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Old 1st Jan 2017, 10:10   #1
Ang
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Default Palimplists 2017

May
An Awfully Big Adventure - Beryl Bainbridge
A Book of American Martyrs - Joyce Carol Oates

April
The Connoisseur - Evan S Connell
The Essence of the Thing - Madeleine St John

March
The Reader on the 6:27 - Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

February
I'm Jack - Mark Blacklock
My Brilliant Friend - Elana Ferrante

January
Rites of Passage - William Golding
Transit - Rachel Cusk
Swing Time - Zadie Smith
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Old 1st Jan 2017, 11:07   #2
Noumenon
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Default Re: Palimplists 2017

12 H.M.S. Surprise, Patrick O'Brian
11 Jerusalem (Part 2), Alan Moore
10 Cold Hands, James Livermore
09 The Very Slow Time Machine, Ian Watson
08 Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel
07 Post Captain, Patrick O'Brian
06 Master and Commander, Patrick O'Brian
05 Ilario: The Lion's Eye, Mary Gentle
04 Template, Matthew Hughes
03 Ice, Anna Kavan
02 Jerusalem (Part 1), Alan Moore
01 Ash: A secret History, Mary Gentle
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Old 3rd Jan 2017, 16:08   #3
Paul
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Default Re: Palimplists 2017

May
31. Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin (current)
30. By Night In Chile - Roberto Bolano
29. Braided Creek: A Conversation In Poetry - Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser
29. The Argonauts - Maggie Nelson ˝
27. Instructions For A Heat Wave - Maggie O'Farrell ˝
26. Killing And Dying - Adrian Tomine ˝
25. Starting At The Sun - Irvin D. Yalom
24. My Father, The Pornographer - Chris Offutt
April
23. The Stranger In The Woods - Michael Finkel
22. Dangerous Laughter - Steven Millhauser ˝
21. The Blind Owl - Sadegh Hedayat ˝
20. The Most Dangerous Book - Kevin Birmingham
19. Universal Harvester - John Darnielle ˝
March
18. Prater Violet - Christopher Isherwood
17. We Are Not Ourselves - Matthew Thomas
16. North American Lake Monsters - Nathan Ballingrud
15. The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters
14. The Door - Magda Szabo
February
13. A Whole Life - Robert Seethaler ˝
12. The Book Of Daniel - E.L. Doctorow (
11. Lincoln In The Bardo - George Saunders
10. The Hour of Land - Terry Tempest Williams ˝
9. 10:04: A Novel - Ben Lerner ˝
8. By The Book - edited by Pamela Paul
7. The Wood For The Trees - Richard Fortney ˝
6. Trespass - Rose Tremain ˝
January
5. Books For Living - Will Schwalbe ˝
4. The Possessed - Elif Batuman
3. Gratitude - Oliver Sacks
2. The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit - Sloan Wilson ˝
1. The Portrait Of A Lady - Henry James
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Old 3rd Jan 2017, 18:08   #4
JunkMonkey
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Default Re: Palimplists 2017

This year I will read real books - ie ones without lots of pictures and word bubbles which is what I spent the last six months of 2017 doing. Not sure I picked up a text only volume from July to December.

January:
  1. Women's Barracks by Tereska Torres - wartime autobiographical romance with Lesbian characters which I thought was pretty tosh but apparently (and to the annoyance of the author) is considered by many to have created a whole sub-genre, the lesbian erotic pulp. A book pulled randomly from the of the slush pile by the side of my bed. I wonder what else is in there?
  2. The Makeshift God by Russell Griffin.
  3. Galactic Medal of Honour by Mack Reynolds - a drunken coward gets round to saving mankind - eventually.
  4. The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who by Simon Guerrier and Dr. Marek Kukula - an enjoyable mix of stories and science with a couple of glaring inaccuracies. Both halves of an earthworm DO NOT grow back to form new worms - only the head. And pineapples do not grow on vines - to be fair the latter isn't explicitly stated (but is strongly implied) and is in one of the fictional sections.
  5. New Writings in SF 12 ed. John Carnell - a 1968 collection in which John M Harrison is described as a "new British author".
  6. The Truth by Terry Pratchett
  7. The Divided Path by Nial Kent - another 'lost' gay novel lurking in the upper strata or my TBR pile. From which I earned the use of the word gay to mean homosexual has been in use a lot longer than I thought. This book was written in 1949 and uses it regularly without the need to put italics round it. It's also got some of the most unintentionally funny oblique writing I have come across in a while. Here Michael, our confused virgin protagonist, and another youth engage in some naked high-jinks in the YMCA swimming pool:
    Quote:
    Ivan's strong hand clasped him firmly and pulled him in with a gasp and a splash. Next he was struggling in Ivan's arms in an underwater wrestling match that left them breathless and blushing and looking at each other strangely. They could not get out of the water immediately.
    I think that last sentence means they both had raging stiffies but I might be wrong.
  8. Myra Brekinridge by Gore Vidal
February

