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658103 Posts in 9262 Topics by 3396 Members Latest Member: - vlozan86 Most online today: 59 - most online ever: 494 (Jul 01, 2007, 02:59:53 PM)
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Author Topic: Books to the ceiling, books to the sky! (The All-New Reading Thread)  (Read 33784 times)
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auto-da-fey
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« Reply #450 on: Mar 14, 2009, 01:43:29 PM »

I'm packing my books into boxes and mailing them to myself in Philly, and it blows me away how much I love some of these; sad that I'm rescuing them from the second row in a closet, only to most likely leave them sitting in boxes until I move again in August.

also I think I'm going to re-read James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room; I began packing it, and its talons dug in before I could let go of it. Perfect light airplane reading, from the very first sentence ("I stand at the window of this great house in the south of France as night falls, the night which is leading me to the most terrible morning of my life."); I suppose if one needs to wallow, this is more convenient than The End of the Affair or something.
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Andrew_TSKS
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« Reply #451 on: Mar 14, 2009, 05:40:18 PM »

Something that seems like it would interest those who are fans of "Moby Dick"
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I just want to be myself and I want you to love me for who I am.
coldforge
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« Reply #452 on: Mar 15, 2009, 02:41:01 AM »

Ikh bin nisht keyn onhenger fun _Moby_Dick_, nor fun Mastodon.
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l'era del terzo mondo.
Ignatius
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« Reply #453 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:00:24 AM »

"I am not no Moby Dick something, Mastodon neither" . . .? What are the underscores about?
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Captain
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« Reply #454 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:08:05 AM »

Just wanted to add my backing to Giovanni's Room.  Also, to bring things around, I'd like to contend that Giovanni's Room gets pretty metal by the end of the novel.  Thoughts?
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Ignatius
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« Reply #455 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:10:46 AM »

Haven't read Giovanni's Room, but should I post your stated definition of metal so everyone's on even footing?
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Ashley
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« Reply #456 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:12:41 AM »

I definitely thought that was going to be about fishing in newfoundland.
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dogg you ain't gotta rustle outside in cloaks of darkness and shit
Ignatius
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« Reply #457 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:31:24 AM »

To paraphrase - 'I love you, captain, I can't wait to see you'
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Captain
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« Reply #458 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:33:21 AM »

Answer: No.
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Ignatius
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« Reply #459 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:36:07 AM »

All right. Bring me a copy when you come up here, and I'll trade you Gary Benchley, Rock Star or The Lion Men of Mongo
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Captain
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« Reply #460 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:44:29 AM »

You have the only known copy, Iggy.  But I might be able to trade you for "I Guess This IS Growing Up: 10 Years With Blank 182"

As always, subject to change.
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Ignatius
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« Reply #461 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:47:06 AM »

Nah. Manuscript's not ready. And at this point, it's 11.5 years.
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Captain
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« Reply #462 on: Mar 15, 2009, 04:55:46 AM »

Iggy, you know more than anyone I'm a Clutch kind of guy.  Give me a deadline and I'll deliver.

Also, Title subject to change.
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elpollodiablo
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« Reply #463 on: Mar 16, 2009, 09:31:26 PM »

Finished the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao yesterday. One of the most readable novels of recent memory. Definitely enhanced by being a big nerd. Love Diaz's prose and his ability to be sentimental without being pathetic. And the ending. Good stuff!
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think 'on the road.'
davy
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« Reply #464 on: Mar 16, 2009, 10:04:59 PM »

This looks AWESOME. Picked it up today from the library:

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The drummer IS the foundation, p3wn.
elpollodiablo
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« Reply #465 on: Mar 16, 2009, 10:24:00 PM »

There's a film adaptation of that coming out soon, I think.
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think 'on the road.'
davy
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« Reply #466 on: Mar 16, 2009, 10:36:50 PM »

Cool. It's a brand new book. Just came out in hardcover.
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The drummer IS the foundation, p3wn.
elpollodiablo
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« Reply #467 on: Mar 16, 2009, 10:37:43 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_City_of_Z_(film)

Guess it got optioned before it got published!
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think 'on the road.'
auto-da-fey
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« Reply #468 on: Mar 16, 2009, 11:50:59 PM »

Just wanted to add my backing to Giovanni's Room.  Also, to bring things around, I'd like to contend that Giovanni's Room gets pretty metal by the end of the novel.  Thoughts?

