New now reading

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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Nolamike
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Re: New now reading

Postby Nolamike » 18 May 2010, 21:46

Count Machuki wrote:Infinite Jest continues on my commute (500 pages, holding strong).



Eh. I read the thing, but by the end, it was more of a "screw you for sucking up so much of my reading time; I'll finish this thing to prove a point!" The thing had some great moments, and some hilarious moments, but also had several hundred pages of stuff that bored me to tears. I did love his essays, though, and about a third of his short stories.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Count Machuki » 18 May 2010, 21:55

Nolamike wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:Infinite Jest continues on my commute (500 pages, holding strong).



Eh. I read the thing, but by the end, it was more of a "screw you for sucking up so much of my reading time; I'll finish this thing to prove a point!" The thing had some great moments, and some hilarious moments, but also had several hundred pages of stuff that bored me to tears. I did love his essays, though, and about a third of his short stories.


It's my favorite book...I read it every year. :evil:
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Re: New now reading

Postby Corporate whore » 18 May 2010, 22:47

So....

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In the main, highly recomended - it does drift off-topic a little in the middle, but some of it (and especially the chapter on terrorism) is very effective.

The book deals with how we interpret risk, and how badly our minds (evolved to succeede in a stone age world) deal with the modern world. It includes many interesting statistics and examples - for instance, if a plane crashed in the US every week.... flying would still be safer then driving.

The book also discusses how we are biased towards evidence that supports our own world view and dismiss evidence that disagrees with this - interesting to read in conjunction with some of the recent political debate*

Recommended.

*Note a dig ant anyone BTW, this applies to myself as much as to anyone else.

Just started Stuart Marconies 'Adventures on the high teas', which is shaping up to be just as good as his other books.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Nolamike » 18 May 2010, 23:45

Count Machuki wrote:
Nolamike wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:Infinite Jest continues on my commute (500 pages, holding strong).



Eh. I read the thing, but by the end, it was more of a "screw you for sucking up so much of my reading time; I'll finish this thing to prove a point!" The thing had some great moments, and some hilarious moments, but also had several hundred pages of stuff that bored me to tears. I did love his essays, though, and about a third of his short stories.


It's my favorite book...I read it every year. :evil:


Sorry! :D I just find it more than a little... self-indulgent. All the tongue-in-cheek references (Madame Psychosis? Really???), the footnotes to endnotes, etc., etc., etc. That, and tennis bores me to tears.

Of course, I don't always write off ridiculously self-indulgent books - earlier on this thread I mentioned getting a kick out of House of Leaves, and I just started (and am really enjoying) this:

Image
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Re: New now reading

Postby Count Machuki » 19 May 2010, 00:20

I absolutely know what you mean, but that feels like telling Berlioz to 'just stick to the choons, man!'

Wallace was a freaking super-genius by nearly all accounts...why shouldn't he flaunt it? And the self-indulgence actually rather fits with the themes of the book, so it's more justified in IJ than his other works.
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Then it follows that ∀ k ∈ K: K ∈ U ⇒ k ∉ D

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Re: New now reading

Postby Snarfyguy » 19 May 2010, 00:46

Count Machuki wrote:I absolutely know what you mean, but that feels like telling Berlioz to 'just stick to the choons, man!'

Wallace was a freaking super-genius by nearly all accounts...why shouldn't he flaunt it? And the self-indulgence actually rather fits with the themes of the book, so it's more justified in IJ than his other works.

I think it's flawless. The stuff about tennis transcends its topic. The writing is just so Goddamned good.

His other stuff has its ups and downs; the essays in particular are outstanding. The only thing of his I thought wasn't rewarding to me was the math book. After a while I just couldn't understand it anymore and I had to put it down. Even in that one he got off some good lines, though.

But Infinite Jest is easily one of the ten best works of lit in the 20th Century, no doubt about it. And fun to read.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Sneelock » 19 May 2010, 01:06

I bailed on 'house of leaves' twice and I don't think I'll be back.
I think it gets pretty silly.

