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About KEV67

  • Rank
    Avid Reader
  • Birthday 06/18/1967

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

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  1. Books in HMV

    I quite like seeing which books are in sale in my local branch of HMV. Strange that the vinyl is so expensive, but the books are so cheap. Also strange is that whenever I try to re-buy a truly great record, which I used to have, they don't have it. What sort of record shop doesn't have Beck or The Violent Femmes? Anyway, getting back to books. I am often intrigued by their offerings. They have a lot of sci-fi, music memoirs and modern classics. They also sell books like Naked Lunch, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and The Men who Stare at Goats. I am delighted that they continue to sell A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell. Orwell disowned the book himself, but I thought it was great.
  2. What's the ending of Kes like? I never watched the end of the DVD, because I was worried some spiteful scrote would poison the bird. The football match in the film was great. I remember our English school teacher reading out that section of the book, although we did not study the whole book. There was also an interesting bit in the film where the boys were caned. I don't think they told the child actors they were going to be caned for real.
  3. New Books Out in 2021

    I was interested in Project Hail Mary, a sci-fi book by Andy Weir. I can't find it in any of the local bookshops.
  4. Best seafaring books

    I read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge Taylor. That's a seafaring poem. I try to avoid those sort of nutters myself. The wedding guest had more patience than I have. I'd have told him to get lost.
  5. Things in books that annoy you

    I don't like reading a book where the two romantic leads don't get together at the end. It's not that I really into romantic fiction. Sometimes I think an author thinks he can't give the readers what they want because where's the artistry in that? Unless it is a really great artistic ending, I would rather have the happy ending.
  6. Your thoughts to George Orwell 1984

    Oh yes, Big Brother, CCTV, mobile phones, everything being connected to the internet, deep surveillance. There was that side to 1984 too. 1984 is often classified as science fiction. When I read it, I wondered where the science fiction was. The only bit of technology that was not available when the book was written were two way screens and cameras. In the Cold War era, Communist countries such as East Germany and China encouraged the population to denounce their neighbours if they suspected they were not ideologically pure. I think if you had to constantly worry you might be denounced to the secret police by a colleague, friend or neighbour for not showing enough enthusiasm for the political system, that would make you more unhappy than the thought that the state was looking through your old social media posts.
  7. Your thoughts to George Orwell 1984

    I started to read it when I was 15 or 16. I got about three-quarters of the way through, and realised there were not enough pages left for Winston Smith to escape, join and maybe even lead the counter-revolution. I was disappointed and stopped reading. I should have read Fahrenheit 451 instead. When I was forty I read 1984 again and I thought it was brilliant. It has so many ideas you can see being acted out around us and around the world. The re-writing of history to suit a political agenda; the abuse of language to control thought; thought crime itself; double-think, which is the cognitive dissonance you put yourself through when you force yourself to believe what you know not to be true, because it is unsafe not to. I think that is partly why George Orwell is admired so much by the right in America and other places. It is a book about the deep cynicism of certain political leaders who manipulate social revolution to gain and maintain control of a state. If you read Orwell's later books and essays from Homage to Catalonia onwards, you can see that 1984 is a culmination of all his later political ideas.
  8. Grading books in Goodreads

    I like Mark Kermode. His film reviews on the radio with Simon Mayo are hilarious. That said, I regard these sort of review programmes as entertainment in themselves and very often do not agree with the professional critics. Barry Humphreys always used to go on about how great Babette's Feast was. I think it was about a Danish cook who comes into some money and spends it all on cooking a feast for her guests, because she used to work in a fancy French hotel or something. Yeah, that's just the sort of film Barry Humphreys would like. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian loathed Joker. I thought it was the best film in 2019. Mark Kermode does not like The Big Lebowski. That was my favourite film for a long time.
  9. Grading books in Goodreads

    Yes, I was surprised to find it in the literary fiction section, because it definitely seems like science fiction.
  10. Grading books in Goodreads

