Books - What are you reading?

Books - What are you reading?

Author
Discussion

Goaty Bill 2

3,095 posts

70 months

Monday 3rd February
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'A Raw Youth' or 'The Adolescent' by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Translation by Constance Garnet
Published by Limited Editions Club 1974

Stock photo


My copy


As may be observed from the second photo, lying between 'The Possessed' and 'The House of the Dead', I have been fortunate enough to have acquired a pristine, 'unopened' and unread edition with the volumes still in their original wrappings.
To preserve them, I elected to purchase a copy published by Amazon for reading. A mistake.
514 pages reduced to 311 (in a smaller format) makes for a very small font and tightly spaced text.
An absolute PITA to read. By comparison, I read 1200 pages of 'The Gulag Archipelago' in a similar period of time.
Additionally, there were numerous mistakes in the text and a complete lack of page numbering. How cheap can you get Amazon?

As for the the novel.
This one was unique, in my experience of reading Dostoevsky, in that I never really got properly involved in the tale. Possibly because I found the narrator/protagonist so very annoying. (Yes; this was very much the intent of the novel.)
I found him impossible to empathise with for the most part, perhaps because I am now too far distant from the age group (20/21) or because it resonated too strongly with my own youthful ignorance and stupidity.
I remain certain however that, had I read this at age 25, I would have found the little st equally annoying, though this does not convince me that my second proposition is necessarily entirely true either smile

Nonetheless, there are passages of prescient genius contained within the story.
As with many of Dostoevsky's works there is a strong theme of the old Russia versus 'new' Russia, his concerns for the modern tendency towards nihilism and, the abandonment of traditional morals and values.
It does however lack the deep tragedy so often associated with other of his works.
There are of course many opinions on this novel available with a bit of googling, many of which give further (and better) insight into the novel, not to mention an academic work of some 540 pages by Victor Terras and Edward Wasiolek (readily available second hand and not to be confused with the novel itself).

In short, this is probably one for the Dostoevsky scholars and enthusiasts rather than the casual reader.



Adam B

17,497 posts

205 months

Monday 3rd February
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rst99 said:
On to this now. So far so good.

its very good, and (sort of) shocking

MC Bodge

12,441 posts

126 months

Monday 3rd February
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Adam B said:
rst99 said:
On to this now. So far so good.

its very good, and (sort of) shocking
It's interesting and what happened to some of his Russian colleagues was bad, but I couldn't help thinking that Bill Browder did go to Russia to make a fast buck from them.

Steve vRS

3,450 posts

192 months

Tuesday 4th February
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I’ve just finished The Second Sleep by Robert Harris. The premise is good and I enjoyed the first 75%.

However, I felt that as the number of pages I had left to read became fewer, there was a lot of plot left to cover. And my fears were realised. The ending was abrupt and unsatisfying.

2 out of 5.

andy_s

15,820 posts

210 months

Tuesday 4th February
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Just finished Black Wave by Kim Ghattis, a recent history of the emergent rivalries in the Middle East from the pivotal date of 1979, well written and researched but surprisingly easy to read. Certainly a good primer, but also a sound analysis.



(Apols for sideways pic)

TheJimi

16,000 posts

194 months

Tuesday 4th February
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Steve vRS said:
I’ve just finished The Second Sleep by Robert Harris. The premise is good and I enjoyed the first 75%.

However, I felt that as the number of pages I had left to read became fewer, there was a lot of plot left to cover. And my fears were realised. The ending was abrupt and unsatisfying.

2 out of 5.
Agreed. I did the exact same thing. Got over halfway, considered the plot, and realised it was gonna end up a rush job.

It did.

Very annoying.

IanA2

2,420 posts

113 months

Tuesday 4th February
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Steve vRS said:
I’ve just finished The Second Sleep by Robert Harris. The premise is good and I enjoyed the first 75%.

However, I felt that as the number of pages I had left to read became fewer, there was a lot of plot left to cover. And my fears were realised. The ending was abrupt and unsatisfying.

2 out of 5.
Agreed, but I'd give 3/5.

Derek Smith

35,638 posts

199 months

Saturday 8th February
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I’m ready a history book that’s the most depressing horror story I’ve ever read. It is ghastly. It is haunting.

Savage Continent by Keith Lowe.

I love history books. I’ve read a fair bit on the immediate post war history of the UK, but very little on that of the European mainland. This book covers the immediate aftermath. It is something of an untold story, or at least not mentioned.

The book is scary. I stopped reading it twice, not because it is written poorly. In fact, it is just the opposite. Lowe sort of chats to you, and his matter of fact style makes it worse. It just got too much. Then it drew me back, only to be appalled again.

I had no idea what went on. I knew there was some retribution handed out to collaborators. I’d seen film of a few bodies and young women with their heads being shaved. But this goes deeper. The figures are just that; figures. If you thought 100 dead was bad, then 500 is just a bit worse. But the book highlights the hundreds of thousands who were killed, maimed, died, displaced, lost. And it has, largely, been ignored.

I recently read of the ‘missing’ in the years of Franco, and the way the government have sort of covered it up, making it an offence to mention it. He was nothing compared to what went on.

Want to sober up, for days? Then Savage Continent does it for you.

havoc

24,758 posts

186 months

Sunday 9th February
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Derek Smith said:
Want to sober up, for days?
Not right now, thanks all the same...

