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satanmcnugget
15-10-2004, 09:23 PM
ok peeps, whatcha reading at the moment?


i am curious about what is on your nightstand at the moment.

i am just starting The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein. only 20 pages into it but it already seems more coherent than i was expecting. as far as her fiction goes, i've only ever read Ida before, which was amazing----but for a ~200 pg novella, it felt like a thousand pages. so i expect MoA, which is 1000 pages, to feel like... 10,000? from what i can tell, this one is about america through the prism of one family, from the generation that arrived from the old world on a boat to the present. the first chapter invokes that apollinaire quote about carrying one's father's corpse everywhere, only with a jocular zombie twist. high hopes.

on the non-fiction end, i have been pecking at The Rest Is Noise about... well, the birth and development of atonal classical music, beginning with Mahler and Strauss. i am only about 150 or so pages in... Bartok. Janacek. i have only lately been getting serious about classical music so this is serving as a kind of primer.

your turn.

Loki
16-10-2004, 07:48 AM
The memoir, fiction (faction? surely not) 'Bad Wisdom' by Bill Drummond and Mark (zodiac mindwarp) Manning. So far, i've just been unsettled by 1)being reminded of Voice of the Beehive and 2) having to look at those girls in a whole different way... also just bought The Zelator , the magical memoir / alchemical splurge of Mark Hedsel - anyone know if it's any good? the reviews tend to spin from the awesome to the inane which I generally take to mean I'll like it...

dubversion
16-10-2004, 11:01 AM
swapping back and forth between

Michel Houllebecq's Platform and

Stuart Christie's My Grandma Made Me An Anarchist (his autobiography leading up to his time involved with the Angry Brigade)

and also Mick Middles' dreadfully written book about The Fall. which is just a woeful piece of crap and I don't know why i don't just call it a day..

simon silverdollar
16-10-2004, 05:26 PM
john irving's 'prayer for oewn meany', on the recommendations of countless people. even though i thought 'world according to garp' was a bit dull + rubbish

-art spiegelman's 'maus' and william shirer's 'the rise and fall of the third reich'- i don't quite know why i'm reading two books about nazism at the moment.

none of these books is as good as saul bellow's wonderful 'ravelstein'.

oh and sometimes i read blogs too.

craner
16-10-2004, 06:58 PM
'Ravelstein' - the roman a clef of the neocon/Straussian crop which I haven't even read. Is it still in print, then?

I'm reading 'Empire' by Niall Fergusson, which I started reading with a strange mix of compulsion and duty. Also, Penguin covers are very tactile these days. While I was away in the countryside earlier this week, I read 'Mr Norris Changes Trains' by Isherwood and 'Women Beware Women' by Middleton - both deliciously perverse, lip-smacking, and profound.

grimly fiendish
16-10-2004, 10:29 PM
Mick Middles' dreadfully written book about The Fall. which is just a woeful piece of crap and I don't know why i don't just call it a day..

middles is an appalling writer. his woefully titled "from joy division to new order: the factory story" is laughably poor. but, sadly, it's about the only remotely detailed book of its kind.

nomos
17-10-2004, 05:09 AM
I've finally gotten around to reading The Satanic Verses . I'm pretty blown away by it.

Has anyone read Hanif Kureishi's The Black Album? Quite amazing, I thought. And I can see now just how much it ties into Rushdie's book. Just occurred to me that that the title may be a reference as well.

Anyhow, apart from that I've also been dipping into Arjun Appadurai's Modernity at Large.

--
ps: satanmcnugget never told us what he's reading.

robin
17-10-2004, 06:59 PM
i'm reading ulysses (slowly but surely-ive been at it for months and am only about a third of the way through)
really enjoying it though,although i only really read it when i have the opportunity to sit uniterrupted for an hour or two,preferably with joints and tea....

also reading sense and sensibility for college,i'm enjoying it much more than i thought i would,partially just out of curiosity about how fucked up all the social conventions and so on were,and partly for the really long but elegent sentences describing the various characters emotional states with remarkable precision...

also reading where you're at by patrick neate,a sort of hip hop travel book....its interesting enough,but nothing special

and scoop by evelyn waugh,which is hilarious....

and fast company by jon bradshaw,which is about professional gamblers and is really really good,some great anecdotes dealing with the runyonesque pool and poker players from the early 20th century...

satanmcnugget
17-10-2004, 09:44 PM
yeah, i guess i shld kick in with what im reading at the moment

i just finished up Samuel Delany's Aye and Gomorrah and started in on Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner

on the non-fiction front, im about to finish Erotism by Georges Bataille...been on a bit of a Bataille kick since i read The Accursed Share a while back...read him in college and hated him...im in the midst of a reassessment, that's for sure

im waaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on my blog-reading...too much really good stuff :D

Rambler
18-10-2004, 10:58 AM
Iain Sinclair - Lights out for the Territory
Essential Works of Foucault, vol 2: Aesthetics
Rebecca West - Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
Robert P. Morgan, ed.: Modern Times

The West is massive - I started it last year and I'm still only half way through, although plenty of other things have overtaken it in the meantime - but it's supremely good. The best travelogue/diary/history book I know, all tied together by this deep love affair with Yugoslavia. A superb book.

Lights out is the first Sinclair I've read, and I'm loving it. He needs a strong-minded editor to come in and strip away some of the excess fat, but I'm reassured that at least someone is writing what he is. The obsessive archiving and scrutiny of everything - Hackney as a real life version of Borges' Library of Babel.

The Foucault is going way over my head. It's a collection of introductions, short essays and other bits and bobs published during his lifetime, so it doesn't have any sort of coherence - and, I think, Foucault isn't at his best on questions of aesthetics anyway. The language and the imagery becomes far too vague to be meaningful or useful in any way. Still, there are bound to be some nuggets in there.

The Morgan is just because I start teaching again soon, and I like to keep my hand in with different takes on 20th-century music.

be.jazz
18-10-2004, 11:20 AM
Hugues Bersini "Introduction to Object-Oriented Programming" and O'Reilly's "Learning Java." Saturday night, at a friend's party, I thankfully managed to restrain myself from saying "That's because the syntax of both Java and PHP are derived from C."

john eden
18-10-2004, 11:45 AM
Mainly the NME Classics "goth" issue. :D

Also just finished:

Micah Locilento - Shaggy: Dogamuffin Style

A bad hackwork, mainly consisting of Shaggy quotes from newspapers around the world.

Michael De Koningh & Laurence Cane-Honeysett - Young, Gifted and Black: The Story of Trojan Records.

Much better, though obviously not very critical as it is published by Sanctuary, who own Trojan!! The real story still needs to be told warts and all. Consists mainly of a massive discography and other lists.

The books still weighing me down, that I promise myself I will pick up again... soon... :eek:

Paul Mattick - Anti-Bolshevik Communism

Karl Marx - Capital vol 1

Rambler
18-10-2004, 12:26 PM
Capital (abridged, thankfully) is looming, like purgatory, in my 'to read' pile. I got it free from work on a whim, but now I have it I have to read it.

mms
18-10-2004, 12:29 PM
just finished lords of chaos new editon, about the black metal scene in norway and beyond, taking in everything from prechristian beliefs to the european far right, very interesting and quite academic, almost too analytical tho.

william dalrymple, the age of kali, about the indian subcontinent in the late 80s early 90s, he's very good.

reading sacred drift , peter lamborn wilson, quite interesting book on margins of islam, sufism and heretical shayks and groups

and "the key" by junichiro tanizaki, a japanese novel about sexual repression and voyeurisim really, i got it from a bloke who sells books by finsbury park tube and often has a few good ones.

Rambler
18-10-2004, 12:32 PM
a bloke who sells books by finsbury park tube and often has a few good ones.

I know the guy. I'm usually too busy running for the W7 to stop and check him out, but I'll have a look next time.

john eden
18-10-2004, 12:47 PM
Capital (abridged, thankfully) is looming, like purgatory, in my 'to read' pile. I got it free from work on a whim, but now I have it I have to read it.

I've been warned off the abridged version(s?), but doubt I'll bother with vols 2 and 3. ;)

mms
18-10-2004, 12:48 PM
mr rambler, are you a resident of tha' park then ?

Rambler
18-10-2004, 12:57 PM
Muswell Hill, but Finsbury Park's the easiest way home.

Baal's Eyes
18-10-2004, 10:05 PM
The History of Western Philosophy by B Russell - started with Nietzsche, the tw_t, and working backwards.
Persopolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi
Cathedral and Elephant by Raymond Carver
the new editions of Terrorizer and Cencrastus.
the collected poems of Adam Zagajewksi

......and the instruction manual for EA Cricket 2004.

grimly fiendish
19-10-2004, 10:29 PM
hmm. i suppose having a pop at mick middles and not sharing isn't really in keeping with the spirit of this thread.

so, on the grimly bedside table at the moment are "what's it all about: philosophy and the meaning of life" by julian baggini and "nothing" by paul morley. the former is the first step on my long-overdue mission to fill in the myriad gaps in my knowledge of philosophers and philosophies. it's got a fucking dreadful title but so far it's zipping along nicely and giving me plenty of idea where to head next, which was the basic reason i bought it.

the latter is something i've been meaning to read for years and never got round to. having been disappointed by the patchy "words and music", i thought i might as well get this potential disappointment out of the way too. so far it's everything i'd expect: overwrought, overwritten, overanalytical and utterly beautiful.

robin
20-10-2004, 04:20 AM
what's the bertrand russell book like?
i know virtually nothing about philosophy,is it a good place to start?
we have it for sale in the bookshop i work in so i was thinking of picking it up,does it assume any prior knowledge of the subject though?

francesco
20-10-2004, 08:53 PM
uhm... just jumpin' between Olaf Stapledon Star Maker and Melville Pierre, wish i could read more actually... tons of books on the floor, so little time... ah, and re-reading From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, best comic book ever, forgot the incredibly badly movie that has very little to do with the Alan Moore writing. Ciao.

satanmcnugget
20-10-2004, 09:08 PM
Robin...i read the Russell back in my school days...it is a VERY good place to start for someone with not much in the way of prior knowledge of philosophy...it does assume SOME prior knowledge in that you have to know what phrases like a priori mean, etc....but not much...very readable

Baal's Eyes
20-10-2004, 09:11 PM
Yes Bertrand is incredibly readable. Philosophy books usually arent my reading choice but its an area Ive neglected. He throws in a bit of history and what he calls 'social history' as well for context, when required. Its pretty darn good.

Backjob
21-10-2004, 07:14 AM
What's Persepolis 2 like? I loved the first one.

I just finished Neal Stephenson's "System of the World" which was the last in the "Baroque trilogy". I loved those books, proper immerse-yourself massive chunks of writing and endless opportunities to geek out on the little period detail and sly cracks about Royal Society-era scientists. It's a horrifically ambitious thing to have written, and I dunno if he completely pulled it off, but it's still really good fun.

Got Gunther Grass - "The rat" and "The flounder" cued up to read next...

Mister Lex
21-10-2004, 08:10 AM
Is anyone else here into Haruki Murakami?
I have become addicted to his work.
At the moment I am half-way through 'Dance, Dance, Dance' which is a kind of sequel to 'The Wild Sheep Chase', in that they share the same protagonist and the weird presence of 'The Sheep Man'.
I recently finished 'The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle' and now understand what my mum meant when she said "You will never look at a well in the same way again after you read this book".
Although he's an elusive author, in one of the few interviews I have found with him, he talks about an abiding sense of loss in his work, which is mostly melancholic. :eek:
There is a weariness with modern life which I find very attractive, as well as the poignancy of the dream-like sequences in many of his books.

mind_philip
21-10-2004, 09:37 AM
I'm currently reading Al Franken's 'Lies and the Lying Liars...' (I'm visiting the US, glued to the car-crash that is FOX News); 'Battle Cry of Freedom' by James McPherson (In Virginia, cradle of the civil war), and browsing a copy of the Penguin Dictionary of American Folklore I got at one of Charlottesville's many excellent second hand bookstores.

