Author Topic: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)  (Read 71329 times)

buttgammon

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1470 on: July 08, 2010, 02:19:37 PM »
Wait until you get to 'A Painful Case'. The last line of that story could break a man in half.

Crikey, I see what you mean. What a lonely ending.

Lee Van Cleef

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1471 on: July 10, 2010, 11:50:47 AM »
I started reading Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot" the other day.  Not had as much reading time so I'm finding it hard to get into, not helped by the stream of Russian names and the shortened variations confusing the hell out of me.

Doomy Dwyer

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1472 on: July 10, 2010, 03:26:38 PM »
I always have this problem with 'the Russians'. They've got their formal names, family names, nicknames, half of them have military titles, or it's Prince this, Count that, Princess the other. No wonder they've always got the 'ump. What's wrong with Dave?

I found 'The Idiot' to be a bit of a slog, but I was reading it at a bit of a tumultuous time to be honest, I'd love to have another go. I read an old translation of 'Crime and Punishment' many years ago, and a there was a line in it that always makes me chuckle - "Raskolnikov entered the room in his irreproachable trousers". I want a pair of those.

I'm about two thirds of the way through 'Coleridge: Darker Reflections' by Richard Holmes. It's the second volume of his magisterial biography. It's fantastic, accessible, really brings the period to life. Crazy times, crazy guys. Love, laudanum and excruciating constipation, it's all there.

Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1473 on: July 10, 2010, 04:06:59 PM »
I read Notes From Underground and The Double on holiday and they were very different to Brothers K and Crime and Punishment. They were a lot more readable and comic. I loved Brothers K for the depth, but it is hard going in places, and I wondered if this was a translation issue, cos I've heard the Garnett ones, which I read, are a bit of a rush job, but this Coulson translation of Notes and The Double was a breeze.

vrailaine

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1474 on: July 13, 2010, 10:24:48 PM »
Just finished the Unbearable Lightness of Being, enjoyed it plenty, don't suppose anyone can find me some decent analysis essays of it and stuff like that? wanna read a few.

Also started Wake Up, Sir! been a bit of a difficult read so far, but I'm really not in the mood for reading. Think I'll ignore my "6 books per month" quota for the holidays and read it slowly.

benthalo

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1475 on: July 14, 2010, 10:02:05 AM »
Will Self & Ralph Steadman's Psychogeography right now, breaking my self-imposed exile from Self since Feeding Frenzy. Actually, that's not quite true. I started The Butt but abandoned it in annoyance after 100 pages. He still irritates but can deliver better-than-most journalism.

After that, it'll be Samuel Beckett. I recently took delivery of the Grove Centenary Edition of the collected novels, and the Poems & Miscellaneous set is reissued this month so I'll pick that up too. Absolutely no idea where to start, mind. Molloy? Watt? Anyone have recommendations?

And if all of that's under the belt by Edinburgh (mid-August) then I'll dive back into the collected Carver. Mine's the gorgeous bible-paper-thin and comprehensive Library of America edition from 2009.

Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1476 on: July 15, 2010, 08:48:42 PM »
BS Johnson's Unfortunates, after acclaim from the right corners (this thread). I loved it. It's rare that someone's 'honesty' strikes such a chord, especially after they've said they're trying to be honest, but this got that sort-of-shameful internal dialogue just right. And the stuff about Wendy, damn, articulated some shit from my head there. Thanks wherearethespoons for the Fat Man on a Beach video that first alerted me to Johnson.

hpmons

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1477 on: July 16, 2010, 12:41:11 AM »
Meant to get something non-fiction, but ended up getting Brave New World instead.  Which I really enjoyed! The two people I mentioned it to were quite indifferent, which surprised me.  The ending was odd though.  The conversation between John and the Controller seems a bit...indulgent somehow, quoting from various stuff, it sort of came across as Huxley having a conversation with himself.  And the end bit was...odd.  I'm not sure of the purpose.

I loved all the rhymes and sayings though, that's what really made the book awesome.  "One cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments", "a gramme is better than a damn", "When the individual feels, the community reels" and...the others I forget.

Sony Walkman Prophecies

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1478 on: July 16, 2010, 07:53:00 AM »
Reading "the metaphysics of death' now. Very dry and boring. Think i might get some Buber or Tillich next.

Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1479 on: July 16, 2010, 08:19:14 AM »
"the metaphysics of death"

What does that even mean?!?!???

I'm now on Carl Sagan's Cosmos again. Read it about 10 years ago and loved it. Probably one of the few books I'll keep coming back to every decade for the rest of my life...! It's also abuot time I got round to watching my Cosmos DVDs too...

Treguard of Dunshelm

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1480 on: July 16, 2010, 04:17:54 PM »
The conversation between John and the Controller seems a bit...indulgent somehow, quoting from various stuff, it sort of came across as Huxley having a conversation with himself.  And the end bit was...odd.  I'm not sure of the purpose.

I loved all the rhymes and sayings though, that's what really made the book awesome.  "One cubic centimetre cures ten gloomy sentiments", "a gramme is better than a damn", "When the individual feels, the community reels" and...the others I forget.

One of my favourite books evar! It is a very odd ending - Huxley wrote a foreword (or an afterword, perhaps) some years later where he mentioned that he would change the ending to be more hopeful if he wrote it again.

I love the sayings as well. "Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches" being my favourite, it is amazing how technology has moved on so much since Huxley's day yet he was able to write something so prophetic.

vrailaine

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1481 on: July 16, 2010, 05:51:20 PM »
It's a lot better than 1984, isn't it?

