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higgybaby23
03-18-2010, 01:01 PM
^If and when you finish the task, hats off to you sir. I don't know anyone who has actually read Moby Dick cover to cover, although it is an admirable pursuit.

PotVsKtl
03-18-2010, 02:10 PM
I'm reading the first half of Book of the Long Sun. It's essentially one big episode of Lost except in the future in space.

PotVsKtl
03-18-2010, 02:10 PM
That's a recommendation.

Still-ill
03-18-2010, 02:15 PM
You know what I'm tired of reading about? The Void. That fuzzy place of non-existence that "characters" sometimes slip into in modernist texts.

I know what you're talking about. I'm reading Gravity's Rainbow at the moment.

mickflyy
03-18-2010, 02:18 PM
Almost done with my re-reading of the Lord Of the Rings Trilogy, any reccomendations.

Alchemy
03-18-2010, 02:20 PM
I know what you're talking about. I'm reading Gravity's Rainbow at the moment.

We're going to read The Crying of Lot 49 in my class soon. Yippee?

Still-ill
03-18-2010, 02:22 PM
I have that next after V., I think it's quite different than the laborious (but pretty amazing) Gravity's Rainbow.

Hannahrain
03-18-2010, 02:23 PM
I'm going to take them both, unbind them, and collate them one page at a time into a single pile which I will re-bind with sinew into a veritable superbook and then read while drinking Lapsang in a very public location. Probably a coffeehouse, possibly a waiting room.

Alchemy
03-18-2010, 02:31 PM
They were offering a weekend class here at the New School that just focused on reading Gravity's Rainbow for about three Saturdays. I didn't want to Hannahrain* the book with Moby Dick and read a 12,000 monster, though. So I didn't sign up for it.

*Hannahrain - (Verb) To take two or more books, unbind them, and collate them one page at a time into a single pile which the person will re-bind with sinew into a veritable superbook and then read while drinking Lapsang in a very public location.

TomAz
03-18-2010, 02:35 PM
I'm reading the first half of Book of the Long Sun.

Are you intending to stop halfway through?

donkey sex
03-18-2010, 08:46 PM
tried to get this tonight. Some paranoid boner placed a handful of bids before anyone else had even bid. Wanted to steal it at the last minute from him, but he must have gone real high.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220570490799&ssPageName=ADME:B:EOIBUAA:US:1123

Hannahrain
03-18-2010, 10:48 PM
Tonight I started Shalom Auslander's 2007 memoir, Foreskin's Lament. Thus far, it's largely the author looking back in cynicism at his Jewish Orthodox upbringing and the crippling fear of God hammered into him from his infancy. I have only minor experience with a few of his short stories and some NPR contributions and as such don't have much of an idea about him yet, but this is looking good in its early stages. He's got a nice nonfiction voice, with a healthy dose of mockery and a very comfortable sense of how to put words together negatively without forfeiting literary grace.

Here's an excerpt that I liked:


It is Monday morning, six weeks after my wife and I learned that she is pregnant with our first child, and I am stopped at a traffic light. The kid doesn't have a chance. I know this God; I know how He works. The baby will be miscarried, or die during childbirth, or my wife will die during childbirth, or they'll both die during childbirth, or neither of them will die and I'll think I'm in the clear, and then on the drive home from the hospital we'll collide head-on with a drunk driver and they'll both die later, my wife and child, in the emergency room just down the hall from the room where only minutes ago we stood so happy and alive and full of promise.

That would be so God.


There's a morbidly funny chapter on trying to get God to kill your [abusive] father as punishment by committing as many minor religious infractions as possible.

juloxx
03-19-2010, 12:22 AM
Haruki Murakami

Hannahrain
03-25-2010, 10:45 AM
Apparently Powells.com awards a $20 gift certificate for the most well-crafted review/comment to a book's discussion page every day a little bit after midnight. Some of the people in this thread are more than qualified to win it without exerting any more energy than it takes them to write up a Hey, Books post. You guys should try it. Free books. I'm going to procrastinate with some entries later.

http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/contest/dailydose_contest

SoulDischarge
03-25-2010, 10:50 AM
Will bullet points be required?

Hannahrain
03-25-2010, 10:52 AM
No, but I do think you have to utilize the phrases "bittersweet longing", "thrilling denouement", and "a series of mysterious explosions".

You (specifically you) could win without any work on your part, Patrick. I genuinely think you should enter.

amyzzz
03-25-2010, 10:54 AM
DO it.

guedita
03-25-2010, 10:55 AM
"It offers a fresh look at the timeless struggle of good and evil"

SoulDischarge
03-25-2010, 10:56 AM
Using my natural abilities to receive free products and services is below me. I prefer to utilize them in an effort to demean people who are too stupid and self absorbed to actually be demeaned.

amyzzz
03-25-2010, 10:58 AM
Well that's just lazy.

SoulDischarge
03-25-2010, 11:01 AM
Also, I could never come up with a phrase as exquisitely resonant as "exquisitely resonant."

Also also, I don't know what I'd spend $20 on. I kind of like just borrowing books from the library. But I might give it a go if I have an actual opinion to spout off about at some point.

Hannahrain
03-25-2010, 11:02 AM
Well, you should. I'm not willing to lose to some broad who is, days later, still savoring the bittersweet longing that is delivered by A Disobedient Girl’s exquisitely resonant final chapter.

downingthief
03-25-2010, 11:37 AM
Last week, I brought down 4 boxes full of books from my Parents' attic. I finally have a large book case now to fill.

Going through those boxes was fun. I forgot some of the older books I had. Case in point, I forgot I had a first edition copy of "For Whom the Bell Tolls". For a book geek like me, that was like finding gold. I'm reading that one now.

JoeCthulhu
03-25-2010, 12:27 PM
The last great book I read was, Anathem by Neal Stevensen.

Mucho Maas
03-25-2010, 04:23 PM
We're going to read The Crying of Lot 49 in my class soon. Yippee?

First off...YAY! A thread on books!....secondly, of all Pynchon's novels, this one is the most fun....enjoy. I've been working with his stuff for a while now, and each reading just raises my regard for him a little more.

Currently I'm re-reading "Chimera" by John Barth...a wonderful book of three novellas. If anyone has a love for 1001 nights or greek mythology, this book is a must-read.

wmgaretjax
03-25-2010, 04:38 PM
I think V is more fun, but it's also much longer.

penelopyssey
03-25-2010, 05:45 PM
Recently finished reading Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig. I absolutely loved it.


Next: Life of Pi.

Still-ill
03-25-2010, 06:01 PM
The Harvard Toilet scene is about as fun as literature gets.

mountmccabe
03-25-2010, 06:30 PM
I thought Gravity's Rainbow was most fun, mostly because Pynchon actually let the story unfold rather than telling us what happens. I loved The Crying of Lot 49 when I first read it but that was because I hadn't read any other Pynchon at the time. I then moved on to GR and was eternally delighted and overjoyed. Crazy things happened and then were followed by more crazy things rather than exposition explaining what's going on!

If I were recommending reading to a Pynchon newbie I'd point them to Slow Learner, with a special nod towards "Entropy" and then push Gravity's Rainbow or V.

mountmccabe
03-25-2010, 06:35 PM
Also I finished Kathy Acker's Great Expectations; I liked it but I wasn't getting much of a long term or cumulative effect so it was slow going.

Since then I have been enjoying The Partly Cloudy Patriot, a book of essays/articles by Sarah Vowell and I will soon start William Gibson's Spook Country.

Mucho Maas
03-25-2010, 06:49 PM
have you read Inherent Vice?.....for accessibility and context, I think it's the easiest to get into and enjoy....then again, I probably loved it all the more because of where Pynchon has taken me before.....a wonderful, low-key end to a career (assuming he's not putting out another). for starters though, yeah, "entropy" is probably the best.

roberto73
03-25-2010, 06:50 PM
Finished Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn last night, and now I'm on to Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. After a couple chapters, I feel pretty much the same way I felt after reading American Gods: he can tell a good story, but when it comes to his writing style, it's strictly amateur hour.

mountmccabe
03-25-2010, 06:57 PM
I have not yet read Inherent Vice.

I also should probably admit that while I started Against the Day I set it aside long before finishing. And I only got halfway through Mason & Dixon before I needed to give it a rest. I think I need to get into a better position for reading such things, at some point.

donkey sex
03-26-2010, 12:04 AM
Reading 'The Letters of William S. Burroughs: Volume I'. Next are 'Let it come down' by Paul Bowles and 'Sheltering Sky' also by Bowles (if I like the first one). And just ordered some HG Wells, whom I've know about but never read before: http://www.amazon.com/Great-Science-Fiction-Novels-Thrift/dp/048643978X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269590555&sr=8-2

chiapet
03-28-2010, 08:28 PM
Reading Alien Hearts before bed to cleanse my palate of awful vampire books. How does Notre Coeur translate to Alien Hearts??

chiapet
03-28-2010, 08:29 PM
Reading 'The Letters of William S. Burroughs: Volume I'. Next are 'Let it come down' by Paul Bowles and 'Sheltering Sky' also by Bowles (if I like the first one).

I remember liking Sheltering Sky quite a lot but now can't actually recall much about the story.

bmack86
03-28-2010, 09:41 PM
I'm currently reading Inherent Vice, and it's pretty awesome. It's a really good time, and just relaxed like I've never seen Pynchon.

Alchemy
03-29-2010, 08:55 AM
I am reading Solaris right now. Enjoying it so far.

roberto73
04-01-2010, 01:36 PM
Nicholas Sparks doesn't usually register on my radar, but this level of self-righteous dipshittery by someone so relentlessly mediocre deserves special mention:


"There's a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It's a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it's very rare that it works. That's why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It's all drama. I try to generate authentic emotional power."

But, well, he always does kill someone by the end of his tales, usually to maximum handkerchief effect.

"Of course!" Sparks says. "I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me. They were set out 2,000 years ago by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. They were called the Greek tragedies. A thriller is supposed to thrill. A horror novel is supposed to scare you. A mystery is supposed to keep you turning the pages, guessing 'whodunit?'

"A romance novel is supposed to make you escape into a fantasy of romance. What is the purpose of what I do? These are love stories. They went from (Greek tragedies), to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, then Jane Austen did it, put a new human twist on it. Hemingway did it with A Farewell to Arms."

That's one of his favorites, and he points it out as he walks the aisles of the bookstore.

"Hemingway. See, they're recommending The Garden of Eden, and I read that. It was published after he was dead. It's a weird story about this honeymoon couple, and a third woman gets involved. Uh, it's not my cup of tea." Sparks pulls the one beside it off the shelf. "A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That's what I write," he says, putting it back. "That's what I write."

Cormac McCarthy? "Horrible," he says, looking at Blood Meridian. "This is probably the most pulpy, overwrought, melodramatic cowboy vs. Indians story ever written."

