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Good Books You've Read This Year


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7 minutes ago, Stu101 said:

Didnt know this. Any reason why?

The obituaries have mentioned that despite the high critical praise, he was just never a bestseller.

In 2001 he had to apply for a grant from an arts body to keep on going.

A few years ago Gray bitterly remarked in an interview that his books were winning his publishers awards but he wasn't getting much in return.

I believe Gray lived in a rather modest old tenement flat in the West End. His family announced that he had left his body to medical science which is of course what Duncan Thaw's father plans to do in Lanark..

Edited by ErsatzThistle
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2 minutes ago, ErsatzThistle said:

The obituaries have mentioned that despite the high critical praise, he was just never a bestseller.

In 2001 he had to apply for a grant from an arts body to keep on going.

A few years ago Gray bitterly remarked in an interview that his books were winning his publishers awards but he wasn't getting much in return.

I believe Gray lived in a rather modest old tenement flat in the West End. His family announced that he had left his body to medical science which is of course what Duncan Thaw's father plans to do in Lanark..

Shame, although it may be that his death brings more focus on his work. Think I've only read Lanark and Pretty things out of everything he's done.

Suspect most people may only know him from his paintings in Oran Mor.

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26 minutes ago, Stu101 said:

Shame, although it may be that his death brings more focus on his work. Think I've only read Lanark and Pretty things out of everything he's done.

Suspect most people may only know him from his paintings in Oran Mor.

I hope some people who read the obituaries or watch the TV reports on his legacy will be encouraged to go and buy a copy of "Lanark" or "Poor Things" or the complete short stories. 

It's a shame he never was a bestseller when you consider some of the lowest common denominator dross that regularly flies off the bookshelves in Waterstones or WHSmith's these days.

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9 hours ago, ErsatzThistle said:

And before I forget, in addition to being a highly talented artist and writer, Alasdair Gray was also a long time supporter of Scottish independence and a professional Glaswegian :ok:

Read Lanark as a 17 year old and again as a 50 year old. This book really had a profound impact on me as a youngster. Reading it again really made me realize what a masterpiece it was. Only found out about his death last night. Read a few obituaries last night. Very talented man.

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I think one of his crucial insights was the one about making your own city [Glasgow] a place of your imagination. A message of inspiration and self respect, wherever you are from and whether or not you liked Gray's writing. 

Too often we live through the lens of Hollywood, Manhattan, WC1, Baker St, middle earth, the left bank, somewhere romantic elsewhere, rather than Riddrie, or Hillhead, or wherever you are /from. 

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As well as Lanark, quite a big read, you could start with a short story collection, maybe Unlikely Stories. 

Five Letters from an Eastern Empire is a gem, published as a stand alone volume in the 1990s

 

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11 hours ago, ErsatzThistle said:

I hope some people who read the obituaries or watch the TV reports on his legacy will be encouraged to go and buy a copy of "Lanark" or "Poor Things" or the complete short stories. 

It's a shame he never was a bestseller when you consider some of the lowest common denominator dross that regularly flies off the bookshelves in Waterstones or WHSmith's these days.

'Poor things' thats right, apologies. He was read a lot when I was at uni - but I suppose back then it would mostly have been library copies.

Ordered a copy of Lanark this morning.

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22 minutes ago, exile said:

I think one of his crucial insights was the one about making your own city [Glasgow] a place of your imagination. A message of inspiration and self respect, wherever you are from and whether or not you liked Gray's writing. 

Too often we live through the lens of Hollywood, Manhattan, WC1, Baker St, middle earth, the left bank, somewhere romantic elsewhere, rather than Riddrie, or Hillhead, or wherever you are /from. 

Good post. :ok:

The haunting beauty of Glasgow in the rain actually gives me a semi. 

The Greatest CIty In the World

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6 hours ago, ErsatzThistle said:

Good post. :ok:

The haunting beauty of Glasgow in the rain actually gives me a semi. 

The Greatest CIty In the World

His painting Cowcaddens has some of that haunting quality...

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  • 1 year later...

Can anyone recommend any good books, nothing too taxing I only read before bed a few nights a week and dont want my brain bursting. 

