Suggestions For A Good Read

Spudrick68

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I am currently reading Debbie Harry's autobiography. Blondie were my favourite band as a kid. A few years ago I Read an article in the FT by Gary Lachman, am reading about Gary Valentine (as he was in Blondie). Debbie Harry describes him as a "young very good looking kid" who "looked like he ought to be in a rock band.

If that was me I wouldn't be able to get my fat head through the door. :)
 

Mythopoeika

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A few years ago I Read an article in the FT by Gary Lachman, am reading about Gary Valentine (as he was in Blondie). Debbie Harry describes him as a "young very good looking kid" who "looked like he ought to be in a rock band.
I think he's a fairly regular contributor to Fortean Times.
 

uair01

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Highly recommended. While reading about Machiavelli, I found the book "April Blood" about the Pazzi conspiracy. It's a renaissance "Game of Thrones". I will present a few quotes.

April Blood (Lauro Martines)
THE SIGNAL FOR the deed came at a moment in High Mass, possibly the elevation of the Host, though some said the priest’s communion, while others fixed on the words, Ite missa est. 2 Memories varied. Witnesses claimed that the first bloody thrust, backed by the exclamation, ‘Here, traitor!’, was delivered by Bernardo Bandini Baroncelli, a man from an old banking family allied to the Pazzi. Giuliano de’ Medici staggered back a few paces, his chest punctured, as a second assailant, Francesco de’ Pazzi, went at him with a fury of dagger blows. When the tottering man collapsed in that part of the church, not far from the door nearest to the Via de’ Servi, he was in no condition to catch sight of his brother, Lorenzo the Magnificent, who was some twenty to thirty yards away. Giuliano’s lifeless body was to show a dozen to nineteen wounds. Again, memories clashed but were curiously precise. Cries, shouts, and the slap of racing feet erupted in that cavernous space, as seasoned politicians, ambassadors, servants, citizens, women, priests, and children ran about, bolted from the church, rushed into neighbouring houses or wherever their panic led them. Was it an earthquake? Some worshippers feared that Brunelleschi’s dome was about to come crashing down, while a few bold and curious spirits pressed in closer to the melée, nearer to those brandishing knives and swords, trying to see what was happening. Minutes before, two priests had edged their way up behind Lorenzo, who was still moving about on the southern side, by the old sacristy, chatting with friends. The two carried concealed weapons. When the signal came, one of them lunged at Lorenzo from behind, grabbing him by a shoulder, either to steady himself or to turn him round for the stabbing. Instead of which, receiving only a slight wound on the neck, just under the right ear, Lorenzo bounded forward, drawing his mantle up to his left arm and shoulder, then spun around, short sword in hand. He parried another thrust or two, before his retreat was covered by friends and defenders, as he jumped over a low wooden rail into the octagonal choir and crossed in front of the high altar, to seek the protection of the north sacristy. Francesco Nori – one of the top managers of the Medici Bank and a close friend – stepped in to help defend his employer, but he was mortally wounded when Baroncelli’s long knife got him in the pit of the stomach. Giuliano’s angry assassins had gone after Lorenzo too, despite the fact that the banker, Pazzi, was already limping, having been stabbed in the thigh either by one of his own servants or by himself, in the frenzy to kill Giuliano. The other priest, wielding a sword and small buckler, was fought off by a Medici servant, but in the fight a young man from the Cavalcanti family, one of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s companions, was badly wounded in one arm. The bleeding Francesco Nori, quickly dragged into the north sacristy, died a few minutes later.


April Blood (Lauro Martines)
The two priests who had agreed to murder Lorenzo, Maffei and Bagnone, had found shelter with the Benedictine monks in the Badia Fiorentina, around the corner from the cathedral itself and across the street from the enclave of Pazzi mansions. They were finally seized on 3 May, and their Benedictine protectors would have been attacked and battered by a crowd, but for the arresting guardsmen and intervention of cooler heads. All the same, on the way to the government palace, the two men were beaten and mutilated: they were turned over, without ears and noses, to the Priors and Eight, to be hanged, like the Archbishop, from a window facing the spacious government piazza.