Even hearing a passage about a sunset in which "the mountains in their blue islands stood footless in the void like floating temples" doesn't sway him.

Cyrus pipes up: "The Catcher in the Rye. That's my favorite book." She smiles. J.D. Salinger's classic may be, by law, every 17-year-old's favorite book.

Sparks' favorite tale of youth? "I think A Walk to Remember," he says, citing his own novel. "That's my version of a coming-of-age." He pauses and adds: "You have to sayTo Kill a Mockingbird is an all-time classic."

Any he thinks are overrated?

"I don't like to say bad things about others."

Except McCarthy? "He deserves it," Spark says with a laugh.

Asked what he likes in his own genre, Sparks replies: "There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do."

The full article (http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2010-03-11-lastsong11_CV_N.htm)

TomAz
04-01-2010, 01:41 PM
I had to google Nicholas Sparks.

Hannahrain
04-01-2010, 01:57 PM
http://www.powells.com/blog/?p=16818


Nicholas Sparks doesn't usually register on my radar, but this level of self-righteous dipshittery by someone so relentlessly mediocre deserves special mention:



The full article (http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2010-03-11-lastsong11_CV_N.htm)

Looks to me like some motherfuckers need to come around more often.

roberto73
04-01-2010, 02:02 PM
But mine includes bolding for emphasis!

Courtney
04-01-2010, 02:40 PM
Ha. I better start reading Nicholas Sparks.

But in the meantime, I've been doing some other not-so-intellectual, scattershot nonfiction reading: Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer, and Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School by Philip Delves Broughton. I can't say I particularly recommend either.

humanoid
04-02-2010, 10:26 AM
Ha. I better start reading Nicholas Sparks.

But in the meantime, I've been doing some other not-so-intellectual, scattershot nonfiction reading: Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer, and Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School by Philip Delves Broughton. I can't say I particularly recommend either.

Is there anything particularly wrong with Under the Banner of Heaven? I've enjoyed some of Krakauer's other work and have been interested in reading that one for a while. Did you just not find it interesting? Or was it flawed in some other way?

algunz
04-02-2010, 10:38 AM
It started out somewhat interesting and then just lost my attention. It didn't help that my interest in the content (fucking Mormons) was not nearly as high as his other books. Nature fascinates me. Religion just annoys me.

humanoid
04-02-2010, 10:48 AM
It started out somewhat interesting and then just lost my attention. It didn't help that my interest in the content (fucking Mormons) was not nearly as high as his other books. Nature fascinates me. Religion just annoys me.

Half my family is Mormon (not my immediate family), and several of my relatives were among the early pioneers and founders of the church in Utah, so I've always had an interest in them. Not from a religious perspective, since I am far from a Mormon myself(okay, I was when i was 8) but from a historical and sociological perspective.

Courtney
04-02-2010, 10:56 AM
Humanoid, I definitely found Under the Banner of Heaven interesting. My problem with it was more that it was pulpy tabloid journalism masquerading as scholarly historical study.

This was my first Krakauer read, and I found it slightly unsettling how he wove together disparate threads of disinterested historical account, anthropological fascination, Wild West cowboy paradigms, and Fox News style headline-ripping. It's all fine and good to sensationalize a story, and in fact I think that a lot of recent historical fiction does this with great success (Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City, for example). However, Krakauer clearly came to his study of Mormonism with an eye for the sexy bits -- polygamy, violent scandal, etc. He has a personal chip on his shoulder about organized religion and its potential power for destruction, and he chooses his emphasis carefully to fulfill that expectation. His personal beliefs color the account of an entire religion.

All that juicy tidbit-gathering sure does make for a fun read. However, I wish that he had spent more time looking at the other side of the coin, and for that reason I cannot particularly recommend the book.

humanoid
04-02-2010, 11:06 AM
Thank you, great response....

I'll still likely read it, based upon my familial connection to the history of the Mormon church, but I can absolutely understand that particular critique regarding Krakauer's writing. I feel he is at his best when writing about what he knows best, that being real life outdoor adventure experiences, especially mountain climbing. He does have a tendency to weave himself or his personal feelings into a story at times when it isn't particularly warranted. If he's simply reporting upon something he was personally involved in, I feel he is rather adept at that. Thanks again.

chiapet
04-02-2010, 11:11 AM
Under the Banner of Heaven is on my reading list ("currently 1593rd" on my "to-read" list, so maybe it won't get read...). I really enjoy reading about religion, from a historical or anthropological perspective, when the literature is not actively trying to promote a specific religion. (The exception would be reading the actual (historically recognized) religious texts themselves). At the same time, I'm not interested in someone's attempt to discredit others' beliefs when the argument is not fair and factual.

Somewhat unrelatedly I have a huge stack of "alternative" Christian gospels (Nag Hammadi and such, the texts as well as theological reviews) that I might try to dig into this weekend.

Alchemy
04-02-2010, 11:15 AM
I'm starting up Pynchon now. Solaris was wonderful, by the way.

Still-ill
04-02-2010, 11:33 AM
Wow this is awesome. People that have actually read or are interested in Pynchon. Hoo-ray!

algunz
04-02-2010, 11:37 AM
Crying of Lot 49 is high on my long list of favorite reads.

Alchemy
04-02-2010, 11:42 AM
Well, I'm sure more and more people will have at least cracked Pynchon open these days, because Urban Outfitters has declared The Crying of Lot 49 (Olive Editions) as something cool and are selling it with their other hip literature and novelty books.

algunz
04-02-2010, 11:43 AM
I wish I could post the horn, but I'm not on my home computer.




Nothing wrong with Pynchon getting a little hipster attention.

Alchemy
04-02-2010, 11:49 AM
I'm fine with hipster attention. After all, I was in Urban Outfitters when I found this out.

But Pynchon doesn't seem to be unpopular. Not anymore at least? I don't know much about him, but he seems to be everywhere this year here in the city.

PotVsKtl
04-02-2010, 11:58 AM
Everyone finally finished Infinite Jest.

Cheddar's Cousin
04-02-2010, 12:02 PM
Somewhat unrelatedly I have a huge stack of "alternative" Christian gospels (Nag Hammadi and such, the texts as well as theological reviews) that I might try to dig into this weekend.


I have read a bunch of these. They are very interesting to read and wonder what kind of politics were involved in declaring them unworthy on the canon.

Ifound that many if not most are gnostic leaning, which strangely enough seems to be more in line with the actual teachings of Jesus in the 4 gospels than most of what the rest of the new testament is.

marooko
04-02-2010, 12:09 PM
I was gonna bump this today and ask a question. I decided not to.

chiapet
04-02-2010, 12:19 PM
I have read a bunch of these. They are very interesting to read and wonder what kind of politics were involved in declaring them unworthy on the canon.

Ifound that many if not most are gnostic leaning, which strangely enough seems to be more in line with the actual teachings of Jesus in the 4 gospels than most of what the rest of the new testament is.

Yea, I dig the same aspect, and it's interesting to speculate how different the world might be if some of the texts were not suppressed. Gnosticism in general is fascinating to me.

benhur
04-02-2010, 01:20 PM
On Pynchon:

I've read Gravity's Rainbow, Crying of Lot 49, and Inherent Vice and want to get to V. and Mason and Dixon soon.

One should def not start with GR unless they want an ultimate mind fuck. But the fact is if you do that you prob won't finish it. Reading GR was practically 6 months of my life between my soph and jr year of high school and although I think it was THE most important book I've ever read (for me as an aspiring author), it was still the most difficult as well.

Starting with Lot 49 is a good idea. I read this second of the three and definitely felt that it was inferior to GR mainly because by the end of the novel when the horn started showing up EVERYFUCKINGWHERE. The end part of the novel just exploded with references to the horn that I felt really created an imbalance in the novel especially when looking at how hard it was to find info out about the whole situation in the early parts of the novel.

Inherent Vice is a merely a trippy version of a supermarket novel and will be forgotten in time. Prob Pynchons way to make some cash. I would not recommend starting with this because although it is still convoluted it does not compare intellectually to any of his other works; the brain capacity needed is insurmountably less with IV.

Anyway, I'm moving on from Pynchon for a while, either to House of Leaves (which should by very fun) or the Brothers Karamazov.

algunz
04-02-2010, 01:22 PM
Inherent Vice was his way of getting in touch with the Urban Outfitter's market.

bmack86
04-02-2010, 01:52 PM
House of Leaves is a fantastic read. Make sure you get a good translation of Karamazov, because that makes all the difference.

Alchemy
04-02-2010, 10:20 PM
I'm reeeeally loving Crying of Lot 49 so far.

Mucho Maas
04-03-2010, 12:57 AM
yikes! i'm half into a bottle of scotch right now, but those inherent vice comments are...just yikes!....."cash-in".....?

surely a joke.

roberto73
04-03-2010, 05:51 AM
Finished up Gaiman's Anansi Boys, which grew on me as I read. Still not sold on Gaiman as a novelist, but I ended up quite liking the book, flaws and all.

Now I'm about 100 pages into Jeff Lindsey's Darkly Dreaming Dexter, the book that's the basis for the show with Michael C. Hall. It's really good genre fiction – violent and funny – and so far it's interesting to see how faithful the first season of the show is to the book. The problem (not that it's much of one) is that I can't help but hear Hall's voice in my head as I read the first-person narration, and see the actors as the characters.

amyzzz
04-03-2010, 06:16 AM
I've read both of those, Robert. Fun reads, but I'm not sure if I would read anything else by them. I'm still not sure about Gaiman myself, but I enjoy the movie versions of his books.

Last night, I started Jem by Frederik Pohl. The synopsis gushes that the novel is up there with 1984, Brave New World, and Stranger in a Strange Land, but I am not holding my breath.

Courtney
04-03-2010, 12:12 PM
http://i42.tinypic.com/107m9w1.jpg

Hannahrain
04-03-2010, 12:17 PM
I didn't laugh out loud but I did that throaty chortle snort exhale thing.

guedita
04-03-2010, 12:22 PM
Percy used to go "visit" Mary while she'd be hanging out at her mother's grave.

Bone on skeletons bones joke.

fatbastard
04-09-2010, 05:26 AM
CHESWICK
Let's go, for Christsakes...

MCMURPHY
It's your dirty roll, Cheswick.

Cheswick rolls the dice.

MCMURPHY
Snake eyes! Hoooeee, that puts you
on my Marvin Gardens, which means
you owe me three hundred and fifty
dollars.

Cheswick starts counting out the money.

MARTINI
What's thum other things? Hold it a
minute. What's thum other things
all over the board?

CHESWICK
(to Martini)
How can a man concentrate with you
sitting there hallucinating a mile
a minute...

MCMURPHY
You just come on with that three
fifty and Martini will take care of
himself... Your dice, Scanlon.

SCANLON
Gimme those dice. I'll blow this
board to pieces. Here we go...
(throws the dice)
Lebenty leben, count me over
eleven, Martini...

