Whatcha reading?

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

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Jim Davis
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Re: Watchya reading?

Postby Jim Davis » Wed May 31, 2006 2:14 pm

BrianSiano wrote:I just finished Nabokov's _Lolita_ today, and I really regret not reading it when I was twenty, or thirty. Then I'd have a stronger sense of how this book would be very, very different each time I came back to it-- instead of knowing this from my first-time reading this year.

This is one of the most amazing, horrifying, and even moving books I've ever read. I think I'm going to wallow in Nabokov for a while.


My favorite novel, hands down. It's so intricately allusive (and elusive), so rich in ambiguity and virtuoso wordplay, it's almost fractal, which explains why no cinematic adaptation has ever done it justice. You could spend a lifetime trying to suss out its secrets (and lord knows I've been doing that since I first read it as a teen).

Pale Fire is pretty wonderful, too.
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"His plan therefore was not to refuse admission to the idea, but to keep it at bay until his mind was ready to receive it. Then let it in and pulverise it. Obliterate the bastard."--Samuel Beckett

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed May 31, 2006 7:15 pm

A Just War has to have strict criteria to justify and any small child can understand very easily that the Iraq war has no criteria.

Debating the war is like debating the moral logic of giving the bully his due and giving the victim only scorn.

----------

The whole of the western world and the middle east are against the war, so the Neo-con creeps are a bit out of it in the reality department.

The same people who defend this war have never not defended any American invasion. As long as that invasion is done by the good people and their high end motives.

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Postby JohnG » Wed May 31, 2006 8:56 pm

But let me say right away that I was using "faith" in the broadest possible sense -- with reference to things believed but that are not subjected to reason, logic, and question -- not specifically religious.(David)


Thanks, that makes it very clear.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:16 am

But back to the topic of the thread.

I'm reading Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn (not what I was expecting -- quite enjoyable!) for my book group, even though I won't be able to attend the meeting, and Blue Blood, a memoir by a Harvard-educated NY cop named Edward Conlon. Very well written, thoughtful, and compassionate rather than simply hard-boiled. I got it off a remainder table at Powell's; it always makes me feel a little sad when that happens -- a terrific book remaindered a year or two after publication.

The cover says "NY Times Bestseller," but I never heard of it before. How many book say that on the cover every year? We made it to #647 on the NY Times bestseller list!
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

Chris Seggerman
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Postby Chris Seggerman » Thu Jun 01, 2006 11:23 am

Also on the topic at hand, books I admit to reading:

I just finished Nekropolis by Maureen F. McHugh. The novel used shifting first-person viewpoints and McHugh nailed each character’s voice and concerns well. However, it felt more like a long novella. Just looking through the other McHugh book I’ve got the queue, Mission Child, it looks like it’s in a completely different style.

Don’t Tell The Grown-Ups: Subversive Children’s Literature
by Alison Lurie. Looks to be a collection of essays grouped into chapters. I have been researching “Kid Lit”—encompassing legends, fairy tales and the like—since hearing so much about them at the Nebulas. I just finished Jane Yolen’s Touch Magic, a similar collection of essays.

Stable Strategies and Others, short story collection by Eileen Gunn. I read a ton of short stories and like the genre. I have a near-infinite smorgasbord of collections to choose from. So far, Gunn’s have been interesting, but it seems too soon to judge yet.

Books waiting to be read:

I have the first three of Baum’s Oz books. Connie Willis mentioned these at the Nebulas and I’d forgotten just how wacky they were: the lunch basket trees from Ozma of Oz remain lodged in my brain. I also find I have a great deal of affection for Tik-Tok, especially when he carries a gun. I want a shirt with him on it that proclaims “I-AM-Steam-punk!”

Some dark part of me actually wants to read Laurell K. Hamilton. I have seen many complaints about how her books have drifted into pretty much straight-up smut, but since I also read a great deal of straight-up smut, I’m curious about how much the Amazon “reviewers’” sensibilities differ from mine. This is my literary equivalent of watching My Name Is Earl.

I’ve also been going through Jack Zipe’s translation of the Brothers Grimm and Burton’s translation of The Arabian Nights. I have the Husain Haddawy translation of the same, and may go back to back on a few to see how the translations vary. So far, Burton’s repetitive Victorianisms have the quality of an incantation.

