WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED READING?


There’s a conversation going on over there on the side about books and I thought it might be a worthwhile subject for all of us to share our favorites. I’ve got quite a few but for now I’ll limit myself to a just couple of authors. The first is Len Deighton, I loved all his espionage stories and read them as fast as he wrote them, I was always in a state of expectancy awaiting the next chapter in his ongoing sagas. After a series of generally unrelated novels in the 60’s and 70’s he came up with a character Bernard Sampson in 1983, he’s a British agent operating mostly in Europe throughout the cold war.
He wrote a trilogy based on this character which comprised:
Berlin Game, 1983
Mexico Set, 1984
London Match, 1985

These were so successful that in 1988 he continued the series with a second trilogy, this one was:
Spy Hook, 1988
Spy Line, 1989
Spy Sinker, 1990

And in 1994 he released the last in the series:
Faith, 1994
Hope, 1995
Charity, 1996

All nine novels are closely related, they all have the same cast of characters and the stories interrelate. They’re a fabulous read, but you must start at the beginning.
Right in the middle, in 1987 he wrote a ‘prequel’ to the series, ‘Winter’, it’s a standalone novel but it also relates historically to the cast of characters in the trilogies, I found it to be fascinating but I don’t know where to suggest in the chronology it fits ideally, perhaps right in the middle where once you know the characters it provides historical background.
He’s also written many non fiction books all of which are very worthwhile including one that I think is the best in it’s field:
Blood, Tears and Folly: An Objective Look at World War II, 1993
If you want to get an understanding about what was going on in that period, then this is well worth reading.
There’s a large blog of readers devoted to his work, it’s at:
http://www-staff.it.uts.edu.au/~tomlin/LD/

There’s one other author that I’d like to recommend, Bill Bryson, I’ve enjoyed most of his work but there’s one book that I think is fabulous, it’s:
“A short History of Nearly Everything”. It’s the history of science which you might think sounds deadly dull but it isn’t, it reads like a thriller and is extremely interesting, I literally could not put it down and since 2003 I’ve read it three times. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

OK, Those are mine for now, what are yours?

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31 thoughts on “WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED READING?

  1. I am a voracious reader but I do have some constant faves;Sarah Waters, China Mieville, Tolkien, Patricia Cornwell, Lindsay Davis, John le Carre, Terry Pratchett,

  2. I know this thread is about fave books, not trilogies and thrillers, but you’ve got me on a train of thought now. Trilogies: my favourite ever is the massive, sweeping ‘Don’ series by Mikhail Sholokhov (‘Quiet flows the Don’, ‘Harvest on the Don’, ‘The Don flows home to the sea’). I went to get a set for a friend who has just finished enjoying ‘War & Peace’, and Waterstones said they are out of print, which seems unbelievable.I love biography, too, and enjoyed the three memoirs by Frank McCourt (‘Angela’s ashes’, ‘Tis’, & ‘Teacher man’). On the thriller front, I think Martin Cruz Smith (‘Gorky Park’, ‘Wolves eat dogs’) both well written and wonderfully plotful. And I enjoy Robert Wilson for similar reasons (e.g. ‘A small death in Lisbon’).I like anything by Annie Proulx, especially ‘The Shipping News’ (I haven’t seen the film – I can’t bear the thought of it not being like the movie she projected in my head). Her style and descriptive turns of phrase are wonderfully fresh. I went to see her at a festival a few years ago, and she recommended the author Ha Jin. His are simple, unadorned tales of life in China, with the sparse easy style of McCall Smith, without the saccharine and morality. Try ‘In the pond’, or ‘Waiting’.Every now and then you get a book you don’t want to end, and you slow down the reading, and ration the pages towards the end. ‘The remains of the day’ by Ishiguro was one; ‘Wild Swans’ another (by Jung Chang). And equally rare is a writer with a completely new style – like Proulx. Another is the founder of magical realism, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. As well as wonders like ‘100 years of solitude’, there’s his recent memoir, ‘Living to tell the tale’, in which it turns out his life was just as bizarre as his books. I had the pleasure, last year, to visit the town where he now lives, and where some of his books are based – Cartagena in Columbia. A fantastically beautiful and well preserved Spanish colonial city/port, all flowers and balconies, chess players, faded stucco, and sultry street life. I could go on and on (some would say I already have). So, enough already…

  3. Just finished “The Clan Corporate” by Charlie Stross, the third book in his parallel-worlds fantasy series. Bit of a change of pace if your used to his technophiliac near future or space-opera stuff, although it shares a lot of Stross’ characteristic elements; strong female lead characters, shades-of-gray morality that make you think, but with some truly nasty villains.

