version

Well-known member
I've got that recent collection of short stories, You Should Come With Me Now, but I haven't read it yet. I'd never even heard of him until quite recently. He seems to have gotten a boost after winning that award.
 

version

Well-known member
Started Slouching Towards Bethlehem earlier. Only read the opening piece, but it's great. A report on a housewife pursuing "The Dream" in California and ending up burning her husband alive in the family car.

I thought I'd gone off Didion after being underwhelmed by Play It As It Lays a while back, but apparently I just didn't like that novel. I actually found it so underwhelming I started to question what I'd seen in The White Album, but reading this one, I've realised she's just a much better essayist than she is a novelist.
 

jenks

thread death
Started Slouching Towards Bethlehem earlier. Only read the opening piece, but it's great. A report on a housewife pursuing "The Dream" in California and ending up burning her husband alive in the family car.

I thought I'd gone off Didion after being underwhelmed by Play It As It Lays a while back, but apparently I just didn't like that novel. I actually found it so underwhelming I started to question what I'd seen in The White Album, but reading this one, I've realised she's just a much better essayist than she is a novelist.
I think so too. I have read pretty all her work but return to the non fiction over and again. I think of her much as I do about Joni Mitchell. Quite clearly the best of her generation but too often overshadowed by the blokes.
 

version

Well-known member
I think so too. I have read pretty all her work but return to the non fiction over and again. I think of her much as I do about Joni Mitchell. Quite clearly the best of her generation but too often overshadowed by the blokes.
I'm gonna revisit PIAIL at some point, but it felt lacking in comparison to the essays. I thought it might be down to already having read Less than Zero, which Ellis freely admits owes a massive debt to Didion, but I don't think that's it. There was something thin about it. I read it quickly and it barely left an impression. I know that's partly the point, that it's all Hollywood surface and empty people, but there's a difference between that and a book not landing at all. I felt like I'd read a quick outline of a novel.
 

DLaurent

Well-known member
Camus - The Fall - Personal favourite I first read in my 20s.
Werner Herzog - Of Walking in Ice - Good and quirky as you'd expect from Herzog but I prefer Conquest of the Useless and Herzog on Herzog.
Primo Levi - The Wrench - My first Primo Levi book and a bit dry for my tastes but decent enough prose, borrowed from my brother in law who reads a lot more than me.
Conrad Aiken - Our Father - Short little biography type book by his son. I've always felt like I want to like Aiken more than I do with all the gothic Freudian stuff. I think I like his poem Silent Snow more than anything.
Tried to read Ian Fleming - Casino Royale but haven't got into it.
 

catalog

Well-known member
I've got arthur Machen's "hill of dreams" and jeet thayil's "names of the women" on the go, probably about 30 pages into each.

Machen is really good, I read his short story "the great god pan" a few days ago and it's very good, reminds me of Arthur Conan Doyle who I used to enjoy as a teenager, but with more descriptive acuity and a good sense of dread. The ending of that didn't quite work, but I just love how weird some of the scenes are, with people talking about how they like idly dreaming as they stroll about London.

This book is good so far, altho not quite sure what exactly is happening at the moment cos it's months since I picked it up. But there is a good plot line, where a gut sends in a manuscript to a publisher, hears nothing, then months later sees a review of another book by the same company, and it seems to be his book. So he gets it and they've finessed his story...

The thayil is also good, it's the story of jesus dying, but told in reverse, death first, and seems to be about how women were written out of the story by the disciples. Very poetic and good flow as with all his books.
 

martin

----
Just read Sheridan Le Fanu’s pre-“Dracula” teen vampire romp “Carmilla”. The supposed ‘lesbian’ angle’s very overhyped, in my humble. I guess you could take that from a book featuring a pair of young girls cuddling up and obsessing over each other…but one’s dead and 200 years old, and feasting on the other’s lifeforce, FFS. It’s hardly “Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit”. Not bad, not amazing, very short – nowhere near as brilliant/bonkers as “The Monk” or “The Castle of Otranto” though.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I've got arthur Machen's "hill of dreams" and jeet thayil's "names of the women" on the go, probably about 30 pages into each.

Machen is really good, I read his short story "the great god pan" a few days ago and it's very good, reminds me of Arthur Conan Doyle who I used to enjoy as a teenager, but with more descriptive acuity and a good sense of dread. The ending of that didn't quite work, but I just love how weird some of the scenes are, with people talking about how they like idly dreaming as they stroll about London.

This book is good so far, altho not quite sure what exactly is happening at the moment cos it's months since I picked it up. But there is a good plot line, where a gut sends in a manuscript to a publisher, hears nothing, then months later sees a review of another book by the same company, and it seems to be his book. So he gets it and they've finessed his story...

The thayil is also good, it's the story of jesus dying, but told in reverse, death first, and seems to be about how women were written out of the story by the disciples. Very poetic and good flow as with all his books.
I remember going on a Machen themed walk round Clerkenwell with @DannyL a few (probably 10) years ago... was a nice walk but not sure we learned much about Machen. Hill of Dreams is pretty dark I remember...
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Just read Sheridan Le Fanu’s pre-“Dracula” teen vampire romp “Carmilla”. The supposed ‘lesbian’ angle’s very overhyped, in my humble. I guess you could take that from a book featuring a pair of young girls cuddling up and obsessing over each other…but one’s dead and 200 years old, and feasting on the other’s lifeforce, FFS. It’s hardly “Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit”. Not bad, not amazing, very short – nowhere near as brilliant/bonkers as “The Monk” or “The Castle of Otranto” though.
I remember a good silent adaptation of Camilla but looking at Wikipedia I can't work out which one.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I've got arthur Machen's "hill of dreams" and jeet thayil's "names of the women" on the go, probably about 30 pages into each.

Machen is really good, I read his short story "the great god pan" a few days ago and it's very good, reminds me of Arthur Conan Doyle who I used to enjoy as a teenager, but with more descriptive acuity and a good sense of dread. The ending of that didn't quite work, but I just love how weird some of the scenes are, with people talking about how they like idly dreaming as they stroll about London.

This book is good so far, altho not quite sure what exactly is happening at the moment cos it's months since I picked it up. But there is a good plot line, where a gut sends in a manuscript to a publisher, hears nothing, then months later sees a review of another book by the same company, and it seems to be his book. So he gets it and they've finessed his story...

I like Machen a lot, although unreservedly.

Still very much on a Gothic-decadent-romantic-horror tip, I'm really digging Arthur Machen right now. Just read The Great God Pan, a nice punchy novella laced with sexual obsession and cosmic fear, and am now on the much longer The Hill Of Dreams, which is more sedate and dwells mainly on lyrical beauty and themes of artistic angst and escapist nostalgia. Although to be honest, the main character is a sensitive-suffering-aesthete-adrift-in-a-world-of-uncouth-philistines to the point of being an insufferable pussyhole at times, to say nothing of a horrific snob. Still, it's gorgeously written.

The Terror is really good, I recall. It's also the source of the phrase 'the conspiracy against the human race', as in the non-fic book by Ligotti, which heavily references Lovecraft but not, as far as I remember, Machen.
 
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