MC Bodge

12,441 posts

126 months

Sunday 9th February
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Derek Smith said:
I’m ready a history book that’s the most depressing horror story I’ve ever read. It is ghastly. It is haunting.

Savage Continent by Keith Lowe.

I love history books. I’ve read a fair bit on the immediate post war history of the UK, but very little on that of the European mainland. This book covers the immediate aftermath. It is something of an untold story, or at least not mentioned.

The book is scary. I stopped reading it twice, not because it is written poorly. In fact, it is just the opposite. Lowe sort of chats to you, and his matter of fact style makes it worse. It just got too much. Then it drew me back, only to be appalled again.

I had no idea what went on. I knew there was some retribution handed out to collaborators. I’d seen film of a few bodies and young women with their heads being shaved. But this goes deeper. The figures are just that; figures. If you thought 100 dead was bad, then 500 is just a bit worse. But the book highlights the hundreds of thousands who were killed, maimed, died, displaced, lost. And it has, largely, been ignored.

I recently read of the ‘missing’ in the years of Franco, and the way the government have sort of covered it up, making it an offence to mention it. He was nothing compared to what went on.

Want to sober up, for days? Then Savage Continent does it for you.
That sounds interesting. I found Beevor's book, Berlin: The Downfall similar. One atrocity after another, with horrendous retribution against the non fighting people.

War is not glamorous and the mythologising of WW2 (fought by their parents) by older English people is often very distasteful.

Ardennes1944

63 posts

16 months

Sunday 9th February
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Finished Chickenhawk last night. Written by a Vietnam Huey pilot. Normally only read books on WW1 and WW2 but this was a very good read I thought.

MC Bodge

12,441 posts

126 months

Sunday 9th February
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Ardennes1944 said:
Finished Chickenhawk last night. Written by a Vietnam Huey pilot. Normally only read books on WW1 and WW2 but this was a very good read I thought.
It is an excellent book

Derek Smith

35,638 posts

199 months

Sunday 9th February
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MC Bodge said:
That sounds interesting. I found Beevor's book, Berlin: The Downfall similar. One atrocity after another, with horrendous retribution against the non fighting people.

War is not glamorous and the mythologising of WW2 (fought by their parents) by older English people is often very distasteful.
You point is emphasised in the book. 8 May was not the end of the killing.

You can understand those in concentration camps turning on their guards. You can understand those who liberated the camps turning a blind eye. In the book it mentions a soldier shooting a guard in the legs and then leaving him to the inmates. The Americans fought their way into the first camp they liberated so, with their blood up, you can empathise with their immediate response when seeing the horror. I met a Fleet Air Arm chap who was interred in Libya by the French. They were not the nicest of captors. When liberated, and staying on a British ship in the harbour, someone returned to the camp and killed the commandant. This was not the chap who was chatting to us.

A couple of years later, PIRA terrorists murdered him for no particular reason. The same sort of mindset, that of their desires overwhelming simple moral behaviour, is what was seen in post war Europe but magnified hundreds of times.

Lowe tries to explain why he thinks the carnage has been ignored, swept under the carpet. Everyone was at it. The war was at an end, but ethnic cleansing, what the Germans did in their camps, escalated. Civilians had to march hundreds of miles, without food, shelter or extra clothing, through hostile locals, to get to a location that was devastated and suffering from its own problems, most notably too many mouths to feed. The horror didn't fit the narrative.

The saviour in all of this was the USA and Marshall Aid. They did it for their own political reasons, but they did it.

Tony Angelino

975 posts

64 months

Sunday 9th February
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4 books down so far this year:

This is Going To Hurt
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Strangeways - A Prison Officers Story
Fifty Dead Men Walking (about a young lad working for Special Branch whilst an active IRA member)

Just moved on to these as I like to have a couple on the go:

A Short History Of Nearly Everything
12 Rules For Life


yoshisdad

340 posts

122 months

Monday 10th February
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Saw this at The Classic Car Show at the NEC and dropped enough hints that my lovely wife bought it for Xmas.
I enjoyed it a lot. First book I have read cover to cover in a while. Made me think, made me laugh and what else are books for?

Plus it's written by a PHer!

coppice

5,796 posts

95 months

Monday 10th February
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Guilty ...and I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

droopsnoot

7,455 posts

193 months

Monday 10th February
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I've just finished "The Dead Room" by Chris Mooney, a good read although the crime scene tech is a bit Silent-Witness like in getting involved with other stuff for historical reasons. Good, though, and much easier to read than my previous choice.

Captain Smerc

2,172 posts

67 months

Monday 10th February
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This


Followed by



seems appropriate given the news...

droopsnoot

7,455 posts

193 months

Wednesday 19th February
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I've just read "Pig Island" by Mo Hayder, which was a bit different. Writer trying to do a feature on an obscure cult living on a Scottish island, where a mysterious beast has been spotted. (ETA - makes it sound weirder than it actually is. It's a decent read.)

The Hypno-Toad

9,864 posts

156 months

Wednesday 19th February
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Just finished "My Greatest Defeat" by Will Buxton

Anyone who is even remotely interested in any form of motorsport should read this book. Some truly amazing stories from a selection of very candid interviews from the biggest names in racing, describing how they recovered from massive set backs in their lives and careers. Some of them you will probably have some knowledge of already but others are absolute eye-openers. The book is worth reading just for Ari Vatanen's story. I would be fascinated to know who turned the author down and who will turn up in any possible volume II.

Highly recommended. 9/10.

(point off only for the slightly distracting portraits.)