2019 Winter: The What Are You Reading thread that came in from the cold

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James Redd: you're quite right, this is maybe the 3rd time I have read it. Quite a lot of my reading tends to be rereading.

James Morrison: that formal diversity is my impression of Everett, and in theory at least it sounds like something I respect a lot. 75% hit rate sounds good to me!

the pinefox, Thursday, 14 March 2019 10:09 (nine months ago) link

and allusions to the larger social and historical backdrop are vague and slight.

This is very much on purpose I think - nothing outside their neighbouhood really exists for these girls, and the recent past of their country is something the adults take pains to keep them ignorant of.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 14 March 2019 10:23 (nine months ago) link

and that changes very much in the later books.

what if bod was one of us (ledge), Thursday, 14 March 2019 11:06 (nine months ago) link

I'm now reading Washington, DC, the first-written of Gore Vidal's series of novels on American political history, this one set at the end of the 1930s. It's gossipy and slightly trashy - I think the term of art for this kind of thing used to be "juicy" - but Vidal knew his characters and his milieu well, and the political-insider content raises the level of the novel considerably.

A is for (Aimless), Thursday, 14 March 2019 16:36 (nine months ago) link

Just finished NOCILLA DREAM, am very much on board for book 2

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 14 March 2019 23:45 (nine months ago) link

I'm now reading Washington, DC, the first-written of Gore Vidal's series of novels on American political history, this one set at the end of the 1930s. It's gossipy and slightly trashy - I think the term of art for this kind of thing used to be "juicy" - but Vidal knew his characters and his milieu well, and the political-insider content raises the level of the novel considerably.

― A is for (Aimless), T

If you have a yen for this sort of thing, Lincoln and Burr are legit great novels and just as fun.

Let's have sensible centrist armageddon (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 14 March 2019 23:53 (nine months ago) link

In the series I've read: Burr, Lincoln, 1876, Empire, Hollywood, and The Golden Era (but not in that exact order). This one will round out the series for me.

I've also read Julian and Creation, each twice. I haven't yet read Myra Breckinridge, but somewhere along the line I did read Live From Golgotha. Also more than one of his essay collections. That about covers it for me and Mr. Vidal, so far.

A is for (Aimless), Friday, 15 March 2019 01:03 (nine months ago) link

You might also enjoy Henry Adams' novels, Democracy(1880) and Esther(1894, I think), giving us the DC lowdown and more!

dow, Friday, 15 March 2019 01:44 (nine months ago) link

First thought best thought (in this instance):
The World of Arthur Russell (reissued several times this decade)
Laurie Anderson: Life of a Dog, Landfall (w Kronos)
Allen Ginsberg: The Complete Songs of Innocence and Experience
Guerilla Toss: Gay Disco, Smack The Brick
Death Grips: Government Plates
Jane Ira Bloom: Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson
David Murray Cuban Ensemble Plays Nat King Cole En Espaňol
Willie Nelson
Miranda Lambert
Pistol Annies
Jlin
Harriet Tubman

dow, Saturday, 16 March 2019 01:01 (nine months ago) link

Also lots of other current artists, lots of comps, lots of reissues/prev. unreleases---oh yeah The Basement Tapes Complete (second thought also best thought)!

dow, Saturday, 16 March 2019 01:05 (nine months ago) link

er. um.

(Aimless pulls his lips inward and looks at the ceiling)

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 16 March 2019 03:11 (nine months ago) link

David Foster Wallace: OBLIVION

the pinefox, Saturday, 16 March 2019 10:56 (nine months ago) link

haven't been on this thread in a while. finally fucking finished Crashed, I'll try and get round to posting something more extensive on it. For the moment: it was good, though the post-Crash socio-political implications section was not as strong as I'd hoped it would be, and in fact the whole book raised questions (which Tooze himself has raised) on the nature of writing of history about political economy during a crisis of legitimacy of same.

Now picked up Dan Davies' Lying for Money: How Legendary Frauds Reveal the Workings of our World. I don't know why I wanted to pick up another *money* book after Crashed but the manner here is much more relaxed but still highly knowledgable about his sphere and also enjoyable and in the footnotes enjoyable digressive - similar in many respects to his twitter presence.

Also Otaku: Japan's Database Animals by Hiroki Azuma, an application of theory to the social phenomenon of anime and manga fandom. I don't really give two hoots about anime and manga, other than having seen Tetsuo and bits of Akira. But the theoretical treatment of something of a patient zero for extremely online fandom and digital consumption generally is of great interest and I hear good things about it. So far it's good.

