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Author Topic: What are you reading  (Read 231992 times)
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holy ghost
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« Reply #690 on: June 30, 2018, 03:54:55 PM »

I’m reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and really enjoying it. Basically tracing the history of human evolution, he’s got a great writing style and the book is genuinely interesting. 
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« Reply #691 on: July 02, 2018, 07:01:49 PM »

Finally finished "America's War for the Greater Middle East" by Andrew J. Bacevich and now started something entirely different, Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
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« Reply #692 on: July 02, 2018, 07:07:31 PM »

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

chapter 10 is one of the greatest moments in american literature.
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Force Neurotic
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« Reply #693 on: July 10, 2018, 08:41:09 PM »

Philip Best “Captagon” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2017)
        Loose but still coherent semi-narrative piece that seems to follow a somewhat “post-apocalyptic” scenario with references to lots of real-world crime cases, news stories, etc. Originally I was focused on how the style reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut, Kathy Acker and Hubert Selby Jr., but mostly I'm amazed with how the entire concept/technique reminds me of Henry Darger – a really unique mix of violence and vulnerability with an almost-defined worldview (of sorts), should remind anyone who was ever a teen or adolescent of their formative years. This is pretty much my first experience with Best's fiction. So far, I like it. I'm hesitant to get too collegiate about things, but I think there's some mockery of consumerism and capitalism, or at least the hyperactive pace of the modern world going on here – like Genocide Organ/Grey Wolves under the influence of some experimental psychedelic/stimulant.

Simon Morris “Creepshots” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2017)
         Although I really enjoyed Comsumer Guide, this might be my favorite work by the author so far. He'd probably find the idea pretty lame, but this would make good spoken-word recordings; the convergence of influences, sources, and subjects could serve as engaging listening as well as the incredibly moving reading as it is. I'm fairly sure I read a draft of this prior to publication, which had some sections I'm sad to have noticed were left out. The fairly “dystopian” sections dealing with government-funded arts programs  juxtaposed with the problem of homelessness seems to be continued from the aforementioned CG and is something I hope he continues to do; any cursory news search could yield plenty of source material. What I like is that some sections are dispassionate, others full of despair, and yet the text seems to end on something of a “high note” or at least a sense of closure. The sign-off at the end among other parts made me laugh out loud. Excellent stuff with few available comparisons. Has this sort of quick, efficient quality which I feel reflects both the “medicated” honesty of the author as well as the increasingly-tiny (and narcissistic) attention span of people in general, “Millenials” or otherwise. Very gifted writer.

Simon Morris “Civil War” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2018)
         I'm certainly no fan of GNR, but I still find the analysis going on here pretty clever: before I even opened the book, I remebered this quote, something along the lines of “When people say Axl Rose is a screaming two-year-old, they're right,” and of course I'm pretty sure the article or interview that's from is referenced here. I suppose I can relate because I have similar self-aware obsessions with certain other so-called artists whom many would see as unworthy of whatever insane praise I might heap on them, and it's not like you don't realize they're a crazy loser. Anyway, this book also seems to be about a certain kind of romantic experience I can really relate to, the phrase “playground psychotics” (to borrow from Frank Zappa) came to mind. I've had many of these, where the intensity and trouble you've gotten yourself (and the other person) into is only slowly revealed. Probably why I love Hitchcock films. Morris is one of two or three writers whose words have made me nauseous because I could relate too much.

Duncan Harrison “Something Approaching Zero” (self-published, 2018?)
        Really good, honest, somewhat “existential” and sort of bluntly efficient and cynical/pessimistic deconstruction stuff which manages not to be a downer tract in a whiny voice – rather the opposite. Pretty Neizschean, if I must say, with a dark humor that's somehow not at all bitter. I could see Amphetamine Sulphate publishing work from this author as it'd fit in quite well (seriously, please do). Has a very easygoing style that suggests the author is capable of either coherent philosophical/psychological analysis or great prose fiction equally. Brings to mind some of Bret Easton Ellis' classier moments if I had to squeeze out a comparison.
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absurdexposition
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« Reply #694 on: July 10, 2018, 10:32:22 PM »

Philip Best “Captagon” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2017)
Simon Morris “Creepshots” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2017)

There we some great parts in both of these, especially in Captagon. Haven't finished the entire Amphetamine Sulphate batch yet but the reprint of Alex Binnie's 'Scum' is by far my favourite of the lot so far.

