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PopJustice Book Club

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Amstell_s Bitch, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. RIP Ursula K Le Guin, Queen of Fantasy and Science Fiction and one of my favourite writers :(

    Earthsea is easily one of the best Fantasy series ever, and probably the books I have read the most times in my life (and feeling like doing it again now). Ever since I read them for the first time several years ago they really stayed with, as they have such a wonderfully creative, vivid and inspiring world.

    And of course, on the Sci-fi side of things, The Left Hand of Darkness was exploring the concept of gender all the way back in 1969, and that was only one of the many topics she touched in interesting and thought-provoking ways. Suffice to say she was ahead of her time.


    RIP Queen
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  2. She is one of these authors I've always wanted to get into but I never managed to.
    I guess it's time.

    By coincidence, a friend recommended me The Dispossessed over Christmas, so I might start there.
    soratami likes this.
  3. The Dispossessed looks super interesting. It was only pulished here last year for some reason, but it's on my to-read list as well.
  4. Just started reading Call Me By Your Name.

    Does the writing get any less terrible? It’s really pretty terrible.
  5. What do you not like about it?

    I’d say the writing style is pretty consistent throughout.
  6. It's a stream of nonsense. I can see what Aciman is trying to do - there's a lot to be explored in the nuances of what's said and not said, done and not done between nascent lovers, and the maze of second guesses a person can get lost in. However this is done with absolutely no grace, and no stylistic discipline. It's kitchen sink writing that only gets a pass because it is, in parts, titillating.

    This part boiled my blood:

    What. The point is interesting, the execution is messy. How on earth did that get past an editor? I'd have been okay with it if the sentence ended after 'one and the same' (although even then 'twisted skein of desire' makes my skin crawl), but the cup of self indulgence overfloweth, and it drowns the whole book.

    If I didn't know any better, I'd have assumed this was self-published...
    stuaw and Columbo like this.
  7. This has answered the "read the book or watch the film first" question for me. My twisted skein doesn't have time for all that.
    londonrain and Alphableat like this.
  8. I've just finished 'The Underground Railroad' by Colson Whitehead and 'Days without End' by Sebastian Barry. Both approach the formation of 1800's America from different perspectives. 'UR' is told from the viewpoint of a girl in slavery who escapes her plantation and 'DwE' from a soldier (and his male lover) who both fight in the Indian, and then Civil war (on the side of Lincoln). Both are lyrically beautiful and very dream-like in their prose and both have had countless awards dedicated to them. I highly recommend.
    Alphableat and Beautiful Child 2 like this.
  9. I’m looking for some new fiction focused on LGBT characters and/or non-white characters that’s set in the 21st century and is not a depressing or infuriating read. Any recommendations?
  10. I'm reading the Southern Reach trilogy and it's amaaaaaaazing.
  11. So I finished Call Me By Your Name, and...
    Yes it affected me a bit, but I think it was in spite of the writing, not because of it. We’ve all got our own stories of lost love, and to see a queer one represented in literature so centrally is touching, even if it’s dross.

    I enjoyed the first one last year, and need to get on with the second book. Annoyingly though I haven’t bought the third one but they’ve changed all the bloody covers! I’ll need to source an old edition to complete my set.
    Charley, truman and londonrain like this.
  12. I’m thinking of picking up A Little Life soon and it might fit the bill: I’ve heard it described as a “great gay novel” and it was Booker shortlisted. No idea if it’s depressing or infuriating though!
    backstreetjoe and londonrain like this.
  13. It's devastating and brilliant!
  14. A Little Life is something else. It's an exercise in emotional manipulation (bordering on exploitative in parts, if I'm honest) while also being quite a beautiful study on what we do to survive trauma. It's relentlessly harrowing, like truly a compelling nightmare - you're going to have a visceral reaction to it one way or another.

    I don't think I've ever burned through a book quite so quickly (and when you consider the length and the weight and sheer bleakness of the subject matter, that's quite the feat) and I've thrown it at everyone special in my life (friends, sisters, my ex..) but do proceed with caution. I'm gonna wrap my trigger warning in a spoiler -

    Extremely graphic depictions of self-harm which triggered a lot of memories of my own past behaviours. Intensely graphic but psychologically resonant - I was really shaken (while reading and for quite a long time after) by how familiar and realistic the thought process of poor, sweet Jude felt and how it brought the horror of self-destructive habits to life.

    Also graphic depictions of rape and child abuse throughout. This isn't a *camera pans away* kind of book. It's unforgiving, intense, confrontational and - like I said before - tiptoes perilously close to the edge of exploitation at times.

    But. Read it.
    Trinu 3.0, LTG and backstreetjoe like this.
  15. Thanks guys. Maybe doesn’t meet @londonrain’s criteria of ‘not depressing’ then.
    londonrain likes this.
  16. LTG


    A Little Life is absolutely harrowing, sometimes descending into torture porn and blatant emotional manipulation. At its best though it’s celebration of the strrengh of the human spirit and it’s definitely worth reading.
    Beautiful Child 2 likes this.
  17. This and the length of the book are the two things that have put me off reading it.
  18. Currently re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire with the delusional hope GRRM might finally announce something later in the year.
    soratami likes this.
  19. I just finished the trilogy and definitely think the first book was the best one, though I admire how wide the scope of the full trilogy gets. It really felt like an epic story. That said, I have more questions than answers at the end, which is not a bad thing but at the same time I feel like I can't really decide if I liked it or not. I think I need a gestation period to really mull everything over. Especially a lot of the second book felt a bit unnecessary. Especially after finishing the last book. I don't know....

    It reminds me a bit of Lost in a way, where the mysteries are never really solved but that they're also not really what the books are about. Somehow, I still think the first book might have worked better as a stand-alone story.
  20. I read a lot - though from scrolling through the last few pages, not half as much as a few of you - and 'A Little Life' is one of the few novels of recent years to really hit my emotional core. I've been with my partner for two and a half years, and the first (and only) time he's ever seen me cry - I'm not a crier - was after putting this book down. It's a melodramatic epic and definitely pushes the boundaries of realism at times, but it's a gut punch that sticks with you for a long time. Well worth it.
    Alphableat likes this.
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