As a gauge of my reading capacity, the past year a few books I have read and enjoyed  are 

Shuggie Bain

Starter for 10

A Little Life

The Kingdom

This is going to hurt

Also a few Chris Brookmyre books but getting a bit fed up of them now as I have read a lot of them . Also read Thursday Murder Club which was pretty lame, was like an episode of Murder she Wrote. 
The Kingdom was the first Jo Nesbo book I read and enjoyed it so if anyone can recommend any of his other books  would be appreciated. As would any book recommendation for anyone on here. 
 

 

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If you enjoyed Shuggie Bain then try Free by Lea Ypi, which is about growing up in Albania in the 80's and 90s during the last years of the Hoxha regime and its aftermath.

Like Shuggie Bain, it vividly and poignantly describes an upbringing in difficult circumstances, and with occasional humour.

Edited by Barney Rubble
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I bought my first Michael Connelly novel about 30 years ago. Been through about 20 others since. A very easy but captivating read usually based on a retired detective or lawyer cases. Know of a couple that have been made into successful movies. 

Also now reading Peter Hooks Unknown Pleasures which is a good laugh and George Sanders Lincoln in the Bardo which is a bit different. 

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16 hours ago, vanderark14 said:

Recently read

Denis Nilsen, a history of a drowning biy

The blade artist by Irvine Welsh

Currently half way through Dead man's shoes by Irvine Welsh

That will not give me nightmares at all. No sirree 😁

I went out one Saturday night to a social club in Paisley years ago. There was a wee group of us. One of my husbands old pals was there and his wife was with him . The band started and she brought out a book from her handbag. It was on the  psychology of mass murderers , Denis Nilsen being one of them. 
She sat for the rest of the night reading it just ignoring us . They lived close by and her husband asked if we wanted to go to their house for a drink after the bar closed . Err naw thanks. 

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16 hours ago, Barney Rubble said:

If you enjoyed Shuggie Bain then try Free by Lea Ypi, which is about growing up in Albania in the 80's and 90s during the last years of the Hoxha regime and its aftermath.

Like Shuggie Bain, it vividly and poignantly describes an upbringing in difficult circumstances, and with occasional humour.

Thanks Barney will take a look. It was quite a hard book at times, no doubt due to the fact I could identify with some of the issues created by poverty and alcoholism, the latter not directly but by close society in the 70’s. 

It was really well written, despite the grim circumstances it was also very nostalgic. 

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15 hours ago, gkm_vancouver said:

I bought my first Michael Connelly novel about 30 years ago. Been through about 20 others since. A very easy but captivating read usually based on a retired detective or lawyer cases. Know of a couple that have been made into successful movies. 

Also now reading Peter Hooks Unknown Pleasures which is a good laugh and George Sanders Lincoln in the Bardo which is a bit different. 

I think I would probably enjoy Michael Connelly books, really enjoyed Bosch on TV , and tv productions are rarely as good as the book.

He has written a lot of books, would it be best to read them chronologically ? 

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He has written a lot of books, would it be best to read them chronologically ? 

If you can still get them in that order then yes, as the Bosch/Haller character storyline continues through a number of books. Think I started with Angels Flight then the Poet before realising there was a few before that. Been buying them regularly since and was good to see Clint Eastwood and Matthew McConaghy play the characters on screen. Enjoy!

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I'm  a recent convert to the audiobook whilst i'm working, Listened to recently

Shuggie Bain

Midnight library by Matt Haig

And away by  Bob Mortimer

Dave Grohl's book is superb, it really is impossible to dislike the guy.

At Home a short history of private life by bill bryson, jam packed full of interesting facts

Bury my heart at wounded knee, a book I've wanted to read for years but always struggled with the native American pronunciations, listening to it was perfect. The genocide committed against those people is utterly shameful.

My new one I;m starting today is windswept and interesting by billy connolly

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On 11/10/2021 at 7:10 PM, gkm_vancouver said:

He has written a lot of books, would it be best to read them chronologically ? 

If you can still get them in that order then yes, as the Bosch/Haller character storyline continues through a number of books. Think I started with Angels Flight then the Poet before realising there was a few before that. Been buying them regularly since and was good to see Clint Eastwood and Matthew McConaghy play the characters on screen. Enjoy!

