Discussion in 'Other Literature' started by Boreas, Jan 1, 2017.
Still re-reading O'Brian's Master and Commander.
Finished M&C. Almost tempted to pick up the sequel right away, but I think I'll read a different book before I get back to the series.
I liked it even more the second time. This first novel can be a little hard going because of the sheer detail, especially if you're unfamiliar with naval nomenclature. But O'Brian's descriptions are excellent, all his characters are excellent, his cheeky humour is excellent, and I love the 15 stone, low-brow-humour-loving, full-of-mirth nominal captain that is Jack Aubrey. Love the naval battle scenes, but I must confess that you'll like it a LOT more once you become familiar with all the different types of masts, sails, ropes, decks, directions, winds, etc. It takes a little while, but it's so worth it.
C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels are much easier to read, and while they are complex in their own way, they don't contain nearly the same depth of observations concerning human nature and moral behaviour that just this first instalment of O'Brian's series has offered for consideration. And while I do love Hornblower as a character, and he does grow and develop through the series, he's in essence a stock character, made from a particular mold. Aubrey is presented as rather more fluid; his character comprising a variegated disposition with the potential to range more widely over the spectrum of human emotions, yet also more free and easy with his natural state and quicker to revert to his centre of balance than Hornblower initially was. And especially excellent are some of the side characters in O'Brian's M&C - full of their own detailed motivations, desires and contradictory natures. And the friendship between the fat, jocular Captain Aubrey and the thin, somewhat reserved Dr. Maturin is absolutely endearing.
Reading Killing Socrates by M Chicot, a historical novel set during the 30 year of the Peloponnesian war. It mixes fictional characters, such as Perseo, Casandra or Deianira, with historical ones like Socrates, Aristophanes, Brasidas and Euripides. Killing Socrates tells us the terrible events during the fight for the control over Greece between Sparta and Athens.
Great read so far!
I have also finished Breeds II by K C Blackmore, a trepidante horror story with werewolfs with a twist. A fun, entertaining easy read.
I'm also in the middle of a crime novel but it is not an English tittle.
Thinking of either starting a contemporary novel with David Guterson's The Other or a classic thriller with Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male. They seem to be pretty much polar opposites of each other.
Which one did you go for in the end?
Killing Socrates by M Chicot, is killing my patience. Nothing is terribly wrong with the story; however, Chicot underestimates his readers and believes he needs to explain the obvious. No need for that. Reasonable clever readers can deduce story lines without having them spelt out. They can even anticipate them considering they are not particularly complex. I shall continue though...
I've not picked up another book to read yet, so still haven't decided.
I was off work yesterday and picked up and reread an old friend: The Laughing Policeman (Martin Beck#4) by Sjöwall-Wahlöö, the creators of the scandinavian Noir genre.
A classic in my eyes that should be revived to infuse some spark back into the stale state of the current scandi Noir novel.
Anne of Green Gables. I really enjoyed the start but it's really starting to bore me. Anne has some good traits but I don't really like her. Not sure if I will finish. Another 80 or so pages to go.
I tried it a while ago and couldn't get into it. I don't often leave stories unfinished but I did that time.
I might try watching one of the many film or TV adaptations for Anne of Green Gables instead of reading the book. I've been checking them all out and the 1985 Canadian TV film one looks like it might be good.
I have picked up the first Noir novel of Commissario Montalbano by Andrea Camilleri. I read it about 18 years ago, and right now, I feel like something sweet and easy.
I have almost finished rereading La Forma del Agua (The Shape of Water) by A Camilleri. There are about 23 books in the series, and I have read them all except for a couple. After reading TSoW, I think I will work my way through from the beginning as they are wonderfully entertaining and I don't recall much of the first ones I read a long time ago. Anyhow, they tend to be short novels and as a plate cleanser are delectable.
You recommended Camilleri to me before and I did end up getting the first Inspector Montalbano instalment. At the same time, I had also gotten myself some of Walter Mosley's novels. Not any of his famous Easy Rawlins crime fiction novels, but some of his stand-alones. Have you ever read him?
In that case you should have The Shape of Water. It isn’t one of the best of the series but it is a wonderful introduction to Commissario Montalbano. Camilleri’s narrative is very incisive, witty and fast paced. The plots are very engaging. For me what makes Camilleri special, is the fantastic array of secondary characters, the background culture, including the language, people’s reaction and where they place value. I’m not saying this tongue in check, implying that in Sicily only a mafioso culture could be expected. Not al all! There is a code of behaviour, principles, to which the reader gets exposed gradually with each novel. So by the time you have read a couple, what surprised you or shocked you in the first novel, you get to expect it and even to understand it further down in the series.
Also, as I have already commented, they are brief so they don't take much of your time. I hope you enjoy it!
I'm also reading An Uncertain Place by Fred Vargas. This is part of her Commissaire Adamsberg Series. The stories take place in France although Adamsberg gets also called to visit other countries. Again highly entertaining. Vargas has also written a short series The Three Evangelists: great too!
No, I haven't. So please, let me know how you find his work.
I have reread two extraordinary novels in the last few days.
The Family of Pacual Duarte by C J Cela and Five Hours with Mario by M Delibes.
I read these two works a long time along, and the fact I could recall the story in itself was irrelevant. These two books are not dealing with surprising plots and events but with people’s personal dramas very much introduced in the first few pages; reminiscent in a way of of Chronicle of a Foretold Death by G G Márquez.
What the reader gets is the mastery of the authors in tale-telling, command of the language and the psychological analysis of human nature. Once again it leaves me in awe how talented writers trap you into an accessible, captivating and beautiful text, labelled by some for being “simple” Nothing simple about these two stories but pure, raw talent.
You keep saying you're a slow reader, but you've read something like 3-4 books while I've been on one!
Reread them. And they are indeed brief books. Nothing too lengthy nor metaphysically challenging *cough* Attanasio...
I've started reading The Silence by Tim Lebbon. Not read anything from him before and only picked it up because it was cheap on audible, but I'm enjoying it so far. It's about a hidden ecosystem being discovered in Moldova in an isolated cave system, and the chaos that erupts when the creatures which are contained within are let loose!
When I was looking into Tim Lebbon, this was one of the novels I had bookmarked to pick up! Will be looking forward to what you think!
Separate names with a comma.