The Double Dream of Spring 2019: what are we reading?

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Finishing up City of Quartz by Mike Davis, starting in on Impatience of the Heart by Stefan Zweig

A funny tinge happened on the way to the forum (wins), Sunday, 24 March 2019 18:38 (six months ago) link

Reference link to previous Winter 2019 WAYR thread.

A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 24 March 2019 18:43 (six months ago) link

I will finish it, but I would rate Gore Vidal's Washington D.C. as easily the worst of his series of American political history novels. It is more sensationalized, less substantial and less grounded in historic fact than any of the subsequently written entries in that series. It was probably worth skipping, but I'm close enough to the end that my 'completist' urge has kicked in and I will see it through.

A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 24 March 2019 18:48 (six months ago) link

And you can learn anything you want about James Burden Day from Empire and Hollywood, thus making Washington DC eminently skippable.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 24 March 2019 18:53 (six months ago) link

JG farrell, "troubles"

PaulDananVEVO (||||||||), Sunday, 24 March 2019 21:54 (six months ago) link

The Train, Georges Simenon (originally published as Le Train).

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 26 March 2019 16:00 (six months ago) link

A Hidden Landscape Once a Week
Walter Benjamin: the Story of a Friendship - Gershom Scholem

woof, Tuesday, 26 March 2019 17:30 (six months ago) link

Dobson's murderous contagion. It's interesting but very dry reading. Interested in more books on medicine/diseases. But after this I want to read sth lighter. Prob more PK Dick. I finished Skull the other week and realized how great his writing is.

nathom, Tuesday, 26 March 2019 21:04 (six months ago) link

I'm ashamed: never read Simenon. It's ab time I did.

nathom, Tuesday, 26 March 2019 21:04 (six months ago) link

A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD

the pinefox, Wednesday, 27 March 2019 10:10 (six months ago) link

It's ab time I did.

Just remember you are not required to like his books. He has his flaws and limitations, like any author.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 27 March 2019 16:22 (six months ago) link

Richard Stern's Other Men's Daughters, available in the NYRB edition. I know he's a Writer's Writer, revered by Roth and Bellow, but, boy, is his precision impressing me, especially at the service of the world's least interesting plot.

I must read him.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 27 March 2019 16:41 (six months ago) link

If you had added one more “Writer’s” in front you would have got me.

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 March 2019 21:16 (six months ago) link

Amy Levy, The Romance of a Shop
John Knowles, A Separate Peace
Gore Vidal, "The Zenner Trophy"

Timothée Charalambides (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 27 March 2019 23:33 (six months ago) link

About 2/3s of the way through the Big Midweek Steve Hanley's memoir of life in The Fall. Quite enjoying it and he is completely scathing about the Smiths maybe all of them.
I can't quite place when I am in the book at the moment I think it's past the point I have at least lps by the band. I do have the Peel session box.

Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi
Book on underlying violence of trade and society etc.

Fighting The Banana Wars
Memoir on Fsitrade history.

Bob Woodward Feat
The Woodward book on the Trump story which I got half way through then started reading something else a few months back.

Stevolende, Thursday, 28 March 2019 07:13 (six months ago) link

Started Gravity’s Rainbow. Made it through 80 pages in college, then 300 pages in law school. This time I’m going all the way.

Mazzy Tsar (PBKR), Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:24 (six months ago) link

godspeed pbkr, it is totally worth getting through, its most beautiful passages are toward the middle and at the very end

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:25 (six months ago) link

i am still stuck in the last third of the rest is noise but i'm gonna finish it this or next week and start doctor faustus, which will also prob take me three months to read bc thomas mann

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:26 (six months ago) link

Felix Krull surprised me -- it's the nearest equivalent to a beach read he ever wrote

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:29 (six months ago) link

Nearly finished Monte Cristo. I got a little bored of it around the third quarter, but then a couple of twists in the plot brought me back in.

jmm, Thursday, 28 March 2019 15:40 (six months ago) link

Having finished The Train, I am of two minds about it and it is difficult to explain without describing the entire book. Maybe it would be sufficient to say that the story is set in 'a time taken out of time', where a young ("22 or 23 year old")woman simply appears, attaches herself to the protagonist, has sex with him within hours of their meeting, makes no demands upon him, and after many weeks of liaison she disappears at the proper moment, gratefully absolves him of any further responsibility, and he more or less resumes his prior life.