April Blood (Lauro Martines)
With one exception, however, there was soon to be a notable change in mood, as the governing elite regained its bearings. The middle and late 1470s were a time of rising food prices and famine. In this setting, the ready spilling of blood, the swelling fury against the conspirators, and the lewd flaunting of torn body parts, must have brought home to the ruling group the sense that the energies of the over-wrought mob, being so unstable, might well take a nasty turn and go against the ‘good’ sort of upper-class families. After all, there were armed men among the angry demonstrators, and the wild sacking of the Pazzi and certain Salviati houses had only just been prevented. The great wealth of the Pazzi had to be set aside for their likely creditors and the government’s coffers, not abandoned to a rabid crowd. Tensions were common in walled-in Florence, roused not so much by differences between the well-fed and the hungry (though these could be exploited), as by the Medicean system of government, with its cleavage between the webs of political privilege on the one side and the many political outcasts on the other.

April Blood (Lauro Martines)
Prevented from entering that piazza, but determined to go on exhibiting their humour and enjoying their howls of glee, they yanked and pulled ‘Jacopo’ to his own palazzo, where they banged his head on the door, while calling out, ‘Who’s in there? Who’s inside? What, is there no one here to receive the master and his entourage?’ That afternoon, finally, they worked their way south to the river with their ghastly hostage, moving up stream a bit, and then dumped it from the bridge at Rubiconte, now the Ponte alle Grazie, into the rushing waters of the Arno. As the corpse floated downstream, crowds of people rushed to the bridges to watch it flow past. A day or two later, near Brossi, boys again pulled it out of the water, hung it up on a willow tree, and beat it as though they were beating a carpet, then cast it back into the Arno, to let it continue its grotesque journey down river, under the bridges of Pisa, and out to the open sea. The travels of Messer Jacopo’s body end here, but its fate, surely for years, was to echo in the Florentine imagination.
 

uair01

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Saw this yesterday in the bookshop. The audio book has the best reviews:

Unexplained: Supernatural Stories for Uncertain Times
by Richard MacLean Smith


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40054078-unexplained?ac=1&from_search=true
I listened to the audiobook of this, because I think Richard MacLean Smith is a wizard when it comes to all things audible, and he really went all in for this. Music, sound effects, voice actors, his own smooth as velvet voice... incredible. A great listening experience, absolutely the audiobook I've enjoyed the most.
 
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My review, it's in FT385.

Dark Emerald Tales: Folklore, Legends, Dark History and Hauntings Of Ireland.by Ann Massey O'Regan.
19 September 2018. Beuk Aithris.. 183 pp. PB. £7.99. ISBN-13: 978-0995778429

A wide ranging collection of Dark Irish Folklore retold in a popular fashion. The Ancient Gods and Goddesses are covered - The Morrigan, Boann, Aoibhell, Crom Dubh, Lugh. Mythical characters such as Oisin and Fionn and the cycles of their tales are discussed As are the Celtic Harbingers Of Death - Banshees, Hellhounds and The Dullahan.

The narrative swiftly moves on to the 15th Century Wizard Earl of Kildare, Gerald Fitzgerald who studied Metallurgy and Alchemy as well as more arcane subjects on the Continent before returning to Kilkea Castle where he was eaten by a cat after transforming himself into a bird.

Those with an interest in the Fairy Realm are well served by the inclusion of short pieces on Changelings, Fairy Shock Troops ( malevolent spirits sinking boats, fought off with iron), Cait Sidhe (soul-reaping black cat) and of course Leprechauns. Leprechauns are descended from the Tuatha Dé Danann and come in 57 different varieties ranging from Leinster (keeps a low profile, likes honey) to Ulster (good poet and hurler) to Connacht (hardworker, reclusive) to Munster (extrovert, hard drinker).

Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves and Demons all pop up. The Werewolves of Ossory were cursed by an Abbot but aided by a priest who gave the Last Rites to a dying Werewolf in 1182, supposedly documented in a report to Rome in 1185..

