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658126 Posts in 9262 Topics by 3396 Members Latest Member: - vlozan86 Most online today: 44 - most online ever: 494 (Jul 01, 2007, 02:59:53 PM)
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Author Topic: Current reading material?  (Read 229641 times)
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Roque
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Posts: 166


« Reply #100 on: Aug 06, 2004, 04:52:12 PM »

Quote from: "william"
Quote
I don't what the shite either of you are talking about. I assume you're kidding about the Lyotard reference. DeLillo could be considered a Platonist it the very loose sense, sure, in a fair amount of his work. But what?! Pynchon!? These are the not attacks that can withstand, you know, actually reading Pynchon. Even once you kids swim in the Marianas-deep end of Gravity's Rainbow, you'll know that the man has a way with words, and isn't just curling with Big Ideas, let alone anything as asenine as metanarratives.


Firstly, i was only concurring about the point on DeLillo. I haven't read Pynchon yet (though I do intend to). Secondly, no I'm not kidding about the Lyotard reference, though i was using it in a metaphorical rather than literal sense, mainly because he sprang to mind whilst I was reading White Noise. In The Postmodern Condition, Lyotard argues that the world has grown tired of overarching narratives which seek to explain everything and make everyone else part of the bigger picture (Marxist theory, for example, sees all of humanity as working towards a final goal of the perfect society. The various epochs which we have been through [e.g. feudalism, capitalism etc.] are reduced to mere stages in our development towards the sublime end point of history). The problem with metanarratives is that they crush individuals into an amorphous gloop. Lyotard's Postmodernism, with its attitude of acceptance towards a whole plethora of narratives and stories is, at root, an attempt to claw back the value of the individual.
   In light of this analysis, I think that my reference to Lyotard works. As Perry notes, all his characters talk in the same stilted way and I found DeLillo's character develoment limited at best, sacrificed to the concepts he was pushing. I'm all for overarching stories in books, but I'd far rather see better developed characters as they hold my interest a lot more.

Ps: asinine is an unfortunate word to spell incorrectly.


Way harsh with the misspelling calling-out. My beef was less with your debut of pomo babble into the forums, than it was the prospect of its particular application (not by you, specifically) to Pynchon.

Anyway, I hope you're 110% impressed with the fact that, like every other English undergraduate in the Western world, you done learned yourself some critical theory. Like most of this illustrious group, you've managed to swallow it whole, apparently. The attack on Grand Narratives is at the heart of postmodernism's epistemological overstretch: practically claiming that all depictions of reality stand on the same footing. Or that there just isn't Reality, or Truth? Oh, remember when Habermas showed that your beloved Lyotard's claim that the Grand Narrative is dead is itself a Grand Narrative? Is the Grand Narrative of science just a language game to a pomo supplicant like yourself? Or rather, "discourse"? In the words of one professor, "Auschwitz was not a discourse." Subject to the "infinite play of signification"? Euclid's axioms, relativity, biochemistry, too?

You're probably smart enough to see the irony of your preference for plain old "character development" while you simultaneously regurtitate the obscurantist nonsense of an ivory-tower fad in decline. But you're not smart enough to stop regurgitating.


Post disowned.

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And so it was that Pooh discovered that his friend Tigger was merely the representative of a reactionary class, and needed to be overthrown.
polishq
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Posts: 33


« Reply #101 on: Aug 06, 2004, 05:45:29 PM »

This is one literary THROWDOWN!

DIZ-AMN

Personally though I'm rooting for Pynchon.
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arthur bond.
www.livejournal.com/~mapscomic
"fuck this band, because they swear too much." -mclusky
John
edit0r
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Posts: 10925


« Reply #102 on: Aug 06, 2004, 05:49:35 PM »

See when you avoid reading these boring-ass 20th-century writers you don't run into these unpleasantries :wink:
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swilkes
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Posts: 1032


« Reply #103 on: Aug 06, 2004, 05:57:00 PM »

Oh fuck, I did *not* mean to participate in this kind of slap-fest.  I withdraw.

Has anyone read Anne Carson's "Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse"? I recommend it.