The mechanism that makes all this ring true is that the story is set at the first weeks of Germany's invasion of France in WWII and the main characters are refugees from the area near the Belgian border, thrown violently out of normal life into chaotic circumstances. Within that framework, the premise is less jarring. But the fact that the plot runs directly along lines of a common male fantasy just kept niggling at me as I read it and I never did feel like Simenon quite managed to put enough complexity into his story to distance it from that simple underlying fantasy world.

Then I had some extra time last night and read Elizabeth Hardwick's critical essay, "Melville in Love". As indicated by Alfred, it was a good one.

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 28 March 2019 16:30 (six months ago) link

<i>Leave It To Psmith</i>. Had no idea Comrade Psmith was a Blandings spin-off; I'd read some Blandings before but this being a novel it still feels really weird to read a Wodehouse that is not in Bertie Wooster's voice,

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 28 March 2019 17:02 (six months ago) link

Psmith started life as a secondary character, a student of Wryken, the public school where Wodehouse set some of his earliest novels, patterned loosely after Tom Brown's School Days. He later moved up in the world.

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 28 March 2019 17:23 (six months ago) link

/It's ab time I did./

Just remember you are not required to like his books. He has his flaws and limitations, like any author.


I must support my fellow country man completely. (This is one of our great flaws: Belgians rarely support eachother.)

nathom, Thursday, 28 March 2019 19:16 (six months ago) link

I like the Maigret books that I've read (not very many) for their undersold invitation to a measure of compassion, or sympathy, in the justice meted out by getting the goods on characters, however they may fare in crime, court, or anywhere else in the System: there's a sense of dry desperation even in success, where legit biz and rackets parallel and merge, not to mention on other rungs, indoors and out on the streets, day and night. Maigret can't ever seem to forget his own origins for long, as s motherless hick who flunked out and started over as a beat cop in the City of Light, hungry all the time, and now, as a celebrity cop with a decent check maybe, he eats a lot (one commentator mentions that his wife feeds him "like a toddler), drinks a lot, smokes a lot, as his best friend the doctor reminds him, though some of it is stress of the job---he's certainly no bleeding heart, but he knows what makes people tick, and he has a conscience.
In Maigret's Failure, a bloated figure from the bad old days in the sticks suddenly materializes, richer than ever and demanding protection--M blames himself for letting personal distaste (the Meat King is a poison madeleine for all kinds of unwelcome memories) interfere with professional judgement. No one else seems to agree---the guy was a notorious ahole, had it comin'---but he knows.

dow, Friday, 29 March 2019 16:23 (six months ago) link

I've been reading the Homeric Hymns in a poetic translation by Jules Cashford.
I must say it is a nice translation, modern enough to be readable while preserving a sense of the archaic. Another plus: no thees and thous.

I also own the Loeb edition of the Hymns, with the Greek text and a prose translation on the facing page, but it's mostly in my library so as to have the Battle of the Mice and Frogs and other odd fragments of Homerica.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 30 March 2019 23:17 (six months ago) link

there's a sense of dry desperation even in success

There's a really great instance of this in the first Maigret adaptation featuring Jean Gabin - case has been solved, everything's ready for the ending, and Maigret just walks into the Paris rain, grim music letting us know there's nothing to celebrate.

Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 31 March 2019 12:55 (six months ago) link

Was wondering about the Gabin connection, since his picture is on a bunch of Maigret audiobooks.

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 31 March 2019 13:07 (six months ago) link

Yeah, he did three Maigret adaptations late into his career.

Not as intuitive a choice for him as Rowan Atkinson of course.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 1 April 2019 10:32 (six months ago) link

I have kicked off spring with some Jose Saramago. Cain is a re-write of a bundle of old testament tales, some of which (Abraham) worked really well, and recalls Pasolini in his readings - although the abrupt ending hints that he didn't quite know what to do with what he started. Now on another one of his All the Names, which is shaping up to be something else, there is a re-writing of Kafka's bureaucracy going on already and I am definitely here for it!

