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Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:10 am
by wax
My favourite murakami is norwegian wood, I get the impression that's not a popular opinion. I think it might just be that I read it at the right point in my life.

I need to finish slaughterhouse 5 and the trial, will see if I can knock that over tomorrow or the day after.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:40 pm
by schiaparelli
debt: the first 5,000 years seems like one of those "singleword: grand sweeping subtitle" books that bother odradek so much, but i quite enjoyed it. it's a huge slog because of the breadth of the topic and the depth the author frequently goes into, but i found it entertaining even if i sometimes had to take a break and read junky chicklit to relax myself. the book is sort of a tour of human history and how different civilizations and culture have interacted with economics and markets and money. "economic anthropology" might be a fitting description of the topic.

the author addresses disparate things like:

  • the myth of the barter economy
  • the rise of keynesian economics
  • (disorientingly) gender politics in sumer
  • THE PATRIARCHY and women's rights in the context of bride prices and dowries
  • slavery and debt peonage through the years
  • an economic interpretation of the holy grail legend

i have no economic background so some of the assertions the author makes about the nature of money and economics in history and now seem pretty crazy, but i have no way to tell. but it's very enjoyable for the reasonably well-researched anthropological and historical anecdotes. the author occasionally pulls out these facts like "the middle ages are totally underrated when it comes to eliminating institutionalized slavery!" and you stop reading and think "wow. i did not consider that before."

can i be honest? i started reading it for the cover design. it's really great:

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Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:29 pm
by bhajz
I've been reading God is Not Good by Christopher Hitchens lately, which has been really enjoyable. I wish I had more time to read at school, definitely one of the things I miss most about being at home.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:49 am
by brusque
I've been on a reading binge this past month (two months? it all blends together) and have finished The Bell Jar, Kafka on the Shore, Tender is the Night, The Waves, and Moby Dick. I am working on Dante's Inferno, and might continue on to purgatorio and paradiso because I'm really enjoying it. Finishing up A Farewell to Arms...reading Ulysses in a few months with some friends. It's a lot, but it's been nice. I haven't read any other Murakami, and Kafka on the Shore was by far my favorite, so what would you guys suggest to read of his next?

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:55 am
by bels
Wind up bird chronicle

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:01 pm
by sparkyoriental
I'm a slow slow reader and I have an extremely short attention span so novels and fiction has always been difficult for me. I've made it a goal to read one book a month in 2014, though. I bought The Goldfinch ebook last week so that's next on my list. Currently I'm reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem, which is a collection of essays by Joan Didion and I'm enjoying it a lot. She has such a distinctive and unique style, and it's unlike any other author I've read before. My favorite essay in Slouching is John Wayne: a Love Story. Other books on my list:

The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison
The Hobbit, Tolkien

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:21 pm
by Prince of Scandinavia
Today and the next few days I'm reading up on last semesters books from my Introduction to Anthropology course. I'm reading a few books and compendiums from scandinavian anthropologists like Thomas Hylland Eriksen, along with a book from Steinar Kvale. It's kind of exciting to read all the examples of how anthropology works, but I really want to dig in deep with it. But I'll have to wait until my third semester.

Edit: eli7, I'm really into reciprocity, holism and kinship in foreign cultures (like field work from Evans-Pritchard, Clifford Geertz or Franz Boas. Those are the only one's I've read about so far).

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:55 am
by Syeknom
Philip Marsden - The Levelling Sea: The Story of a Cornish Haven in the Age of Sail

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Account of Falmouth port's history as Britain's maritime dominance grew and conquered rooted in the author's own life surrounded by sea.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:13 pm
by spahdfgo
Got a kindle at christmas, it's pretty cool given that I had kinda lost the pleasure of reading. Anyway, I read The Three musketeers (Dumas), The Metamorphosis (Kafka), The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), and currently reading Sherlock Holmes: A study in red (doyle)

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:41 pm
by tttigre
Picked up The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen to continue it from last summer, forgot how much I'd enjoyed it. I also have Franzen's Freedom to continue after I finish this one.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:28 pm
by parastexis
Just read The Crying of Lot 49 yesterday. For Pynchon fans, should I just jump into Gravity's Rainbow?

