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Author Topic: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?  (Read 24972 times)

Offline GreatGlistener

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What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« on: September 22, 2008, 01:41:26 PM »
I suspect this thread will garner substantially fewer replies than the films thread, but I think it's worth a try. I certainly wouldn't mind being proven wrong.

Books by authors esteemed literary critic Harold Bloom considers notable are preferred.  ;)

I'm not using number ratings because they're stupid.

Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov

A brilliant lesson in what you can do with the English language. I've only finished Part 1, but even after the first paragraph it's easy to see why the book is considered a classic. Here is a sample paragraph, in which the narrator describes a hotel room:

"There was a double bed, a mirror, a double bed in the mirror, a closet door with mirror, a bathroom door ditto, a blue-dark window, a reflected bed there, the same in the closet mirror, two chairs, a glass-topped table, two bedtables, a double bed: a big panel bed, to be exact, with a Tuscan rose chenille spread, and two frilled, pink-shaded nightlamps, left and right."

Exquisite, and even more so in context.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2008, 01:52:09 PM by GreatGlistener »

Offline sevenzig

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008, 04:20:48 PM »
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

Its a collection of short stories by the best Sci-Fi author ever.

Offline Sorrow-kun

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2008, 05:35:24 PM »
I'm not using number ratings because they're stupid.
Do you have a problem with the way we work around here? :p

Recently finished reading Orwell's Burmese Days and am now close to finishing Orwell's A Clergyman's Daughter.

In all honesty, I really don't know what to make of Orwell.  He has this apparent deep pessimism about human nature, which sometimes borders on a depressed hatred, which he tries to veil, but still seeps through.  He constructs these characters which are just loathsome, and that he likes to loath (particularly in Burmese Days where a lot of the characters are based on real people), and there's this common set up throughout a lot of his books I've read where the main character is a lone isle of sense in a sea of backwardness.  The stories he writes... aren't very good.  A lot of the time events play out like a series of episodes and what happens before often doesn't have much to do with what's happening right now.  His books are typically character driven or (in the case of 1984) setting driven, but even then these aren't the most multi-dimensional characters you could come across.  They're good characters, but they're not brilliant characters, but even then I think they're serving a point rather than being the point themselves.  He has this seeming disdain for the apathetic nature of people, and I can dig that, but I'm not sure he really knew how to deal with it... so I guess he gave up and started writing books about it.

Offline Akira

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2008, 05:51:02 PM »
Let's see...

I don't read much fiction, but:

Currently, I'm reading The Rings of Saturn by W. G. Sebald. Died recently; he might have won a Nobel Prize, too... I really like this book, but it's definitely not for everyone. It's very stream-of-consciousness, and a bit too post-modernist-y for some, I think. The book has this obsession with death that doesn't seem to beat you on the head, either; it makes death almost a beautiful thing, something that not a lot of books can accomplish.

I'm also reading Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee, a Nobel Prize-winning author from South Africa. It's a book about power, the abuse of power, and the helplessness of those who have fallen from power; although it might be construed as a statement on the British Empire's ruthlessness in South Africa, the book is written in a purposefully generic fashion, so that it could apply to anyone, anywhere. The language is very nice and the book is extremely well written; I definitely recommend.

I read Lolita a few years back, loved it... I should probably re-read it someday, even though I don't have that habit of re-reading books...

I like how Sorrow's instilled the habit of underlining names of authors... >_>;
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Offline GreatGlistener

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2008, 06:26:21 PM »
Do you have a problem with the way we work around here? :p

Nah, it's more a personal preference than anything. I just don't feel I'm saying much when I use them. Also, the distinctions are a bit too specific for my taste. I'd prefer a three tier scale if anything. You can go ahead on with it if you like, though.

I've also started reading Nabokov's Pale Fire. The narrative structure is very unique and interesting. Looking forward to continuing it.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 03:18:51 AM by GreatGlistener »

Offline GreatGlistener

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2009, 07:17:23 AM »
Near the Cockpit a guffawing group was watching Rima being cleaned of a copious pollution of red permanganate. Murphy receded a little way into the north and prepared to finish his lunch. He took the biscuits carefully out of the packet and laid them face upward on the grass, in order as he felt of edibility. They were the same as always, a Ginger, an Osborne, a Digestive, a Petit Beurre and one anonymous. He always ate the first-named last, because he liked it the best, and the anonymous first, because he thought it the least palatable. The order in which he ate the remaining three was indifferent to him and varied irregularly from day to day. On his knees now before the five it struck him for the first time that these prepossessions reduced to a paltry six the number of ways in which he could make this meal. But this was to violate the very essence of assortment, this was red permanganate on the Rima of variety. Even if he conquered his prejudice against the anonymous, still there would be only twenty-four ways in which the biscuits could be eaten. But were he to take the final step and overcome his infatuation with the ginger, then the assortment would spring to life before him, dancing the radiant measure of its total permutability, edible in a hundred and twenty ways!

From Murphy, by Samuel Beckett

Offline Kurier

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 12:11:58 PM »
All I have time for these days is reading. And most of it isn't by choice.