I guess if you mean black-metalish disgust toward the human condition I could see it. You'd have to work a little harder to make me buy some Cannibal Corpseish raping-a-virgin's-entrails-style metal. Either way, such a powerhouse novel. When I'm in a knee-jerk revulsion from love, which I often am after having my heart shattered, certain things speak to me; one of them is the sort of violently anti-romantic vibe of porn-store space, hence some recent posts on that, and another is such prose as "I tried to convey, through this grisly act of love, the intelligence, at least, that it was not her, not her flesh, that I despised--it would not be her I could not face when we became vertical again." Baldwin kinda specializes in that. Not to mention, the fucking courage it took to publish this book in 1956!

"Grisly act of love," though, I really do adore that description of sex.
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Andrew_TSKS
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« Reply #469 on: Mar 17, 2009, 07:21:48 PM »

Finished the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao yesterday. One of the most readable novels of recent memory. Definitely enhanced by being a big nerd. Love Diaz's prose and his ability to be sentimental without being pathetic. And the ending. Good stuff!

Man... I really had some qualms with that book. On the whole, I enjoyed it, but... You know what? I'll just post what I wrote about it on my blog. Here you go:

Quote
This book has picked up a whole lot of hype lately, and I know I'm not going to be able to derail that particular train all by myself. Honestly, I don't even want to, not completely. That said, I have a few minor complaints about it, and in the interest of not contributing to the hype, I'm going to go ahead and lay those out first.

For starters, the narrative voice didn't always work for me. Without getting too into the details and dropping spoilers, I will mention that said narrative voice switches back and forth from a more straightforward style into an exaggerated Latino-homeboy type of dialect. It's this latter that bugged me. It came off as trying too hard, like someone who hadn't been raised in the sort of urban/hip-hop culture that the narrative voice belonged to doing their version of said hip-hop dialect and just making it obvious that they hadn't really grown up speaking that way. Junot Diaz may, in fact, HAVE grown up speaking that way, for all I know. The problem is that he wasn't too convincing in his rendering of it. It felt like the narrator during those parts of the book was a Dominican version of Stuart Scott from ESPN. Or, if that reference doesn't make sense, Carlton from Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. My other beef: the story being told here just seemed too easy, like a slow pitch hung up nice and easy right across home plate. It's like the book version of Tom Hanks playing "Forrest Gump." Admit it: the second you saw the trailer for that movie, you knew he was gonna get an Oscar. He's playing the slow-but-idiosyncratically-brilliant guy with a heart of gold. We all know that shit is Oscar porn. Well, would it be fair to say that a narrative about a struggling Dominican immigrant trying to find his place in the mainstream culture of America and reconcile that place with his Dominican cultural background is Pulitzer porn? If not, I guess it's too bad, because I'm gonna say it. The thing that surprises me about this book is not the Pulitzer winner sticker on the cover, it's the lack of an Oprah's Book Club sticker on the cover. Give it three years, I guess.

OK, those are my qualms. They are overpowered, to a great extent, by my enjoyment of this book's narrative, pace, characterization, and yes, even its voice at times (when said voice is not trying too hard). Oscar Wao is a character I can relate to, despite the fact that he is a Dominican immigrant, and I'm just a plain ol' white guy. He's a fat nerd who grew up around people who didn't understand his love for the things he loves. He never gets any attention from girls except for a rare few, who invariably move him immediately into the friend zone. He compensates for his lonely life by writing a lot. As he gets older, he just feels more and more alone, and gets more and more depressed. His family doesn't understand him, his mother is abusive to him, and eventually he grows positively suicidal. Even his best friend (the book's narrator) seems not to truly appreciate him until after he's gone. I hate to admit how much I understood where he was coming from. But I did.

The part of the book that was more alien to my experience was the part that dealt with the history of Oscar's family. A great deal of the book is devoted to flashbacks to the time when his family still lived in the Dominican Republic, to the life of his mother, his grandmother, his aunts and uncles, even his older sister (who returned to the D.R. for a while as a teenager). It goes into a great deal of social history about the D.R., much of it concerning the dictatorial rule of the D.R. by Rafael Trujillo, from 1930 to 1961, and the trouble Trujillo caused for the D.R. in general and Oscar's family in particular. While I related less to these sections of the story, I enjoyed them just as much as I enjoyed the tales about Oscar's life. In fact, since the trying-too-hard elements of the narration were toned down for these sections of the book, I may have enjoyed them a bit more.