I am also pacing through Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall, and nervously laughing. Its quite soemthing picking this one up - the failing upwards hits in a way that it might not have done if I picked this up in the late 90s.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 1 April 2019 11:18 (six months ago) link

Eugenides, Fresh Complaint

calstars, Monday, 1 April 2019 12:08 (six months ago) link

still Jane Eyre, over halfway. Fantasizing about a sequel/fanfiction AU where Jane and Rochester do crimes together

moose; squirrel (silby), Monday, 1 April 2019 17:17 (six months ago) link

I read that ages ago actually! Catching up to the source material. Maybe if I reread it I'll get more of the jokes.

moose; squirrel (silby), Monday, 1 April 2019 17:21 (six months ago) link

I finished Big Brother by Lionel Shriver. It won me over. The characters get more fleshed out (as they slim down) and she has a few other tricks up her sleeve. I'm now reading Spartacus by Aldo Schiavone. I liked the previous book on Ancient Rome that I read by him, and this one is shaping up to be just as good.

o. nate, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 01:54 (six months ago) link

Reading Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories From The Trailblazers Of Domestic Suspense. Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, some lesser known names.

I have kicked off spring with some Jose Saramago. Cain is a re-write of a bundle of old testament tales, some of which (Abraham) worked really well, and recalls Pasolini in his readings - although the abrupt ending hints that he didn't quite know what to do with what he started.

I remember the hype around that one felt very stale at the time - Saramago pointing out that Christianity is fucked up for the millionth time, the church throwing its usual temper tantrum, rest of the nation went on as usual.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 10:08 (six months ago) link

I slogged through "Rotting Hill" by Wyndham Lewis, in which WL conjures a bunch of straw men with whom he can argue or agree, such that he can fulminate against the post-WWII Labour administration and the - apparently - inevitable slide of the UK into total, permanent, Soviet-style state control of everyday life.

This is fundamentally a bad book but the combination of occasional passages of glorious writing plus the weirdness of reading such trenchant political analysis that turned out so wrong made me just interested enough to keep going.

Tim, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 11:26 (six months ago) link

I just finished 'Jane Eyre' which is one of the best books I've ever read.

To celebrate I got 3 books out at the library

Anita Brookner - Hotel du Lac
Muriel Spark - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Jean Rhys - Wide Sargasso Sea

hot dog go to bathroom (cajunsunday), Tuesday, 2 April 2019 11:38 (six months ago) link

Finished The Big Midweek which was a bit of a downer but has me wanting to be more familiar with teh era of fall I like most. Hadn't really heard Room To Live before. Do love Dragnet and Hex Enduction Hour. Not sure how late I'll go with it now. But that late 70s/early 80s does seem to be pretty peak.

So got Heads by Jesse Jarnow as the book by my bed. Seems to be 1973 and talk is about the birth of theh internet, graffiti and jam bands/living in bushes in Central park.

Started reading Bob Woodward Fear again & I think I'm roughly half way through. Tillerson has just called Trump a moron.

Been listening to Podcasts while i'm moving around town so not been reading on the bus.

Stevolende, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 13:10 (six months ago) link

Reading Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories From The Trailblazers Of Domestic Suspense. Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, some lesser known names.

ordered this immediately

moose; squirrel (silby), Tuesday, 2 April 2019 16:58 (six months ago) link

Anita Brookner - Hotel du Lac
Muriel Spark - The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Jean Rhys - Wide Sargasso Sea

That's quite the trio! Enjoy.

I finished The Lay of the Land the third Richard Ford's Frank Bascombe quartet. Like the previous two, it details the lead up to a US holiday, this time Thanksgiving, and it's, I suppose, a narrative of the epic in the everyday. Bascombe is a one time writer now a realtor, and his worldview is a rational one, at heart, but like the rest of us, he's dealing with the sublimity and enormity of what it means to be human - albeit from an ultimately privileged, middle-class American viewpoint. As a reader, you're left to wonder why he writes (yes, it's a constructed narrative, a trick, of course), and you wonder if it gives his life meaning and vice versa. I've read somewhere that Ford's project is along the lines of 'writing is a report from the real world directed through the craft of fiction' which I need to think about a bit.

I'm now in that trough that comes after finishing a huge novel, and I'm reading bits of Emerson (who is probably Bascombe's closest thing to a guardian angel) and desultorily re-reading Homage to Catalonia for an upcoming trip to Barcelona.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Tuesday, 2 April 2019 19:06 (six months ago) link

This month's Penelope Fitzgerald is "At Freddies". It's (seemingly) less deep but so far lot funnier than anything else I've read by her (Bookshop, Human Voices, Offshore).