Backjob
21-10-2004, 03:34 PM
Yeah, Murakami is the don dada of current authors, nobody else really touches him. I see people reading his stuff everywhere from japan to singapore to thailand to australia - it's totally universal. People who haven't read a novel in years suddenly get hooked on his books and read all of them. Really genuinely a phenomenon...

Grievous Angel
21-10-2004, 08:28 PM
Haven't read any fiction for ages. Other than Stewart Home's down and out..., but that doesn't count. And I recently finished one of the bound volumes of The Invisibles, which was really good, but nowhere as good as it would've been when it first came out.

Non-fiction: recently finished Hutton's triumph of the moon -- great, well researched history of pagan witchcraft by Bristol Uni's professor of history -- and am picking over his History of the Ritual Year. Read a couple of books about the invisible college around the time of (nd during!) Malachy's birth. I guess I mainly read tech magazines, but when I stay at Eden's, I tend to rifle through his extensive collection of seventies left wing tracts and pamphlets and fill in all the "e's" in blue biro.

Never black biro -- just blue.

A really good thread might be "what books do you keep going back to"...

Pearsall
22-10-2004, 01:31 AM
Stiglitz 'Globalization and Its Discontents'. It's fucking boring, but it's the sort of thing you feel you should read. I find economics dull beyond belief, but it's important.

Jamie S
22-10-2004, 12:25 PM
Good to see a few Finsbury Park people on the board.

I read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and Pattern Recognition by William Gibson a bit earlier this year and they both blew me away (although the consensus on the Gibson is that it's shit.) I want to start a thread on them as soon as I can get my angle straight in my head.

Failed to finish Vernon God Little, although I don't know why - I found the distinctive voice that he's been praised for a bit offputting, I think. Anyone else?

Started Words and Music a while ago, and found it really exciting - I mean, it's ambitious isn't it? You know you're not reading Nick Hornby. - I'm not sure the Kylie dialogue (Kyalogue?) actually works beyond the odd joke, though. I know it got written about round here quite a bit, so I'll have to see what other people's
take was once I finish it.

luka
24-10-2004, 11:35 AM
'Stiglitz 'Globalization and Its Discontents'. It's fucking boring, but it's the sort of thing you feel you should read. I find economics dull beyond belief, but it's important.'

my sister said to me the other day, i've goven up on self-improvement. i've read so many books that are supposed to be good for me, and i can't remember anything about any of them.

my sister is very wise. life is too short for economics.

luka
24-10-2004, 11:36 AM
i'm not reading (or listening to) anything. i recommend it. give up on life!

grimly fiendish
24-10-2004, 12:48 PM
Failed to finish Vernon God Little, although I don't know why - I found the distinctive voice that he's been praised for a bit offputting, I think. Anyone else

hmm: it failed to move me in any way, really. it was a decent enough yarn, but there's nothing special or unusual about it at all. i really have nothing else to say about it, which is a shame.


Started Words and Music a while ago, and found it really exciting - I mean, it's ambitious isn't it? You know you're not reading Nick Hornby. - I'm not sure the Kylie dialogue (Kyalogue?) actually works beyond the odd joke, though. I know it got written about round here quite a bit, so I'll have to see what other people's take was once I finish it.

it's worth reading because it's morley and he's always worth reading because he has a wonderful mind, but it's overly ambitious and drags terribly in places. it's also atrociously edited (which i think has been discussed elsewhere; ilm, maybe?), not just in terms of the myriad mistakes but insofar as someobody really should have had a word with him about some of the more self-indulgent ramblings.

mind, i can talk. i can barely string a sentence together today. a zillion boos to alcohol. (that should give you a clue to a childhood favourite i revisited recently too.)

Tobias
24-10-2004, 08:55 PM
What's Persepolis 2 like? I loved the first one.

I just finished Neal Stephenson's "System of the World" which was the last in the "Baroque trilogy". I loved those books, proper immerse-yourself massive chunks of writing and endless opportunities to geek out on the little period detail and sly cracks about Royal Society-era scientists. It's a horrifically ambitious thing to have written, and I dunno if he completely pulled it off, but it's still really good fun.


Ten days ago I finished Quicksilver the first part of the trilogy. Maybe it was the german translation but although i'm a big fan of Stephenson I wasn't really happy with "Quicksilver". I had the feeling it was overambitious. As if he wanted to accomplish too much. Tell the beginnings of modern thought and science, describe a world in turmoil, still write a good novel, present the characters. And although I really liked these character when I met them for the first time in "Cryptonomicon" and liked them once again - by transfering them 300 years in the past it seems Stephenson wants to make archetypes out of them.
I was a bit disappointed.

Rambler
25-10-2004, 10:01 AM
atrociously edited (which i think has been discussed elsewhere; ilm, maybe?), not just in terms of the myriad mistakes but insofar as someobody really should have had a word with him about some of the more self-indulgent ramblings.

Agree x 10 to that. I counted enough good ideas for a 10-page article, then 348 pages of utter wank. Easily the most disappointing read of the year for me.

Backjob
29-10-2004, 08:31 AM
i'm not reading (or listening to) anything. i recommend it. give up on life!

Stopping smoking is a piece of piss. Quitting media is much harder. I don't want to look at the toilet door while shitting. Maybe I should...

labrat
03-11-2004, 10:57 AM
I think this is as good a K-PUNK primer as any...........

labrat
03-11-2004, 11:07 AM
burroughs,ballard,lovecraft etc

fldsfslmn
08-11-2004, 10:20 AM
Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings
Alain Robbe-Grillet, Dans le labyrinthe (I hold the English version open in my left hand in case I get stuck, which I do)
Jon Stallworthy, Louis MacNeice
Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit" of Capitalism (a rare point of intersection between schoolwork and personal enjoyment)

jimet
08-11-2004, 02:31 PM
Re Quicksilver:

I know what you mean, but the terrifying thing is that the first 2 books - IE the first 2000-odd pages - are just the setup for System of the World. I'm about halfway through SotW, and it look like Stephenson's going to pull the whole thing off.

carlos
09-11-2004, 12:06 AM
just started joseph conrad's "lord jim"

been trying to read several books i should have read a long time ago (in school) but never did.

adruu
09-11-2004, 01:18 PM
out of a need for serious escapism, i'm on gravity's rainbow for the third time

satanmcnugget
09-11-2004, 05:22 PM
sheeeiitt...read that TWICE back in my school-days...once to read it, the second time to "understand" it better because i had to write a paper on it...i got a high grade on the paper (art of bs), and i have no idea how to this day...whatta book!

TheScuSpeaks
11-11-2004, 10:32 AM
Fiction:
Don DeLillo Underworld.
Jorge Luis Borges An Universal History of Infamy
Thomas Pynchon Vineland

Non-Fiction:
Makhail Bakhtin Toward a Philosophy of the Act
Antonio Negri The Savage Anomaly: The Power of Spinoza's Metaphysics and Politics

Love
TheScuIsJustListingBooksTheScuPlansToReadInFullFor TheFirstTime

Pearsall
14-01-2005, 07:44 PM
My friend Dan gave me From China to Chinatown (http://www.reaktionbooks.co.uk/titles/globa_china.html) for Christmas, and I just started it yesterday. I'm about 100 pages into it and so far, so good. It looks at Western reactions to Chinese food from the arrival of the first European traders, diplomats, and missionaries through to the modern ubiquity of pseudo-Chinese takeaways. The writing can be a little dry at times, but the information is fascinating.

You?

luka
14-01-2005, 11:29 PM
white jazz. i only read james ellroy books these days. i can't be fucked with anything else. too boring.

rewch
15-01-2005, 12:07 AM
white jazz is superb...i remember particulalry from the back blurb 'lawer, bagman, slum landlord, lieutenant dave klein...'etc. or something...loved the combination...and he takes down dudley smith, unlike n the otherwise fairly good film of the previous book...ellroy is the god of quickfire prose...i love the way ellroy writes & the way he stripped it down more for american tabloid & then further & perhaps even too far for the cold six thousand...my dark places (& i suppose the black dahlia) marks him out as pretty dark...he lived on a golf course for a while eating the chemicals from his asthma inhaler & sniffng womens pants that he'd nicked...

just read the algebraist by ian m. banks...rather enjoyed it...also tortured myself with the third - no almost too embarassed to have read one book by such a bad writer, but three?!? - dan brown book i have read...he writes awful cliche-stuffed tripe...shameful i know...will have to find something new now

luka
15-01-2005, 12:26 AM
i brought that cold 6000 book today, it's about 6000 pages long.

rewch
15-01-2005, 12:41 AM
some old friends there...well, not really old friends...didn't quite like it as much as american tabloid, but pretty damn fine & not many verbs...part three to come

satanmcnugget
15-01-2005, 01:15 AM
i just finished up All Fires the Fire by Julio Cortazar...fishing for the next one...maybe Underworld by Delillo

carlos
15-01-2005, 01:40 AM
i was obsessed with james ellroy for a long while- i met him at a book signing when white jazz came out- got all my old books inscribed - "stab wounds multiply" and "fear this book" are some of the things he wrote. he's a really great guy in person... he would yell "get your high-powered american crime fiction signed by a master right here folks"- as people walked through the bookstore

currently i'm reading dashiell hammett's "continental op"- a collection of short stories. i only recently started reading hammett- "the glass key" and "the thin man" are excellent. these stories are good but i think i prefer the novels- he gets to stretch out a bit.

hammett (for the time, especially) is quite grim and cynical- love the moral ambiguity

rewch
15-01-2005, 02:07 AM
read the maltese falcon a few weeks ago...excellent stuff...there's a new imprint by someone of top crime novels...in the same series is the hollow man by john dickson carr...classic locked-room novel...touch of the macabre...i'd recommend it

mind_philip
15-01-2005, 02:09 AM
A big collected Sherlock Holmes stories collection. The Penguin one.

egg
15-01-2005, 04:55 AM
chick lit, brighton rock and an eminem bio

recommend the middle one... aw hell i love them all really - chick lit for the comfort factor, eminem bio for the tittle tattle. but brighton rock is - obviously - total genius.

mms
15-01-2005, 08:20 AM
just finished reading paul morley's words and music , which was very enjoyable. Currently reading a book about neuroscience and the brain which is also very enjoyable.
Just ordered that book on al quaida by jason burke which people have recommended, anyone read it?

i seem to be getting thru 2-3 books a week at the moment which is unheard of for ages, really good.

Melmoth
15-01-2005, 09:34 AM
H.P. Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness: first thing I've read by him, some hilarious sentences like:

"All this flashed in unison through the thoughts of Danforth and me as we looked from those headless slime-coated shapes to the loathsome palimpsest sculptures and the diaboloical dot-groups of fresh slime on the walls beside them - looked and and understood what must have triumphed and survived down there in the Cyclopean water city of that penguin-fringed abyss..."

Penguin-fringed abyss!

stevienixed
15-01-2005, 12:12 PM
The Hunger. Quite good.

luka
15-01-2005, 01:51 PM
oh, and rewch, next time i tell you what book i'm reading, try not to tell me how it ends. cheers.

nick.K
15-01-2005, 02:03 PM
Been out of touch with novels and I needed escapism so I just lugged my way through the Pullman trilogy. It's a comfy ride, certainly worth a look if you haven't read any fantasy for decades

Pearsall
15-01-2005, 04:31 PM
Just ordered that book on al quaida by jason burke which people have recommended, anyone read it?


Yeah, it's really good, I (spam alert!) blogged about it (http://onepearsallandhisbooks.blogspot.com/2004/12/religious-revivalism-and-lower-middle.html) myself about a month ago.

sufi
16-01-2005, 12:48 AM
just finished this:
http://www.signaturebooks.co.uk/images/large/1862076820.jpg (http://www.signaturebooks.co.uk/cgi-bin/ai.cgi?ISBN=1862076820)
snapshot of life on the fringes of the scene, cites some quite deep academic/intellectual sources for islamist ideology
--------------------------------------------------------------

that's the 1st book i finished in 6 months
couldn't read anything since i read this:
http://www.harcourtbooks.com/images/bookcovers/150/0156031728_150.jpg (http://www.harcourtbooks.com/bookcatalogs/bookpages/0156031728.asp)
by james kelman (http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/interviews/story.jsp?story=523219)
about 6 months ago - he's brilliant - if you like the way ellroy uses language in white jazz then check kelman :cool:

sufian_abas
16-01-2005, 03:13 PM
The Hunger. Quite good.

