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Hux

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About Hux

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    Avid Reader

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  • Reading now?
    The Plague - Camus
  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Books, Writing, Dachshunds, Star Trek, Football.
  1. The Limerick Game

    Chip and Chuck were an adventurous pair Chuck's hair was green, while Chip had no hair... When the two ventured forth And went farther north They encountered a barber with talent to spare There once was a sailor named Barnie
  2. The book is set in France in the year 2022 where, with the help of the socialists, a Muslim political party is elected into government. This is the premise of Houellebecq's controversial novel. The book follows an academic called Francois who teaches literature at a university and specializes in the work of Huysmans. Before long, only Muslims can teach at the University and he loses his job. Meanwhile, education is altered and women are taken out of the workforce.Francois struggles with his place in the world and seeks answers. Like in most of Houellebecqs books, he finds none, and only acknowledges the futility of western civilisation. And that's what the book is about: the west's slow march into irrelevance. Some have accused Houellebecq of stoking the fires (the book was published the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre) but that's too simplistic. As I said, this is far less a criticism of Islam and far more a criticism of the West and its atomised and directionless culture. Not to mention its apparent willingness to sleepwalk into obscurity.I must say I didn't find the transformation of French society from secular to Muslim very convincing and Houellebecq doesn't spend much time justifying that. Most speculative novels of this nature would have involved a slow build up of some kind but since it was published in 2015, Houellebecq clearly isn't very interested in doing that. For him, this is clearly a satire where the sci-fi nature of the plot is somewhat irrelevant. He wants to play around with themes rather than give you a convincing dystopian narrative.Truth be told, this was one of the most readable books I've ever come across. I fizzed through it. The story isn't that compelling and never really goes anywhere in terms of plot but the writing is wonderful and fluid, with short chapters that fly by as Francois explores art and religion and love and the death of Europe. The bottom line is: if you kill your own culture, don't start moaning when something fills the void. So many books lack the beauty and the balls of Houellebecq. 8/10
  3. Hux Book Blog

    Submission (2015) Michel Houellebecq The book is set in France in the year 2022 where, with the help of the socialists, a Muslim political party is elected into government. This is the premise of Houellebecq's controversial novel. The book follows an academic called Francois who teaches literature at a university and specializes in the work of Huysmans. Before long, only Muslims can teach at the University and he loses his job. Meanwhile, education is altered and women are taken out of the workforce.Francois struggles with his place in the world and seeks answers. Like in most of Houellebecqs books, he finds none, and only acknowledges the futility of western civilisation. And that's what the book is about: the west's slow march into irrelevance. Some have accused Houellebecq of stoking the fires (the book was published the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre) but that's too simplistic. As I said, this is far less a criticism of Islam and far more a criticism of the West and its atomised and directionless culture. Not to mention its apparent willingness to sleepwalk into obscurity.I must say I didn't find the transformation of French society from secular to Muslim very convincing and Houellebecq doesn't spend much time justifying that. Most speculative novels of this nature would have involved a slow build up of some kind but since it was published in 2015, Houellebecq clearly isn't very interested in doing that. For him, this is clearly a satire where the sci-fi nature of the plot is somewhat irrelevant. He wants to play around with themes rather than give you a convincing dystopian narrative.Truth be told, this was one of the most readable books I've ever come across. I fizzed through it. The story isn't that compelling and never really goes anywhere in terms of plot but the writing is wonderful and fluid, with short chapters that fly by as Francois explores art and religion and love and the death of Europe. The bottom line is: if you kill your own culture, don't start moaning when something fills the void. So many books lack the beauty and the balls of Houellebecq. 8/10
  4. Hux Book Blog

