The SMB Book thread

Discussion in 'SMB' started by Monty Pigeon, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. zwartekat

    zwartekat Striker

    For some reason your summary made me laugh. They should stick it on the back of the book as a concise precis.
  2. riffraff

    riffraff Striker

    Iggy Pop: Open Up And Bleed by Paul Trynka. 6/10.
    Standard issue heritage rock biography. It’s best on The Stooges era. Not enuff on the Bowie/Berlin phase and flies through the solo stuff........most of which has nowt remarkable to comment on anyway. Finishes about ten years ago so no mention of last years Post Pop Depression album which would surely be in anyone’s Iggy top ten albums.
    Anyway he doesn’t come across as the nicest bloke, using all n sundry then casting em aside but that may be the only way to last in his occupation of choice.

    Right As Rain by George Pelecanos. 7/10.
    First in the series of Washington DC set PI novels from a master of the form. Ex cop Derek Strange (shite name btw) investigates the killing of an off duty black police officer by a white on duty cop. Race being the central theme alongside responsibility, fidelity, drugs, poverty and corruption. Manages to avoid most PI cliches. Pelecanos is a big music fan as are most of his characters and he describes what’s playing in just about every car n bar featured. I think he contributed to the writing of The Wire tv series from a few years back.

    Hell To Pay by George Pelecanos. 7/10.
    Number two in the series. Most of the characters from the last paragraph reappear. Drugs, prostitution, corruption etc but he handles it well.
  3. SYB_DC

    SYB_DC Winger

    Last three I've read:

    James Rebanks - The Shepherd's Life (9/10)

    Rebanks, an Oxford-educated sheep farmer in the Lake District, delivers the most unpretentious and engaging memoir you'll ever need to read. This book is a deeply-thought examination of the urban-rural gap; a plea for a more sustainable, small scale existence; and a defense of an entire way of life and thought, all rolled into one. His writing is also good, which turns what could be a very dry subject into a tremendously engaging read.

    Simon Winchester - Outposts (7/10)

    I've read some of Winchester's other nonfiction and liked it. This one is a 1985-vintage chronicle of Winchester's sojourn of the then-remnants of the Empire. It is moderately enjoyable for what it says about the world then, but it is even more useful as to how things have changed since then in many of the colonies mentioned - Hong Kong, Montserrat, the Falklands - and how they unfortunately haven't in others (the BIOT/Diego Garcia).

    Tove Alsterdal - The Forgotten Dead (6.5/10)

    I bought this one in Helsinki from a rather impressive section of English-language crime fiction, where it somehow managed to stick out. It takes on some of the classic Scandi noir themes of corrupt and dirty money running the world, immigration and race, and the hidden violence behind them all. Unfortunately, it does so in chronicling the pursuits of an investigative journalist and his wife (who basically comes off as an investigative journalist despite her alleged background). That trope is a little worn, and a little hard to credit in an era of the media kowtowing to elites left and right. The story spans several countries and two continents, where one of the major supposed plot twists gets blown early if you happen to know something about one of the geographic areas involved (suburban Washington, DC, somewhat improbably). I still liked it, though: she managed to get pretty far from the rut of tortured, 40-something falling-apart detectives pursuing violent immigrant gangs in various Scandinavian cities without losing the flavor of the genre.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  4. Chappers

    Chappers Striker

    Read 5 of the shardlake series. I think it's that many. Really enjoyable.
  5. bigmarlon

    bigmarlon Midfield

    I did a Peppa Pig colouring-in book yesterday. 9/10.
  6. Harry Angstrom

    Harry Angstrom Striker

    Milkman Anna Burns was an interesting read. I can imagine people hating it but it gave an insight into the paranoia and suppression of people on estates in Northern Ireland during the troubles. It was very 1984 with the general consensus of the population being Big Brother. This read in conjunction with Kevin Myers Watching the Door gives a powerful insight into the group madness that was Northern Ireland in 70s and 80s. They were all mental.
    RestlessNatives likes this.
  7. The Horsekeeper's Daughter - Jane Gulliford Lowes 8/10

    True story of young lass from Seaham who moved to Australia in the late nineteenth century and made a life for herself. Very well written and extensively researched.
    Historical non-fiction is not a genre that would normally interest me but I speak to the author quite a lot on Twitter and met her at a couple of writing events. Sometimes reading the work of authors you know can be a chore but this wasn't and was an interesting and entertaining read. I learned quite a lot without feeling that I was being taught.
    If you have any links to Seaham you could probably add an extra point onto the score.
    Wayne The Punk likes this.
  8. maghater

    maghater Midfield

    Was recommended "Into the Storm" by Taylor Anderson, back in the Summer, its a tad weird, and best described as an alternate history, now on book seven of the (Destroyermen) series. Not say too much about the plot, but it certainly takes ww2 in the pacific to another level.
  9. Wayne The Punk

