Author Topic: Fave Books / Currently Reading  (Read 728916 times)

wood and iron

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1605 on: April 15, 2011, 03:23:39 PM »
I have a copy of The Pale King, but I don't feel like I'm ready to take it on yet. The discussion of Infinite Jest is making me strongly ponder re-visiting it. I might just jump in midway or read bits like the aforementioned filmography.

Have you cracked it all? I'm dying to read it, but I'm apprehensive about "unfinished" works published posthumously.

I started All The King's Men yesterday, and I was eyeing The Pale King for my next one, but I don't want to pay for a hardback if I haven't heard anything about it.

I read All The King's Men two summers ago. That book was a slog. I appreciated its story but thought it really overwritten. What's your opinion on it?

dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1606 on: April 15, 2011, 05:23:14 PM »

Ohmyfuckingod, isn't Reginald about the funniest character ever?

You're probably right. I would venture to guess FoTs would love this as well. And in the event you read Saki and don't find Reginald awesome don't worry. The storry will be over shortly. Munro took the phrase "short story" very litterally...

Reginald is great, but I'm more of a Clovis guy. Clovis is the King of the Smartasses.

Okay, I've been sold on Saki now, and I picked up a collection at the library.

Where do I start??

With the collection you checked out?

adamfromohio

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1607 on: April 15, 2011, 10:59:43 PM »
I have a copy of The Pale King, but I don't feel like I'm ready to take it on yet. The discussion of Infinite Jest is making me strongly ponder re-visiting it. I might just jump in midway or read bits like the aforementioned filmography.

Have you cracked it all? I'm dying to read it, but I'm apprehensive about "unfinished" works published posthumously.

I started All The King's Men yesterday, and I was eyeing The Pale King for my next one, but I don't want to pay for a hardback if I haven't heard anything about it.

I read All The King's Men two summers ago. That book was a slog. I appreciated its story but thought it really overwritten. What's your opinion on it?

You took the words right out of my mouth. A worthwhile story so far, but it spins off into over-written drivel for pages at a time. At least Steinbeck separated his masturbatory passages into their own chapters.

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1608 on: April 15, 2011, 11:23:48 PM »

Okay, I've been sold on Saki now, and I picked up a collection at the library.

Where do I start??

Check out the collection, The Best of Saki. Read the story, Tobermory. If that doesn't make you laugh out loud, you're done. And you have no sense of humor.
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dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1609 on: April 16, 2011, 10:17:39 AM »
150 pages (and about 15 pages of footnotes) into Infinite Jest. Heavens, it's good. It's nearly indescribably complex, but I will take a shot at it in the next few days. I recall fighting through the filmography of James Incandenza as an excruciating chore, but it hits me as much funnier this time.

I've had this clunky hardcover of "Infinite Jest" sitting on a table for some time. I'm thinking of cracking it on my birthday and rea, like, four pages a day. I figure by my next birthday I should complete it. Would you recomend reading it this way or is it better to do the Bataan death march through it?

I believe Infinite Jest to be a totally rewarding task.  If you're intimidated by the # of pages (and if you're not, you're inhuman), maybe try cracking it in the middle and working your way through that way.  It doesn't have a clear beginning/end, so you can easily get by reading it from the middle and working your way back to the starting point.

And also, don't read the footnotes that look overlong.  Most of the footnotes are rewarding, but not essential. Think of them as the "for fans only" section of the book.

You know, Adamfromhiinthemiddle, I disagree on this point. I am trying to read the book this time with the crazed focus of a grad student. I am about 1/6 th the way through, and there have been multiple cases of info that you can only pull from the footnotes greatly illuminating what's going on in the body of the book. I will point out the most recent one. In the first short section following the long rambling discourse 10-year-old Jim Incandenza is getting from his father, Pemulis is musing on a transaction he recently completed. (For people that don't know the book, there aren't chapters per se, but segments most frequently listing the year in which the segment took place; and the years are no longer numbered, so it's hard to say "turn to chapter 6 about mid-way through"; this particular segment is entitled "4 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment", year numbers having been sold to corporate sponsorship. And it's not the book's only "4 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment", making it even more difficult to find. But surely people who have read the book can't forget Jim's Dad's excruciatingly detailed description of the what he sees as the defining moment of his entire life.)

Anyway, you get this sentence: "DMZ is also sometimes referred to in some metro Boston chemical circles as Madame Psychosis, after a popular very-early-morning cult radio personality on MIT's student-run radio station WYYY-109..."

The thing is, unless you carefully read Jim Incandenza's Filmography, a footnote that runs 9 full pages, this sentence feels like a toss-off, when in fact it ties together one of the many unanswered mysteries at this point in the narrative; what exactly is happening to Prince Q______________'s medical attache?

Like I say, this sort of thing has occurred 4 or 5 times already; I really think the footnotes hold many of the keys to resolving some of the open questions of the narrative, although people should also be aware that there's about a dozen great ideas tossed out on each page, and most of those open questions will remain unresolved at the book's end.

I get a similar feeling when I read this book that I got when I read Clockers; not that they are structurally or stylistically similar, but whereas most people want a giant plot that resolves, you're reading these books to be educated about something you don't know. And every page of Infinite Jest as about 3 and a half educations. One of my buddies in the English Department said either the 4th or 5th time he read it, he tried to read it as poetry, just revelling in the flow of the prose, the wordplay and complexity. But there's plenty to enjoy even if you just want stories.

