Author Topic: Books [split topic]  (Read 91373 times)

Retinend

  • gettit done gettit on gettit done when you do it
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #120 on: January 06, 2011, 04:26:00 AM »
I recently read The Humbling by Philip Roth not having read anything by him previously. A quick read, but tedious, I picked it up for five bucks at book stall. (Will try one of his better-liked books later.)

Try Goodbye Columbus, which is definitely a must-read if you enjoy that sort of J.D. Salinger-esque urbane setting and satire. It is pretty low-key in plot terms, but there are moments which are all the more effective for the subdued, very honest style of narration - his interactions with the young black boy, for example, are clearly crucial to the book despite how incidental he is considered by the narration. All very tastefully underplayed. I thought Roth's imagery was remarkably good, too (when frequent simile-usage often puts me off prose, if it isn't great). At one point he describes a young woman's breasts, viewed from underwater, as two "pink-nosed" fish.


I just finished Beneath The Wheel (or The Prodigy, as my cover has it), Hermann Hesse's second novel and the first I've read. Really enjoyed it, and I'll be limbering up to read The Glass Bead Game sometime soon - anyone here gotten through it? Anyway, It's a pretty straight-ahead depiction of the pressures that fall on precociously intellectual pre-teens forced into Eton (but moreso) type institutions before they even form their own personalities, set in the time of writing (1906) in Southern Germany at a very religious elite school. Very touching, well-structured and stays just clear of sappy... though there are some quite patronising sentiments towards the rustic charm of the working peoples, towards the end.

falafel

  • Yes, blue.
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #121 on: January 06, 2011, 08:33:09 AM »
For me, the narrator's style does suit the book. Of course, his lack of empathy and affect is terrifying and shallow but that is exactly what he has become. I've just got to the point where his actions and his reconstructions become more and more sinister and although I saw it coming (without wanting to give too much away, an incident at one point is obviously going to give him a certain idea) his total flatness makes it seem so strange and frightening even though the reader expected it.

Oh yeah, I knew that was how I was supposed to feel. But the whole affair was such a tedious exercise I felt nothing but anger. I just felt there was no substance to it.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #122 on: January 06, 2011, 12:17:31 PM »
Currently on "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. Literary fiction chap goes vampire (ish). It's really good.

Queneau

  • That was a joke. That's all it was, it was a joke.
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #123 on: January 06, 2011, 12:26:27 PM »
Currently on "The Passage" by Justin Cronin. Literary fiction chap goes vampire (ish). It's really good.

That book was pushed so hard by Waterstone's that I expected it to be crap and thus haven't read it. That probably makes me sound like a right twat but I've never trusted them.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #124 on: January 06, 2011, 04:29:31 PM »
I read a review on the AV Club website (www.avclub.com) and ordered it as soon as it was released in the UK, but yu're right to think that about Waterstones. It's a cracking read so far though.

CaledonianGonzo

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • No Cheeses For Us Meeces
    • DEC Syria Appeal
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #125 on: January 06, 2011, 06:48:22 PM »
Speaking of surprisingly good pop/genre fiction, Philip Baruth's The Brothers Boswell is a literary thriller that, if not the latter, is certainly the former.  If the plot doesn't quite rivet like a thriller should, the writing and characterisation are absolutely impeccable.  Man, he can turn a phrase.  Though I guess some knowledge of Johnson and Boswell probably helps, it's nice to read ostensibly a historical crime novel that's not in the least dumbed down.

Nice out-of-the-blue Xmas pressie.

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #126 on: January 06, 2011, 07:05:27 PM »
Probably the best place to post this.

I recently finished the excellent Rip It Up and Start Again book about Post-Punk.  I really enjoyed it and it's turned me onto a lot of bands who were previously on the edge of my radar.  Is the supplementary interviews book Totally Wired worth getting?  I can't seem to find it too cheap and Amazon reviews are conflicting.  500 pages of interviews seems like it could be a bit of slog.

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #127 on: January 06, 2011, 09:33:06 PM »
Try Goodbye Columbus, which is definitely a must-read if you enjoy that sort of J.D. Salinger-esque urbane setting and satire. It is pretty low-key in plot terms, but there are moments which are all the more effective for the subdued, very honest style of narration - his interactions with the young black boy, for example, are clearly crucial to the book despite how incidental he is considered by the narration. All very tastefully underplayed. I thought Roth's imagery was remarkably good, too (when frequent simile-usage often puts me off prose, if it isn't great). At one point he describes a young woman's breasts, viewed from underwater, as two "pink-nosed" fish.

Thanks.

Cambrian Times

  • Beyond Happy!
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #128 on: January 07, 2011, 06:37:47 PM »
Finally got Slaughterhouse 5 out of the library! Looking forward to reading that. Also got the Moorcock Doctor Who book. Thinking about taking out Maus as well.

