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About KEV67

  • Rank
    Settling In
  • Birthday 06/18/1967

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  • Location:
    Reading, UK
  • Interests
    Victorian fiction, science fiction, economics, sustainability

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  1. I like looking around bookshops, and I buy physical books not ebooks. One thing I find annoying is when someone takes a book off the shelf, opens it up and creases the flipping cover before putting it back. When I buy a new book, I want it to be in pristine condition, not creased. I wonder how much loss bookshops suffer because customers will not buy creased books. When I pick up a book to look at it, I take care not to bend anything.
  2. I really like the covers on this series of books. I have read the following. The underlined titles were those I read in SF Masterworks editions. CAT’S CRADLE Kurt Vonnegut CHILDHOOD’S END Arthur C. Clarke DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP Philip K. Dick DUNE Frank Herbert FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON Daniel Keyes FRANKENSTEIN Mary Shelley RINGWORLD Larry Niven THE CITY AND THE STARS Arthur C. Clarke THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS John Wyndham THE GODS THEMSELVES Isaac Asimov THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY Douglas Adams THE INVISIBLE MAN H.G. Wells THE TIME MACHINE H. G. Wells
  3. I am from England - yay. Though I was born in Zambia.
  4. George MacDonald Fraser David Lodge Larry McMurtry George Orwell J.R.R. Tolkein Robert Graves Nick Hornby James Herriot Patrick O'Brien Anthony Powell
  5. I have started reading Delaney's biography of Gissing. I often think his life story is as interesting as any of his novels. There is a French academic, Pierre Coustillas, who appears to have dedicated most of his academic life on Gissing. It's a pity I don't actually enjoy his books a bit more than I do. I have read that his first couple of books dealt a bit with prostitution, and since he married one, he would know quite a bit about that. Other books dealt with social strife. He is described as a feminist and a misogynist. He writes about working class characters, sympathises with them, but also is also exasperated by their ignorance and baseness. He is thought of as an uncompromising writer, but he does compromise quite a lot. He has to tone down stuff, be moral and not end too miserably if he wants someone to publish him. Later in his career he wrote books aimed more at middle-class readers. The Whirlpool was one of those books, which I did not think was particularly interesting. It was the sort of thing Anne Tyler writes a bit better these days. The most interesting bit for me was when the protagonist has the problem of having to reinvest his money, that will give him a reasonable income without having to work. Betsy Trottwood had a similar problem in David Copperfield. The Whirlpool protagonist decides to invest in a photography business I think.
  6. I have not actually read any of J.K. Rowling's books. I was already an adult when they first came out, and did not want to read children's books. I am just responding to the reactions of others, particularly amateur book reviewers on YouTube who nearly all love Harry Potter books, even the older ones. Personally I am prepared to believe they are not as good as the Just William books, but the Harry Potter books definitely made more impact. Her detective stories are supposed to be pretty good too. I suppose one thing against her is she has not had such an influence on society as a Dickens or a Shakespeare, but she has not had as much time. I read J.R.R. Tolken's book the Hobbit many times as a child. It was my favourite book. I liked The Lord of the Rings as well, but not as much. I dare say that book had a great influence on the fantasy genre. I read The Silmarillion, which was a remarkable book. It was rather like the bible of Middle Earth. Those are three very different books, but I am still not sure Tolkein would get into a top five, although I definitely would have put him there when I was fifteen.
  7. I wonder if Oscar Wilde might make it on that list. I know he is Irish, but Ireland was part of the United Kingdom at the time. His wit is still legendary. If someone makes a witty quote, there is a 40% chance it was Winston Churchill's, a 40% chance it was Oscal Wilde's and a 20% chance it was someone else's. Oscar Wilde wrote so many forms of literature. He wrote poetry, plays, novels, short stories and essays. I have only read one book by Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, and I did not like it very much. Besides how often are there new adaptions of her books? There are always films and TV series made of Austen's and Dickens' books. Is Virginia Woolf actually very popular? If you judge by the number of adaptions made of their works, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and P.G. Wodehouse might deserve a place on the list. I would rather have H.G. Wells on the list than Virginia Woolf. He must have been the cleverest author ever. I would be surprised if there were not many great writers around today, as good as anyone in the past. There are more educated people capable of writing books. They probably have slightly more time to edit them into shape than in the past. I suspect in a 100 years time, J.K. Rowling may be viewed as one of our greatest writers. She must be at least the equal of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein.
  8. I watched a lecture about Charles Dickens on YouTube by an American academic. In his introduction, he said Charles Dickens was regarded as Britain's second greatest writer after Shakespeare, or possibly Jane Austen was second. Anyway, that made me wonder who number four and five were. Thinking about C20th authors, I could not really think of anyone in that class: Evelyn Waugh - no, Graham Greene - not for me. I thought possibly George Orwell might be up there. He only wrote two great works of fiction, Animal Farm and 1984, but he wrote several important non-fiction books and many great essays. Shakespeare did not actually write any novels. Then I wondered who number five might be. I have not actually read any of her books, but I wonder if it might be J. K. Rowling.
  9. I read Lolita a few years ago. Humbert Humbert was a bad man, and why did his parents call him Humbert? It is not an easy read. The sentences were convoluted: all those bracketing commas and subordinate clauses! I enjoyed the first and second parts, but l lost the thread in the third part. I think this was the least good part of the book anyway and a bit implausible.
  10. I have read the following: Great Expectations Hard Times A Christmas Carol A Tale of Two Cities Oliver Twist Bleak House David Copperfield So far I have liked Great Expectations the best, followed by Bleak House. I find him patchy, but there is usually some great writing in there somewhere.
  11. I read it, but I can't say I enjoyed it very much. I have read that Gustave Flaubert took five years to write it, redrafting it until he had it perfect, and that it was inspired by a newspaper report. I think it is an exercise in sympathy. It would be easy to condemn a woman like her.
  12. I read it a couple of years ago. It was good, but I found I often did not want to pick it up because of the unbearable sense of foreboding.
  13. 1 Great Expectations 2 The Jungle Book 3 Pride and Prejudice
  14. I read a book called Goshawk Squadron by Derek Robinson, which was about a squadron RFC fighter pilots. It was not exactly Biggles.
  15. Yes, it was The Netherworld. The biography I have is by Paul Delaney. It was probably a mistake to buy it as, like a lot of people here I expect, I am snowed under with books I have yet to read. I have already read one biography about him. New Grub Street, The Odd Women and The Netherworld were very London-centric. I remember thinking you could devise a 10K route based on the locations in New Grub Street. The Netherworld was set in Clerkenwell, the same area of London as Sykes and Nancy and Fagin inhabited about fifty years before. The Year of the Jubilee is not one that is often spoken of. George Orwell thought New Grub Street, The Odd Women and Demos were his best. I do find his books can drag a bit, and they tend to be bleak, but he writes about unusual and interesting subjects. I think his dialogues are very good.