Also, if we're not above or below talking about children's books, I am so pleased that Doreen Cronin has put out at least two politically subversive kids' books: "Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type" and "Duck for President," both of which teach kids that their voices count, even if politicians are silly.  It's like "Animal Farm" for optimists!
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Lalitree
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« Reply #104 on: Aug 06, 2004, 06:27:09 PM »

Quote from: "swilkes"
Oh fuck, I did *not* mean to participate in this kind of slap-fest.  I withdraw.


Totally. I was going to talk about how I've read a fair amount of DeLillo (Underworld, Ratner's Star, Mao II), Wallace (Infinite Jest, The Broom of the System, A Supposedly Fun Thing,..., Some of Brief Interviews..., a handful of essays in the Atlantic and whatnot), and a bit of Pynchon (TCoL49, about 1/3 of Gravity's Rainbow, which I plan to revisit soon), and that I enjoy each writer quite a lot but in a different way, and while each has his own flaws they're certainly all three great writers. But that discussion seems to have turned a bit mean, so I'm out.
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Roque
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Posts: 166


« Reply #105 on: Aug 06, 2004, 06:27:50 PM »

I couldn't turn the other cheek, because I'm weak. And I missed lunch. Not a recipe for civility (I almost said "civil discourse"--close one!) But I want everything to be Kool & the Gang again in Forumland. So I withdraw, too. Back to book talk?

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And so it was that Pooh discovered that his friend Tigger was merely the representative of a reactionary class, and needed to be overthrown.
william
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Posts: 493


« Reply #106 on: Aug 06, 2004, 06:38:00 PM »

I tried not to be mean. I'm can be very bad with arguments like this (read: dog with a bone). I'm sorry I pointed out your typo, I just thought it was a funny one, it wasn't supposed to be mean. Anyway, guess I'd better read some DeLillo and Pynchon this weekend. Any other suggestions?
Swilkes,I haven't read that CArson, if you wanna read a good novel in verse, you should try The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth, it's super nice :wink:
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Roque
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Posts: 166


« Reply #107 on: Aug 06, 2004, 08:01:09 PM »

Quote from: "william"
I tried not to be mean. I'm can be very bad with arguments like this (read: dog with a bone). I'm sorry I pointed out your typo, I just thought it was a funny one, it wasn't supposed to be mean. Anyway, guess I'd better read some DeLillo and Pynchon this weekend. Any other suggestions?


Hah, no hard feelings at all Very Happy. And sorry to Lalitree and everyone else. After cooling down (eating), I realized that I wrote what I wrote not because I hate postmodernist crit (I mostly do, though), but because I made a stupid typo (actually funny + ironic) that was pointed out.

Anyway, a few suggestions for now: Blindness by Saramago; Disgrace by Coetzee; Journey to the End of the Night by Celine. I hope some of you love these like I love them.

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And so it was that Pooh discovered that his friend Tigger was merely the representative of a reactionary class, and needed to be overthrown.
Dollabill
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Posts: 24


« Reply #108 on: Aug 06, 2004, 11:30:10 PM »

I just finished 1984... it's a damn good book
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Lalitree
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« Reply #109 on: Aug 06, 2004, 11:46:58 PM »

Quote from: "Roque"
Anyway, a few suggestions for now: Blindness by Saramago; Disgrace by Coetzee; Journey to the End of the Night by Celine. I hope some of you love these like I love them.


I had a copy of Disgrace in my hand at a used book store just a couple days ago--I read Waiting for the Barbarians two or three years ago and liked it--but I have more than enough books at home waiting to be read so I didn't buy it. The 'comtemporary fiction' section of the used book store I was in is so dizzyingly large that I usually come away thinking "I haven't even heard of 80% of these writers and I'm already way behind in the list of books that I already know I want to read!"
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davy
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Posts: 24822


« Reply #110 on: Aug 06, 2004, 11:47:37 PM »

i'm such a loser. i'm trying to get through kim stanley robinson's mars trilogy (red, green, blue)...because i really want to read a sci-fi "epic". or rather, i really want to enjoy something as potentially brilliant and corny as a sci-fi epic. i've tried these books before and didn't make it through. this time, i'm determined.

on the mornings i feel most literary and sophisticated, i'm making my way, page by page, through nabokov's the gift, which is the last novel he wrote in russian. it's breathtaking, but i'm out of practice (i sorta intentionally dumbed myself down after graduating from college). it's gonna be a long road.