    Kafka on the Shore (2002) Haruki Murakami After enjoying Norwegian Wood I thought I'd give this a go. And while I enjoyed the reading experience once more, I wasn't exactly convinced by the writing. There were things that only mildly bothered me in Norwegian Wood but which I dismissed because I saw them as one-off issues for that particular book. Kafka on the Shore, however, demonstrated that they're part of Murakami's entire style. The endless descriptions of what every character is eating or drinking at all times (I know how food works, thanks), and the fact that everyone seems to express even the most basic degree of fondness for one another through some kind of sexual contact ('hi, you seem nice, would you like a hand-job?'). In Norwegian Wood this stuff seemed (tangentially) to make a certain amount of sense given the context but here, it becomes clear that this is just Murakami's thing. It doesn't spoil the book in any way, it's simply a little tedious.Then we have the actual story. It's all rather vague and metaphorical, a story about alternate dimensions, parts of your soul being lost, and so on. That's fine but I tend to view that kind of thing as more of a gimmick than anything else; one which is masking the fact that the book doesn't actually have anything meaningful to say about the human condition. Dazai's 'No Longer Human' has a great deal to say about the complexities of human existence but at no point does he rely on KFC's Colonel Sanders turning up as a character to get you a good blow job from a sex worker (that actually happens). I can imagine that if you're someone who doesn't read much then this might seem so whacky and weird that it's an example of mind-bending literary genius. When, in truth, it's simply a story about a magic stone and a man who can communicate with cats.That all being said, I really did enjoy reading it. Murakami writes in a thoroughly fluid and page turning manner that is hard to knock. But that's the least I'd expect from genre fiction. And that's what this is: genre fiction. Something to read on the beach when you're on holiday.I'd definitely recommend it as a piece of entertainment but generally speaking it's not my cup of tea. I will probably delve into more of Murakami's work at a later date but I'm in no rush. I think I've got the gist of what he's about. Fun to read but of little literary significance. 7/10
  5. Haruki Murakami

    Kafka on the Shore (2002) Haruki Murakami After enjoying Norwegian Wood I thought I'd give this a go. And while I enjoyed the reading experience once more, I wasn't exactly convinced by the writing. There were things that only mildly bothered me in Norwegian Wood but which I dismissed because I saw them as one-off issues for that particular book. Kafka on the Shore, however, demonstrated that they're part of Murakami's entire style. The endless descriptions of what every character is eating or drinking at all times (I know how food works, thanks), and the fact that everyone seems to express even the most basic degree of fondness for one another through some kind of sexual contact ('hi, you seem nice, would you like a hand-job?'). In Norwegian Wood this stuff seemed (tangentially) to make a certain amount of sense given the context but here, it becomes clear that this is just Murakami's thing. It doesn't spoil the book in any way, it's simply a little tedious.Then we have the actual story. It's all rather vague and metaphorical, a story about alternate dimensions, parts of your soul being lost, and so on. That's fine but I tend to view that kind of thing as more of a gimmick than anything else; one which is masking the fact that the book doesn't actually have anything meaningful to say about the human condition. Dazai's 'No Longer Human' has a great deal to say about the complexities of human existence but at no point does he rely on KFC's Colonel Sanders turning up as a character to get you a good blow job from a sex worker (that actually happens). I can imagine that if you're someone who doesn't read much then this might seem so whacky and weird that it's an example of mind-bending literary genius. When, in truth, it's simply a story about a magic stone and a man who can communicate with cats.That all being said, I really did enjoy reading it. Murakami writes in a thoroughly fluid and page turning manner that is hard to knock. But that's the least I'd expect from genre fiction. And that's what this is: genre fiction. Something to read on the beach when you're on holiday.I'd definitely recommend it as a piece of entertainment but generally speaking it's not my cup of tea. I will probably delve into more of Murakami's work at a later date but I'm in no rush. I think I've got the gist of what he's about. Fun to read but of little literary significance. 7/10
  6. Euro 2020 (2021)

    Italy deserved it. Hopefully, Southgate will learn to be less conservative in his approach. And above all other things, always avoid penalties.
  7. Hux Book Blog

    Nice little article about my favourite contemporary writer Michel Houeloebecq. https://thecritic.co.uk/issues/july-2021/laughing-laureate-of-western-decline/
  8. Euro 2020 (2021)

    We're in a final for the first time since 66. FINAL Sunday 11th July ITALY Vs ENGLAND
  9. The Limerick Game

    Something simply isn't right, she said A dung beetle's climbed in my bed It rolled up my sock It didn't even knock And now it sits quietly on my head There once was a singer from Egypt
  10. Euro 2020 (2021)

    Nice! And now the semi finals. Italy V Spain Denmark V England
  11. Euro 2020 (2021)