This book was a quick, enjoyable read, and while I feel that at least some of its praise in mainstream popular circles comes more from the topics it deals with than its actual quality as a novel, I nonetheless thought it was a really good book, and would recommend it to anyone who thinks they can handle the Carlton-from-Fresh-Prince parts. Although much of the book is tragic in tone, in the end it is vaguely uplifting, and you could certainly do worse than to read a book that evokes sympathy for all the fat, out of place nerds of the world.

Would love to hear your thoughts, or those of anyone else reading this thread.
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Captain Insano
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« Reply #470 on: Mar 21, 2009, 10:15:58 PM »


^I bought that today along with Oliver Twist
I thought that a picture dictionary of myths was the easy, lazy way to quickly learn new myths.
Plus, I like pictures.

But right now I'm still reading the Odyssey and Walden which I'm, both, almost done.
Oh, and I'm reading this other book for school, Golden Arches East, McDonald's in East Asia
It's pretty interesting and shows that, despite globalization, other cities, countries, city-states etc. still find ways to add locality and adaptations to foreign ideas.
And I occasionally have been reading O. Henry on the fly.
« Last Edit: Mar 21, 2009, 10:22:11 PM by Captain Insano » Logged

We're all close to the end, don't you need a friend?
Ignatius
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« Reply #471 on: Mar 21, 2009, 10:41:38 PM »

If that's for youngsters, you might miss out on the heavy weird myth sex.
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girl
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« Reply #472 on: Mar 21, 2009, 11:24:12 PM »

I would like to hear stories about heavy weird myth sex.
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this is a story and you're not in it
Good Intentions
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« Reply #473 on: Mar 21, 2009, 11:55:52 PM »

Quote
However, he [Gilgamesh] is young and oppresses his people harshly with tyranny, claiming the jus primae noctis with each bride, and constantly staging contests that apparently harass or humiliate the young men.  The people call out to the sky-god Anu, the chief god of the city (and Father of the gods), to help them.  In response, Anu tells the people to summon Aruru (Belet-ili, the Mother Goddess) to create a wild man, Enkidu, out in the harsh and wild forests surrounding Gilgamesh's lands.  This brute Enkidu is equal in strength to Gilgamesh and is to serve as his rival to give Uruk some rest.

A hunter/trapper soon discovers Enkidu running naked roaming, grazing, and gathering at the water hole with the wild animals.  The hunter's father advises him to go into the city and take the temple harlot Shamhat with him to the forest.  When she sees Enkidu, she is to offer herself to the wild man.  If he submits to her, the trapper says, he will lose his strength and his wildness and the animals will abandon him.

The hunter goes to Uruk and tells this story to Gilgamesh--he gives him the same advice as his father had, to take Shamhat to entice Enkidu.

Shamhat, encouraged by the hunter, meets Enkidu at the watering-hole where all the wild animals gather; she offers herself to him and he partakes nonstop for 6 days and 7 nights.  The animals then shun him and he feels weakened and defiled, but he has gained reason and understanding.  She offers to take him to Uruk and its temple to see all the joys of civilization--she offers to show him Gilgamesh, whom divine Shamash (the sun god) loves.

Shamhat tells Enkidu of Gilgamesh's two dreams which anticipated the arrival of Enkidu-Gilgamesh related these to his mother Ninsun: In the first a meteorite falls to earth which is so great that Gilgamesh can neither lift it nor turn it.  The people gather around the meteorite, and Gilgamesh embraces it as he would a wife.  His mother interprets that a comrade will come to him who will save him and whom she will make his equal.  In the second, Gilgamesh dreams that an axe appears in a street.  The people gather around the axe, and Gilgamesh embraces it as he would a wife.  His mother again prophesies that a comrade will come to him who will save him and whom she will make his equal. Gilgamesh welcomes receiving the man who will counsel him.

Enkidu and Shamhat have coupled for 6 days and 7 nights. The shepherds in their camp teach him how to tend flocks, and give him bread to eat, ale to drink, and clothes.  He is also cleaned up and shorn by a barber.

From Michael McGoodwin's summary of the Epic of Gilgamesh.
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girl
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« Reply #474 on: Mar 22, 2009, 12:11:07 AM »

That's not very weird.

 Heart
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this is a story and you're not in it
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