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Re: New now reading

Postby Count Machuki » 19 May 2010, 01:13

I read Gravity's Rainbow right after Infinite Jest last year. I liked it pretty well...what epic modern novel, Pynchon or other, should I try after IJ this summer?

Pass on Ulysses, btw.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Nolamike » 19 May 2010, 01:33

Count Machuki wrote:I read Gravity's Rainbow right after Infinite Jest last year. I liked it pretty well...what epic modern novel, Pynchon or other, should I try after IJ this summer?

Pass on Ulysses, btw.


:shock:

Ulysses is freaking awesome! I read it (or at least large chunks of it) yearly! You do need the companions the first time through (the Annotated Ulysses, and the Bloomsday Book), but ditch 'em the second time around. It is challenging, but it is easily worth the rewards. And it gets a whole lot easier after the third chapter. Well, at least until you get to the Hospital/birth one.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Count Machuki » 19 May 2010, 01:36

Nolamike wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:I read Gravity's Rainbow right after Infinite Jest last year. I liked it pretty well...what epic modern novel, Pynchon or other, should I try after IJ this summer?

Pass on Ulysses, btw.


:shock:

Ulysses is freaking awesome! I read it (or at least large chunks of it) yearly! You do need the companions the first time through (the Annotated Ulysses, and the Bloomsday Book), but ditch 'em the second time around. It is challenging, but it is easily worth the rewards. And it gets a whole lot easier after the third chapter. Well, at least until you get to the Hospital/birth one.


I read 'Young Man' and about 50 pages of 'Finnegan' but then realized that I wasn't writing a thesis.

Give me a few years...I'm sure I'll come back to it.

But what other sprawling masterworks should be on my horizons?
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Then it follows that ∀ k ∈ K: K ∈ U ⇒ k ∉ D

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Re: New now reading

Postby king feeb » 19 May 2010, 02:12

Nolamike wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:
Nolamike wrote:
Eh. I read the thing, but by the end, it was more of a "screw you for sucking up so much of my reading time; I'll finish this thing to prove a point!" The thing had some great moments, and some hilarious moments, but also had several hundred pages of stuff that bored me to tears. I did love his essays, though, and about a third of his short stories.


It's my favorite book...I read it every year. :evil:


Sorry! :D I just find it more than a little... self-indulgent. All the tongue-in-cheek references (Madame Psychosis? Really???), the footnotes to endnotes, etc., etc., etc. That, and tennis bores me to tears.

Of course, I don't always write off ridiculously self-indulgent books - earlier on this thread I mentioned getting a kick out of House of Leaves, and I just started (and am really enjoying) this:

Image


Overall I liked it. But "it has some great moments, some hilarious moments but also had several hundred pages of stuff that bored me to tears" (surprisingly, the chapter that is actually about the murders, which I originally thought would be the most riveting, turned out to be the longest and most tedious section of the whole tome). Bolano pulls the novel's ass out of the fire with the terrific final "book", which is totally brilliant and ties the whole deal together nicely, if a bit loosely.

I can see myself probably re-reading Infinite Jest at some point, but probably not this one.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Kinkhurt » 19 May 2010, 09:52

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Just finished this, not bad - not as engrossing as The Crow Road.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Nolamike » 19 May 2010, 13:03

Count Machuki wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:Pass on Ulysses, btw.


I read 'Young Man' and about 50 pages of 'Finnegan' but then realized that I wasn't writing a thesis.

Give me a few years...I'm sure I'll come back to it.



See, that's the problem - Young Man is good, but is nothing compared to Ulysses. Finnegan's Wake is something that almost nobody has read, let alone understood - Ulysses is a much, much, much better read, and is the only Joyce book I have any interest in returning to time and time again. You will never know a literary character the way you know Leopold Bloom by the end of it - it truly is stunning.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Nolamike » 19 May 2010, 13:05

Sneelock wrote:I bailed on 'house of leaves' twice and I don't think I'll be back.
I think it gets pretty silly.


Oh, it absolutely does. I just treated it like a fun read, and didn't try to take anything serious out of it.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Spec » 19 May 2010, 14:39

Count Machuki wrote:
Nolamike wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:I read Gravity's Rainbow right after Infinite Jest last year. I liked it pretty well...what epic modern novel, Pynchon or other, should I try after IJ this summer?