The Hamsun book, right? Brilliant. Personal opinion: way better than Dosty's Notes. Way.

robin
16-01-2005, 04:37 PM
i'm reading bonjour blanc by ian thompson,an account of his time travelling around haiti
really enjoying it so far,i knew nothing about haiti when i started,loads of interesting stuff
and a book about poker
just finished the men who stare at goats by jon ronson which i read a few pages of on a whim and ended up buying,its pretty interesting,fairly light reading but enjoyable in a breezy newspaper article kind of way

rewch
17-01-2005, 10:15 AM
oh, and rewch, next time i tell you what book i'm reading, try not to tell me how it ends. cheers.
i'm really, really sorry...didn't mean to do that...got a bit carried away with the whole ellroy nostalgia thing & quite selfishly, i admit, revealed what should not have been revealed...SORRY (a lot)

luka
17-01-2005, 11:17 AM
its alright mate! easily done

that dudley smith is a great character

jenks
17-01-2005, 11:49 AM
Read the cool six thousand in about a week on holiday - i ended up dreaming in those clipped 'sentences' - quite seriously one of the best prose stylists around. i have only read that and tabloid - what else would you recommend?
am currently reading richard yates short stories which are just spot-on - i discovered him a couple of years ago when his revolutionary road was re-printed after years languishing in obscurity - a gatsby for the sixties, i just felt hollow after i finished it, when i went to new york the first thing i did was try to track down any more of his stuff - easter parade and another were the only ones i could find but i devoured them in a way i hadn't done with anyone for years - there's other novels out there but i haven't been able to track em down yet.
also reading Lethem's fortress which i am loving, have purposely not read the thread on it yey until i hav e finished it.
also re-reading some ezra pound poetry - love those imagists.

egg
17-01-2005, 12:50 PM
also re-reading some ezra pound poetry - love those imagists.ezra pound for me is the best illustration of the monkeys with typewriters theory. the vast majority of his output was crap - average at best. but by dint of having written so many of the fuckers he managed a few decent phrases more by accident than design.

incredible editing talent though. have you seen what he did to the wasteland?

jenks
17-01-2005, 01:17 PM
i agree about the editing - i think the facsimile version of the wasteland is one of the loveliest artefacts of the modernist movement.
cannot possibly agree about the poetry comment though, so much that is so good - i'll post a few bits in his defence when i get a moment.

Melmoth
17-01-2005, 01:28 PM
I love his translations form the Chinese above all. The River-Merchant's Wife, for example. Heartbreaking.
See:

www.bartleby.com/265/298.html -

luka
17-01-2005, 02:03 PM
ezra pound is one of those people i don't get but i don't want to be dismissive of as i suspect i'm missing something, or i'm too stupid to understand him. a lot of stuff i'll just say RUBBISH in an unapologetic way, but he makes me nervous.


i would reccomned all the ellroy books i've read

the big nowhere/american tabloid/la confidential/white jazz

jenks
17-01-2005, 02:17 PM
And the days are not full enough

And the nights are not full enough

And life slips by like a field mouse

Not shaking the grass. -

luka
17-01-2005, 02:19 PM
oooh, that's nice, i like that. i've only reallytried to read the cantos, and that is hard going. craner loves it though. he might tell us why they're so good.

owen
17-01-2005, 02:30 PM
heronbone sometimes reminded me of the imagist stuff.

re the cantos, footnotes are important otherwise you miss the bits in different languages, the references and the semi-hidden shout-outs to rudolf hess
his editing of wasteland seconded, just chopping and carving the thing up and writing 'bullshit' by the original first stanza. fantastic stuff, he often needed someone to do the same to him

i'm currently reading (or occasionally dipping into as work is a pain in the arse at the mo still am expecting the sack soon hurrah!)

luce irigaray- key writings
if i was more eloquent at internet arguments i might have started a thread about this one. bought (i confess) cos of mark k-p's use of her when talking about 'loveless', which sounded absolutely fascinating. its...hmmm, well, ok, though a bit repititous and shock horror ESSENTIALISING but has some great limpid prose

beckett- malone dies
ha should have weighed in on that thread also...rereading this, i remember it being funnier

esther leslie- hollywood flatlands
this is fucking brilliant, is about the intersections between benjamin, disney, leni riefenstahl, stravinsky, trotsky and as you can see it involves lots of namedropping. nice pictures too

anyway dont want to derail this, do carry on ;)

nick.K
17-01-2005, 02:35 PM
back when I used to go to readings I caught up with Ellroy several times. always admired how he's turned his life around and focussed his obsessions into something creative: his mother's murder, drug addiction and petty crime. he saw me stealing the books as I queued up to meet him, he was thrilled and he asked me to hang back to talk afterwards. he really is as intense as the prose. I'm keen for him to finish his American trilogy

carlos
17-01-2005, 02:37 PM
Read the cool six thousand in about a week on holiday - i ended up dreaming in those clipped 'sentences' - quite seriously one of the best prose stylists around. i have only read that and tabloid - what else would you recommend?

my favorite Ellroy book is The Big Nowhere- after that The Black Dahlia. these are all before he really got rolling with his clipped sentence style (starts around LA Confidential/White Jazz)

also- his non-50s books are really good: especially Sucide Hill

Killer on The Road was actually the first Ellroy i ever read- and another one not set in the 50s. life of a serial killer told in first person- it's really brutal. i think he sort of disowns it these days. Charles Manson makes a cameo...

jenks
17-01-2005, 02:45 PM
The Garrett


Come, let us pity those who are better off than we are.
Come, my friend, and remember
that the rich have butlers and no friends,
And we have friends and no butlers.
Come, let us pity the married and the unmarried.

Dawn enters with little feet
like a gilded Pavlova
And I am near my desire.
Nor has life in it aught better
Than this hour of clear coolness
the hour of waking together.


c'mon what's not to love about that second stanza?

jenks
18-01-2005, 07:28 AM
this is from one of his later cantos - whether you like it or not it's not mankeys and typewriters.
(i got all these out of a little selection edited by thom gunn published by faber - a rwally nice poetry series including keats/ hardy and others all introduced by poets)

from canto lxxxi

"What thou lovest well remains,
the rest is dross
What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage
Whose world, or mine or theirs
or is it of none?

Pull down thy vanity
Thou art a beaten dog beneath the hail,
A swollen magpie in a fitful sun,
Half black half white
Nor knowst'ou wing from tail
Pull down thy vanity
How mean thy hates
Fostered in falsity,
Pull down thy vanity,
Rathe to destroy, niggard in charity,
Pull down thy vanity,
I say pull down.

But to have done instead of not doing
This is not vanity
To have, with decency, knocked
That a Blunt should open
To have gathered from the air a live tradition
or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame
this is not vanity.
Here error is all in the not done,
all in the diffidence that faltered . . ."

luka
18-01-2005, 10:13 AM
you'll make me have another crack at him at this rate jenks. one more good bit and i'll pick the book up agian.

jenks
18-01-2005, 11:38 AM
cos it's you, luka:

"These fought, in any case,
and some believing, pro domo, in any case. . .

Some quick to arm,
some for adventure,
some from fear of weakness,
some from fear of censure,
some for love of slaughter, in imagination,
learning later...


some in fear, learning love of slaughter;
Died some, pro patria,
non "dulce" non "et decor". . .


walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men's lies,then unbelieving
came home, home to a lie,
home to many deceits,
home to old lies and new infamy;


usury age-old and age-thick
and liars in public places.


Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
Young blood and high blood,
fair cheeks, and fine bodies;


fortitude as never before


frankness as never before,
disillusions as never told in the old days
hysterias, trench confessions
laughter out of dead bellies."

this is an extract from Hugh selwyn Mauberley, published in 1920

mind_philip
18-01-2005, 11:47 AM
Erat Hora

"Thank you, whatever comes." And then she turned
And, as the ray of sun on hanging flowers
Fades when the wind hath lifted them aside,
Went swiftly from me. Nay, whatever comes
One hour was sunlit and the most high gods
May not make boast of any better thing
Than to have watched that hour as it passed.

luka
18-01-2005, 12:38 PM
aw thanks boys, one more thing jenks. i want to go on a little day trip to your part of the world. i was thinking southend but my mum is a big fan of leigh-on-sea, a place i've never been to. what do you reccomend? maybe theres other stops on that line that beat both of them and i should go there instead.

jenks
18-01-2005, 02:59 PM
luka, do you wanna mail me re leigh (i think it's quite simple to do via user cp or something,) as much as i want to advertise the wonders of estuary life i think the others might get a little bored - what do you want - amusements/culture/beach walks?
randy watson also seems to be someone else from dowm here maybe he'd want to chip in (see sports strand)

luka
18-01-2005, 03:02 PM
i'll send a private message cos you asked not to let people send you emails.

just look for the private message

arcaNa
18-01-2005, 03:16 PM
...just got a copy of "Fortress of Solitude"(Frantzen?)from,um,7-Eleven actually...needed some bus/tube reading, and wanted to see if it lives up to the expectations... anyway,i love those cheap paperbacks you can just buy for next to nothing,and get a good read AND maybe 2-3 books for the price of one hardback copy...
yeah,that's great for a permanently skint li'l slacker like me... :cool:
-i've kind of regressed into easily digested "entertainment" reading,rather than something cuolturally "solid",('cause the uni courses are so dense and demanding,it is heaven to "dumb down"for a minute),but sometimes you get both...! :)

craner
19-01-2005, 02:45 PM
I recommend you get the New Directions Complete Cantos: what a beautiful book!

...

mind_philip
19-01-2005, 06:05 PM
I recommend you get the New Directions Complete Cantos: what a beautiful book!

...

That is absolutely true. The one good thing that came from me working for Waterstone's was I realised you could import this book and it was still cheaper than the Faber version. And it is fucking beautiful. A big shiny black and white brick of a book...

craner
20-01-2005, 04:01 PM
I'm reading The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom. It's knocked me sideways and kicked my teeth in and tickled me under the chin. You should all read it. You need to argue against it. (Rather than sophistry or silence.)

luka
20-01-2005, 05:41 PM
i don't have to argue against anything, what a waste of time.

craner
20-01-2005, 05:47 PM
I knew you were going to be rude!

luka
20-01-2005, 05:48 PM
you invited it!

luka
20-01-2005, 05:48 PM
you begged for it!

craner
20-01-2005, 05:49 PM
No I didn't. I was minding my own business.

craner
20-01-2005, 05:50 PM
I was being civic.

luka
20-01-2005, 05:57 PM
why waste time worrying about what other idiots think? do your own thing. they're not important. just cos they write big books full of big words, just cos they're bloated with self-importance, it doesn't mean you have to pay attention, its' one of the big fallacies, fuck 'em, ignore them, arguing just encourages them, they thrive off it.

luka
20-01-2005, 05:58 PM
you might mean civil

heheh

(sorry, that was low)

luka
20-01-2005, 05:59 PM
i like oliver by the way, it's alright
my rudeness is couched in an underlying respect and affection

xx

craner
20-01-2005, 06:11 PM
Humph.

luka
20-01-2005, 06:21 PM
all i'm saying is, you can't spend your whole life in reacting to other people, how you ever going to get anything done? it's a trap. it's a waste of time and a waste of energy.

craner
20-01-2005, 06:29 PM
I'm not listening! I'm not listening! I've got my fingers in my ears!

mpc
20-01-2005, 07:43 PM
i'm currently enjoying the mr men series

satanmcnugget
21-01-2005, 06:10 PM
im tearing thru Lullaby by Chuck Pahalniuk (sp?), the guy who wrote Fight Club

simon silverdollar
22-01-2005, 05:30 PM
arthus koestler- darkness at noon.
good. as seminal as anti-stalinist fiction gets, apparently.

