shats, I will get back to Kelman at some point. My father lived on Dumbarton Rd. I spent some time there as a teenager but have never been back.
Latest suggestion: Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson. It's a 3 volume epic and I am still on volume 1 " The Path To Power". It seems timely to explore the roots of US corruption and decline.
Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Johnson. Four lengthy volumes but probably the most important thing you could read this year given the state of US politics. Compulsively readable. No previous interest in LBJ, US politics or politics in general necessary!
Thanks for all the good recommendations. ..most of the stuff I read is probably a bit low brow but fuck lifes to short to worry
Stephen King - The Dark Tower Series
I was a big fan of the stand...this is better
Conn Igguldun - The Conquerer and Emperor Series
Got to love an bit of Ghengis Khan and followed up by a bit of Ceasar very well researched historical fiction
Orphan X- Good airporty
John Birmingham - Axis of Time Trilogy
Great series of alternate history...sure hes dumbed it down but they are still cracking reads. Probably not as low brow as the Emergence Series which is also OK if you want to escape for 5-10 minutes
Neil Stephenson - Seven Eves
Good Sc-fi some really inetresting concepts
Robert Shea and Anton Wilson - The Imlluminatis Trilogy
By far and away my favorite book series ever...like a goo trip don't try to control it and open your mind
Mervyn Peake - The Ghomenghast Triology
Should need no explanation go read it
Jon Krauker - Into the Wild, Where Men Win Glory, Under the banner of Heaven
All nice reads if a bit same same...very meticulously reasearched
Tux, I finished The Dark Tower some time ago and just about couldn't put it down through the first five books. I thought the last two books were significantly worse but by that point I felt I owed it to King to finish the series. Roland is a very compelling character.
I don't know where to start on a list of all time favourites. A few that spring to mind from recent months:
Don Quixote (John Ormsby translation) - I found the Ormsby translation far superior to the first version I read years ago. His introduction alone is worth reading. Often cited as the greatest literary work of all time, it's as hilarious as it is tragic.
Dracula by Bram Stoker - Another book I revisited. The story is tracked through diary entries and letters. Suspense is built slowly and masterfully. The epistolary form allows an uncommon view into the thoughts of the main characters but I can see why some people dislike it.
The Complete Chronicles of Conan by Robert E. Howard - A whole lot of Conan the Barbarian stories written by the father of the sword and sorcery genre. Some of the writing is archaic and repetitive but the language paints a vivid picture. Pulpy but thoroughly enjoyable.
Also finished some Brandon Sanderson and Robin Hobb which I can recommend. On the final pages of Dubliners by Joyce. I had to drag myself kicking and screaming through Ulysses but this collection of short stories offered a pretty cool glimpse into life in Dublin in that period.
Three new books on the way:
Steve Cannane: "Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia"
Jock Serong: "Quota"
Andrew P. Street "The Curious Story of Malcolm Turnbull - The Incredible Shrinking Man in the Top Hat"
Looking forward to all of 'em.
Berbnard Cromwell - The Last Kingdom Series
Fun historical fiction...if you like the show Vikings you'll probably love this
Julian Stockwin - The Kydd Series
As above... well researched historical fiction pretty good if your into old navy battles and that sort of stuff without getting too serious
I like Bernard Cornwell, and enjoyed the last Kingdom Series books ive read but I found that i had issues finding the next book in the series all the time.. eventually fell out of the series.
Neil Gaiman- American Gods. All immigrants to the US have brought their own gods with them.. but its a bad place for gods and eventually all the new gods and the old ones have a showdown. Crap explanation i know, but its a good book.
Haruki Murakami- Colourless... Alot less strange than his other books that ive read. Less bizarre and more based in reality. Ive liked his other books too just this was different.
AN AUSTRALIA by McKenzie Wark.
