What are you reading today/book club

Off topic

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby RycePooding » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:00 pm

Recently (and I'd love to discuss any of these with anyone):

-Blindness by Jose Saramago
-The Road by Cormac McCarthy
-World War Z by Max Brooks
  • 2

User avatar
RycePooding
 
Posts: 846
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:56 pm
Reputation: 2839

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby UnwashedMolasses » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:13 pm

Let's chat about The Road. I've heard endless amounts about this book; it was required reading in my high school. All kinds of suburban kids fawned over it for introducing them to nihilism. For many it was their first introduction to a creative work who's intent was not to inspire joy or love but despair. Did those of you who've read it like it for the same reasons? Personally I wasn't a fan at all - nihilism has always bored me when it's focused on negatives rather than positives, and the "all is lost, hope is dead" thing did nothing for me. If anything, it came off as very homogenous.

McCarthy's writing style is of course wonderful, and I've got no issues with that.

Also World War Z: I definitely loved the narrative structure, especially because with many zombie works the entire impetus of the work is "do they make it". By structuring it as interviews set post-apocalypse and post-recovery, the survival plot point is negated and the characters and smaller stories can have a larger impact.

The movie was enjoyable in a basic way but only overlapped with the book by about 5%.

Are there any other works in the zombie genre that are actually well-crafted and not just cashing in on the cultural phenomenon?
  • 0

User avatar
UnwashedMolasses
 
Posts: 540
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:42 pm
Reputation: 2167

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby RycePooding » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:35 pm

Pretty much the only thing that I enjoyed about the road, like you, was McCarthy's words themselves. Sparse, tender, interesting. As I writer, I'm glad I read it.

As a reader, meh.

The story was predictable and kind of boring honestly, and like you say nihilism is boring. It felt like it was hopeless for the sake of being hopeless. The relationship between the boy and his father didn't move much and in the end I didn't feel much. My mom told me I was going to hate it, and she was right.

WWZ:

I started this and thought that Brooks' voices were all WAY too similar. The narrators voice and word choices crept into all the characters, and it really bothered me so I put the book down.

A friend of mine told me to listen to the audiobook, though, and I had a 10 hour drive so I did. It was a joy. All the characters were voiced by different people (including Alan Alda!!) and it helped me through the issues I had with it. Most well thought-out zombie book I've ever read, this guy really took his time and explained everything. Candy novel, no doubt, but fun.

fucking hated the movie, but watched it last week in a vicodine-haze post wisdom tooth extraction so that might be swaying me...
  • 2

User avatar
RycePooding
 
Posts: 846
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:56 pm
Reputation: 2839

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby UnwashedMolasses » Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:58 pm

If you watch the movie looking to see the book acted out you're gonna have a bad time.

I'll have to check out the audiobook, as that sounds really interesting. Speaking of, are there any other audiobooks that come off better than the novels? I've never really done the audiobook thing before.
  • 2

User avatar
UnwashedMolasses
 
Posts: 540
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:42 pm
Reputation: 2167

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby JewTurk » Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:39 am

Vonnegut fans? Cat's Cradle defo one of my favorite books of his.

(ps it looks like were just continuing on with random book discussions, I was thinking we do actual book club but whatever draws more interest works)
  • 1

User avatar
JewTurk
 
Posts: 576
Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 3:20 am
Reputation: 1817

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bird.in.flight » Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:26 am

Apologies for the poor image, I only have the .pdf of this. Very interesting look at custom snuff fetish films in particular

Image
  • 3

User avatar
bird.in.flight
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:21 am
Location: Sydney
Reputation: 883

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby bird.in.flight » Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:27 am

Also, found this, read through some of the commentary and it's very enjoyable so far
Image
  • 1

User avatar
bird.in.flight
 
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:21 am
Location: Sydney
Reputation: 883

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby spahdfgo » Mon Dec 29, 2014 12:52 pm

Got myself the Chloé : Attitudes book issued for the 60 years of the brand.

Really interesting history, full of archives images. There's also something about a beautiful book.

Image
  • 0

User avatar
spahdfgo
 
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:06 pm
Reputation: 277

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby beeftips » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:26 pm

I'm a little late, but here is my understanding of The Road: While on the surface it is surely a story of despair and darkness, I like to look at it through the lens of McCarthy's personal life as he wrote it. From what I've read he and his son who is very young in regards to McCarthy's age went on a camping trip at a national park and during that time McCarthy was inspired to write The Road which is essentially a story about an older father trying to prepare his son for the world before he dies. In the book the father talks about how the world in which he lived (pre-apocalypse) is not even a memory in the boy's mind and this is reflected in McCarthy's own life. He is much older than his son so how does one prepare someone for a world in which they are vaguely familiar with themselves? Just as the boy in The Road was born into a new world, McCarthy's son is growing up in a society that must feel pretty alien to McCarthy and so this book is essentially a love letter to his son, trying to explain the disconnect that the father feels towards his son, but also the attempt that he is making to prepare his son for a world without him, and a world that he has trouble understanding.

