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Music of Chance is great, as is the movie which he also did the screenplay for (he also did Smoke - based on his short story I think, with Harvey Keitel, which was good too). 

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anyone here read any paul auster? I know next to nothing about the guy but 4 3 2 1 seems interesting

Yes. I read the New York trilogy. Thought it very boring. As in "tries to hard to make 'literature' out of nothing" boring.

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nearing the end of John Varley's Gaea trilogy..

 

tumblr_m4gu2u6KVP1qgr1oxo1_500.jpg

 

scifi. these got pretty good as they went on! some unexpected directions.. lots of centaur sex.. quite reminding me of Terry Pratchett's stuff in some ways, though these are much less explicitly humourous..

Is it a little weird with all the centaur sex? Or a lot weird? How was the trilogy altogether?

 

 

^yussss The Crossing is my fave

Yeah just finished The Crossing holy shit its a kick to the heart.

 

I like Mccarthy's unbiased depiction of the Mexican ppl with the mixture of good and evil characters Boyd and Billy encounter. Theyre either hospitable and benevolent or driven to evil because of circumstance + the necessity for survival

Agreed, he definitely plays everything dramatically, but still without big villains or heroes, nothing is distinct, everything is blurred and yet over the top. Doubt it's a 'realistic' portrayal of the time/area, but it's obviously very much rooted in serious reality as far as everyone on their own treks, intersecting haphazardly and so forth...resembles reality in many ways because of that, but it still has that drama buried in everything and every character, and that makes it such a great novel imo. Kick to the heart is a very good way of putting it. :)

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anyone here read any paul auster? I know next to nothing about the guy but 4 3 2 1 seems interesting

Yes. I read the New York trilogy. Thought it very boring. As in "tries to hard to make 'literature' out of nothing" boring.
I actually like 2/3 of the NYT, but Auster is definitely far from being a favorite of mine. Read one called Timbuktu a couple weeks ago as the jacket had me thinking it might make a good gift for a particular friend, but got nothing from it whatsoever.

 

Shout out to cwmbrancity for the Taín recommendation, its got me back on an Irish/Gaelic/etc. kick

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blasted in a few days, what a stunning riot

 

28281.books.origjpg.jpg

 

too funny at times, mercilessly dark characterss & themes plus the style is a joy, possibly the most surreal journey into the snake infested heart of the Troubles you could hope to encounter in fiction

I got myself This Is Memorial Device after reading this post and holy shit. It's brilliant. Not too far in and I can already tell I'll love it until the end.

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anyone here read any paul auster? I know next to nothing about the guy but 4 3 2 1 seems interesting

The New York Trilogy, Moon Palace and (slightly lesser extent) The Music of Chance are the best Austers I've read.

 

So far I've found his 21st century stuff more mixed, lots of cool stuff (like his film observations in The Book of Illusions and Man in the Dark) but slightly lacking.

 

Auster is always an easy pick-up with distinct consistency and a voice I find relatable, but I get the sense his earlier novels are his most successful.

 

I also agree that The Crossing is the best of McCarthy's Border Trilogy.

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I need more recommendations for good contemporary fiction pls. I've always had little idea what's new or exciting in that sphere, I spent most of my earlier years with classics and it's biased me towards them and towards thinking that contemporary writing inherently has less value. Cormac McCarthy I know. Murakami, ehh, I should read him but it somehow doesn't grab me. can anyone recommend me something else?

 

I've really pushed to get back into reading this year as I felt myself sliding further and further away from it due to time demands/life. trying to read one a month at least. so far I've gone through:

 

- Call of the Wild (re-read)

- Lord of the Flies (re-read)

- A Farewell to Arms (re-read)

- As I Lay Dying

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On Faulkner, last month I finally caught up with Light in August and The Reivers.

 

Absalom, Absalom! (which I've read a few times now) happens to be my favourite novel, but no other Faulkners have ever really delivered anything near as strong for me, although Light in August is the 2nd best I've come across and does feel like a warm-up for Absalom, Absalom in many respects. The only others I've read were during 2010-11 (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying & The Wild Palms), and I remember the least about As I Lay Dying. I generally dig his work, could spend forever reading about tales in that county.

 

In the last year or so I've been finally delving into local writers Patrick White and David Malouf (who like Auster has a voice I strongly relate to), as well as progressing further through the Aubrey-Maturin series (for which I have deep affection), and I've got Against the Day lined up (still haven't touched anything prior to Vineland, read everything else since). Pynchon & O'Brian are worth owning, as they are the sort of novels I'll read again and again.

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^ this is the first Faulkner I've read so I'm still coming to grips with his whole vibe and how he sees things. (I remember getting this copy with alco's blessing when I was in Chicago, shout out alco.) I read that he wrote it in six weeks in concentrated bursts and revised it very little, which makes sense when you realise you can get through most of the book with not a lot of action actually unfolding. it seems to be more about what's happening in the characters' hearts and minds. he has a peculiar way of writing about complex sentiments using simple words so you really have to dwell on it and work out what he's trying to say.

 

re: contemporary writing, I might start with Pynchon then. haven't read a word of his.

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I'm reading the Aegypt series of books by John Crowley, who i'd not heard of until a couple weeks ago.. love em so far! I was first drawn in by seeing them described - sounds like secret history / occult / religion type stuff, with bits starring fictionalised versions of historical personages set in the 1500-1600s, something i always enjoy - but they're not quite what I expected.. beautifully low key.. vivid rural scapes.. the second book so far has been almost entirely a super detailed bit of Kentucky mountains childhood memories.

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nearing the end of John Varley's Gaea trilogy..

