What should I read next?

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Here are the last four good books I read and I want a suggestion for a new one. And I'm poor as sin, so I prefer suggestions that can be purchased at a used bookstore.

+ Flaubert - Madame Bovary - Flaubert's okay but I like Zola better because he's way pulpier.

+ Franzen - The Corrections - Excellent prose but dumb ending

+ Svevo - Confessions of Zeno - Flat-out amazing

+ Garcia-Marquez - Living to Tell the Tale - good but a bit dense towards the middle.

Atila the Honeybun (Atila the Honeybun), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 21:41 (sixteen years ago) link

I would recommend The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies. It's one of his few works of fiction that isn't part of a trilogy (well, I suppose it's technically part of the U of T trilogy, but because he died before finishing the third book we can't see how it fits within the trilogy as a whole). I got my copy in a used bookstore.

I'm not sure how widely available it is outside of Canada, though.

August (August), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 21:49 (sixteen years ago) link

I recommend Somerset Maughm. I recently read Razor's Edge and Of Human Bondage. I couldn't put them down. They were excellent. Now I want to read some of his short stories. He writes without any flash, more of a story teller. But what a story teller.

bookdwarf (bookdwarf), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 01:34 (sixteen years ago) link

If you haven't yet, try Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaneal West, or At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien. Either should be at a decent used bookstore.

otto, Wednesday, 18 February 2004 01:36 (sixteen years ago) link

Miss Lonelyhearts (and Day of the Locust) are huge favorites - I read them back in college in a class called "The Comedy of Terror." And ditto, actually, for Razor's Edge. I'm going to the Brattle Bookstore tomorrow to pick up a 3 buck copy of Moon and Sixpence. And I'll check out the Davies and O'Brien books too. Thanks.

Atila the Honeybun (Atila the Honeybun), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 03:48 (sixteen years ago) link

Ibsen? I'm mad about the Wild Duck but then again plays aren't very cost-effective -- too quick to read.

Ann Sterzinger (Ann Sterzinger), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 03:51 (sixteen years ago) link

Donald Antrim; Frederick Barthelme (esp. The Brothers); Harry Mathews (The Journalist);

Rousseau's Confessions.

Ann, I don't know how you read plays (apart from left to right, top to bottom).

David Joyner (David Joyner), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 05:18 (sixteen years ago) link

Another suggestion is George Orwell's non-fiction. I read Homage to Catalonia and loved it. Plus his essays are very interesting as well. But if you really want fiction, there is always William Trevor. On a side note, I have to admit that I hated the Wild Duck and haven't read any Ibsen since.

Megan Sullivan (bookdwarf), Wednesday, 18 February 2004 17:08 (sixteen years ago) link

George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and in London's top-shelf, too.

otto, Thursday, 19 February 2004 22:55 (sixteen years ago) link

Orwell is a good choice. I might add Calvino's "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler"

yesim (yesim), Monday, 23 February 2004 11:08 (sixteen years ago) link

I have to agree that Orwell is good, but i'd suggest some fiction, "1984" or "Animal Farm" are both quite good. Also I liked "a child called it" and "three daughters of china" which are very good autobiographies.

sally (sally), Tuesday, 2 March 2004 13:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Donald Antrim; Frederick Barthelme (esp. The Brothers); Harry Mathews (The Journalist);
Rousseau's Confessions.

Ann, I don't know how you read plays (apart from left to right, top to bottom).

-- David Joyner (davidsjoyne...), February 18th, 2004.

Woops, I never answered you. Well, I see a lot of small Chicago theater, as my friends and I are involved in and write about it; if you see enough theater you can begin to imagine the way a play would look as you read the stage directions and the lines. Failing that, some of the best plays-for-teaching-you-how-to-read-plays are Wilde's; his descriptions of the action are done with almost as much attention to wit and precision as the dialog. If you haven't read a lot of plays I wouldn't start with Ibsen, 'cuz he's in translation which is confusing enough. Just read the lines and try to imagine them as a movie. Or... am I misunderstanding your question?

Ann Sterzinger (Ann Sterzinger), Wednesday, 3 March 2004 03:39 (sixteen years ago) link

No, you didn't misunderstand my question. I've never been much of a theatre-goer, so when I look at script it looks more like concrete poetry to me than anything else.
But thanks for the tip re: Wilde's plays: I'll give'm a look one day.

David Joyner (David Joyner), Friday, 5 March 2004 01:44 (sixteen years ago) link

nine years pass...

i'm in a library right now and realized i'm not really reading anything atm, what should i read? no restrictions just freestyle hit me

flopson, Thursday, 19 September 2013 02:06 (seven years ago) link

last 2 things ive really liked - eugenides - the marriage plot; david grann - lost city of z

johnny crunch, Thursday, 19 September 2013 02:12 (seven years ago) link

sweet, lost city sounds fun and is on the shelf thx

flopson, Thursday, 19 September 2013 02:15 (seven years ago) link

Read Egil's Saga. It has a swaggering Icelandic hero of amazing strength who deals sudden death to his enemies, impromptu poetry, swords that have names, lots of adventure, but... no sex.