Martini picks up a house...

SCANLON (CONT'D)
Not that one, you crazy bastard,
that's my house...

TomAz
04-09-2010, 07:44 AM
http://www.kirkendall.co.uk/images/110.gif

donkey sex
04-10-2010, 09:21 AM
I remember liking Sheltering Sky quite a lot but now can't actually recall much about the story.

Seventy or so pages in and likin it so far. Kinda edgy. Looking forward to more.

buddy
04-11-2010, 03:00 AM
<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/toql5jGSDBU&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/toql5jGSDBU&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>

stumbled upon this. for any salinger fan this is interesting.

Alchemy
04-11-2010, 08:43 AM
So, the more I read into The Crying of Lot 49, the less I enjoyed it. Overall, it was a good book, and I'd like to check out Gravity's Rainbow sometime.

I am now reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell.

guedita
04-11-2010, 08:45 AM
Black Swan Green was a pretty enjoyable read for me, hope you like it!

Alchemy
04-11-2010, 09:00 AM
I'm about half-way through and I am loving it. It's funny and it's a nice break from the stuffy books I've had to read for class.

algunz
04-11-2010, 09:56 AM
I'm reading McCarthy's Child of God and I often wonder, like with actors, how much their fictional world's effect their realities.

Mucho Maas
04-11-2010, 11:20 PM
i can't find the "i'm drunk thread" so fuck it....wait, damn....i'm in no condtition to post here...but who cares, okay, i'm going to get bold statement on everyone: a best list, argue if you must.

5 best latin american writers of fiction in the past 100 years.

borges
vargas llosa
puig
lispector
restrepo (not a total fuck you to garcia marquez - just a minor one)

probably some obvious omissions...cortazar, cesar aira (love him), fuentes, bolano.....but from what i've read, my list stands

pinkladyam
04-12-2010, 02:17 PM
I just finished reading Little Children by Tom Perotta and I'm currently diving into (for the second time) Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I like to alternate between a novel and some heavy non-fiction...

righteousdnk
04-12-2010, 04:23 PM
http://mitpress.mit.edu/images/products/books/9780262013475-f30.jpg

Just started reading this book and it's pretty cool. It's written by Steve Goodman (Kode9) and if you're interested in reading it, pm me and I can get you a .pdf

Hannahrain
04-24-2010, 07:39 PM
This is my new book game. I buy a children's book I remember somewhat in a foreign language I'm barely familiar with and also a copy in English as a reference. Then I read the foreign book and refer back to the English one if I can't figure out what I'm reading. First up is Danny the Champion of the World in Russian. Wish me luck. I will need it.

What are you reading, everybody?

chiapet
04-24-2010, 08:10 PM
I try to read foreign language books sometimes when I'm familiar with the story, but I end up just skimming.

I'm reading Shanghai Girls (Lisa See) and the Lost City of Z. Both are interesting enough so far but I'm not very far into either.

guedita
04-24-2010, 08:19 PM
Just popping in here to recommend Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, for anyone interested in a whacky post modern novel about circus freaks.

algunz
04-24-2010, 11:16 PM
I read that book my junior year of high school and LOVED it. I need to read it again. Thanks, gue. :thu

CuervoPH
04-25-2010, 04:30 AM
This is my new book game. I buy a children's book I remember somewhat in a foreign language I'm barely familiar with and also a copy in English as a reference. Then I read the foreign book and refer back to the English one if I can't figure out what I'm reading. First up is Danny the Champion of the World in Russian. Wish me luck. I will need it.

What are you reading, everybody?

I love this idea. I will look for a French copy of "Winnie The Pooh" and try it.

I am currently reading the fourth book in Steven Erickson's "Malazan Book Of The Fallen" series. It's dark fantasy that's been compared to George R. R. Martin but as I have never read any of Martin's work, I don't know how apt the comparison is.

roberto73
04-25-2010, 05:20 AM
I'm about halfway through Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead. It's been a while since I've read Mailer (Armies of the Night, ten years ago), and I'd forgotten how much I enjoy his stuff. A gigantic novel about WWII is not typically something I'm likely to pick up (or enjoy), but this one has been hard to put down.

Alchemy
04-25-2010, 06:57 AM
I just finished Clarice Lispector's The Passion According to G.H.

It was all right.

fatbastard
04-25-2010, 03:32 PM
What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong?

TomAz
04-25-2010, 06:29 PM
So last night I finished Just Kids, Patti Smith's autobiography of her time in her late teens/early twenties with Robert Mapplethorpe, long before anybody knew who either of them were. It was fascinating and is strongly recommended if you are a fan of either. The rare rock music bio where I want to go back and re-read most of it. The story is compelling enough on its own, but her touch was perfect, especially in the first 2/3rds of the book before either of them had any success.

chiapet
04-25-2010, 06:32 PM
I just started that book tonight, Tom. About 1/3 in and very much enjoying it so far.

Courtney
04-25-2010, 06:32 PM
That sounds really good. I'm putting it on the list.

TomAz
04-25-2010, 06:37 PM
Patti's a bit of a namedropper, but I keep chuckling at the thought of William Boroughs trying to pick her up cuz he thought she was a boy.

chiapet
04-27-2010, 10:14 PM
Well, I'm not one to put my thoughts about books into text rather than conversation, but that was one of the best books I've read in some time. The first 1/3 of the book was captivating (I stayed up too late the first night reading); as Tom mentioned there was some excessive name dropping, particularly in the middle 1/3 (Tom, I was going to remark the other day -- isn't Patti Smith allowed to drop names? -- but you're right, it does get a bit much at a time); but the last chapter, especially the last ~10 pages were amazing to me. I need to sleep now but I'm not going to be able to stop thinking of this.

Also I had no idea of her involvement with Mapplethorpe beyond the cover for Horses.

fatbastard
04-28-2010, 05:13 AM
The reviews/interviews alone had me interested.

FYI. Don't get all into her and try and pick up her CD Twelve. It will make you feel bad for her.

Hannahrain
04-28-2010, 02:02 PM
My books came, though I haven't gotten the English versions yet so I'm holding off on trying to decipher them. But the Roald Dahl one still has the original Quentin Blake illustrations, and that makes me excited.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3557/4561098649_3e2685bf4c.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3621/4561098725_e9c9da3cac.jpg

TomAz
04-28-2010, 02:11 PM
Tom, I was going to remark the other day -- isn't Patti Smith allowed to drop names? -- but you're right, it does get a bit much at a time

She pretty much has a free pass from me for life. I just thought it fair to warn people since I was recommending the book so strongly.

Mapplethorpe, Jim Carroll, Sam Shepard, Allen the guy from Blue Oyster Cult, and of course Fred Sonic Smith. I wonder if she ever fucked someone who wasn't eventually famous.

chiapet
04-28-2010, 02:58 PM
If she had, it wouldn't have been worth noting in her memoir, unless to satisfy that very question. Maybe we'll hear more about that when she gets around to writing a true "Patti" memoir, since this one was very focused (enjoyably) on the years with Mapplethorpe.

Hannahrain
04-28-2010, 03:00 PM
I wonder if she ever fucked someone who wasn't eventually famous.

I've yet to read anything in the media about your mother.

OHHH.

TomAz
04-28-2010, 03:22 PM
My mother's dead.

Hannahrain
04-28-2010, 03:24 PM
Goddamnit. I was so close to saying wife. So close.

TomAz
04-28-2010, 03:32 PM
Can't win em all Rain.

miscorrections
04-28-2010, 03:35 PM
My mother's dead.

That Patti Smith sure is kinky.

fatbastard
05-03-2010, 02:50 PM
After a Firm picnic, she drove me back to my apartment and I offered to buy her an ice cream cone at the Baskin-Robbins across the street.

We sat on the curb and ate our cones in the sticky afternoon heat and I told her about working at Baskin-Robbins when I was a teenager and how hard it was hard to cool in an apron and cap.

She told me that for a span of two of three years as a child, she refused to eat anything except peanut butter and jelly. I said Id like to meet her family. She said that she would like that. I asked her if I could kiss her. It tasted of chocolate.

chiapet
05-03-2010, 03:01 PM
I still haven't read that. Right now I'm reading Growing Up bin Laden, which is not very good so far.

fatbastard
05-03-2010, 05:02 PM
The reality show should be much better.

Mucho Maas
05-05-2010, 12:05 AM
....currently reading Bakhtin's "Discourse in the Novel" alongside "Troilus and Criseyde".....this paper is going to be one convoluted shitheap of narrative trickery.

rage patton
05-05-2010, 12:06 AM
Bakhtin has served me well in the past.

Mucho Maas
05-05-2010, 12:12 AM
Love Bakhtin...he guides all of my work......but in the present scenario, things are not going well. some readers can be a bit anal about using modern theories of the novel to make light of premodern verse. go figure.

chiapet
05-08-2010, 12:11 PM
I'm getting a little out of hand. Currently:

1) Little Bee - Just started today. Immediately engaging, will probably finish this later today if I can get away from work

2) Growing Up Bin Laden - I've been struggling through this for a week or so, it's a memoir written by one of Osama bin Laden's wives and one of her sons. (They've each written chapters from their point of view and it somewhat alternates between them, with occasional independent essays to clarify from an outside perspective some of bin Laden's activities or external political actions going on at the time). I'm finding the wife's chapters aggravating. The son's less so but not well written (and it's not a language barrier, he's known English for ages). However, his son is hot, in his younger pictures. Seriously. Looking a little rougher today, but still. That hair!

http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/02_01/OmarBIG0602_468x751.jpg

^^^ it's funny how much people try not to be like their parents.
Also he apparently married someone twice his age, heh.

3) Lost City of Z - I started this on the flight home from Coachella, it's been really interesting so far but for some reason I'm punishing myself and postponing finishing it instead trying to wrap up my library books. It's about the doomed Percy Fawcett expedition to find the "lost city" of legend in the Amazon. The author attempts to travel the course set put by Fawcett to find out what happened to him or try to prove/disprove the city ever existed. Alternates between the author's account of his own journey and fictionalized story of Fawcett's journey based on travel journeys, letters, etc.

Plus assorted travel books for upcoming vacation to Denmark, and uhmmm some vampire fiction. ;)

Alchemy
05-08-2010, 12:15 PM
I've been reading A Void by Georges Perec. It's fun and it doesn't have the letter "e" in it.

alisonnn
05-08-2010, 01:48 PM
I'm reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, about half-way through and enjoying it

mountmccabe
05-08-2010, 04:03 PM
I've been reading A Void by Georges Perec. It's fun and it doesn't have the letter "e" in it.

Author's name counts. Dude should've changed his name or gone with a different trick.


I found a used copy of Anathem by Neal Stephenson yesterday. I will be starting this after I read a few more Sarah Vowell essays and/or the 33 1/3 on Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited."