Melmoth
22-01-2005, 05:40 PM
Patrick McCabe's Call Me the Breeze. Sad but very, very funny.

Also John Ashbery's selected poems.

carlos
24-01-2005, 04:56 PM
finished cormac mccarthy's "blood meridian" over the weekend- totally blew me away... the subject matter (scalp-hunters along the texas-mexico border in the 1850s) and level of violence as much as the writing

yesterday started paul bowle's "the sheltering sky"- which i'm really enjoying so far

egg
24-01-2005, 08:38 PM
finished cormac mccarthy's "blood meridian" over the weekend- totally blew me away... the subject matter (scalp-hunters along the texas-mexico border in the 1850s) and level of violence as much as the writing
i second that - possibly the only book ever to have made me squeam!

jenks
25-01-2005, 07:17 AM
i rate pretty much all the cormac i have read - about half a dozen or so - all uniformly excellent and all deal so well with violence - the one about the guy who keeps the bodies in the caves was both gripping and nauseating which is as it should be.

as for the sheltering sky - someone sent it to me and it is the only book i have ever finished and then started to read again straightaway. that was in 91 and i haven't returned to it since, frightened the magic may be gone but god i loved that book at the time, remember that all my letters were full of it - then they made that dreadful film - only good thing was bowles himself at the end intoning about how many more times would we watch a sunrise etc.

any proustians out there? i am just about to start the final volume

stevienixed
25-01-2005, 12:34 PM
Porn Studies - articles are compiled by Linda Williams

Extremely interesting take on porn in all its forms (from white trash to gay).

arcaNa
25-01-2005, 06:52 PM
Porn Studies - articles are compiled by Linda Williams

Extremely interesting take on porn in all its forms (from white trash to gay).
...that reminds me,the best-selling book last month from my local "independent leftist" bookstore was "How To Make Love Like A Porn Star"... :rolleyes:

carlos
25-01-2005, 08:40 PM
i rate pretty much all the cormac i have read - about half a dozen or so - all uniformly excellent and all deal so well with violence - the one about the guy who keeps the bodies in the caves was both gripping and nauseating which is as it should be.


i'm going to track his other books down for sure. i've had "all the pretty horses" for a while but never read it. the thing about "blood meridian" that got me is that so much of the violence he describes was based on real events- like john joel glanton- the info about him on this (http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/GG/fgl2.html) page is pretty much what we get in the book

originaldrum
25-01-2005, 11:31 PM
today i am reading my old 'groo the wanderer' comics by sergio aragones

Pearsall
25-01-2005, 11:41 PM
I'm currently finishing up a book called 'Stiff' by Mary Roach, which is a history of the uses of the cadaver in science. It's alternately gross, hilarious, and fascinating. It's really good, highly recommended.

HMGovt
26-01-2005, 10:57 PM
INTENSIVE SCIENCE AND VIRTUAL PHILOSOPHY
i've been dipping into this for about a year now.
Each time, it is so elegantly convincing, well
considered and tuned-in that I cannot resist
whirling off with my own speculations on the questions
he poses and the solutions he proposes. At which
point, I stop reading and put it down for a further
three months. It's a book with less than a billionth
of a part bullshit, which is some achievement as the
book is focused solely on the big questions about time,
space and everything that matters in between.

Ness Rowlah
26-01-2005, 11:21 PM
when I started out my blog I thought it would be a lit one. It never will be. So I might as well put it down
here (no music books just now, but I did like "Give the anarchist a cigarette").


"The Longest Silence : A Life in Fishing"/McGuane - on trout(&others) fishing, a bit too godly for me, but not bad
JG Ballard's complete short stories (will take ages)
"The Biggest Game in Town" / Al Alvarez (one of the best books on poker ever written).
"Living to Tell the Tale"/ Marguez' autobiography. Bought on the back of the extracts in the Guardian.
I read the first 150 pages of "100 Years of Solitude" - and could not believe
it's was the same writer. It might be the translation, but I did not like "100 years" at all.
James Lee Burke (well not at the moment, but anything in his Robicheaux series)
Q - Special Edition on synthpop (rather good so far).

Backjob
02-02-2005, 03:09 PM
Any and all Jodorowsky comics I can get my hands on. If anybody knows a good online source that can sell me any Son of the Gun vol 2 or greater and Incal vol 3 or greater, then please holla.

rewch
07-02-2005, 04:50 PM
cloud atlas by david mitchell... deep joy as was ghostwritten, but it does leave me wondering whether he got stuck in if on a winter's night a traveller & couldn't get out... fractured narratives &c. but then i haven't finished it yet, so we shall see...

fldsfslmn
30-07-2005, 04:27 AM
i just finished up All Fires the Fire by Julio Cortazar...fishing for the next one...maybe Underworld by Delillo

I'm just reading All Fires the Fire now ... blown away by a couple of the stories—especially "The Southern Thruway." Someone said to me that they thought there was a film adaptation of "The Southern Thruway," but I can't seem to find it. The only thing I can think of is Week End, which has the same effect but it somehow inverted.

mms
30-07-2005, 09:01 PM
just finished that philip k dick biography 'i am alive you are dead' . It's written like a story in a way, which is quite effective in getting over some of the brain stretching ideas he had and also his immense mental instability.

fpunk
03-08-2005, 10:39 PM
The most intesting things I've read lately have been "The Amaizing Adventures of Klavier and Clay" and "Middlesex." Currently I'm in more of a video and music mode but I'm working my way through Whitman's
Leaves of Grsss since it is the Whitman centennial.

zhao
07-08-2005, 02:41 AM
the wind up bird chronicles

mms
07-08-2005, 03:51 PM
divine horsemen , the living gods of haiti by maya derren.
when i get the time, one of those been meaning to read for a long time books.

Jesse D Serrins
07-08-2005, 04:33 PM
Fairly new translation of Don Quixote (by Edith Grossman). I have nothing to compare it to, but it seems great and also seems to have gotten a fair bit of praise. I'm at this point where a side story is read aloud by the priest: it's about a newly married man who asks his best friend to try to woo his wife to reveal whether she is truly virtuous and faithful- excellent on a number of levels, I think.

Rambler
07-08-2005, 06:32 PM
Just finishing Neil Gaiman's complete Sandman library. Enjoyed it hugely, but hated the gushing, semi-academic introductions, which made feel inadequate like I was missing something on every page. Stopped reading the intros in the end and got on with enjoying the books.

Rambler
07-08-2005, 06:39 PM
I'm just reading All Fires the Fire now ... blown away by a couple of the stories—especially "The Southern Thruway." Someone said to me that they thought there was a film adaptation of "The Southern Thruway," but I can't seem to find it. The only thing I can think of is Week End, which has the same effect but it somehow inverted.

Wasn't Blow-Up an adaptation of Cortazar?

hinterland
08-08-2005, 12:07 PM
China Mieville - The Scar. Good but not as enthralling as his other stuff
listening to Philip Roth - The Plot Against America in the car which is surprisingly pleasurable
just finished another James Lee Burke. I had tired a little of the Robicheaux character - endlessly self-analytical and depressive 12-stepper, but 'Crusader's Cross' is superb - great on The South, New Orleans, Race and nostalgia and very exciting.

Canada J Soup
08-08-2005, 05:16 PM
I'm in the middle of a re-reading phase at the moment. Currently on the go are two old favorites Boy Wonder (an occasionally twisted and always very funny book by James Robert Baker) and Among The Thugs (former Granta editor Bill Buford's account of hanging out with football casuals in the early 80's) as well as A Confederacy of Dunces (a book that I didn't feel I had given a proper chance to the last time around and that I'm enjoying much more now).

I really want to read that Mao book that the Guardian has been going on about for the last month or so after having read a novel called Waiting (by Chinese born writer Ha Jin, who spent a number of years in the Red Guard before emigrating to the US). The narrative in Waiting was kind of light, but the backdrop of three decades of life in Communist China was fascinating (which I guess was the whole point of the book...the personal / mundane contrasted with historically important stuff) and left me wanting to know more.

fldsfslmn
09-08-2005, 03:01 AM
Wasn't Blow-Up an adaptation of Cortazar?

Yeh, loosely adapted. The story is really, really weird. It has been ages since I saw Blow Up (10 years?) and all I remember now is footage of London shot from a car window.

jenks
10-09-2005, 04:53 PM
just finished john berger's here is where we meet - a marvellous book much in the same vein as sebald - a mixture of fiction/ art history/ poetry and politics that is quite beautiful an dought to be on the booker list.

writing at once simple and precise yet utterly perfect - contender for book of the year and makes a chnge from all these books about(influenced by) henry james. e.g line of beauty, author author and the master.

the guy is about eighty and just weighs his words like they are jewels. i press it upon you in the hope someone will listen!

owen
10-09-2005, 10:52 PM
weighs his words like they are jewels.

yes yes yes.

you've read this...?
http://www.dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=1299&highlight=john+berger

(funnily enough tho, recently read 'a painter of our time' (v early novel- hungarian artist, 1956, seaside towns etc ) and found it pompous and stalinist, but otherwise big up)(

jenks
11-09-2005, 07:23 AM
thanks owen for that - somehow missed the entire thread.

glad to know others feel the same - sometimes posting on the literature thread can feel like a lonely business!

Paqamaq
12-09-2005, 01:11 PM
Just finishing John Irving's latest, "Until I find You". Fascinating read; still 'imagining truly' even when his main character lives in a 'unreal' world. Not his best (that would be 'Cider House Rules', 'Owen Meaney' or 'Garp' depending on mood), but worth a look.

Elan
12-09-2005, 05:23 PM
Count me in on the Berger love, and yeah, how did the Booker people miss him? Maybe they think the festival back in April was enough?

D84
14-09-2005, 12:50 PM
I've just started reading Q by "Luther Blisset" and it's pretty action packed so far. Cool.

I'm also re-reading "Barry Lyndon" by Thackeray on the train (I don't think I really got it the 1st time) which is shocking and funny by turns, as are most of his books.

I finished reading the 2nd Robert E Howard Conan stories collection from the Fantasy Masterworks reprint series which was most entertaing (yeah I have heaps of "heavy" uni reading too) despite some of the dubious imagery etc. OK I admit it: I love the dubious imagery etc :) The R. E. Howard biographical info is also interesting.

Before that I re-read the Runestaff series by Michael Moorcock which wasn't as good as I remembered it, but fun nonetheless.

rewch
21-09-2005, 12:31 PM
gravity's rainbow - thomas pynchon... superb in a pynchonesque way cf. v & crying of lot 49 & mason & dixon

datura
27-09-2005, 09:49 PM
I'm reading Something Happened by Joseph Heller at the moment..It's not as entertaining as Catch 22, but some very funny moments and a good read although a little heavy going at times..

Prior to that I read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides which was excellent..also been reading some Philip K Dick..

tryptych
28-09-2005, 11:44 AM
Currently on the go:

"Commodify Your Dissent: Salvos from The Baffler" by Frank & Weiland (eds).
"Straw Dogs" by John Gray
"Keep the Aspidistra Flying" by George Orwell.

I've been "reading" Pynchon's "V" for a long time now.. came to natural break halfway through and havn't looked at it for months...

kennel_district
28-09-2005, 04:37 PM
Currently on the go:

"Commodify Your Dissent: Salvos from The Baffler" by Frank & Weiland (eds).
"Straw Dogs" by John Gray
"Keep the Aspidistra Flying" by George Orwell.

I've been "reading" Pynchon's "V" for a long time now.. came to natural break halfway through and havn't looked at it for months...

is keep the aspidistra flying good? I don't think I've read it - was just re-reading 'coming up for air'. wonderful.