  4. GHE: Never enough already, thanks for all those thoughts and recommendations. Re. Annie Proux, like you I love her fiction, but are you aware of her non-fiction? I planted about 20 odd heirloom apple trees when we bought this house, it was then that I discovered that she wrote THE standard reference work on the making of cider. I think I’ve read most of her work and enjoyed particularly ‘Shipping and Accordion’ plus her short Wyoming stories.

  5. Wow, big subject. Reading is one of my absolute greatest pleasures in life. It would be hard to list all the books I love in this little square. I tend to go for the classics. I’m currently reading Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend for the billionth time. It’s dark, funny, political, satirical. I think Dickens got a rotten treatment from Hollywood and is now unfairly written off as sentimental victorian fluff. I’m not supposed to talk about this because Mr. Steenbeck said it makes me sound pretentious, but War and Peace is unbelievably good. The characters are so complicated and human. I can’t stop thinking about it, and I’m still waiting for someone to make a hip hop version. Strangely enough there was a blog on the guardian a while back comparing these very books. I think James Baldwin’s Another Country is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. Of people still writing today…hmmm…Toni Morrison is staggeringly good. Gorgeous language and stunning emotional impact. there are so many more…

  6. These are the authors that I find I can always trust:Charles Dickens – I defy anyone to read Great Expectations and not be moved.John Steenbeck – sorry, Steinbeck – I must have read The Grapes of Wrath at least ten times and it gets better each time.P G Wodehouse – 57 of his and 9 biographies/reference books on my shelves. Simply the funniest writer in the English language – ever.Russell Hoban – a bit more obscure but Ridley Walker and Kleinzeit are both on my desert island list.Thomas Hardy – Jude The Obscure, Tess of The D’Urbevilles and many more. The first books I read after leaving school and discovering that reading could actually be quite enjoyable!Bibliodonds to Terry Pratchett and Bill Bryson…

  7. I’m evangelical about “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts at the moment. It’s based on the author’s own life – he was a heroin addict and convicted armed robber who broke out of jail in Australia and went to live in Bombay. There, he lived in a slum, where he opened a free health clinic, worked for the mafia, spent some time in an Indian jail and fought in Afghanistan with the Muhajadeen. It’s an amazing story, wonderfully vivid, eye-opening, grittily authentic, wise, funny and romantic, full of memorable characters, sparkling dialogue and meditations on freedom, love, god and life. It’s over 900 pages – and his first two drafts were destroyed by prison guards. As I say, I’m pretty evangelical about it.The other book everyone in the world should read is much shorter: “Fup” by Jim Dodge is an American outlaw novella about an old man and a duck. It is perfect.Currently reading “The truth about these strange times” by Adam Foulds, which seems promising.A few other faves: Thomas Pynchon, Alan Warner, Virginia Woolf, AS Byatt, David Mitchell, Barbara Trapido, Kate Atkinson… I could go on and on.

  8. Toffee & Steen: Lots of names here that I’m not yet familiar with but Dickens I like a lot, the last time I was in UK I saw Bleak House which was wonderful and prompted me to get the book. Have you seen the 3 part documentary, could be BBC, about his life? very interesting and revealing especially the bit about his two simultaneous families. War & Peace was so long ago but I remember being enthralled by it, I was a teenager. Steinbeck I loved as a kid but had a hard time with his right wing switch; it didn’t occur to me last week but the speech in the film where Tom makes the speech about “where ever there are people fighting injustice etc, I’ll be there….” that’s a real tearjerker for me, even welling up just thinking about it. I’ve got more unread books sitting waiting, plus several re-reads and now this lot! But I’m with you Steen, I love reading. Wodehouse I only know by name, I’ll check him out.

