Bookz & sheeyat


I’m about a quarter through Second-hand Time. Among the entries is the perspective of those who believed in communism and now are just emotionally & mentally crushed by the change into capitalism. How it was done, coarsely and savagely, they now battle this feeling–also material & social–that their whole lives were wasted, everything meaningless, it’s a kind of torture. They despair in these long monologues. It’s sad and interesting and a perspective not often shown.


a requezt :tm:

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What in the FUCK is that


Nice read,

Hehe peak Liszt during crazy etude phase. Confused in every sense, lol. -> Czern burn


Anyone read anything by Italian writer Carlo Emilio Gadda?

Critics have compared him to other writers with a scientific background, such as Primo Levi, Robert Musil and Thomas Pynchon—a similar spirit of exactitude pervades some of Gadda’s books. Among Gadda’s styles and genres are baroque, expressionism and grotesque.

This book jumped out at me:

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Sounds interesting, esp. because Musil is one of my favourite writers…

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I’ve finished Alexievich’s Second-hand Time, a big 700 page multi-voiced account of the fall of the SU. It’s divided into two parts – '91-'01 (Ten Stories in a Red Interior) and '02-'12 (Ten Stories in the Absence of an Interior). The individual stories (20-40 pages long) are thematically linked in that sense. For example in the second half of the book, the first 4 stories cover the Armenian-Azerbaijanian ethnic conflict, '90s gangsters, a young woman’s ambition in '90s business (which perhaps unsurprisingly turns into a love issue), and a family who were victims of a terrorist attack on the metro. The book ends beautifully with a just over one page long unattributed interview, ‘Notes from an Everywoman’, which summarises how private lives in Russia don’t change in their simple stereotypical pain and concerns, despite all the political shifts.

I’ve got one more book from this Nobel winner - her second and newly translated, Last Witnesses, in which she interviewed children for their memories of life during the second world war.

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Well that’s not right. She interviewed adults who at the time of the war were children.


Interesting… I’m finishing up Barabarosa by Clark might be interesting to read the interviews to put a human face on things.

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How is that book? It sounds interesting. If you want a human face for it, read her first book, The Unwomanly Face of War. She interviewed something like 800 women who fought for the SU. It’s an amazing book, most emotive one I’ve ever read.

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It’s good… the writer has a clear style so dense subjects move along alright. The point of view is 1960s British - quasi right wing - but even still, feels objective and is an interesting read. I had no idea the scope and cost of the Russian contribution in WWII. Without Russian grit the world would be a different place.

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For sure. I’d like to read a book specifically about the battle of Stalingrad. It sounds insane.


The only one I’ve read, but it’s excellent:


I’m about 50 pages into Last Witnesses. It’s just vignettes – each entry only 1 to 5 pages long. Evocative, a couple have been quite engaging, but this book so far doesn’t have the startling effect of the other ones. I would rank her books like this:

The Unwomanly Face of War (women at war)
Second-hand Time (fall of SU)
Chernobyl Prayer
Last Witnesses (childhood during war)

I haven’t read and am not going to read Zinky Boys – about the SU’s war in Afghanistan. That’s a particularly Russian moment in history, doesn’t have a wider interest like the others IMO. I’m also a bit tired of this oral history style, for now. I signed up at Prague’s central library today so can now have access to (older) English books for free.


hahahaha i recently finizhd ‘hi rize’ by ballard (tha DICKFAT? pozz) n am ztartin empire of tha zun alzo by tha DICKFAT

hi rize wuz fairly CG n a great original idea fo a zheeyat; apparently ther iz a movie of thiz book zo i vil lykly look fo that in tha futuah tru :dong:


Has anyone read anything by Thomas Bernhard? He has a book called The Loser…

The novel does not take place at the time of the events recounted, but at the time its narrator recalls them. There are three main characters: the narrator (who is the only survivor), Glenn Gould, who died a natural death at fifty-one, and Wertheimer who committed suicide some time later. The novel consists almost entirely of recollections and ruminations relating to the relationships between the three. Wertheimer and the narrator were students in a piano class taught by Vladimir Horowitz at the Mozarteum in Salzburg in 1953, where they met a young Canadian piano prodigy (Gould).

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In haste, but I’m finally set to read Dante’s Divine Comedy this winter. I’ve looked a little at translations and I think I’ve settled on Sinclair, but it’s not for sale in book form in Sweden and I can’t find the text online. Would anyone have a PDF, ebook or similar of his translation? Does anyone have any opinions of any other translations?

Bonus question: anyone read anything by newly awarded Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk?


She won it? Yeah I talked about one of her books above. It’s very good but in the end it doesn’t lead to more than its brilliant parts. I intend to read her other book which was turned into a film - Drive your plow over the bones of the dead.

I’m surprised she won.

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This sounds interesting, and I thought the same from what they said about her on TV. She’s apparently written many different genres and in many different styles, from these miniature tales to grand eposes. I haven’t looked in to what, but I think I’ll pick a book by her along with a few others I mean to buy in time for Christmas.

The other laureate, for 2019 (Olga was for 2018), was Austrian Peter Handke but all publicity about him has been about his political stances. That he’s also written books appears to be a footnote in the reporting.


I think only a couple of her books have been translated into English (the two I mentioned). I put her in my third (and last) podcast – an interview clip in which she jokes about Poland.

I suppose you’ll enjoy Flights – she put a lot of research into it. I liked it, I just thought it didn’t add up to anything – narratively, psychologically or emotionally. Like a big collection of shorts of various sizes. I still think about the one with the woman who gave up her family and rode around the underground for days or weeks.

Yeah I’m wary of any writer whose political stance is the first thing mentioned like Handke.