Pearsall
28-09-2005, 04:52 PM
James Reston Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0385495625/qid=1127926309/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-1262530-3069751?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)

gumdrops
28-09-2005, 06:28 PM
mainly irvine welsh's filth and porno, as well as simon reynolds' rip it up and naomi klein's no logo in between

don_quixote
28-09-2005, 11:53 PM
is keep the aspidistra flying good? I don't think I've read it - was just re-reading 'coming up for air'. wonderful.


i read the complete novels this summer and would say that coming up for air and keep the aspidistra flying are the two novels which are closest to each other - i prefer coming up for air though. i just love the way he brings the period to life without losing interest.

i got down and out in paris and london earlier this week, but havent had a chance to get into it yet, and ive been reading cant stop wont stop by jeff chang

tom duck
02-10-2005, 11:04 PM
I've just finished "Nine suitcases" by Bela Zsolt & recommend it; afterwards I tried reading Austerlitz but that suffered so badly in comparison that I still can't see myself finishing a book by Sebald - without knowing exactly why.

Right now I'm trying to read 'Soldados de Salamina' by Javier Cercas, but right now it seems to be pissing away a great premise

jenks
04-10-2005, 09:20 AM
I've just finished "Nine suitcases" by Bela Zsolt & recommend it; afterwards I tried reading Austerlitz but that suffered so badly in comparison that I still can't see myself finishing a book by Sebald - without knowing exactly why.

Right now I'm trying to read 'Soldados de Salamina' by Javier Cercas, but right now it seems to be pissing away a great premise

i urge you to go back to sebald - really not much better in the last ten years or so, maybe go for rings of saturn first.

mms
04-10-2005, 10:01 AM
just finished reading this - the key b tanizaki which is just incredible

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0099466872/qid=1128419961/sr=2-2/ref=sr_2_3_2/202-5910771-0513419

Melmoth
04-10-2005, 10:10 AM
Tanazaki's The Makioka Sisters is great too, though very different from his other stuff, much more, erm, restrained.

Badmarsh
04-10-2005, 11:48 AM
The Argumentative Indian - By Amartya Sen.

mms
04-10-2005, 12:00 PM
Tanazaki's The Makioka Sisters is great too, though very different from his other stuff, much more, erm, restrained.

will check that - i bought a load of japanese books from a guy outside fins park station after reading kokoro - 50 p each they were -really very enjoyable .
other thing i'm reading is maya derens book the divine horsemen which is also really interesting.

labrat
08-10-2005, 10:10 AM
Douglas Barthelme

what the FUCK is he on about??
(mind you the production of meaning is overrated)

BewareTheFriendlyStranger
09-10-2005, 06:01 AM
"Tough Toys for Tough Tough Boys" - Will Self

"State of The Art" - Iain M. Banks

Townley
15-01-2007, 12:41 PM
ezra pound is one of those people i don't get but i don't want to be dismissive of as i suspect i'm missing something, or i'm too stupid to understand him. a lot of stuff i'll just say RUBBISH in an unapologetic way, but he makes me nervous.z

I really like The Cantos and I think it's best approached by just reading it really quickly and letting it all wash over you. Don't sit there and look up all the quotes and references the first time you read it. It's not a code for what he really wants to say; it's just a crazy collage of stuff that interests him.

Even if you decide he's not for you, you should read a biography about him (I can recommend the one by Humphrey Carpenter called A Serious Character, but I think there was a new one published more recently). He had a really incredible life!

Townley
15-01-2007, 12:45 PM
Oh and he did a translation/interpretation of Confucius that I really enjoyed, perhaps you could try that?

dubversion
15-01-2007, 01:36 PM
after being thoroughly depressed by Cormac McCarthy's The Road, totally disappointed / confused by No Country for Old Men, i'm leaving the rest of my McCarthy pile to one side for a bit and reading Herrera's biography of Frida Kahlo, which is wonderful so far.

STN
15-01-2007, 01:57 PM
I'm reading Estates by Lynsey Hanley. It's bloody interesting.

jenks
15-01-2007, 01:59 PM
after being thoroughly depressed by Cormac McCarthy's The Road, totally disappointed / confused by No Country for Old Men, i'm leaving the rest of my McCarthy pile to one side for a bit and reading Herrera's biography of Frida Kahlo, which is wonderful so far.


Am just in the middle of Blood Meridian after reading No Country over Christmas and being reminded just how much I love Cormac. I like the way he combines this incredible toughness with a poetic grace - like a Hemingaway touched with Carver. Alan Warner wrote the kind of review every writer must crave for in The Guardian when he reviewed The Road:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1938709,00.html

be interested if it is depressing but brilliant or just plain depressing...

(I am also reading Hughes' biog of Goya and Gary Imlach's book on his father My Father and Other Working Class Heroes. All good.)

IdleRich
15-01-2007, 02:03 PM
Reading V by Pynchon which I'm really enjoying but as always with Pynchon I feel that I'm probably missing about half of what's going on (at a conservative estimate).


"after being thoroughly depressed by Cormac McCarthy's The Road"
Is this the new one? I'm quite keen to read this having only read Blood Meridian which was ace although again I don't think I fully understood it.
Watched the Shooting the other day (mentioned it in the film thread) and that kind of reminded me of Blood Meridian in a weird sort of way although it's obviously far less overblown (that may not be quite the right word but you know what I mean).

dubversion
15-01-2007, 03:43 PM
Am just in the middle of Blood Meridian after reading No Country over Christmas and being reminded just how much I love Cormac.

he is fantastic, but No Country didn't sit well with me.. turns from an admittedly well written airport thriller to a bunch of homespun homilies and never really grabbed me. The writing was as good as ever, but it seemed a bit pointless..



be interested if it is depressing but brilliant or just plain depressing...


depressing and brilliant. absolutely brilliant. read it in about 4 hours late one night, then sobbed like a bloody child afterwards

STN
15-01-2007, 03:56 PM
I have got to read some Cormac MacCarthy. I think 'All the Pretty Horses' is festering on a shelf somewhere in my flat.

dubversion
15-01-2007, 04:30 PM
I have got to read some Cormac MacCarthy. I think 'All the Pretty Horses' is festering on a shelf somewhere in my flat.



you have, and that's probably the best place to start. Avoid the film like the plague though

jenks
16-01-2007, 08:17 AM
agree wholeheartedly with Dub - Cormac sits there in a genre of one. At first it seems as if the language is too simple and then the rhythm of the prose takes over. My only problem (and it is mine and not his) is the fact that i don't speak Spanish and so the exchanges with Mexicans can be lost on me , but then they often are on the young Americans who find themselves South of the border.

Pretty Horses is a must read - then get the other two in the trilogy.

I never saw the film because i just couldn't imagine a film of it - not being book snobbish, there's plenty of excellent films from books - i just couldn't see how the story could be unpicked from its prose.

Looks like i'm going to have to get the latest Cormac then.

nomadologist
30-01-2007, 06:33 PM
Badiou's "Deleuze: The Clamor of Being." It's amazing if you like either of them and you always suspected Deleuze to be more Heideggerian than he might first seem. There's even reference to bitchfighting within their department and a lot of reality-TV level social drama between D & B.

petergunn
31-01-2007, 10:03 AM
i am currently working my way thru Mordecai Richler's catalog... just finshed "Barney's Version", which i could not recommend highly enough...

IdleRich
31-01-2007, 10:34 AM
Just finished On Beauty by Zadie Smith. It's been described as a homage to Howard's End and the first few chapters are a scene for scene re-creation set in a modern university. After that though it diverges from the template and apart from a few sneaky hints (a cameo from a family called the Wilcoxes, a copy of Room With a View left lying around) and the odd scene that jerks you back (finding the will for example) it does develop in a totally different direction.
Very concerned with race and class and very easy to read, I did find it a bit simplistic and almost patronising at times. Also, how many times have you read about a once-brilliant but fading academic? And how many times that you read about that was he consumed with jealousy for a more brilliant rival? A lot of themes from her other books seem to recur here as well (the one rebellious but confused "street" child for example) and all of this combined to make it seem very familiar. As with her other books she seemed to have a problem with the ending, it didn't so much finish as just stop.
Reading that back it sounds overly negative. Her style is clear and a pleasure to read and I looked forward to picking it up every time I went back to it - it definitely provided a welcome break from chewing my way through V. I'm gonna go out and buy something else at lunchtime, any suggestions?

jenks
31-01-2007, 10:39 AM
i am currently working my way thru Mordecai Richler's catalog... just finshed "Barney's Version", which i could not recommend highly enough...

Have you read Solomon Gursky? I think Mordecai is greatly underrated - kind of a Canadian Roth. I think the balance of serious and comic themes is usually handled very skillfully, i think he does childhood particularly well - easily equal to Augie era Bellow. I would also recommend St Urban's Horseman.

He has also fathered at least two other novellists - his daughter had a novel published last year as did his son, Daniel a while back.

Rambler
31-01-2007, 12:12 PM
The File - Timothy Garton Ash

In which TGA retrives the file the Stasi used to have on him in the 80s, and tracks down the people who were informing on him, comparing his notes with theirs. Really outstanding memoir/personal history that becomes an essay on memory. A Recherche du temps perdu for the Cold War. Superbly written as always, too.

Amazon-style perfect companion - Stasiland by Anna Funder

mms
31-01-2007, 12:24 PM
parasite rex carl zimmer
http://www.carlzimmer.com/parasite_1.html

but not after any food.:)
i hardly ever read fiction at all anymore.

krankissey
31-01-2007, 01:44 PM
the moon is a harsh mistress - heinlein (really great)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress
the book of thoth - crowley (mostly boring)
http://www.rahoorkhuit.net/library/thoth/index.html
breaking open the head - pinchbeck (interesting)
http://www.breakingopenthehead.com/
from the ashes of angels - collins (really interesting, sometimes boring)
http://www.amazon.com/Ashes-Angels-Forbidden-Legacy-Fallen/dp/187918172X

Dial
31-01-2007, 02:23 PM
On Stupidity: Avital Ronnell, Clever and stimulating. Not too hard a read, tho maybe a little too cute, now and then, for my personal taste.

And a big shout out to Cormac McCarthy. God that man has texture to his text. As another said, tough poetry. Wonderful, must read some more very soon.

And the TGA above also sounds fascinating.

And a copy of Sebalds, 'Austerlitz' sits on my shelf, plastic wrapper still intact. Hmm.

And....

IdleRich
31-01-2007, 03:28 PM
"I'm gonna go out and buy something else at lunchtime, any suggestions?"
I got White Noise by DeLillo in the end, not really enjoyed anything by him before but my brother recommended this one and it sounds a bit more interesting than Underworld so here goes.

petergunn
31-01-2007, 08:26 PM
I got White Noise by DeLillo in the end, not really enjoyed anything by him before but my brother recommended this one and it sounds a bit more interesting than Underworld so here goes.

really?

i've read about 2/3 of his stuff and would say Underworld is def. his best...

petergunn
31-01-2007, 08:29 PM
Have you read Solomon Gursky? I think Mordecai is greatly underrated - kind of a Canadian Roth. I think the balance of serious and comic themes is usually handled very skillfully, i think he does childhood particularly well - easily equal to Augie era Bellow. I would also recommend St Urban's Horseman.

He has also fathered at least two other novellists - his daughter had a novel published last year as did his son, Daniel a while back.


i bought Solomon Gursky, have not read it yet...

Currently reading St. Urbain's Horseman, i like it, but not as much as Barney's Version... it's good, but has def. aged as a "60's novel"... (i know Barney's version will age as a 90's novel, but right now that doesn't bother me...) , but i'll know more when i finsih it..

i might like Barney's version more b/c it contains the montreal of the 90's as well as the montreal of his youth. most of his books before that that deal w/ montreal are his childhood memories written when he lived in London, so it's interesting to see him reflect on the present day state of his childhood home... "then and now"...

zhao
31-01-2007, 10:48 PM
project breif on reality show about a mom who is also a bounty hunter :(

IdleRich
01-02-2007, 08:21 AM
"really?
i've read about 2/3 of his stuff and would say Underworld is def. his best..."
I guess that's what most people think but I found it fairly boring. It was quite clever but the conversations just annoyed me and I thought it was empty over all. I guess I'm in the minority on that one though.
I'm about half way through White Noise now and I'm enjoying it a lot more - it's just as clever clever but at least it's making me laugh.

petergunn
01-02-2007, 08:51 AM
I guess that's what most people think but I found it fairly boring. It was quite clever but the conversations just annoyed me and I thought it was empty over all. I guess I'm in the minority on that one though.
I'm about half way through White Noise now and I'm enjoying it a lot more - it's just as clever clever but at least it's making me laugh.

don dellilo is one of those people who basically writes the same book 17 times... some times more he does it well, sometimes not ("mao II" or whatever it's called, i'm looking at you!").
"underworld" is , to me, the best execution of all the themes he dwells on over and over again (modern relationships, media, technology, 20th centurty history ).

i just feel like "underworld" is the "exile on main st" of delilo books , or at least the "sticky fingers". "white noise' is more like the "aftermath" or "between the buttons", which is to say, a less grandiose take on similar themes and ideas. some people prefer that, some people feel like he could go deeper into it. i also feel one of delilo's key (and underrated elements) is his understanding of urban nyc life and "white noise" is a very suburban book, so i feel something is lacking...

if you like "white noise", you should cop his first book "americana", (his "england's newest hit makers" (sorry)) which was published in 1971 and it's very cool to see what parts of his style are there and what aren't. it's funny, i read the whole book w/o knowing when it was written and then i checked the copyright date and was like "OHHHHHHHHHHH!"

