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Thread: Hey, Books

  1. #241
    old school Stefinitely Maybe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    Oh and I'll add this quote to the thread:

    I'd say that the quantity of boredom, if boredom is measurable, is much greater today than it once was. Because the old occupations, at least most of them, were unthinkable without a passionate involvement; the peasants in love with their land; my grandfather, the magician of beautiful tables; the shoemakers who knew every villager's feet by heart; the woodsmen; the gardeners; probably even the soldiers killed with passion back then. The meaning of life wasn't an issue, it was there with them, quite naturally in their workshops, in their fields. Each occupation had created it's own mentality, it's own way of being. A doctor would think differently from a peasant, a soldier would behave differently from a teacher. Today we're all alike, all of us bound together by our shared apathy towards our work. The one great collective passion of our time.


    From "Identity" by Milan Kundera.
    "The first time I heard the new single off the Bravery album, I actually cried, and I do not even remember the name of that damn song. It reminded me of this girl I am in love with." - kroqken

  2. #242
    zeezus amyzzz's Avatar
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    I just finished The Shipping News last night. I liked the characters in it a lot, but I'm so used to reading sci-fi/fantasy shit with lots of action that this seemed really slow. I'm killing my brain with junk food reading I guess.
    Quote Originally Posted by guedita View Post
    Because fucking millenials that's what

  3. #243
    foof roberto73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefinitely Maybe View Post
    How can there be a thread about great books and authors without one mention of PAUL AUSTER? That's like having a thread about good music and nobody mentioning Radiohead. WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE? If there is anyone on this board who hasn't read "The New York Trilogy" by Auster, you need to do so. Right now. And then read everything else he ever wrote.
    Seconded. New York Trilogy is still my favorite of Auster's work. For people who don't know it (or him), it's a series of three linked novellas. They're mysteries, but unlike any mysteries you've ever read. Auster does some really spellbinding stuff with story structure and characterization, and in the course of these three stories, manages to say some profound things about the nature of personal identity. Here's one of my favorite passages in the trilogy, from the beginning of "City of Glass":

    New York was an inexhaustible space, a labyrinth of endless steps, and no matter how far he walked, no matter how well he came to know its neighborhoods and streets, it always left him with the feeling of being lost. Lost, not only in the city, but within himself as well. Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within. The world was outside of him, around him, before him, and the speed with which it kept changing made it impossible for him to dwell on any one thing for very long. Motion was of the essence, the act of putting one foot in front of the other and allowing himself to follow the drift of his own body. By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal, and it no longer mattered where he was. On his best walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally, was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere. New York was the nowhere he had built around himself, and he realized that he had no intention of ever leaving it again.

    And because I need to read something of no literary value whatsoever while I'm plodding through Ulysses, I just picked up Bret Easton Ellis' Lunar Park. Delightfully trashy.
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  4. #244
    old school Stefinitely Maybe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    I have a signed copy of Lunar Park but I haven't read it yet. I went to see Ellis do a reading from it, and a brief Q&A, which was pretty interesting, but it still didn't sound as compelling as his earlier books.
    "The first time I heard the new single off the Bravery album, I actually cried, and I do not even remember the name of that damn song. It reminded me of this girl I am in love with." - kroqken

  5. #245
    No Clownery full on idle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    I'm reading A Supposedly Fun Thing That I'll Never Do Again. So far it's about tennis and math and the midwest. And wind.

  6. #246
    Member matildawong's Avatar
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    I'm on a biography kick. I'm reading "The Kennedy Women" and I am totally into it. It's one of those books where I can't wait to sit down at the end of the work day/errands/etc and get lost in.

  7. #247
    old school Stefinitely Maybe's Avatar
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    A couple of books I read recently...

    1. "A Seperate Peace" by John Knowles:
    I bought this book because someone recommended it to me ages ago and because when I searched for it on amazon, one of the marketplace sellers was offering it for 1p, including postage, so I decided to buy it just to see if they would actually send it to me for just 1p, and they did! Anyway, I really liked it. It reminded me a lot of Ian McEwan's "Atonement" (so much so that I wonder if McEwan intended his book to somehow reference / pay homage to this one?), seeing as it's set against the background of an impending war, and is about a childhood mistake and the guilt that results from it and then affects people's entire lives. Definitely worth checking out.