Vitalstatistix

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1482 on: July 17, 2010, 09:57:44 AM »
I had similar feelings with Lunar Park as I did Glamorama - very funny and cutting for the first half or so, then it gets repetitive, serious and ridiculous.

Doomy Dwyer

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1483 on: July 19, 2010, 06:44:00 PM »
I've just started 'Blood's a Rover' by James Ellroy, only about 150 pages in but so far I'm hugely disappointed I must say. I've waited, what, six years since 'Cold Six Thousand' for this? I don't know if it's because I've changed, whether Ellroy hasn't or the fact that he's become so imitated and his style is so familiar to the point of self parody, but I'm bored completely shitless by this macho schoolboy wank fantasy. I know it's set in 1968, probably the most volatile period of the civil rights movements history, but his incessant use of 'n**ger' and variations thereof is fucking tedious to say the least. I know it's ventriloquism but he seems to be enjoying it a little too much for me. I imagine him sitting at his Remington nursing a hefty stiffy and sniffing on some panties a la Dennis Hopper in 'Blue Velvet' bashing this shit out. I dunno. I can't get into it at all. Only another 500 pages to go.
 
It doesn't help that it's vying for my attention with Nelson Swillie revealing his true identity over in Comedy Chat. Now there's drama for you. And no racist language either, which is nice.

Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1484 on: July 19, 2010, 09:37:22 PM »
It's a lot better than 1984, isn't it?

Yes!

I'm currently reading Sam Sheridan's The Fighters Mind. I've also finished the Columbine book that somebody mentioned in this thread the other day,  it was the most interesting true crime book I've read since Helter Skelter. I really enjoyed how Dave Cullen alternated between the aftermath of the massacre, and the two killers build up to their deaths. The book also opened my eyes to the ridiculous garbage spouted by fundamental evangelical Christians in the States in response to Columbine. I'd be interested in reading more about Evangelical faith in America, any recommendations?

the midnight watch baboon

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1485 on: July 19, 2010, 09:40:38 PM »
I've just started Don DeLillo's 'White Noise'. Think I'm going to enjoy it but I've read a lot of crime stuff lately, and I keep wondering when the murder/kidnap will start.

CaledonianGonzo

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1486 on: July 20, 2010, 09:10:11 AM »
I've just started 'Blood's a Rover' by James Ellroy, only about 150 pages in but so far I'm hugely disappointed I must say. I've waited, what, six years since 'Cold Six Thousand' for this? I don't know if it's because I've changed, whether Ellroy hasn't or the fact that he's become so imitated and his style is so familiar to the point of self parody, but I'm bored completely shitless by this macho schoolboy wank fantasy. I know it's set in 1968, probably the most volatile period of the civil rights movements history, but his incessant use of 'n**ger' and variations thereof is fucking tedious to say the least.

Oddly, it's by some distance the least-typical of all Ellroy's books.  I am a fan, but in BAR he departs from his previous work in many ways - it's strangely psychedelic in places, has lengthy dialectical passages and some seriously anti-American politics.  But at the same time it also sees him revert to the serial-murder and police-corruption tropes of The LA Quartet.  The various journal entries do grate a little and can read a little interchangeably (at least on my first runthrough) and I can see them being a real turn-off for some readers, but a I suppose it makes sense that Ellroy's leftie characters are as out-there and fundamentalist as the right-wingers who are his usual stock in trade.  For me it had a good deal more emotional heft than the other two books in the trilogy, and is also probably the laugh-out-loud funniest.  I thought it was a monster of a book - in many senses.  If not quite as good as the Tabloid, then probably better than TC6000.  I shall return to it.

Still not sure what to make of those birdmen, though

I imagine him sitting at his Remington nursing a hefty stiffy and sniffing on some panties a la Dennis Hopper in 'Blue Velvet'.

Though that is always part of the appeal with Ellroy.

Johnny Townmouse

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1487 on: July 20, 2010, 11:00:48 AM »
I had similar feelings with Lunar Park as I did Glamorama - very funny and cutting for the first half or so, then it gets repetitive, serious and ridiculous.

I have to say that whilst I sympathise greatly with this view, I thought Lunar Park did a spectacular job of bringing things round towards the final 20 pages resulting in the most unpretentious and emotional climax to a novel that Ellis has ever produced. I thought it was genuinely moving.

Serge

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Re: So, what's everyone reading? (The General Books Thread)
« Reply #1488 on: July 20, 2010, 11:55:06 PM »
I've just finished reading 'Rough Trade: Document And Eyewitness' by Neil Taylor, which is about the label rather than the shop (though I did read some interesting stories about my boss - from his own lips, too) and is presented as an oral history, conflicting viewpoints and all. Anyone who saw the excellent BBC4 documentary a couple of years ago will know the story, but it's nice to have it fleshed out a bit.

Though, to be honest, the first half of the book is more interesting, when it's just a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs winging it and somehow succeeding. When the accountants start getting a look-in and tales about 'centralisation' and 'middle management', I struggled to maintain an interest. And, Sufjan Stevens and Belle And Sebastian aside, I don't really like any of the current Rough Trade roster, so anecdotes about The Strokes and Arcade Fire had a similar drowsy effect.

But for anybody interested in reading about the Independent Music scene in the eighties - track down a copy of David Cavanagh's Creation book. But if you can't get that, this isn't bad either.