FT readers will be keen to learn about Charles Fort in Kinsale and it's Lady in White, the ghost of woman who committed suicide at the Fort after finding the corpses of both her husband and father.Plenty of more haunted sites in Cork including the City Gaol, St Finbarr's Hospital and Carr's Hill Cemetery (ghosts of Famine victims).

If you want to go for a pint in a haunted pub in Dublin then you're spoiled for choice. The Gravediggers convenient to Glasnevin Cemetery, great pint of Guinness, old haunt of grave robbers. Brogans of Dame Street next to the Olympia Theatre, gets Tharical Ghosts. Mulligans of Poolbeg Street, more great Guinness, frequented by poltergeists. The lord Edward in Christchurch Place, haunted by the ghost of the eponymous United Irishman. The Brazen Head dates to 1198 but is haunted by Robert Emmett who held meetings there. I preferred it when it was more ramshackle and only sold bottled Guinness.

An entertaining guide to Ireland's Dark Side let down by dodgy spacing and a sloppy general layout. Still it should appeal to tourists. 6/10..
 

packshaud

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All this thread... My poor pockets, you meanies!

I will limit myself to three science fiction books:
  • Star's Reach by John Michael Greer;
  • The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse;
  • Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson.
These were selected because they are unconventional. You don't want to always read the same stories, right?
 

Yithian

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Just a 'heads-up' to say that although I don't yet have a copy myself, this new title been getting some excellent reviews. It seems to be somewhere between post-modern 'hauntology' and a more traditional exploration of old-fashioned ghost tales--with a personal narrative to hang it all on. Also, although I know that you proverbially shouldn't, what a great cover! Looks like a Christmas present to me.



91kSv0uGQHL.jpg

In his late thirties, Edward Parnell found himself trapped in the recurring nightmare of a family tragedy. For comfort, he turned to his bookshelves, back to the ghost stories that obsessed him as a boy, and to the writers through the ages who have attempted to confront what comes after death.

In Ghostland, Parnell goes in search of the ‘sequestered places’ of the British Isles, our lonely moors, our moss-covered cemeteries, our stark shores and our folkloric woodlands. He explores how these landscapes conjured and shaped a kaleidoscopic spectrum of literature and cinema, from the ghost stories and weird fiction of M. R. James, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood to the children’s fantasy novels of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper; from W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn and Graham Swift’s Waterland to the archetypal ‘folk horror’ film The Wicker Man…

Ghostland is Parnell’s moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – and what is haunting him. It is a unique and elegiac meditation on grief, memory and longing, and of the redemptive power of stories and nature.

Previews Etc.
https://edwardparnell.com/
 
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Just a 'heads-up' to say that although I don't yet have a copy myself, this new title been getting some excellent reviews. It seems to be somewhere between post-modern 'hauntology' and a more traditional exploration of old-fashioned ghost tales--with a personal narrative to hang it all on. Also, although I know that you proverbially shouldn't, what a great cover! Looks like a Christmas present to me.



View attachment 20963

In his late thirties, Edward Parnell found himself trapped in the recurring nightmare of a family tragedy. For comfort, he turned to his bookshelves, back to the ghost stories that obsessed him as a boy, and to the writers through the ages who have attempted to confront what comes after death.

In Ghostland, Parnell goes in search of the ‘sequestered places’ of the British Isles, our lonely moors, our moss-covered cemeteries, our stark shores and our folkloric woodlands. He explores how these landscapes conjured and shaped a kaleidoscopic spectrum of literature and cinema, from the ghost stories and weird fiction of M. R. James, Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood to the children’s fantasy novels of Alan Garner and Susan Cooper; from W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn and Graham Swift’s Waterland to the archetypal ‘folk horror’ film The Wicker Man…

Ghostland is Parnell’s moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – and what is haunting him. It is a unique and elegiac meditation on grief, memory and longing, and of the redemptive power of stories and nature.