Pass on Ulysses, btw.


:shock:

Ulysses is freaking awesome! I read it (or at least large chunks of it) yearly! You do need the companions the first time through (the Annotated Ulysses, and the Bloomsday Book), but ditch 'em the second time around. It is challenging, but it is easily worth the rewards. And it gets a whole lot easier after the third chapter. Well, at least until you get to the Hospital/birth one.


I read 'Young Man' and about 50 pages of 'Finnegan' but then realized that I wasn't writing a thesis.

Give me a few years...I'm sure I'll come back to it.

But what other sprawling masterworks should be on my horizons?


The remaining one of the big four (GR, IJ and Ulysses) is Delillo's Underworld.

I haven't ever managed GR. I have a friend who is a Pynchon fanatic and he struggled with Against The Day, didn't rate Inherent Vice, but would recommend all the others especially the entry points - Vineland and Lot 49.

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Re: New now reading

Postby Nolamike » 19 May 2010, 14:49

specbebop wrote:The remaining one of the big four (GR, IJ and Ulysses) is Delillo's Underworld.

I haven't ever managed GR. I have a friend who is a Pynchon fanatic and he struggled with Against The Day, didn't rate Inherent Vice, but would recommend all the others especially the entry points - Vineland and Lot 49.


Underworld is pretty fantastic - it does have some of the flaws inherent in ridiculously long novels (I guess these things are like double albums), but is well worth the read.

I also haven't gotten around to reading Gravity's Rainbow. :oops: Probably won't happen until my daughter is a bit older - it's hard enough these days working/parenting etc. to find time to read short stories, let alone sprawling, complex novels.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Leg of lamb » 19 May 2010, 14:57

Nolamike wrote:See, that's the problem - Young Man is good, but is nothing compared to Ulysses. Finnegan's Wake is something that almost nobody has read, let alone understood - Ulysses is a much, much, much better read, and is the only Joyce book I have any interest in returning to time and time again. You will never know a literary character the way you know Leopold Bloom by the end of it - it truly is stunning.


I agree. Portrait feels very transitionary to me - it's Joyce broadly working in the same 'traditional' vein as Dubliners, but branching out with the style of the diction and the psychological interiority of Stephen Dedalus. Unfortunately, neither of these feel fully fleshed out, and both are trapped by the fact that it's a callow, pretentious young man that he's characterizing. You kind of want to slap him. With Ulysses both of these aspects become more radical and deep as they cut across society and the middle-aged Leo Bloom - who (again agreeing with Nolamike) is one of the all time great personalities in literature.

But there's no forcing the issue with Ulysses. Even the most enthusiastic fan has to work hard for the book, but unless you're getting some pleasure and excitement from it too, I doubt that any perseverance and diligent schlepping through the companions will help you see the light. It's an earthy, bawdy book, remember.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Leg of lamb » 19 May 2010, 15:03

Further to what I said above, I reckon you can boil Joyce down to two books that you really need: Dubliners for his earlier style, Ulysses for the high modernist style. I know of people who swear by the dividends you get from investing in Finnegan's Wake but I have my suspicions that life might just be too short. What Count says about the dissertation rings true - I never feel with Ulysses that I'm doing my homework, whereas with FW I really do.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Nolamike » 19 May 2010, 15:16

Leg of lamb wrote:Further to what I said above, I reckon you can boil Joyce down to two books that you really need: Dubliners for his earlier style, Ulysses for the high modernist style. I know of people who swear by the dividends you get from investing in Finnegan's Wake but I have my suspicions that life might just be too short. What Count says about the dissertation rings true - I never feel with Ulysses that I'm doing my homework, whereas with FW I really do.


Exactly (to both of your posts)! The first time through Ulysses took some effort, but it was an immensely enjoyable (and rewarding) experience. Subsequent reads are far, far easier, and prove rewarding every time.
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Re: New now reading

Postby Copehead » 19 May 2010, 18:15

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Just started and very good so far
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