Author Topic: Fave Books / Currently Reading  (Read 753849 times)

scratchbomb

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1425 on: October 14, 2010, 01:44:36 PM »
Finally reading "Nixonland". Holy ess-hit. Mind blowing, and terrifying, since so many techniques Nixon pioneered are so prevalent in politics today.
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JonFromMaplewood

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1426 on: October 15, 2010, 11:59:10 AM »
Just finished Matt Debenham's collection of short stories "The Book of Right and Wrong."  Not saying this just because he is a FOT: They were terrific. 

"Little Liars" and "Failure to Thrive" were personal favorites.

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1427 on: October 15, 2010, 03:19:04 PM »
I'm actually in the middle of the book Rick Perlstein wrote before "Nixonland": "Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus" and I think it's even better than "Nixonland," which was excellent. Of course, I'm a bit less familiar with this story.  Goldwater himself was a fairly feckless candidate (and comes off as a rather likeable person, if a misguided ideologue, which is a distinction I'd long given up on being able to make when it comes to assessing these conservative fuckwits). But the network of conservative and ultraconservative groups that revved up in the 60s to propel him forward was utterly relentless, and to read about their tactics and beliefs is to realize that they've never stopped, never given an inch--50 years later they're still the most indomitable force in American politics, and you can read about how it all started here.  It makes Nixon and Reagan seem like footnotes. (Sean Wilentz has an article in the current New Yorker about how the Glenn Beck right is virtually a reincarnation of the John Birch Society.  Reading about the JBS in this book, I commented to my SO that, while we think it's utterly nuts that right-wingers today call Obama a communist, back then they were calling Eisenhower one.)

So does it make me feel better or worse about the current situation to realize how long the really, deeply crazy has been with us?  Neither I guess, really.  On the one hand, it does seem to put the Tea Party in some perspective to read about the truly poisonous, violent hatred that was being directed at anything smacking of liberalism 50 years ago.  On the other hand, I feel like people have less of an excuse now.  Back then they were still reeling from the Great Depression, WWII, the Bomb, the Cold War, and uppity negroes.  One can imagine that a lot of people felt utterly displaced and didn't know which the fuck end was up.  By now you'd think people would realize that Medicare and civil rights don't lead to Soviet-style tyranny, and would have seen what unfettered free-market rule does to your retirement prospects. So yeah, no, People, no excuse.  Shape the hell up.
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Rick in Salt Lake

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1428 on: October 16, 2010, 11:31:44 AM »
So I'm thinking of reading something by Terry Pratchett, but he has so many books I'm unsure where to start. What is either a good place to begin or the book which is his best work?
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Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1429 on: October 16, 2010, 04:56:16 PM »
The Swedish film version of Let The Right One In is pretty amazing, IMO.

Currently breezing through W.G. Sebald's The Emigrants and kinda wondering whether I might be missing something.  Also, just got back from the Brooklyn Public Library, where I picked up some holds -- Dan Clowes' Wilson, Guided by Voices: A Brief History, and a Carla Speed McNeil Finder comic.  The library is so fudging great.
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masterofsparks

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1430 on: October 17, 2010, 12:00:57 PM »
"Cardboard Gods" by Josh Wilker.

Thank you for the recommendation, Scratchbomb (at least I think it was you in the chat).  I loved it.

I've started reading "Big Hair and Plastic Grass" which I highly recommend to anyone who loves baseball.  Or at least loved it when players like Richie Hebner had to dig graves in the offseason to make ends meet.


I loved Big Hair and Plastic Grass so much that I'm going to check out Cardboard Gods. I just got an Amazon gift certificate, so the timing is perfect.


I just started Cardboard Gods and I'm loving it. It reminds me of one of my favorites, The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading, and Bubble Gum Book. Tonally it's different from Cardboard Gods (less elegaic and personal) but structurally they're similar, with a particular baseball card used as a jumping-off point for a discussion, a memory, a nostalgic look back, etc. I think it's out of print but there are used copies to be had on Amazon, and I can't imagine it's too tough to find somewhere else:

http://www.amazon.com/American-Baseball-Flipping-Trading-Bubble/dp/0395586682/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1287330967&sr=8-1
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Eric Fishlegs

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1431 on: October 17, 2010, 02:29:26 PM »
Just read DANGEROUSLY FUNNY: THE UNCENSORED STORY OF THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR by David Bianculli and I really liked it. They get through the Smothers Brother pre-TV show days in about 50 pages and while the book does seem to overestimate the Brothers importance by claiming they were the genesis of everyhting from The Daily Show to MTV it's still a worthwhile read. It's funny to think of these guys who I thought were just corny, kinda funny singing comedians actually had balls, especially Tom.