Sorry for the length of this.

amiright??

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1610 on: April 16, 2011, 11:15:48 AM »

Ohmyfuckingod, isn't Reginald about the funniest character ever?

You're probably right. I would venture to guess FoTs would love this as well. And in the event you read Saki and don't find Reginald awesome don't worry. The storry will be over shortly. Munro took the phrase "short story" very litterally...

Reginald is great, but I'm more of a Clovis guy. Clovis is the King of the Smartasses.

Okay, I've been sold on Saki now, and I picked up a collection at the library.

Where do I start??

With the collection you checked out?

Yeah! With "The Complete..."!

adamfromohio

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1611 on: April 16, 2011, 04:11:45 PM »

You know, Adamfromhiinthemiddle, I disagree on this point. I am trying to read the book this time with the crazed focus of a grad student. I am about 1/6 th the way through, and there have been multiple cases of info that you can only pull from the footnotes greatly illuminating what's going on in the body of the book. I will point out the most recent one. In the first short section following the long rambling discourse 10-year-old Jim Incandenza is getting from his father, Pemulis is musing on a transaction he recently completed. (For people that don't know the book, there aren't chapters per se, but segments most frequently listing the year in which the segment took place; and the years are no longer numbered, so it's hard to say "turn to chapter 6 about mid-way through"; this particular segment is entitled "4 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment", year numbers having been sold to corporate sponsorship. And it's not the book's only "4 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment", making it even more difficult to find. But surely people who have read the book can't forget Jim's Dad's excruciatingly detailed description of the what he sees as the defining moment of his entire life.)

Anyway, you get this sentence: "DMZ is also sometimes referred to in some metro Boston chemical circles as Madame Psychosis, after a popular very-early-morning cult radio personality on MIT's student-run radio station WYYY-109..."

The thing is, unless you carefully read Jim Incandenza's Filmography, a footnote that runs 9 full pages, this sentence feels like a toss-off, when in fact it ties together one of the many unanswered mysteries at this point in the narrative; what exactly is happening to Prince Q______________'s medical attache?

Like I say, this sort of thing has occurred 4 or 5 times already; I really think the footnotes hold many of the keys to resolving some of the open questions of the narrative, although people should also be aware that there's about a dozen great ideas tossed out on each page, and most of those open questions will remain unresolved at the book's end.

I get a similar feeling when I read this book that I got when I read Clockers; not that they are structurally or stylistically similar, but whereas most people want a giant plot that resolves, you're reading these books to be educated about something you don't know. And every page of Infinite Jest as about 3 and a half educations. One of my buddies in the English Department said either the 4th or 5th time he read it, he tried to read it as poetry, just revelling in the flow of the prose, the wordplay and complexity. But there's plenty to enjoy even if you just want stories.

Sorry for the length of this.

We're in total agreement here Dave.  Looking back on my post, I realize I didn't preface my statements about reading from the middle/skipping the footnotes as clearly as I thought when originally posted. 

I agree that the footnotes are essential to fully grasp the subtle details of IJ.  In fact, I'd probably say many of my favorite moments in the book are found in the footnotes.
I was really stressing the "don't be intimidated" angle.  I've recommended the book to a dozen people who kind of sneer (or cry) at the extensive footnotes/page count, so I use those tips to persuade them into giving it a chance. 

 I think even the most passive reader will eventually become intellectually invested enough that they'll find themselves reading the footnotes anyway.  I'm just trying to get readers "in the door"!

dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1612 on: April 16, 2011, 05:59:20 PM »
I support your enthusiasm enthusiastically.

ChrisRawk

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1613 on: April 25, 2011, 12:25:37 PM »
Reading Klosterman's 'Fargo Rock City'.  It's fun reading someone dissect 80's cheese metal in such a way.
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dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1614 on: April 25, 2011, 12:38:52 PM »
I support your enthusiasm enthusiastically.

I hate to beat this Infinite Jest thing to death, but there's a phone call between Hal and Orin about 1/4 of the way through the book that is equal parts hilarious and horrifying. I can't wait for the end of the work day everyday to tear back into it; I am reading big sections of it over and over. It's so big, I am starting to get a little frustrated that a character will come in that was just barely alluded to 150 pages back, but it's still very worth the fight. I want to convert you all!

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1615 on: April 25, 2011, 08:11:09 PM »
Reading and really enjoying James Miller's Examined Lives. Diogenes the Cynic was both the GG Allin and the Oscar the Grouch of classical philosophy. He lived in a big wine urn, masturbated in public, spoke in favor of cannibalism and incest, peed on people who asked him annoying questions, and once ended a lecture by flipping up his toga and taking a dump in the public square. At the time of his death, he was way more popular than Plato.
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Steve of Bloomington

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1616 on: April 25, 2011, 10:47:09 PM »
...and today he is more popular than Michael K The Cynic.

That was a cheap shot, sorry.

JonFromMaplewood

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1617 on: May 10, 2011, 11:30:06 AM »
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.  Almost done.  Love it.
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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1618 on: June 02, 2011, 11:58:36 AM »
I read "Everything That Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor, and now I'm reading "The Demon Haunted World" by Carl Sagan.

I don't know what that says about me.
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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #1619 on: June 02, 2011, 12:01:53 PM »
I read "Everything That Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor, and now I'm reading "The Demon Haunted World" by Carl Sagan.

I don't know what that says about me.
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