This was mostly taken off the top of my head and I'm trying to remember some sources. I think in McCarthy's interview with Oprah he discusses his flintstone for the book so I would check that out if you're interested. The whole interview with her is a little uncomfortable so I would suggest reading the other interviews he has done with papers because he comes off as more comfortable and sheds some interesting light on his work and self.

Anyways, I am currently re-reading Blood Meridian which is another McCarthy novel. This is my second time through but I think I will need to read it like 5 or 6 more times to actually take in and appreciate all of the language.
  • 2

User avatar
beeftips
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:27 pm
Reputation: 64

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby vgtbls » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:52 pm

I finished Tobias Wolff's collection "The Night In Question" the other day.

I did enjoy it, but I feel the language in it didn't really thrill me the way other writers do. It's subdued and tame. After I got a few stories in, I stopped reading on the surface and dug in a little more. He makes some really amazing style choices work, jumping narrators to continue a story. I hadn't really run into this before and it illuminates and rounds out a world of people, feelings, and pain. This is a book of humans, about humans, and he's quite good at it.

Selection to read: "Bullet in the Brain". This is the last one of the collection, and I think encapsulates a lot of what he does well. Less-than perfect, even obnoxious characters that are peeled back through interpersonal relationships to find the center of a person.
  • 0

User avatar
vgtbls
 
Posts: 673
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:10 pm
Reputation: 4904

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby oucho » Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:29 pm

UnwashedMolasses wrote:Let's chat about The Road. I've heard endless amounts about this book; it was required reading in my high school. All kinds of suburban kids fawned over it for introducing them to nihilism. For many it was their first introduction to a creative work who's intent was not to inspire joy or love but despair. Did those of you who've read it like it for the same reasons? Personally I wasn't a fan at all - nihilism has always bored me when it's focused on negatives rather than positives, and the "all is lost, hope is dead" thing did nothing for me. If anything, it came off as very homogenous.

McCarthy's writing style is of course wonderful, and I've got no issues with that.

Also World War Z: I definitely loved the narrative structure, especially because with many zombie works the entire impetus of the work is "do they make it". By structuring it as interviews set post-apocalypse and post-recovery, the survival plot point is negated and the characters and smaller stories can have a larger impact.

The movie was enjoyable in a basic way but only overlapped with the book by about 5%.

Are there any other works in the zombie genre that are actually well-crafted and not just cashing in on the cultural phenomenon?

I read it a loongish time ago but I don't remember it being nihilistic, the final paragraph about the fish is not nihilistic and there is loads of stuff about the boy carrying the light, so the overall message wasn't 'all is lost' I don't think. I don't really think it's fair to call it homogenous as it has probably served as flintstone for a lot of the stuff that has since been released.

I am enjoying the bros karamazov a lot, but it's taking me ages
  • 2

Image
oucho
 
Posts: 505
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:34 pm
Reputation: 3691

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby aporea » Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:43 pm

if you read the road and haven't read blood meridian yet, stop everything and get on it. it's 100 times better imo (and i think the road is great), probably in my top 5.

Spoiler:
the road tho... the scene where they find the people farmed to be eaten and the roasted infant GOD DAMN. also the subtle religious themes really blow me away when i got really into it.


starting delillo's underworld soon, hope to finish it before the spring semester starts.
  • 2

User avatar
aporea
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:50 pm
Location: nyc
Reputation: 263

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby soko » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:47 pm

I'm a big McCarthy fan and I really loved the Border Trilogy, The Road, and No Country for Old Men. Blood Meridian finished me off. While the Road has such bleak, sparse writing, Blood Meridian is a fever-dream you have while trying to cross a desert. Its overwhelming and difficult and beautiful, but I just couldn't wade my way through it. I should give it another try.

Spoiler:
The cellar scene in The Road is probably the most horrific thing I've ever read.
  • 2

User avatar
soko
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:16 am
Location: Toronto
Reputation: 434

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby beeftips » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:24 pm

Continuing with the discussion of depressing or dark books: I recently read "Stay" by Jennifer Michael Hecht. It's a history of suicide and how it has been perceived and dealt with by different cultures, societies, and religions. It's a very interesting read that sheds some light on the issue of suicide.