JonFromMaplewood

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1432 on: October 18, 2010, 11:11:56 AM »
"Indecent Exposure" by Tom Sharpe.  Hilarious and brutal.  I can see why this guy was kicked out of South Africa.
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Christina

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1433 on: October 18, 2010, 11:21:19 AM »
"Indecent Exposure" by Tom Sharpe.  Hilarious and brutal.  I can see why this guy was kicked out of South Africa.

Love him.
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masterofsparks

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1434 on: October 18, 2010, 12:32:36 PM »
I'm about to re-read Rivethead by Ben Hamper. One (very funny) guy's tale of working in a GM plant. He started writing in the early-to-mid 80s under the pen name "Rivethead" for the Flint Voice (which was run by a young Michael Moore) and made a brief appearance in Roger & Me. I highly recommend it.
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fletcher munson

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1435 on: October 19, 2010, 08:05:26 AM »
A guy in a book just told me that money is an illusion, so everybody, stop worrying about it.
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Corman

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1436 on: October 19, 2010, 09:54:31 AM »
So I'm thinking of reading something by Terry Pratchett, but he has so many books I'm unsure where to start. What is either a good place to begin or the book which is his best work?

The Discworld series is written in such a way that you can pick up any of them and have a reasonably good idea of what's going on, but they are chronological. So it'd be best to start with The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. Or if you want a non-Discworld offering to start you off, there's Good Omens, the biblical apocalypse novel he wrote with Neil Gaiman. It's quite good because he keeps Gaiman's worst excesses in check and vice versa.

Steve of Bloomington

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1437 on: October 19, 2010, 09:55:05 AM »
I had been looking for some entertaining and not horribly demanding sci-fi, and 'Moxyland' (a cyberpunk (for lack of a better term - I've been out of sci-fi for a while) novel set in near-future South Africa) has satisfied that need for me. I may even go back to reading more sci-fi again.

Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1438 on: October 19, 2010, 10:39:38 AM »
Steve, I've been into Octavia Butler and Kim Stanley Robinson lately.

Just read Dan Clowes' Wilson.  It was okay, but I'm glad I got it from the library instead of buying it.  Currently reading the GbV book -- pretty decent, but so far it's not telling me a whole lot that I didn't already know.
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Corman

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1439 on: October 19, 2010, 01:25:15 PM »
I'm currently making my way through a large number of short story collections from the "weird fiction" genre which, at its best, merges psychological horror with metaphysical horror. While the term "weird fiction" is mostly used for writers like Poe or H.P. Lovecraft, there are now quite a few contemporary practitioners of this artform. The granddaddy of them all is Thomas Ligotti who, sadly, has become much less prolific as the years go by, due to a combination of mental and physical problems. Ligotti, much like the Best Show, is one of those cultural artifacts you may not understand the first time around. I'd tried to read his collections The Nightmare Factory and Noctuary in the past and they left me blah, but last year I revisited The Nightmare Factory and it hooked me. This year was his most productive in some time, as it saw the release of both his newest original work, the nonfiction treatise The Conspiracy Against The Human Race, and an extensively revised edition of his first collection, Songs of A Dead Dreamer. I find reading them in tandem works as a sort of thematic decoder ring for Ligotti's more abstract ideas, since Conspiracy is Ligotti's dour personal philosophy laid bare.

I'm also reading work by folks who were inspired by Ligotti and, in his absence, have carried the torch of the contemporary weird- Joeseph S. Pulver, Sr., Quentin S. Crisp, Mark Samuels, Matt Cardin, and Laird Barron, just to name a few. A great many of these authors have either new work or reprints of rarer work forthcoming from Chomu Press, which Quentin S. Crisp founded after he became dissatisfied with being "ghettoized" in expensive hardcovers most people can't find and/or afford (due to its status as a niche genre, many weird fiction authors appear exclusively in small press publications).
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 01:27:17 PM by Corman »