The SMB Book thread

Heaven Has No Favorites by Erich Maria Remarque 8/10
Later novel by the author of All Quiet on the Western Front. A racing driver falls for a woman dying of TB. Well told story that also serves as a meditation on the nature of mortality. It was the basis for the Al Pacino film Bobby Deerfield.



Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James 2/10
What a load of old cobblers. Billed as the 'African Game of Thrones', it's a tedious slog with very little in the way of narrative drive. Reading it here in Africa was a bizarre experience, because it bears no relation whatsoever to the continent and folklore I've known most of my life. The longest 640 pages I've ever read, with some truly dreadful writing, eg: 'He smelled like the crack of an old man's ass'. (Curiously, if I were to write a book drawing on African folklore I'd be called out for cultural appropriation, even though I grew up here. Marlon James is a Jamaican who lives in Minnesota, and as far as I know his only visit to Africa was a week-long lecture junket to Nigeria.)

 

Lexingtongue

Striker
Heaven Has No Favorites by Erich Maria Remarque 8/10
Later novel by the author of All Quiet on the Western Front. A racing driver falls for a woman dying of TB. Well told story that also serves as a meditation on the nature of mortality. It was the basis for the Al Pacino film Bobby Deerfield.



Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James 2/10
What a load of old cobblers. Billed as the 'African Game of Thrones', it's a tedious slog with very little in the way of narrative drive. Reading it here in Africa was a bizarre experience, because it bears no relation whatsoever to the continent and folklore I've known most of my life. The longest 640 pages I've ever read, with some truly dreadful writing, eg: 'He smelled like the crack of an old man's ass'. (Curiously, if I were to write a book drawing on African folklore I'd be called out for cultural appropriation, even though I grew up here. Marlon James is a Jamaican who lives in Minnesota, and as far as I know his only visit to Africa was a week-long lecture junket to Nigeria.)

Started Big Green Tent a few days ago. Will let you know what I think of it.
 

I Stand Alone

Midfield
Love Franzen. Nothing ever really gets resolved in his writing but it's still very engrossing. Have Purity in my to read pile.
His writing's great at times. The way he constructs a sentence is canny unique and brilliant
I hated it, as I'm sure I've said many times on this thread.:lol: It's definitely a Marmite book.
It's taken me about 5 goes over the last 17 years. Hammered it once I finally got into it.

I'm having a year of tackling difficult/big books. The Corrections was the first on me list. Currently struggling through Donna Tart's The Goldfinch - it's even more uneventful than The Secret History.
Ulysses and Gravity's Rainbow next. Urgh.
 
His writing's great at times. The way he constructs a sentence is canny unique and brilliant

It's taken me about 5 goes over the last 17 years. Hammered it once I finally got into it.

I'm having a year of tackling difficult/big books. The Corrections was the first on me list. Currently struggling through Donna Tart's The Goldfinch - it's even more uneventful than The Secret History.
Ulysses and Gravity's Rainbow next. Urgh.
You have a chance of being the first person I put on ignore if you read and enjoy Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.:lol:
 
Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

Took me a while to get round to this. Lehane's on good form with a psychological thriller centred around a female character (unusually for him). Difficult to go into detail without giving much way but, after a slowish start, it becomes a cracking read!

8.5/10
 

Thackeray

Striker
Heaven Has No Favorites by Erich Maria Remarque 8/10
Later novel by the author of All Quiet on the Western Front. A racing driver falls for a woman dying of TB. Well told story that also serves as a meditation on the nature of mortality. It was the basis for the Al Pacino film Bobby Deerfield.



Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James 2/10
What a load of old cobblers. Billed as the 'African Game of Thrones', it's a tedious slog with very little in the way of narrative drive. Reading it here in Africa was a bizarre experience, because it bears no relation whatsoever to the continent and folklore I've known most of my life. The longest 640 pages I've ever read, with some truly dreadful writing, eg: 'He smelled like the crack of an old man's ass'. (Curiously, if I were to write a book drawing on African folklore I'd be called out for cultural appropriation, even though I grew up here. Marlon James is a Jamaican who lives in Minnesota, and as far as I know his only visit to Africa was a week-long lecture junket to Nigeria.)

He smelled like the crack of an old man's ass.