001. An Australia where the whole red centre is covered with a huge reflective mirror. This causes some consternation to modern and traditional inhabitants, and abolishes whole ecosystems. On the other hand, the great mirror reflects enough light back into space to make a noticeable dent in rising temperatures. The great mirror is known throughout the world as a great sacrifice that kept the planet from runaway overheating. It is high enough off the ground, and generates enough energy from solar power, that a whole new civilisation arises underneath it, cool and dark and sheltered from the great blazing sun.
002. An Australia where everyone in public speaks and writes in rhyming poetry with the cadences of Henry Lawson. This is the most prized ability in the whole land. School children are prepped for gruelling contests of rhyme and wit, often with improvisations on a wide range of topics. All debates in parliament are rhymed, as is the evening news. The news takes on somewhat anecdotal quality, favoring a good yarn over factual accuracy. A whole country of Lawsonian Homers sings itself into legend by sheer metrical virtuosity. And then, long after this civilisation is lost and forgotten, a tiny handful of narrative fragments left over from old parliamentary debates, shreds of old rhyming tax laws and tourist brochures, are stitched together into a vast new epic for a civilisation to come.
003. An Australia in which history books are abolished and Peter Carey’s Unusual Life of Tristan Smith is taught in schools as fact. This has a few inconveniences. For example, in that book settler culture speaks Dutch rather than English. Whole schools of historians come into existence to explain how Australian English in fact descends from colonial Dutch. Rival schools debate the character of Tristan. After a while it all starts to make sense and it becomes inconceivable that the past was any other way.
004. An Australia with no literary prizes, only literary executions. Mock of course, except in the case of particularly egregious crimes against literature. This keeps writers vigilant. Nobody wants to be the victim even of a mock execution, or so the writers say in public. Actually many are secretly hoping to be so chosen, for the notoriety at least and perhaps also for the masochistic joy of being sacrificed to the national good. Sometimes, very rarely, the executions are real. Those writers are mostly forgotten, as their books have all been pulped and their whole biography erased from memory. They live on in the memory of hardy sects who pass decaying paperbacks from hand to hand.
005. An Australia where every citizen who goes overseas for a trip and returns is obliged to spend an indeterminate time in a camp behind barbed wire while their passport is, or isn’t, stamped. The camps become rather crowded and the mood, like the food, is poor. None of those returning from their vacation or business trip can see why they cannot be released into the general population on their own reconnaissance.
006. An Australia where property and work have been abolished. All architecture is made of giant bendy-straws, which with a small collective effort can be transformed into sleeping quarters or slippery-dips or mazes. These new cities spool and spread in all directions like fiddle sticks. People spend their time inventing games of drama and challenge for each other. All necessities are provided by automated systems. The one remaining challenge to social life is boredom.
007. An Australia where all buildings are edible. They are made of a tough but chewy compound that provides all required nutrients and quite a bit of roughage. There are a few different flavors. It is a great boon to the homeless, of whom there are still many, as at least one basic necessity is abundant. However, the edible buildings too tend to come apart, either from erosion in the rain and sun or from having their walls chewed off. This rather swells the homeless population, as construction cannot quite keep up with demand. There is however plenty of work in the building industries. The tradies sing as they work and occasionally bite off a bit of their own handiwork.
008. An Australia where Indigenous people become a landed aristocracy. As owners of the land, they extract a sizeable rent from it, but like all aristocracies, they treat trade and business with disdain. They are more interested in fabulous displays to each other of what wealth can do, in the arts, or in architecture, but most particularly through the acquisition of secret sacred stories. There are occasional fights among them, even to the death, for there can be no nobility without the will to defend it with life itself. But when not confronting each other for recognition and glory, they become world renowned patrons and exemplars of the good life. The landscape becomes dotted with their famous moving castles, which follow ancient tracks between sacred sites, at each of which great ceremonies reassert long held (and occasionally disputed) titles to the nobility of place.
009. A nomadic Australia, where everyone is obliged to move every few weeks, and to change their names. Nobody is anybody or anywhere for very long. There are no permanent jobs or relationships. Nobody lends anybody any money as it would probably never be repaid. Everyone is friends with everyone. The universal form of address regardless of gender or age is ‘mate’. This obviates the need to continually learn new names. People pick up their activities, be they of work, sex or simple companionship, with whoever happens to be at hand. Nobody bothers much with talking about real estate or their ambitions, as nobody really has any interest in either, as they will be someone else and somewhere else by sometime next week. What everyone discusses is philosophy.