👍

On 11/11/2021 at 7:57 AM, chaff said:

I'm  a recent convert to the audiobook whilst i'm working, Listened to recently

Shuggie Bain

Midnight library by Matt Haig

And away by  Bob Mortimer

Dave Grohl's book is superb, it really is impossible to dislike the guy.

At Home a short history of private life by bill bryson, jam packed full of interesting facts

Bury my heart at wounded knee, a book I've wanted to read for years but always struggled with the native American pronunciations, listening to it was perfect. The genocide committed against those people is utterly shameful.

My new one I;m starting today is windswept and interesting by billy connolly

I have never really considered audiobooks as the only time I heard one was in a colleague’s  car years ago, we were stuck for 3 hours in a traffic jam and after spending the whole day together visiting customers were sick of listening to each other  .
He put a John Grisham audiobook on and there was just the one guy doing every character , it was like a comedy, he would suddenly move from a low gruff detective voice to a woman with a high squeaky voice .
 I imagine they have improved a bit since then right enough. 
I had a look at the Bob Mortimer audiobook, I imagine that works well as he is narrating it. It would not have worked with another person . 

I read  a review about the Shuggie Bain audiobook ,  the person said it worked really well as it was in a Glasgow accent and made it so realistic, the reviewer wasn’t Scottish .
How did you find it ? Sometimes  we can be more critical of our own accent if it seems false.  



 


 

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Enjoyed reading

"Portrait of a Rebel" by Arturo Barea. He was a Spanish left-wing journalist and trade unionist who whilst living in exile in England during the 1940s wrote three books detailing his early life during early 20th century Spain. It was a fascinating read.

"No Place To Lay One's Head" by Francoise Frenkel. Another memoir, this time by a Polish Jew who ran a popular French language bookshop in Berlin before the war and latterly ending up on the run and hiding from the Nazi's during the war.

"The Cemetery of Forgotten Books Quartet". Fictional saga about a Barcelona bookshop and a secret book archive stretching from the 1920s to the 1950s. Lots of threat, politics, sex, broken hearts, murder, men with severely burnt faces, evil secret policemen, seductive blind women and shattered dreams. Recommended if you want some wistful escapism.

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On 11/12/2021 at 10:34 AM, TDYER63 said:

👍

I have never really considered audiobooks as the only time I heard one was in a colleague’s  car years ago, we were stuck for 3 hours in a traffic jam and after spending the whole day together visiting customers were sick of listening to each other  .
He put a John Grisham audiobook on and there was just the one guy doing every character , it was like a comedy, he would suddenly move from a low gruff detective voice to a woman with a high squeaky voice .
 I imagine they have improved a bit since then right enough. 
I had a look at the Bob Mortimer audiobook, I imagine that works well as he is narrating it. It would not have worked with another person . 

I read  a review about the Shuggie Bain audiobook ,  the person said it worked really well as it was in a Glasgow accent and made it so realistic, the reviewer wasn’t Scottish .
How did you find it ? Sometimes  we can be more critical of our own accent if it seems false.  



 


 

That sounded like a play rather than a n audiobook but then it was John grisham. 😉

The books I've been listening to are more factual or auto biographies. Listening to the person that wrote the book read it is something that I really enjoy. You should give it a go

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11 hours ago, chaff said:

That sounded like a play rather than a n audiobook but then it was John grisham. 😉

The books I've been listening to are more factual or auto biographies. Listening to the person that wrote the book read it is something that I really enjoy. You should give it a go

God knows what it was but it was utter shite 😁 I actually asked my colleague to pull off the motorway to a service station so i could get a mini bottle of wine from M&S to numb the pain. 

I am going to try the Bob Mortimer book as I really like him. When I was having a look at it there was a link for the best 10 audiobooks or something like that and Cloud Atlas was on it. I really enjoyed that book so if you haven’t read it maybe give it a go. I was getting a bit excited as I saw it was narrated by David Mitchell, and i initially thought it was my heartthrob David Mitchell 😍 but then remembered the author is also called David Mitchell.

 

 

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