Another book that kind of goes along with that kind of subject is "Columbine" by Dave Cullen. Really good book when it comes to looking into the lives of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and it's truly heartbreaking when the author talks about how the event has affected the parents of both of the kids who perpetrated the shooting.

I could probable go on for a while with other books that also kind of delve into the darker parts of humanity--oddly it's a weirdly interesting topic for me and I'm always fascinated with how these things occur and unfold.
  • 1

User avatar
beeftips
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:27 pm
Reputation: 64

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby JewTurk » Tue Jan 06, 2015 2:35 am

About 3/4ths done with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, not super blown away by the writing style to be honest. It's cool science fiction, definitely ahead of the curve for when it was written but it just doesn't seem all that MIND FUCK CRAZY MIND BLOWING SHIT that people chalked it up to be when recommending it to me.

Am I missing something? Interesting sci fi premise but beyond that I'm not seeing much...
  • 0

User avatar
JewTurk
 
Posts: 576
Joined: Thu May 29, 2014 3:20 am
Reputation: 1817

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby rjbman » Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:03 am

I actually just read it for the first time a week or two ago.

I think a large part of its success comes from the incredibly inventive mind of Philip K. Dick (seriously, electric sheep that people pretend are real for social status?!). There's also a heavy theme running throughout the whole book of "What makes us human?" From Deckard hunting androids down to Isidore being "special" and befriending Pris to supposed bounty hunter Resch, Dick forces the reader to consider it. You also have the running religious aspect of Mercerism, keeping empathy in the world through supposed technology that unites all users in Mercer's struggle. It's so easy to use, even Isidore uses it. Though some might argue that Mercerism is more a question of reality (are they really experiencing this? is it actually Mercer?). A large part of the story revolves around all this ambiguity.

This is semi-unrelated to the book itself, but there is also a surprisingly large amount of content in the book that wasn't present in the movie and vise versa, way more than I was expecting. I think that both the book and the movie are classics in their own right.
  • 1

"Let's be vagabonds." - Yohji Yamamoto
User avatar
rjbman
 
Posts: 1519
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:34 pm
Location: IL
Reputation: 6769

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby Kudegra » Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:57 pm

Reading Infinite Jest
  • 0

User avatar
Kudegra
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:38 pm
Location: IL
Reputation: 14

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby stappard_ » Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:11 pm

come back in 4-7 years time and tell us if you enjoyed it
  • 7

User avatar
stappard_
 
Posts: 633
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:16 am
Reputation: 2963

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby rublev » Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:54 pm

i've just started @GERMINAL 'cos i've neglected it for too long... prolly won't finish it for six months with the rate i'm reading just now

Image

also just started this (very good). i like taking small books with me in a big pocket or in my bag when i go to class to read on the train / at lunch etc.
  • 0

User avatar
rublev
Political Editor
 
Posts: 989
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:57 pm
Reputation: 4232

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby une_impasse » Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:10 pm

I've been into comics (or graphic novels if you please) and have read Civil War, Long Halloween, and Batman Year One in the past three days and wish they would last forever!
  • 2

User avatar
une_impasse
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:38 pm
Reputation: 1048

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby freddy » Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:24 pm

Image

:sweg:
  • 1

User avatar
freddy
 
Posts: 934
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:35 pm
Reputation: 1710

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby kindofyoung » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:59 am

My favorite book (tied with "Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy")
Image

If you like sci-fi and/or detective/mystery, read this

It's awesome

I promise
  • 2

User avatar
kindofyoung
 
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:19 pm
Reputation: 827

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby zayg » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:08 am

Just plowed through Sputnik Sweetheart in two days. I enjoyed reading it as it certainly was different from most Murakami in that I felt that I actually had a more thorough understanding of the themes. Generally I feel as if they are hidden behind a shroud of cultural differences that I have difficulty relating to, but in this case, there seemed to be some pretty obvious themes about loneliness and especially assimilation into a conformist society. Going "into the other side" almost seemed to me as if it was a separation from one's idealistic youth, but as time went on, I realized this only really applied to Sumire. Miu's entering of the other side resulted in her leaving her dreams and passions behind, but it was not as a result of trying to assimilate into society as directly as Sumire did. Finally, the narrator's entering into "the other side" was pretty unclear to me, as was the entire ending. I know with Murakami you should never take things too seriously or literally as they don't all have some deeper meaning, but it is fun to speculate.

