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  What Book Are You Currently Reading? (search mode)
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Author Topic: What Book Are You Currently Reading?  (Read 334488 times)
Insula Dei
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« on: December 15, 2010, 11:11:30 am »

Non-Fiction: The Making of the English Working Class by E.P Thompson. Needless to say I am interested in the views of one particular forummer this book. I´m about half way through

Fiction: The Man Who Was Yesterday by G.K Chesterton. Strange combination with Thompson I know. Oddly all the English sections of Spanish public libraries (not very large sections I´ll add) have Chesterton in them - Catholics!

Chesterton is great. But surely you meant to say The man who was Thursday??
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2011, 01:12:23 pm »

L'avenir dure longtemps as well as Les Faits and some random short essays by Louis Althusser.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 05:28:34 pm »

To the Finland Station by Edmund Wilson
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2011, 03:30:31 pm »

Breakfast of Champions really is Vonnegut at his best, isn't it? I've always thought Slaughterhouse Five was pretty stale, so perhaps I should apply the term 'overrated' to it, much as I despise people who use that word with ease.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 10:07:38 am »

Breakfast of Champions really is Vonnegut at his best, isn't it? I've always thought Slaughterhouse Five was pretty stale, so perhaps I should apply the term 'overrated' to it, much as I despise people who use that word with ease.

That almost makes you a horrible person.

Not sufficiently liking Slaughterhouse Five? Or liking Breakfast of Champions?
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2011, 12:29:30 pm »

Pale Fire
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2011, 08:01:11 am »

Pale Fire

Yeah! My favorite novel. You won't be disappointed.


I wasn't Smiley Nabokov is a tremendous writer, but I tend to care less for several of his other novels as the plots often strike me as a bit banal. Pale Fire of course has a very interesting structure, and an entertaining story, which helps to appreciate Nabokov's genius. I was a bit disappointed by Rorty's preface (I read the Everyman's edition), as its analysis doesn't seem to hold up to me. His remarks on Lolita and Pnin seem more on the mark to me. (though I've only a passing familiarity with the latter novel).

Now, I'm doubting between Conrad's Nostromo or some Freud.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2011, 02:55:03 pm »

Reading Carlyle's French Revolution.

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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2011, 02:07:54 pm »

Taking a break from the Carlyle (which is, need it be said, very entertaining) for some Houellebecq in the shape of Plateforme. The guy is such an incredible nazi, I like him very much.

The best bit so far has to be the narrator's throw-away remarl about pets on the opening page.
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2011, 07:04:15 am »

Anyway, I am currently reading Blood Meridian.

Very nice, that one.
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2011, 04:34:33 pm »

In all fairness if an English translation were published tomorrow, and received an average degree of press coverage, it too would sell a decent number of copies. So no need to diabolize the scary muslems. (If anyone were intent on doing so.)
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2011, 07:05:26 pm »

Daniel Deronda, it's an okay read, though I can understand why some people would grow tired with the jewish/zionist bits. Can I do with that for as far as Eliot's concerned or is Middlemarch really a must-read?
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2012, 05:12:31 pm »

'A Confederacy of Dunces' by John Kennedy Toole

Approve
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2012, 01:19:28 pm »

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, and frankly, I'm excited. There are some poems that don't work for me at all, but others are pretty close to poetic perfection as far as I'm concerned.
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2012, 07:03:55 am »

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens, and frankly, I'm excited. There are some poems that don't work for me at all, but others are pretty close to poetic perfection as far as I'm concerned.

Elaborate, do! I have strong and occasionally somewhat conflicting opinions on Stevens.

Well, in general whenever Stevens goes for the can with French and German words (which generally happens in the more lighthearted of his poems) the poem in casu almost certainly will fall short as far as I'm concerned. But when Stevens goes for the more heavyhanded (well, not that heavyhanded) angle, he sometimes can really hit a homerun.

My favourite poems mostly are, I notice now, from his first volume, Harmonium, with such little jewels as Tea at the palaz of Hoon (the last stanza of which just begs to be quoted in a mediocre paper on idealism), the quite well-known The Emperor of Ice-Cream, Cortège for Rosenbloom which is an awful lot of fun,....

