Tag: Charlie Hill

Distracted by Other Books

Posted September 11, 2018 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 14 Comments

My Thoughts and Reading in August 2018

August is Women in Translations month, which means there is a big influx of people reading translations, even the publishers and big bookish media seem to promote the event. This feels like a double edge sword for me, while I love that more people are reading from my corner of the bookish world, there are plenty of cringe worthy moments to be had as well. There are people who like to make themselves the authority of the topic despite showing no interest previously in the male/female balance in the world of translations. Admittedly this reaction I have is just my grumpiness coming to play and in reality I should be thankful to see so many people participate in a month dedicated to reading women in translations. For those that did not want to dedicate a whole month, some BookTubers even put together a Women in Translations readathon, but I will not be discussing my problem with readathons here.

I had planned my reading month, thinking that while vacationing around Tasmania I would have more reading time than expected. I packed four books to read during the trip, plus a kindle but I only managed to complete one novel during that entire trip, and it was not even a book I was enjoying. Prior to my vacation, I had read Convenience Store Woman, a book that I still think about to this day. The hype surrounding this book is justified. I also read The Door with my wife, which was discussed on the latest episode of Lost in Translations. Before my trip, I scheduled six reviews for my blog, all being women in translations. I am pleased to say, that I am pretty much up to date with reviewing, as I have made the choice not to review every book I read. I want to spend more time writing essays and improving my writing abilities so while reviews seem to be an important aspect of my blog, I hope this means that I will write more.

Tasmania was an amazing experience, I have not been there before and I really enjoyed the cold weather. I got to experience snow falling for the first time, most non-Australians might think this is not as special as I make it out to be. The book I read while away was Oneiron; it was not for me, and I really struggled to get through it. I understand what Laura Lindstedt was trying to do by putting these women in this situation and have them reflect on their lives but I was disappointed. I did however start Aracoeli and I am having a much better experience. Elsa Morante is a wonderful writer and for those who do not know her, she is one of the authors that influenced the writing of Elene Ferrante.

During my trip I visited bookstores every chance I got, which did leave me with a much heavier bag by the end of the trip. I wanted to limit my purchasing by focusing on expanding my women in translation collection but I failed at that. So many stores seemed to have a very limited selection for translations, which is fast becoming the biggest downside of my reading niche. The feeling of leaving a bookstore empty handed is heart breaking for a book lover. However, if I started to complain about the amount of books I did end up purchasing, I would be lying to myself. I have so many amazing books to read, I just need to find the time.

After Tasmania we stopped in Melbourne for the weekend and attended the Melbourne Writers Festival. This year had an amazing line up and I think I want to write about what I saw in a different post. The festival has inspired me to be more active in my blogging and to write more pieces, so let’s see if it pays off. The final book I read before going back to work was Sofi Oksanen’s novel Purge. Previously I read When the Doves Disappeared which I liked but did not love, honestly, I think Purge is a far superior novel. Because it was Women in Translations month, I think it is necessary to check my reading stats to see if I have a balanced reading life this year. I am pleased to say that 75% of my reading have been translations, which is indicative of my passion. With 52% being books written by women. I hope to maintain this balance, but I know how easy it is to have the statistics change.

Happy reading everyone.

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Books by Charlie Hill

Posted February 3, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour / 6 Comments

Books by Charlie HillTitle: Books (Goodreads)
Author: Charlie Hill
Published: Tinder Press, 2013
Pages: 242
Genres: Humour
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

When two tourists drop dead, it peaks neurologist Lauren Furrow’s interest and seeks out indie bookseller Richard Anger to help her uncover this mystery. What they find is something unexpected. Have you ever read a book so mediocre that your brain stops working? Best-selling author Gary Sayles’s books are doing just that. Charlie Hill’s Books will take a satirical look at the state of our book industry today.

This novel starts out with Richard Anger, an angry book seller with the best bookshop ever mentioned in a novel. “A bookshop full of long-forgotten noir fiction, modernist classics, chapbooks, transgressive experimentation, translated erotica, minimalism, short stories, satires, samizdat, surrealist poetry and smut.” This is the kind of book shop I would love to spend my time in, it’s the type of store I would love to own; it just sounds amazing. Is it bad that I identified and really enjoyed the character of Richard Anger? I just thought his whole attitude and personality really tied the book together, offsetting the humour with some bitterness.

As this is a satire, I paid closed attention at what Hill was parodying. A particular favourite of mine was the literary critic, who was a blogger. As a book blogger I’ve heard it so many times, people calling blog reviews into question and while running a blog gives you more freedom to explore your own style and voice but that doesn’t mean what we say is less relevant. This tiny dig at literary criticism amused me greatly but then again I enjoyed the many little pokes being made at the book industry.

As an overview of this novel, Books is satire on the sheer amount of books that are extremely similar being published. You know the styles, I won’t point out books but there are heaps of examples of books that feel very much like a carbon copy of a similar book that was popular. There are genres out there that have the same thing being published over and over again because they sell. Books takes a look at this practise and just made fun of it.

People are devouring these books that are so similar that they all die from SNAPS (Spontaneous Neural Atrophy Syndrome).  Books reads similar to a thriller but there are so many laugh out loud moments. I love how on the surface this novel seems like a genre-based novel but if you explore it a little deeper you see so much. You can spend a lot of time trying to dissect Books and seeing everything Charlie Hill is doing here.

If you are a fan of books and want a good laugh at the expense of the book industry, then Books is for you. I had so much fun reading this book and equally as much fun thinking about what is written. I picked up this book because I love books about books and satire and I was not disappointed. This could be on my best of 2014 list but it is way too early to tell. Highly recommend Books, it is fun to read and you’ll enjoy the fun it made at the book industry.


Monthly Review – January 2014

Posted January 31, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyHard to believe that the first month of 2014 is over, it has been amazing to see how much excitement people are having towards The Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. For those who don’t know about the reading challenge, there is still time to join in the fun, so check out my introductory post here. Most people were busy enjoying the reading challenge, so our group read, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, didn’t get talked about much, but from what I’ve read it has all be very positive.

I’ve been off to a flying start this year, I’ve read seven books which is surprising since I have no reading goal and I want to take my time with reading. Most of those books go towards the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge and you can find my own record of the challenge here. I’m thinking about trying to read two books for each genre this year and I’m keeping a record of every book and which genre it best fits into on that page as well, just to see which genres need more attention in my exploring.

Highlights of the month for me include; Books by Charlie Hill, 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, All That Is by James Salter, The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich and Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas. Also a special mention to my current literary obsession Gary Shteyngart; I read his memoir Little Failure and bought all his books (with the exception to Super Sad True Love Story, which I already owned), I hope to read all his books this year but I’m sure other books will get in the way. So what have you been reading this month?

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