    ENG-GER-LAND!!!
  12. Hunger

    This book took me by surprise. It's stunningly original, especially given that it was published in 1890. I kept having to check that particular date because it felt so contemporary and modern. I'm genuinely curious to know if this book might qualify as the first truly 'modernist' novel. There might be other candidates out there but this is certainly a contender. There is no plot (a marker for many modernist novels), and the book is a first person narration filled with inner dialogue and occasional stream of consciousness writing. Hamsun also has a curious habit of switching tenses (which I don't ever recall seeing before). He starts a sentence in past tense then concludes it in present tense and so on -- and it all works rather beautifully. There's also a rather blunt expression of sexual thoughts and images which most 19th century literature wouldn't touch and which, again, seems very modern. In fact, the two earlier translations both removed them (the translation by Sverre Lyngstad is the one you want).The basic plot is a young writer struggling to find work, food, and somewhere to sleep in Oslo. On one occasion, he sleeps in the woods, on another he volunteers to spend the night in the local prison as his only option. He's so hungry that he picks up a handful of wood chippings and eats them across the course of the day. And when he finally has some food, his body has become so accustomed to not having any that he vomits. All this is occurring as he is desperately tries to come up with articles which he might sell to the newspaper and his mind is slowly crumbling.There are times when he speaks to himself, when the internal monologue is vocalised, and there are moments when he seems unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy. As the book goes along, he appears to be falling apart and gradually losing his mind. And there is a woman named Ylajali whom he fixates on and eventually has a rendezvous with which quickly escalates into something sexually aggressive and confused. Again, this is not something I'd expect to see in a 19th century novel. This is a book about poverty and hunger at a time when it wasn't uncommon for most people to experience those things.This was such a superb read. Magnificent. 9/10
  13. Hux Book Blog

    Hunger (1890) Knut Hamsun This book took me by surprise. It's stunningly original, especially given that it was published in 1890. I kept having to check that particular date because it felt so contemporary and modern. I'm genuinely curious to know if this book might qualify as the first truly 'modernist' novel. There might be other candidates out there but this is certainly a contender. There is no plot (a marker for many modernist novels), and the book is a first person narration filled with inner dialogue and occasional stream of consciousness writing. Hamsun also has a curious habit of switching tenses (which I don't ever recall seeing before). He starts a sentence in past tense then concludes it in present tense and so on -- and it all works rather beautifully. There's also a rather blunt expression of sexual thoughts and images which most 19th century literature wouldn't touch and which, again, seems very modern. In fact, the two earlier translations both removed them (the translation by Sverre Lyngstad is the one you want).The basic plot is a young writer struggling to find work, food, and somewhere to sleep in Oslo. On one occasion, he sleeps in the woods, on another he volunteers to spend the night in the local prison as his only option. He's so hungry that he picks up a handful of wood chippings and eats them across the course of the day. And when he finally has some food, his body has become so accustomed to not having any that he vomits. All this is occurring as he is desperately tries to come up with articles which he might sell to the newspaper and his mind is slowly crumbling.There are times when he speaks to himself, when the internal monologue is vocalised, and there are moments when he seems unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy. As the book goes along, he appears to be falling apart and gradually losing his mind. And there is a woman named Ylajali whom he fixates on and eventually has a rendezvous with which quickly escalates into something sexually aggressive and confused. Again, this is not something I'd expect to see in a 19th century novel. This is a book about poverty and hunger at a time when it wasn't uncommon for most people to experience those things.This was such a superb read. Magnificent. 9/10
  14. Hux Book Blog

    The Invention of Morel (1940) Adolfo Bioy Casares This was a fun read. I won't go into too many details regarding the plot because the book is very much dependent upon its plot as it moves along. Suffice it to say a man (a fugitive) on the run from the Venezuelan authorities hears of an isolated island in the Pacific that has a reputation for being a place that is uninhabitable for people and he chooses to hide there. On the abandoned island there is a large dilapidated building (referred to as a museum), a Chapel, a swimming pool and a small mill, and the man lives in the museum alone. That is until, one day, a group of strangers suddenly arrive on the island.The fugitive runs away from the museum and hides from the newcomers in the marshlands but becomes obsessed with a woman among their group named Faustine who sits in the same spot each day to read and watch the sunsets. He then notices that there are two suns and two moons. He listens to the conversations these people have and they seem odd and disconnected. Then, finally, he reveals himself to Faustine but she doesn't appear to acknowledge him.Anyway, that's where the plot thickens.This book is an old school mystery adventure yarn, the likes of which you see rarely these days. In fact, it was pretty rare even when it was published (1940). It's short and perfectly plotted, and all the clues laid out for the reader as they go along. Jorge Luis Borges said that the book's plot was perfection and I'd have to agree. But the book's shortness is the very thing which allows for such concise and neat storytelling.Anyway, I'm gonna go watch 'Lost.' 8/10
  15. The Limerick Game

    When butter goes rancid these days.... Beneath hot beams of summer sun rays The puddles of oil Really do spoil
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