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:23 pm
by odradek
don't expect them to be at all similar, but yes. and after that read against the day, which may be (OPINION!) better than GR but denser and twistier and longer.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:41 pm
by freddy
i've been reading the random discussion thread and what piqued my interests thus far was the mini-discussion about public criticism and the need for find such reasons for XYZ justifications of one's fashion choices. so i present u guys with this book that has recently ascended as the cornerstone of my introspection right now.

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for me, i finally got to read this in the ideal intellectual context (timing is everything obv) and it's def fucking up how I see things. he speaks in a very psychoanalytic perspective, which is what is driving my current engine of analyzing all things life right now. odradek i pinged u on irc to see if you were read up on Lasch's work. it seems like you would enjoy it and if so id love to hear your critiques and remarks, if any at all

as for everyone, i think y'all will get a strong connection out of it his framework of thinking can be most def applied in the respect of the entirety of socio/psycho-discussion and "issues" (drama) of fashion and the ppls whom collectively congregate together. consumption and materialism is addressed here. i also feel that this will hone in on how society is dillsuioned and perhaps unfold a personal realization that we no longer should be beholden to what others say, and that we need not to self-justify our self-interests and choices in fashion – or anything we do – and perhaps our choices that go against the hivemind/groupthink/mainstream is right indeed after all, that is only until we realize we no longer need to self-deluded ourselves to save face for public opinion. obviously, reading this will provide framework for understanding my rebel attitude and my fashion choices and copping sprees along with my aesthetic choices that seem not to follow/warrant on the pure trajectory of a specific hype manifestations

with that said, i am p happy with the fashion trajectory has turned out for me; i am finding a congruence semblance of connection with the wardrobe I curated and the clothes I choose to wear. I feel as if I am expressing a linear self-expression of my internal world and external-self-expression. i think a lot of people who dive into fashion are obviously unsure of the trajectories of what they want to do, let alone what to self-express. however, i think having the right framework of understanding the world around you and how you exist relative to the world, and to question your own needs and feels for self-expression within this paradigm of realization, is when will realize enlightenment of eternal connection when we synthesize the articles of the articles of clothing we choose to buy, the pieces of a designer's work we decide to wear, how we want to express ourselves in a given moment in life, and how we react and congregate together to form a collective intersubjective experience of fashion feels, is when I think we will realize that we have really made it – and that we can make our own fucking hype and be the hype-machine that hypes the fuck out of our hype, to be the ultimate motherfucking hype beast of our self-directed/self-guided hype where no existing hype has ever hyped before.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:01 pm
by nucktux
parastexis wrote:Just read The Crying of Lot 49 yesterday. For Pynchon fans, should I just jump into Gravity's Rainbow?


I'm about to start, we can be confused together.

Just finished Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl's story of his experience in the concentration camps and the psychotherapeutic theory he developed based on that. A fascinating account and in terms of psychology I think a useful complement to Adler's theory (although I don't think he beats Adler for an account of the 'normal' person in 'normal' circumstances).

I think I've given up on Satantango, at least for a while.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:37 pm
by pips
Just finished reading Where Are You Wearing by Kelsey Timmerman. It talks about where our clothes are made, the conditions on which these clothes are made and the lives the people who make our clothes lead. The whole premise of the book hinges on the author's adamant desire to find out exactly where his favorite shirt, boxers, jeans and flip flops were made and visit the factory where all those came from. Some of the countries visited: Honduras, Cambodia, Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia and there's also a part that talks about how American garment factories deal with globalization and cheaper labor elsewhere.

It's a book about sweatshops but it's not one loaded with facts. Actually it felt more like a cross between a travel blog and an editorial piece. It's a light read and in some parts you can really see the sheltered, country boy upbringing of the author contrasted to the very difficult lives of the factory workers he met. Sometimes it irked me, because do you really need to travel halfway around the world to realize that there are millions of people living in deplorable conditions working in jobs that straddle the line between earning a living and slavery? But then I realize that there are a great deal of people who are ignorant, whether involuntarily or willfully, and it's good that this privileged man went and did more than what a lot of us do and wrote a book about his experiences. A lot of the stories echo those of people I know, some of which are relatives, especially the ones where the workers had to leave their villages behind in order to work in the city or in some other country because there are no jobs in the village. It's a common scenario for people living in third world countries.