  1. World's Best Science Fiction First Series - a 1965 collection of SF short stories in which I discovered that Robert Lory, who I know as the author of the wonderfully dreadful Dracula Horror novels of the 1970, could actually write. His isn't the best story in the book and was probably hackneyed at the time but it's far better than anything else I have read by him. I feel almost disappointed.
  2. Hard to be a God by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
  3. The Collected Uncle by JP Martin - over the last year or so I have been reading these six books to my Number One Son as bedtime stories. Alternating night by night with
  4. Professor Branestawm
  5. Professor Branestawm's Treasure Hunt
  6. The Peculiar Triumph of Professor Branestawm - All by Norman Hunter and, by the amazing power of cheating, I have suddenly made my February reading list look less than pathetic. (How the hell I achieve this next month now I have used up my back catalogue is going to be interesting...)
March
  1. Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
  2. The Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner - for the third or fourth time. I must look out more of her books.
  3. The Midwich Cukoos by John Wyndham - another of those classic SF books I have never read before.
April

  1. Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History by David Aaronovitch - great title...
  2. The Blood Red Game (aka The Sundered Worlds) by Michael Moorcock - a fixup novel which was made by stitching two very early, shorter works together - and you can see the joins. A heady mix of Astounding-era pulp space battles, Van Vogtian supra-intellectual mentalism and really crappy writing all crammed into a embryonic version of the Multiverse ideas Moorcock was to spend most of his SF career playing with. One for the Moorcock completists only.
  3. Beyond This Horizon by Robert Heinlein - I must have read this book before because an incident late in the book was familiar but I have no memory of ever having read the rest of it. So Heinlein in full Libertarian wet dream land: "An armed society is a polite society" where duelling is seen as an evolutionary good thing weeding out the slow and the antisocial - and, even in the case of innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire, "the careless". Where gun-toting men gain the respect of their women (who are always more sensible and wise in worldly matters) by beating them, wrestling them to the ground, giving them a good spanking, or in one case trying to shoot her dead because her would- be lover thinks she is genetically inferior. Dangerous crap.
  4. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders - which I might have been slightly more impressed by if I hadn't read so much New Wave SF from the 60s. As it was I got very bored then irritated.
  5. Brat Pack Confidential by Andrew Pulver and Steven Paul Davis - an (appropriately enough) shallow skim over the careers to date (2000) of the so-called 'Brat Pack' actors who emerged in the 1980s. The most interesting aspect for me was reading that in the year 2000 Robert Downey Jr.'s career was all but over and Demi Moore was getting 12.5 million dollars a film. How quickly things change. The book could have done with another pass by the proofreaders too.
May

  1. Hatchet Job by Mark Kermode - musings on the possible death of serious film criticism. An entertaining, informative, and, in a roundabout way (because none of his submitted list of candidates made it on to Sight and Sound magazine's Top Ten Ever Made Movie list - but would have been on mine as well) flattering book.
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Old 4th Jan 2017, 0:02   #5
bill
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Default Re: Palimplists 2017

