What are you reading today/book club

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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby balloons » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:54 pm

I had a lot of fun

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(not my pic)

once you get over the "what the fuck, this is hardly art" aspect of it (because you're essentially reading tweets in print), it's pretty interesting. a few of the writers I wasn't too fond of (either veered too far into superpositivity or were too dense with irony) but some really hit a sweet spot that made them enjoyable to read. alt flaxy is a weird thing & I think you have to approach it with a pretty open mind or it might just seem obnoxious.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bobo77 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:04 pm

stappard_ wrote:would you recommend it or what


I definitely count myself as a Klosterman fan, I've read maybe three or four of his books (I don't know which is my favorite), and I have the rest of his books in my Amazon wish list. I really like his essays, and if you like to read about music and movies and and life and overanalysis of all those topics, then you'll like this. For example, he has an essay analyzing Saved By The Bell and how in the early 90s he watched it four times a day, which is really great. He always relates the work or topic he's covering to his own personal experience, which is a cool approach. It's a quick read, I finished it in two days, so if any of the above appealed to you, check it out.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby ab167 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:32 pm

I am reading a ton of essays and short stories and poems about food because I am working on the syllabus for the class I am teaching in the fall, a freshman writing class called "The Rhetoric of Food."

This Mark Doty poem is nice: "A Display of Mackeral"
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby jrisk » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:13 pm

I'm reading a fun scifi book. mostly during lunch at work so the going's slow.

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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby rjbman » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:11 am

So my work had a reading competition for July: whoever read the most (as measured by pages) would win a $25 Amazon gift card. Thought I'd have this hands down. I picked up the Mongoliad (the original 3) for $6 total and was racing through them. Seriously, the last two days I've read 650 pages in book 3.

And it still wasn't enough to beat this other guy. He read an average of a book every 2 days. And not like short, kids books either; 4-600 page novels and nonfiction. I'm still shocked.

:sad:
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby wiggly--woo » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:12 am

Just finished reading The Psychopath Test this morning.

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Ronson is essentially a 'skeptic' of psychiatry (though skeptic is probably too strong a word really, he's more curious than critical) and the book is basically 'here are some interesting conversations I had' and 'here are some weird things I found out' and all written in a very chatty and witty kind of style without ever being particularly serious or opinionated. Was pretty enjoyable overall, but I was a little disappointed that the 'The Man Who Faked Madness' was the standout chapter (atleast in my eyes) because I'd already seen his TED talk where he pretty much covers the entire chapter. It's a good talk incidentally, centred on a man who faked his way into a mental institution and then couldn't find a way to prove his sanity, in what essentially becomes a real life version of Heller's Catch-22.

On an unrelated note, I started reading this monster over a year ago and I'm not even halfway through.

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The only book I've ever tried to read which manages to be so captivating and yet feels so much like hard work.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby Prince of Scandinavia » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:42 pm

The last week I've read a compendium of stories from Ancient Greece. Mostly myths from old Hellas. I also read At the mountain of Madness, which was suprisingly good considering I don't read fiction that often.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Thu Aug 14, 2014 5:21 am

Just finished Zero History. Would recommend reading the rest of the Blue Ant trilogy before reading it because one of the major payoffs would be a colossal let down if you haven't at the least read Pattern Recognition.

Not sure I'd actually recommend anyone reads all three though I guess it wouldn't take you more than a week.

Has anyone read the new Murakami? Colourless Pilgrimage or something? Any good? Not translated by Jay Rubin so I'm cautious.

Reading Pale Fire at the moment. It's lethally good.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby Stingray Sam » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:20 pm

Who here has read notes from the underground? I'm trying to get through it, but the narrator is so insufferable that I can only tolerate a couple pages at a time. Should I continue? Is there any pay off at the end of the book? Do you ever get to say yes I'm glad I spent my time reading that?
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby nothobo » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:15 am

Just finished Native Son by Richard Wright, was a quick read for me, didn't find it difficult or anything but I guess it was a decent novel on the racial divide of black and whites in America and social oppression.

Reading Breakfast at Tiffany's now.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby rjbman » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:35 am

GUESS WHO GOT 1Q84 FOR THEIR BIRTHDAY!!!!

