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Thread: books you've had to stop reading

  1. #76
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    ah, Billy Budd! didn't get through that for some reason.

    i've noticed that novellas are hard for me to finish unless i am totally gripped by the story. maybe because i feel i've got no skin in the game with a short book.

  2. #77
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    Saw this book on the NYT's 'Books of the Year' list and thought it might be an interesting read for those who love/loathe 'Moby Dick':

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/North-Water...cm_wl_huc_item

    'The north water is where the whales are, and this novel is about the dying days of Hullís whaling industry, in the late 1850s. Paraffin and coal oil are replacing whale oil, threatening ruin to shipowners who have invested heavily in their fleets. Only the most agile or ruthless will survive, even though there are still whales to be hunted.

    The story opens violently. Henry Drax, a harpooner, has signed on for a six-month voyage on a Greenland whaler, the Volunteer, which is presently being trimmed and packed in harbour. Drax is a brute, a vacuum into which men and boys are sucked and do not emerge alive. Within the first 12 pages he has killed a Shetlander who has crossed him in a bar. Next he beats unconscious and rapes a young boy whom he suspects of leading him into a trap. Before doing this he says to the child: ďIím the fucker, me, Iím never the one thatís fucked.Ē Drax joins his ship, and itís clear that if he has anything to do with it, the Volunteer is already marked for trouble.'

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...mcguire-review

  3. #78

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    Ravenscrag by Alain Farah - pretentious self indulgent patrician lit-bro shite that doesn't work

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    I've read 'Great Expectations'. It was worth it for the many long stretches of imaginative brilliance. Of course, Dickens is often sentimental/maudlin and the plot creaks under a surfeit of contrivances
    I can't believe I wrote a sentence like this and wasn't struck down by a thunderbolt the very same day.

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  6. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    I can't believe I wrote a sentence like this and wasn't struck down by a thunderbolt the very same day.
    I seldom re-read. But the tale of lucky Pip is one I could revisit again and again.

  7. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by you View Post
    Ravenscrag by Alain Farah - pretentious self indulgent patrician lit-bro shite that doesn't work
    I'm never quite sure what 'patrician' means as an adjective. Of course I could look it up on Wiktionary, but what do you mean by it in this sense?
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  8. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by you View Post
    I seldom re-read. But the tale of lucky Pip is one I could revisit again and again.
    I've sniffing around the dickens section of waterstones lately. Read 'Treasure Island' on holiday and it gave me a taste for literature that's written in that very vivid, entertaining and (for want of a real word) yarn-y way. Only trouble is all his books are doorstops so I feel I'll never have the time.

  9. #83
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    Careful Corpsey, that post is just BEGGING for a really puerile selective quotation.

    Not that I'd sink to anything as low as that, of course...
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  10. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by you View Post
    I seldom re-read. But the tale of lucky Pip is one I could revisit again and again.
    I am an inveterate re-reader and sometimes I wonder if there is any point in reading anything new and just re-reading stuff I know to be good.
    Things like Madame Bovary, The Good Soldier, Gatsby, Sun Also Rises and a few others, I have probably read at least 10 times and not for work purposes. Nabokov said something along the lines of 'there is no reading, only re-reading' in his lectures on the novel.

    I actually wrote something about re-reading Great Expectations but I never got round to posting it on my rather pointless blog. Maybe over the Bank Holiday I'll sort it out.

  11. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpsey View Post
    I've sniffing around the dickens section of waterstones lately. Read 'Treasure Island' on holiday and it gave me a taste for literature that's written in that very vivid, entertaining and (for want of a real word) yarn-y way. Only trouble is all his books are doorstops so I feel I'll never have the time.
    I know they look ridiculously big but they move quickly - Bleak House is utterly gripping.

    Or try his mate Wilkie Collins, he fits your bill of 'yarn-y' and 'vivid' and 'entertaining'

  12. #86

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    Jenks - I forced myself through Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts. I had a phobic response every other page. The casual bourgy privilege, the name checking, the oh-so-light-with-theory-road-to-impress-the-ambiguity-of-the-human-condition references to Deleuze, Winnicott, Butler etc ... Ugh. It was so smugly knowing, each paragraph ending with some quip about females being defined by lack or the crippling inexactitude of language or society's construction of normativity.... It just felt like a product of the literary liberal elite, an earnestly hand-wringing musing born of circle-jerk (yes, I am well aware of the irony of employing that term here for this book). I really didn't like it. But I expect many liberal arts and humanities students would.

    There, I said it.

    Harry's voice was beautifully done though.

  13. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by you View Post
    Jenks - I forced myself through Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts. I had a phobic response every other page... I really didn't like it. But I expect many liberal arts and humanities students would.

    There, I said it.

    Harry's voice was beautifully done though.
    Sorry about that mate - I felt a similar response to the Tao Lin that you recommended to me - you can't like everything!

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