IdleRich
01-02-2007, 10:27 AM
I must admit the only ones I've read are Underworld and another the name of which I can't remember, it was a really short one about an imaginary boy or something, very throw-away. I'm desperately trying to find an album for that but I can't really think of one I'm afraid.
I am surprised that you say that he writes the same book over and over again, though White Noise is recognisably the same writer I would say that it's really quite different - a lot more humorous, a lot less concerned with its own importance which was the overriding feeling that I got with Underworld and the main reason I disliked it. I guess the point of it was to somehow capture a century of so of the US but despite the size of the book I felt that he failed in that undertaking.
I'd say that (so far) White Noise is more like a Let It Bleed to Underworld's EoMS, shorter and less overblown but far more enjoyable. I guess I shouldn't get too excited yet, there is still plenty of time for it to go wrong.
I'll try and check out Americana. Any other recommendations?

petergunn
01-02-2007, 10:33 AM
his newest book "Cosmopolis" is short and sweet... can't decide if his take on globalism and hip hop is good or ridiculous... either way it IS funny... if you prefer 'white noise" to "undergorund" b/c it's isn't epic or whatever, i wou;d say you'dig Cosmopolis... nothing as memorable as the 'hitler studies" riffs in "white noise", but there are some great riffs on WTO anarchist types...

IdleRich
01-02-2007, 10:39 AM
OK, thank you - on to the list it goes...

jenks
01-02-2007, 11:14 AM
I think it is interesting that you both pick up on the humour in White Noise because i feel that is precisely what has leeched out of DeLillo's work. I really enjoyed Underworld but it was quite clearly in love with its own self importance. It was avowedly a 'big book' (like Franzen's the Corrections) and i really admire its ambition.

I tend to like Mao II and Libra, i thought the two slender works he has produced since Underworld - The Body Artist and Cosmopolis really aren't up to much by comparison.

IdleRich
01-02-2007, 12:01 PM
"I think it is interesting that you both pick up on the humour in White Noise because i feel that is precisely what has leeched out of DeLillo's work."
What do you mean here, that he got less funny as he went on but bit by bit so no-one noticed?


"I really enjoyed Underworld but it was quite clearly in love with its own self importance. It was avowedly a 'big book' (like Franzen's the Corrections) and i really admire its ambition."
In love with its self-importance and also its cleverness I would have said. I found that too much of a double-whammy to really enjoy the whole thing but yeah, I guess it was ambitious and that's got to be a good thing.


"I tend to like Mao II and Libra, i thought the two slender works he has produced since Underworld - The Body Artist and Cosmopolis really aren't up to much by comparison."
What would the book (of his) be where there are a couple and some kind of ghostly or imaginary child or something? I'm being pretty vague here I know but it was a while since I read it and I've no idea what it was called but I suspect you might.

adruu
01-02-2007, 12:30 PM
White Noise > Mao II > Dow Jones > Cosmopolis > Underworld if my recollections are right...

Right now Im on a non fiction Cold War bend...reading The Mitrohkin Archives about the KGB/FSB. Gulag Archipelago up next.

gek-opel
01-02-2007, 12:47 PM
I found "Cosmopolis" to be a pretty bare and pointless read, whereas in "Underworld", whilst the superstructure of interconnection was pretty loose, (and perhaps little more than an excuse for grandiosity) there were passages and images of extraordinary power, and I didn't find it a difficult read by any means. Of course it all depends on why you read books, but character and plot aren't massively important to me, and that might colour my judgement somewhat.

IdleRich
01-02-2007, 12:52 PM
Not so much difficult as irritating I thought - that scene when they kept headbutting each other, I don't know why but I found it so annoying. I had to read it in a fairly short time because it was borrowed and I had to return it so maybe forcing the sheer volume of pages down quickly caused me to choke on it.

jenks
01-02-2007, 01:57 PM
What do you mean here, that he got less funny as he went on but bit by bit so no-one noticed?


In love with its self-importance and also its cleverness I would have said. I found that too much of a double-whammy to really enjoy the whole thing but yeah, I guess it was ambitious and that's got to be a good thing.


What would the book (of his) be where there are a couple and some kind of ghostly or imaginary child or something? I'm being pretty vague here I know but it was a while since I read it and I've no idea what it was called but I suspect you might.

I think he got less interested with wanting to be funny, which is a shame I think because White Noise is genuinely hilarious.

Is the book you are thinking of called Players? I might be wrong about that but it vaguely rings a bell from way back.

IdleRich
01-02-2007, 02:14 PM
I don't know, Players doesn't ring a bell to be honest. I'll do some internet research.
I think you're right about less desire to be funny, I certainly didn't feel that Underworld was trying to make me laugh and failing, I almost had a sense that it was a book that considered itself too important to waste time with humour. Is that fair?

IdleRich
01-02-2007, 02:42 PM
OK, if anyone cares it was Tthe Body Artist from 2001


In The Body Artist, DeLillo tells the hallucinatory tale of performance artist Lauren Hartke in the days following the suicide of her husband, filmmaker Rey Robles. Finishing out their lease of a rented house on the coast, living in a self-imposed exile, Lauren discovers a mysterious man in the bedroom upstairs who is able to repeat -- verbatim -- entire conversations she had with her husband before his death but does not seem to know his own name or where he came from.
The question remains open as to whether or not the strange man (whom Lauren affectionately names Mr. Tuttle, after an English teacher of hers, when she finds him upstairs) exists at all, or if he is merely a figment of her imagination. But Mr. Tuttle's origins are entirely beside the point. He has no origins. He defies description. He is neither old nor young. "Maybe this man experiences another kind of reality where he is here and there, before and after." And leave it to DeLillo to connect this enigma to the Internet. There is a live, 24-hour web site Lauren enjoys viewing: It shows an empty road in Kotka, Finland. Occasionally a car drives by or a person crosses the screen, but generally nothing happens. Lauren is fascinated by the notion that across the globe, at this very moment, this is happening, an episode "real enough to withstand the circumstance of nothing going on." This may also be the best way to describe The Body Artist, a book in which "it all happens around the word seem."

bruno
01-02-2007, 08:56 PM
my underworld experience was so traumatic i've avoided him entirely (shame, really).

i'm halfway through my first italo calvino, baron in the trees. i think he's set to become a favourite!

nomadologist
01-02-2007, 11:55 PM
calvino is wonderful. you should try "if on a winter's night a traveler", "cosmicomics", "invisible cities"...anything by him, really.

bruno
02-02-2007, 12:49 AM
thanks! yes, i think i have a lot to explore here.

petergunn
02-02-2007, 06:22 AM
I think it is interesting that you both pick up on the humour in White Noise because i feel that is precisely what has leeched out of DeLillo's work. I really enjoyed Underworld but it was quite clearly in love with its own self importance. It was avowedly a 'big book' (like Franzen's the Corrections) and i really admire its ambition.

I tend to like Mao II and Libra, i thought the two slender works he has produced since Underworld - The Body Artist and Cosmopolis really aren't up to much by comparison.


Underworld is funny as hell, when you realize the best Lenny Bruce riffs in it are written by Delillo!

the thing is with Delillo, his books are veyr much tied into his obsessions with culture and subcultures... w/ Mao II, with the moonie wedding, i was immediately bored... wheras, w/ Cosmopolis, i was kinda interested to see what he would do w/ more present day stuff... some of it works, some it seems like an old guy grasping at straws, but i'm still interested...

IdleRich
02-02-2007, 09:54 AM
"Underworld is funny as hell, when you realize the best Lenny Bruce riffs in it are written by Delillo!"
I idly wondered if those bits were real of if DeLillo made them up - didn't find them in the slightest bit funny though.
As an aside, one of the people at my work just stopped to chat about White Noise which was lying on my desk. Apparently she studied it at university and loved it but she's never been able to get in to Underworld.

Yeah, If On A Winters... is a very enjoyable read. Never read any of his others though, what should I go for?

petergunn
02-02-2007, 12:19 PM
I idly wondered if those bits were real of if DeLillo made them up - didn't find them in the slightest bit funny though.


:(

do you like lenny bruce?



As an aside, one of the people at my work just stopped to chat about White Noise which was lying on my desk. Apparently she studied it at university and loved it but she's never been able to get in to Underworld.


everybody studied "white noise" at school, b/c underworld is too fucking long to read for a class! they even print a "study guide" in the back of some editions...

i feel really sad no one can get into to underworld as it is the only EPIC novel written in the last 40 years that i think is any good... tho, i wanna give some of those long William T. Vollman books a chance, as i've liked all the shorter things (novels and articles) i;ve read by him...

IdleRich
02-02-2007, 01:04 PM
"do you like lenny bruce?"
To be honest I don't know much about him.


"everybody studied "white noise" at school, b/c underworld is too fucking long to read for a class!"
Yeah, I'm just beginning to realise that. My brother did American Studies or something and it was White Noise and The Crying of Lot 49 not Underworld and Gravity's Rainbow. Spoken to a few people about this kind of thing and the pattern seems to continue.

matt b
02-02-2007, 01:17 PM
i'm halfway through my first italo calvino, baron in the trees. i think he's set to become a favourite!

'baron in the trees' is ace- proper narrative shocker!
the concept of 'if on a winter's...' is also fantastic, but the book itself lets the idea(s) down a little, i felt- the sort of book my girlfriend tells me i read to feel clever.
for once i kind of agreed with her ;)

Ness Rowlah
03-02-2007, 01:36 AM
No novels at the moment - but

"Orwell in Tribune". Orwell's wartime columns (has an excellent piece on peerages for cash from 1942 or thereabouts and among a big range of subjects there's a piece on made-up languages - Orwell mentioning Interglossa (http://www.rickharrison.com/language/interglossa.html)).

"A Barthes reader" - not sure about Barthes at all. Picked it up after reading that Alain De Botton had his eyes opened by reading Barthes (and Alain seems to be a very nice man; although being born into great wealth must be a liberation and give you a lot of time to write about travel and happiness). I mostly want to shut my eyes when reading Barthes though - and most of the essays seem quite obvious (although embedded in convoluted language - a contrast to the clarity of Orwell) maybe this was cutting edge when it was written?) ...

"Tooth and Claw" - T C Boyle short stories. A great read.

"True tales of American Life" - real stories edited by Paul Auster. Not a great read, but most of the stories are just 2-4 pages - ideal to pick up when a bit knackered (instead of Barthes then).

"No Limit Hold'Em. Theory and Practice" - Sklansky/Miller. Played cards since I was kid so some much needed input for my weekly card game.

petergunn
03-02-2007, 05:16 AM
No novels at the moment - but


"Tooth and Claw" - T C Boyle short stories. A great read.