65. Players by Don DeLillo 1/2
64. Neonomicon by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows 1/2
63. Dusk and Other Stories by James Salter
62. Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case
61. A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr
60. Stranglehold by Jack Ketchum
59. The Fisherman by John Langan
58. My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
57. Red Lights by Georges Simenon
56. Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai
55. Eternal Curse on the Reader of These Pages by Manuel Puig
54. Devils' Spawn by Charles Birkin 1/2
53. Last Look by Charles Burns
52. The Dinner by Herman Koch 1/2
51. Devil Take the Blue-Tail Fly by John Franklin Bardin 1/2
50. Junky by William S. Burroughs
49. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay 1/2
48. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin
47. Hell Hound by Ken Greenhall
46. Resurrection Man by Eoin McNamee
45. The Fates by Thomas Tessier 1/2
44. Where Furnaces Burn by Joel Lane
43. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
42. I Should Have Stayed Home by Horace McCoy 1/2
41. The Hero Pony by David Mamet
40. The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis 1/2
39. Shadow of a Broken Man by George C. Chesbro
38. Death Poems by Thomas Ligotti 1/2
37. The Sensitive One by C.H.B. Kitchin
36. Quake by Rudolph Wurlitzer
35. Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
34. Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett 1/2
33. The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales by Mark Samuels 1/2
32. Dirty Tricks by Michael Dibdin
31. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert 1/2
30. Project X by Jim Shepard
29. All the Little Animals by Walker Hamilton
28. The Patriot Game by George V. Higgins 1/2
27. Ray by Barry Hannah
26. Holidays from Hell by Reggie Oliver
25. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders 1/2
24. White Mule by William Carlos Williams
23. Universal Harvester by John Darnielle
22. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
21. The Scarf by Robert Bloch
20. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer 1/2
19. If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin 1/2
18. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 1/2
17. The Real Cool Killers by Chester Himes
16. A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes
15. The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett 1/2
14. Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin 1/2
13. Swift to Chase by Laird Barron
12. Dearest by Peter Loughran
11. Street of No Return by David Goodis
10. I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas
09. Dog Eat Dog by Edward Bunker
08. Chess Story by Stefan Zweig
07. Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King
06. The Body Artist by Don DeLillo 1/2
05. Point Omega by Don DeLillo
04. At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien 1/2
03. Hogg by Samuel R. Delany
02. Running Dog by Don DeLillo 1/2
01. The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 10:11   #6
amner
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Default Re: Palimplists 2017

01. Middlemarch by George Eliot (current)
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 11:30   #7
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Default Re: Palimplists 2017

7. Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth - Frank Cottrell Boyce
6. The Trouble with Goats & Sheep - Joanna Cannon Being generous with three stars, I think.
5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman
4. Golden Hill - Francis Spufford
3. Golden Boys - Sonya Hartnett ˝
2. The Watsons/Sanditon - Jane Austen
1. Lady Susan - Jane Austen ˝
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Old 6th Jan 2017, 13:09   #8
elwood
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Cool Booklist 2017

Books: 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Films: 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

- The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1969) ~ Jimmy Breslin
- The Cleanup (2006) ~ Sean Doolittle
- Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (2010) ~ Tom Franklin
˝ Cold Quiet Country (2012) ~ Clayton Lindemuth
- The Tilted World (2013) ~ Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly
- Troublemaker [Brandstetter Mystery #3] (1975) ~ Joseph Hansen
- Epitaph for a Tramp (1959) ~ David Markson
- Epitaph for a Dead Beat (1961) ~ David Markson
- The Ballad of Dingus Magee (1965) ~ David Markson
- The Power of the Dog (1967) ~ Thomas Savage
- Bullet Park (1969) ~ John Cheever
- The Tie That Binds (1984) ~ Kent Haruf
- Under the Bright Lights (1986) ~ Daniel Woodrell
- Olive Kitteridge (2008) ~ Elizabeth Strout
˝ The Dixon Cornbelt League and Other Baseball Stories (1993) ~ W.P. Kinsella
˝ Fat City (1969) ~ Leonard Gardner
- Amsterdam Stories (1933/1942) ~ Nescio (J.H.F. Grönloh)
˝ The Thrill of the Grass (1984) ~ W.P. Kinsella
- The Adjustment (2011) ~ Scott Phillips
˝ The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of [Brandstetter Mystery #4] (1978) ~ Joseph Hansen
- Our Souls at Night (2015) ~ Kent Haruf
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Books: 2017 2016 Films: 2017 2016