010. An Australia that has relocated to the Australian Antarctic territory. The old continent just got too hot. All the minerals had been dug out from under the ground. All the topsoil had blown away and the land lay fallow. In some places the land had turned a crystalline white from salt. So canny real estate developers staked out the Australian Antarctic territory, and in a thrice were selling both waterfront properties and lucrative mining leases. In a short time, the whole racket of the old Australia had set itself up in this new one, mining minerals, and living on the proceeds in waterfront apartments. It was all as right as rain, except without the rain, or so said the people who lived in the waterfront properties. As to what anyone else thought it is not recorded.
011. An Australia that goes quiet for a while, not telling anyone of its doings or even its whereabouts. It proved rather hard to hide a continent of such size, but through a successful social media campaign, the authorities managed to distract the world with some scandals among reality TV celebrities. Nobody much noticed out in the big world that this country about which they knew very little anyway had simply vanished from the face of the planet. A few actors were engaged in various major capitals to pretend to be Australians, and who had elaborate cover stories which suggested that it was a boring place much like anywhere of no interest to anyone, and in any case too far away. In the meantime, those actually still on this now secret continent quietly invented an entire new way of life, of justice and serenity and refinement. They just didn’t tell anyone, and kept it a delicious secret to themselves.
012. An Australia that is no longer the same shape or size. It isn’t even on the same place on the map, or wouldn’t be, if there were maps. It is all different and its all the same, at least as far as nature is concerned. There is a beast that stalks these places, adapting to them, growing in number and power. It is from elsewhere, and it feeds on whatever it finds here. It is big and nearly always white. The front teeth grew to enormous size over time, for tearing flesh. It got smart, but a mean kind of smart. Its predator’s eyes are pale, usually. The ears are enormous, but the fur smooth. Like their distant ancestors, they still hop. They will flourish for a while, at the top of the chain, then the chain will snap again, and they will be gone.
013. An Australia no longer imagined as island victim of invasive species. It strikes back. A secret ASIO program goes into the smuggling business. It teams up with a secret CSIRO lab that selects native species for their survival traits in given habitats, and with a little genetic tom-foolery, augments it. From the prisons come convicted smugglers who once brought drugs into the country. Now their mission is to smuggle sleeping budgies out of it. After a while, the world begins to notice. Budgies on the prairie; emus on the bayou. Wallabies breeding in the Scottish Highlands. The box jellyfish wreaking havoc on tourist beaches everywhere, leveling the playing field for Queensland destinations. No longer boxed in to their single continent, the Monotremes take to the planet.
014. An Australia where everyone looks like Ned Kelly in the famous paintings by Sidney Nolan, except that while black is popular, the helmets come in all colours. It is called a Ned Kelly when worn by a man and a Nellie Kelly when worn by a woman, although the unisex styles are so popular the terms are interchangeable. Everywhere you look, the sleek black tubes covering the head, with a simple slit for the eyes, usually in mirror glass. They are so lightweight now, in the new materials, and even bulletproof, as the advertising shows with effective demonstrations. Gives you an awful headache, however, to be shot in the Ned. Inside, it is your own special world. Not only audio and video but also olfactory inputs can be carefully filtered. No spam in this can! Not much of anything really. Not much of the world need be experienced. It is all flat and dry, and the troopers are hardly friendly anyway. Best to stay cylindered-in and avoid it. Such is life.
015. An Australia where the cities are built, not to prevent insurrections, but to make them more fun. All the civic moments which concentrate the totemic power of the state are made of flammable materials. All the streets around them are a maze of alleys in which rioters can lose themselves and evade the police. Some even have movable faux street fronts, so the zigzag alleys can be reconfigured on the fly, just to baffle the rozzers even more. The parliament building is located at the crossroads of major transit lines to make it convenient for the rabble to gather. It has a balcony wrapped around all its sides at just the right height, so that when it is successfully stormed, the insurgents can wave their banners to the crowds below. The powerful live in glass houses. They can be seen mock-cowering behind sofas and upturned tables every time there is a riot, but the glass is actually strong enough to stop a bazooka.
