Author Topic: Fave Books / Currently Reading  (Read 701182 times)

ericluxury

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #240 on: February 07, 2008, 04:30:48 PM »
I agree that Persepolis is a great series of graphic novels. Both of them were fantastic and sad.

Anyone here read the comics/graphic novels of Jason? For some reason he hasn't gotten the respect or recognition that Chris Ware and Dan Clowes and those guys get, despite being better than all of those guys. My favorite is still the first one, Hey, Wait and his newest The Last Musketeer, but even his lesser ones are fun. They are all such fast reads that its kind of a bummer. You pay $14 and its over very quickly. Its tough though because unlike many graphic novelists, its lean work and the excess fat is mostly cut off. If you spend 20 minutes, you can read any of his books in a comic book store but I've bought them all because he's my favorite.

Recent books that I read or re-read that were great are..
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein which is one of my favorites ever. Its about the anarchist take over of the moon. There are a few cheesy things about it, but I love it.
Check The Technique is a book of the liner notes of classic hip hop albums and its great. Like a collection of mini 33 1/3's. The best part about it is that you realize how whether or not its still true, the rappers and producers back then were a bunch of music nerds. It might be societal racism that I never questioned but I never thought of that.

and probably a few more...i feel that it might be presumptous as a new member to bring up too many.

Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #241 on: February 08, 2008, 12:45:59 AM »
Jason the cartoonist (as opposed to the board mod, or me, though I like both of us) is great and I buy his comics, too.  Hey, Wait is completely heartbreaking.  I think he's just younger than Ware and Clowes, and also Norwegian.  Crimestick might have something to say about why that makes him somehow inferior.
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ericluxury

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #242 on: February 08, 2008, 09:58:15 AM »
Yeah, but Chris Ware and Dan Clowes and Adrien Tomine had early success. All of them have more showy drawing styles than Jason. I personally love his style though.
However, not having too much success in comics might not be a good thing. Clowes has abandoned comics to write mediocre screenplays, Ware comics and drawings have gotten so ornate as to be hardly readable and Tomine has produced maybe 30 pages in the last 6 years. Cartoons are like stand-up in that way, lots of people want to abandon it as soon as they become good enough to get success in other areas.

dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #243 on: February 08, 2008, 10:05:55 AM »
I am finishing off George Saunders, his book of essays called The Braindead Megaphone. It's entertaining enough, but it doesn't approach his fiction, at least so far. He does include a nice tribute called Vonnegut in Sumatra. Saunders is often compared to Vonnegut (which I think does both a mild disservice, but whatever.) The piece acknowledges how Slaughterhouse Five turned his preconceptions about literature inside out. (Basically, he didn't need to have a dictionary by his side to understand it, and in the face of making actual points, it still manages to be fun, at least mostly.) Very nice.

It occurred to me this morning that I have never read Twain. Or Dickens, outside of A Tale of Two Cities. There really just are too many books, aren't there? Let's stop producing them for a few years, writers, to allow readers to catch up.

Susannah

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #244 on: February 08, 2008, 11:12:19 AM »
I am currently reading "A Tale of Two Cities" at this very moment, trying to decide whether or not I want to teach it next year!

A poll that combines this thread, the thread about high school, and requires the power of the FOT Brain Trust: what stuff did you love reading in high school? What did you hate? Why?  I'm trying to get a better handle on things my students enjoy.  Right now they complain about everything.

Sarah

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #245 on: February 08, 2008, 12:15:37 PM »
Off the top of my head, I remember loving Catch-22, Dostoyevsky, Henry Miller, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, and science fiction.  More might come back to me after I sleep on it.  It was so very long ago.

dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #246 on: February 08, 2008, 12:28:14 PM »
Like Sarah, I loved Catch-22and then Something Happened, and lots and lots of science fiction (particularly Heinlein, who I can barely stand to read anymore, Harlan Ellison, Arthur C Clarke, Michael Moorcock.) I read lots of serial stuff, Conan, Doc Savage, that sort of stuff. Creem magazine, obsessively. I discovered Vonnegut my junior year. Classic horror, Frankenstein, Dracula, stuff like that. And for some reason, Art Buchwald. Did I mention stuff? I read every Beatles biography I could find in the 9th and 10th grades (I remember being shocked at John Lennon's repeated use of the phrase "piss off", and even more so, that such language was tolerated in a book held by the public library.)

Pat K

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #247 on: February 08, 2008, 01:05:48 PM »
Quote
Finished "War and Peace" a few weeks ago and have been reading Oliver Sacks's "An Anthropologist on Mars" ever since.

I heard there's a new translation of W&P out now thats supposed to be the bomb. I read a lot of short Tolstoy stuff last year and loved it all, maybe it's time for me to tackle the main event finally.

I just finished Oliver Sacks' new one, "Musicophilia" recently. Full of great music-related neurological disorders that all sound like the names of DC hardcore bands: Amusia, Dysharmonia, etc. Fun stuff.









(People still say "the bomb", right?)
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Susannah

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #248 on: February 08, 2008, 01:18:09 PM »
Ah, clarification: what did you read in school, what did you like or dislike, and why?  If you hated having to read "Pride and Prejudice," for example, did you hate the book itself or the way it was taught?

Usually what happens is my students complain about the text in question when it is assigned, then grudgingly admit that reading it doesn't make them want to gouge their eyes out entirely once they've gotten through it a little bit.   