CaledonianGonzo

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • No Cheeses For Us Meeces
    • DEC Syria Appeal
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #129 on: January 13, 2011, 09:47:11 PM »
Has anyone read The Overton Window?  I must admit an eerie predisposition to give it a whirl, out of morbid curiosity if nothing else...

Small Man Big Horse

  • Member
  • **
  • Writers wanted for comedy website, pls click below
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #130 on: January 13, 2011, 10:01:04 PM »
Finally got Slaughterhouse 5 out of the library! Looking forward to reading that.

I finally got round to reading it last year, and was disappointed. It's of interest, but he hammers his point home, and it gets tiresomely repetitive.

Quote
Also got the Moorcock Doctor Who book. Thinking about taking out Maus as well.

I haven't read the Moorcock yet, but Maus is a classic, and can be read in a (short) afternoon.

Doomy Dwyer

  • one day you dreadlocks, next day you baldhead
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #131 on: January 13, 2011, 10:22:37 PM »
Just finished 'The English Opium Eater' by Robert Morrison, a biography of the short arsed junkie genius Thomas De Quincey. De Quincey was one of those chaps who could only create amid total chaos, a state he seems to have existed in for the entirety of his surprisingly long life. Very good, and I'm intrigued to read De Q's satire on the finer points of the English murder on the strength of it.

Before that though, I'm just starting 'The Rest is Noise' by Alex Ross, which is a cracker by all accounts. 

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #132 on: January 14, 2011, 01:19:34 PM »
I finally got round to reading it last year, and was disappointed. It's of interest, but he hammers his point home, and it gets tiresomely repetitive.

I have to agree to a point. Although i wasn't disappointed as such, I certainly found it less affecting than Breakfast of Champions, which had me completely hooked within a few pages and simply demanded to be read in one sitting.

I'm currently juggling 'In Search of Schrodinger's Cat' by John Gribbin, 'Nostromo' and 'Harold Pinter: Plays 1'. I'll start reading them soon enough though (arf).

Really enjoying 'Schrodinger's Cat', although with my practically non-existent knowledge of physics I imagine it will be re-read several times. Any recommendations for books along the same line (i.e. Physics books that idiots can read)?

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #133 on: January 14, 2011, 01:27:05 PM »
I've both read and not read "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" at different times simultaneously.

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #134 on: January 14, 2011, 01:30:02 PM »
I'm still struggling with the idea of getting a cat in a box, let alone anything else

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #135 on: January 14, 2011, 01:32:21 PM »
Try a wheelie bin!

Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #136 on: January 14, 2011, 01:34:39 PM »
Thats a cop out though, too easy. Now a Doberman in a wheelie bin, there lies a challenge.

Johnny Townmouse

  • Member
  • **
  • The cha-cha boogies of Edmundo Ros
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #137 on: January 14, 2011, 01:44:24 PM »
I finally got round to reading it last year, and was disappointed. It's of interest, but he hammers his point home, and it gets tiresomely repetitive.
I haven't read the Moorcock yet, but Maus is a classic, and can be read in a (short) afternoon.

I'm a recent convert to Vonnegut after years of feeling apathy towards him after trying to read the first 20 pages of Slaughterhouse 5. I picked it up again a couple of years ago and raced through it. I adored it and whilst I think I prefer Breakfast of Champion and the wonderful Cat's Cradle, it is still a magnificent achievement from a sublime and uncompromising writer.

CaledonianGonzo

  • Silver Member
  • ****
  • No Cheeses For Us Meeces
    • DEC Syria Appeal
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #138 on: January 14, 2011, 01:46:18 PM »
Quote from: Doomy Dwyer
Very good, and I'm intrigued to read De Q's satire on the finer points of the English murder on the strength of it.

It's definitely well-worth a browse, despite being only a couple of dozen pages...


Queneau

  • That was a joke. That's all it was, it was a joke.
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #139 on: January 14, 2011, 02:02:05 PM »
I started Slaughterhouse 5 a few months ago and was loving it right from the beginning but then it went missing. I literally have no idea where it went and there is no explanation I can think of for its disappearance.  So I started Cat's Cradle but couldn't get into that. I should be a reviewer of books.

Crabwalk

  • Member
  • **
  • I behaved like a skinhead.
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #140 on: January 14, 2011, 03:41:57 PM »
GUSH ALERT.

I'd been eagerly awaiting the next Jonathan Franzen novel since reading and loving The Corrections in 2003 and (despite the overhype) Freedom did not disappoint.

The Lambert family from his previous book was drawn from Franzen's own life, but the Berglunds of his latest are entirely pulled from his imagination and just as vididly drawn. It really is a masterful blend of the personal and political. It took a while to warm up to the characters, as flawed, self-obsessed and mutually-destructive as they generally are, but they're so well rounded that you can't help be sucked into their lives and histories.