I have nearly finished Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society by Nadia Abu El-Haj. This book is very interesting, but for an Anthropology class (ANTH 354: Middle East - Culture and Conflict) it vast references to archaeology are troublesome at times.

About to start Masks by Fumiko Enchi from a class I'm auditing (JAPN 314w: Japanese Lit. in Translation). This class will also have me re-reading Kafka on the Shore and Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami. Both of these books are Murakami at his best. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto is also in the queue for this course, got it in the mail yesterday.

I'd love to be reading Norwegian Wood by Murakami, but I got stuck in the middle and that was nearly 4 months ago.

By the way, Lolita is the shit.
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Offline Godai

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2009, 11:50:24 AM »
"1984" by George Orwell.... en espan~ol =D

Offline genki sakura

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2009, 12:41:54 PM »
Last book I read was The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough...it was epic...Everything was epic--the backdrop of Australia, the amount of information on the Cleary family, the love story between Ralph and Meggie (*squee*)


Comparing the book with the 1983 TV miniseries: Some of the memorable scenes in the show were even more memorable in the book. I thought they made a fairly good adaptation. I cried like a little girl during some of the miniseries. XD


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Offline GreatGlistener

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2009, 03:12:15 AM »
If any of you like to read books at all, you should go make an account at http://www.goodreads.com and post it ITT. It's a simple and useful cataloging site similar to myanimelist.com (which everyone here seems to be familiar with). Here's mine:
http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1746508
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 03:30:14 AM by GreatGlistener »

Offline ddragon292

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2009, 11:23:15 PM »
well i just finished the RAiN novels recently... the first like 3 were fantastic then it kinda died as the protaganist got predictible and the artist's disinterest in continuing the franchise became apparant (but he had to keep going to tie up loose ends... and fill his pockets with green)
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Offline mces0421

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2009, 02:25:37 AM »
Of course my favorite book. "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. This book is a gift from my friend. This Book is worth reading over and over again.
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Offline fuu

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2009, 05:19:03 AM »
All I have time for these days is reading. And most of it isn't by choice.

I have nearly finished Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society by Nadia Abu El-Haj. This book is very interesting, but for an Anthropology class (ANTH 354: Middle East - Culture and Conflict) it vast references to archaeology are troublesome at times.

About to start Masks by Fumiko Enchi from a class I'm auditing (JAPN 314w: Japanese Lit. in Translation). This class will also have me re-reading Kafka on the Shore and Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami. Both of these books are Murakami at his best. Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto is also in the queue for this course, got it in the mail yesterday.

I'd love to be reading Norwegian Wood by Murakami, but I got stuck in the middle and that was nearly 4 months ago.

By the way, Lolita is the shit.

I love you Kurier. Murakami is indubitably, my favourite author ever. I just finished "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle" and his ability to mesh surreal and real is simply unparalleled.

Also, I agree. Lolita is the best piece of satire to grace the last century of literature.

And do read Norwegian Wood. Really.

Offline Akira

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2010, 08:25:27 PM »
From KX. Moved to old topic.

Quote
Same as the movie thread. There is no way that none of us are avid readers anyway.

Cloud Atlas:

"Revolutionary, or gimmicky? Shan't know until it's finished." A story of six entirely unrelated, yet closely connected stories. In every sense of the word, this is an experimentalist novel, and it probably comes off as a little pretentious as a result. Well, it would were it not some of the most brilliant prose I've had the fortune of reading. As the novel goes forward and backwards in time, it leaves style, format, and even genre behind, or ahead I guess. But the transitions between each one, while obvious, are surprisingly unnoticeable. From an airport thriller, to a comedy of errors, to a dystopian tragedy, the high quality writing is highly consistent. This is true of the themes as well in both subtle and overt ways. Admittedly, not all of the stories ring as well as the rest, the central one by far being the weakest. As an experimentalist novel, it occasionally comes off as a little too proud of itself, even if the praise is well deserved. Also, getting into each new story is a process that takes a while to get into. But the end results were uncanny, and things ultimately reached a point where I just couldn't put it down.

Rating (For each story):

The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing: 7/10
Letters from Zedelghem: 10/10
Half Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery: 8/10
The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish: 9/10
An Orison of Somni-451: 9/10
Sloosha's Crossin' an' Ev'rythin' After: 6/10

Overall Rating: 9/10

As for myself:

The Ancient Economy by Moses I. Finley. This is the work on the economics of the Greco-Roman world. Incredibly well-written and filled with rhetorical genius. Finley is a very breezy writer, and unlike most historians, doesn't clog up half the page with footnotes. Analytically, I do have a problem with his general mistrust of archeology and his reluctance to cite empirical data in order to prove his point, but his approach is fascinating. Instead of looking at documents and ruins, he approaches the ancient economy as a matter of psychology, focusing more on sociological norms and how they shaped economic behavior between 1000 BC and 500 AD. The book is not without controversy, and as an economics major, I find his lack of economic analysis slightly unsettling. An amazing read, nonetheless, and definitely good material for sweet, pompous cocktail party talk.
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Offline DrIdiot

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Re: What books have you been reading (or have read recently)?
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2010, 11:32:14 PM »
Going After Cacciato, by Tim O'Brien.  I've really been enjoying it, though I think I still like his The Things They Carried better.
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