Hannahrain
05-08-2010, 04:06 PM
Which Sarah Vowell are you reading from now? Same one, or have you moved on? Also, have you listened to her reading any of them in her own voice? Because it's amazing.

mountmccabe
05-08-2010, 04:22 PM
I am still on the Partly Clouded Patriot. And no, I don't know that I've ever heard her voice.

I looked for the Italian food item one again Friday but it was not to be found.

rskapcat
05-08-2010, 04:32 PM
Not a fan of Sarah Vowell's latest. I finished it out of obligation, but it was very dry & almost felt like punishment.

Carolina
05-08-2010, 04:35 PM
Just got done with school for the semester, sadly stuck in bed with strepp throat good time to read.

Naked by David Sedaris
The Portable Jung edited by Joseph Campbell

Hannahrain
05-08-2010, 04:38 PM
It didn't resonate with me particularly either, Becca, but I love her essays.

John, stream this:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/76/Mob

The first section after the prologue is her reading an essay from the book you can't find. She has a very distinctive voice, and (to me) knowing how she paces her words makes it more pleasurable to read them. Then again, it doesn't always work that way for everybody. Stream at your own risk.

I would actually recommend listening to that whole episode. It's a good one.

rskapcat
05-08-2010, 04:44 PM
I love her essays, as well. This was the first book of hers I didn't love.

chiapet
05-08-2010, 07:08 PM
AI found a used copy of Anathem by Neal Stephenson yesterday.

I still haven't read that. I don't know how I can consider Stephenson one of my favorite authors when I've read less than half of his novels. I think it's the size of the last 5 or so of them. It doesn't put me off in terms of length of the read, just the weight of the book (for carrying about). Probably should give in and buy them on Kindle.


Finished Growing Up Bin Laden. The last 1/3 of the book was slightly better, more focused on Omar, a little less irritating to read as it describes the portion of his adolescence where he begins to turn away from his father. The book seems to have overwhelmingly good reader reviews, which feel very unwarranted to me. Suppose it's that a lot of them are from people who know nothing of Arab culture or how Islamic interpersonal relationships are structured -- there were a lot of comments about the story being interesting to Westerners to learn more about Muslims. Eh. Perhaps from the obvious very conservative view.

It seemed less a memoir and more a few hundred pages of his son trying to disassociate himself and establish that he is not himself a terrorist.

mountmccabe
05-08-2010, 07:40 PM
John, stream this:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/76/Mob

The first section after the prologue is her reading an essay from the book you can't find. She has a very distinctive voice, and (to me) knowing how she paces her words makes it more pleasurable to read them. Then again, it doesn't always work that way for everybody. Stream at your own risk.

Streamed. Watched two Daily Show appearances. Trying to delay listening to the other 36 appearances available on that site.



I would actually recommend listening to that whole episode. It's a good one.

When I first set up my Listen subscriptions on my Droid I threw TAL in there because I should like it but I never ever listened. So I got rid of it cause why have it automatically download all this stuff I won't listen to. I am still slowly working in how and when to listen to people talking on the radio(ish thing.)

Alchemy
05-09-2010, 09:52 AM
Author's name counts. Dude should've changed his name or gone with a different trick.

No. The fact that he can't spell his name inside the story is a big part of the plot. It's so much more than a gimmick. The letter means a lot more than itself.

chiapet
05-09-2010, 11:33 AM
I'd also presume that was written in French without 'e's and then translated into English again without them. Which is pretty impressive.

Alchemy
05-09-2010, 02:09 PM
I'd also presume that was written in French without 'e's and then translated into English again without them. Which is pretty impressive.

Correct. It's been translated in many languages actually. More than once in English, too - but I think some are not published. It changes the book a lot, I hear, but it becomes something new that lends to what Perec was all about. Translating that book from French to English is another Oulipo-like constraint.

donkey sex
05-10-2010, 11:51 AM
Started 'The Motorcycle Diaries' by Che Guevara. Didnt know it before, but we share the same date of birth. Flag Day (June 14th).

humanoid
05-10-2010, 12:00 PM
Has anyone read Pychon's Against the Day?

I was just given a copy of that and Everything Is Illuminated...looking forward to both of them

chiapet
05-10-2010, 12:06 PM
"In our village our only Bible had all of its pages missing after the forty-sixth verse of Matthew, so that the end of our religion, as far as any of us knew, was My God, my god, why hast thou forsaken me? We understood that this was the end of the story."

Finished Little Bee (originally known as The Other Hand) by Chris Cleave. It's a fictional story -- very loosely based on the author's research as a journalist visiting detention camps for refugees -- of a teenage girl who flees to England as a refugee from Nigeria.

The writing is not great but it has its share of poignant lines. Interesting in a way that is perhaps a little too light-hearted for the subject matter (however, that made it a quick read). There are a lot of complaints of the book being too wordy, which is fair of certain passages but IMO not a fair assessment of the story overall. I'm surprised at how poor (or rather divisive) the reviews are for the book. Most seem to be from people who felt the story is not realistic (it's not .... it's fiction) or insulting, demeaning in some way of Africans. I can only guess that it was over-hyped and people felt let down versus the celebrity reviews they saw.

Edited to say I guess I did not explain that I felt this was a very average, but entertaining, story. Like a 2.5 of 5 stars. I just accepted from the start that it was going to be a light read and didn't expect more.

Hannahrain
05-10-2010, 03:03 PM
Today I started Dark Light: Electricity and Anxiety from the Telegraph to the X-Ray. I am not far enough in to know if the subject matter is going to be as fascinating as I'm hoping it will be, but I'm far enough in to know that I absolutely don't care for her voice as a writer. Every sentence can't be a compound, lady. You fucking sound like Thoreau. And you are wasting all the semicolons and soon there won't be any left for the rest of us.

If she doesn't start to impress me soon with more comfortable discourse instead of hiding behind verbal flourishes all the time, I'm going to give this to a homeless person whose face I dislike.

full on idle
05-10-2010, 03:07 PM
VERBAL FLOURISH <3 <3

I'm reading Grotesque by Natsua Kirino. Every time I start to read it, I'm going to make a twitter about it.

guedita
05-11-2010, 09:48 AM
I am designing a colonial/postcolonial bildungsroman course and I want the novels to mostly center around girls (though not necessarily...). So far I have:

Tsitsi Dangaremba - Nervous Conditions
Jamaica Kinkaid - Annie John
Sia Fiegel - Where We Once Belonged
Chimimanda Adichie - Purple Hibiscus
Zadie Smith - White Teeth

Any suggestions? Nothing from the U.S, and preferably late-ish 20th Century.

fatbastard
05-11-2010, 10:22 AM
Miles was having a problem with substance abuse in his band and asked me if I knew of any pianist who could play the job. I recommended Bill.

"Is he white?" asked Miles.
"Yeah," I replied.
"Does he wear glasses?"
"Yeah."

"I know that mother*ucker. I heard him at Birdland-he can play his ass off. Bring him over to the Colony in Brooklyn on Thursday."

Mucho Maas
05-11-2010, 02:00 PM
I am designing a colonial/postcolonial bildungsroman course and I want the novels to mostly center around girls (though not necessarily...). So far I have:

Tsitsi Dangaremba - Nervous Conditions
Jamaica Kinkaid - Annie John
Sia Fiegel - Where We Once Belonged
Chimimanda Adichie - Purple Hibiscus
Zadie Smith - White Teeth

Any suggestions? Nothing from the U.S, and preferably late-ish 20th Century.

well, "The God of Small Things" is something to consider...

Mucho Maas
05-11-2010, 02:06 PM
....and maybe naipaul's "guerrillas"

in the realm of postcolonial literature, this one has to be the most effective in creating discussion within a classroom setting

guedita
05-11-2010, 09:13 PM
Thanks for the suggestions, Mucho...I haven't read either of those, and they both look very promising. I also want to include Doris Lessing's The Grass is Singing as a sort of anti-bildungsroman.

SoulDischarge
05-15-2010, 01:20 AM
I read a book. It was called The Omnivore's Dilemma. It was written by Michael Pollan. It was a non-fiction book. It reveals the story of how the food we eat gets from the ground to our stomachs, in three (and half) different scenarios: the industrial food chain, the organic (both big [Whole Foods, etc] and small [local, self sustaining farms]) food chain, and the hunter-gatherer approach to feeding oneself. It was quite enlightening and also quite nauseating. I'm significantly more paranoid and obnoxiously pretentious in regards to my views about food now due to this book. While the author came across as rather smug in certain parts, overall I found the book to be a rewarding read and would recommend it to anyone who takes an interest in how the food they eat gets from the ground to their plate. I give it an A.

I'm also trying to read Gravity's Rainbow with the companion book that annotates it line by line, but it's slow going, both because it requires me to look up words frequently, and I don't have a portable dictionary, just my digital one, and because the annotated guide is somehow just as incomprehensible and dense as the book itself. I enjoyed the Infinite Jest wiki approach far more than this.

rasooli
05-15-2010, 01:23 AM
I'm reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, about half-way through and enjoying it

Oryx and Crake is the greatest book I've ever read. I've read it 6 times. I HIGHLY recommend it.....

chiapet
05-15-2010, 10:21 AM
Patrick, Omnivore's Dilemma is on my list (has been sitting on the floor in my hallway... for a while). I think you may have just gotten it expedited in my reading list.

SoulDischarge
05-15-2010, 10:41 AM
I was kind of drunk when I wrote that review. It really is a good read though. It's half muckraking expose and half philosophical exploration of what it means to eat.

mountmccabe
05-24-2010, 10:39 AM
I have just finished the third chapter of Anathema, which means I have 6-700 pages left. After the first chapter I was mostly wondering why Stephenson had gone to such great lengths to create an almost completely parallel world - they even have their own Star Trek - with much of its own terminology and proper nouns. The long second chapter, however, developed beautifully and really drew me in; now, after the short third chapter I'm excited to see where everything is going, a little worried that the story might, this early in the game, leave the now almost comfortable confines of the concent.

TomAz
05-24-2010, 10:44 AM
I enjoyed Anathema. But I'm a Stephenson fanboy.

I just finished A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle. I would like to read book 2 but they didn't have it so I have started reading book 3 instead and I'm not sure that's the best course. But I really enjoyed A Star Called Henry, I love books where the Irish starve and murder.

Hannahrain
05-24-2010, 10:48 AM
Today I started Dark Light: Electricity and Anxiety from the Telegraph to the X-Ray. I am not far enough in to know if the subject matter is going to be as fascinating as I'm hoping it will be, but I'm far enough in to know that I absolutely don't care for her voice as a writer. Every sentence can't be a compound, lady. You fucking sound like Thoreau. And you are wasting all the semicolons and soon there won't be any left for the rest of us.

If she doesn't start to impress me soon with more comfortable discourse instead of hiding behind verbal flourishes all the time, I'm going to give this to a homeless person whose face I dislike.