In the latter half of the volume Stevens strikes me as even more in control, but for some reason less interesting to me. The amount of metapoetical reflection is probably a contributor to that, as well as (very prosaically, I know) the growing length of the poems. I can get a bit worn out when I'm reading longer shreds of lyrical poetry. Though perhaps my favourite Stevens poem of all must be The search for Sound free from Motion, which combines the virtues of total poetic control with the absolute sheer beauty of the lines that read 'All afternoon the grammaphone / parl-parled the West-Indian weather'. I'm really sort of in love with that poem.

Of the longer ones The Owl in the Sarcophagus stands out as being the most emotionally pure of his poems. I also like the mobilisation of ancient imagery (which is mostly just implied) to talk about the 'mythology of modern death'.

I hope you forgive me the general rambling tone of this post, but you asked yourself for an elaboration Wink And feel free to share any of your thoughts!
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2012, 10:45:38 am »

The Satanic Verses

How do you like it? It's been a while since I read it, but I still have quite good memories of it. Might be my favourite Rushdie novel (for some reason I can't finish Midnight's Children, I still liked Shalimar the Clown a lot, though.

I'm currently on a bit of a Louis Paul Boon binge. Tremendous writer and great man, even if he might accurately be described, in the words of a friend of mine, as a bit of an 'outdated Flemish socialist'. Just finished his war memoir Mijn Kleine Oorlog (which *google google* is availabe in English as My Little War). Next up is semi-historical work Het Geuzenboek which deals with the Eighty Year's War, but rather than looking at the birth of the Republic in the north, Boon focuses on the end of the uprising in the South, with all the doom and gloom that should accompany such a theme.
Maybe afterwards I'll have a go at his magnum opus: the diptych De Kapellekensbaan-Zomer te Ter-Muren. Both of which are mainly concerned with the rise of socialism in Flanders from the late 19th century onwards.
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2012, 03:15:50 pm »

Very short book then?

My Little War?

Yes, very. About a hundred pages*, depending in what version the translation uses: the slightly shorter and 'harsher' 1946 version, or the slightly longer and 'cleaner' 1960s version. (Main difference would be the tidying up of the language though, as the early Boon is much more radical in choosing an undeniably Flemish language, which is an important part of Boon's greatness. You wouldn't notice that in translation, I suppose. In fact I'm having some doubts about the possibility of a good translation of any Boon novel, but I'm not going to criticize what I haven't read.)

*: Descibing it as a 'memoir' might be a bit misleading. 'Impressions' would be a better fit.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2012, 05:07:11 am »

Beyond the Pleasure Principle
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« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2012, 02:11:23 pm »

Lord Jim
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« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2012, 02:45:19 pm »

Just finished Revolutionary Road and The Easter Parade (both by Richard Yates).
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« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2012, 03:19:20 pm »

I just finished to read Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, or Pearls Before Swine and Ellroy's The Big Nowhere and I loved them. Especially Vonnegut's book which I read third time. It made just the same impact than last time when I read it when I was 15.


Quite a fun one, that, eh?

I'm finishing the Collected Works of Willem Elsschot right now, for completeness' sake.
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« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2012, 06:02:32 pm »
« Edited: August 27, 2012, 09:53:38 am by Tussen Droom en Daad »


V. S. Naipaul

My deepest condolences.

Still working on my reread of Floating Clouds, and have added a concurrent reread of Kawabata's Snow Country.

Have you ever actually read Naipaul?

EDIT: Incidentally am reading Guerrillas right now.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2012, 12:48:04 pm »

And you didn't like him? How strange!
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2012, 01:25:09 pm »

But the perspective is so vital to Naipaul's prose! I think one of the main objections to him is that so many people seem to be under the impression that's he's just another colonial apologist, the Trinidad wing of the Tory party, if you like. But it's important to keep in mind Naipaul's own comment that he doesn't care for politics. He is very much his own man, and his fiction is determined completely by that profound individuality.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2012, 04:29:01 pm »

To be fair, the actual quote is about himself as a young man. The scholarship boy wishing to be Somerset Maugham who is one of his great recurrent topics. Obviously Naipaul doesn't exist in a political vacuum. I'd go as far as to say that he's one of the most perceptive observers of (post)colonial mores of our time.* But he's not 'political' in that banal way that many people seem eager to jump on so as to be able to dismiss him out of hand. Naipaul isn't nailed to one position or the other in West European intellectual and political disputes.


*:And obviously sometimes his way of seeing the world can be profoundly problematic, even borderline unacceptable.
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