016. An Australia continuously building and abandoning its cities, along great tracks that stretch across the continent. Giant 3D printing machines make the city out of dust and glue according to fantastic, award-winning designs. A new sector emerges from the printers every six months or so, ready for the adventurous to come and play in it, and stake out some cosy quarters. As the city advances, it leaves behind old sectors with which everyone is bored, although some melancholy souls wander about in these pristine ruins, or venture even farther back along the line of march into the detritus, which disappear into the desert dust from whence it came.
017. An Australia that decides, for no obvious reason, that it has a prejudice against Melburnians. They are a shifty lot, it seems. Sharp in their business dealings. They come from Melbourne but have no real origin or home. Sometimes they pass as if they were the same as us, but you can tell them by the lobes of their ears. There’s something not quite present about them. They are not as down to earth as us. There’s something about our way of life they want to take from us. They are an alien force, but a sly one, ripping us from what we enjoy. They like money. They are like money. They are money. Maybe it is money. Maybe it isn’t Melburnians after all.
018. An Australia that decides that Harry Seidler was right about Blues Point Tower being a great example of urban form. It is decreed that all buildings are to be of exactly the same design. Whole cities are demolished. All those dingy terrace houses, all those fat blocks of flats, squandering space. Our cities become instead vast open swards of green, with whitish fingers of tower sticking up, at neatly spaced intervals. Everyone has a view of the water, or if not of the water, of several of these beautiful towers.
019. An Australia where everyone eats artisanal cheese and heirloom tomatoes. Everything comes from farmers who provide pictures of themselves and stories about the provenance of all their ingredients and methods. There is no food that does not have a story, and several seals of good land practice to attest to its worthiness to be eaten by the good people of the cities of Australia. Meanwhile the farm labourers who have to do all the handiwork of this handcraft agriculture curse us in their tin huts.
020. An Australia that harbors in its midst some secret agents. They are not spies for the state or a foreign power. They are spies for the future. They make their secret reports and hide them away in the public archive. These reports are being studies by officials in a future time. Those officials are building a case against us. It’s a fat dossier they are accumulating, from all these reports. As soon as they invent time travel that works backwards as well as this one that works forwards, we’re for it.
Nobel prize winner for Literature: Bobby Z. His Bobness. Dylan.
A tad controversial. Is it a 'category error'? I mean, literature? Really?
I dunno if the same arguments ever popped up when say, Winston Churchill won it. Or Bertrand Russell. Or even Jean-Paul Sartre.
Where would Homer have fitted in waaaaaay back when?
Then there's the arguments that he's not even a worthy song-writer. There's better out there. Well...
Bear with me. Here's something he wrote that didn't even make the cut for an album. You could call it a throw-away...
Four versions. Listen and compare. Can they be compared? They're like 4 different songs! Which is the best?
Remember this example was a 'throw-away'!
Go to Bob Dylan dot com and check out all his work and lyrics.
turkey Sartre declined it......but the Nobel Committee will not be denied they recorded him as the winner. To be honest the whole Nobel project lost its nobility a long time ago. It is irrelevant and over politicised. For Dylan I imagine it prompted not much more than a shrug of the shoulders.
Yeah, there was talk of Dylan doing a Sartre. The committee was even asked about that possibility. Dylan only made a public acknowledgement yesterday through his web-site.
If you haven't already check out Scorsese's doco on Dylan: No Direction Home.
.....and removed it today.
The plot thickens. Jokerman.
It's long been rumoured that Satre later asked for the prize money.
Never let making an institution of oneself get in the way of making bank.
Sartre had the reputation of being difficult but when you throw in Churchill and Kipling you have to ask, Would you really want to be in their company?
