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Thread: what are you reading now?

  1. #1156

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    Holiday time has meant I have been reading lots and reading fun books! No Eugene Thacker, no Evan Calder Williams, no Ranciere oooh no. I have been stuck into:

    Jan Potocki's The Manuscript Found in Saragossa - great if you like succubi, eroticism, heros, gangs and cabalists.

    DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little - page turner booker winner, don't dwell on it, I'd prefer an auto-biography to be honest but Hay(!).....

    Will Self's How the dead live - really getting into Self, 5 years ago I just hated his prose, now I adore it.

  2. #1157
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    Manuscript is a really funny book I thought, lots of dry humour in there. Compare it to Cervantes but not as morally bankrupt.

  3. #1158
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    i've just finished somebody else, a travel book/biography of rimbaud's years in africa by charles nicholls. a bit dry in places, but very interesting if you fancy the horn of africa and the history of african trading. very poignant as well, i never paid much attention to rimbaud before this book but am now freshly intrigued.

    curently reading contra el cambio by an argentine climate sceptic journalist, unfortunately not off to a good start, i will probably end up taking it to the exchange.

    and i'd like to thank whoever mentioned ryszard kapuscinski upthread, i stumbled on travels with herodotus and now have a new writer to hunt down obsessively.

  4. #1159
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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzleb View Post
    cervantes
    i would love to read el quijote, i hate that i had to read an abridged version in school and that it kept me away from the author/book.

  5. #1160
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    I just picked up Don Quixote the other day on a Penguin Classic binge (Villette and a new copy of Women in Love as well!) - looking to read it over this summer, should be fun.

    I've been reading Keri Hulme's 'The Bone People' at the moment (for class) - it's seriously good. Brilliantly subtly and insightful look into New Zealand / Maori 'viewpoints' (for lack of a better term) - all shot through with extraordinarily gorgeous details. The way she writes out the characters thoughts, and the way she uses the old free indirect discourse is brilliant, amazing subtleties in the tone.

  6. #1161
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    "I've just finished about 85% of David Foster Wallace's "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men". It's very very clever, and he was obviously an exceptional writer, but BY GOD it's fucking tedious. Long long long and incredibly self-absorbed and obsessively detailed interior monologues, over and over again, picking apart ever painful detail - I can liken it to having an argument with a really clever friend at 5am when you're both really pissed on gin and really should be going to bed, but can't. I only managed to finish so much of it because it was the only thing I had on me on a long train ride across Catalonia. Amazingly clever, witty and perceptive, and at moments he manages to transcend the tedium, I suppose, so worth reading but rather teeth-grinding.

    Has put me off wanting to read Infinite Jest, a bit."
    It shouldn't because I didn't really like Brief Interviews much and I loved IJ. Had roughly the same problems with it as you - too many skilfully constructed but tedious circular arguments and infinite regresses.

    Anyway, I've not had much chance to read more of A Void but what I have read is rather weird - there seems to be an unattributed retelling of Bioy Casares' (sp?) The Invention of Morel (though without any "e"s of course) and then a similar reworking of one of Poe's detective stories but with a different ending. There are also other stories which I don't recognise but which I suspect might be based on other classic novels. Anyone got any idea why he does this? Or is it just to make the reader feel clever when he spots the references?

  7. #1162
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    I'm reading Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje - forensics and archaeological digs in Sri Lanka. He is a seriously good writer - the weight and rhythm of his prose, the meandering about between different time periods. anyone else read him?

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    Quote Originally Posted by faustus View Post
    I'm reading Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
    just want to reiterate that this was amaaaazing. going to read the english patient next.

  9. #1164
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    Recently finished Franzen's Freedom. It is a perfect summer read. Not much more I can say than that, really, except, maybe, that I liked it all right.

    Now I am reading He Died with His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond, based on a recommendation (or perhaps just a mention) on this board. I am halfway through but I am enjoying it. Hardboiled detective fiction type thing, I guess.