I shelved this for the time being and have started The Plague in an effort to favorably tip the scales currently teetering a precarious balance between how much I liked The Stranger and how much I disliked The Fall. Things are looking good so far.

roberto73
05-24-2010, 10:49 AM
I've moved on to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. I love it quite a bit beautiful prose but it's so dense that if I don't put in 45 minutes or an hour each day I'll lose track of what's going on when I return to it. Also, the fact that virtually every character is sharing two or three names is bending my brain into a twisty pretzel shape.

TomAz
05-24-2010, 10:50 AM
I think I liked The Plague better than The Stranger. It's been, um, a while though.

Hannahrain
05-24-2010, 10:53 AM
I'm liking that it's obviously going to be a more involved read. The Stranger is such a short book that you can read it in an afternoon, whereas The Plague will occupy your consciousness for a little while as you progress through the narrative and not just as you consider what you've just read. If that makes sense. Though The Fall is as short as The Stranger and it took me forever to wade through.

guedita
05-24-2010, 11:00 AM
I read a 1952 translation of The Plague and it was just terrible. But content wise, I think it's fascinating. I'd like to read it again.

TomAz
05-24-2010, 11:03 AM
The Stranger is such a short book that you can read it in an afternoon

I am pretty sure it took me a lot longer. but I read it in French which may be why I liked The Plague, which I read in English, better.

miscorrections
05-24-2010, 11:11 AM
I've moved on to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. I love it quite a bit – beautiful prose – but it's so dense that if I don't put in 45 minutes or an hour each day I'll lose track of what's going on when I return to it. Also, the fact that virtually every character is sharing two or three names is bending my brain into a twisty pretzel shape.

Oh man that is one of my favorite books. I gave it to my mom to read and she hated it, said it was too repetitive. I told her that was the point. Whatever, great book. Best ending paragraph in the history of ending paragraphs.

chiapet
05-24-2010, 11:34 AM
Love in the Time of Cholera was like that. I haven't tried One Hundred Years of Solitude yet, as Cholera was the book I've liked LEAST out of the last several years. Slightly more awful than Crime and Punishment.

miscorrections
05-24-2010, 11:38 AM
I like that one too so I'd suggest NOT reading One Hundred Years of Solitude.

downingthief
05-24-2010, 11:43 AM
I'm liking that it's obviously going to be a more involved read. The Stranger is such a short book that you can read it in an afternoon, whereas The Plague will occupy your consciousness for a little while as you progress through the narrative and not just as you consider what you've just read. If that makes sense. Though The Fall is as short as The Stranger and it took me forever to wade through.

I love Camus...most of all The Fall. I had a tattered paper back copy of that book in my backpack pretty much all through college.

downingthief
05-24-2010, 11:45 AM
Love in the Time of Cholera was like that. I haven't tried One Hundred Years of Solitude yet, as Cholera was the book I've liked LEAST out of the last several years. Slightly more awful than Crime and Punishment.

Sorry to hear you don't like Crime and Punishment. I read it my senior year of high school and loved it (although, it must be an "acquired" taste...I was one of only 3 people to actually claim they liked the book).

chiapet
05-24-2010, 12:23 PM
Sorry to hear you don't like Crime and Punishment. I read it my senior year of high school and loved it (although, it must be an "acquired" taste...I was one of only 3 people to actually claim they liked the book).

This may come across the wrong way, but increasingly, I feel there is a reason "classics" are pushed in junior high, high school, and college. It seems the peak enjoyment for most of these books is during those years. Most people are fairly inexperienced readers at that time -- I don't mean they're not "good" readers or even avid readers, but more in the sense that they've not read a very large number of books (just because of their age/years) and most probably not many "great" books.

Most of the classic books I read and thought were brilliant in high school are ... very average to me now. I wonder if you re-read Crime and Punishment now if you wouldn't think it was very self-indulgent. (I'm not suggesting you should :) )

I went to school outside of Appalachia where the "English department" was 2 teachers total and most of their resources were spent working on basic literacy and grammar, even in high school classes. While the "honors" classes were read-and-write-an-essay format, and we had a reading list, we weren't forced to read many classics. At the time, it thrilled us, since we could pick most anything to read. Now I regret it a bit since I don't find many of them to be enjoyable now.

TomAz
05-24-2010, 12:34 PM
I wonder if you re-read Crime and Punishment now if you wouldn't think it was very self-indulgent.

I have read both Les Miserables and War and Peace within the last 10 years and had a similar reaction to each. 100 page didactic sidebars were all the rage back then I guess. the Hugo, in particular, was particularly slow going for me in its unabridged version.

downingthief
05-24-2010, 12:39 PM
This may come across the wrong way, but increasingly, I feel there is a reason "classics" are pushed in junior high, high school, and college. It seems the peak enjoyment for most of these books is during those years. Most people are fairly inexperienced readers at that time -- I don't mean they're not "good" readers or even avid readers, but more in the sense that they've not read a very large number of books (just because of their age/years) and most probably not many "great" books.

Most of the classic books I read and thought were brilliant in high school are ... very average to me now. I wonder if you re-read Crime and Punishment now if you wouldn't think it was very self-indulgent. (I'm not suggesting you should :) )

I went to school outside of Appalachia where the "English department" was 2 teachers total and most of their resources were spent working on basic literacy and grammar, even in high school classes. While the "honors" classes were read-and-write-an-essay format, and we had a reading list, we weren't forced to read many classics. At the time, it thrilled us, since we could pick most anything to read. Now I regret it a bit since I don't find many of them to be enjoyable now.

Not an unfair take. I have read a few of these types of books and still liked them, but maybe not as much. Crime and Punishment was not one of those, however. I still enjoyed/enjoy reading about Raskolnikov; thought he was a fascinating character. I will admit that there were portions of the book that were a bit long winded, as is most Russian literature at that time.

algunz
05-24-2010, 12:43 PM
This may come across the wrong way, but increasingly, I feel there is a reason "classics" are pushed in junior high, high school, and college. It seems the peak enjoyment for most of these books is during those years. Most people are fairly inexperienced readers at that time -- I don't mean they're not "good" readers or even avid readers, but more in the sense that they've not read a very large number of books (just because of their age/years) and most probably not many "great" books.

Now I regret it a bit since I don't find many of them to be enjoyable now.

Reading for a majority of my students, even the "Gifted" kids, is a forgotten pastime. (There are always the exceptions, but they are few and far between.) It's just not regularly incorporated into their daily patterns. It's sad and frustrating. So, getting a 7th grader to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or A Midsummer Night's Dream is an uphill battle. These books were top of my list in . . . . 5th or 6th grade. I hope that as these kids develop and gain more experience as readers they will be far more interested in exploring literature, but my gut tells me their appreciation (if it ever happens) for the classics won't happen until long after they were supposed to read them for school.

roberto73
05-24-2010, 12:53 PM
Not to turn this into a duel between English teachers, but a lot of the current research actually demonstrates that today's students have very active reading lives – those lives just happen outside school and don't often involve the traditional canon. Young Adult Lit (and series fiction, like Twilight) is more popular than ever, and the increasing popularity (and academic acceptance) of graphic novels is well-documented. They're reading; they're just not reading what we want them to.

Which, I should say, isn't necessarily a bad thing. I read voraciously throughout high school, but never what was assigned. I didn't read any of the classics until I was expected to teach them. Instead, I was devouring Stephen King and Harlan Ellison and Terry Brooks and Ray Bradbury – stuff that was much more interesting to me than To Kill a Mockingbird or Lord of the Flies (both of which I appreciate now, but which didn't have much to say to me when I was 15). It's a strong argument in favor of allowing more student choice in text selection, or at least encouraging a strong independent reading program to accompany whatever canonical texts you're reading as a class.

TomAz
05-24-2010, 12:56 PM
So basically you're saying algunz doesn't know what the fuck she's talking about.

miscorrections
05-24-2010, 12:56 PM
Reading classics in school was generally a waste because a) even if we understood the material there was pretty much nothing to relate to and b) dissecting literature takes all the joy out of it. College classes pretty much effectively killed my desire to talk about books ever because of all the self-important yapping and stupid interpretations. I find reading is a personal thing and classes just don't work with that.

amyzzz
05-24-2010, 01:00 PM
That's an interesting point, Rob. I also read a lot of lower brow lit in high school and struggled with weightier novels in class but came to appreciate finer literature in my 20's.

roberto73
05-24-2010, 01:00 PM
So basically you're saying algunz doesn't know what the fuck she's talking about.

Basically (he says, joking around).

No, it's entirely possible that the students at her school don't read. But based on my own teaching, research, and current work in schools with preservice teachers, the trend is actually pretty encouraging.

EDIT: And this all just sort of happens to be on the front burner for me because I've spent the last couple days developing my syllabi for undergraduate classes in A) Young Adult Lit, and B) teaching literature to adolescents.

PotVsKtl
05-24-2010, 01:03 PM
Maybe if algunz would stop trying to rape them her students would have more time to read.

shermanoaksyo
05-24-2010, 01:06 PM
http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n70/n351806.jpg

oh god oh god oh god oh god

TomAz
05-24-2010, 01:11 PM
Do novels ever leak early? I don't want to wait til September for the Gibson.

Hannahrain
05-24-2010, 01:20 PM
There's a rip out there somewhere, but it looks to be a crayon rubbing on newsprint of the set letters in a particular sort of old-timey printing press that I may have just made up for the sake of this joke. I'd hold out for a higher quality.

algunz
05-24-2010, 01:29 PM
Not to turn this into a duel between English teachers, but a lot of the current research actually demonstrates that today's students have very active reading lives – those lives just happen outside school and don't often involve the traditional canon. Young Adult Lit (and series fiction, like Twilight) is more popular than ever, and the increasing popularity (and academic acceptance) of graphic novels is well-documented. They're reading; they're just not reading what we want them to.


I would agree with this to a degree. We were talking about the "classics." Reading in adolescence is on the rise over the past few years with Harry Potter and Twilight, but there are few kids that are really challenging themselves. When my classmates were lumbering through To Kill a Mocking Bird in high school, I was reading The Stranger or Baudrillard. That might have been unusual even back then, but today it's almost freakish. Chia mentioned that she thought the "classics" were pushed in junior high and high school because kids were developing and maturing as readers, so the content was intriguing to them. If we read, A Separate Peace as 30 year olds it's immature or, as she mentioned, Crime and Punishment is self-indulgent. It's great that kids are reading, but if they stick with over-the-counter literature are they really going to become life-long readers who seek out more challenging books as they get older? I would love to read more fun and accessible novels to get them involved, but for the most part school is the only time most kids will be exposed to Fitzgerald or Shakespeare. The 8th grade Honors classes at my school are reading The Hobbit, The Outsiders, and Tangerine. I think that's a fucking joke!

chiapet
05-24-2010, 01:53 PM
I think having parents' encouragement and feedback is key, as is access to a variety of reading material. If your exposure to reading is through books you're forced to read and do not find interesting, why would you pursue it as a hobby? It's far easier to turn on the TV or a video game for instant entertainment. If kids do not have a way to get to a library, or have money to buy books, it can be tough to get the exposure to a wide enough variety to understand that there is something out there for them.