The book does not give a definitive conclusion on whether buying clothes made from third world countries are terrible. Actually in some cases it seems like buying garments made in Bangladesh or Cambodia can help the workers because they depend on demand to keep their jobs. I like that the book encourages readers to decide for themselves and to do their own research. There are companies who outsource their production to third world countries but strive to keep their factories up to standard and avoid exploitation, it's just a matter of finding out which those brands are. This made me rethink my shopping practices, like my rather strict avoidance of high street stores.

Next book I'm reading would be One of our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde. I love Fforde's works and this is really just to tide me over until the next Shades of Grey book is published which the wait for is killing me.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:33 pm
by Syeknom
The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow - Jerome K. Jerome (1886)

A humorous collection of essays celebrating the joys of being idle, wasting time and generally being lazy.

Let us come out and have a smoke. That wastes time just as well and does not look so bad. Tobacco has been a blessing to us idlers. What the civil-service clerk before Sir Walter's time found to occupy their minds with it is hard to imagine. I attribute the quarrelsome nature of the Middle Ages young men entirely to the want of the soothing weed. They had no work to do and could not smoke, and the consequence was they were forever fighting and rowing. If, by any extraordinary chance, there was no war going, then they got up a deadly family feud with the next-door neighbor, and if, in spite of this, they still had a few spare moments on their hands, they occupied them with discussions as to whose sweetheart was the best looking, the arguments employed on both sides being battle-axes, clubs, etc. Questions of taste were soon decided in those days. When a twelfth-century youth fell in love he did not take three paces backward, gaze into her eyes, and tell her she was too beautiful to live. He said he would step outside and see about it. And if, when he got out, he met a man and broke his head—the other man's head, I mean—then that proved that his—the first fellow's—girl was a pretty girl. But if the other fellow broke his head—not his own, you know, but the other fellow's—the other fellow to the second fellow, that is, because of course the other fellow would only be the other fellow to him, not the first fellow who—well, if he broke his head, then his girl—not the other fellow's, but the fellow who was the—Look here, if A broke B's head, then A's girl was a pretty girl; but if B broke A's head, then A's girl wasn't a pretty girl, but B's girl was. That was their method of conducting art criticism.

Nowadays we light a pipe and let the girls fight it out among themselves.

They do it very well. They are getting to do all our work. They are doctors, and barristers, and artists. They manage theaters, and promote swindles, and edit newspapers. I am looking forward to the time when we men shall have nothing to do but lie in bed till twelve, read two novels a day, have nice little five-o'clock teas all to ourselves, and tax our brains with nothing more trying than discussions upon the latest patterns in trousers and arguments as to what Mr. Jones' coat was made of and whether it fitted him. It is a glorious prospect—for idle fellows.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:16 am
by Mippipopolous
I'm reading Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries now. Shaping up to be an interesting book, certainly an ambitious one! So far the much-talked about astrological organization hasn't been terribly noticeable, maybe I'm just being a lazy reader though, at any rate I'm interested to see where that goes. Enjoying the mystery elements a lot so far. All very early still. Hopefully I'll have time to make a dent in this thing with the new semester starting up!

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:11 am
by pips
Books I've read since the last time I posted: One of our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde and Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut

The Fforde book is the latest one in a series and of course it's the first one I pick up. I plowed through it though with a little difficulty and to help me understand it a little better I just bought the first book in the series, The Eyre Affair and now I'm reading it.

Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of short stories by Kurt Vonnegut. Like schia I tend to buy books based on the cover design and I was attracted to the retrofuturistic look of the cover. Also it was only a little over a dollar at the secondhand bookstore.

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Prior to this book the only work of Vonnegut I've read is 'Harrison Bergeron' which is also included in the book. I like his easygoing writing style and I didnt know he wrote a lot of sic-fi influenced stuff... I'll def check out more of his work.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:54 pm
by seth83292
I decided to give murakami another shot after not really being into 1q84, and am starting Kafka on the shore.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:21 pm
by charybdis
NOOOOO STOP. KAFKA AND 1Q84 ARE MY LEAST FAVORITE NOVELS BY HIM.