In the middle of JG Ballard's 'High Rise' at the moment.
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« Reply #695 on: July 29, 2018, 11:02:25 AM »

Clark Ashton Smith - The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies (Penguin Classics)
I wasn't aware that Smith had been granted a Penguin Classics edition, so finding one was a pleasant surprise. I've read most of the man's fiction, but in all honesty the level of concentration has been a bit on and off, so now I'm being a bit more focused (reading in shorter sessions, not aiming to finish the whole book quickly, as I am otherwise wont to do with almost all books). Two hundred pages in, it gives about the same impression as it did last time I read him. Since CAS's stories were originally butchered by pulp mag editors, much care has gone into restoring them to his original versions (as written or intended). This has restored some of the original allures of his writing - the abstract parts, the massive use of archaic and/or unusual English and many repetitive, strangely meditative passages. On the other hand, it makes the writing a wee bit unwieldy and at worst high-schoolish - Smith could probably have done with a good editor, with whom he could have collaborated, while he was still alive. None of this takes away from the fundamental fact that Smith was an excellent visionary, almost on par with his friend Lovecraft, and that his writings are great Sci-Fi/horror as well as - at times - great literature.
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Force Neurotic
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« Reply #696 on: August 18, 2018, 07:42:42 PM »

Clark Ashton Smith - The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies (Penguin Classics)
Since CAS's stories were originally butchered by pulp mag editors, much care has gone into restoring them to his original versions (as written or intended). This has restored some of the original allures of his writing - the abstract parts, the massive use of archaic and/or unusual English and many repetitive, strangely meditative passages.

Thanks for the reminder. From the handful of stories I've read, I find his work along with Henry James' and Algernon Blackwood's to be like a sort of linguistic maze. Can be pretty maddening but has these sort of sublime moments. I think some would argue their respective writing styles are indicative of some mental illness, but, meh, not the point. Or is it?

Rodrigo Rey Rosa "Dust On Her Tongue (Translated by Paul Bowles)" (City Lights, 1989)
          Translations into English are almost always pretty iffy, but in this case, both spoke each other's language fluently, so there were good results. RRR eventually became the heir to Bowles' legal and physical estate, so that should tell you something. That said, Bowles' translations read as faithful to my non-bilingual ears, in that the straightforwardness seems to reflect RRR's speaking style rather than Bowles' prose style (as many of his other translations do, unfortunately). Here, the nebulousness benefits these stories greatly, though - Rosa clearly had a lot of talent before ever even putting any words down, and Bowles' influence is evident. A ton of observation and other influences boil down into stories that few authors match in terms of creating atmosphere and "trapping" the reader. There is an excellent unreliable narrator piece about a Guatemalan ethnomusicologist with maybe one of the better endings in any short story I've read. I really love this kind of fiction, where violence, weirdness and horror are handled as smoothly as descriptions of landscapes, action, or internal monologue. Regarding Bowles and Rosa, I reluctantly admit this could be a case of the student outclassing the teacher; it's that good. If Bowles is one of the best, and he is, so is Rodrigo Rey Rosa.

Jason Williamson “Slabs from Paradise,” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2017)
        One of my favorites from the inaugural batch as soon as the first piece was over. A departure from other work on said imprint – a collection of portrait-type short stories, almost short enough to be vignettes. Snapshots, or more like selfies, given the themes in this book. Williamson has an observant, quick mind and a working person's gift for creating stories; that is making something from nothing, characters and all. The bleakness here is pretty lived-in grimy and the sense of self-delusion throughout really hits home at many points. Excellent references to Whitney Houston and Adidas Sambas. I used to read a lot of bullshit like Irvine Welsh and JW here just puts all of that to shame. I think “Mad Carol” is my favorite but it's hard to say. Hope we'll see a longer collection of his work from someone at some point.

Matthew Bower & Samantha Davies “Talisman Angelical” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2017)
        This title I was least enthusiastic about of all, given I'm not the biggest Skullflower (et al) fan. I realize that's pretty short sighted, though, and all the more from reading it. Going against my expectations, this book was surprisingly coherent and visual despite the obvious role drugged states of all manner play in creation of this type of thing. While it definitely is “this type of thing,” it's well-written, with a variety of references that reminded me of Nabokov or Borges, of all authors. This is in some ways what I'd expected Mike IX Williams' writing to be like (it wasn't), and I mean that as a compliment. Surprisingly easy to picture certain descriptions of demonic hallucinations, which I think is saying something. I also see the inverse potential in some of Arvo Pärt's music, which perhaps also says something.

Alex Binnie “Scum” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2018)
        Strange that such a talented writer (who was apparently also involved to some extent in a certain seminal PE/industrial outfit) basically left that all behind to devote his life to tattooing. That said, I assume the author was pretty young at the time, which is apparent at times despite his intelligence and coherence. What I mean is that the book is basically structured around repeating one point; to me it's a sort of extended prose poem. What I especially like about it, however, is that I find the message agreeable and see each paragraph as a potential final or second-to-last paragraph in a larger fiction piece. I read this and kept thinking, “what else could this guy have written?” Probably nothing, actually. This should definitely appeal to fans of Ligotti, Houellebecq, and so on.
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bitewerksMTB
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« Reply #697 on: August 31, 2018, 07:49:32 PM »

I'm re-reading Lambs to the Slaughter about Hissing Sid Cooke & his merry gang after seeing it listed on the back of Ingratitude.