Ahhh, the conundrum for the Nobel 'Nobel'. It is 'establishment' and it is to Dylan. Have a look at 'Don't look Back' made in 1967. And Donovan was the man then.
Maybe it would be good manners to be asked if you wanted to be announced the winner of a competition you didn't enter.
Read Steve Cannane's 'Fair Game' last week... whoa! Incredible, if somewhat frightening story on Scientology's reach in Australia.
A few weeks off sick, then a week in Bali saw me read a few books of note.
Fermat's Last Theorem, by Simon Singh. A really interesting account of the proving of Fermat's Last Theorem by Andrew Wiles, a 370 year old conundrum . Sort of a detective story for maths nerds. You don't need to be a maths nerd to understand it, or enjoy it, but it helps. I found it fascinating.
The Psychopath Test, by Jon Ronson, the guy who wrote 'Men who stare at goats' (also a good read). The blurb describes at is a hilarious romp through recent developments in the study of psychopathy. I didn't find it amusing, just thought it was an interesting and easy to read book which might make you think a bit. Of interest to me because I see psychopaths everywhere.
The Turning - Tim Winton. Was given this as a xmas present some 8 or 9 years ago. Finally got around to reading it, loved it. Made me think of times and people from my teenage school and post school years, brought up good and bad memories, images from the past that had long been buried. I find Winton can do that for me, with his meditative style of writing.
Tuesdays with Morrie. Had known of this short book and had wanted to read it for ages. Bought it at the airport on the way home from Bali, and finished it on my second sitting. Well worth it, especially if you are wondering what the hell it is you are supposed to be doing with your time on planet earth.
A figure of Speech - Graham Freudenberg - a political memoir by the speech writer for Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, Bob Carr. Labor luminary recounts our recent political history through the eyes of a speech writer. Great read for the politically interested.
This year is probably my most prolific in terms of reading books. Reading has been a constant in my post school years, but too many years saw less books read due to bringing up children, wasting time on internet forums, otherwise engaged in useful or useless activities. I'm more absorbed in the damn things than ever, but in general I do about 10 non-fiction to 1 fiction.
you've certainly had your beak in a few books of late.
Bloody hell, what a thread. After getting through Barbarian Days and declaring in my own little review that I don't read much I decided I wanted to get into another book so I came here for a heads up. Like you described, zen, I've tended to go for sound bytes and fluff on the net for down time rather than books.
So thanks to everyone for putting in on this, even though I can't be sure if this isn't just part of stunet's plan to create his own online bookcase to impress us all with his literary character, while simultaneously checking out everyone else.
Feeling the pressure of scrutiny I want to dream up a list of 7 impressive books (I tried reading the Iliad and Crime and Punishment as a kid!) but I'll be honest instead. I probably can't come up with a list that I'll stick to as favourites, but 7 books I've read over the years that had an influence on me or made a lasting impression;
Heart of Darkness, Siddhartha, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Ender's Game, Cloudstreet, Power of One, and well I can't think of a 7th right now that stuck with me as those did.
All read at different times of my life and many struck chords for different reasons. Actually the big scrubber from Queensland, Les Norton, made me laugh a bit about 10 or 15 years ago too.
Just a thought on Tim Winton....I'm not really a fan. I've read Breath and Dirt Music too and I think I'm not keen because I just can't relate to the gloom. Such heavy melancholy. But Cloudstreet...man that house. He connected me to that house and (as silly as it sounds) its livingness. It reminded me of the forest in Heart of Darkness. It seemed almost inanimate and hostile, but in and of itself it was so very alive.
So having scanned the thread I think I might try Tuesday's With Morrie (thanks Batfink) as I have it in a box in the garage somewhere from a christmas gift a few years ago. And I've also got The Waves up on my phone (thanks clif), but reckon I might get the book because, after the brief and brilliant intro, the format feels like it needs pages rather than thumbing down the screen.
Anyway, thanks again all, been great to read through this thread after ignoring it for two years! Catch you in a couple of months when I eventually, hopefully, get through the one of those books.