I was extremely sceptical when I read the Tolstoy comparisons before launching in (there's hyperbole and then there's comparing contemporary authors to Tolstoy) but having been rapt right through this doorstop, I can kind of see where the reviewers were coming from. Franzen does have that level of ambition in his work.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #141 on: January 14, 2011, 04:42:41 PM »
Re: Slaughterhouse-Five, I've not read it for a good decade or so, but I absolutely loved it, and presumably still do. He has a big role in shaping my love of books (and was the reason, with the Kilgore Trout character, that I didn't pick up Philip K Dick for a long time). I did, in my late adolescence, prefer "The Sirens of Titan" though.

Vitalstatistix

  • Photocopies are not admissable as memories
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #142 on: January 14, 2011, 04:46:42 PM »
I read Freedom in a couple of days, just couldn't put it down. My one complaint would be that it's nowhere near as just plain funny as The Corrections.

Gripping and insightful nonetheless.

the midnight watch baboon

  • Gelled, spiky hair fragrant near my teeth
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #143 on: January 14, 2011, 04:50:06 PM »
I mentioned a while back that I really liked Freedom but found some of the characters frustrating, chiefly Joey. The book has stuck in my mind ever since and has unraveled its frustrating tendencies to a point where I can only admire it. MTR for the win!

Vitalstatistix

  • Photocopies are not admissable as memories
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #144 on: January 14, 2011, 06:00:12 PM »
I found Joey a fun character, reminded me of Chip. Surely the most frustrating is Patty? So much time is spent on her and I still can't work her out...

sirhenry

  • That worked out well...
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #145 on: January 14, 2011, 06:02:06 PM »
He has a big role in shaping my love of books (and was the reason, with the Kilgore Trout character, that I didn't pick up Philip K Dick for a long time).
You know that Kilgore Trout was Theodore Sturgeon[nb]Well, to start off with anyway. He later became Vonnegut's alter ego and/or his father in various books.[/nb] not PKD, don't you?

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #146 on: January 14, 2011, 06:11:53 PM »
You know that Kilgore Trout was Theodore Sturgeon[nb]Well, to start off with anyway. He later became Vonnegut's alter ego and/or his father in various books.[/nb] not PKD, don't you?
I'm positive I've read a biography of Vonnegut where Dick is mentioned as the inspiration for Trout - the two of them fell out for years over it, if memory serves. Admittedly, the Trout/Sturgeon thing makes more sense. And there's no mention of it online. Don't spoil my long-held beliefs, sirhenry!

Johnny Townmouse

  • Member
  • **
  • The cha-cha boogies of Edmundo Ros
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #147 on: January 14, 2011, 06:17:55 PM »
Re: Slaughterhouse-Five, I've not read it for a good decade or so, but I absolutely loved it, and presumably still do. He has a big role in shaping my love of books (and was the reason, with the Kilgore Trout character, that I didn't pick up Philip K Dick for a long time). I did, in my late adolescence, prefer "The Sirens of Titan" though.

I'm fascinated to hear that, because it is the one book that left me a bit cold. I got through about eight of his novels whilst out in the States a couple of years ago, and maybe it was being so immersed that was the problem, but that one novel I found the hardest to get through.

Edit: Looking at the Wiki entry for the novel, I am assured that I really read this too fast and did not understand much of the physics and chronology. I will give it another go.

djtrees

  • I'd rather masturbate than fuck with Vic Vaughn
    • goooooooooooosefat
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #148 on: January 14, 2011, 06:30:06 PM »
Book question. Are the books of Reggie Perrin any good? I really liked the series and I have read Nobb's autobiography. There is a collection in a charity shop that I annoyingly didn't pick up the other day so hopefully someone will come and say that they are shite anyway.

Reading at the minute...The Family Man - Comicy goodness that I am surprised that I've never come across before.
The Folded Leaf - William Maxwell - 1940's written 20's set book about the friendship between 2 boys from different sides of the track. Usually give this kind of stuff a miss, but I have whizzed through the first half of this in a couple of days, so must be good.

Jemble Fred

  • ... And I ain't ashamed.
    • 100% BALLS
Re: Books [split topic]
« Reply #149 on: January 14, 2011, 06:37:20 PM »
Book question. Are the books of Reggie Perrin any good? I really liked the series and I have read Nobb's autobiography. There is a collection in a charity shop that I annoyingly didn't pick up the other day so hopefully someone will come and say that they are shite anyway.

In my opinion, the books are far and away the ultimate versions of Perrin. I've always adored the original sitcom, but to me it does seem just a little bit tame and corny once you've really been down into the depths of Reggie's existence via prose. I can't think of a single element of any of the stories which isn't better left to the imagination when reading the books, rather than seeing it on screen in half-hour sitcom form.

That may sound too harsh on the series – I repeat, I love it, but I have to think of it as something very separate to the 'real Reggie' of the books, and of course the Clunes sitcom as something else yet again – which is a shame, as a faithful adaptation of the original book would be an awesome thing to see.

Lots more similar opinion spittle here: http://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=19176.0