  10. #1165
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    "Recently finished Franzen's Freedom. It is a perfect summer read. Not much more I can say than that, really, except, maybe, that I liked it all right."
    It is pretty good, kinda easy to devour in a Tom Wolfe sort of way and yet a bit too involved to dismiss as a Big Mac of literature or whatever. But not too long after I read it I read Infinite Jest and it struck me that, in some sense at least, both books seek to do the same thing - to encapsulate America (or the world) in the late 20th or early 21st century. What's gone wrong, what's gone right and how that works on both a personal and global level and ideally on every level inbetween. What western humanity is, basically - up to a point. And it also struck me that on those terms Freedom is as far behind IJ as playschool is behind university. Maybe it's unfair to castigate something because there is something similar that's so much better but that's always the way of the world. Emile Heskey is a perfectly workmanlike forward, he's just not as good as Messi. Same goes here I think.

  11. #1166
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    Quote Originally Posted by empty mirror View Post
    Now I am reading He Died with His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond, based on a recommendation (or perhaps just a mention) on this board. I am halfway through but I am enjoying it. Hardboiled detective fiction type thing, I guess.
    Interesting writer. I read all the Factory novels when they came out, along with his 60s works. He has a unique voice as an ex-Etonian dabbling with the criminal class of old 'Swinging' London.

  12. #1167
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    @You Have you read The Possessed by Elif Bautman about her time as doctoral student of Russian Lit? really gripping final chapter on Demons/Possessed.

    I know your penchant for all things Fyodor.

  13. #1168

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    Hi Jenks

    No, I haven't came across this book before, it looks like a kind of personal and anecdotal account of Russian literature in some ways. Is there a decent amount of literary analysis for some books?? What does she say about Demons?

    That book definitely looks interesting though, popped it on the wish list! Feel free to tell me more about it.

    I've tentatively started reading Eugene Thackers 'In the Dust of this Planet', light relief from the Potocki.. Tariq Goddards 'The Message' arrived for me this week too.

  14. #1169
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    Quote Originally Posted by you View Post
    Hi Jenks

    No, I haven't came across this book before, it looks like a kind of personal and anecdotal account of Russian literature in some ways. Is there a decent amount of literary analysis for some books?? What does she say about Demons?

    That book definitely looks interesting though, popped it on the wish list! Feel free to tell me more about it.

    I've tentatively started reading Eugene Thackers 'In the Dust of this Planet', light relief from the Potocki.. Tariq Goddards 'The Message' arrived for me this week too.
    It's a strange mixture of memoir and literary analysis. She has three sections on studying Uzbek in Samarkand which is mainly amusing but does sneak in quite a lot about Uzbek poetry and folklore. The other sections are based around various writers and conferences she has attended but all the time the literary analysis sits ticking away at the back. She starts with Tolstoy, her great love but has good sections on Pushkin, Chekhov and finally Dostoevsky. It's worth a read if the Russian novel is your kind of thing.

    Now onto the Sister Brothers - just shortlisted for the Booker 9and which i was unaware of when i bought it) - hoping it'll take my mind off the new term and marking.

  15. #1170
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    It is pretty good, kinda easy to devour in a Tom Wolfe sort of way and yet a bit too involved to dismiss as a Big Mac of literature or whatever. But not too long after I read it I read Infinite Jest and it struck me that, in some sense at least, both books seek to do the same thing - to encapsulate America (or the world) in the late 20th or early 21st century. What's gone wrong, what's gone right and how that works on both a personal and global level and ideally on every level inbetween. What western humanity is, basically - up to a point. And it also struck me that on those terms Freedom is as far behind IJ as playschool is behind university. Maybe it's unfair to castigate something because there is something similar that's so much better but that's always the way of the world. Emile Heskey is a perfectly workmanlike forward, he's just not as good as Messi. Same goes here I think.
    I've got shitloads of train travel with work over the next couple of months and am toying with attempting Infinite Jest which is on my shelf or reading the selection of smaller books next to my bed.

    Having just read Freedom also, would you recommend IJ as worth all the hours then?

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