    2. "Travels In The Scriptorium" by Paul Auster:
    As previously mentioned, Paul Auster is one of my favourite authors. His books are always great, and this was no exception; I read it all in a day because it was so gripping. It's a sort of mystery, and you're never really sure who the central character is, until a clever twist reveals everything at the very end. However, it references quite a few of his earlier books and probably wouldn't make much sense unless you'd read those first, so it's probably only a book for a real Auster fan. You'd definitely need to have read "The New York Trilogy", "Leviathan" and "The Music Of Chance" to understand this book properly, and I recommend all of those to anyone who wants to check Auster out, before you read this one.

    3. "Ask The Dust" by John Fante:
    Fante was one of Bukowski's favourite authors, so I decided to check him out, but I thought this was one of his slower books, and I prefer Bukowski overall. They both talk about life as deadbeats in California, and they both share a graphic and simple style of prose, but Bukowski always seems to revel unashamedly in his drunken madness, whereas Fante seems apologetic and remorseful a lot of the time. If you've exhausted Bukowski's canon, this is a good place to turn, though.
    "The first time I heard the new single off the Bravery album, I actually cried, and I do not even remember the name of that damn song. It reminded me of this girl I am in love with." - kroqken

  8. #248
    business time tessalasset's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    I'm reading "The Deep End of the Ocean" right now about a woman who loses her three-year-old son in a hotel lobby during her 15th reunion and how it tears her family apart in the following years. I think something big happens that I haven't gotten to yet - I think they find him like 10 years later or something. We'll see. It's really good so far.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ardentbiscuit View Post
    This is the equivalent of musical water boarding.

  9. #249
    Peaceful Oasis TomAz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefinitely Maybe View Post
    A couple of books I read recently...

    1. "A Seperate Peace" by John Knowles:
    I bought this book because someone recommended it to me ages ago and because when I searched for it on amazon, one of the marketplace sellers was offering it for 1p, including postage, so I decided to buy it just to see if they would actually send it to me for just 1p, and they did! Anyway, I really liked it. It reminded me a lot of Ian McEwan's "Atonement" (so much so that I wonder if McEwan intended his book to somehow reference / pay homage to this one?), seeing as it's set against the background of an impending war, and is about a childhood mistake and the guilt that results from it and then affects people's entire lives. Definitely worth checking out.

    I had to read this in high school. I hated it. but I was like 15 so wtf did I know? I loved Atonement though.
    Quote Originally Posted by efrain44 View Post
    Anyone know who the guy in the Cardinals jersey is? I've seen him in pictures on the board and I thought I saw him this year.

  10. #250
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefinitely Maybe View Post
    A couple of books I read recently...

    1. "A Seperate Peace" by John Knowles:

    3. "Ask The Dust" by John Fante:
    I also read the Knowles in high school. At the time I hated reading mostly because I hated English class and the stupid stuff they made you do. Or, rather, that you had to come up with/spout their interpretations of the books to get credit. I'mn't good at that sort of thing.

    And I read that Fante, approaching it for much the same reasons. I really liked it and want to read more. And I'm probably more eager for more Fante than for more Bukowski.


    I think I am going to give up on the Somali novel I'm reading. I'm 100 pages in and finished part 1 which seems like a good place to stop since it'sn't anything special.
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  11. #251
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    I'm reading David Markson's "Wittgenstein's Mistress" and it's probably one of the best books I've ever read.

  12. #252
    Member atom heart's Avatar
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    I've also been working on my own novel (which has been in progress for like 3 years) and I'm about 30,000 words in
    you might want to try NaNoWriMo just for the hell of it:

    http://www.nanowrimo.org/

  13. #253
    Endearingly Dislikable RotationSlimWang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefinitely Maybe View Post
    I have a signed copy of Lunar Park but I haven't read it yet. I went to see Ellis do a reading from it, and a brief Q&A, which was pretty interesting, but it still didn't sound as compelling as his earlier books.
    The first third or so of Lunar Park, before it turns into a horror novel, is some of Ellis's best work from my standpoint. Him giving a somewhat fictional recap of his own life is fucking fascinating.
    Quote Originally Posted by amyzzz View Post
    Hannah, I don't know that pigs have big weiners, and my early 20's facination with dogs because of weiner size, I think. If that helps.

  14. #254

    Default Re: Hey, Books

    I'm reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut, which i havent read in about 5 years, always a good read.