Really excited because heard nothing but good things and "omg its my fav book ever!!!1!"
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:52 am

rjbman wrote:GUESS WHO GOT 1Q84 FOR THEIR BIRTHDAY!!!!

Really excited because heard nothing but good things and "omg its my fav book ever!!!1!"


Funny because IQ84 is one of the only Murakami books I hear bad things about.

William Gibson thoughts below with spoilers on the blue ant trilogy

In other news after letting it settle a bit more I feel like Zero History wasn't that great. As a caper novel it doesn't work for me because the stakes don't make sense.
Spook Country suffered from this as well, but because the macguffin was only revealed in the final act it didn't have enough time to seem stupid. Here I constantly found myself wondering why people were putting so much illegal, martial effort into things because almost none of it seemed worth it. I'm always wary of millionaires in science fiction as their presence is almost always as a bare faced plot driver and Bigend becomes an extremely bare faced plot driver in both Spook Country and Zero History. Without him, almost nothing happens but his only reason for causing things to happen seems to be "because I can." which sort of makes sense but sort of totally doesn't either. There are other rote Gibsonian characters here; Tough courier chicks who fall in love with you without ever telling you, spooky martial types who can only be overpowered by even spookier, more martial types and corrosive computer hackers hidden in their windowless apartments. I'm not sure if I'm bored of the Gibsonian plot or if the plot just isn't executed as effectively as normal, either way I felt like I'd read it before.

Gibson has always used the caper plot as a backbone, but his brilliance isn't solely because he can craft a page turner, however I still felt the novel was pretty weak on his other strengths. Though he's still great at throwing in new ideas about the contemporary world we inhabit, I felt like these ideas were spread a little bit thin and instead were replaced by a constant churn of googleable references. This worked well in Pattern Recognition, but I think it's beginning to feel a bit rote. A list of novel things to google is in itself beginning to run out of novelty as coming across some novel bit of the world on the internet has become a daily occurence. You could probably get a similar effect from the right mix of twitter accounts.

There are still great ideas and some brilliantly realised environments, but I feel like they aren't enough to hang an entire novel on. I don't know if part of the problem is that Gibson didn't manage to pull his Ballardian "Earth as alien planet" move on us as effectively as he normally does, or if earth has actually become a kind of boring planet. I used to be a big believer in the idea of futureshock, that things are moving so fast that we're constantly amazed by them, but this book left me feeling that things have actually been pretty static since 9/11. I'd be interested in a re read of pattern recognition to see if that still feels fresh to me.

As it stands I feel like unless you're a die hard Gibsonite who has already read the previous two books in the trilogy you could give this final one a miss. In fact you could give both Zero History and Spook Country a miss and just read Pattern Recognition, which moved towards a macguffin that was a little more personal and to me a little more believable.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bels » Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:29 am

The whole thing sort of felt like the fashion world's fever dream. A world where the people don't matter, only the objects, and the people are willing to go to almost any length for these objects. (The designer passionately making her own shoe brand, Heidi working through her divorce with retail therapy and building models, Bigend's armoured hilux, the helium penguin which saves the day, a domestic espionage plan being changed because of a refusal to modify a particular bike frame, Bigend building Vegas Cubes to give himself a place to think, someone willing to actually shoot someone else over a pair of trousers) I kept thinking about that quote I posted earlier about someone being more at home in the world of objects rather than the world of people. The trilogy itself is also much more at home in the world of objects rather than the one of people. I'm not sure if it's meant to be a commentary on the fact that maybe in the contemporary world the objects have become more important than the people.

Maybe Gibson's next book will be about the world we're building now, where the representation of the object is more important than the object itself. (Which is more important to the burger retailer, the taste of the burger, or the quality of the instagrammed photos of the burger? Which is more important to Errolson Pugh, the type of gore tex he uses, or the image of ACR as an artefact from a dystopian present? If everything you buy is behind a screen, what are you buying?)