TC Boyle is great... def. a little looney, sometimes a little lightweight, but always really really readable... if i had a surley 14 year old niece, i would buy them some TC Boyle books...

withnail
05-02-2007, 12:59 AM
Just finished Searching For John Ford, a rather large biography of the director, by Charles McBride. The research involved and the detailed revelations of every aspect of Ford's life are fascinating, although a tougher editor would have helped in places. I don't think McBride quite has a handle on the irascible coot's move from left(ish) to right, from Grapes Of Wrath to The Bamboo Cross. Nor do I feel very confident with his analysis or understanding of the films - Scott Eyman and Lindsey Anderson do better in that regard. Nevertheless, it has made me go back and watch all those Ford films, which is not a bad result. Managed to find a DVD of his 1917 silent Bucking Broadway. Unfortunate that most of his early silents don't exist anymore.

IdleRich
05-02-2007, 09:03 AM
""True tales of American Life" - real stories edited by Paul Auster. Not a great read, but most of the stories are just 2-4 pages - ideal to pick up when a bit knackered (instead of Barthes then)."
That's an interesting collection, varied quality of course but worth reading. I kind of liked the way (not spoiling it) that the very last one is deliberately the most Auster-ish one. He must have loved it when he got sent that one.

Dial
08-02-2007, 02:29 PM
Seeking some insight and balance in a burgeoning romance with a decidedly unbookish and prada pimped Japanese woman, ( to caricature) I've finally begun to read a book which has been sitting on my bookshelf for some time: Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata. Book and woman alike are a little strange. The book wonderfully so.

On a more general tip: It's a little naive to say it yet again, but its extraordinary the way books bleed out to color and inflect the world beyond as one reads, and, conversely, how the world beyond inflects one's reading. And perhaps most extraordinary, how much more powerful the book often is in the equation.

craner
20-03-2007, 10:06 PM
Yes, it's disgusting
when you lose
control, but my
wilderness is love

of a kind, no?
And the purity
of my confusion is
there, it's poetry

in love with you
along with me,
both of us love you
in the same "My!"

Yes, but don't be
scared; poetry
is intangible and
there's no purity

in me
outside of love,
which you can easily wreck
and I can lose.

Clouds pass in
my notorious eye
but you, through
all, I see.

- F O'H

[Dedicated, via me, to Gonch and Mandy.]

IdleRich
21-03-2007, 03:03 PM
Just started reading Lolita which I've never read before and I'm loving. I don't know why but for some reason I was under the misapprehension that it was about a man helplessly trying to bolster his conscience in a battle against feelings that he knew were wrong - far from it, there is definitely no battle going on and he embraces his feelings wholeheartedly. I was imagining a pathetic and ineffectual character who sinned despite himself, not someone who acknowledged his urges and pulled strings so that he could do what he wanted. I reckon I just assumed that someone called Humbert had to be completely ineffectual.
Also, I never knew it was going to be so funny, the narrative style reminds me of Alec Guinness in Kind Hearts and Coronets where he has such delicious fun devising his relatives' downfall, except in this he is of course planning the seduction of a twelve year old girl. Wonder how it's all going to turn out....
Other books in the last couple of weeks: Jay McInery - The Story of My Life (not too keen on this, reminded me of Bret Easton Ellis but not so witty), Margaret Atwood - Cat's Eye (can anyone recommend more of hers, totally different from what I normally read but great), Don Delillo - Cosmopolis (pretty funny but read too many of his recently) and Chuck Palahniuk - Rant (this was great, MILES better than any of his other things that I've read).

sufi
21-03-2007, 04:28 PM
-----Original Message-----
From: books@dailylit.com [mailto:books@dailylit.com]
Sent: 21 March 2007 17:21
Subject: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (20 of 65)

---------------
LICENSE
You are reading Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow.
This book is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 1.0.
Click here to view the license
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0/legalcode
---------------

CHAPTER 4 (CONT'D)

My plan had covered every conceivable detail, except one...
i get 1 portion emailed to me every couple of days from these people http://www.dailylit.com/books/down-and-out-in-the-magic-kingdom,
seems like an innovative & very accessible way to digest a novel which i'm totally enjoying so big up & thanks boingboing massive

MATT MAson
21-03-2007, 06:28 PM
I second that. Doctorow is the man. I just started Overclocked which is a great read so far.

Dial
22-03-2007, 01:06 PM
Swoon: Two poets and an internet romance. Which should make all cringe. She's in Tokyo, he's in New York. Its not fiction (with a caveat) and consists of edits/selections from a voluminous correspondance. I enjoyed the intelligence and passion and realness. ( more than once - after delivering floods of passion - she rejects him quite bluntly on the basis of his looks) That said, the caveat to its non-fictionality would be that, as time went on, ( or, at least, we learn this late in the book) they began to publicly perform their correspondance. I'm split on this: both highly suspicious, and thinking the awareness and conscious shaping must have been a great thing.

On the subject of which, liked the O'Hara poem a few posts back.

DigitalDjigit
22-03-2007, 09:00 PM
Just finished "Gormenghast" by Mervyn Peake. It's like a childrens book for adults or something. The language is challenging and my eyes kinda glazed over during some of the more descriptive/psychological bits. He does repeat certain things a lot but it's a great story with lots of inventive twists. It feels very light-hearted and is funny in many parts until someone dies and it's really unexpected and it gets very somber.

IdleRich
23-03-2007, 11:14 AM
"Just finished "Gormenghast" by Mervyn Peake."
That's great. When I was little my parents bought me an audio book of that read by celebrity fan Sting. I can't get on with audio books though so I had to get the novel and the sequels. I think it's Titus Groan and Titus Alone, both worth reading as well.
Wasn't there a tv adaptation a few years back or am I making that up?

jenks
23-03-2007, 01:06 PM
Currently reading Fred Vargas - someone new to me. Kind of like a french Rankin, thoroughly enjoyable. Would heartily recommend her as an example of someone who is clearly above being labelled as mere'genre fiction'

also got the new edition of McSweeney's which is lovingly put together - 3 books in a magnetic slip cover (not very easy to describe but quite beautiful) - one a collection from Oulipo, another a selection of poetry and the last a collection of short stories based on ideas from F. Scott Fitzgerald's notebooks.

and re-reading some Chekhov short stories.

don_quixote
23-03-2007, 02:39 PM
Wasn't there a tv adaptation a few years back or am I making that up?

there was... a loooong time ago in my mind, pre-millennial... (well, close (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0197154/))

IdleRich
23-03-2007, 04:02 PM
That's the bunny. Dunno why I didn't watch it really.

jenks
23-03-2007, 04:38 PM
That's the bunny. Dunno why I didn't watch it really.

In remember watching it and being impressed with visuals and the grand parade of English character actors but it didn't make me feel like picking up the book(s).

Peake was in the vanguard when the concentration camps were 'liberated'. I remember reading somewhere that Gormenghast is a response to the camps - a place with no escape to the outside - alternatively a retreat from the world into fantasy. A kind of King Lear? - i dunno, i'm not an expert on him but I am sure there will be people here who are - sci fi and fantasy stuff dominating people's preferred reading.

IdleRich
23-03-2007, 04:50 PM
"Peake was in the vanguard when the concentration camps were 'liberated'. I remember reading somewhere that Gormenghast is a response to the camps - a place with no escape to the outside - alternatively a retreat from the world into fantasy. A kind of King Lear? - i dunno, i'm not an expert on him but I am sure there will be people here who are - sci fi and fantasy stuff dominating people's preferred reading."
That's interesting but kind of strange because if I remember correctly, certainly in the last book and possibly in the second, Titus does indeed "escape" Gormenghast and wander round outside.

hurricane run
24-03-2007, 07:39 PM
Just finished reading the damned united by david peace geting inside brian clough's (legendary football manager and contrarian) head, joyous also just read the state of denmark by derek raymond rather bleak re-version of 1984/brave new world but far more attuned to the mores of the uk class system in a fascist state raymond, an old etonian, unlike orwell, appreciates his own distaste for those socially below him not quite the hate of celine sadly

don_quixote
24-03-2007, 09:45 PM
i read the damned utd in like four days (in term time!!), i loved it... but i am a nottingham forest fan so would lap anything about clough up even if i am too young to have any real memory of him at forest.

i really enjoyed gormenghast on the telly, but didn't even have a clue it was a book at the time... only found that out recently, am very tempted to buy it now though.

D84
25-03-2007, 11:56 AM
Peake was in the vanguard when the concentration camps were 'liberated'. I remember reading somewhere that Gormenghast is a response to the camps - a place with no escape to the outside - alternatively a retreat from the world into fantasy. A kind of King Lear? - i dunno, i'm not an expert on him but I am sure there will be people here who are - sci fi and fantasy stuff dominating people's preferred reading.

I thought it was about, if anything, the class system, the royal family, England etc: ie. all these rules and systems that no one really needs but have to be followed for the sake of formality and the maintenance of the status quo.

Titus Alone is the last one which describes his adventures in the outside world not governed by Gormenghast's arcane systems etc. I read it long after I read the first two so I'm not sure how it compares exactly except perhaps the atmosphere isn't as dusty and vivid as the previous two books; I can hardly remember what happens in it so long ago did I read it. It was thoroughly and surprisingly enjoyable though - funny in parts and poignant. Huge influence on Moorcock and his New Wave pals.

johnny_yen
26-03-2007, 05:31 PM
Move Under Ground by Nick Mamatas
The Good German by Joseph Kanon
Positively 4th Street by David Hajdu

jenks
22-06-2007, 11:18 AM
depressing and brilliant. absolutely brilliant. read it in about 4 hours late one night, then sobbed like a bloody child afterwards

Have just finished it - maybe the best thing I've read in ages. It's like a western set in the near future. teh weight of the prose and the sense of unblinking focus and unsentimental approach to the devastation and the collapse of civilisation.

I'm surprised K-Punk hasn't written about it soemwhere - all ghostly and utterly depressing but gripping.

I don't know what everybody else is reading but i urge you to read this.

and it's just come out in paperback here!!

IdleRich
22-06-2007, 11:34 AM
Sounds great...but what book is it?

I'm reading Dog Years by Gunter Grass - very good but I'll save any more than that until I finish it.

jenks
22-06-2007, 12:31 PM
Sorry, in my enthusiasm i forgot.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

Mr. Tea
22-06-2007, 12:51 PM
Just finished "Gormenghast" by Mervyn Peake. It's like a childrens book for adults or something.

Sounds like a good description of Philip Pullman's 'Northern Lights' trilogy. Read them yonks ago, but they're great.

IdleRich
22-06-2007, 01:41 PM
"Sorry, in my enthusiasm i forgot.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy"
Ah, thanks, I had a quick flick through the thread but I couldn't immediately work it out.
It's already on my list, looking forward to reading it, I've heard nothing but good things.

DRMHCP
22-06-2007, 02:31 PM
"Earthly Powers" by Anthony Burgess
"The Way of All Flesh" by Samuel Butler
"The Woodlanders" by Thomas Hardy

all 3 on the go at once! all were verging on overdue with the library so thought I'd start all 3 together thinking probably one would prove to be a load of crap so I'd be down to a more manageable 2 - so far they're all good though so I'm still juggling all three

Mr. Tea
22-06-2007, 02:43 PM
I'm about 100 pages into James Clavell's Shogun - the writings a bit clunky in places, and he feels no compunction about shoehorning in three pages of mediaeval Japanese history in the form of bare-faced exposition, but it's reasonably exciting in a swashbuckling kind of way.

IdleRich
22-06-2007, 03:02 PM
Ah yes, another surprisingly enjoyable epic dealing at great length with an enormous-dicked (some kind of obsession with Clavell it seems) English hero and his battles with cunning eastern schemers.
See also Taipan, Noble House etc and to a lesser extent King Rat.

Mr. Tea
22-06-2007, 03:06 PM
Ah yes, another surprisingly enjoyable epic dealing at great length with an enormous-dicked (some kind of obsession with Clavell it seems) English hero and his battles with cunning eastern schemers.
See also Taipan, Noble House etc and to a lesser extent King Rat.

Haha, yeah, that's cropped up several times already.
Reminds me of the episode of South Park where some sort of Japanese consortium tries to buy out the whole town, or whatever, and whenever the locals try and stop them the Japenese guys just say "You Amelicans have vely big penis!", and the locals get so flattered and smug they forget what they were just talking about.

