Author Topic: Fave Books / Currently Reading  (Read 706588 times)

Joe Don from Astoria

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #255 on: February 08, 2008, 04:21:44 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

Are you sure you're not talking about Dikkens with two k's, the well-known Dutch author?

I remember being a sucker for Dickens' grabs at the heartstrings.  Like in Great Expectations, that earnest letter Joe sends to Pip, who has since distanced himself from his provincial beginnings and fancies himself a sophisticated young urbanite.  Or Sidney Carton's fate in ATOTT.

We at least have to give him credit for inspiring a Bill Murray movie.

bruce

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #256 on: February 08, 2008, 05:13:34 PM »
Are you sure you're not talking about Dikkens with two k's, the well-known Dutch author?

Thank you John for a great chuckle I have that whole bit somewhere in my apt.

Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #257 on: February 09, 2008, 03:06:10 PM »
I didn't even read The Scarlet Letter in class (later came to appreciate, if not love it), but I enjoyed Animal Farm a great deal, probably because I was and am obsessed with Soviet history (I was a weird kid).

I read Vonnegut on my own and didn't discover Joseph Heller until my 20s, but I concur with everyone else that they would be good choices.  I'm a big Twain fan, too.  Ditto for Melville, though I don't know if high school is the best age for him.

Other stuff:

Dave, I totally agree re. Saunders as an essayist - he's like the Bizarro-world David Foster Wallace, in that his fiction is so amazing but his essays merely readable.

Eric Luxury, don't forget all of that New Yorker work that Tomine is doing.  Also, Clowes has that weekly strip in the NY Times Magazine.  He's not really that much less productive than in the early days of Eightball - didn't that only come out a couple of times a year?  I also think that Jason has come onto the scene at a time when alt-cartooning has become more mainstream, which paradoxically makes each new cartoonist less noticeable, if that makes sense.  But I can't blame cartoonists for bailing on a medium that pays so horribly (Pantheon editions of graphic novels notwithstanding).  If I was independently wealthy and not indentured to the elaborate scam that is the Tisch School of the Arts, I'd write weird experimental plays for the rest of my life, but as it is I'll probably have to jump ship at the first opportunity.
Oh, good heavens. I didnít realize. I send my condolences out to the rest of the OíConnor family.

dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #258 on: February 10, 2008, 08:00:18 PM »
My pastor has suggested the start-up of a "serious" reading group, to spur discussion of ideas and issues that don't traditionally come up in church. So far, sounds pretty good. He wants to start with The Brothers Karamazov. Suddenly I am paranoid that I will look like an idiot. Should I/could I get through it?

Chris L

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #259 on: February 10, 2008, 08:59:01 PM »
My pastor has suggested the start-up of a "serious" reading group, to spur discussion of ideas and issues that don't traditionally come up in church. So far, sounds pretty good. He wants to start with The Brothers Karamazov. Suddenly I am paranoid that I will look like an idiot. Should I/could I get through it?

I am making a point to read that this year.

Emily

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #260 on: February 10, 2008, 09:38:22 PM »
If I can do it, anyone can.
And I did it, and it's a great book - probably my favorite, actually.

Plus, you can't look like an idiot for reading, unless you show up with a copy of The Idiot instead of the assigned Brothers Karamazov.

Enjoy!

ughwhy

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #261 on: February 10, 2008, 10:04:02 PM »
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.

I got a copy of Megaphone for December Wishes Holiday, and I was a little disappointed in it...though I probably could have called it, since half of the book is Saunders' "Shouts and Murmurs" pieces, and anyone who even gets in breathing distance of S&M gets dusted with the tragic unfunny. I thought the best parts were the longer bits--particularly the article about his trip to Dubai and the one about his time with the Minutemen. I like how he's very honest about how both excursions defied his progressive expectations.

The infamous Mr. Jesse Thorn did an interview with Mr. Saunders on TSOYA a few months back that's definitely worth a listen--he talks about the reason behind Megaphone basically being his realization that his politics were creeping into his fiction. In a way, these essays were meant to help him separate the two, get one out in one place so he could write good stories.

dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #262 on: February 10, 2008, 10:31:15 PM »
My Saunderthon was a direct result of that interview, especially Saunder's puzzled delight that he received an award for geniuses.

Sarah

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #263 on: February 11, 2008, 08:29:25 AM »
My pastor has suggested the start-up of a "serious" reading group, to spur discussion of ideas and issues that don't traditionally come up in church. So far, sounds pretty good. He wants to start with The Brothers Karamazov. Suddenly I am paranoid that I will look like an idiot. Should I/could I get through it?

I loved it at age fifteen, Dave.  I have no doubt I'd enjoy it less now (I like everything to be easy in my old age).  But I have faith in you.

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #264 on: February 11, 2008, 10:59:22 AM »
Dostoevsky is amazing.  Don't worry too much about how "heavy" it is Dave, just enjoy the read.  I'm sure your pastor will help place it within the context of the church.  Afterall, if everyone "got it" then your pastor wouldn't have anything to teach regarding it.  :)

Chris L

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #265 on: February 17, 2008, 12:07:31 PM »
I've been slogging through Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke for about a month now and with about 200 pages left I'm kind of regretting it, particularly since I've heard the ending is also a let-down.  The Tet Offensive sequences and pretty much all the scenes with the Houston brothers are great, and the dialogue is often fantastic, but the oodles of vague, ponderous plotting and general narrative aimlessness are wearying.  I'd been meaning to read more of Johnson's work for years since I read Jesus' Son (I have a bad habit of restricting myself to only a couple of an author's works), but it looks like I should've kept to the shorter stuff.

masterofsparks

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #266 on: February 17, 2008, 01:24:38 PM »
Dostoevsky is amazing.  Don't worry too much about how "heavy" it is Dave, just enjoy the read.  I'm sure your pastor will help place it within the context of the church.  Afterall, if everyone "got it" then your pastor wouldn't have anything to teach regarding it.  :)


The biggest obstacle to Dostoevsky for me is the names. He's even worse than Faulkner or Garcia Marquez in the "most confusing character names" listings. Part of the problem with Dostoevsky is the way Russian names are constructed, but still.
I'll probably go into the wee hours.

dave from knoxville

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #267 on: February 17, 2008, 01:34:40 PM »
I am a reading a Michael Chabon book called Summerland, that blends baseball, Norse mythology, and native-American folklore. It's intended for smart kids, so it's an easy read, Harry Potterish in many ways. After that I think I am going to continue working my way through Cormac McCarthy's works with his second novel, Outer Dark. But I might lose heart and pick up something else first.

Gilly

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #268 on: February 17, 2008, 02:21:09 PM »
I am a reading a Michael Chabon book called Summerland, that blends baseball, Norse mythology, and native-American folklore. It's intended for smart kids, so it's an easy read, Harry Potterish in many ways. After that I think I am going to continue working my way through Cormac McCarthy's works with his second novel, Outer Dark. But I might lose heart and pick up something else first.

I liked Summerland a lot.

bruce

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Re: Fave Books / Currently Reading
« Reply #269 on: February 18, 2008, 07:27:14 PM »
Just finished The Instant Enemy - Ross Macdonald one of the darkest noirs I've read in a long time. It's severely one of the most depressing in the whole Lew Archer series.

About to start an Italian collection of Crime fiction called - Crimini put out by Bitter Lemon Press

 

anything