    Wayne The Punk Striker

    TY for that, just ordered it for our lass, she worked for 6 months in Aus on a cattle ranch, and as a Seaham lad I will have a read also

    Just bought the shepherds life based on your review, ty very much

    Currently reading Outsider, by Stephen King. I am a big fan of King, but he seems to be able to shit books, and some of them are not very good, I am 120 pages in and this one has me hooked
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
    SYB_DC and RestlessNatives like this.
  10. sima-hebburn

    sima-hebburn Winger

  11. jacko100

    jacko100 Winger

    HHhH by Laurent Binet


    Interesting story about the assassination attempt on Heydrich the butcher of Prague.

    Story was excellent but the authors continual breaking of the fourth wall was incredibly irritating. I don’t want you to spin me a whole load of dialogue and then say straight after that’s probably not the way it happened.
  12. How Not To Be A Boy - Robert Webb 6/10

    Not sure what to make of this (only bought it as it was 99p).
    Bloke has been a bit of a prick most of his life. Explains his reasons for being a prick which are understandable to an extent but he continues to be a prick. Appears to have written a self indulgent book as a form of therapy and has reinvented himself as a feminist and comes across as the type of internet White Knight so loved by the SMB.
    Had no strong views on him beforehand and possibly like him a little less now which I doubt was the intention. An interesting enough read but a bit disjointed and there's a lot of 'filler' such as the quiz highlighting what a marvellous feminist he is.
    I can see why it is raved about in the media due to its 'honesty' but I'm not sold on it.
  13. Monty Pigeon

    Monty Pigeon Winger

    Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) by Jeff Tweedy 9/10
    Excellent memoir by the front man of Wilco. Very revealing on his drug problems and on his difficult working relationships with the two Jays (Farrar, his bandmate in Uncle Tupelo; and Bennett, who he sacked from Wilco and who later died of an overdose).

  14. jacko100

    jacko100 Winger

    Persepolis Rising by James SA Corey 8/10
    Book 7 of 9 of the Expanse series. Really excellent read, I thought this series would run out of steam but if anything its getting stronger as it goes along. Had finished this just in time for the release of book 8 but thats been put back to March 2019 (due to the publishers, not the authors)
    They can show George RR Martin a thing or two about delivering books on time. They've released a top quality book every year for the last 8 years.

    ouro and Pricey like this.
  15. Fletch

    Fletch Striker

    Any good thrillers ?
  16. Chappers

    Chappers Striker

    Struggled through the first 2 and didn't finish the 3rd. Not for me.
  17. Pants

    Pants Winger

    The Quarry by Iain Banks
    Finally got round to reading the last Banks novel I had yet to read. I'd read a few reviews saying it was overly cynical. They clearly don't appreciate a good bit of dark humour. I thought it was a ripping yarn.

    Been putting it off for ages as it now means I've go no new Banks to read (apart from Raw Spirit) :(. I suppose I'll just have to read them all again...
  18. cluffy

    cluffy Striker

    1971 by David Hepworth.
    excellent 9/10
    Although he comes across as a big of a smug knowitall on telly, Dave is a top writer. Pithy and rarely wastes a word. Plus he s utterly unsentimental which is rare in rock journalism.
  19. A few I've read lately:

    Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. Thought I was going to love this but ended up being disappointed. Basically the story falls into two parts and he's spent far too much time on one part and not enough on the other. Possibly his weakest book, although there were still things I enjoyed in it.

    Went back to Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh - brilliant, proper sci fi

    God Bless You Mr Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut - enjoyable for all the reasons I love Vonnegut. Bit of a strange ending but that's not unusual with him either.

    Dead Girl Walking, Black Widow, Want You Gone - all by Chris Brookmyre. He's brought Parlabane back, and is using a few variations on the unreliable narrator device. Very good, although I do miss Brookmyre's wilder, funnier days.

    The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie. A standalone novel from his First Law universe that focuses on the battle for a single area between two of regions he often writes about. Brilliantly done, and shows the difference between perception and reality of war and heroism. Having said that I'm glad he's coming back with a new trilogy now.

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carre. On about the fifth attempt I've finally clicked with his writing, loved it
  20. Monty Pigeon

    Monty Pigeon Winger

    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 10/10
    Just reread it. Still astonishing, and not even his best book. IMO Pale Fire is better (I'll see if I still think that after I've reread that book in the next few weeks).

    JonnotheMackem likes this.

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