What book are you currently reading?

Are you enjoying it? What's next on the pile of books you have to read?

Happy by Derren Brown. Quite an interesting deconstruction of self help mantras.

Next is vol 2 of the Book of Dust.

Bryson on the Human Body, moderately entertaining although not as entertaining as most of his other stuff tbh.

Middle England by Jonathan Coe.

Enjoying is so far, some very interestingly drawn characters.

The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley. Overall enjoying it - takes a couple of chapters to get going - but not as good as her debut novel. 

Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography - very engaging.

John Howard Griffin, 'Black like Me' - written by a white journalist who in 1959 disguised himself as a black man to travel through the deep south to experience racism first hand.  Pretty compelling as one might imagine, really thought provoking.  Put Malcolm X's bio (which is stunning by the way, but you have to read it right to the end) in its proper context.     

Sapiens, which I've been dipping in and out of for months.  I'm quite enjoying it but generally prefer reading fiction.

I'm not sure what's next.  I have been wanting to read The Goldfinch for a while but it's looooong and I have the attention span of a goldfish these days.  I've downloaded An American Marriage too, which might be interesting.

I've been on a Japan kick. Finished "Another Kyoto" by Alex Kerr. Reading "Bending Adversity". Have "Hokkaido Highway Blues", "Ghosts of the Tsunami" and some fiction on my to-read list. Would welcome other recommendations on books on Japan.

"Japanese From Zero". I can now count to 99,999,999. (I don't know what the word for the next unit is so have to stop there.)

Still plugging along on "Infinite Jest". Have made it through a very bad patch and now getting a bit back into the swing of it.

Have a couple on the go at the mo.


The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horrowitz


American Gods by Neil Gaiman



10:04 by Ben Lerner, which I have just started and am enjoying so far, which is unsurprising as I just finished his first book, Leaving the Atocha Station

I try to alternate fiction and non-fiction so next is probably the Terns New Naturalist ... or an environmental history of Cape Cod

long haul flight in a couple of weeks and I am hoping that there will be a new paperback Reacher

Getting Carter by Nick Triplow. Biography of seminal British hard boiled crime novelist Ted Lewis. He seems to have been a difficult bloke, to put it mildly.


In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin. Passable "Rebus" novel, but so far seen little to contradict the late Julian Rathbone's assertion that Rankin has been writing the same book every year for much of his career.

Merkz, I've recently read Leaving the Atocha Station as well and enjoyed it. Am debating whether to go for his latest, The Topeka School.

PP, it was a review of The Topeka School which started me off, but since iirc all 3 novels feature the same central character I thought I would read them in the order written even though they aren’t a series ... 

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson - its good but not as good as Snowcrash

About 100 other self help and business books that I dip in and out of 

Various Chineasy books 

Rereading The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson and also going through Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air by David McKay - which is really interesting.

aside from that - technical books as I have an exam end of March.

Sapiens was awesome I pretty much read it in one sitting I found it so readable

The diamond age was not my favourite Stephenson. I think cryptonomicon was his peak, but also enjoyed anathem because it was so different to his usual tech/crypto stuff.

Last few were a real challenge to finish as he seems to have disappeared up his own arse. Fall has page after page describing a leaf.

If you like Neal Stephenson and you haven’t done so already then do yourself a favour and read the Baroque Cycle. Just amazing.

Agreed Strutter and the 100s of hours it takes is well worth it. Half cock Jack's raid on the tower of London was a particular highlight.

I actually think he peaked with Snow Crash although I like the diamond age. I found cryptonomicon to be so similar to gravity’s rainbow and obviously influenced by it that I gave up half way through. I liked ReamDe.

I may try the baroque cycle but I like how good he is with techy stuff. I may reread some William Gibson tbh

Tangent - yes it is a new one. I got it as a Christmas present having not read any of his other stuff but I will certainly look in to his back catalogue based on this one.

ReamDe was the start of the downhill slope for me. Still good but not as awe inspiring as anathem and no adventures of Waterhouse / Shaftoe.

I haven't read gravity's rainbow. Worth adding to the list?

Re-reading The Religion by Tim Willocks, having recently read the The Great Siege, Ernle Bradford's factual account of the siege of Malta.

Seeing the mentions of Neal Stephenson reminds me that there are a few of his books that I haven't read, so maybe something of his will be next.  +1 for the recommendations for the Baroque Cycle - I would like to re-read those some day but the task is such a daunting prospect...

Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen. I'm also still trying to get on with A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara but it's just a bit too big to lug around on the tube. Should have got the kindle version...

I started Seveneves but it was so slow I gave up...is it worth persevering? 

Not for me Archie, Seveneves is the only Stephenson I regret finishing. Other Stephenson hedz I know disagree though. 

thanks Merkz and PP - Atocha Station is going to be my next one...and possibly those three books together

The Religion by Tim Willocks is ridiculous. Full of cliched characters, a slow drag to an obvious and unoriginal ending and half the book is taken up with descriptions of the hero's massive knob and his fondness for sticking it in womens' "triangles".



Diablo15 Jan 20 11:14

Reply | 


Tangent - yes it is a new one. I got it as a Christmas present having not read any of his other stuff but I will certainly look in to his back catalogue based on this one.


Will have to get it. Love Jonathan Coe. The Rotters Club, What a Carve Up! and The House of Sleep are particular favourites.

I’m on Savage Arena by Joe Tasker and next is K2 be Ed Viesturs as I’m still fascinated by the lunatics who go climbing big mountains when I have trouble standing on a third floor balcony.

Gravity’s rainbow is a bit of a slog at points but also laugh out loud funny at other points.

Its a hard book to recommend because it feels like it really needed a more ruthless editor but it is very very good at points.

mr m is on the Jonathon Coe so we will swap soon as he’s done.

I am reading the casenotes by a forensic pathologist Dick Shepherd. Theres been quite a spate of specialist doctors writing up cases for a book. I find them interesting but the doctor writers themselves are usually insufferably pompous, would much prefer they leave out the attempts  at humanising themselves, they’re not very good at it.

The Parting of the Ways by James Dunn

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Mirror of Simple and Annihilated Souls by Marguerite Porette

Adobe Premiere Pro 2020

Gravity’s rainbow is a crock of shit read by students who have to read it and people who want others to think that they must be terribly bright. 

My m8 Dave has sent me The Cockroach by Ian McEwan. Appaz it is about Brexit. Thankfully it is a thin book.

I am comfort reading my way through my Sharon Penman collection yet again in chronological order, starting with When Christ and his Saints Slept

Dare to lead - Brene Brown


it is not doing it for me

Just finished Douglas Murray's "The Madness of Crowds" and also a book by an American Revolutionary soldier called Joseph Plumb Martin.  Just started The Secret Barrister and a book of eyewitness accounts of Irish history.

Also I have "The Art of the Advocate" by Richard Du Cann to read when work gets a bit slack. 

No it isn’t wibble you bumbling imbecile.

It is intellectual and a bit fun as opposed to snow crash by Neil Stephenson which is fun and a bit intellectual and it’s very relevant to that discussion.


I hated that Jonathan Coe! The only one of my Daunt subscription from last year that was a dud.

Currently reading James Baldwin's Another Country (heavy with impending disaster) which is one of the Bowie 100 books and also The Wych Elm which was a christmas present and is good & tense so far.

Can't remember the pile, but have just finished:

Blue Moon reacher - v disappointing

Once Upon a River - loved it

the order of the day - brilliant

My year of rest & relaxation - decent trash

no muggy m7, it is shit. 

The tryhard style makes it almost unreadlbemade worse by the self indulgent failure to edit anything out. The attempts to be so very intellectual are less convincing than a laz post. He thinks he is funny, he is not. There is no plot - yes I know how intellectual is that! 

Have you even read it Wibble!? 

yes I agree it is overlong and pretentious at points but when he is not trying too hard it is very fun.

Dont you remember a character called Tyrone slothrop who is sort of the protagonist!? Saying it has no plot makes no sense. It clearly does

I read it at uni. Back when i finished all books I started no matter how shit. 

It was shit. utterly shit and  I like lot 49

" The Religion by Tim Willocks is ridiculous. Full of cliched characters, a slow drag to an obvious and unoriginal ending and half the book is taken up with descriptions of the hero's massive knob and his fondness for sticking it in womens' "triangles". "

I disagree 1000000% with your hyperbolic analysis.

It sounds like descriptions of male genitalia make you uncomfortable.

And I just word searched triangle and it doesn't appear once in the book, so this is presumably your own preferred term for female genitalia?

