Welcome to this week’s blog. Here’s a roundup of your comments and photos from last week, including a disturbing collection of short stories and a JG Farrell novel that puts all other books to shame.
MildGloster is reading Hilary Mantel’s The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and Other Stories:
So far I’ve read six of the eleven stories and am finding the entire collection disquieting, disturbed, off-kilter, and a little bit nasty – all of this in the most stylistically delicious of ways. I find Mantel technically brilliant, in the same way I find a writer such as Alan Hollinghurst to be so; she is effortlessly assured, so clean and precise a writer that she becomes easy to read when what one is actually reading is anything but easy – and I relish that dichotomy: clear, simple style and cloudy, complex content.
fourthplinth is stocking up on books to read in the five months between now and the US election.
Woth each passing week I am stocking up with a whole host of treasures. Just ordered the last part of the posthumously published trilogy on Sir Winston Churchill by William Manchester. One politician well worth reading books by and about ... Roll on November 8th!
It’s the sort of book which makes you feel sorry for all the other books because they must know they don’t stand a chance in comparison and may as well just pack up and go home. The real joy of the book lies in the author’s utterly distinct voice and the force of his invention. I am so tired of polite, well-behaved, solidly crafted and oh-so-dull historical fiction (although I feel slightly conflicted about describing Troubles as historical fiction). It’s such a pleasure to read a book bent on illuminating a piece of history where the artistic vision comes at you roaring all the way.
Interesting links about books and reading
- The Last Word: Stephen King on Trump, Writing, Why Selfies Are Evil: “I’m just saying that the ideal thing would be if nobody knew who the fuck I was. I’d like that.” An interview with the King, in Rolling Stone.
- The Magic of the Book: Hermann Hesse on Why We Read and Always Will: “No one has restored the transcendence of the written word more beautifully than Nobel-winning German-born Swiss writer and painter Hermann Hesse,” writes Maria Popova in Brain Pickings.
- “The Five Stages Of Drowning”: an urgent new prose poem by Patricia Smith, written in response to two horrific news events, in Buzzfeed.
- “Hamilton” and the Books That Hamilton Held: discovering the books that Burr and Hamilton borrowed (and mostly returned), in the New Yorker.
If you would like to share a photo of the book you are reading, or film your own book review, please do. Click the blue button on this page to share your video or image. I’ll include some of your posts in next week’s blog.
If you’re on Instagram and a book lover, chances are you’re already sharing beautiful pictures of books you are reading, “shelfies” or all kinds of still lifes with books as protagonists. Now, you can share your reads with us on the mobile photography platform – simply tag your pictures there with #GuardianBooks, and we’ll include a selection here. Happy reading!