 

tumblr_m4gu2u6KVP1qgr1oxo1_500.jpg

 

scifi. these got pretty good as they went on! some unexpected directions.. lots of centaur sex.. quite reminding me of Terry Pratchett's stuff in some ways, though these are much less explicitly humourous..

Is it a little weird with all the centaur sex? Or a lot weird? How was the trilogy altogether?

 

 

 

sorry, only just saw this.. yeah it was weird.. it goes into it, and like, breeding, love, genetics, in scientific detail. they aren't really centaurs but a race (titanides) resembling them, created sort of as an experiment by a super ancient advanced, but now quite mad, alien mind.. (the books take place inside a space environment which is (/appears to be) the giant body of this mind)... they have two different sets of genitals, one for romantic/fun type sex and one for breeding. there are 28 (or some number like that, i forget) different possible breeding group configurations. there are some small diagrams in the book explaining these a bit. the alien mind has, as partially a cruel joke and partially a measure to avoid overpopulation, made it so that for their eggs to be fertilised requires the saliva of one specific human................

 

yeah i really liked those books! can't really say smart things about them or anything but they went places. (i was surprised, after the cover art makes em look like some kind of pulpy fantasy). i really love very vividly conjured landscapes, that's sort of my favourite thing in books, and these were great at that.. 

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re: contemporary writing, I might start with Pynchon then. haven't read a word of his.

The Crying of Lot 49 is recommended often as the ideal starting point as it was his debut novella and already featured a lot of elements that make Pynchon so fucking great. But you might as well pick up some later novels like Inherent Vice or Vineland (seriously underrated), two stoner stories with all Pynchon paraphernalia intact, yet more easily digestible than Gravity's Rainbow or something.

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Lot49 was his 2nd, V was his first.

Personally I loved Gravity's Rainbow on the first (admittedly arduous) read.

I didn't really click with Lot49 until I read it the second time. But yeah, at least it's short. Agree with you on Vineland, love that one.

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Lot49 was his 2nd, V was his first.

Personally I loved Gravity's Rainbow on the first (admittedly arduous) read.

I didn't really click with Lot49 until I read it the second time. But yeah, at least it's short. Agree with you on Vineland, love that one.

Shit, you're right. My bad.

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David Mitchell's stuff is supposed be pretty good on the contemporary speculative fiction/sci-fi front - he wrote Cloud Atlas which I've not read but bookish friends say is quite good. Did read the Bone Clocks which was a pretty decent, "literary sci-fi" read (if a tad self-indulgent). 

 

I was slightly crestfallen to discover that

 

 

 

this was neither a book about dudes with timepieces in their ding-a-lings bangin' hot chicks nor was it

 

 

 

an unauthorized biography of the life and times of Bone Thugs 'N Harmony 

 

 

 

 

 

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I adore Vineland as well (despite how unwieldy it feels at points, and seeming protagonist Zoyd disappearing for such a vast chunk). Mason & Dixon is the only one I prefer. Bleeding Edge was also treated rather unfairly on release I felt, I expect that to grow in esteem as well, very much of the Vineland/Inherent Vice mold in that it doesn't scream masterwork but is still better than most everything else getting published.

 

That moment in Pynchon's Vineland where Zoyd Wheeler is bleakly night driving and singing mournfully along to Take It To the Limit always gets me. Some of Pynchon's musical references you never forget, and that song changed for me forever after Vineland.

 

As mentioned, I still haven't touched the initial phase stuff like Gravity's Rainbow, V and Lot49.

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Read Taleb’s Black Swan and liked the half of what he was saying I could understand. If anything the book makes me want to read the news less, because it becomes clear that it’s a waste of time, but overall I can’t help think of NNT as an asshole.

 

Then needed something lighter. Read Woman in the Window in a day. Well done - novelist made it seem effortless.

 

On to Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Short read so far and I like this personal slice of introspection from him.

 

Need something sci-fi next.

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David Mitchell is great, his first couple of books are good too, but mostly Murakami rip-offs (which I think he admitted himself), Cloud Atlas is great but I really like The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet too. Black Swan Green wasn't amazing, and the two recent ones were enjoyable enough, but his plots are getting a bit silly, would be nice if his next thing was more reality-based, he's always had weird shit, but more grounded in reality than in those two, which are quite childlike in their fantasy.

 

 

Read Taleb’s Black Swan and liked the half of what he was saying I could understand. If anything the book makes me want to read the news less, because it becomes clear that it’s a waste of time, but overall I can’t help think of NNT as an asshole.

 

His books are great, mostly all repeating the same idea, but it's a good idea. The man is one of the biggest assholes on the planet though, and having one good idea doesn't make you an expert on everything else. You should check out his twitter, it's pretty funny.

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David Mitchell is great, his first couple of books are good too, but mostly Murakami rip-offs (which I think he admitted himself), Cloud Atlas is great but I really like The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet too. Black Swan Green wasn't amazing, and the two recent ones were enjoyable enough, but his plots are getting a bit silly, would be nice if his next thing was more reality-based, he's always had weird shit, but more grounded in reality than in those two, which are quite childlike in their fantasy.

 

 

Read Taleb’s Black Swan and liked the half of what he was saying I could understand. If anything the book makes me want to read the news less, because it becomes clear that it’s a waste of time, but overall I can’t help think of NNT as an asshole.

His books are great, mostly all repeating the same idea, but it's a good idea. The man is one of the biggest assholes on the planet though, and having one good idea doesn't make you an expert on everything else. You should check out his twitter, it's pretty funny.

Exactly. He’s got so many good points.

On to Cloud Atlas!

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