Books

The following books are recommended by Shellac for their edition of the ATP Book Club.

The Verso book club will host Dr Mark Bould to discuss Valis by Philip K. Dick. Dr Bould's latest book is Science Fiction: The Routledge Film Guidebook (Routledge 2012) and co-editor, with China Miéville, of Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (Pluto 2009). David C. Winters will discuss Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges. Winters is a literary critic and a co-editor at 3:AM. Links to his recent articles are collected at Why Not Burn Books?


Lord Sinclair will be hosting Book Bingo again at this year's ATP, taking place in Queen Vic at 2pm on Saturday. Book Bingo is a chance for fans to pass on cherished books and discover new favourites. Fans will be asked to donate books before the start of the game, as it is as much about sharing books you have enjoyed as playing Bingo, and we will also have some new books provided by publishers and other generous organizations. Every bingo call is a quote from a book and the first person to the name the book wins a book from those donated. Book Bingo has been very popular at other ATP's and gives anyone with a love of books the opportunity to go home with a new treasure.



Another Roadside Attraction
(author: Tom Robbins, publisher: No Exit


What if the Second Coming didn't quite come off as advertised? What if "the Corpse" on display in that funky roadside zoo is really who they say it is - what does that portend for the future of western civilisation? And what if a young clairvoyant named Amanda re-establishes the flea circus as popular entertainment and fertility worship as the principal religious form of our high-tech age? Another Roadside Attraction answers those questions and more. It tells us what the '60s were really all about, not by reporting the psychedelic age, but by recreating it.


The Anubis Gates
(author: Tim Powers, publisher: Gollancz)


Brendan Doyle is a twentieth-century English professor who travels back to 1810 London to attend a lecture given by English romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This is a London filled with deformed clowns, organised beggar societies, insane homunculi and magic. When he is kidnapped by gypsies and consequently misses his return trip to 1983, the mild-mannered Doyle is forced to become a street-smart con man, escape artist, and swordsman in order to survive in the dark and treacherous London underworld. He defies bullets, black magic, murderous beggars, freezing waters, imprisonment in mutant-infested dungeons, poisoning, and even a plunge back to 1684. Coleridge himself and poet Lord Byron make appearances in the novel, which also features a poor tinkerer who creates genetic monsters and a werewolf that inhabits others' bodies when his latest becomes too hairy.


The Basketball Diaries
(author: Jim Carroll, publisher: Penguin)


Written between the ages of twelve and fifteen, this diary tells the story of Jim Carroll, a kid growing up stealing, hustling, getting high, playing basketball, and trying to find something pure on the streets of New York.


Bernini: The Sculptor of the Roman Baroque
(author: Rudolph Wittkower, publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd)


Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was the most influential sculptor of his age. Inventive and skilled, he virtually created the Baroque style. In his religious sculptures he excelled at capturing movement and extreme emotion, uniting figures with their setting to create a single conception of overwhelming intensity that expressed the fervour of Counter-Reformation Rome. Intensity and drama also characterize his portraits and world-famous Roman fountains. This monograph provides an authoritative introduction to all aspects of Bernini's sculpture, while the full catalogue gives detailed information on his complete oeuvre.


Candide
(author: Francois Voltaire, publisher: Penguin Classics)


Voltaire's brilliant satirical assault on what he saw as the naively optimistic philosophy of the Enlightenment, Candide, or Optimism is a dazzling picaresque novel.

Brought up in the household of a German Baron, Candide is an open-minded young man whose tutor, Pangloss, has instilled in him the belief, inspired by Leibniz, that 'all is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds'. But when his love for the Baron's rosy-cheeked daughter is discovered, Candide is cast out to make his own fortune. As he and his various companions roam over the world, an outrageous series of disasters befall them - earthquakes, syphilis, a brush with the Inquisition, murder - sorely testing the young hero's optimism. In Candide, Voltaire threw down an audacious challenge to the philosophical views of his time, to create one of the most glorious satires of the eighteenth century.


Catch 22
(author: Joseph Heller, publisher: Vintage Classics)


Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, 50 years on the novel's strength is undiminished. Reading Joseph Heller's classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage.

Set in the closing months of World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. His real problem is not the enemy - it is his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. If Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions then he is caught in Catch-22: if he flies he is crazy, and doesn't have to; but if he doesn't want to he must be sane and has to. That's some catch...


Cosmos
(author: Carl Sagan, publisher: Abacus)


The story of fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution transforming matter and life into consciousness, of how science and civilisation grew up together, and of the forces and individuals who helped shape modern science. A story told with Carl Sagan's remarkable ability to make scientific ideas both comprehensible and exciting.


