February 4, 2021 at 12:03 pm #138834Brydo
I must admit I am not a big reader of books but it’s clear that some on the forum are.
I could of course be tempted and no better time than now when we have very little to do.
So I thought it would be interesting to hear from members their recommendations.
February 17, 2021 at 2:30 pm #140316Georgie
Finally bit the proverbial bullet and started reading Moby Dick. Melville don’t ‘alf ramble (paid by the word like Dickens was?, I wonder), but the details regarding whaling are supposed to be pretty accurate, so I’m giving it a go.February 17, 2021 at 2:34 pm #140318
Now reading Grim Expectations by K W Jeter. this being the third in the George Dower trilogy set in an alternative Victorian Britain running on clockwork and steam. Jeter is the person credited with devising the genre name Steampunk but I’m prepared to forgive him that. His Dower character is a most unlikely hero being a terminally pessimistic coward who makes a mess of everything. Decidedly eccentric and downright odd. Genetically engineered jellyfish postmen, giant walking lighthouses and clockwork predatory monsters roaming Highgate cemetery are just a few of the oddities. First two volumes were okay, this third one is rather disappointing. Nothing much happening.February 17, 2021 at 4:48 pm #140355
I reckon Moby Dick must be worth the effort, Georgie. Read it geological ages ago, probably in my teens, and have fond memories of it. Must confess to having a weakness for anything maritime: Old Man and the Sea, HMS Ulysses, Cruel Sea and, of course, Hornblower.February 17, 2021 at 7:19 pm #140397
And another thing… does anyone have certain books which MUST be read once every couple of years? Or at least regularly? Mine are The City and the Stars by Arthur Clarke, any of the Culture novels by Iain M Banks, Catch 22 by Heller. I’ve read Lord of the Rings many times – once aloud, cover-to-cover to the kids!
So what are your Must Read Agains…?February 18, 2021 at 9:59 am #140450Georgie
Infernal Devices trilogy and Bookman trilogy duly added to Amazon basket, though I’m not sure when I’ll get to read them, what with the Bryant and May series and Dopy Mick to get through first. 🙂
Regarding nautical novels – Have you read the Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O Brian? The film Master and Commander is a very good introduction (though, as it wasn’t pertinent to the plot, it didn’t cover Doctor Maturin being not only a surgeon and a philanthropist, but also a spy for the Admiralty).
‘Must read’ books – I discovered Winter’s Tale by Mark Helpern when I was 22 and it has been my favourite book ever since, read roughly every 3 years. Every time the story leaves me feeling emotionally wrung out – like I’ve just experienced a grand feast of the imagination. (Much to my disgust it was recently ruined in a dreadful film that I do not recommend!February 18, 2021 at 3:02 pm #140492
Winter’s Tale is one of Mrs T’s volumes which sits in a bookcase behind my seat in living room. Have been intrigued by title and keep meaning to pick it up and investigate (many hundreds of books scattered through house). It is now on my list. Will also put Patrick O Brian on list too.February 22, 2021 at 2:48 pm #140801
Finally got hold of Winter’s Tale. Cover notes make it sound utterly intriguing. Shall dive in immediately. Book was sent to Mrs T in ’84 for review – she wrote quite a lot of book crit’s at the time.February 23, 2021 at 9:25 pm #140897
@Georgie Haven’t seen a post from you recently. Everything OK? Just wanted to say that you really got me with Winter’s Tale. Can’t put the damn thing down. Seriously habit-forming and outrageously eccentric.February 24, 2021 at 9:25 am #140933Georgie
No worries – I’m about, more or less. Just had a bit of an MS blip, but getting better. 🙂
How is Mrs. T. these days, by the way?
Winter’s Tale seems to be a ‘Marmite’ book: neither sister nor best friend liked it; other friend like it so much she took my copy away with her (allegedly by accident) when she moved to Tokyo (Kawasaki) to teach ‘English as a Foreign Language’ in Yokohama. Then she met a drummer from Bristol, married him and eventually moved to York.February 24, 2021 at 11:03 am #140950
Good to hear. Glad you’re feeling a bit better. Mrs T is getting better albeit slowly. Much more slowly than after first operation. Continues to get pain from incision scars. Started walking again, up to a mile per day. Still can’t handle the dog though . Hope to build up enough mass and therefore strength soon to take Tilly out. Neighbour still doing the honours.
All I can say about Winter’s Tale is that I must really like Marmite. Totally intriguing. I feel like I’m drowning in ideas. The character of Pearly is quite brilliant!February 24, 2021 at 2:17 pm #140960Georgie
Another thing W.T. got me interested in was the history of the New York water system. A lot of the old structures are still visible (Google maps) in one form or another e.g. the Great Lawn in Central Park was once a reservoir, the New York Public Library and park are built on the site of another reservoir, the beautiful High Bridge (oldest bridge in New York), now a foot bridge over the Harlem River, was originally an aqueduct and the associated water tower still stands above the western end . . .February 24, 2021 at 2:53 pm #140962
Great link, Georgie. Will read properly when time allows. If I had a criticism of WT it would be that a knowledge of NYC would help a great deal in following more obscure bits. Only in-depth stuff I know concerns the Brooklyn Bridge; wrote a science piece about its construction. Quite fascinating (and deadly).February 24, 2021 at 4:58 pm #140969Georgie
My favourite NY bridge – and yes, the construction was both brilliant and deadly. I wouldn’t have gone down into those caissons for anything!February 24, 2021 at 9:33 pm #141008
Roebling. the bridge’s chief engineer suffered terribly with after effects of pressure sickness. If tales are to be believed, he spent his last days bedridden watching work on the bridge from his window. If I remember correctly, the pressure sickness in caissons for tunnels and bridges was not so new. Brunel the elder confronted the same thing building tunnel(s) under the Thames.February 26, 2021 at 9:40 am #141150Georgie
I’m afraid Dopy Mick has been consigned to the bookcase once more. I gave it a 180 page shot but, as far as I’m concerned, l’Empereur n’a pas de vêtements. Er ist nackt. Nudus. In, as it were, the nib.
So . . . What to read next. Decisions . . . Decisions . . .
Oh. Of course!
“I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me.”February 26, 2021 at 10:42 am #141167
Rumex sum. Ad imperatorem vestimenta sua habet. So the whale has driven you back to Helprin’s outlandish eccentricity. Enjoy! Again! I certainly am. All his characters are simply intriguing and wonderfully drawn; even the optometrist – you feel his attraction to, and fear, of Beverley. As for the latter, well, living on the roof in a tent! WITH consumption.
Have you seen the film? Released in 2014, it stars, amongst others, Eva Marie Saint and Russell Crowe. Colin Farrell is the lead. Hmm. Would have to be very good indeed to come anywhere near the wonder of the novel.