  9. I love the idea of Bibliodonds!So, Bibliodonds for Iain Banks (thanks for The Crow Road) and also for all those Iain M Banks Culture novels too.I also love Patricia Highsmith, Tom Ripley is the ultimate anti hero.Oh yes, and I really have to big up Mary Renault, the queen of historical fiction.

  10. Erm…..I’m actually a terrible Fiction reader.I spend almost every spare minute I’ve got reading non-fiction (and I include my ‘hard-copy’ Guardian in that aswell) but there is one novel that I absolutely love, I’ve read time and time again and which is, get this, relevant to this week’s blog. It’s’Shogun’ – James Clavell.Just reading it is like a literary version of a Japanese Tea Ceremony. It’s not what happens but how it happens that matters. And infact nothing much does happen. ( And, yes, I have read about the real ‘Toranaga’, the real ‘Blackthorne’ and that whole fascinating period of Japanese history).Oh, and ‘Pillars of the Earth’ by Ken Follet because I’m a Structural Engineer and I loved the bits about the stresses and strains in the new cathedral (and, ofcourse, whether or not the boy would get the girl etc..)

  11. Perenniel favourites: Hardy (though not Jude, I’m afraid I laughed at the death of Old Father Time), Woolf, Iain Banks (though not M), Alan Warner, Sarah Waters, Jasper Fforde (though increasingly more like a chore to get through), Malcom Pryce (ex Aberystwyth resident, like myself), Tracy Chevalier (very, very, very good writer, especially Falling Angels), Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Coe, Terry Pratchett.If I could have written just one perfect book though, it would have to be Kate Atkinson’s Behind The Scenes At The Museum. I love all her works, but this is just perfection. She gave a reading in Lincoln last year and was fabulous, very understaed with her wit and very clever.I do quite like some of the fantasy doorstops, especially Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon and The Firebrand, and Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapstry trilogy. He’s very good at writing women. Neil Gaiman’s work, both graphic novel and novel forms are exceptional works of fantasy too.Childhood faves that still do it for me: Molesworth, Little Women, Watership Down, The Once and Future King, Alan Garner and Lloyd Alexander’s retellings of the Mabinogion, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, etc.Poetry: Larkin, Heaney, Shakespeare, Gillian Clarke, Betjemen, ee cummings, Fleur Adcock, Roger McGough…There’s a reason I teach English!

  12. I’m a big short story fan and nobody is better than Andre Dubus (not to be confused with his son, Andre Dubus III of House of Sand and Fog fame). If you can ever get your hands on “The Times are Never So Bad” or his “Collected Short Stories”, snatch them up. If you can read “A Father’s Story” without welling up, see a doctor and check that you still have a heartbeat. Also a peerless short story witer is Alice Munro from Canada. She should be far more famous than she is.For thrillers/crime, Ireally like Walter Mosley and a relatively new British writer, Steve Mosby. He’s my best discovery of the past few years. I’d got very tired of the formulaic writing in so much of the thriller genre where the protagonist ALWAYS has to be in mortal danger by the end of the book, regardless of how innocuous their careers. Hang your heads in shame, Kathy Reichs, Sara Paretsky, Patricia Cornwell, Sue Grafton; they all started well but have succumbed to the standard heroine in danger scenario by the end of each book. (I do still like Sue Grafton, though. Somehow her writing and plotting rises above it.)Wodehouse is one of the funniest writers ever, but spare a few hours to read Raymond Chandler as well. Very good at the well-turned phrse.