    Yes, but I don't like it, which according to the guidance means I should five it one star.
  11. 140 posts Location: Reading, UK Report post Posted June 8 (edited) ________________________________________________________________________________________________ | Cruises | | Moby Dick | Midshipman Hornblower | N**** & Narcissus | Master and Commander| Huckleberry Finn | | Herman Melville | C.S. Forester | Joseph Conrad | Patrick O' Brian | Mark Twain | | British Classics | | Great Expectations | New Grub Street |Tom Jones | Wuthering Heights | Mary Barton | | Charles Dickens | George Gissing | Richard Fielding | Emily Brontë | Mrs Gaskell | | British Literary Fiction | | I Claudius | Nice Work | Winged Victory | Mr American | Lionel Asbo | | Robert Graves | David Lodge | V.M. Yeates | George MacDonald Fraser| Martin Amis | | Food for thought | | Lamb of God | Eating Animals | Alone in the Universe |Why Nations Fail | The Bottomless Well | | Ralph R. Wilson | Jonathon Safron Foer | John Gribben |Acemoglu & Robinson | Mills & Huber |
  12. Grading books in Goodreads

    All the books I gave 1 star to were written by dead authors, except for William Gibson. I quite like the guidance: 1 star - did not like it 2 stars - it was ok 3 stars - I liked it 4 stars - I really liked it 5 stars - it was amazing That means I should give The Drowned World one star. Seems harsh. I probably should regrade some of the other books. For instance, I gave Ulysses two stars because there were several bits I did understand and enjoy, but on the whole it either bored me, or went over my head, or irritated me. So overall I didn't like it. Perhaps a distorting factor is that because the top score is 5, you naturally think the average score should be 2.5, but because the minimum score is 1, the average score should be 3, provided scores are normally distributed, which I don't suppose they are. I don't think null ratings are included in the average ratings, but perhaps they are.
  13. Pubs in books

    Interesting, I sometimes go to Penzance for work reasons and have walked past the Admiral Benbow numerous times. It is not one of my favourites though. In Reading, where I live, there is a bar/ night club called Up The Junction. This is just down the road from Cemetery Junction, so called because of the graveyard. There was also a pop song by Squeeze in the 70s or 80s with the same name. However, before that in the 60s, there was a book by Nell Gunn (need to check). It was a bit grim.
  14. I am currently reading The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard. I am only going to give it two stars, but I was wondering whether I should give it one. When I rate books on Goodreads I am reluctant to hand out many five stars, but I still award more five stars than one stars. If I am enjoying a book so little, I would probably stop reading it, in which case I would not rate it all, which is like a U for ungraded. Usually I do plough on through a book, even if I am not enjoying it much. The only one I have not finished recently was Riders by Jilly Cooper. I heard it was better than it is usually given credit for, and it still appears on bookshelves and bookshops decades after it was published, so I thought I would give it a chance. However, I am just not in touch with my feminine side as much as I would need to be, and it is a very long book. Out of the 446 books I rated on Goodreads, 42 have five stars; only 13 have one star. This reminded me of school. I expect teachers do not like to hand out too many A's, but rarely give out any E's. I can remember getting some A's at school for my essays, as well as a few D's. I mostly got B's and C's. I don't remember getting any E's. Interestingly, I think there is a statistical bias in Goodreads ratings. Most books fall within the 3 to 4.5 stars range after ratings are averaged. If a book has under 3.5 stars, it is probably not that good a read. If it has over four stars, it probably is a good read. Thing is, I am not a book critic or academic assessing how good an author's work is. I am a reader reflecting how much I enjoyed the book, and I don't have to justify it, be consistent about my marking scheme, or take considerations of taste or viewpoint into account. Another difference between a teacher marking a pupil's work and me rating an author's book is that usually the teacher would know a lot more about the subject than the pupil, where as books are often written by the very brainy. Thus Virginia Woolf is a very great author. She must be because her books were 2nd and 3rd in the BBC Culture's Greatest British Novels poll. Neverheless, I thought Mrs Dalloway was tedious and To the Lighthouse was underwhelming. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford was awful. Similarly, The Egoist by George Meredith. Don Quixote, is it really that good? I thought the second half was better than the first, but still. Problem is giving books like these one star while giving About a Boy by Nick Hornby five stars probably marks you out as a bit of a philistine, but maybe I should not worry about that.
  15. Pubs in books

    I noticed that there was a Wetherspoons pub called The Joseph Conrad in Lowestoft. I don't know what connection Joseph Conrad had with the place. I wish someone would open a pub called the Hand and Banner. It was the pub in Daniel Deronda in which Dan meets some politically active people through whom he meets other people who become important to him. Pubs play a big part in George Eliot's works.