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Thread: What are you reading?

  1. #21
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    There are some classics most everyone loves or, at least, respects for brilliance, suspense, excellence, or universality. "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Dumas, "Tom Sawyer" and most of Twain's books--hilarious, Melville's "Moby Dick," a good fish story, "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane, "Crime and Punishment" by Dostoyevsky, "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad, "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" by John Le Carre, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Hemingway, and so many more. I never liked Joyce.

  2. #22
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    There's a significant difference between Dubliners and Finnegan's Wake, which is generally accepted as drivel. I ain't got time for Ulysses, either.

  3. #23
    <3 gator's Avatar
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    It was alright. I'm not going to say it was incredibly brilliant, but it was readable enough that I stuck it out until the end. There's a fair bit to digest there, should you want to. It took aim at the hypocrisy and repressiveness of the church, school system, some of the radicals and idealists you'd meet at university and in political parties. And it's a coming of age story, where you see Stephen growing up, encountering different situations, trying to understand them and how they shaped his identity. Some of it was lost on me, because it takes place within a political and social context that I'm not overly familiar with. If I knew more about the history of Ireland I would have no doubt gotten more out of it.

  4. #24
    Recently read: The Tenth of December by Saunders. Worth reading for "Semplica Girl Diaries" alone, I think. I need to re-read the other stories.

    I'm also making everyone I know read Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. Some of the most gorgeous non-fiction I've ever read.

  5. #25
    Mens bona regnum possidet ferrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gator View Post
    It was alright. I'm not going to say it was incredibly brilliant, but it was readable enough that I stuck it out until the end. There's a fair bit to digest there, should you want to. It took aim at the hypocrisy and repressiveness of the church, school system, some of the radicals and idealists you'd meet at university and in political parties. And it's a coming of age story, where you see Stephen growing up, encountering different situations, trying to understand them and how they shaped his identity. Some of it was lost on me, because it takes place within a political and social context that I'm not overly familiar with. If I knew more about the history of Ireland I would have no doubt gotten more out of it.
    Some knowledge of Aquinas makes the second half worth while. Joyce's works are so laden with cultural references, it is kind of worth having a glossary nearby. I'd agree that a lot of it is overrated, insofar as the complexity effectively hides ideas that amount to mysticism, but I kind of think the hollowness is made up for by passages of extraordinary beauty that often only reveal themselves when read aloud, especially in an Irish accent. The political side of Joyce's ideas are the strongest, nonetheless, a lot of his work is a cri de coeur for an Irish aesthetic which is not nationalism but as a continuation and enhancement of 'civilisation', especially European. He lived most of his adult life abroad and really wanted to Europeanise Ireland, rather than defining it in terms of its relationship with Britain, which even the nationalists did negatively. That political aspect - a disillusionment with the grand ideals of history(nationalism, ideology, organised religion generally, which is parodied) - to that of the beauty and poetry of the minutiae of everyday life and the capacity of it on a kind of helicopter view to embody related but more gnarled versions of those ideals, is a strong thread of his work. There is something about the aesthetic, or world-view of Joyce's works that can let you get into your skin if you let it, or are predisposed to be so, whilst trawling through all the modernist fireworks which, in the hindsight of our postmodernist world are now quite stilted and absurdly self-conscious.
    Die Logik ist keine Lehre, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transcendental. - Wittgenstein

  6. #26
    Today I started This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. Too dumb at the moment for anything but short stories. I'll wait to finish to pass judgment.

  7. #27
    Elk Death Makers!*'s Avatar
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    The Crying of Lot 49, again. I'm going to get what there is to get this time.

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by MuseedesBeauxArts View Post
    Today I started This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. Too dumb at the moment for anything but short stories. I'll wait to finish to pass judgment.
    Eh, ok. A little self-involved. Felt more like a tale of woe with bragging rights ("I got in trouble for sleeping with too many hot bitches!") than the story of personal development through the lens of relationships that I expected. I preferred The Brief Wondrous Life, but maybe I'm missing something.

  9. #29
    <3 gator's Avatar
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    I'm slowly plodding along with The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann and Anna Karenina.

    To mix it up a little I'm reading A Feast for Crows as well, when my brain can't handle the other two.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makers!* View Post
    The Crying of Lot 49, again. I'm going to get what there is to get this time.
    Update: After rereading, reflecting, and comparing my opinion to those of Goodreads reviews (no dissertations but illuminating nonetheless) I've indefinitely concluded that there may be nothing "to get." Saying this, I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from the short book or attempting to understand it. After all, that's part of the fun. TCL49 is mentally stimulating, the characters and humor are great. But it would be good to keep in mind that Pynchon’s playing off the post-modern fears that there's not an overarching structure to give our life meaning, and that nothing can be communicated which isn’t wasted or lost.

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