While reading up about the story online, I realized someone made a point that the disappearance of female characters was a common theme. I've only read four Murakami novels, but in those four (Kafka, Wind-up Bird, Sputnik, Norwegian Wood), a woman is taken from the protagonist in some way in each of them. Is this common in his other novels? Is this supposed to represent something? I don't know enough to really have an opinion on the matter, but I was speculating that perhaps it represents a gradual removal of traditional gender roles in Japan in which women were (often still are from what I understand) seen as a tool of comfort by men. With women being less pigeonholed into a comforting, almost motherly-yet-subservient role, Japanese men were left to adapt to a society in which gender roles changed dramatically in a short period of time. Perhaps my analysis is wrong, but I feel that the taking of women from the men in these stories represents a Japan in which changing gender roles results in an introspective journey in which the protagonists need to find out how they relate to this changing dynamic and better themselves because of it. Of course, this is extremely simplified as each story is quite different with some very different outcomes. I actually enjoyed seeing some character progression in Sputnik Sweetheart, which seems to be fairly rare in Murakami's protagonists.
  • 3

User avatar
zayg
 
Posts: 550
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:32 pm
Reputation: 2240

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby nem » Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:35 pm

The Trial came in the post today, it's my first Kafka novel so I'm very excited to start reading it.

I also got a pleasant surprised when I opened the post to find out that the copy I ordered has a deckle edge.

Spoiler:
Image
  • 5

User avatar
nem
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:15 pm
Location: Manchester, UK
Reputation: 146

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby vgtbls » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:46 pm

Finished two books recently.

First was Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Murakami. I started off being pretty unengaged. I understand that he isolated Tsukuru to show his depression, but I just wasn't compelled to keep reading without a sense of a light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully it picked up with some character interactions and plot. His prose seems... kind of sterile. There's a lot of simile usage, but for me it resolved on either a really flat level, or me being aware of "okay, this represents societal shifts in Japan." Still pretty strange to have a protagonist who makes so few choices in his own life. I suppose that's the intent, but I think he works against himself by having outside characters say how handsome, polite, and kind he is. It felt like a manifesto a really boring person could clutch to their chest and say "I'm needed in this universe!" A nice shift in the falling acts sees Tsukuru emoting a lot more. On the whole, a pleasant read.

Most recently was The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. This book deserves to be taught alongside Brave New World. It horrified me in the best way a book can. Atwood thrusts us into a speculative future that seems both so far away and just around the corner. Her protagonist is fully three-dimensional, and she helps us see a few millimeters past the two-dimensional masks her characters must put up in her imagined society. She's quite good at choosing when to fill in details of her world that enrich and re-contextualize everything you've read up to that point. This book is Important with a capital I, but that's a bad sign for the times.
  • 1

User avatar
vgtbls
 
Posts: 673
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:10 pm
Reputation: 4904

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby breakadawn » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:24 pm

Image

Reading Assholes, a Theory by Aaron James. Fairly good book, far more theoretical than I expected, reads more like a dissertation than a book. Don't read it if you're expecting to be entertained, like I was. Give it a go if you're interested in the human condition.
  • 1

User avatar
breakadawn
 
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:16 am
Location: Londinium
Reputation: 376

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby 3hunna » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:21 pm

Started reading this recently.
Image
Great stuff so far.
  • 1

User avatar
3hunna
 
Posts: 106
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:42 am
Reputation: 615

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby nothobo » Wed Jan 21, 2015 3:51 pm

Reading "The Devil in the White City"
Non-fiction superposition of the World's Fair in Chicago and serial killer Dr. H. Holmes

Pretty neat read so far, gives a good history into Chicago while maintaining a depiction of the serial killer's evolution alongside the building of the World's Fair.
  • 0

User avatar
nothobo
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 1:28 pm
Reputation: 480

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby odradek » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:38 pm

Really bothered by that book in retrospect. ANo new information or scholarship on holmes that didn't already exist in book form, then all that stuff was clumsily wedged into what was already pretty interesting world's fair stuff. "If Holmes had gone to the world's fair, he may have seen etc etc," as if that kind of crap needs to be there. Pet theory is that publishers were like "nobody wants to read a book about a world's fair, give us a hook!" so he added the serial killer angle. Otherwise, a fine book.
  • 2

Image
User avatar
odradek
 
Posts: 985
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:53 pm
Reputation: 5996

Re: What are you reading today/book club

Postby momjeans » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:12 am

reading the merry wives of windsor for class. i've never been a huge shakespeare fan, and this applies for this book as well, but iunno its not awful.

also started reading neuromancer. ive been meaning to get around to it forever and have been enjoying it so far. tbh i dont entirely get why its so highly acclaimed, but that could just be because im still at the beginning. it definitely is a fun read tho.
  • 0

User avatar
momjeans
 
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:39 pm
Reputation: 225

PreviousNext

Return to Care

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

cron