Aimless, Thursday, 19 September 2013 02:26 (seven years ago) link

im not even done w the grann yet but its def worthwhile. enjoy flopson!

johnny crunch, Thursday, 19 September 2013 02:28 (seven years ago) link

Read Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman. It is flat-out the best history of how and why WWI started and will show you exactly how power makes smart people do insanely stupid things.

Aimless, Thursday, 19 September 2013 02:32 (seven years ago) link

ah damn just realized lost city is on 24 hour reserve! wtf!

flopson, Thursday, 19 September 2013 20:22 (seven years ago) link

nine months pass...

Looking for something to read on holiday. Things I've enjoyed recently include:

- Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
- The Pale King - David Foster Wallace
- Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
- pretty much anything by Alasdair Gray
- I've also enjoyed the odd Victorian suspense/horror like The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, Portrait of Dorian Gray etc...

Can anyone help?

3kDk (dog latin), Monday, 7 July 2014 13:32 (six years ago) link

I just read The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan and it seems like it might be something you'd enjoy based on that list. That's the first thing that came to mind, anyway.

cwkiii, Monday, 7 July 2014 14:51 (six years ago) link

Arthur Phillips - Angelica (Victorian ghost story, OR IS IT)
Sergio de la Pava - A Naked Singularity
Adam Levin - The Instructions
Marcel Theroux - Strange Bodies (or Far North, both have a sci-fi-ish premise and great writing)

festival culture (Jordan), Monday, 7 July 2014 15:51 (six years ago) link

dog latin, of those you mentioned, I've read K&C, Pale King, and S-5. Kavalier and Clay is the most enjoyable romp of those three. Pale King is the most ambitious, has many amazing pieces to it, and is a success in detail, but something of a failure when measured against its ambitions. Slaughterhouse 5 is among Vonnegut's two or three best and how you like it will depend on how much you like Vonnegut.

Aimless, Monday, 7 July 2014 16:59 (six years ago) link

Thanks all. Aimless I agree on all those points. I haven't read any other vonnegut but I loved slaughterhouse. I guess I must like metafiction with lots of derails.

3kDk (dog latin), Monday, 7 July 2014 18:05 (six years ago) link

Sorry I'm not that good at recommending for others. I rarely never know what anyone else will enjoy.

I usually just troll through the WAYR threads for stuff that sounds interesting, but am often disappointed that more people don't give details other than the title and author. Just two or three sentences about a book can illuminate a lot.

Aimless, Monday, 7 July 2014 18:11 (six years ago) link

"Slaughterhouse 5" is the only book from that list I've read but

everyday sheeple (Michael B), Monday, 7 July 2014 18:20 (six years ago) link

its excellent. Atwood's "Alias Grace" is about a Victorian era murderess. I liked that one a lot. Atwood's "The Edible Woman" is great too but it's more of a late 60s Mad Men setting than the apocalyptic narrative of "oryx and crake".

everyday sheeple (Michael B), Monday, 7 July 2014 18:25 (six years ago) link

damn, i really want to get a copy of hawkline monster, but there's no digital version online to my knowledge and not many places sell it.

3kDk (dog latin), Tuesday, 8 July 2014 15:11 (six years ago) link

Aww, that sucks. I lucked out and found an old copy at a book sale. I think it's part of a Brautigan anthology that's currently in print, though.

cwkiii, Tuesday, 8 July 2014 15:37 (six years ago) link

i shall keep my eyes peeled. it looks great, apropos of the cover, especially.

3kDk (dog latin), Tuesday, 8 July 2014 15:40 (six years ago) link

Arthur Phillips - Angelica (Victorian ghost story, OR IS IT)
Sergio de la Pava - A Naked Singularity
Adam Levin - The Instructions
Marcel Theroux - Strange Bodies (or Far North, both have a sci-fi-ish premise and great writing)

Always interested in Jordan's recommendations, but don't have the time or the stamina to get to the end of doorstop novels. Still haven't finished the Sergio de la Pava book. Would like to though.

Riot In #9 Dream (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 8 July 2014 16:30 (six years ago) link

If you liked Oryx and Crake you could always go for the next in the series -- The Year of the Flood. It has a similar structure to the first book of flipping between past and present but focuses on a different set of characters (though they're still loosely linked to the ones from Oryx and Crake). I enjoyed it as much as Oryx and Crake.

Or for metafiction, maybe The Affirmation by Christopher Priest? At least I think that could fall under that banner. Hopefully not giving too much away: the plot involves a guy who writes his autobiography but does so by placing himself in an alternate universe, in which he's written an autobiography placing himself in the existing universe... the story goes back and forth between the two universes. It's interesting, but really dense, I found. It needs some concentration/attention, not exactly light reading in my opinion!

salsa shark, Tuesday, 8 July 2014 21:11 (six years ago) link

That sounds pretty funny salsa shark. I am reading Year Of The Flood right now. Like O&X it's a great story bogged down by some tedious writing sometimes but once it gets going it's great. Not sure if it's quite doing as much for me as Oryx did but we'll see.