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 3 April 2019 11:31 (six months ago) link

Leave it to Psmith is my favorite Wodehouse. Surprised it hasn't been made into a movie (or maybe it has?). First I read, and the gateway drug to all his other novels. Local 1/2 Price Books stores are sadly slim on Wodehouse novels, aside from a few constants. I keep hoping to luck into an estate sale quantity.

After seeing The Sisters Brothers, catching up on Patrick deWitt's novels. TSB, Undermajordomo Minor, both read & liked. Now 1/2 into French Exit, with Ablutions next.

the body of a spider... (scampering alpaca), Wednesday, 3 April 2019 15:52 (six months ago) link

I read "The Drawer and A Pile Of Bricks" by David Berridge, which is I suppose what they call experimental literature (the tell is the positive quote from Joanna Walsh on the back). I couldn't really work out what was going on, though I think something probably was going on. I found a certain pleasure in reading it, grasping odd bits and patterns, but it was a bit like reading a set of clues for a crossword, clues for which you don't understand the rules and the crossword grid's not there. I wonder if I read it again whether all will become clear? I may never find out.

Tim, Wednesday, 3 April 2019 15:57 (six months ago) link

I'm at loose ends. I read some of Virgil's Eclogues last night and due to their similarity to counting sheep, I fell asleep on the couch.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 3 April 2019 16:01 (six months ago) link

I still need to check PSmith, but enjoyed Uncle Fred In Sprigtime: the gallant UF is an alarmingly alternative Jeeves to his manor-born/borne relations.

dow, Wednesday, 3 April 2019 16:46 (six months ago) link

"Uncle Fred Flits By" is the ultimate Wodehouse story for me

Number None, Wednesday, 3 April 2019 16:49 (six months ago) link

I read a Psmith in my adolescence, which I undoubtedly enjoyed but don't recall much of

moose; squirrel (silby), Wednesday, 3 April 2019 17:22 (six months ago) link

This is fundamentally a bad book but the combination of occasional passages of glorious writing plus the weirdness of reading such trenchant political analysis that turned out so wrong made me just interested enough to keep going.


this is such an otm summary of WL (who i still love, which is bad). outside a couple of notable exceptions - Tarr and I think Self-Condemned - his fiction writing was bad not good. but by god bits of it are unlike anything else in a good not bad way.

one of the fascinations of him generally and of Time and Western Man specifically, is watching cultural history take a different turn to the one he is recommending at that point. His anger with Bergsonian time is a good example.

Fizzles, Wednesday, 3 April 2019 20:05 (six months ago) link

(If you want this knackered 1st edition of RH, Fizzles, it’s yours.)

Tim, Wednesday, 3 April 2019 23:01 (six months ago) link

As for Sebald, Aimless, Vertigo is his least interesting "novel." The Emigrants, which at least presents itself as a story collection, has a couple of gems. His best work is Austerlitz, which also presents itself as a meditation on post-Napoleonic Europe.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 15 June 2019 22:48 (four months ago) link

Finally, I don't wish to connect them other than they write a fiction that's purportedly autobiographical but I doubt is, I vastly prefer Elena Ferrante to Knausgaard. She has a relish for basic narrative besides a curiosity about other people that makes Knausgaard look insufferable.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 15 June 2019 22:50 (four months ago) link

I’m the kind of degenerate who loves and agrees with every good “fiction is <x>” quote while absently gathering up counterexamples in my mind

xp Ferrante I have read (the first Neapolitan novel) but was unsure if that even purports to be autobiographical

shhh / let peaceful like things (wins), Saturday, 15 June 2019 22:54 (four months ago) link

I never assume anything is autobiographical, despite the artist's best efforts to promote it as such. I know how it works.

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 15 June 2019 23:00 (four months ago) link

at the moment:

- re-reading Etel Adnan's The Arab Apocalypse, which remains one of the most harrowing poems I've ever read.