I want to tackle China Mieville’s The Scar soon, with Iron Council to follow, but Mieville tends to require a little more concentration. After that I make my way back into dead Europeans. I still haven’t taken in my lifetime quota of Dostoyevsky

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:20 pm

Chris Seggerman wrote:Books waiting to be read:

I have the first three of Baum’s Oz books. Connie Willis mentioned these at the Nebulas and I’d forgotten just how wacky they were: the lunch basket trees from Ozma of Oz remain lodged in my brain. I also find I have a great deal of affection for Tik-Tok, especially when he carries a gun. I want a shirt with him on it that proclaims “I-AM-Steam-punk!”



I went through 'em all again a year or two ago, and wrote up brief summaries which may be found here:

http://www.allreaders.com/ProfileView.a ... picID=2604


They vary a lot in quality and interest, and I tried to indicate as much in my summaries.

I read a few Oz books by the authorized heir, Ruth Plumly Thompson, too:

http://www.allreaders.com/ProfileView.a ... icID=11612


There are dozens upon dozens of other Oz pastiches -- I think I lost the bookmark to the site that lists many of them, but it'd be easy to find again via Google.

I'd say my favorite Baums are The Land of Oz and The Tin Woodman of Oz.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:22 pm

Rudyard Kipling, now there's a man to be worshipped.

Words that march into your heart and make war with your soul.

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Postby Mindtraveller » Tue Jun 06, 2006 2:11 am

Read Thomas Wharton's The Logogryph: A Bibliography Of Imaginary Books in one sitting yesterday evening. It is exactly what it purports to be: A meditation on the nature of books that might be, and the art of reading. Intertwined is the story of a man's quest to recapture his childhood and adolescence through the act of writing. Highly recommended.
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DVG
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Postby DVG » Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:40 pm

Thomas Sterne's "A Sentimental Journey." I'm quite enjoying it, as I did "Tristram Shandy." Sterne's approach might strike the reader at first as impossibly twee, but as one grows used to the strange suddeness of the novel's construction, its perpetual asides come to seem the most natural form of narrative in the world.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:44 pm

DVG wrote:Thomas Sterne's "A Sentimental Journey." I'm quite enjoying it, as I did "Tristram Shandy." Sterne's approach might strike the reader at first as impossibly twee, but as one grows used to the strange suddeness of the novel's construction, its perpetual asides come to seem the most natural form of narrative in the world.



Ehmmmm . . . isn't his name Laurence?

I'm trying to figure out how you got Thomas out of it . . . unless it somehow connected with Thomas Stearnes Eliot.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

DVG
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Postby DVG » Tue Jun 06, 2006 4:47 pm

Whoops! Can't think how else myself.

I recently read "Barry Lyndon" and it was interesting to see how Sterne's heroes suggest a basis for the superficial emotional behavior of Thackeray's narrator (cast into negative terms by the author this time).

/Waits for news that Dickens actually wrote "Barry Lyndon."

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Wed Jun 14, 2006 11:24 am

I wonder how many novels have the title "Sentimental Journey"? There's Sterne's (which I haven't read) and Flaubert's (which I have) . . . .

Currently reading a big 2004 bio of de Kooning, and Orhan Pamuk's _Snow_ (the choice of my book group several months ago when I was mired in rehearsals for the Oppenheimer play and knew I wouldn't make it to the book group meeting; I'm liking it, so far.)
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:42 pm

Loftus, if I discribed you as a classicist, would that be offensive, or would it make a direct hit?

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Postby BrianSiano » Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:42 pm

I might've mentioned that I truly enjoyed _Pnin_, but right now, I'm halfway into _Pale Fire_. I shudder at venturing a summary or any observation, because at this stage in the game, something might come up that'd throw my interpretation into a cocked hat. It's a genuinely odd book, and extremely enjoyable.
"Everything... Everything... Everything gonna be all RIGHT this mornin'..."
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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:41 am

I thought I'd be adventurous and try Faulkner's the Unvanquished, but tossed that out the window (metaphorically, not literally) and went back to Bradbury'sS is for Space for the third time. But fear not, I will return to the Faulkner, just as soon as I got these damnable cover letters done. . .


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