~fygmynt
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Akhliber
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Posts: 65


« Reply #111 on: Aug 07, 2004, 12:13:43 AM »

I'm re-reading "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn, which is wonderful.  It's one of only 3 books I've ever liked enough to read more than once (the other two being "Time's Arrow" by Martin Amis and "Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie).

If any of you are looking for something to read, and you haven't already read these, you should.  

Also, "Phantoms in the Brain" by V.S. Ravichandran is a pretty fascinating read.  Interesting case studies of people with phantom limb pain, sure, but the book really touches on so much more than just that.  He's a pretty brilliant man.
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Roque
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Posts: 166


« Reply #112 on: Aug 07, 2004, 12:46:51 AM »

Quote from: "Lalitree"
Quote from: "Roque"
Anyway, a few suggestions for now: Blindness by Saramago; Disgrace by Coetzee; Journey to the End of the Night by Celine. I hope some of you love these like I love them.


I had a copy of Disgrace in my hand at a used book store just a couple days ago--I read Waiting for the Barbarians two or three years ago and liked it--but I have more than enough books at home waiting to be read so I didn't buy it. The 'comtemporary fiction' section of the used book store I was in is so dizzyingly large that I usually come away thinking "I haven't even heard of 80% of these writers and I'm already way behind in the list of books that I already know I want to read!"


Whew, I'm in the exact same boat: it's half encouraging, half intimidating.  And to think how many pre-"contemporary" books are awaiting us! Not to mention how much nonfiction! Life really is too short.

Anyway, if anyone happens to get into some sort of Coetzee phase, or wants to get into one, Disgrace and The Life and Times of Michael K are pretty top-notch, arguably the top contenders for his magnum opera (is this the way to pluralize?). A lot of people have problems with the 'sterility' of his prose, but I've never had this problem (thankfully).

He's got a pretty good book of criticism called Stranger Shores, too. Lastly, I recommend reading his wacky Nobel lecture. Beats the normal fare, by far, imo.

Hah, I'm obviously a Coetzee fanatic; follow at your peril!

/////
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And so it was that Pooh discovered that his friend Tigger was merely the representative of a reactionary class, and needed to be overthrown.
jaimoe0
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Posts: 106


« Reply #113 on: Aug 07, 2004, 06:29:56 AM »

Recently read Pest Control by Bill Fitzhugh, Set This House in Order by Matt Ruff and just finished Barrell Fever by Mr. Sedaris. Currently re-reading Uncle Lester's Pyschotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung and the little label on the neck of this empty bottle of Anchor Steam.  Up next, Underworld by the controversial Don Delillo and   The Travels of Marco Polo; The Venetian.

To the person who asked about Christopher Moore, I like him a lot. He's silly, and silly is fine by me. I've read Lamb, Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Bloodsucking Fiends and Coyote Blue.  I like Lamb and Lust Lizard best, but I enjoyed all of them.
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Andrew_TSKS
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Posts: 39426


« Reply #114 on: Aug 07, 2004, 12:11:09 PM »

jaimoe--have you read "mainlines, blood feasts, and bad taste"? it's a second volume of lester bangs's writing, edited by john morthland instead of greil marcus, and it's only been out for a year or so. i've read it twice, and i think it's better on the whole than "psychotic reactions." check it out.
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jaimoe0
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Posts: 106


« Reply #115 on: Aug 07, 2004, 09:49:58 PM »

Thanks for the recommendation, Andrew.  That just moved to the top of the wish list.
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sedita
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Posts: 261


« Reply #116 on: Aug 07, 2004, 10:32:33 PM »

Quote from: "swilkes"

Also, if we're not above or below talking about children's books, I am so pleased that Doreen Cronin has put out at least two politically subversive kids' books: "Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type" and "Duck for President," both of which teach kids that their voices count, even if politicians are silly.  It's like "Animal Farm" for optimists!



shit shit yes!! i love 'click clack moo'

and it think it's high time we turn this thread from you bickering wanky adult authors and switch on over to some rockin' picture books.

i submit:

the wing shop  -   elvira woddruf, illus. STEPHEN GAMMELL
guys from space - daniel pinkwater
my friend rabbit  - erid rohmann
brundibar - maurice sendak
starry messenger - peter sis
smarty pants - maira kalman
one monster after another - mercer meyer

and anything by Calef Brown.
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Lalitree
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« Reply #117 on: Aug 07, 2004, 10:52:08 PM »

The last children's book I very nearly bought was "Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus".
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swilkes
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Posts: 1032


« Reply #118 on: Aug 08, 2004, 04:40:51 AM »

Quote from: "Lalitree"
The last children's book I very nearly bought was "Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus".


