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  1. Hey Pompey Bum, nice to be remembered! That scene...

    Hey Pompey Bum, nice to be remembered! That scene in The Road has stuck in my mind too. He says something like "the value of everything is predicated upon what is yet to come."

    I expect I would...
  2. Would you still read books if you were the last person alive?

    I recently read an interview with Thomas Ligotti where he said:

    "If the world ended tomorrow, and I were the last person left alive, I think I would continue to enjoy the works of Borges. They...
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    There are some pretty good podcasts around these...

    There are some pretty good podcasts around these days. Sometimes I listen to them at work. Now I actually look forward to being given a tedious job!
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    Marilynne Robinson. Her ideas are deeply...

    Marilynne Robinson. Her ideas are deeply unfashionable (she is a Christian) and I don't subscribe to them myself, but I think she can hold her intellectual ground against any other writer today. Also...
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    The Greek Myths by Robert Graves is a pretty good...

    The Greek Myths by Robert Graves is a pretty good guide to reading the classics. Don't miss out on the original texts though. Homer is essential, but I would also recommend Aeschylus, Sophocles and...
  6. Nice review. I've had my eye on this book and...

    Nice review. I've had my eye on this book and you've convinced me to read it.
  7. Absolutely. I do feel a tension between reading...

    Absolutely. I do feel a tension between reading for pleasure and reading for the sake of being well-read. 'Reading the canon' is a pretty harmless sort of obsession, but it's easy to lose sight of...
  8. Ishmael of Moby-Dick. Who is he? What kind of...

    Ishmael of Moby-Dick. Who is he? What kind of life did he lead after his adventure on the Pequod? He drops a few hints, which give the impression of an extraordinary character, but he also appears to...
  9. He did not. I can think of some possible...

    He did not. I can think of some possible candidates, which would doubtless be contested, but I'm sure I've never read a perfect novel. Novels - especially great ones - are too ambitious to be...
  10. I suppose short stories are easier to forget. I...

    I suppose short stories are easier to forget. I don't think they are a lesser form. I would say that the best short stories are ranked alongside the best novels, but maybe the second and third tier...
  11. Can't help with books, but I think you might like...

    Can't help with books, but I think you might like the films Kuroneko and Onibaba, if you're not already familiar with them.
  12. I'm a slow reader. I read for a few hours each...

    I'm a slow reader. I read for a few hours each day, get through 300-600 pages a week, so average about 50 books a year.

    I often wish I could read more, and feel tormented by the thought of not...
  13. Thanks. Of the books you mentioned I had only...

    Thanks. Of the books you mentioned I had only previously heard of Richard McGuire's and always meant to check it out.

    Just had a browse on Amazon and looking at their 'Customers Who Bought...
  14. Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on...

    Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth is worth a look.

    I've read and enjoyed a lot of famous graphic novels, but found very few that have truly escaped their genre, or their...
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    Redmond O'Hanlon's Congo Journey is a good read.

    Redmond O'Hanlon's Congo Journey is a good read.
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    I love both books, but McCarthy's is far...

    I love both books, but McCarthy's is far superior. Although Lonesome Dove is a better (maybe the best?) example of the genre.

    Read a few books by James Carlos Blake which I enjoyed, but for all...
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    The slinking whisperer.

    The slinking whisperer.
  18. Seemed like a genuine question to me, although an...

    Seemed like a genuine question to me, although an impossible one to answer. I think people should be granted the benefit of the doubt until they give reason to to be.
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    John Steinbeck's East of Eden.

    John Steinbeck's East of Eden.
  20. I think I would pick a massive history book - one...

    I think I would pick a massive history book - one that isn't too dry - and try to engage with it as imaginatively as possible. Will Durant's The Story of Civilisation looks like a good choice. Also I...
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    I don't know. Complex is not the same as...

    I don't know. Complex is not the same as difficult.

    Blood Meridian is a pretty easy read if you just glide over the difficult parts. But asking questions and pulling on loose strings will unearth...
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    Joseph Mitchell had a great style. He wrote...

    Joseph Mitchell had a great style. He wrote essays about early 20thC New York.

    And yes, Dawkins has become a bit of an embarrassment in his later years. I was a fan of his early books. I still...
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    St Exupery. Everyone knows him for The Little...

    St Exupery.

    Everyone knows him for The Little Prince, which may be the best children's book ever written. His autobiographical novels are less well known but just as special. Flight to Arras is...
  24. I wouldn't describe GR as easy, but it was...

    I wouldn't describe GR as easy, but it was nowhere near as difficult as I expected. I've seen people describe it as gibberish, that nothing happens for hundreds of pages, nothing makes sense, etc. I...
  25. Robinson Jeffers seems criminally neglected. ...

    Robinson Jeffers seems criminally neglected.

    Shine, Perishing Republic

    While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity
    Heavily thickening to empire,
    And protest, only a bubble in...
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