3kDk (dog latin), Wednesday, 9 July 2014 01:45 (six years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Really enjoyed Year of the Flood in the end. In fact I'd say it's essential for people who liked Oryx & Crake as it fills in a lot of back story. I'll prob get round to reading MaddAdam soon.

Have also purchased a copy of Affirmation and a few others based on recommendations ITT so thanks all.

3kDk (dog latin), Wednesday, 30 July 2014 09:11 (six years ago) link

four years pass...

What should I read next?

Some of what I read sort of recently, as far as I can remember: Howards End, Forster; The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Fadiman; Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, Ferrante

Already reading in parallel: Nixonland, Perlman; If on a winter's night a traveler, Calvino (reread); like three or more philosophy works from the library I've been ignoring for months

The principal candidates:

How Should a Person Be?, Heti
Learning from Las Vegas, Venturi, Scott Brown, Izenour
What a City Is For, Hern
O Pioneers!, Cather
Our Aesthetic Categories, Ngai
The Price of Salt, Highsmith
any Jeeves book to take a break from trying so hard

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Friday, 28 September 2018 18:01 (two years ago) link

Joy in the Morning, done

Chuck_Tatum, Friday, 28 September 2018 18:18 (two years ago) link

Ha, seconded

Harper Valley CTA-102 (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 28 September 2018 18:23 (two years ago) link

I could probably use a break from improving books.

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Friday, 28 September 2018 18:35 (two years ago) link

vote for O Pioneers!

macropuente (map), Friday, 28 September 2018 18:39 (two years ago) link

O Pioneers! or The Price of Salt/Carol

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Saturday, 29 September 2018 08:54 (two years ago) link

Which philosophy works?

Aesthetic Categories sounds like my kind of thing. Reminds me of a J. L. Austin quip: "if only we could forget for a while about the beautiful and get down instead to the dainty and the dumpy."

jmm, Saturday, 29 September 2018 14:58 (two years ago) link

My reading pace has slowed a lot in the last couple months and I'm dragging on finishing a couple of long books. If I can get through those, I'm thinking of Comte de Monte-Cristo as my major October read.

jmm, Saturday, 29 September 2018 15:09 (two years ago) link

For a thorough break from seriousness and self-improvement, go for a Wodehouse. If you'd prefer something with more meat on it, O Pioneers! would be an excellent choice, but only if it fits your mood, which might require a soufflé over meat and potatoes.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 29 September 2018 15:23 (two years ago) link

four months pass...

after reading the Neapolitan novels, How Should a Person Be?, I Love Dick, and in the middle of The Flamethrowers, I have not gotten enough of novels about women artists who are by turns attracted to and disappointed by men. What are some other things in this category?

Norm’s Superego (silby), Tuesday, 29 January 2019 23:36 (one year ago) link

Nathaniel P is good one

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 15:24 (one year ago) link

Collected works of Jean Rhys?

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Wednesday, 30 January 2019 23:28 (one year ago) link

Stella Bowen's DRAWN FROM LIFE? (She was an Australian artist whose husband, Ford Madox Ford, was also sleeping with Jean Rhys for a sizeable chunk of their marriage)

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Wednesday, 30 January 2019 23:29 (one year ago) link

Rhys' books don't centre on female artists though?

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 30 January 2019 23:57 (one year ago) link

No? Bum. A while since I read them all--misremembered some of the protagonists as writers, etc. Ah well.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 31 January 2019 02:29 (one year ago) link

You are probably right James. Can't recall rn.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 31 January 2019 08:35 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

I’d like to read some historical fiction or ripping-yarn-type history about renaissance Italian statesmen and popes engaging in skulduggery, or else a highly recommended low-magic fantasy pastiche of same. What am I looking for?

all cats are beautiful (silby), Sunday, 28 June 2020 15:00 (four months ago) link

Just got a Daedalus Books catalog which incl. In The Name of the Family---A Novel of Machiavelli and the Borgias: "In this sequel to Blood and Beauty, Silver Dagger Award winner Sarah Dunant explores the House of Borgia's final years. It is 1502, and Rodrigo Borgia, a womanizer and master of political corruption, sits on the papal throne as Alexander VI. His daughter and longtime pawn Lucrezia---three times married by the age of 22---is discovering she too has power. But his son Cesare has become increasingly unstable, and too close to Florentine diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli, who puts what he sees into The Prince. While the pope rails against old age and his son's erratic behavior, Lucrezia navigates the treacherous court of Urbino and another challenging marriage to create her own place in history."

Didn't mean to type all that, but, though I haven't read Dunant's books, did watch all of The Borgias cable series, starring Jeremy Irons, and this description pulled me back in.

dow, Monday, 29 June 2020 17:30 (four months ago) link


all cats are beautiful (silby), Monday, 29 June 2020 18:49 (four months ago) link

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