I'm curious to know since the FOT are a pretty literary bunch; I also know that being an avid reader does not necessarily equal success in high school English.  I'm trying to figure out how to foist things I loved onto them without having them resent me or hate reading forever.

Chris L

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #249 on: February 08, 2008, 01:36:56 PM »
I agree it might help to throw something like Slaughterhouse-5 or Catch-22 into the mix.  Unless they're complete drones they should respond to those.  Maybe even 1984.  Something with numbers.

A Tale of Two Cities is the only book I ever bought cliffs notes for.  It was a summer assignment in high school and I was havin' nothing doing.  Dickens is pretty much anathema to teenagers; I've still never read him. 

I think kids are pretty much going to initially resent having these impenetrable-looking texts foisted upon them no matter what.  As you said, in many cases it probably contributes to a lifelong resentment of reading and an ignorance of literature's transcendent potential.  I'm certainly no teacher, but maybe you do have to just try to relate the stories and characters as much as possible to your students' self-involved worldview.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2008, 01:41:35 PM by Chris L »

B_Buster

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #250 on: February 08, 2008, 01:37:28 PM »
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I didn't like Huckleberry Finn (didn't even finish it), The Great Gatsby, or Madame Bovary when I had to read them in high school (I subsequently came to love them all later). I thought A Farewell to Arms was just OK.

I liked The Catcher in the Rye, but later came to dislike it.

Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan were my favorites during my high school years, but only Vonnegut was taught in my high school (and none of my teachers assigned Slaughterhouse-Five). Do any FOTs even know who Richard Brautigan is today? Or am I giving myself away as an old hippie?

Maybe short stories or novellas would work better with kids' short attention spans. I still remember fondly reading and seeing the movie versions of The Lottery, An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge, and Bartleby the Scrivener (actually, I was exposed to these in the 8th grade).
« Last Edit: February 08, 2008, 01:47:17 PM by B_Buster »
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bruce

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #251 on: February 08, 2008, 02:24:00 PM »
I really enjoyed the following that we read in HS

Great Expectations, Julius Caesar, Antigone, The Crucible, and Native Son all come to mind. The book I could not stand was The Marble Faun.

A friend of mine teaches english on L.I. I know he has a varied reading list in his class. Next time I speak to him I'll ask about his list.

Joe Don from Astoria

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #252 on: February 08, 2008, 02:25:43 PM »
I am currently reading "A Tale of Two Cities" ... what stuff did you love reading in high school? What did you hate?

Sidney Carton: the original Stroszek?

I'll 22nd everyone's affection for Catch-22.

I actually liked A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.  (David Copperfield was the brick of a book that broke me; its length had me heading for the classics section at Blockbuster.)

Also enjoyed

The Great Gatsby - beautiful writing
A Farewell to Arms - there's a compact, barebones stoicism to Hemingway's writing that forces the reader to supply the emotions
The Catcher in The Rye - he's not going to tell you about that "David Copperfield crap." This one might read better had Salinger not retreated from society, and had it not become the go-to book for more than one disturbed assassin.  
I liked Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions a good deal, but please note it includes drawings of a nazi flag and an asshole.
In later years I really enjoyed Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust, a wickedly observed book that I believe was a repository for his venom after a divorce.  There's also something nice in there for those who don't like Dickens.

I found some merit/enjoyment in most all assigned readings (brown nose!) though I found it hard to slog through the dense writing of Henry James' Turn of the Screw, and I remember thinking The Red Badge of Courage was just gross.

emma

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #253 on: February 08, 2008, 03:18:07 PM »
Dickens is pretty much anathema to teenagers

Yep. I've had teachers try to make him interesting at me for years, and every time it's gone over like a lead balloon (not just with me but with every student). I know I'm probably going to start liking his books (much) later in life, but this is not the case for the hundreds of med school students my school breeds every year.

Going to school with them, I've started to figure out that what you want when you haven't been a reader your whole life, when you're coming to books, is a mirror. Kids I know devour gossip girl books and similar YA junk because they're not "school books"--they're about kids like them, but richer and more interesting (/slutty/creepy/drunk) and dramatic. Not to say that we should put Gossip Girl in the curriculum or anything, but I think they might be a lot more engaged if there was something that...reflected, you know? Great Expectations might be okay because there are crushes in it and stuff, but everybody loves Catcher in the Rye (or hates it, but can talk about it) because it's about a confused teenager. Like them. The more directly relatable it is, the more of a mirror, the easier it is to read and be engaged in, and then once people start liking books they have to read for school then they are more willing to branch out into other, less relatable things.

All this, of course, is also informed by my 28 years as a successful english teacher. What do I know? Yeesh.

Sarah

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #254 on: February 08, 2008, 04:10:16 PM »
Let's see, I recall reading Great Expectations and Romeo and Juliet in the ninth grade.  We must have read more, but I can't recall.  I liked both just fine.

I don't remember reading anything during my few months in the tenth grade, but then I was high most of the time.

My eighth grade reading was more interesting:  A Man for All Seasons, Beowulf (from which I culled a still-favorite insult: "misbegotten son of a foul mother").  Also, however, Travels with Charley, which I hated.

But what I liked really shouldn't count, because I was a compulsive reader already and so was pretty much happy to read whatever I was given.  I suspect this is true of many on this board.  I remember that when a cousin of mine was complaining to me about English class--he was about thirteen at the time--and I tried to think what kinds of books might appeal to him, I figured soft porn would probably do the trick.  But I suspect school boards would frown on that.