My school library was awful. Very few books, very outdated selection, librarians who did not seem to like children. I've had apartments with bathrooms bigger than our K-4 grades library was. For most kids in my school, this was the only place to get books. Not very encouraging, was it? There were book fairs once a year, but it was rare for anyone to be able to buy more than one book.

I was lucky to have parents willing to drive the 30 miles to get to the public library. No matter how poor we were at any time, my parents always found a way to take me there whenever I was out of reading material. And the librarians were awesome and let me check out books on the library cards of everyone else in my family, so I could take like 20+ home at once. :D

As far as limiting a child's reading by not approving of YA books, my parents had a bargain with me that they would let me check out YA books if I also got something more serious. They weren't very strict about it, I could check out 10 awful YA books and one good book, but there had to be one and it had to be read -- if I decided I didn't like it or didn't want to read it, we'd go get a different one before I could check out more Sweet Valley High. :) Before long I was rarely picking up teen books at all -- by my own choice.

I think reading anything - YA, comics, whatever -- is better than nothing, and if a child doesn't like reading, it's the appropriate way to pique their interest.

miscorrections
05-24-2010, 01:59 PM
My mom had the same library bargain - one quality book for every two junk books. I read a lot of shit way too young.

chiapet
05-24-2010, 02:07 PM
I have to add that several months ago I started using the public library again. Kids here have it made. The card catalogues are all listed online and you can recall books to a specific library, where they stack them up waiting for you, and you can do self-checkout. I'm in and out of the library in less than 5 minutes. You can renew everything online as well. It's amazing, and I'm reading so much more since they make it so easy.

Something I've noticed though is that when I'm reserving YA books, there is almost never a wait list. NY Times best sellers for adult fiction and non-fiction has a steep waiting list. The newest YA books? Nothing. I suppose teens could be buying books but it seems unlikely.

guedita
05-24-2010, 02:18 PM
Are kids using kindles/e-books or actually reading physical books, according to the research you've done/read, roberto?

algunz
05-24-2010, 02:33 PM
As always, the key is the parents or at least the influences at home. I came from a family that would naturally sit around on weekends and read. My brother and I were always involved with the summer reading contests at the public library. I just don't see that as much with my students. I have just started taking my daughter to the library because she has exhausted her interest in the books at home. (We inherited a HUGE library of kids books from friends.) I will do whatever I can to encourage her to love reading as much as I did and do. I like the idea of the "exchange" -you can get the silly as long as you also have a little substance. That idea was never pushed on us, it just was sort of a natural progression. I loved me some SVH, but I also was reading the Bronte sisters. :thu

chiapet
05-24-2010, 02:50 PM
I loved read-a-thons. Our school did them as fundraisers, and well, I hated selling cookies, but I didn't mind going door to door about reading. I will never forget the look on this one poor old lady's face when I came to collect for a read-a-thon. She'd pledged a relative lot of money per book, I'd tried to talk her down saying that it would end up being too much money, but she was really condescending to me, like, how many books can an 8 year old possibly read. When I came back with my reading log to collect, she was sure I was lying about the number and type of books and called my teacher, who made her pay up.

I read Gone with the Wind as part of that read-a-thon. My dad waited until I was done with the book to point out my reading strategy was a bit flawed.

algunz
05-24-2010, 02:54 PM
lol @ Gone with the Wind.

As an 8 year old? That is impressive. :thu

miscorrections
05-24-2010, 02:59 PM
I fucking loved the read-a-thons. After the thing was over we had some Readers Are Leaders overnight in the gym. Fucking ruled. I was the top reader because at that point I was very competitive.

roberto73
05-24-2010, 03:10 PM
Are kids using kindles/e-books or actually reading physical books, according to the research you've done/read, roberto?

The research (at least what I've been able to find) hasn't tackled that issue yet in any comprehensive way. There's a clear trend toward more "e-reading" in general – blogs, websites, social networking, email, etc. – but I think the e-book technology might still be too new for there to have been any kind of authoritative study on its use among adolescents.

One of my favorite assignments to give college students early in the semester is to have them write a reading autobiography – describing pivotal moments in their reading lives, tracing trends, speculating what those trends have meant for their present reading habits. It's always fascinating to read these histories, and one thing that comes across in nearly all of them is that high school does a fine job of transforming avid readers into non-readers. I'm still trying to figure out what can be done to fix that.

algunz
05-24-2010, 03:23 PM
Roberto, maybe if we were not so driven by the state standards we could explore and analyze literature the way it's really meant to be shared. As teachers, we are so constricted by the benchmarks and testing that education is now just about a pacing plan. It's taking away our best teaching opportunities and denying the kids their ultimate learning opportunities. IMO

roberto73
05-24-2010, 03:27 PM
That's what I argued in my dissertation. I'm revising (and revising and revising) a couple articles and a book chapter on the subject. The audiences who need to hear that argument don't care about it (see: Arne Duncan and the Common Core Standards Initiative), but I'm trying to fight the good fight.

TomAz
05-24-2010, 03:45 PM
dumb people need rules. They can't follow principles. They need rules.

chiapet
05-24-2010, 03:45 PM
algunz - I think it's recommended for 12 year olds? It's pretty simply written from what I remember, just long.

Corinna, same here, the contest around it made me want to read even more than usual and set the stage for me to become a competitive jerk. :) It also helped soothe my pride each year after the awful spelling bees. Dyslexia + spelling aloud :nono

Gribbz
05-24-2010, 03:54 PM
Finished Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk the other day. It was good, but I definitely enjoyed Invisible Monsters a lot more. "Survivor" seemed a little too anti-climatic. I think I'm going to read Lullaby next.

chiapet
05-24-2010, 03:58 PM
I've probably asked this before, but which book is good to start with for Palahniuk? I've only read Haunted (short stories). I was extremely unimpressed with most of it.

Gribbz
05-24-2010, 03:59 PM
I've only read Survivor and Invisible Monsters. I recommend the latter. I hear Fight Club and Choke are his best.

algunz
05-24-2010, 04:02 PM
That's what I argued in my dissertation. but I'm trying to fight the good fight.

Thank you!!!!


dumb people need rules. They can't follow principles. They need rules.

Here in lies the real issue with education. It's too fucking easy to become a teacher these days, and there are not enough jobs or incentives to stay one.

humanoid
05-24-2010, 04:06 PM
I've only read Survivor and Invisible Monsters. I recommend the latter. I hear Fight Club and Choke are his best.

I enjoyed Fight Club and the beginning of Choke is amazing...but after a little while, I started to have this strong urge to punch him

same thing happened to me with Lullaby....I was thinking, "really?? that's where the story goes?" I hope someone punched him for it

Gribbz
05-24-2010, 04:09 PM
I also have Generation Kill in the "to read" pile. Has anyone read that? The mini-series was great.

mountmccabe
05-24-2010, 05:13 PM
http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n70/n351806.jpg

oh god oh god oh god oh god

I recently got Spook Country; I was planning to do something else between it and Anathema but maybe I should move up the timeline so I'm ready for when the new one comes out. I love me some Gibson.


I've probably asked this before, but which book is good to start with for Palahniuk? I've only read Haunted (short stories). I was extremely unimpressed with most of it.

I've probably answered this before but (having read everything up through 2007's Rant; I'm a few behind) I'd say anything but Invisible Monsters or Haunted. The former was his first (written) and really felt it to me and the latter, as you know, is a collection of short stories (which I generally liked) with a frame (which I didn't like at all.)

I guess I particularly liked Survivor and Diary, though I think my main advice would be to give yourself a good amount of time between reading his novels.

chiapet
05-24-2010, 05:31 PM
I *still* need to read the baroque cycle books but they're too heavy to carry around.

amyzzz
05-24-2010, 06:14 PM
William Gibson is iffy with me. I loved Pattern Recognition and Idoru, but couldn't finish All Tomorrow's Parties. Also, I need to get back into Neal Stephenson -- I've only read his earlier works and not anything from the last 10 years -- Jacob told me there were math equations in Cryptonomicon which scared me away, lol.

amyzzz
05-24-2010, 06:15 PM
I *still* need to read the baroque cycle books but they're too heavy to carry around.
This (and scared of the math)

mountmccabe
05-24-2010, 06:17 PM
I still need to read Zodiac and The Diamond Age. I saw one of them at Bookman's and was about to pick it up when I saw Anathem.

I really should re-read Snow Crash, too, as it has been forever. And Cryptonomicon because I read that 8 years ago and it is one of my favorite books ever.

bballarl
05-24-2010, 06:18 PM
I just read Pamela Des Barres' memoir/sexual history, I'm With The Band. It was interesting...it provided a lot of insight into late-1960s and early-1970s rock 'n' roll. She is a pretty strong writer, which I was surprised about. I guess I wasn't expecting much more than a book about fucking rock stars.

Gribbz
05-24-2010, 06:19 PM
I still need to read Zodiac and The Diamond Age. I saw one of them at Bookman's and was about to pick it up when I saw Anathem.

I really should re-read Snow Crash, too, as it has been forever. And Cryptonomicon because I read that 8 years ago and it is one of my favorite books ever.


I read Zodiac in High School. 'Tis good.

amyzzz
05-24-2010, 06:24 PM
John, The Diamond Age is WONDERFUL. Definitely read it. Also The Big U (his first book?) is hilarious and creepy all at the same time, about university students and giant rats and live action role playing in the sewers.

chiapet
05-24-2010, 06:58 PM
I'd say the Diamond Age is my favorite book /ever/, but it's been a long time since I've read it. If you're going to read it, re-read Snow Crash first.

Zodiac is my least favorite of his stories (that I've read).

Amy, I don't think you have to care about the maths in Cryptonomicon to still enjoy the story. The main complaint I've heard of the book is the way it alternates chapters between different story lines. That sort of thing doesn't bother me. I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one day (in like 16 hours).

TomAz
05-24-2010, 07:57 PM
** spoiler alert, don't read this if you haven't read Diamond Age **

** I put it in white **

I loved that book, but in retrospect, the whole thing with the underwater colony that was just one big orgy isn't holding up for me. By which I mean, all the other plot elements -- the reversion to Victorianism, the interactive super-teacher "book", the nanoscale airborne robots, etc. -- these all make sense. The drug-addled underwater cult does not, I'm still like 'wtf'?

Also, I think Cryptonomicon is my favorite Stephenson. I forgot there was math in it, it's not essential to the plot. I was glad I read it before I read The Baroque Cycle, which I also enjoyed a lot despite its absurd length.

