What book are you reading right now?

Originally Posted by CFMF:

I've read all of McCarthy's novels more than once, and Suttree certainly is one of his finest. My fave, though, is Blood Meridian...

 

 

BBM

'Blood Meridian' is excellent but quite brutal. The one I enjoyed the most (read it three times) is 'The Crossing'. 'The Road' is going to be the last unread one because the topic is not so appealing to me.

 

Haim

James Garvin; Deep in a Dream, the long night of Chet Baker.

Deeply depressing book. I wish I had not started to read it. Very little music, but page after page of drugs and women trouble, not recommended.

I do not agree with the quotes here at all.


“Superb … unerring … a stark, troubling portrait of both the artist and his times.” (
Publisher’s Weekly) 

“Splendid, fascinatingly thorough … a book that remains a page-turner long after it’s obvious what’s coming next.” (
K. Leander Williams, Time Out New York

“Savagely honest … impeccably researched, elegantly written.” (Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle

“The most well-rounded, clear-eyed portrait of the trumpeter ever put to paper … the definitive bio of Baker.” (Christopher Porter, JazzTimes

“So thorough, gripping and well-written that once the pages start to turn, you’re hooked … a journalistic gem.” (
Jason Koransky, Down Beat

“A pitch-perfect, informed and engrossing character and cultural study … Gavin deserves a curtain call.” (
Alan Bisbort, Hartford Advocate

“Harrowing … chilling.” (
Richard Sudhalter, Baltimore Sun)

“Cringingly fine … a really scary story.” (Kirkus Reviews

“I honor the patience, the method, and the fidelity of James Gavin’s book.” (
David Thomson, The New Republic

“Gripping … fascinating … brings Baker’s personality vividly to life … resonates on a level far deeper than most biographies of musicians.” (Carlo Wolff, Boston Globe

“First-rate … Scrupulous to the end … [Gavin] coolly documents the man, his art, and the mysterious and powerful hold both still have on jazz fans and what might be called students of American celebrity culture.” (William Corbett, Boston Phoenix

“Potent … A well-written and balanced biography … Gavin transcends the clip-job form biographies often take.” (
Howard Cohen, New Herald, Miami

“A hair-raising, chilling, and always fascinating look at a tortured musician who became an American myth … Gavin has delivered a masterful look at him.”
 (Terry Perkins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Thoroughly researched, briskly written, and clear-eyed … compelling.” (Kevin Riordan, Courier-Post, Camden, N.J.) 

“Detailed and perceptive.” (The Economist

“The Baker presence emerges vividly from James Gavin’s new, painstakingly documented biography.” (Register Star, Rockford, IL) 

“Riveting … abounds in useful insights.” (Peter Vacher, Coda, Canada) 

“Thorough and compulsively readable.” (Jack Batten, Toronto Star

“A hair-raising account … it should attract anyone interested in a cautionary tale well-told.”
 (Greg Delaney, The Independent,U.K.) 

“Chet Baker’s story is a harrowing, twisted fairytale of music and mayhem, and James Gavin reveals its terrors and triumphs superbly.” (Andrew Vine, Yorkshire Post,U.K.) 

“A black comedy of bad behaviour … pure Joe Orton … [written] with a diligence and insight with which not even the most puritanical jazz purist could find fault.”(Kenneth Wright, Sunday Herald, U.K.) 

“The best possible introduction to Chet Baker, that American tragedy.” (
Amiri Abaki,Valor, São Paulo, Brazil

“Free of moralizing or empty musicology – yet without forsaking careful, parsimonious stylistic analysis – Gavin’s book is an act of artistic love and intellectual honesty, written with the fluency and drama of a novel.”
 (Paolo Russo, La Repubblica, Italy)

“A monumental and informed biography … told by Gavin in the finest detail.”(Ernesto Assante, LaRepubblica, Italy) 

“A monumental biography … a story reconstructed with precision and accuracy … writing with a fluidity of style that lies halfway between a novel and journalistic investigation.” (
Helmut Failoni, Il Manifesto, Italy) 

“An extraordinary and monumental biography.” (Mirella Seni, La Stampa, Italy) 

“An outstandingly documented biography … bloodcurdling storytelling.” (Humo, Netherlands) 
 

deep in a dream

I love Ben Macintyre's books - he is a brilliant storyteller, particularly tales of improbable derring-do and double-crossing.

 

This new tome, the story of the UK's most infamous double agent, and how he duped his best friend for over two decades, is no exception. The tale of the Cambridge Spies has been told many times but this is a different telling of it and it rattles along a breakneck pace.

 

I love the evocations of centres of intrigue, such as 1940s Istanbul and Beirut in the 1950s - it makes one rather yearn for a spy's life, hanging around in bars and strip clubs with louche Hungarian countesses, German double-crossers, drunks, code-breakers, English gents, dissolute homosexuals, and fanatical Soviet ideologues.

 

How did Philby get away with it for so long? It seems as if it was a combination of his charm, brilliant lying, British incompetence and the class system (Philby was posh, and thus never a suspect). Why did he do it? Most likely not for money, or out of coercion. Perhaps ideology played a part, but I agree with the author - it was probably ego and addiction that drove him to to the duplicity and treachery that  sent hundreds to their deaths. Recommended.

 

Originally Posted by Kevin-W:

I love Ben Macintyre's books - he is a brilliant storyteller, particularly tales of improbable derring-do and double-crossing.

 

This new tome, the story of the UK's most infamous double agent, and how he duped his best friend for over two decades, is no exception. The tale of the Cambridge Spies has been told many times but this is a different telling of it and it rattles along a breakneck pace.

 

I love the evocations of centres of intrigue, such as 1940s Istanbul and Beirut in the 1950s - it makes one rather yearn for a spy's life, hanging around in bars and strip clubs with louche Hungarian countesses, German double-crossers, drunks, code-breakers, English gents, dissolute homosexuals, and fanatical Soviet ideologues.

 

How did Philby get away with it for so long? It seems as if it was a combination of his charm, brilliant lying, British incompetence and the class system (Philby was posh, and thus never a suspect). Why did he do it? Most likely not for money, or out of coercion. Perhaps ideology played a part, but I agree with the author - it was probably ego and addiction that drove him to to the duplicity and treachery that  sent hundreds to their deaths. Recommended.

 

 Hi K, if you did not catch the two part serliisation of the book on the Beeb it's well worth a look  

on  I player

 

G.

I own over 700 volumes of poetry and Imho this is one of the most moving collections of poetry ever written. 

 

I am rereading this superb book for the umpteenth time.

Ted Hughes's Birthday Letters are addressed, with just two exceptions, to Sylvia Plath, the American poet to whom he was married. They were written over a period of more than twenty-five years, the first a few years after her suicide in 1963, and represent Ted Hughes's only account of his relationship with Plath and of the psychological drama that led both to the writing of her greatest poems and to her death. The book became an instant bestseller on its publication in 1998 and won the Forward Prize for Poetry in the same year.

 

'To read [Birthday Letters] is to experience the psychic equivalent of the bends'. It takes you down to levels of pressure where the undertruths of sadness and endurance leave you gasping... - Seamus Heaney, Irish Times.

 

 

'The language is like lava, its molten turmoils hardening into jagged shapes, still hot from the earth's core...You must read them - John Carey, Sunday Times.

 

'The poems come dazzling out of the darkness, and they are not answers to his critics after all, or appeals for understanding, but tender and elegiac acts of rememebrance - Nicci Gerrad, Observer.

 

'Even if it were possible to set aside its biographical value...its linguistic, technical and imaginative feats would guarantee its future - Andrew Motion, The Times.

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