I drank a coffee and had all these grandiloquent thoughts. Thank you for indulging me a little.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby jrisk » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:28 pm

made quick work of The Giver recently because I missed out on it when I was a kid. It came with the other three books, should I read those too?

some light reads on the way via inter-library loan:
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby jrisk » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:11 pm

@missrowan, I liked The Giver, wish I had read it sooner. I'm under the impression that it was one of the first YA utopia/dystopia books so it probably would have felt more original pre-hunger games.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby UnwashedMolasses » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:51 pm

Just finished Infinite Jest, easily the best book I've ever read although that's nothing new being said here. Whenever I intake an authored work (book, comic, movie, etc.) with a particularly strong voice, my speech/thought patterns tend to shift into those used in the work. It's never a conscious decision; typically I make a note of it and enjoy it while it lasts. Infinite Jest has had through my time reading no such effect, or a much more subtle one - I can barely detect the shift in thought, other than that his sentences tend to be more convoluted than mine. He said this:

My worst character flaw that I'm conscious of is that I tend to think
my way into circles instead of resolving anything. It's paralyzing and
boring for people around me.

This is for all intents and purposes the biggest ongoing conflict of my admittedly very short life. It's incredibly gratifying reading the creative expressions of someone who deals with the same thing. Horrifying though, given his felo-de-se.

Sorry, too much rambling, I'm still caught up.

I went and read the "What Happened At at the End of Infinite Jest" and found it wholly unsatisfying. No idea if it's in any way factual or it's a well-researched fan theory, but it to me is so counter to the intent of the novel. I never once while reading the book felt that plot was a driving factor (interesting because I also didn't feel its absence - is that just the mark of a good author?), so to have more plot points so summarily listed out felt rude.

This is also the only book that I've had to set down because I was laughing too hard to keep my eyes on the page - the humor ranged from subtly injected to cheekily obvious and self-referential. Throughout the novel's dense language, vocabulary, jargon, and acronyms runs a vein of heartbreaking sincerity. It is an absolutely beautiful work that I'd recommend to anybody, with the caveat that it's utterly unreadable a few pages at a time. To really absorb it you have to take it in large enough doses that you're surrounded by the language and feel of it.

So yeah! Go read it!
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby soko » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:44 pm

Just finished Slaughterhouse Five. I wouldn't say that it changed my life, but its really put me in a strong antiwar mood and I understand how its had so much influence and staying power over the years. Honestly just kind of amazed at how ridiculous Vonnegut made it all seem. Dudes just a kick ass writer. Looking forward to reading Breakfast of Champions.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby mc-lunar » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:07 pm

Recently got on a bit of a comics/graphic novel binge, I'm not a big fan of reading comics in the paper format you have to go pick up every so often but I do enjoy a good anthology because I know the story will be somewhat self contained. I kinda feel guilty (if I have time to read comics I should read all those real books on my backlog) but it's all fun so whatever

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This is my most recent read, a childhood friend of mine recommended it. The story is really great, it involves people who can stop time by having sex.

Spoiler:
naturally, they try to rob a bank, and then it turns out that there are literal Sex Police. fun!


In terms of content, the sexuality is handled really maturely. It is explicit, there is a glowing penis at one point, and a lot of scenes take place in a sex store, but it never feels like something that you could masturbate to. The story is priority number 1 and the character development is really, really good compared to what I normally see in the comics I read. This tackles issues like mental health, sex ed, obscenity, and sexism, in the form of a funny comic. Wow.

Also, I should mention the art style is fantastic. If you're familiar with the old tf2 comic art style, it's like a softer version of that. The visual techniques used to indicate what's going on are just beautiful and would translate really well to a movie with real people in it or an animated series.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby goodintentions » Sat Sep 13, 2014 4:17 am

soko wrote:Just finished Slaughterhouse Five. I wouldn't say that it changed my life, but its really put me in a strong antiwar mood and I understand how its had so much influence and staying power over the years. Honestly just kind of amazed at how ridiculous Vonnegut made it all seem. Dudes just a kick ass writer. Looking forward to reading Breakfast of Champions.


what other vonnegut books have you read? i thought breakfast of champions was one of his weaker ones (although i haven't read them all).
out of what i've read, i've felt that slaughterhouse five, cat's cradle and mother night were the best. i had really mixed feelings about the sirens of titan (i expected to to be great, too) and thought player piano was pretty rubbish. are any of his later novels worth checking out?
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby rublev » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:09 pm

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(smiling)
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby exprof » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:59 pm

Had to read this Vannevar Bush article for class and damn the dude essentially predicted the personal computer/internet in 1945... prof recommended Neuromancer so I'm finally going to give that a go.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby donut_milk » Sat Sep 13, 2014 9:47 pm

Been a long time since I've read Murakami. I binged read a lot of his books in college and had to take a long break.