  15. #255
    business time tessalasset's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomAz View Post
    I had to read this in high school. I hated it. but I was like 15 so wtf did I know?
    yeah i had to read the giver in 6th grade and hated it so much, and for my whole life have thought i hated that book. so i intentionally read it again this year and loved it and cried.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ardentbiscuit View Post
    This is the equivalent of musical water boarding.

  16. #256
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    I enjoyed A Separate Peace. But I think that has a lot to do with the similarities to my own high school. Although I think actually the fictitious "Devon School" is based on Exeter, alma mater of Win Butler among others.

    I have been sort of reading Infinite Jest. Very very slowly. And I picked up Freakanomics for a quick read last week because it was lying around the house. It was amusing and quite interesting, but I have some doubts about the methodology and also I wish that the book had more of a unifying theme.

  17. #257
    Peaceful Oasis TomAz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    I'm about 2/3rds of the way through Chris Salewicz' excellent biography of Joe Strummer. He's just about to fire Mick Jones. what a downfall. this book is really good. sad but good.
    Quote Originally Posted by efrain44 View Post
    Anyone know who the guy in the Cardinals jersey is? I've seen him in pictures on the board and I thought I saw him this year.

  18. #258
    Member atom heart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    yeah i had to read the giver in 6th grade and hated it so much, and for my whole life have thought i hated that book. so i intentionally read it again this year and loved it and cried.
    I had to read that book twice. I don't know what to think of it except that it made me feel sick both times I read it. Also I was way too young to understand most of it.
    Last edited by atom heart; 10-25-2007 at 04:10 AM.

  19. #259
    old school caco0283's Avatar
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    I've been reading "A People's History of the United States" by Howard Zinn and also "Das Kapital" by Karl Marx
    Quote Originally Posted by Hannahrain View Post
    Your lady's also in for drugs, right? Corinna's guy is in for murder and mine's in for a spree of home invasions. I think you're probably good.


    Quote Originally Posted by Drinkey McDrinkerstein View Post
    I'm pretty sure Ronnie painted that on her, with his dick.

  20. #260
    Coachella Junkie Alchemy's Avatar
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    I just finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy (writer of No Country for Old Men and All The Pretty Horses)

    I enjoyed the book a lot. It was a very quick and easy read. It took me about two days to finish it, but I dedicated a few hours. It is a very dark and gloomy story about a man and his son making their way across part of the United States, in an attempt to reach the coast. Wouldn't be such a bad path, but this is in a post-apocalyptic world. It makes you wonder about the world, and what would happen if something catastrophic happened in which all plants, animals and civilization was destroyed. The sky is covered by a dark ash cloud, and you breathe in all the crap as well. Not to mention you have to watch out for any other humans. They could be good guys like the man and his son, but they might be part of bands of cannibals who hunt down other humans for food, being that there aren't many animals (there aren't many humans for that matter).

    So basically it was really good and crazy, a bit scary.
    Quote Originally Posted by canexplain View Post
    I try to be politically pc more than most here: As a dude, anyone who could put a shark up a gals pc body, is pretty creepy, different and interesting. Just saying big time ..... cr****

  21. #261
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemy View Post
    I just finished The Road by Cormac McCarthy (writer of No Country for Old Men and All The Pretty Horses)
    i read this book last year on the recommendation of my father. this book has gotten to much press and positive critique for simply being dark and post-apocalyptic. really, it's a transparent, thinly guised fable with one-sided characters and little meaningful to say. After seeing Old Country for Old Men last night, I'm tempted to read the book, but won't because I hated this one so much. At least it was a quick read...

    On a positive note, I finished Don DeLillo's Underworld and recommend it, save one reservation about it being obscenely long (800 pages). Worth checking out over the holidays if you find yourself with a little extra time to dedicate to a particularly dense, but incredibly rewarding book.

  22. #262
    Coachella Junkie Alchemy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmgaretjax View Post
    i read this book last year on the recommendation of my father. this book has gotten to much press and positive critique for simply being dark and post-apocalyptic. really, it's a transparent, thinly guised fable with one-sided characters and little meaningful to say. After seeing Old Country for Old Men last night, I'm tempted to read the book, but won't because I hated this one so much. At least it was a quick read...