  13. Currently reading Philip Kerr’s “The one from the other” a fine sequel (set in 1949) to his 1980/90’s Berlin Noir trilogy, about Bernie Gunther, a private detective, who somehow (read the Berlin Noir trilogy…) made it through the Nazi years, great hard-boile Chandler-style private eye stuff…

  14. @tracyk – Kate Atkinson’s Behind The Scenes At The Museum is indeed perfection. I read the second half of the book in one sitting – or rather, I started it in bed then carried on reading and reading, and as the emotions piled up, found myself getting out of bed, pacing up and down the hall in the middle of the night, the tears streaming down my face, as the story unfolded.I’ve haven’t yet found the strength to read it again – I suppose once you’re aware of the ‘twist’ it becomes a very different story. Still, the moment of revelation, is, in my mind, unrivalled in modern fiction. And I just didn’t see it coming at all…

  15. I would have loved to have had TracyK as an English teacher. My speling wuld hav been beter. I taught English at a French Uni for 2 years, had the time of my life and used Pet Shop Boys Songs in class because of Neil’s perfect dick-shon. —My perfect book because it’s jaw-droppingly brilliant, erudite, sinister, beautifully constructed and incisive AND CRYING OUT TO BE FILMED is Donna Tartt’s Secret History. Love, guilt, murder, tragedy. What’s not to like? anyone read it?

  16. I’m personally very drawn to Japanese literature. My favourite writer is probably Tanizaki Junichiro, his The Makioka Sisters and Some Prefer Nettles are two of the most emotionally nuanced books I’ve ever read. he did some mean historical fiction. Other great Japanese books: The Samurai – Shusaku Endo. not what the title suggests, this is an incredibly moving story about religion, loyalty and sacrifice. It begins with the quintessential lines of Japanese literature. An entire paragraph in fact: ‘It began to snow.’The Sound of the Mountain – Kawabata Yasunari, amazing book, about getting older, but also about the relationships within a fractious but closely tied family. his A Thousand Cranes is possibly the saddest novel I’ve read. Like Ryunosuke Akutagawa (who wrote Rashomon and Hell Screen, one of the best short stories I’ve read) and Mishima, Kawabata committed suicide. Though unlike Mishima he didn’t do it by seppuku in a public place.The Wind Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami. More modern than the others and brilliant in it’s own way. I actually credit this book with changing my life in a concrete and demonstrable way.Other favourites of mine are:The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers (an amazing woman, she wrote this at 22 and was paralysed by a series of strokes in her mid-20s. Another suicide, I believe).Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe, best book I’ve read about colonialism. Followed closely by, in a VERY different vein, The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon who I disagree with as much as I agree, but cannot get over how brilliant his book is.Currently reading Wole Soyinka’s You Must Set Forth at Dawn, a brilliantly written memoir of his political activism in Nigeria.

  17. I will read ANYTHING in the English language, just as long as it’s not been penned by Jeffrey Archer. I, too, love Alice Munro, Kate Atkinson, Julian Barnes, Thomas Hardy (I want to live in Dorset), P.G. Wodehouse (feeling ill, feeling blue, one of these’ll do the trick), Jasper Fforde, David Mitchell (only just discovered thanks to a tip-off from my cousin), Jerome K. Jerome (“Three Men In A Boat” is another classic I return to again and again…I like stories involving music (Patrick Neale’s “Twelve Bar Blues” comes highly recommended), and I’m a sucker for a story with a non-sympathetic protagonist, so I REALLY enjoyed Vikram Seth’s “An Equal in Music”!My favourite genre of all is children’s literature. Whilst I enjoyed the first three Harry Potter books immensely, my *kid lit heroes* are (the late Janet and) Alan Ahlberg, Francesca Simon for Horrid Henry – I couldn’t read those stories aloud to my children, I was laughing so much – and the AMAZINGLY GENIAL, GENIALLY AMAZING Phillip Ardagh.

  18. If you ever have a few spare months, I can recommend the Patrick O’Brien “Aubrey/Maturin” series. 20(!) books, starting with “Master and Commander”, with “Far Side of the World” about tenth, if I remember correctly. (the film conflated the two apparently: I’ve not seen it, having already got my own idea of how the characters looked).As a series, it has everything: depth, detail, characters, tension… and very, very readable. My advice to anyone put off by the idea of reading twenty books in a row (it took me almost exactly two months of unemployment, and I’m a pretty fast reader) is to get hold of the first one, and take it from there.It arrived with me by way of recommendation, and I’ve personally passed it on to three others since!