- a catalog of Dana Claxton's first major retrospective

- the introductory pages to a massive and rare Lakota/English dictionary that my friend gave to me

- Christa Wolf's Accident: A Day's News, which i purchased for a dollar at the local sidewalk sale today

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Saturday, 15 June 2019 23:42 (four months ago) link

i should probably really get on reading more to prepare for my classes this fall, but oh well.

blue light or electric light (the table is the table), Saturday, 15 June 2019 23:43 (four months ago) link

the rings of saturn is my favorite book, vertigo is a very early draft of what he ends up achieving there

american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 16 June 2019 05:58 (four months ago) link

re: sebald, which i feel like i end up in a sebald conversation on ilx at least once a month

american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 16 June 2019 05:58 (four months ago) link

an addendum to the auto-fiction piece - although it didn’t have the name at the time Jocelyn Brooke writes in this mode and i wrote fairly extensively about the opportunities and problems it presents here.

It helps that Brooke is an exceptional writer. But there are some specifics that i think led him to this mode. he cites his shyness, and also wanting to avoid “the laws of libel”, and between the two seems to sit Brooke’s only partially successfully expressed sexuality, which is of a part with a habitual self-effacement and irony.

the autobiographical mode appears to be chosen because he had a strong sense of the places he inhabits, and the people who he has encountered. the self-effacement and laws of libel, the imperative of art and aesthetic means he sifts the elements into fiction.

it works very well, for me.

it is i think as Alfred said - it can be unclear even when an author states a thing to be one or the other, whether that is in fact the case. both involve emphasis and selection.

Brooke quotes Thomas Browne in relation to this very matter:

Some Truths seem almost Falsehoods and some Falsehoods almost Truths; Wherein Falsehood and Truth seem almost aequilibriously stated, and but a few grains of distinction to bear down the balance... Besides, many things are known, as some are seen, that is by Parallaxis, or at some distance from their true and proper beings, the superficial regard of things having a different aspect from their true and central Natures.

Fizzles, Sunday, 16 June 2019 06:16 (four months ago) link

I tried to re-read Austerlitz a year or so ago and found it too much. It has a kind of structural melancholy that seeps into your bones. Like all Sebald's first-person narrators the story the narrator is really telling - beneath the still surface of his tightly controlled sentences - is of actual and deferred silence. All of his work seems to orbit this absence and I think that's why it possible to find him directionless or not providing nourishment.

I need to think about Fizzles' post about Langley. He's a magician.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 16 June 2019 09:26 (four months ago) link

I need to think about Fizzles' post about Langley. He's a magician.


i’ll try to post something more extensive in the journals thread. “midrash” is a bad word to use in the notes i put in there for one thing.

Fizzles, Sunday, 16 June 2019 09:28 (four months ago) link

I looked it up! I can totally see how Langley is a kind of mystic, reading nature as a holy text (without the attendant naffness that that implies - eg like Iain Sinclair at his worst).

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 16 June 2019 09:34 (four months ago) link

Finally, I don't wish to connect them other than they write a fiction that's purportedly autobiographical but I doubt is, I vastly prefer Elena Ferrante to Knausgaard. She has a relish for basic narrative besides a curiosity about other people that makes Knausgaard look insufferable.

Jumping into this, if you put craft to one side (which you can't ofc) I think part of my enjoyment of Ferrante is that to me it is inherently fascinating to hear about what it was like growing up poor in 1950's Naples, and I'm more than willing to take some embellishments along with that (assume most ppl talking about "the old days" irl are embellishing to make their narratives more interesting too, besides memory being an unreliable narrator anyway). Hiero's fellow student's experiences will probably be fascinating on that level too, in some future and for people in different places, tho I see that this doesn't make them any more interesting here and now.

Semi-related: I sometimes feel like proto-reality tv - Chronicle Of A Summer, Place De La Repúblique, the Up series, as well as oral histories, Studs Terkel's stuff - is my favourite genre in any medium, tho i don't care much about reality TV itself.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 17 June 2019 11:02 (four months ago) link

I'm reading The Saga of Grettir the Strong, translated by Bernard Scudder. I've read nearly one Icelandic saga per year for about a decade now. It's been a good run, but this may be about the last one I'm interested in.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 17 June 2019 16:33 (four months ago) link

180pp into Empson, after a digression back into Finnegans Wake with HOW JOYCE WROTE 'FINNEGANS WAKE' and Burgess's SHORTER FINNEGANS WAKE.

This last does seem a real way that one could read the book (I have read the book) but even with the clarifying frames every few pages there is still often a sense of hypnotic drift among the sounds. But then, line by line it is often clear enough. So perhaps the drift is a version of what happens with so much reading, not just FW.