The power-politics-and-high-adventure-in-a-brutal-feudal-society theme reminds me strongly of Dune.

petergunn
23-06-2007, 02:15 AM
Sorry, in my enthusiasm i forgot.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

the soft focus version of "The Stand" by Stephen King...

i quite liked it when i read it, but dunno if i'll ever reread it...

it seems like apocalytic fiction is the new thing now... some semi-famous British writer whose name escapes me just wrote a similar book and i recently read a review about a series of novellas about manhattan after a nuclear attack...

adruu
23-06-2007, 04:16 AM
if there was one thing i wish people would stop selling it would be the idea of an apocalypse. its a collective mental illness...

robin
23-06-2007, 11:36 AM
anyone reading the black swan by nassum nicholas taleb?

its fascinating so far,i don't know enough about the philosophy and so on that it deals with to fully form an opinion about it but its really interesting so far and has given me a lot to think about.

also reading first love and other stories by beckett again,its every bit as good as i remembered.

Noah Baby Food
23-06-2007, 03:58 PM
"Night Of The Crabs" by Guy N Smith. Shit is straight-up retarded. Highly Recommended!

Mr. Tea
25-06-2007, 11:58 AM
"Night Of The Crabs" by Guy N Smith. Shit is straight-up retarded. Highly Recommended!

Sounds like Garth Marenghi.

Noah Baby Food
25-06-2007, 12:39 PM
Indeed, that's where they got it from. There's a fair few of the crab books...some of them are quite rare. They are well worth a punt, you can read one in half an hour easily...he also has books about werewolves and bats, amongst other things. None of them are approaching literature.

zhao
07-07-2007, 07:06 PM
reading, for the first time (not sure why), the Picture of Dorian Grey. it's funny that some of the inversions of common sense in classic lines such as "beauty is shallow, but at least it's not as shallow as thought" remind me of Zizek's inversions (not the best example but there are countless others).

and in one curious passage Wilde seems to say something about quantum physics, or rather the "new age-y" pseudo scientific / spiritual side of it:

(talking about how the change of expression on the portrait after the girl kills herself)


Might there not be some curious scientific reason for it all? if thought could exercise its influence upon a living organism, might not ghought exercise an influence upon dead and inorganic things? nay, withoutthought or conscious desire, might not things external to ourselves vibrate in unison with our moods and passions, atom calling to atom insecret love or strange affinity?

right out of that movie "what the ****" isn't it?

spooky girlfriend
08-07-2007, 08:50 PM
just finished a collection of H.P Lovecraft horror stories. some have dated worse than others as the themes have since been turned into horror cliche but on the whole quite spine-chilling stuff. a particular favourite is 'under the pyramids', written by Lovecraft as a diary narrative by Harry Houdini. the build-up to the nameless horrors he encounters is brilliant, Lovecraft was a very articulate and well read man with a twisted imagination.

currently reading graham greene's 'the quiet american'. seems good, but the only graham greene i've got to go on thus far is the film version of Brighton Rock- it's like the British 'Scarface' with an immortal portrayal of sinister main character Pinky by Richard Attenborough

IdleRich
09-07-2007, 10:15 AM
"the only graham greene i've got to go on thus far is the film version of Brighton Rock- it's like the British 'Scarface' with an immortal portrayal of sinister main character Pinky by Richard Attenborough"
I love GG and would recommend most of his books - the film of Brighton Rock is strange in that they change the ending so it's definitely worth reading as well. I would say it's a cop-out in the film although someone I spoke to suggested that in its own way it was actually darker.

Mr. Tea
09-07-2007, 01:00 PM
just finished a collection of H.P Lovecraft horror stories. some have dated worse than others as the themes have since been turned into horror cliche but on the whole quite spine-chilling stuff. a particular favourite is 'under the pyramids', written by Lovecraft as a diary narrative by Harry Houdini. the build-up to the nameless horrors he encounters is brilliant, Lovecraft was a very articulate and well read man with a twisted imagination.


Yeah, that's a good one - I think it's actually called 'Imprisoned With The Pharoahs'.
For my money, his spookiest story ever is 'The Colour Out Of Space'. I was pleased to later learn that he actually regarded this as his most effective story. 'At The Mountains Of Madness' is great too.

zhao
09-07-2007, 07:40 PM
what's interesting about HPL is how effective the work is, and still is, considering the corniness, and by now contrived corniness of the cliche ridden, non-descript, absolutely trite language --- sentences like "... filled with an unspeakable horror at the terrifying image of a monstrous, ancient evil..." (not real quote)

i mean it's like a beginner's guide of what NOT to do in creative writing - you are supposed to evoke the feeling of terror and NOT ever use the word "terror"...

Mr. Tea
10-07-2007, 02:11 PM
Yeah, he's either overly descriptive ("...rugose and partly squamous...") or cops out completely and describes things as "indescribable".

Rather than the stuff that's meant to provoke either horror or disgust, I prefer his "dizzying vistas of undimensioned night..." kind of prose, all the mystical, cosmic force beyond the ken of mortals kind of stuff.
It's interesting that HPL had a keen amateur interest in science and was writing at a time when general relativity was a big new idea; GR is also said to have been a big influence on some of the cubists at the time, and also M.C.Escher. Hmm, that would have been a good topic for the 'Sciences and Humanities' thread.

Noah Baby Food
11-07-2007, 09:34 AM
Never read much Lovecraft, which is a bit of an oversight on my part. It's on my 'to do' list definitely. Never read much (any?) Poe either. Have been neglecting the horror classics...

I am currently struggling my way through 'Terrace Terrors' by Richard Allen. Not one of his best, not that his best are actually 'good' anyway, really. He is such a terrible writer...but you cannot overstate his importance...hundreds of thousands, even millions, read these books.

I've got a massive pile of pulp fiction to work my way through...I am obsessed. Books in my pile include 'Frenzy' and 'Slob' by Rex Miller, 'Bats Out Of Hell, by Guy N Smith, 'The Hiss' by Andrew Laurance, some Shaun Hutson, a Herne The Hunter 'adult western', an Edge 'adult western', one of the Fontana horror anthologies, 'Confessions From A Luxury Liner', some Graham Masterton book, 'Great Apes' by Will Self (which I started reading but it annoyed me too much). Many more too. Can't stop buying the bloody things but never get round to reading 'em.

Octopus?
11-07-2007, 02:53 PM
'Frenzy' and 'Slob' by Rex Miller

Love those books...reading them back to back certain portions repeat themselves, but that's natural for a pulp series. The constant obsessive details of his massive food consumption, sickening girth and preparations for his killing sprees are incredibly eerie and repellent. Great stuff :D

IdleRich
11-07-2007, 03:00 PM
Finished a Gunter Grass novel and I'm now reading Maldoror as recommended in this very place and also at the surrealism exhibition in London. Went to the Dali exhibition at the Tate Modern on Friday and saw it referenced there as well so it's good timing.
So far very readable and funny - can't imagine it will take me too long to get through (unlike Gunter Grass which took aaaaggggges)

Guybrush
11-07-2007, 05:14 PM
The Second Sex (know your enemy, etc.). I’m only 100 pages in, but it’s surprisingly reasonable so far.

nomadologist
11-07-2007, 05:29 PM
WOw! Guybrush is reading Simone de Beauvoir. Next you should try Irigaray.

Guybrush
11-07-2007, 05:39 PM
I found it in my mother’s bookshelf. Irigaray I have never heard of.

nomadologist
11-07-2007, 05:43 PM
Check out The Sex which is Not One

Guybrush
11-07-2007, 05:46 PM
I will do my best.

petergunn
12-07-2007, 07:38 PM
WOw! Guybrush is reading Simone de Beauvoir. Next you should try Irigaray.

or the Scum Manifesto...

polystyle desu
14-07-2007, 02:26 AM
By John Brunner

you
15-07-2007, 11:36 PM
"The Road" at the moment, after I got to grips with his writing style, ive found it readable and almost gripping, but im kinda wary of it, the image and idea is so stark and simple I think one could project umpteen different meaning into it ( kinda like paulo cuelo ?sp? , except McCarthy is at least 12 times better ), I also cant help but feel that what makes it so compulsive is an easy language and plodding plot, like Mark Haddon. I dont mean to slate this book, its just im not sitting reading being blown away by it, maybe when I finish it ill come back eat my words and edit this post.

EDIT-SPOILER------ I finished it last night, its quite an optimistic book?!?! I kept expecting him to kill the boy and himself, hence why the number of bullets where mentioned, in a pretty negative nihilistic fashion but no! Its was much more uplifting than I expected, pretty optimistic in my mind.

I read Dorian Gray some months ago, I feel bad it didnt impress me. The style of writing really narc''d me and I found myself getting annoyed at the relentless descriptions of silk or gilding or jewells or whatever......

So, yeah, one too simplistic and one to waffly and overly expressive.

Ive been on a dostoevsky binge and have read "notes from the underground", "the gambler" and "the double" - the double really got to me, wonderful stuff, so many books and films are like it, it really got me thinking. "notes.." is great but as an intellectual piece, a response to "what is to be done" by wotshisname(?)chernysove??. I have my eyes on Bros Karamazov next.... anyone read it?

I also have found myself drawn to Sci Fi - ... I havent read much, just Atwood, 1984, fahrehheit 451, War of the worlds etc etc.... im thinking of looking into some P.K.Dick or Assimov, ive been kinda distracted with Cyberpunkism, extropianism.... Hans Moravecks "mind children" ??? Guess I should start with neuromancer really?

mistersloane
16-07-2007, 03:05 AM
Guess I should start with neuromancer really?

Yeah, I definitely start with that. Gibson's like crack or a casual sex binge, you just go through it really fast and then don't touch it again but it's good while it lasts.

I'm re-reading Jack Black's 'You Can't Win' which is just a fabulous criminal underworld bio/novel, set around 20s America and hobos and prisons and all that romantic shit. I got into all sorts of trouble when I read it first time, it's such a bad influence, I'd recommend it to anyone.

Wilde's hard to get into, you have to really get into the period or read around decadence or his life to go there without finding it overmannered, but he was a total master of something, but I went really heavy into all the decadent shit.

polystyle desu
16-07-2007, 01:53 PM
Hans Moravic's Mind Children was great ... in it's time.
Haven't heard someone mention that one in long time ..
Anyone read Tomorrow Makers ?

Eric
16-07-2007, 02:10 PM
Yeah, I definitely start with that. Gibson's like crack or a casual sex binge, you just go through it really fast and then don't touch it again but it's good while it lasts.


it turns out that one can go back to it, and there is something there to go back to ... at least this is my recent experience with gibson. he has some pretty interesting things to imply.

don_quixote
05-08-2007, 09:32 AM
i really enjoyed gormenghast on the telly, but didn't even have a clue it was a book at the time... only found that out recently, am very tempted to buy it now though.


read titus groan on holiday. i had actually tried to start it about three times before but found the start almost unpenetrable for casual reading and once i'd got through it (it's not particularly bad, i don't know why i found his at all!!) i couldn't put it down. fuschia fascinated and thrilled me, surely 1946 is way too early for this teenage angst stuff? i'm never entirely sure how old she is, nanny slagg seems to suggest she's fifteen at some point, but it's always suggested she's a lot younger than steerpike (who i initially loved in the tv series and was delighted that he lived up to expectations) at seventeen. which was confusing.

does keda commit suicide? i could never quite make it out.

don_quixote
05-08-2007, 09:33 AM
i would say please don't spoil the future books for me, but it was really strange reading the book eight years after watching the tv series, because certain things came back to me and i knew what was going to happen.

tox
05-08-2007, 11:35 AM
Just finished Miranda July's book of short stories No One Belongs Here More Than You.

Started off thinking them sort of contrived in their fey-ness but by the end I was convinced that the quirks are all quite genuine. The stories all deal in observation rather than emotion, which makes it read somewhat like The Curious Incident of the Dog.

If enjoyed her film (the name of which temporarily slips my mind) then this book is pretty much in that vein.

Served as a good interlude to Satanic Verses which I'll continue battling my way through next, if I don't get side-tracked by wifey's copy of Belle du Jour.