  19. Did you see Margaret Atwood’s piece about Anne of Green Gables in The Grauniad Review today? A wonderful article about a truly fantastic book – which definitely belongs (returning to earlier themes) in my list of books that have made me cry.Oh, Marilla…

  20. Kate Atkinson’s Behind The Scenes At The Museum is indeed perfectionIt certainly is that.I loved that book so much, it is hilariously funny in places and so amazingly sad in others.I suppose this is a bibliodond.I read a fantastic take on the swashbuckling genre a couple of years ago on holiday – Isabel Allende’s Zorro

  21. I want to thank whoever it was that initiated all this with a ‘comments conversation’ last week, I know Darcey’s dad was in there. What a wonderful outpouring of taste and teaching: I know that we’ll all benefit from it. I’m a library addict and we have a wonderful online service, the catalog’s posted there and I can request anything and get a phone call when it’s delivered to my local branch, trouble is I get carried away and often there’s 2-3 waiting whenever I go to pick something up, so I’ve just done a copy and paste of all of the foregoing which I’ll keep on my desktop and I’ll try to order them in a fashion that will give me time to read them. My Sunday mornings are always taken up with reading the online edition of the New York Times review if books which often triggers an online library request. Thanks to all of you, here’s the list, copy and paste it.I just ordered Kate Atkinson’s ‘Museum’ from the library. It’ll be in this week. ***********************************Sarah Waters, China Mieville, Tolkien, Patricia Cornwell, Lindsay Davis, John le Carre, Terry Pratchett, Mikhail Sholokhov (‘Quiet flows the Don’, ‘Harvest on the Don’, ‘The Don flows home to the sea’). Frank McCourt (‘Angela’s ashes’, ‘Tis’, & ‘Teacher man’). On the thriller front, I think Martin Cruz Smith (‘Gorky Park’, ‘Wolves eat dogs’) Robert Wilson for similar reasons (e.g. ‘A small death in Lisbon’).
Annie Proulx, especially ‘The Shipping News’ : the author Ha Jin. His are simple, unadorned tales of life in China,’The remains of the day’ by Ishiguro was one; ‘Wild Swans’ another (by Jung Chang). 
 Gabriel Garcia Marquez. As well as wonders like ‘100 years of solitude’, there’s his recent memoir, ‘Living to tell the tale’, “The Clan Corporate” by Charlie Stross, Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend:War and Peace is unbelievably good. The characters are so complicated and human James Baldwin’s Another Country Toni Morrison is staggeringly good. Gorgeous language and stunning emotional impact. Steinbeck – I must have read The Grapes of Wrath at least ten times 
P G Wodehouse – 57 of his and 9 biographies/reference books on my shelvesRussell Hoban – a bit more obscure but Ridley Walker and Kleinzeit are both on my desert island list.
Thomas Hardy – Jude The Obscure, Tess of The D’UrbevillesI’m evangelical about “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts at the moment. 
The other book everyone in the world should read is much shorter: “Fup” by Jim Dodge is an American outlaw novella about an old man and a duck. It is perfect. “The truth about these strange times” by Adam Foulds, which seems promising.
Saki, Iain Banks, Julian Barnes, Wodehouse, Shakespeare & JK Rowling. Iain Banks Patricia Highsmith Mary Renault’Shogun’ – James Clavell. Pillars of the Earth’ by Ken Follet because I’m a Structural EngineerHardy, (though not Jude, I’m afraid I laughed at the death of Old Father Time), Woolf, Iain Banks (though not M), Alan Warner, Sarah Waters, Jasper Fforde (though increasingly more like a chore to get through), Malcom Pryce (ex Aberystwyth resident, like myself), Tracy Chevalier (very, very, very good writer, especially Falling Angels), Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Coe, Terry PratchettKate Atkinson’s Behind The Scenes At The Museum.Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon and The Firebrand, and Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapstry trilogy. He’s very good at writing women Neil Gaiman’s work, both graphic novel and novel forms are exceptional works of fantasy too.
 Molesworth, Little Women, Watership Down, The Once and Future King, Alan Garner and Lloyd Alexander’s retellings of the Mabinogion, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, etc.
Poetry: Larkin, Heaney, Shakespeare, Gillian Clarke, Betjemen, ee cummings, Fleur Adcock, Roger McGough…