Rereading the last Pratch for the nth time.  I love that man. Even tho he is dead.

y happy plaice.

B4 that I read a book about something more rofworthy but I can't be arsed to peniswag about it

I like these threads; I am always grateful for reccos.

Currently reading another Joe Abercrombie ("Best Served Cold").  I think he is r8d as a fantasy/sci-fi genre author.  Not, typically, my bag but I like books that have more than one episode to them - I think this series is only a duology.

Been re-reading stuff for want of good recommendations but came across "A confederacy of dunces" on some list or other which was great.  Particularly given the circumstance of its eventual publication.  Cost me fuckin 5 quid tho on kindle and it only has a few months left before the copyright expires.

Cannot r8 Conn Iggulden highly enough.  Said it before but the Dangerous Book for Boys and his historical fictions of the Mongul empire, pre (and just post-)-Caesar Roman empire and War of the Roses are fucking ace. 

The Lobster Coast, Colin Woodward.  A history of Maine.

Next - The People’s State.  A history of East Germany from Hitler to Honecker.  I’m hoping there’s a section dedicated to misguided Britons holidaying there.

And I just word searched triangle and it doesn't appear once in the book, so this is presumably your own preferred term for female genitalia?

Mea Culpa. That is Ken Follett. I've just had a look, and Willocks uses the "folds of her matrix". Far better. As is his description of some bloke's knob, which "pants and strains like a hell dog on a gossamer leash". 

It sounds like descriptions of male genitalia make you uncomfortable.

Be fair. I mentioned both male and female. I don't discriminate.

I disagree 1000000% with your hyperbolic analysis.

I see what you did there...

Heh. I can confirm that he does use that term - and plenty other equally baffling ones.  Not sure why authors bother even to try to write sexy bits - always cringey.  If it's interesting sex you're after, you need look no further than American Psycho, I've always thought.

Tbf I've been skipping the love scenes (and some of the other overly-flowery wordy bits) on this reading.  Probably wouldn't be re-reading it at all if it weren't for a recent interest in the historic events providing the backdrop.  I would describe it as fun rather than ridiculous, but I suppose it depends on your appetite for this kind of material.  I doubt I'll re-read The Twelve Children of Paris (in respect of which I would say your critique quite closely hits the mark) but I will certainly read a third Tannhauser, if Willocks ever completes what I understand is intended to be a trilogy.

fillet does love a hairy black doodah tbf.  Usually an elfin beauty with long black hair 

Just finished Vietnam, by Max Hastings. Compelling individual accounts give the basis of much of the book and shows how South Vietnam 'lost' the war, as well as how the North 'won' it, and how the industrialised warfare and billions of dollars of the USA could not achieve what the French failed to do. The first chapters summarise the French debacle in Indochine.  

Also: just started How to Crack Cryptic Crosswords. 

Need to order some French romans policiers to help keep up with my legal French.

Amusingly enough, I have literally just picked up “The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire” to reread it.

good man.

just a helpful tip for my amateur historian buddy - make sure u bear in mind that those sorts of topical histories can lose sight of the wide context.

eg conclusions about the ottoman imperial harem in the c16th and c17th r not necessarily applicable to the entirety of the lifespan of the ottoman empire, especially pre-c16th

so be cautious making bold statements off the back of ur research u kno. i’m sure u wouldn’t risk it, but i thought u might find the advice helpful nonetheless

Is blue iguana Hanners/a sock puppet?

I was at college with Douglas Murray. He was a nice bloke back then. 

Totally lost the plot now, judging by his books.

err tecco, amidst claiming to have invented the internet, solved the cuban missile crisis, been an mi5 operative and managed several sovereign wealth funds, r u now claiming to be an academic historian?

TBF if you are madder than a ferret in a blender full of rabbits then you can be anyone or anything

Quite.  I wasn’t making any such claim, I was simply taking umbrage at your horrifyingly patronising tone when you are absolutely wrong about key facts.  Stop typing towards me because I can feel my IQ trying to drop to be able to communicate with you on the same level.

(P.s. I have never claimed any of those things, not quite sure where you got any of that bollocks from but it wasn’t me).

I was given Middle England for Christmas.


Thought I would read the earlier ones first and am halfway through What A Carve Up!  Great so far...

?? absolutely wrong about key facts

r u actually donald trump?

i would like to know which key facts i am absolutely wrong about tho