A WILD SHEEP CHASE, AFTER DARK, SO MUCH BETTER

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:33 pm
by brusque
I say seth sould read Kafka, I really enjoyed it.
Recently, I began reading Grapes of Wrath...and it's going slow. So I bought Sylvia Plath's collection of poetry to read when I'm getting bored of the dust bowl.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:56 pm
by charybdis
Ionno, I liked the falling fish and it's a fun book to talk about. But I thought the metaphorical sister fucking was a bit.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:23 pm
by gnarph
Reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep for the third time. Actually taking my time and enjoying the scenery, rather than just rushing through for the sake of the story (as I generally do with all books). Different experience this way

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:30 pm
by charybdis
I feel like the majority of goodreads reviewers are crazy.

Currently reading "I Want to Show You More" by Jamie Quatro. The cover is incredibly awful, but the stories are rather interesting—if really heavily about adultery and God. There was a really lovely review in the New Yorker that made me pick it up.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:56 pm
by hig
about to finish a collection of vonnegut essays entitled "a man without a country." a really interesting collection of works that touch upon some offbeat topics, but he essentially has a surly attitude towards almost anything he writes about. this does indeed make for an entertaining read. i've always enjoyed vonnegut, and "a man without a country" maintains that.

also recently read frankenstein and tale of two cities for ap flaxy. a couple of great classics that i would highly recommend. i particularly enjoyed frankenstein both for the riveting story and writing style.

on another note, i'm currently studying lawrence ferlinghetti in ap flaxy and analyzing some of his poetry from "a coney island of the mind." who are everybody's favorite poets/favorite styles of poetry? i used to not be a fan of poetry but have really grown to like it as of late.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:07 pm
by prawnzee
uh yeah so after Grapes of Wrath I read Of Mice and Men, which I really enjoyed. at some point I read Nocturnes from Kazuo Ishiguro, it's a collection of short stories and most of them kind of ended abruptly, but I like his writing style a lot so it was good. though some of the stories were left hanging pretty badly, there was always some sense of closure because he succesfully had conveyed an idea at the end. if that makes sense.

also read John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River, which was very enjoyable at times, and very tedious at others. had all the John Irving tropes you could expect and had one of the best characters he has ever created, but as a whole it wasn't amongst the strongest of his works.

never read a Murakami novel before so I picked up Kafka on the Shore, because it was available at the local library. seems really interesting so far, but I'm trying to save it because I actually need to get stuff done (one can dream)

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:21 pm
by prawnzee
Kafka on the Shore is creepin' up on my favorite books of all time list. it was really good!

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:03 pm
by djongus
parastexis wrote:Just read The Crying of Lot 49 yesterday. For Pynchon fans, should I just jump into Gravity's Rainbow?


i don't know man. gravity's rainbow is dense as fuck. my top two pynchon are probably vineland and inherent vice tbh. v's ok too.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:30 pm
by sparkyoriental
I've been trying to read Anna Karenina for about three years now, and it's only been this week that I've managed to make any headway. I'm about halfway through, on page 400. It's the first Tolstoy I've ever read and really the first book by a Russian author I've ever read. Amazing characterization, and I like how political Tolstoy is. It's also surprisingly funny. I think I'm going to try and read the Gulag Archipelago next.

I also finished reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton which I never read as a kid. It was a fast read and I enjoyed it.

I've been reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem for a while now. I've never read any Joan Didion before, and I'm not really liking what I've read so far. She's very judgemental, sarcastic, and somewhat mean. Her essay on John Wayne was fantastic, though.

Has anyone read Donna Tartt's new novel, The Goldfinch? I bought the Kindle version but I haven't gotten around to starting it. Probably because The Secret History made such an impact on me as a high school student that I don't want to ruin the magic I associate with her.

Levin is also perhaps my favorite literary character ever. I've been fantasizing about adopting a cat and naming him Levin and then a dog called Kitty.

Re: What are you reading today/book club

PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:50 am
by can-
gulag archipelago is a really amazing read. let me know if you get to it

Anna Karenina (and war and peace) are pretty daunting. I would tell someone new to Tolstoy to start w family happiness