I’m a big short story fan and nobody is better than Andre Dubus (not to be confused with his son, Andre Dubus III of House of Sand and Fog fame). “The Times are Never So Bad” or his “Collected Short StoriesAlso a peerless short story witer is Alice Munro from Canada.For thrillers/crime, Ireally like Walter Mosley and a relatively new British writer, Steve Mosby. He’s my best discovery of the past few yearsWodehouse is one of the funniest writers ever, but spare a few hours to read Raymond Chandler as well.Currently reading Philip Kerr’s “The one from the other” a fine sequel (set in 1949) to his 1980/90’s Berlin Noir trilogy, about Bernie Gunther, a private detectiveKate Atkinson’s Behind The Scenes At The Museum is indeed perfection Donna Tartt’s Secret History. My favourite writer is probably Tanizaki Junichiro, his The Makioka Sisters and Some Prefer Nettles are two of the most emotionally nuanced books I’ve ever read. The Samurai – Shusaku EndoThe Sound of the Mountain – Kawabata Yasunari, amazing book, about getting older, A Thousand Cranes is possibly the saddest novel I’ve read. Like Ryunosuke Akutagawa (who wrote Rashomon and Hell Screen, one of the best short stories I’ve read)
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami. 
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe,The Wretched of the Earth by Franz FanonWole Soyinka’s You Must Set Forth at Dawn,I love Alice Munro, Kate Atkinson, Julian Barnes, Thomas Hardy (I want to live in Dorset), P.G. Wodehouse (feeling ill, feeling blue, one of these’ll do the trick), Jasper Fforde, David Mitchell (only just discovered thanks to a tip-off from my cousin), Jerome K. Jerome (“Three Men In A Boat” I like stories involving music (Patrick Neale’s “Twelve Bar Blues” comes highly recommended), Vikram Seth’s “An Equal in Music”!
I enjoyed the first three Harry Potter books (the late Janet and) Alan Ahlberg, Francesca Simon for Horrid Henry the AMAZINGLY GENIAL, GENIALLY AMAZING Phillip Ardagh. Patrick O’Brien “Aubrey/Maturin” series. 20(!) books, starting with “Master and Commander”, with “Far Side of the World” Did you see Margaret Atwood’s piece about Anne of Green Gables Kate Atkinson’s Behind The Scenes At The Museum is indeed perfection: Isabel Allende’s Zorro

  22. I do hope we haven’t built Behind The Scenes up too much now! I always feel so disappointed if someone dislikes a book I’ve recommended, I know it’s time you’ll never get back!As for being a good teacher, it’s impossible to be objective, but I model myself on the teachers I loved at school, all rather oddball, who went off at tangents and told amusing personal anecdotes. I had a horrible child safe-havened to my classroom this week (my class al watching Men They Couldn’t Hang and Steeleye Span videos on Youtube, as we are studying the Ballad form) and the little sod refused to take off his coat or get rid of his gum. I said “Well, aren’t you a disappointing little specimen?” and sent him to isolation. The learning support assitant who followed him up there with the necessary paperwork reported when she’d arrived he was sat at a desk looking up “specimen”. At least he’d learned something…This followed hot on the heels of a girl who’d been sent out for blampheming and swearing, informing her head of year that there were “no Christians in Lincoln: they should all go back to where they came from. London”. Hilarious.

