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Thread: what are you reading now?

  1. #2476
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    i'm reading ben ratliff's every song ever

    halfway through it now and it has been rewarding in the sense that my musical education (the various phases of my interests in music) has well prepared me for the various references the author makes and he mentions a bunch of bands and singers that i haven't really gotten around to (sarah vaughan, dean martin, art tatum). the author, i'd guess, is probably twelve years my senior. so there's a Cool Older Cousin Effect going on here that i'm enjoying.

    as far as a work of ekphrasis, it succeeds. he's obviously a close listener. as a work of philosophy of music, the chapters are a bit short to really deep dive into the concepts. kind of a bathroom read in that respect.

    simon reynolds reviews it here and i reckon he's right about criticizing ratliff's dismissal of true believer one-genre types. we need those tunnel-visionaries to push their genres forward.

    ratliff's treatment of nick drake was sort of rough. his skepticism about nick drake's depression and his treatment of sadness in music as a superficial style...

  2. #2477
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    I just finished Beckett's Fizzles. Its another chapter in my continuing saga of really loving Beckett's texts that comprise of "FALL HARDER, FAIL BETTER, SLACK MORE STERNLY," etc. etc. and looking at all his plays and novels like "... Iiiiii'll get around to all that."

    Also read the Julian Cope "Copendium" this autumn, forgot if I mentioned it. Its good stuff. Gotta commend a man who interrupts his review of a Black Sabbath live bootleg to continuously interject "WE LOVE YOOOOU!"

  3. #2478
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    My foolish new year's resolutions have kicked off in advance with a pledge to read all of Shakespeare's plays, at the rate of one per week, this year. This will mean ploughing through some middling histories to start with, but if I manage it, I can at last look down my nose at the plebs who've only managed to read 99% of them.

  4. #2479
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    I read Jace Clayton's aka DJ/Rupture's "Uproot:Travels in 21st Century Music and Digital Culture" over Xmas. It kind of feels like it might have been fascinating had it been written in 2006, but it just comes across as kind of flat. I suppose it's because most of his insights and thoughts seem to come from ideas that have been endlessly refracted round the internet over the past ten years. It's becoming very difficult to write about the zeitgeist, it seems - maybe writing about the zeitgeist IS the zeitgeist now.

    (The only really good bit was about Berber songs and autotune, but I'd read his thoughts on that before. Good stuff still.)
    Last edited by baboon2004; 30-12-2016 at 07:13 PM.

  5. #2480
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowleyHead View Post

    Also read the Julian Cope "Copendium" this autumn, forgot if I mentioned it. Its good stuff. Gotta commend a man who interrupts his review of a Black Sabbath live bootleg to continuously interject "WE LOVE YOOOOU!"
    I've got this, its great, if a little too indebted to lester bangs sometimes. My mate Borja's doom band Orthodox are in there. They were his backing band for a few gigs out here in Spain a few years ago. I don't think they could understand what he was saying most of the time, partly because of the language barrier but mostly because he was apparently an extremely odd chap as you might imagine.

    Pete Burns passing away recently really made me want to read 'head on' again actually, Cope's description of him is so funny. Wish i still had my copy.

    Never did get on with Cope's actual music though.

  6. #2481
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    Mark Fisher's Capitalist realism & Ghosts of my life

  7. #2482
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    Picked up Martin Amis's 'Time's Arrow' over Christmas, expecting to put it down again sharpish, but I'm glad I stuck with it, letting his Amisisms wash over me, because it's really a pretty excellent novel. The reverse time-flow allows for all sorts of vividly imagined images (e.g. sea-gulls descending backwards with their legs peddling, 'as if to break their fall') and comical reversals, as well as the blackly comical reversal of the meaning of the holocaust. The device of the narrator, inside the protagonist but not the protagonist, is a blessing because it lets Amis get away with using his own voice, that voice that is so unbelievable when put into the head or mouth of one of his cartoon characters.

    I've noticed that he can rarely let a description stand without doubling it, which reduces the clarity of his writing, but then this IS his style. I decided to accept it as a sort of poetic trick.

    Having finished that, I'm starting 'The Song Machine'. The Taming of the Shrew lies unread on my bedside table, shaming me.

  8. #2483
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    A dissenting voice, the NYT's Michiko Kakutani:

    'Unfortunately, the bulk of the novel seems like an extended setup for this emotional payoff -- pages and pages of sophomoric humor laid as groundwork for one huge philosophical point. As a result, the reader must wade through the first three-quarters of the book, which reads like a virtuosic but mannered performance by a writer eager to exploit the comic possibilities of a structual gimmick, before getting to the heart of the matter.

    Perhaps this is exactly what Mr. Amis intended, but it's a risky narrative strategy more suited for the short story form than a novel. As it is, the top-heavy jokey part of the book overshadows its somber conclusion, blunting its larger moral ambitions.'

    I think this is pretty hard on the bulk of the book! But I can see what she means.

  9. #2484

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    Who recommended Adam Nevill's new collection of old stories, Some Will Not Sleep? Was it Droid?

    I read the first story last night and enjoyed it immensely. Looking forward to the next one.

    I'm half way through Langan's The Fisherman. Feels like this middle section is dragging somewhat. I really liked the two contemporary characters at the start but I'm less keen on this historic hypo-diegesis tbh. And the mystical stuff with the ropes and stuff... bit too fantastic for me.

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  11. #2485
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  12. #2486
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    Quote Originally Posted by you View Post
    Who recommended Adam Nevill's new collection of old stories, Some Will Not Sleep? Was it Droid?

    I read the first story last night and enjoyed it immensely. Looking forward to the next one.
    Yeah, enjoyed that one too. Hes very good at shorts. Really love 'doll hands'.

    I'm half way through Langan's The Fisherman. Feels like this middle section is dragging somewhat. I really liked the two contemporary characters at the start but I'm less keen on this historic hypo-diegesis tbh. And the mystical stuff with the ropes and stuff... bit too fantastic for me.
    Has the 'quest' started yet? It livens up quite nicely there.

  13. #2487

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    Quote Originally Posted by droid View Post
    Yeah, enjoyed that one too. Hes very good at shorts. Really love 'doll hands'.



    Has the 'quest' started yet? It livens up quite nicely there.
    I just finished the bit where they chop ropes and the Fisherman gets dragged out into the sea... I will push on. I miss the widowers from the start.

  14. #2488
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    I liked the black beach and the leviathan but thought the section before dragged a little. He pulls it all back with some old skool schlock at the end though.

  15. #2489

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    Quote Originally Posted by droid View Post
    I liked the black beach and the leviathan but thought the section before dragged a little. He pulls it all back with some old skool schlock at the end though.
    Still on it. At times I feel this book is as good as Ligotti - and that is saying something, because I always feel horror is more effective in short format. So to produce a novel that can be likened to one of the great short masters is no mean feat. I can't help but feel a better edit would really help this book though. The middle section could certainly be trimmed back in some cases. I'm not sure how much all the coming and going of the peripheral characters adds to the book.

    Also - the sex scene is utterly needless. They are notoriously difficult to do well, and Langan's is not wonderful. It is OK, - but again I question what it adds. Surely a kiss or embrace would've been just as effective, if not more so.

  16. #2490
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    I am currently reading The Last Wolf by László Krasznahorkai (in my head I have the Fast Show bloke saying this...)

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