Oh man. I just read the amazon reviews--it sounds great!  I must say I'm really impressed with the array of children's picture books that are out these days--so much sophisticated wit, but in a way that doesn't fly over kids' heads.  And even if some of it does, so what? It still works.

Is/was anyone else a big fan of James Marshall's "George and Martha" series?  So funny--outrageous gags alternating with dry wit, and the funniest rendering of anthropomorphic hippos, ever.
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jaimoe0
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Posts: 106


« Reply #119 on: Aug 08, 2004, 06:49:13 AM »

J. Otto Seibold and Vivienne Walsh's "Mr. Lunch" books.  Love 'em!  I read them to my daughter all the time when she was very young. I'd do the same for Aidan, but he'd rather listen to Black Sabbath and play video games.  There's one in every bunch.  "You can do both, kid. Really."

edit  The above is totally unfair to my wonderful son, who actually really enjoys being read to, even though he can read on his own now. He just isn't obsessed with the written word like his sister is... then again, she doesn't really care all that much for Sabbath.
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william
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Posts: 493


« Reply #120 on: Aug 08, 2004, 08:57:25 AM »

My favourite children's book was called 'Desmond's Surprise', and it was about a dinosaur who though everyone had forgotten his birthday but in the end they hadn't and they gave him a surprise birthday with cake and fireworks and rollerskates. Anyone know who it's by?
I also really like Brer Rabbit
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NedRaggett
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Posts: 20161


« Reply #121 on: Aug 08, 2004, 09:19:53 AM »

Currently on W. Bruce Lincoln's Nicholas I (of Russia) -- he's written a series of good academic-but-popular histories on 19th and early 20th Russia over the years.  Try In War's Dark Shadow if you can find it.
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polishq
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Posts: 33


« Reply #122 on: Aug 08, 2004, 10:49:34 AM »

I'd have to say the best children's book ever is Maurice Sendak's The Night Kitchen, about a naked kid who flies around in an airplane made of dough.
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arthur bond.
www.livejournal.com/~mapscomic
"fuck this band, because they swear too much." -mclusky
sedita
Registered user

Posts: 261


« Reply #123 on: Aug 08, 2004, 11:13:21 AM »

george and martha --->  (!!!) love those guys. as a child, i once put my
dinner in my shoe, based on georges split pea soup antics. my mom was non-plussed.

in the night kitchen---------->  while i agree this is an AMAZING AMAZING book, my experiences teaching preschool for many years showed me
that many 3-5's don't react to it. it's just too surreal.  too bad, cause i love it.
polishq, have you read brundibar, sendak's latest? it's wonderful
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so remember, on a scale from one to awesome, i'm super great.
erin
Registered user

Posts: 102


« Reply #124 on: Aug 09, 2004, 04:17:45 AM »

I recently finished "I Am My Own Wife", which is about a really spirited transgendered woman who lived through WWII in East Berlin. It was recently made into a well-received play.

I just started Scott Nearing's biography, which hasn't been as good as his autobiography or any of the other books he penned, but is still pretty decent.

All of the books on my "want to read" list are about natural building methods -- I'm trying to compare cob (my current material of choice -- no, it's not corn cobs: that's just in Mitchell, SD) to strawbale, rammed earth, earthbag, etc.

I don't read fiction, almost as a rule, but Winesburg Ohio is _incredible_, and I liked The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood a whole lot.

I'm always game for revisiting favorite May Sarton journals. She's my favorite cranky old woman _ever_. Other than that, I'm obsessed to a fault with queer anthologies, often very cheezy like a recent favorite -- coming out stories of gay men in the small-town midwest.
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