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Downloaded the sample and thought it was pretty good so I ordered a hard copy. Looking forward to starting again.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby charybdis » Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:04 pm

Been reading Randall Munroe's book to my little sister. Some of it is a little too complicated to her, but she really likes it.

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Personally, I've been reading this:

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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby une_impasse » Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:17 pm

I'm currently reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series, it is not my favorite of his but it's oddly charming. It's also pretty bizarre to think that it took him 22 years to finish the series and I'm probably going to finish it in a month. There's a foreword about a death row inmate asking him to reveal the ending because he didn't think he'd make it to the end and it is has been haunting me in an oddly profound way.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby Ques » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:04 pm

just finished my first murakami book (norwegian wood) and have been experiencing dark emotional thoughts non stop since finishing it
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby yubbermax » Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:11 pm

Recently finished: The Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin next up is Neuromancer and then one of Entering Space by Zubrin or Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Robert Sheffield.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby smiles » Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:56 am

JALAL TOUFIC DEAD AIR

http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/public/article/viewFile/30223/27758

Bush (and others) called Saddam "Hitler": a matting phenomenon. Instead of maintain- ing an am Saddam, Saddam should have countered the amBush constituted by this abstraction from Hitler's historical context (neither the Ba'th party and the Nazi party nor Iraq and Germany are interchangeable. Moreover, in terms of being the most advanced technological and military power in a given region, Israel, rather than Iraq, plays that role in the Middle East) by for instance appearing on W both made-up as Hitler and - through the special effects that made possible the layering in Zelig- in the company of Nazi generals. The ridiculous books that suggest that Hitler did not die but is in hiding (and the books that maintain that Elvis is not dead) should have been trans- lated, distributed, and mentioned on Iraqi TV1 and in Iraqi newspapers (in fact Saddam did not have to look far to find something similar, but this time not ridiculous at all: the notion of the hidden imam in Shiism). Saddam did nothing of the sort, lacked any humor




This inducing of the uncanny should not to be limited to radio or TV but has to be done in life. Have a recording of your voice asking your roommate to remove the boiling water from the burner or yelling at your cat to stay away from a vase; while talking to someone on the phone, you playback your recorded voice. Is there a danger that such practices may be used to lead to prolonged paranoia?
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby DeafIdiotGod » Sun Sep 21, 2014 7:02 am

Finished Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man a while back. It was a welcome change to all the postmodern literature I'd been putting myself through previously, I particularly enjoyed how sincere it all sounded compared to the constant air of irony and cynicism present in those previous books I read. Chapter 3's intense description of hell and stern punishment was very powerfully written, it's one of the few passages that has made literally think: "wow". I need to read Ulysses at some point now I've basically read the primer to it.

On the subject of Irish writers, I recently got hold of a set of Brian O'Nolan's (Flann O'Brien) essays and columns under the alias Myles Na Gopaleenwhich should be great fun to eventually have a read through.

Currently reading House Of Leaves. Not too far through it at the moment but I'm enjoying the twin narratives presented as a analytic text and notes which will no doubt get more complex as time goes on. I'm currently at the bit where they're measuring the house and he's managing to present it in a satisfyingly unsettling way, particularly the part where the door on the mystery room slowly starts closing.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby Prince of Scandinavia » Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:15 pm

I'm reading The Giver before watching the movie and then I'll probably read the rest of the trilogy.
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Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby frogosaurus » Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:10 pm

Started getting into Marx's earlier work for my philosophy class today, currently reading "The German Ideology." Really digging it, esp. after reading Hegel to start the semester.
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