  23. FAO TracyKDear TracyK,I was presumptious enough to suggest some jazz for you in an earlier post – could you see your way to suggesting some poetry for me??? Although I *devour* fiction (if I am awake, I’m reading – and I’m a baaad sleeper), I cannot seem to get passionate about poetry. My school syllabus included Keats, Byron and T.S. Eliot; Keats was the easiest for me to get on with, The Four Quartets remains a recurring nightmare – any suggestions? (The only poem I know to quote is “Croft” by Stevie Smith: “Aloft/In the loft/Sits Croft/He is soft” – because my Pre-Teen had to learn a poem to recite at school; plus a line or two of “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”)FAO everyoneNot quite as short as FUP (is there any book as short as FUP?), but a really delightful read – “Stargazing” by Peter Hill, the memoirs of a student working on the lighthouses back in the early 70s. Musical references include Beefheart, Deep Purple, Hendrix, the Humblebums, Rabbie Burns set to a Scottish lament…

  24. Debbym: If I might intrude, I was fortunate to work at a university and have regular access to a xerox machine: whenever I found a poem, or anything else that I liked I’d make a copy; there’s a stack sitting right next to me. Here’s a few poems I’ve enjoyed over the years, if you google them individually they’ll come up. 1. For Fran by Phillip Levine.2. Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae by Ernest Downson3. I paint what I see by E.B.White.4. You, Andtrew Marvell by Archibauld Macleish5. Morning song of Senlin by Conrad Aiken6. The soldier by Rupert Brooke7. Ultima Ratio Regum by Stephen Spender8. Black out by Robinson Jeffers9. I think continually ….by Stephen Spender!0. And Death shall have…. by Dylan Thomas. 11. In Westminster Abbey by John Betjeman.12. Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen.There’s a dozen, there’s many more, this could be the start of a new thread?If there seems to be a concentration of ‘death of young men’ there, it’s because I did a program on that theme and they all got clumped up togethe

  25. A Study of Reading HabitsWhen getting my nose in a bookCured most things short of school,It was worth ruining my eyesTo know I could still keep cool,And deal out the old right hookTo dirty dogs twice my size.Later, with inch-thick specs,Evil was just my lark:Me and my coat and fangsHad ripping times in the dark.The women I clubbed with sex!I broke them up like meringues.Don’t read much now: the dudeWho lets the girl down beforeThe hero arrives, the chapWho’s yellow and keeps the storeSeem far too familiar. Get stewed:Books are a load of crap.

  26. In the interest of maintaining this as the post with the longest comments EVER…here are some poems that have stuck with me over the years…(sorry, I was an English major, I can’t help myself)(anonymous, very old…)Oh Western Wind, when wilt thou blow, that the small rain down can rain? Christ that my love were in my arms and I in my bed again.We Real Cool, Gwendolyn BrooksWe real cool. WeLeft school. WeLurk late. WeStrike straight. WeSing sin. WeThin gin. WeJazz June. WeDie soon.I Know a Man, Robert Creeley As I sd to my friend, because I am always talking, — John, I sd, which was not his name, the darkness sur- rounds us, what can we do against it, or else, shall we & why not, buy a goddamn big car, drive, he sd, for christ’s sake, look out where yr going.You can read a lot of poetry online now, just google the poet. Try John Donne, Langston Hughes, ee cummings (look for “I like my body when it is with your body, it is so new a thing” it’s beautiful). And I know Ezra Pound was a fascist and a madman, but his “Exile’s Letter” particularly the end, is one of my favorite things ever. Although if you don’t like Eliot…

  27. I’d be happy to start a poetry slot up, after I’ve been to fat club. I hate the Guardian poetry blog, the people there are just foul. I could cheerfully punch Anytimefrances in the kisser.

  28. FrogP – there is a film of The Secret History on the way, apparently – Christopher Hampton working on the screenplay, and Jake Paltrow directing. Really recommend Donna Tartt’s “The Little Friend” too…

  29. Steenbeck: I don’t think we’ll break the record, that was mentioned last week and it was over 50 I think? But it’s quality over quantity, right? And re. google, I’ve found it to be wonderful, a week ago for no particular reason I googled ‘Andrew Marvell’ and spent an interesting hour reading a lot of discussion about it raising all sorts of points that hadn’t occurred to me.And re. films, I suppose everyone knows that there’s two Bob Marley films in production, a bioppic and a Scorcese documentary.Steenbeck, check that music blog I’ve posted and there’s a link there to an interesting video blog.

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