Also as posted on the writers diaries/notebooks thread, the Journals of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Fizzles, Saturday, 16 March 2019 12:20 (nine months ago) link

er lol that should read 'other than having seen Akira and bits of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Fizzles, Saturday, 16 March 2019 12:21 (nine months ago) link

The Big MIdweek Steve Hanley's memoir of his time in the Fall.
I've been meaning to read this for a couple of years. Then was in the local 2nd hand/remainder book shop when i was waiting for an event to start. So was sitting in the art section looking through some boolks and saw this sitting on a shelf in the to be shelved section. So got it pt aside, picked it up Wednesday. Now got several chapters in. THink he's just got back from touring the US for the 2nd time and his brother who was too young to get intyo clubs on the tour has replaced Karl Burns in the band again.
Very interesting.

Drinking Molotov Cocktails With Gandhi Mark Boyle
political tract about deep unfairness and violence underlying society. Quite interesting.

Stevolende, Saturday, 16 March 2019 13:24 (nine months ago) link

i have to say, i found the big midweek surprisingly irritating. i say that, because shanley was something of a hero growing up (i walked in behind him and craigness at my first fall gig and was *very* excited, daft sod). there's a sort of interest in hanley's band v smith thing, but i have to say, again surprisingly, i regularly came out on the side of smith. the beard growing thing is laughable and smith finds it rightly so. and the hanley's tacit sometimes explicit belief that the band did the good stuff and smith messed around with it (a dynamic that ultimately destroyed that spine of the group) hides a lot of potentially interesting insight around the small fraction of creative difference that is sometimes the most important.

i think there's one bit where he basically says 'smith used to have one on one sessions with us at his house where we worked on tracks' - he's referring to one scanlon had, and you're made glancingly aware of one of the channels of genius into the music, but that's pretty much the only time.

all that said, it's pretty much indispensable even if, shameless name-dropping here i'm afraid, brix did tell me at a bus stop in north london that hanley had had to cut a load of the more interesting stuff out.

Fizzles, Saturday, 16 March 2019 14:27 (nine months ago) link

xpost, sorry about that last post, meant for another board---but you might like those Henry Adams novels, Aimless!

dow, Saturday, 16 March 2019 19:26 (nine months ago) link

Library of America has them in a sleek volume with Mont St. Michel and Chartres and something else I didn't read.

dow, Saturday, 16 March 2019 19:29 (nine months ago) link

Reading Dick's Skull. More a short story. So it'll be finished tomorrow.

nathom, Sunday, 17 March 2019 08:04 (eight months ago) link

This essay wonders how the American lit scene would've been different if John Williams and Yvor Winters had had their way

I enjoyed this essay and I guess I'm fairly firmly in the Whitman imitative form camp, even if that does feel a bit like revealing a grubby secret. I've been thinking about Williams a bit and while it's clear he's practising an austere, detached (anti-Emersonian?) form, I wonder how the sections below function. These epiphanies appear in his books and often seem to be nexus points, around which the rest of the text arranges itself (I wonder if epiphany is the right word. There are more epiphany without insight or simple affective flares that shine briefly and die once more). Are they evidence of a kind of Emersonian unconscious?

Once, late after his evening class, he returned to his office and sat at his desk, trying to read. It was winter, and a snow had fallen during the day, so that the out-of-doors was covered with a white softness. The office was overheated; he opened a window beside the desk so that the cool air might come into the close room. He breathed deeply, and let his eyes wander over the white floor of the campus. On an impulse he switched out the light on his desk and sat in the hot darkness of his office; the cold air filled his lungs, and he leaned toward the open window. He heard the silence of the winter night, and it seemed to him that he somehow felt the sounds that were absorbed by the delicately and intricately cellular being of the snow. Nothing moved upon the whiteness; it was a dead scene, which seemed to pull at him, to suck at his consciousness just as it pulled the sound from the air and buried it within a cold white softness. He felt himself pulled outward toward the whiteness, which spread as far as he could see, and which was a part of the darkness from which it glowed, of the clear and cloudless sky without height or depth. For an instant he felt himself go out of the body that sat motionless before the window; and as he felt himself slip away, everything-the flat whiteness, the trees, the tall columns, the night, the far stars-seemed incredibly tiny and far away, as if they were dwindling to a nothingness. Then, behind him, a radiator clanked. He moved, and the scene became itself. With a curiously reluctant relief he again snapped on his desk lamp. He gathered a book and a few papers, went out of the office, walked through the darkened corridors and let himself out of the wide double doors at the back of Jesse Hall. He walked slowly home, aware of each footstep crunching with muffled loudness in the dry snow.