Crossing The Water
(author: Sylvia Plath, publisher: Faber & Faber)


Fifty-six intense invocations of life reflect the poet's powerful command of her art. Sylvia Plath (1932-63) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright scholarship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963). Her Collected Poems, which contains her poetry written from 1956 until her death, was published in 1981 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.


Cryptonomicon
(author: Neal Stephenson, publisher: Arrow)


Neal Stephenson hacks into the secret histories of nations and the private obsessions of men, decrypting with dazzling virtuosity the forces that have shaped the past century. Weaving together the cracking of the Axis codes during WWII and the quest to establish a free South East Asian 'data haven' for digital information in the present, Cryptonomicon explores themes of power, information, secrecy and war in the twentieth century in a gripping and page-turning thriller.


Giles Goat-Boy
(author: John Barth, publisher: Anchor)


In this outrageously farcical adventure, hero George Giles sets out to conquer the terrible Wescac computer system that threatens to destroy his community in this brilliant "fantasy of theology, sociology, and sex" (Time).


Interpreter of Maladies: Stories of Bengal, Boston and Beyond
(author: Jhumpa Lahiri, publisher: Flamingo)


Pulitzer-winning, scintillating studies in yearning and exile from a Bengali Bostonian woman of immense promise.

A couple exchange unprecedented confessions during nightly blackouts in their Boston apartment as they struggle to cope with a heartbreaking loss; a student arrives in new lodgings in a mystifying new land and, while he awaits the arrival of his arranged-marriage wife from Bengal, he finds his first bearings with the aid of the curious evening rituals that his centenarian landlady orchestrates; a schoolboy looks on while his childminder finds that the smallest dislocation can unbalance her new American life all too easily and send her spiralling into nostalgia for her homeland...

Jhumpa Lahiri's prose is beautifully measured, subtle and sober, and she is a writer who leaves a lot unsaid, but this work is rich in observational detail, evocative of the yearnings of the exile (mostly Indians in Boston here), and full of emotional pull and reverberation.


Invisible Cities
(author: Italo Calvino, publisher: Vintage)


In Invisible Cities Marco Polo conjures up cities of magical times for his host, the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan, but gradually it becomes clear that he is actually describing one city: Venice. As Gore Vidal wrote 'Of all tasks, describing the contents of a book is the most difficult and in the case of a marvellous invention like Invisible Cities, perfectly irrelevant.'


Labyrinths
(author: Jorge Luis Borges, publisher: Penguin)


Jorge Luis Borges's Labyrinths is a collection of short stories and essays showcasing one of Latin America's most influential and imaginative writers. Jorge Luis Borges was a literary spellbinder whose tales of magic, mystery and murder are shot through with deep philosophical paradoxes. This collection brings together many of his stories, including the celebrated 'Library of Babel', whose infinite shelves contain every book that could ever exist, 'Funes the Memorious' the tale of a man fated never to forget a single detail of his life, and 'Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote', in which a French poet makes it his life's work to create an identical copy of Don Quixote. In later life, dogged by increasing blindness, Borges used essays and brief tantalising parables to explore the enigma of time, identity and imagination. Playful and disturbing, scholarly and seductive, his is a haunting and utterly distinctive voice.


Legends of the Fall
(author: Jim Harrison, publisher: Delta)


The publication of his magnificent trilogy of short novels -- Legends Of The Fall, Revenge, and The Man Who Gave Up His Name -- confirmed Jim Harrison's reputation as one of the finest American writers of his generation. These absorbing novellas explore the theme of revenge and the actions to which people resort when their lives or goals are threatened, adding up to an extraordinary vision of the twentieth-century man.


Loose Talk
(author: Linda Botts, publisher: Quick Fox/Rolling Stone Press)


Linda Botts book of quotes from the pages of Rolling stone magazine.


The Man With the Golden Arm
(author: Nelson Algren, publisher: Canongate Books Ltd)


"The Man With the Golden Arm" tells the story of Frankie Machine, the golden arm dealer at a back street Chicago gambling den. Frankie reckons he's a tough guy in the Chicago underworld but finds that he's not tough enough to kick his heroin addiction. With consummate skill and a finely-tuned ear for the authentic dialogue of the backstreets, Algren lays bare the tragedy and humour of Frankie's world.


Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon
(author: Tony Fletcher, publisher: Omnibus)


Keith Moon was more than just rock's greatest drummer, he was a phenomenal character and an extravagant hell raiser who - in a final, uncharacteristic act of grace - actually did die before he got old. This new edition includes a newly written After word that consiers Moon's lasting legacy, the death of John Entwistle and The Who's ongoing career in the new millennium. In this astonishing biography, Tony Fletcher questions the myths, avoids the time-honoured anecdotes and talks afresh to those who where closest to Moon including Kim, his wife of eight years, and Linda, his sister and Annette Walter-Lax, his main girlfriend of the final years. Also interviewed are Oliver Reed, Larry Hagman, David Putnam, Alice Cooper, Dave Edmunds, Jeff Beck, John Entwistle and many others who worked and partied with him. In interviewing over 100 people who knew Moon, Fletcher reveals the truth behind the 'famous' stunts that never occured - and the more outrageous ones that did! He also uncovers astonishing details about Moon's outrageous extravagance which was financed by The Who's American success.


Nick Drake: The Biography
(author: Patrick Humphries, publisher: Bloomsbury)


Nick Drake was barely 26 years old when he died in 1974 following an accidental overdose of prescribed drugs. The British singer-songwriter made only three albums during his short life - Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. All are now recognized as classics.

Since his death, Nick has been cited as a seminal influence by stars as diverse as REM, Elton John, and Paul Weller. While the lives of other musicians who died before their time, such as Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Gram Parsons, have been amply documented, there has never before been a biography of Nick Drake. Patrick Humphries' illuminating text includes exclusive interviews with friends, colleagues and musicians who knew and worked with Nick. It provides an unprecedented insight not only into the life and work of Nick Drake, but also into the music scene of the 1960s that formed his backdrop.

If a week is a long time in politics, then the 23 years since Nick's death represents a lifetime in the transitory world of pop. But the music of Nick Drake has never lost its place in his fans affections, and still its haunting beauty reaches out of fresh generations. This book is for all of them.


Oscar Wilde's Wit and Wisdom
(author: Oscar Wilde, publisher: Dover)


Epigrams, aphorisms, and other bon mots gathered from the celebrated wit's plays, essays, and conversation offer an entertaining selection of observations both comic and profound. Organized by category, the nearly 400 quotes range in subject from human nature, morals, and society to art, politics, history, and more.


Praying To The Aliens
(author: Gary Numan, publisher: Andre Deutsch Ltd)


Gary Numan tells the story of his life from the 70s to the cult status he currently enjoys as a pop icon and protagonist of trip hop and ambient music. This is a story of excess, speed and the music media.


Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs
(author: John Lydon, publisher: Plexus Publishing Ltd)


Punk has been romanticised and embalmed by the media. A youth revolt that became a world-wide fashion statement, punk s idols were the Sex Pistols, and Johnny Rotten was its sneering antichrist. Now, John Lydon - aka Rotten - looks back at himself, the Pistols and their time. Rotten is a history of punk: angry, witty, poignant and crackling with energy. Malcolm McLaren, Sid Vicious, the 70s, the Pistols story are all here, in one of the best ever books about youth culture, by one of its most notorious and influential figures.


A Scientific Romance
(author: Ronald Wright, publisher: Black Swan)


David, jilted lover and reluctant museum curator, is about to discover the startling news of the return of H.G. Wells' time machine to London. Motivated by a host of unanswered questions and innate curiosity, he propels himself deep into he next millennium, exploring the ruins of his life.


Slaughterhouse 5
(author: Kurt Vonnegut, publisher: Vintage)


Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller - these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.


V.
(author: Thomas Pynchon, publisher: Vintage)


This is the first novel by the author of Gravity's Rainbow, and a profoundly impressive and original work in its own right. The search for the mysterious V ranges from New York to Cairo to Alexandria to Malta. Apart from its strange heroine, the book's characters include sailors, spies, priests, philosophers, bums and bawds.


Valis
(author: Philip K. Dick, publisher: Gollancz)


It began with a blinding light, a divine revelation from a mysterious intelligence that called itself VALIS. And with that, the fabric of reality was ripped open and laid bare so that anything seemed possible, but nothing seemed quite right. Part science fiction, part theological detective story in which God plays both the missing person and the perpetrator of the ultimate crime, VALIS is both disorienting and eerily funny, and a joy to read.


Young Men And Fire
(author: Norman Maclean, publisher: University Of Chicago Press)


On August 5, 1949, a crew of fifteen of the United States Forest Service's elite airborne firefighters, the Smokejumpers, stepped into the sky above a remote forest fire in the Montana wilderness. Two hours after their jump, all but three of these men were dead or mortally burned. Haunted by these deaths for forty years, Norman Maclean puts back together the scattered pieces of the Mann Gulch tragedy. "Young Men and Fire" won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992.