Burgess's introduction is admirable but tends to confirm my long-held view that the frame / story of the book is not good and doesn't do justice to its texture.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 06:49 (four months ago) link

GRAVITY'S RAINBOW is not rewarding and takes a lot of effort.

the pinefox, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 06:57 (four months ago) link

About to start Roadside Picnic. Hurrah. I really want to read russian lit. Only book I read is bulgakov’ master n marg.

nathom, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 09:37 (four months ago) link

Burgess's SHORTER FINNEGANS WAKE.

I bought this in a charity shop a couple of weeks ago. My copy of Finnegans Wake found itself in a burn while I was feeding ducks. :(

Leaghaidh am brón an t-anam bochd (dowd), Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:14 (four months ago) link

(I rescued it, but now it's about twice as thick)

Leaghaidh am brón an t-anam bochd (dowd), Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:14 (four months ago) link

About to start Roadside Picnic. Hurrah. I really want to read russian lit. Only book I read is bulgakov’ master n marg.

Babel, Nabokov, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy all better than that bullshit imo

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:22 (four months ago) link

GRAVITY'S RAINBOW is not rewarding and takes a lot of effort.

― the pinefox, Monday, June 17, 2019 11:57 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

come on, not even the franz pökler sequence? the flash forward at the end?

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:23 (four months ago) link

the lightbulb? so many rewards imo

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:25 (four months ago) link

also Zemyatin's "We", of course

but if you want amazing Russian sf this is yr guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Pelevin - Omon Ra, Buddha's Little Finger, the Life of Insects, or Babylon/Generation Pi/Homo Zapiens are good starting points

avoid this asshole: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Sorokin

xp

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:25 (four months ago) link

I'm reading Full Surrogacy Now by Sophie Lewis, which is provocative to say the least. Compelling and readable, relatively light on assumed background in the language of Marxist theorizing. (Like if you've read Rius' seminal Marx para principiantes you'll do ok)

don't mock my smock or i'll clean your clock (silby), Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:28 (four months ago) link

yeah gravity's rainbow is rewarding, i did find it incredibly hard to read in parts and didn't know wth was going on at the end there but still, def worth reading

findom haddie (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:29 (four months ago) link

GR blew my mind when I was 20. I’m kind of scared to return to it now.

o. nate, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:49 (four months ago) link

i reread it last year and it was still awesome. not perfect or anything, i think the overriding slapsticky tone dulls the emotional impact of other parts of the book, but this is a v minor complaint

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 18 June 2019 17:51 (four months ago) link

It's a gas

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 18:47 (four months ago) link

enjoying the endless hemming and hawing of border districts by gerald murnane. i also bought a nice hardback of the golden bowl that i'm going to try soon.

cheese canopy (map), Tuesday, 18 June 2019 20:45 (four months ago) link

still haven't read it, been looking for a long novel to read fresh

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 18 June 2019 20:52 (four months ago) link

As soon as I posted my entry, I thght: omfg i forgot to mention Nabokov. But in some fucked up way I don’t regard him as a Russian writer. I know I know. :-(

nathom, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 21:02 (four months ago) link

I will def read We.

nathom, Tuesday, 18 June 2019 21:03 (four months ago) link

which reminds me that if i ever finish doctor faustus i really want to read mason & dixon next

hey brad how far in are you

j., Wednesday, 19 June 2019 03:28 (four months ago) link

roadside picnic is marvellous.

Fizzles, Wednesday, 19 June 2019 06:09 (four months ago) link

Brad Nelson, I found GR very difficult, took years to read it and, to be succinct, I hated it.

The one interesting thing from my POV might be why people can be so different ie: why other people who on some counts share tastes and views of mine feel so differently about GR. You could say it's because they read it lots of times and I didn't; but then I didn't because it was so difficult and so unrewarding. To read it again would not have been a good use of this limited lifetime. I suppose I will never read it again. I need to read THE FAERIE QUEENE first. I wonder if that's better?

I do feel that GR has a relation or a resemblance to Finnegans Wake, which from my POV is one shorthand way of naming some of what worries me about FW, even though I try to reconcile myself to FW these days.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 19 June 2019 08:28 (four months ago) link

Roadside Picnic = good not bad

We = bad not good

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 19 June 2019 09:07 (four months ago) link

Roadside Picnic is indeed very good.