    On a positive note, I finished Don DeLillo's Underworld and recommend it, save one reservation about it being obscenely long (800 pages). Worth checking out over the holidays if you find yourself with a little extra time to dedicate to a particularly dense, but incredibly rewarding book.
    The story isn't about it being dark and post-apocalyptic though. It's more about the father's change in viewing the world. About shifting from being afraid of everything and taking so many precautions, to taking more risks and helping people. Compare how the father reacted when the boy thought he saw another boy to when they found the flare gun. It's also about the decision to allowing the boy to live, or killing him so that he won't suffer this new world. So much goes through the father in this story that I would not call him a one-sided character at all. He isn't just a father doing father things. I can dig it if you didn't like the book, but it was not just about two people walking around in a crappy world. Read it with the character changes in mind (specifically the father). It would only take a day or two after all. But that book has a lot to say. We had crazy discussions about it in my class with all it had to say.
    Quote Originally Posted by canexplain View Post
    I try to be politically pc more than most here: As a dude, anyone who could put a shark up a gals pc body, is pretty creepy, different and interesting. Just saying big time ..... cr****

  23. #263
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alchemy View Post
    The story isn't about it being dark and post-apocalyptic though. It's more about the father's change in viewing the world. About shifting from being afraid of everything and taking so many precautions, to taking more risks and helping people. Compare how the father reacted when the boy thought he saw another boy to when they found the flare gun. It's also about the decision to allowing the boy to live, or killing him so that he won't suffer this new world. So much goes through the father in this story that I would not call him a one-sided character at all. He isn't just a father doing father things. I can dig it if you didn't like the book, but it was not just about two people walking around in a crappy world. Read it with the character changes in mind (specifically the father). It would only take a day or two after all. But that book has a lot to say. We had crazy discussions about it in my class with all it had to say.
    all of these are focused on this notion of living in a world that is "almost" bad enough to not want to live anymore. all of it hangs on that notion, without it, the book doesn't matter. i'm not going to spoil it, but the heavy-handedness of the ending reiterates all of this. i laughed out loud, it was ridiculous and insulting. The book has some great imagery, and there are moments when actual characters almost break through, but unfortunately it's bogged down by it's inability to step past it's own contrivances.

  24. #264
    The Encyclopedia bmack86's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    The last good book I read was Nadja by Andre Breton. It was highly enjoyable.
    Quote Originally Posted by canexplain View Post
    Remember Hitler? I don't but here we are again .. cr****

  25. #265
    Coachella Junkie Alchemy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmgaretjax View Post
    all of these are focused on this notion of living in a world that is "almost" bad enough to not want to live anymore. all of it hangs on that notion, without it, the book doesn't matter. i'm not going to spoil it, but the heavy-handedness of the ending reiterates all of this. i laughed out loud, it was ridiculous and insulting. The book has some great imagery, and there are moments when actual characters almost break through, but unfortunately it's bogged down by it's inability to step past it's own contrivances.
    Well of course the book has to hang on the notion of the world being "almost" bad enough to not want to live in. That's what the book is about. The movie Titanic wouldn't matter without the sea. The important part were the decisions and thoughts of the characters. What my class and I noticed on the characters so much, is that you were able to fill in their place. It didn't matter if you had a clear picture of a character, I mean, that's part of the reason that they don't have names. You are not supposed to have a clear character. This way instead of saying, the boy is this, this and this. He does this and that. He would probably do this and blah blah. In this scenario you could be the boy. You could be the man, even if you don't know what it is to be a parent. You can't read this book waiting for McCarthy to further develop the characters and spell them out for you. Not knowing the characters is part of the point. It's that this could happen to us, and these are things we might go through. It's meaning is also not that this is what happens in that setting. The process of being more trusting, taking risks for fun (like popping flares when you should be hiding), and generally trying your best to just live a normal life are things we could do in this world as well. The book has so much to say.
    Quote Originally Posted by canexplain View Post
    I try to be politically pc more than most here: As a dude, anyone who could put a shark up a gals pc body, is pretty creepy, different and interesting. Just saying big time ..... cr****

  26. #266
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    You seem to be misunderstanding me. This has nothing to do with wanting characters spelled out, it's about them being too simple in the first place. this flare scene that you are obsessed about is another example of a shallow attempt at subtlety. of course flares will be shot off inappropriately, because the father is intermittently yearning to get caught (how poignant). However, the good nature of the father prevails, and his son is saved. the "just don't give up" mentality is painted with such clarity it becomes a transparent mesh that is incapable of holding his story up.