Previews Etc.
https://edwardparnell.com/
I'm halfway through it and I think it ticks a lot of boxes for people on this forum. Recommended and quite similar in style to Rings of Saturn.

Also holds quite a lot of interest for birdwatchers as well, strange as that sounds.
 

uair01

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I'm halfway through it and I think it ticks a lot of boxes for people on this forum. Recommended and quite similar in style to Rings of Saturn.
Oh wow! If it's like "the rings" then I must have it :)
It's available as an audiobook on Audible, Yay!
 
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I'm halfway through it and I think it ticks a lot of boxes for people on this forum. Recommended and quite similar in style to Rings of Saturn...
I bought this a while back, when it still had zero reviews on Amazon (and Goodreads, I think). It was the Rings of Saturn comparison that finally sold me on it (I mean, apart from everything else - it looked pretty intriguing to start with).

I haven't started it yet - frustratingly it is at home, and I'm working away, and even if I had it with me I'm so buggered at the end of the day that I can barely read a page before I'm away with the faeries.
 
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I bought this a while back, when it still had zero reviews on Amazon (and Goodreads, I think). It was the Rings of Saturn comparison that finally sold me on it (I mean, apart from everything else - it looked pretty intriguing to start with).
At least it's not just me that sees the similarity. Was a bit wary comparing the two.
 
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I am currently reading HG Wells' A Short History of the World. It is short and pretty concise. One does not have to plough through a mass of detail. I think Wells is a good writer, and I have read much of his fiction. It is interesting to discover what was believed about the world in those days and comparing it with contemporary theories.

For some reason I was unable to find a copy of this book on Amazon a few months ago. I thought it might be out of print. However, when on a day trip to a local town known for its second-hand book shops, I went into one on the off-chance that they might have a copy. They didn't, or, at least, not a copy that I could afford. I was offered a collector's copy for £100. During my conversation with the shop owner, I made the comment that I thought books were for reading, not collecting. The shop owner thought this was really funny - reading a book instead of collecting it. His shoulders were heaving as he walked away from me.

Later I had another look in Amazon and lo and behold, I was able to purchase a new copy at a more reasonable price. It seems the book is not out of print as I had thought.
 
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I bought this a while back, when it still had zero reviews on Amazon (and Goodreads, I think). It was the Rings of Saturn comparison that finally sold me on it (I mean, apart from everything else - it looked pretty intriguing to start with).

An edited version of the chapter dealing with William Hope Hodsgon was printed in a recent copy of FT. He goes into depth about Sebald, The Rings and The Emigrants over a couple of later chapters, visiting locations from both books. Interesting stuff.
 

Lord Lucan

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I am currently reading Debbie Harry's autobiography. Blondie were my favourite band as a kid. A few years ago I Read an article in the FT by Gary Lachman, am reading about Gary Valentine (as he was in Blondie). Debbie Harry describes him as a "young very good looking kid" who "looked like he ought to be in a rock band.

If that was me I wouldn't be able to get my fat head through the door. :)
Some guys have all the luck eh?
 

packshaud

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uair01

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Saw this book yesterday and I'm listening to it now. It's interesting and funny:

HOUGHTON: But they made it work. And, in fact, the acoustic part of Acoustic Kitty reportedly had no problems. The cat was a very effective bug, a listening device.

KELLY: So the electronics worked.

HOUGHTON: Right. The electronics worked. The ears were used, essentially, to funnel the noise into the microphone. The tail was the antenna. So part of it worked out pretty well. The problem was, like we mentioned, how do you get it to do what you want it to do?

KELLY: One more animal story to ask you about - Project X-Ray, which I will summarize as strapping bombs onto bats. And the bats would then swoop down onto Japanese cities during World War II. And it sounds like the problem with this one was they actually field-tested it, and it worked too well.

HOUGHTON: Right, too well. And this is something that was field-tested. And it didn't just burn down the mock Japanese city that was built for the test, but it burned down...

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/575262/nuking-the-moon-by-vince-houghton/

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/22/7257...y-schemes-that-didn-t-make-it?t=1573930053191
 
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