As we begin summer I finished Jose Saramago's Blindness, which I think is a weaker effort only because I take a heavy disliking to dystopian fiction these days, his writing nearly overcomes the poverty of the imagination that comes with the genre. Now nearly done with Quincas Borba by Machado de Assis - it uses a lot of tricks that just weren't utilised in fiction at the time (or that I've come across anyway): the self-commentary on the plot for one, as it happens, and then the plot of transmigration of a philosopher's soul to his dog that just is only mentioned now and then as the narrative then concentrates on his friend and his dealings with high society in Imperial 19th century Brazil. It reminds me a bit of Donald Barthelme but I should re-read to check (I won't, don't have his books anymore).

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 23 June 2019 10:42 (four months ago) link

We should have a new thread?

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 23 June 2019 10:53 (four months ago) link

hey brad how far in are you

― j., Tuesday, June 18, 2019 8:28 PM (five days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

about 200 pages

american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 23 June 2019 13:52 (four months ago) link

I started reading The Siege of Krishnapur, J. G. Farrell, but I'm not far enough into it yet to feel any lasting commitment. He was setting up the romantic interest as I set it down for the night and that direction did not bode well.

A is for (Aimless), Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:24 (four months ago) link

I read Claire Dederer's (not rhymed with Federer) memoir Love and Trouble. I loved it. It's kind of a mess but that fits with her flailing around trying to find a narrative for what she's experiencing (a midlife crisis, essentially, but within that is her coming to terms with her marriage, her attitude to sex - now and throughout her life) and also this kind of folksy dialectic she's aiming for. Apologies if I've made that sound shit because it really isn't. It's honest and questing and consoling.

She wrote a great essay for the Paris Review a while back; I was hooked on her from that: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2017/11/20/art-monstrous-men/

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 23 June 2019 18:36 (four months ago) link

hey brad how far in are you

― j., Tuesday, June 18, 2019 8:28 PM (five days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

about 200 pages

― american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, June 23, 2019 8:52 AM (eight hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

i could maybe get in on that! we should combine our earnest efforts

j., Sunday, 23 June 2019 22:23 (four months ago) link

I finished SEVEN TYPES OF AMBIGUITY - its density required a lot of effort. Brilliant, but it doesn't have much momentum; there's little overall movement in the argument, save that the 7th type is somehow more dramatic than the others in combining opposites.

It's notorious that Empson hardly believed in the types and thought they could hardly be distinguished. I often couldn't really tell what a particular type was doing, or make out how an example was serving a particular one of the 7 ideas. And most of what he says about opposites in that late section is hard to follow, to the point of mysticism.

Why I like it is a) the great pedantic attention to detail, with his particular brand of paraphrase of the verse; b) his great readiness to offer cranky digressions and statements on almost anything; c) his awesome knowledge of the English poetic canon. It made me reflect that almost no one now has this, and that I should work at it myself.

the pinefox, Monday, 24 June 2019 09:46 (three months ago) link

Flann O'Brien short pieces / stories translated from Irish: a couple very good and anticipating great later works.

Terry Eagleton, HUMOUR.

the pinefox, Monday, 24 June 2019 09:46 (three months ago) link

(checks watch) Holy cow! It is summer!

Time for a new the WAYR thread, so the cleaning staff can come in and vacuum up the crumbs, polish the sideboard, remove the candle stubs from the candelabra, and toss sheets over the furniture.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 26 June 2019 00:27 (three months ago) link

> the cleaning staff can come in and vacuum up the crumbs

just leave it to the langoliers.

koogs, Wednesday, 26 June 2019 08:24 (three months ago) link

Don’t know which thread to put this on, but there is a feature up on The NY Times in which they list their favorite 50 memoirs of the past 50 years or so. Lots of things added to my wishlist.

o. nate, Wednesday, 26 June 2019 17:54 (three months ago) link

I went and did it. There is now a Summer 2019 WAYR thread. Please inspect it carefully for damage inflicted during transport before taking delivery.

A is for (Aimless), Wednesday, 26 June 2019 18:05 (three months ago) link

www link: 2019 Sum-Sum-Summertime: What Are You Reading, My Good People?

koogs, Thursday, 27 June 2019 08:37 (three months ago) link


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