Fascinating reads

Just some of mine – I’d love to read about yours. Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams (Warner Books),  a compact little book set in the early 1900s, time viewed from different imagined angles – hugely descriptive, a real dazzler – skews your perspectives in the most creative way.

The Poems of Frederick Seidel 1959-2009 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) – raw, combative, strangely beautiful, political … a real discovery.

Otto Weininger Sex and Character (www.kessinger.net) – it absorbed Wittgenstein and isn’t too far removed from Houston Chamberlain and other fantastical reactionaries. Itchy grains of intuition mixed in with some very weird misconceptions … influential in its day, but something of an embarassment in ours. Instructive, revealing, depressing.

Swansong 1945 (Granta) by Walter Kempowski – ‘a collective diary from Hitler’s last birthday to VE day’. Read about 130 pages so far. Absorbing chronicle from the Bunker to despatches from abroad – harrowing, enlightening, uplifting, touching. A wonderful read – one of my books of the year.

10 thoughts on “Fascinating reads

  1. trevorharley

    I’ve been reading some recently republished works by Christopher Priest – as well as his latest book, The adjacent. Fascinating, gripping, thought provoking, with no easy answers. Like life.


  2. Stephen Kenny

    Revisiting 1984 to get me in the Christmas spirit! The themes still resonate today and always remind me to think critically about everything (especially as a scientist).

    On somewhat of a tangent, I’ve just started a student classical music radio show, any advice from someone as experienced as yourself?


  3. trevorharley

    I still don’t like having the guest on at 10 rather 10.30. It used to break things up nicely. Paul Morley was a particularly interesting guest, I thought.


    1. Yes, Paul was really great … so interesting on so many topics. As to the different time for the slot, most people seem happy with it – but it can’t suit everyone. Thanks for the input..


  4. fascinating reads for me are the very old Grove, comparing now thoughts on composers with the then thoughts. For instance, the contributor who wondered whether Gustav Mahler would ever make his mark…!!


    1. Yes Roz agreed …. though some of the old editions are quite rare now. I’ve the 4th edition (1940), minus its first volume (anyone got a spare?) … though I missed an earlier ed. at Oxfam (they were charging £100). Grove in general is a goldmine, Slonimsky too. Try the old Record Guide if you want what would now be considered some pretty unfashionable opinions! Best.


      1. I have the 1898 Groves 🙂
        I read it from cover to cover when I first got interested in forgotten composers – and wondered why I had not been so diligent when I was a student!


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