Having that in my finest Orson Welles voice.
 

Summer Bee

Midfield
Wild swans by Jung Chang. Tells a first hand story of life in China under Mao. Genuinely harrowing read, and at times quite hard to follow with the introduction of numerous acquaintances and friends but well worth a read. Still banned in China as well
 
Wild swans by Jung Chang. Tells a first hand story of life in China under Mao. Genuinely harrowing read, and at times quite hard to follow with the introduction of numerous acquaintances and friends but well worth a read. Still banned in China as well
Gave it to the daughter of Chinese friends. I told them she is a bit young but I think it's a fantastic read and she will love it when she is older.
 

Summer Bee

Midfield
Gave it to the daughter of Chinese friends. I told them she is a bit young but I think it's a fantastic read and she will love it when she is older.
Gave one copy to a lad I met in Bangkok who teaches literature in Switzerland, and bought another copy for myself when I got back. More people should read it in my view
 

jacko100

Striker
Less - Andrew Sean Greer 8/10

Really enjoyed this, semi washed up author, desperate to avoid the wedding of a former partner takes on a load of travel invitations he would normally refuse. Semi travel log through Mexico, France, Italy, Morocco, India and Japan its a very well told story of a man getting used to his age and what comes with it. Very funny at times.

 
Wild swans by Jung Chang. Tells a first hand story of life in China under Mao. Genuinely harrowing read, and at times quite hard to follow with the introduction of numerous acquaintances and friends but well worth a read. Still banned in China as well
That's an excellent book. Mrs. theMackem found it very eye opening given that a lot of the Cultural Revolution stuff isn't talked about in China.



If you like gratuitous violence and characters with just enough depth to make them interesting, or liked the film, read it. If you don't, don't bother.



This was excellent. Really in-depth look at how ISIS came about from their roots in a Jordanian prison at the turn of the century, but little detail on ISIS post Mosul capture. Still a very interesting book - informative and a captivating read.
 
Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyre

Brookmyre in his Chris mode so it's sci-fi leaning. Earth at some point in the near future has built a large space station/city, Ciudad de Cielo, which is being used to build a ship to colonise other planets. There's been a murder (unheard of on CdC) and slightly dodgy copper, Nikki Fixx and Dr Alice Blake, representing the Federation of National Governments, need to get to the bottom of it, in spite of their differences. It's very enjoyable and could, potentially, be spun out into a series. 8/10

Troll Life by Alan Parkinson

The author is, of course, of this parish... basically, it starts out with Darren, the internet troll from Idle Threats having to go through training courses and get a job, ironically at the call centre he used to troll. Lots of other characters introduced, potentially one or two who might be carried forward to other books?? It's funny and entertaining and has a good plot. Also features a not so thinly veiled SMB. 8/10
 

phil

Midfield
War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell 8/10
The eleventh in Cornwell's Saxon Stories series (basis for The Last Kingdom on TV). Uhtred is getting old but, as ever, there are rumblings throughout the land - rebellions in Mercia, a battle for succession to the throne of Wessex (and thus East Anglia and Mercia) and Norsemen sitting things up in Cumbria (Cumbraland as it's known in the books). The series is getting a touch formulaic but is still a good read.
Have to agree. In most of his books he tries to weave his story around historical facts, but recently in this series they are a bit lacking, so much so that I now look forward much more to offerings from CJ Sansum or Conn Iggulden.
TBH I wish Cornwell would finish off his Starbuck/American Civil War series rather than just taking the easy money with Uhtred.
 

Lexingtongue

Striker
Started Big Green Tent a few days ago. Will let you know what I think of it.
@Monty Pigeon It wasn't good, unfortunately...

That's an excellent book. Mrs. theMackem found it very eye opening given that a lot of the Cultural Revolution stuff isn't talked about in China.



If you like gratuitous violence and characters with just enough depth to make them interesting, or liked the film, read it. If you don't, don't bother.



This was excellent. Really in-depth look at how ISIS came about from their roots in a Jordanian prison at the turn of the century, but little detail on ISIS post Mosul capture. Still a very interesting book - informative and a captivating read.
Love BR film but the translation of the book copy I had was appalling. I gave up on it and gave the book away.
 
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