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Old 7th Jan 2017, 21:42   #9
David
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Default Re: Palimplists 2017

Novels Short Story Collections Non-Fiction

January

001. Children of the New World - Alexander Weinstein, 2016
002. Jampot Smith - Jeremy Brooks, 1960
003. A Good Man is Hard to Find - Flannery O'Connor, 1953
004. Homesick for Another World - Ottessa Mosfegh, 2017
005. Goodnight, Beautiful Women - Anna Noyes, 2016

February

006. Bad Dreams - Tessa Hadley, 2017 (Review)
007. The Virginity of Famous Men - Christine Sneed, 2016
008. The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years - Mark A. Altman & Edward Gross, 2016 (Review)
009. The Lives of Rocks - Rick Bass, 2006

March

010. Diving Belles - Lucy Wood, 2012
011. Ulverton - Adam Thorpe, 1992
012. The World to Come - Jim Shepard, 2017
013. Last Day on Earth - Eric Puchner, 2017
014. The Land of Neverendings - Kate Saunders, 2017
015. All the Beloved Ghosts - Alison MacLeod, 2017

April

016. Heat - Joyce Carol Oates, 1991 (Review)
017. (current) Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy, 1891
018. What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky - Lesley Nneka Arimah, 2017
019. Anything is Possible - Elizabeth Strout, 2017

May

020. (current) The Fifty-Year Mission: The First 25 Years - Edward Gross & Mark A. Altman, 2016
021. (current) The Dark and Other Love Stories - Deborah Willis, 2017
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Audiobooks

001. Five Children on the Western Front - Kate Saunders, 2014
002. Mrs McGinty's Dead - Agatha Christie, 1952
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Abandoned

Shelter in Place - Alexander Maksik, 2016

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Old 8th Jan 2017, 20:27   #10
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Front-pager! Yes!