I've got a book on Robert Black out for delivery today, I think, along with another on him and another on S.Cooke on the way.
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« Reply #698 on: September 01, 2018, 07:51:00 PM »

I can recommend Josef Winkler, and West does a great job of translating him. I would start with Natura Morta, maybe his best book that is available in English. Like Graveyard of Bitter Oranges, also set in Italy.
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« Reply #699 on: September 23, 2018, 11:59:21 PM »

Peter Sotos “Ingratitude” (Nine Banded Books, 2018)
         What can I say? Less revealing than the capitulation that I feel has built through his recent work might suggest, but still has the unexpected and enlightening lucid detail amidst tangents which characterize his style. I have to say I don’t feel the latter sections felt especially conclusive – much more finesse towards the end of “Desistance” and at the end of “Mine.’’ This new book also includes confirmation of a long-held theory outside the main text; take note of whom is now in possession of the clippings - "what you kept is now missing." I genuinely thought this book wouldn’t happen, in other words. Let me put it this way: this book has a retrospective tone for a reason, more so than any previous.

Martin Bladh “Marty Page” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2018)
        “Body horror” is probably the most accurate description but for all the references including a Cronenberg acknowlegement, I see a strong early Dennis Cooper influence – along with some surprising and sometimes moving observational and descriptive flourishes. I find some of the pop culture references sort of funny (“favorite album: Joy Division, closer” recalls “I told him about so-called 'death metal' bands such as Napalm Death, Carcass, Morbid Angel, Immolation, and Samael, but he only seemed politely interested.” ). Not familiar with Bladh's other writing, so interesting to read work by someone I'd primarily regard as a visual and sound artist. I think I need to explore more of his world to fully understand but I enjoyed my time here.

Gary Mundy “Specialist Fabricator” (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2018)
        This book somehow was completely unlike what I'd imagined it being – much more intimate than what I feel Ramleh and Kleistwahr's music conveys. Very confessional with some sections I might assume are, well, fabrications. Some really poingnant moments are dulled by what I feel is experimentation not backed by confidence in technique – switching between monologue and dialogue while wondering aloud in-text about the process, etc. I enjoyed this for the “serves you right for your expectations” factor but otherwise felt the format required more meat to play with the reader as Mundy intends to here. Made me more curious about what other writing Mundy might do than anything.

New Juche “The Spider's House” (self-published, 2017)
        Full disclosure: missed out on this as I'm sure many others did, but friend was kind enough to scan and email for me. Frustratingly short but I'd imagine worthy of the presentation and edition – probably some of his finest photography and writing. In knowledge of his other work, certain things are better intuited when reading. Context is key to understanding. Much is revealed in this tantalizingly brief elegy for a now-passed friend. What is implied about said friend now-gone is put in a highly libertine light when juxtaposed with particularly the latter photographs and the fact that all are black and white. Possibly the greatest living writer? I can't begin tell you how much I am looking forward to Bosun.
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« Reply #700 on: October 04, 2018, 06:23:19 AM »

New Juche "Bosun" (Kiddiepunk, 2018)
          Whereas his earlier pieces seemed to focus on the sensous description of physical features, occasionally lending itself to lyrical tangents on location and archictecture, the ratio is reversed in Bosun. Previous iterations carried a detail for physicality perhaps unworkable when expanded to city-level. Like Bowles, Conrad, and Sinclair before him, New Juche evokes place, atmosphere, and consequence through language which both clarifies and imposes. Language which reflects a powerful scope of observation and considerations, though always "against conversation," to borrow the author's own words. Previously, those words focused on relating experience to the reader, always succeeding. Now, however, his magic is strong enough to transplant the reader to the desired place. Noticeably absent are the descriptions of his usual adventures, exchanged for imaginative and mindful descriptions of observations of local color while enjoying local flavor. Near the closing paragraphs which come all too soon is one of his funniest moments. Fans of his vice may be disappointed indeed but fans of his lyricism will swoon. More, please.
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« Reply #701 on: October 11, 2018, 05:25:49 AM »

Matt Shaw- Sick B*stards, Sicker B*stards and Rotting Dead F*cks
Peter Sotos-Ingratitude
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« Reply #702 on: October 17, 2018, 05:01:27 PM »

I'm re-reading Lambs to the Slaughter about Hissing Sid Cooke & his merry gang after seeing it listed on the back of Ingratitude.

I've got a book on Robert Black out for delivery today, I think, along with another on him and another on S.Cooke on the way.

are either the books you have about Robert Black written by CL Swinney? I seen his book about Black on Amazon and was thinking about picking it up after listening to a couple different podcasts with the author about some of his other books
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« Reply #703 on: October 18, 2018, 12:00:01 AM »

No, I haven't picked up the Swinney book. The books I have on Black are: Fear the Stranger; The Face of Evil; Murder of Childhood and Well Done, Boys. If you need authors, let me know. I haven't read Face/Evil yet & remember M.O.C. being the most interesting.
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« Reply #704 on: October 18, 2018, 04:45:02 PM »

No, I haven't picked up the Swinney book. The books I have on Black are: Fear the Stranger; The Face of Evil; Murder of Childhood and Well Done, Boys. If you need authors, let me know. I haven't read Face/Evil yet & remember M.O.C. being the most interesting.

yes, please give the authors
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