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      Moving Day Coming Soon   01/11/2021

      As many of you know, we've been looking at changing hosts for a while now. This will allow us to access the tech support we need for the site and should speed up the forum as well as ironing out a few issues we've been having recently.    We are now signed up to the new hosting plan and can go ahead with the move as soon as the new hosts have everything they need (which is currently being sorted!). The forum should not be offline for more than a day during the switch and hopefully it won't even take that long. I don't have an exact time or day for the move yet but this is an early warning to expect some downtime soon.   When we are offline, no matter how briefly, you can follow the forum twitter page (@bookclubforum) for updates.  

KEV67

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About KEV67

  • Rank
    Settling In
  • Birthday 06/18/1967

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

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  1. Seafaring books

    I have read a few, including: Moby Dick, Herman Melville The Sea Wolf. Jack London The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemmingway Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad The Nigger of Narcissus, Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe Aubrey-Maturin series, Patrick o' Brian Hornblower series 1-5, C.S. Forester Moby Dick was the best, although it is very long, with frequent digressions into all things cetological, for instance, whether a whale is an animal or a fish. I am currently half way through the Hornblower series. C.S. Forester started his first book with Horatio Hornblower already a post captain of a ship. He made the same mistake as Patrick o' Brian after him. He set the first book too late in the Napoleonic Wars and ran out of war, but then Forester went back to the beginning of Hornblower's career. Captain Ahab hunted whales; Wolf Larson (Sea Wolf) hunted seals; the old man caught big fish; Kurtz collected ivory; Robinson Crusoe was on a mission to buy slaves; Jim tried to escape his shame; James Waite just tried to stay alive, while Captains Aubrey and Hornblower fought French, Spanish and Dutch men-of-war all over the high seas. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
  2. Thomas Hardy

    I think I will read Tess of the d'Urbervilles again. I read it quite a few years ago, but I read the Oxford World Classic edition, which included most of Hardy's later alterations to the story. I would read the Penguin edition next, which is based on the first book version of the story. I did like a lot of Tess of the d'Urbervilles. but I thought there was also something sick about it. I have not read Jude the Obscure but I watched the film with Kate Winslet and Christopher Ecclestone. That was a good film, but that story also had a very sick episode in it. So sick, I resolved not to read it, although it is supposed to be one of his best written books. I have also read Far From the Madding Crowd, The Woodlanders, and The Return of the Native. I liked how each book had a different landscape. The Woodlanders was in a forest. The Return of the Native was on a heath. Far From the Madding Crowd was set in mixed farmland although sheep play a large part. I suppose Tess is set on farms too, although three different sorts. I like all the agricultural details/
  3. Your Favourite Book when a Child?

    The Hobbit, followed closely by Watership Down.
  4. To The Lighthouse

    I am not a fan of Virginia Woolf and do not understand why her books are so highly rated. I do not like her books. I do not agree with her long-winded essays. In the BBC Culture top 100 British books list, To the Lighthouse came 3rd and Mrs Dalloway came 2nd. In To the Lighthouse there was a character who kept trying to paint a landscape or a seascape, but she was never satisfied until the end, because a tree was in the wrong place or something. Move your flipping easel then, is what I thought. I sometimes worry about my inability to understand and like Shakespeare and Woolf. In Oscar Wilde's De Profundis he tells his ex-boyfriend, Lord Alfred Douglas, that his cup is too small to comprehend sublime art. I think that must be my problem too.
  5. Ulysses by James Joyce

    I read Ulysses this Summer. I read it ten pages a day and got through it in three months. It reminded me of books on engineering and technology that I thought I would understand, but didn't. There were some sections I did understand and even enjoy. Didn't they go to a brothel at one point? I liked that scene. Other sections just annoyed me. All the changes in style seemed arbitrary to me. No doubt they were not arbitrary, but I have not ready the original Ulysses myth, which I suspect provides the clues. Even Molly Bloom's soliloquy at the end: was it really better for not having any punctuation? One of the things I disliked about the book is that it is not enough to read what is already a long book. Other readers say you should read Dubliners first to get you up to speed. Then you ought to read the Greek Ulysses myth in order to understand the references in the James Joyce version. Then you have to read a book that explains what Ulysses is about and why it is so good. My suspicion is that James Joyce was writing a text book for English Literature university undergraduates.
  6. I thought Wuthering Heights was great. I actually liked The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I did not think much of Shirley. We studied Jane Eyre at school for O level and that poisoned that book for me. I think it is a bad idea teaching books like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice to schoolboys. Oops, looks like I already replied to this thread. Well, I have not changed my mind.
  7. I have read all six of her novels. I have not read Lady Susan. I liked Pride and Prejudice and Emma the most. The others i did not think as good. All the same, I do not think men enjoy her books as much as women. I thought The History of Tom Jones was a better book than any of Austen's.
  8. The Victorian attitude was spare the rod and spoil the child. Corporal punishment only started to fall out of fashion in the latter half of the 20th century.
  9. Looking for Crime thriller

    The best crime thriller I have read for a long time is G.B.H. by Ted Lewis. Ted Lewis wrote the book Get Carter was based on. G.B.H. is better than that.
  10. Best stream-of-consciousness novels

    I have recently finished Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry. It is about a British consul in Mexico around 1938. He is a hopeless alcoholic. It is not an easy read, but the writing is very lyrical. It was like a stream-of-consciousness Graham Greene novel. I read Ulysses by James Joyce earlier this year. Most of it was beyond my reading age, but I liked the bits I understood.
  11. That's a bit different. Those people weren't named characters on the whole. There was the curate and one or two scientific types at the start. Otherwise the victims were just part of an anonymous mass.
  12. I wonder if it's Mrs Gaskell. I don't think she is the most miserable of the Victorian authors, but her mortality rate is similar to a World War I novel.
  13. Some excellent suggestions so far. How Green Was My Valley - Richard Llewellyn Don Quixote - Miguel De Cervantes The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf The Island of the Day Before - Umberto Eco
  14. I have just read E.M. Forster's The Machine Stops. It's a bit like The Matrix and a bit like Brave New World. It seems to predict something like the internet.
  15. What makes sci-fi interesting?

    I think a decent stab at the science is important; otherwise it is just fantasy. SF books are often books of ideas, but if they break known scientific limits, such as travelling faster than lightspeed with no plausible explanation of how they do it, then to me they are fantasy or adventure books. Technology shapes society. A lot of SF books imagine what that society will be like, which pointless if the technology is unrealistic. Many SF books are projections of the fears of the time of writing, particularly dystopias. I am trying to think of some of my favourite SF books: The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell - A first contact book. Basically it was a book about over-population. Ringworld, by Larry Niven - not sure if it fits my thesis about SF being a projection of modern fears, but it is an interesting idea, which sounded plausible when I read it. Larry Niven often wrote about criminal who killed people for their organs, but I can't remember if he was in the book. Dune by Fank Herbert - eugenics, a planet of inscrutable machine makers reminiscent of Japan, the control of spice needed throughout the galaxy reminiscent of oil. The Left Hand of Darkness , by Ursula Le Guin - quite a bit about gender, quite political. An envoy tries to persuade an isolated civilisation to join the community of planets. The science was pretty good. The Martian, by Andy Weir - not really a projection of modern society or fears at all, but the science was strong. Makes Mars colonisation seem plausible (although difficult). The Gods Themselves - the Earth has found a cheap and abundant source of energy, unfortunately it is damaging the environment in a big way.
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