Good cop, Babcock (Chinaski), Sunday, 17 March 2019 10:32 (eight months ago) link

Think your speculations are on the right track---With a curiously reluctant relief Yes!

dow, Sunday, 17 March 2019 17:26 (eight months ago) link

I started Big Brother by Lionel Shriver. Pretty readable so far. I guess it's kind of brave of her to write plainly about what it's like being around someone who's morbidly obese (and not always in a wholly sympathetic way). Can't decide whether or not it's in poor taste, but she's pretty good at making her characters come to life and move through the situations she's set up for them, even if some of the characterizations are a bit facile.

o. nate, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 01:39 (eight months ago) link

yeah chinaski that's very much my impression as well

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 20 March 2019 01:49 (eight months ago) link

Lionel Shriver is obsessed with the weight of her characters.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Wednesday, 20 March 2019 01:59 (eight months ago) link

Just bought a beautiful Penguin Deluxe Edition of the Tale of Genji, hopefully it's gonna be my this year's obsession like the Story of the Stone was last year

Helel Cool J (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 20 March 2019 11:40 (eight months ago) link

I started The Power Broker a few days ago so I'll see y'all in a few months.

Evans on Hammond (evol j), Wednesday, 20 March 2019 20:00 (eight months ago) link

I finished People in the Room by Norah Lange last month, and thought it was astounding. An Argentinian avant-garde portrait of a fracturing mind.

emil.y, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 21:23 (eight months ago) link

Yeah it’s great isn’t it? It’s stayed in my head in the months since I read it, too.

Tim, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 23:29 (eight months ago) link

Who I am reading now: this sounds like an interesting life...
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D2JBFBDVAAAmzJU.jpg

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 21 March 2019 04:28 (eight months ago) link

I’m reading Jane Eyre, guess what it’s good

moose; squirrel (silby), Thursday, 21 March 2019 05:04 (eight months ago) link

SO good

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 21 March 2019 05:22 (eight months ago) link

great book

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 21 March 2019 08:00 (eight months ago) link

Have managed to get Archduke Eduard von Habsburg, great-great-grandson of Emperor Franz Joseph, to tell my wife on twitter to let me buy more Austro-Hungarian books.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 21 March 2019 08:15 (eight months ago) link

Many Hungarian novels...

emil.y, Thursday, 21 March 2019 09:48 (eight months ago) link

So little Hungarian time

Theorbo Goes Wild (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 21 March 2019 12:11 (eight months ago) link

There are still Archdukes?

jmm, Thursday, 21 March 2019 13:42 (eight months ago) link

I'm reading Jane Eyre too!

hot dog go to bathroom (cajunsunday), Thursday, 21 March 2019 16:22 (eight months ago) link

i'm not (it is good though)

i did read that Eleanor Oliphant book after a good review on Front Row. it has sold >1m copies but there's not a single mention of it on ilx. having finished it i am not really surprised. not much to recommend it.

40% of the way through Monte Cristo but am reading one volume a month and alternating it with other things.

koogs, Thursday, 21 March 2019 18:26 (eight months ago) link

I'm rereading Wuthering Heights!

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 21 March 2019 18:35 (eight months ago) link

(I read JE, WH and Agnes Grey in the same month, all great although WH was too long)

koogs, Thursday, 21 March 2019 20:12 (eight months ago) link

Back to Andy Beckett, PROMISED YOU A MIRACLE. Very readable yet so long that it's taking me ages.

the pinefox, Thursday, 21 March 2019 20:47 (eight months ago) link

A Voice Through A Cloud by Denton Welch, my first of his. All about the piping high gorgeousness of his prose. I kept thinking “English Thomas Wolfe” but god knows I haven’t read Wolfe these thirty years so the comparison is probably bollocksy.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Mosfegh, it’s good, maybe not as good as I’d been led to expect but that’s hardly the book’s fault. I thought I was going to read a kind of Miss Mundane gets into NYC scrapes, which I suppose I did, but the scrapes are much more sombre than the capers with gangsters I (for some reason) had imagined. Nominated for the Wellcome Prize as I understand it, presumably on the basis of it dealing with mental illness and addiction to prescription drugs?

Who Killed My Father by Édouard Louis, super-brief and fantastically sharp piece on what capital does to us, mainly in terms of what capital does to our bodies. Our minds too, but critically our bodies. This nearly had me crying tears of rage on the 63 bus, I think it’s likely the best book I’ve read this year so far. It’s just so fucking fierce, just when you think it’s going to fail to be fierce.

Tim, Thursday, 21 March 2019 23:21 (eight months ago) link


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