Monday, 31 August 2015

What i read in August...

Hey Bert! What did you read in August? 
Well friend, thanks for asking...
let me see now.

Syzygy by Michael G. Coney
Got this second-hand from Troutmark, it sounded promising and i was attracted by that alluring sperm-esque front cover. Aside from one inexplicably homophobic passage, it was an enjoyably dour 70's slice of fishy sci-fi.  

The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg
Silverberg fucking rules, and this is him at his mid-70's best. A jivey, countercultural soup of mythology, mysticism, and cynical post-60's comedown. College kids in search of immortality in the desert. Seriously, Silverberg is truly the Laphroaig of writers.

Ongoingness by Sarah Manguso
Loved this short investigation into the nature of writing as documentation, and Sarah Manguso's own obsessive relationship with her own diary. This was so strong and meticulous, and unafraid, Manguso makes you look at your own concepts of self and time and mortaliy, all the terrifying shit and see them starkly, as impermanent but, y'know, beautiful maybe.

1982, Janine by Alasdair Gray
A novel about drinking and wanking that plays around with text and storytelling and then somehow turns into a straight-up novel that'll break your heart. Power and powerlessness, guilt, sexuality, politics, and a whole shit-heap of regret, you want to throw accusations of misogyny at it but you'd be way off. Brilliantly conceived joyful thing.

So Nude, So Dead by Ed McBain
I absolutely loved this slab of prime Fifties pulp.  Junkie wakes up next to a dead filly, who killed her and WHERE'S THE HORSE? 

Red Hot Ice by Frank Kane
A fast-paced little detective caper with an out of control blonde lush. Not bad.

A Lost Lady by Willa Cather
In some ways this felt quite slight, but people, there is so much depth here. A melancholy, sparse character-study of a mercurial woman and an elegy for passing time, lost illusions and the Old West. Willa Cather can do no wrong.

The Whole Shot: Collected Interviews with Gregory Corso
Corso will always hold a special place in this tender heart (I did my dissertation on him at uni). What a brilliant cantakerous bastard he was. And though he was possibly drunk and repeated himself quite a bit in some of these interviews, you get the FULL FORCE of his mind and spirit, the last of his gang to hold true to the Beat ideology and the streets he grew up in. 

Day of the Ram by William Campbell Gault
Jock-noir!! OhYeah, really enjoyed this, another one from the Fifties, with an ex-American football player-turned-Private Eye investigating the murder of an L.A. Ram. The Los Angeles setting really notched it up a level and gave it a bunch of period-charm.

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