Pinkie
05-24-2010, 08:22 PM
Did any of you see this?

"After keeping us waiting for a century, Mark Twain will finally reveal all.
The great American writer left instructions not to publish his autobiography until 100 years after his death, which is now"


http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/after-keeping-us-waiting-for-a-century-mark-twain-will-finally-reveal-all-1980695.html


This looks interesting. (Link provided so that I don't have one of those tl;dr posts).

roberto73
06-05-2010, 04:35 AM
I was only going to share this with Cara (Guedita) since we had this conversation a few weeks ago, but then I thought others might find it interesting:

Textbooks Ditched at Clearwater High as Students Log On to Kindles (http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/textbooks-ditched-at-clearwater-high-as-students-log-on-to-kindles/1099264)

Still not sold on e-readers myself, but I can see the upside for schools.

mountmccabe
06-05-2010, 10:02 AM
I burned through the final 6-700 pages of Anathema in about five days. I can't say I was entirely satisfied by the ending. Most of my complaints can be met with "but that's the point" but still, yeah. Still a very good, very interesting book.

I have not yet started Spook Country but that will happen soon.

guedita
06-05-2010, 10:09 AM
I was only going to share this with Cara (Guedita) since we had this conversation a few weeks ago, but then I thought others might find it interesting:

Textbooks Ditched at Clearwater High as Students Log On to Kindles (http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/textbooks-ditched-at-clearwater-high-as-students-log-on-to-kindles/1099264)

Still not sold on e-readers myself, but I can see the upside for schools.

Besides the whole saving paper/trees aspect, I just don't get this. There will be SO many kinks to work out during this transition.

chiapet
06-05-2010, 10:24 AM
I think the Kindle might be better suited for college where you're not using as many "text books" but more have a ton of more traditional books to pick up for classes (I'm thinking back to english/literature, philosophy, history, etc, courses where I had > 10 books per course per semester).

Would you trust high school students with a Kindle? I wouldn't.

Bud Luster
06-05-2010, 10:49 AM
Obviously cost is a big issue (especially considering the economic climate) when considering things like Kindle/ebooks for public school students. There is also the issue of internet access in the home. Despite the fact that Nielsen reports that 80% of homes have a computer, far less have high speed Internet access. I teach at a charter school of fine arts and technology and have seen how technology can improve all levels of student engagement, but it is definitely a different story when these students are at home. I definitely wouldn't trust them to take the technology home. I have to be sure to give specific directions and be a strict rule enforcer when the technology is in their hands in the classroom. It is far too easy for them to fuck off and fuck things up otherwise.

It could be a result of the school I teach at (our school day ends at 3:30 and we almost always go over by at least 10 minutes) but we have at least 30 minutes a day dedicated to a literature unit and we spend A LOT of time discussing the readings. We also use the Accelerated Reader program and I require students to take at least one AR test (completed via in class computers) a week. Most of the students really really enjoy reading and do tons of it, but some read a low level/picture book just to get their test for the week completed.

algunz
06-05-2010, 10:59 AM
I just read Pamela Des Barres' memoir/sexual history, I'm With The Band. It was interesting...it provided a lot of insight into late-1960s and early-1970s rock 'n' roll. She is a pretty strong writer, which I was surprised about. I guess I wasn't expecting much more than a book about fucking rock stars.

I read this a couple of years ago and was also surprised. But, it's still a book about fucking rock stars which is fine by me. :thu

algunz
06-05-2010, 11:03 AM
A few years ago we did a pilot program using personal palm computers. Each of the students were issued a Palm and it was to be used for planning and word processing etc. Unfortunately the technology was not reliable and the kids kept breaking them. I could see how a better planned program with more relaible gear would be productive. This on the other hand was a HUGE pain in the ass.

Alchemy
06-05-2010, 11:11 AM
I just finished David Mitchell's Black Swan Green. It was good. I just started James Lasdun's It's Beginning to Hurt.

donkey sex
06-05-2010, 04:59 PM
Finishing up Paul Bowles' 'Let it come down'. It's not really mind blowing, but it is interesting and does hold your attention. Paul settled in Tangier with his wife Jane after WWII, so it's very Arab/Spanish/American relationship focused. So called 'Upper Class' versus 'Common'. The age old plays of hierarchy in society. That part is boring, as it always is. Let go of the people pyramid. 1952.

bmack86
06-05-2010, 05:04 PM
I decided that I needed to really read The Infinite Jest, and I'm about 400 pages in after having started on Wednesday. What a fucking fantastic book. The last time I tried going thru it I was in a period of light reading, and as a result it was somewhat hard for me to approach, but compared to my lawschool course books, this is pure joy. I love the detail and the colloquial language he uses throughout, and this time the footnotes are enjoyable as all hell and a real blessing rather than an annoyance. Also, I loved going thru the list of films that the Mad Stork made and realizing how many of them have already come into play in the novel. And the description of the eschaton match gone foul is one of the best pieces of writing I've ever read.

SoulDischarge
06-05-2010, 06:52 PM
It really helps if you read it along with the IJ page-by-page wiki that's out there somewhere. Saves you a considerable amount of time consulting your dictionary/Wikipedia.

bmack86
06-17-2010, 01:34 PM
So, Spoilers:































I'm reading through the wiki now that I've finished the Infinite Jest, and I'm just having one problem: most of the plot and theories that people are espousing out there were very clear and/or at least developed to me, but I can't for the life of me remember the part where Don Gately, John Wayne and Hal dig up Himself's grave to try and retrieve the master of the Infinite Jest. Anyone who's read it want to help point me to this?

Edit: Damn. There's one line in the first 20 pages of the book that reveals it, and that I didn't even pick up on.

Hannahrain
06-17-2010, 02:09 PM
Got Dostoevsky's The Double and The Gambler in the mail today. I have never read him before, but what I've heard of both of these books seems pretty compelling. Anybody with more experience particularly like/dislike them or think I'm approaching Dostoevsky from entirely the wrong direction? It's a daunting catalog and I just sort of took a stab.

roberto73
06-17-2010, 02:15 PM
Still trudging my way through One Hundred Years of Solitude like a prisoner on the Bataan Death March. I enjoy the odd passage here and there, but about a week ago it turned into one of those things where I'll finish it just to say I didn't quit.

guedita
06-17-2010, 02:15 PM
I've read two books recently:

Zadie Smith's On Beauty. Certainly not as phenomenal as White Teeth, but a great inside look at the isolated pretentiousness of small town academia and how irrelevant it often is to the real world.

Phillip Roth's Sabbath's Theater. Excessively Rothian, effectively made me feel guilty for becoming aroused while reading it. Not my favorite of his, but a (relatively) quick read which is nice because sometimes it's a bit tedious to get my way through his works. The main character's an ex-puppeteer with arthritic hands...hehehe.

bmack86
06-17-2010, 02:33 PM
Got Dostoevsky's The Double and The Gambler in the mail today. I have never read him before, but what I've heard of both of these books seems pretty compelling. Anybody with more experience particularly like/dislike them or think I'm approaching Dostoevsky from entirely the wrong direction? It's a daunting catalog and I just sort of took a stab.

I've only done the big 2 (Crime and Punishment and Brothers Karamazov) but I think Dostoevsky is a fantastically enthralling writer. I like the way he approaches religion and interpersonal relationships, and he's got a very obscurely direct way of approaching ideas.

menikmati
07-06-2010, 09:51 PM
Just recently finished "Five Chimneys" by Olga Lengyel, about her account and survival of the Holocaust. This was a really honest no holds barred account, and while she may not be the best writer (though she never claimed to be some great novelist), her words in describing what she saw and encountered during that time are ones I don't think anyone will be forgetting after reading this.

This book didn't really dwell much on the questions of why or what now...it just stated the facts and brutality of everyday life in the camp, and just sorta told the story of those people (who in her words) "have been forgotten".

Also got a new load of books today (Moby Dick, Revolutionary Road, The Climb, and the Night trilogy)...will also be getting the Krakauer collection soon. There is also this cool little used book store down the block from us, so I think I'm gonna check it out this weekend.

bmack86
07-06-2010, 11:14 PM
Since I finished The Infinite Jest, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I decided that this summer is going to be a DFW summer. I started The Broom of the System tonight, and it's definitely well written and creative at the start.

SoulDischarge
07-06-2010, 11:34 PM
Oh. Dostoevsky. I fucking loved his novels in high school but haven't read anything since. I probably should revisit him. Please read The Idiot, Hannah.

Hannahrain
07-07-2010, 12:23 AM
Well okay then.

I just read Dick's The Man in the High Castle for a summer class. It was okay (I do like a good dystopia and/or a compelling WWII-related story), but I felt like it should have been longer. And not in an "I sure do love this book, wish it were longer" sort of way. In an a-lot-of-this-book-is-taken-up-by-character-introduction-and-when-they-finally-cross-paths-there's-barely-enough-time-to-establish-connections-between-them-before-the-book-is-over-and-it's-time-for-a-nap sort of way. All the connections and interactions that were established could have been established better if the story took longer to unfold.

It was pleasant enough. I'm not particularly compelled to delve further into the catalog, but if someone gave me a copy of something else of his that they were done with, I'd probably read it.

Down Rodeo
07-07-2010, 12:27 AM
I recently finished Naked Lunch...unnerving is a good word for it, I think. It's not a book I'd describe as enjoyable, but I was definitely blown away by Burroughs' gift for language at certain points. A very difficult read for sure but not one that I'll soon forget.

I've really been meaning to read Infinite Jest since I've heard so many great things about it, but I'm just worried that, at the pace I read, it'll take me a year to finish it. Hopefully I'll muster up the courage soon.

SoulDischarge
07-07-2010, 12:50 AM
Every time I've tried to read anything by PKD, I've been turned off by how lousy of a writer he is. Really good ideas and everything, but just not much going on there when it comes to writing style. Maybe I just need to read the right thing by him?

While Naked Lunch is definitely grotesque, it's also fucking hilarious. If you're not reading the majority of Burroughs as satire, it's going to throw you off a bit.

mountmccabe
07-07-2010, 04:43 AM
Every time I've tried to read anything by PKD, I've been turned off by how lousy of a writer he is. Really good ideas and everything, but just not much going on there when it comes to writing style. Maybe I just need to read the right thing by him?

No, I think you've got it. He isn't much of a stylist but damn do I love the ideas he presented and the moods he conveyed. I love the paranoia, gnosticism, solipsism and just general questioning of reality that I find in his writings.



I just read Dick's The Man in the High Castle for a summer class. It was okay (I do like a good dystopia and/or a compelling WWII-related story), but I felt like it should have been longer. And not in an "I sure do love this book, wish it were longer" sort of way. In an a-lot-of-this-book-is-taken-up-by-character-introduction-and-when-they-finally-cross-paths-there's-barely-enough-time-to-establish-connections-between-them-before-the-book-is-over-and-it's-time-for-a-nap sort of way. All the connections and interactions that were established could have been established better if the story took longer to unfold.