1. The Sellout - Paul Beatty - I was planning to say it had a lot of interesting ideas and clever stream-of-consciousness sort of writing but could have used an editor and could have accomplished just as much in 150 pages as it had in 600 pages. Then I noticed it only had 300-odd pages. And that sort of reinforces my point. Occasionally entertaining but a loooong, slow read for me.
2. The Go-Between - L.P. Hartley - Something prompted me to read this--some review somewhere, probably--but I can't remember what it was. I feel like I possibly didn't appreciate this properly, considering its reputation, but I found the plot very predictable and, honestly, boring. Attractive writing, though. Ok.
3. Green Hills of Africa - Ernest Hemingway - Pretty poor effort and by far the worst of what little I've read of Hemingway, whom I usually enjoy. At first I thought it was just a poorly edited, boring, masturbatory account of him walking around Africa shooting stuff. Turns out it was a poorly edited, boring, maturbatory account of him walking around Africa mostly failing to shoot stuff...which, I guess, makes the book much better ecologically. Waste of time. Avoid.
4. Jamrach's Menagerie - Carol Birch - Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2011. Am I the only person who sees this as a pretty blatant ‘Life of Pi’ rip-off? Substitute a komodo dragon for a tiger, and off you go. Or, more accurately, in the case of both of these books, off you don’t go. At all. Like ‘Life of Pi,’ this one starts off with some promise—although I should have become suspicious immediately when a tiger appeared in the first page or two—but it fairly quickly set course for a slow death as we all floated about aimlessly on a boat for about 14,000 pages. Just like ‘Life of Pi.’ With some occasional and not particularly original cynicism about religion. Just like ‘Life of Pi.’ This, hopefully, will be my last venturing into the genre of boats-floating-around-endlessly-with-shipwrecked-juvenile-philosophers. And I can’t, for the life of me (or the life of Pi, for that matter), see what anyone else sees in it.
5. Autumn - Ali Smith - An enjoyable read with several interesting but sadly not fully developed nor integrated threads. I had the distinct feeling that the book was rushed out in order to be a timely "Brexit book" - in fact, I believe it was advertised that way when I decided to buy it. Easily four stars with a little more polish. One laughable, amateurish rant about how the Brexit vote was all about money, when, in fact, all the money people wanted to remain. Anyway, carry on.
6. The Unconsoled - Kazuo Ishiguro - ABANDONED half-way through. Utter pants from an author I usually love.
7. Peyton Place - Grace Metalious - A remarkably easy read, and it gets an extra star for its place in American literary history. Written by a young woman in the 1950s about events in the late '30s and '40s, and she basically blew the cover off the illusion of wholesome small-town America. Bizarrely, after the author's premature death, the book was made into a film and a long-running television series, both of which completely abandoned her plot and sank her small town back into respectability. An interesting read.
8. The Miernik Dossier - Charles McCarry - I read this because I always trust Gil when it comes to espionage. A brilliant and fast-paced read that reminded me of Greene's The Human Factor in that it was concerned much more with the work and processes of the people behind the scenes than with dashing James Bond types leaping about and shooting things in the field. Although there was a little bit of that, too. Like Greene's work, this plot dealt with an obscure corner of the Cold War, and it was more fascinating for it. Several topics are still remarkably relevant, 45 years later. Highly recommended.
9. Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell - An account of Orwell's time as a volunteer militiaman in the Spanish Civil War. This is an important bit of interwar history that was glossed over in my education--possibly because it was too complicated to cover briefly in 7th grade World History class [i.e. multiple revolutionary parties fighting on the side of the sitting government???]. Orwell does a nice job trying to lay it out clearly, all the while conveying the confusion of the situation and warning readers about his own limitations and biases as a witness--something sorely lacking in most journalism, apparently just as much in the 1930s as now. Very enjoyable.
10. Swing Time - Zadie Smith - I’m really not sure how to feel about this one, and I’m not sure the author was sure, either. The narrator/protagonist was pretty much cynical about everyone and everything, and pretty much everyone in the story came to a disappointing end…except a spoiled celebrity and her cronies. Perhaps realism, rather than any Uplifting Message, was the point. There were many interesting vignettes on race and class relations, and perhaps more interestingly on intra-race relations – the narrator, from a British working-class mixed-race background, was constantly contrasted with other British characters of African or Afro-Caribbean heritage, and there also were many interesting contrasts between these British characters and “proper” Africans in a remote African village. Even within the village, we saw contrasts between traditional villagers and the young people who left for better opportunity, and between the more secular villagers and the more devout Muslims. Generally, this strikes me as a novel that is more a collection of thoughts and impressions than a fully-formed thesis. It combines this with an engaging story, though, so it’s a decent read, even if I don’t think it really went anywhere in the end.
11. Rabbit Redux - John Updike - I always enjoy Updike but find him a hard, slow read, for some reason. This one had a fairly preposterous and extremely provocative plot--provocative for now, never mind when it was written. Rabbit is an interesting character study all on his own, independent of the plot, as many of you know, I'm sure. Assured, clever, cocky writing that felt like it was coming from an author realizing his full powers.
12. The Tears of Autumn - Charles McCarry - I enjoyed this book, the second by McCarry that I’ve read in quick succession, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed The Miernik Dossier. I think I really preferred the format of Miernik, which was presented as a succession of short reports and letters from various intelligence agencies, to the standard narrative format of this book. It may be that McCarry is much better at ideas and a sense of authenticity in the world of espionage than he is at the execution of narrative, but I will admit that is an opinion based upon very little experience of his work, at this point. The plot—basically a Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory sharing the stage with pre-Vietnam War (at least the US bit of it) political machinations—is fairly brilliant and convincing, but much of the background work, including anything remotely emotional, felt forced and weak. However, all of the political and intelligence details feel genuine and well-researched, as with Miernik. Definitely interesting and enjoyable, but I find myself awaiting the next installment of this series a lot less breathlessly than after Miernik. That said, I’ve already bought it for my Kindle.
13. The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington - Leonora Carrington (current) - completely bonkers so far
14. The Great Passage - Shion Miura (current)
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