    Kudos for McCarthy for taking such a naive set of principles and imparting them to us in a book that "has so much to say" worthy of the Oprah Book club recognition it received.

  27. #267
    Coachella Junkie Alchemy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmgaretjax View Post
    this flare scene that you are obsessed about is another example of a shallow attempt at subtlety. of course flares will be shot off inappropriately, because the father is intermittently yearning to get caught (how poignant). However, the good nature of the father prevails, and his son is saved. the "just don't give up" mentality is painted with such clarity it becomes a transparent mesh that is incapable of holding his story up.
    Obviously you misunderstood the book. Sure the "just don't give up" mentality is obvious. I mean, that is a given part of the book. If they gave up, we wouldn't have much of a story would we? By saying that the father wants to get caught by shooting the flares tells me that the point of this story is not so transparent. If you think that it's about the good nature of the father prevailing, you misunderstood the book. If you even thought it was about the son surviving, you misread the book. There is a reason he lets the kid shoot the flare, and it's obviously so subtle that you missed it.

    Don't scare people from reading the book because it is too "simple". Other people on the board should read it and decide for themselves.
    Quote Originally Posted by canexplain View Post
    I try to be politically pc more than most here: As a dude, anyone who could put a shark up a gals pc body, is pretty creepy, different and interesting. Just saying big time ..... cr****

  28. #268
    Brackish African wmgaretjax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    It IS transparent. It's the kind of things you predict a few pages into the book. It's naive to pretend that complexity is automatically attributed because motivations are confused. It's a great start, but the problem is that it stops there. It doesn't extend any further, and so the characters end up as prop-ups for immature themes (some of which you listed above) that are also not fully explored. This is futile, unless I'm willing to go back after a year and re-read it to put together some more exact examples.

    What I will do instead is recommend another book:

    Wittgenstein's Mistress by David Markson is an incredibly book in the vein of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. The pseudo-narrative revolves around a woman who believes herself to be the last person on earth. The novel are her memoirs tracing her experiences alone visiting historical locations, reflecting on artists and writers, and attempting to reconstruct some events in her life. She tells many of the stories many times, and you begin to question her as certain facts change and events begin to signify different meanings. Her sanity is called in question by these occurrences, and also personally in by her in her memoirs.

    The book is a fantastic deconstruction of personal memory, madness, and how culture and history inform these elements.

    Best book I have read this year.

  29. #269
    foof roberto73's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hey, Books

    Attention, literature lovers. One of the fields I'm specializing in for my PhD exams is the modern short story, and I'm trying to choose six authors to focus on (translation: read every short story I can find). These are currently the six:

    Ernest Hemingway
    Raymond Carver
    John Cheever
    William Faulkner
    Flannery O'Connor
    Edgar Allan Poe

    Any judgments? Any substitutions? I'm kinda thinking Donald Barthelme instead of Faulkner, but nothing's solid yet. Is there someone important I'm forgetting, someone crucial to the state of the modern short story?

    Current reading: Ian McEwan's First Love, Last Rites
    Quote Originally Posted by Riggins33 View Post
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  30. #270
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roberto73 View Post
    Attention, literature lovers. One of the fields I'm specializing in for my PhD exams is the modern short story, and I'm trying to choose six authors to focus on (translation: read every short story I can find). These are currently the six:

    Ernest Hemingway
    Raymond Carver
    John Cheever
    William Faulkner
    Flannery O'Connor
    Edgar Allan Poe

    Any judgments? Any substitutions? I'm kinda thinking Donald Barthelme instead of Faulkner, but nothing's solid yet. Is there someone important I'm forgetting, someone crucial to the state of the modern short story?

    Current reading: Ian McEwan's First Love, Last Rites
    I don't understand your take on the word "modern" but this isn't about me.

    William Faulkner is one of my personal gods. This is making me want to pick up that gigantic volume of short stories and reread it. I just adore his prose.

    I would support including Barthelme but I wouldn't lose Faulkner for him; I'd probably knock out Carver or Cheever mainly because I don't know them at all. Barthelme's short stories are such a delight. Well, I found them to be delightful; I can see where their abstractness could be off putting. I've only read 60 Short Stories, though, not 40.

    The only legit names I can think of to consider (since there'd be laughing if I said Philip K Dick) would be Kafka and Borges.
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

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