It was pleasant enough. I'm not particularly compelled to delve further into the catalog, but if someone gave me a copy of something else of his that they were done with, I'd probably read it.

I would consider The Man in the High Castle atypical. And though I should re-read it sometime it's in the bottom fifth of the 25 or so novels of his I've read. Which, to be fair, means I liked it well enough but wasn't endlessly delighted by it. It'sn't as insane as his late works - I mean that insanity in a good way - and I'd consider plenty of other works from that period to be more convincing. Also his works tend to be more personal, focused on the paranoid ramblings of isolated individuals... so he generally has things more in control.

If I knew where my extra copies of The Martian Time Slip or VALIS were - it is always nice to have duplicates of your favorites - and I drew your name for the Mix Exchange again you'd get more in the mail than a mix. If you know what I mean.

motionnn77
07-07-2010, 10:27 AM
I also found Naked Lunch entertaining.

Reading two right now. One might be laughable, but I am revisiting a collection of Grimm's Fairy Tales. They made an impression on me as a kid because of the violence. So, I'm curious. He wrote a Huge lot of fairy tales.

Also, "Running w/ Scissors". So far ok. I just know so many people w/ made up issues living near Hollywood and working in entertainment. It's difficult for me to empathize at times.

bug on your lip
07-07-2010, 10:31 AM
While Naked Lunch is definitely grotesque, it's also fucking hilarious. If you're not reading the majority of Burroughs as satire, it's going to throw you off a bit.

spot on

amyzzz
07-07-2010, 10:40 AM
Reading two right now. One might be laughable, but I am revisiting a collection of Grimm's Fairy Tales. They made an impression on me as a kid because of the violence. So, I'm curious. He wrote a Huge lot of fairy tales..
I read so many different versions of Grimm's Fairy Tales throughout my childhood. It was something of an obsession for me.

I'm reading Agatha Christie And Then There Were None at my husband's behest.

Also, I tried reading Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, but I just could not get used to the archaic (and somewhat pretentious) language.

I.F.A.
07-07-2010, 10:56 AM
Still trudging my way through One Hundred Years of Solitude like a prisoner on the Bataan Death March. I enjoy the odd passage here and there, but about a week ago it turned into one of those things where I'll finish it just to say I didn't quit.

That's a hard one to get through - and I still can't decide how I ultimately felt about it. I think I liked it, but I'm not entirely sure. It probably needs a reread, but I don't know how likely I am to actually slog through it again... I do like Marquez's short stories though - A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings is one of my favorites.

I usually have several books going at once. I've been on an ethnobotany kick lately, and have been trying to get my hands on everything by Wade Davis. So far I've read The Serpent and the Rainbow and One River, and I'm currently reading Shadows in the Sun: Travels to the Landscapes of Spirit and Desire . I'm waiting for The Clouded Leopard and Where the Gods Reign: Plants and People's of the Columbian Amazon (by Richard Schultes, Davis's mentor) to arrive from Amazon, and I just got a copy of The Harvard Psychedelic Club, which I mean to start on this weekend.

I also recently read Food of the Gods - and all I have to say about that is that Terrence McKenna needs to do less drugs and more real research. He's a little too out there with his fringe ideas, and his scholarship is questionable.

MissingPerson
07-07-2010, 11:15 AM
Still trudging my way through One Hundred Years of Solitude like a prisoner on the Bataan Death March. I enjoy the odd passage here and there, but about a week ago it turned into one of those things where I'll finish it just to say I didn't quit.

My sister's a huge fan of it, so I read this out to her.

"What? What the fuck is that? Tell them they're a fool and wrong."

Just relaying the message.

bmack86
07-07-2010, 01:27 PM
Naked Lunch is one of my favorite books. It's fucking terrifying and hilarious and grotesque in equal measures.

donkey sex
07-07-2010, 01:39 PM
prefer his Cities of the Red Night trilogy. But all of his books, cept for the pretty much god awful 'Hippos' one he wrote with Kerouac, are incredibly funny and brillant. Reading 'Beats in South Texas' by Rob Johnson right now.

roberto73
07-07-2010, 02:23 PM
My sister's a huge fan of it, so I read this out to her.

"What? What the fuck is that? Tell them they're a fool and wrong."

Just relaying the message.

I'm not a "they." I refuse to dignify the criticism of someone who has yet to master basic pronoun usage.

And now I'm reading Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory. A rip-roaring tale about atheism in Mexico.

Also, Crank, a Young Adult novel about meth addiction, written in verse. I was expecting simplistic and preachy, but it's surprisingly well-written.

Alchemy
07-07-2010, 06:02 PM
I'm not a "they." I refuse to dignify the criticism of someone who has yet to master basic pronoun usage.

Ur still wrong and a full four compearing the book to death march.

chiapet
07-07-2010, 11:05 PM
Isn't "they" acceptable in British (and presumably Irish) English for a third party whose gender is not known? It was commonly used language at one time.

Sleepingrock
07-07-2010, 11:26 PM
.... You guys don't say that??

roberto73
07-08-2010, 02:29 AM
Isn't "they" acceptable in British (and presumably Irish) English for a third party whose gender is not known? It was commonly used language at one time.

I suppose, but I still resist her sister's attempt to foist plurality on me, and I certainly resent the notion that my gender is not known.

MissingPerson
07-08-2010, 03:12 AM
Isn't "they" acceptable in British (and presumably Irish) English for a third party whose gender is not known? It was commonly used language at one time.

Indeed. Irish has more pronouns than English, and Hiberno English - it's a thing, I swear - has a couple of concessions to that, the most notable being the continued used of a second person plural, "ye".

So quit ye're bellyachin'.

fatbastard
07-08-2010, 04:54 AM
Stones into Schools - Greg Mortenson

PotVsKtl
07-08-2010, 02:29 PM
Just got a Kindle. Recommend something new. Don't recommend something bad.

Alchemy
07-08-2010, 04:37 PM
I recommend Patrick McGrath. If you enjoyed the movie Shutter Island you may love his books Trauma, Spider, or Asylum.

PotVsKtl
07-09-2010, 10:26 AM
Too late, I bought the Ishiguro shorts. I fucking love the random author portraits that serve as a screensaver on the Kindle.

amyzzz
07-09-2010, 10:28 AM
I want a Kindle so bad.

Hannahrain
07-09-2010, 12:10 PM
I am going to read Mann's Doctor Faustus now if that's okay with everybody.

TomAz
07-09-2010, 12:30 PM
only if it's on a Kindle.

PotVsKtl
07-09-2010, 12:36 PM
My product is the world's demand.

Hannahrain
07-09-2010, 12:38 PM
No Kindle, but I had it engraved onto the back of a first-generation iPod Shuffle from 2005. My engraving guy is the best, boys. The best.

Hannahrain
07-09-2010, 06:04 PM
So, first day and I already love Doctor Faustus. I'd love to hear about any other Mann books people have liked (this is my first), as I've got a few extra dollars lying around and they're not likely to last too much longer.

donkey sex
07-09-2010, 06:11 PM
Need to read tonight. Some ganj too. HG Wells outside in the dark? HG Wells outside in the dark.

menikmati
07-13-2010, 06:51 PM
I'm about to finish up "The Climb", which is another telling/version of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster (made popular in Krakauer's book "Into Thin Air")....I'm not here to say which is better, or more accurate, but they are just different accounts and points of view of the same disaster....it really just shows how tragic, sad this incident was, and how some bad mistakes cost a lot people their lives. After this, I'm gonna start another Krakauer book (just recently ordered his entire collection)....so I will reread "Into the Wild" soon, but I think I'm gonna go with "Under the Banner of Heaven" first, and then maybe his take on the story and cover up behind Pat Tilman's death.

bmack86
07-13-2010, 07:49 PM
I finished Broom of the System last night. It wasn't as good as Infinite Jest, which I expected, but it was a surprisingly loony and self-reflective book. One of the characters tells so many stories he eventually starts to lose his identity in them, another one feels as if words have taken control of her living and there's lots of talk about what makes a good story v. a bad one, with Wallace playing around with these conventions through his own story (and the stories read by Rick Vigorous.) I vacillated between amused and annoyed by the names of character (Rick Vigorous, Judith Prietht, Wang Dang Lang, Biff Diggerence) but the way he uses words is so fantastically developed, even in this, his first novel.

SoulDischarge
07-13-2010, 09:03 PM
Can he stop playing dead already? And I like Rick Vigorous as a name. The others, eh.

bmack86
07-13-2010, 09:15 PM
Rick Vigorous was an intentional play on the character, and Wang Dang Lang and Biff Diggerence are both frat names of characters, so I found that vaguely amusing. You should definitely read it. It's MUCH easier and quicker than Infinite Jest, and definitely less complex, but really enjoyable. Plus, it's got a clear cut ending that's kind of funny and (at least for me) not obvious until the very end.

And, also a weird tick I noticed. He uses the phrase "my own personal daddy" in this as well. He must have had some really weird daddy issues.

humanoid
07-13-2010, 09:17 PM
I'm about to finish up "The Climb", which is another telling/version of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster (made popular in Krakauer's book "Into Thin Air")....I'm not here to say which is better, or more accurate, but they are just different accounts and points of view of the same disaster....it really just shows how tragic, sad this incident was, and how some bad mistakes cost a lot people their lives. After this, I'm gonna start another Krakauer book (just recently ordered his entire collection)....so I will reread "Into the Wild" soon, but I think I'm gonna go with "Under the Banner of Heaven" first, and then maybe his take on the story and cover up behind Pat Tilman's death.

It's definitely interesting to read the divergent perspectives concerning the same tragic events, especially since Krakauer places a lot of blame upon Anatoli Boukreev in his version.

Please let me know what you think of Under the Banner of Heaven. I've read Into the Wild, Eiger Dreams and Into Thin Air, but have yet to pick up Banner. Definitely on my coming soon list though.

I'm interested in the Pat Tilman book too, but hopefully Krakauer doesn't try to draw as many parallels to his own life as he does in Into The Wild

PotVsKtl
07-13-2010, 10:40 PM
Dune Messiah was pretty good.

Hannahrain
07-15-2010, 12:19 PM
Powell's is doing free shipping until Sunday. The world remains rotative at regular speed, but maybe you also save six bucks.

PotVsKtl
07-15-2010, 12:22 PM
I wish I could just stop reading this Dune quadrosextogy and move on.

Hannahrain
07-15-2010, 12:53 PM
Post script. Physics of the Impossible is a good book to read if you're looking to know how long it's going to take before you're terrified to leave the house and also terrified to stay home but slightly less terrified of putting your head in the oven so nobody tompeeps at you while wearing some sort of completely unreasonable camouflage projection garment.