What's everybody reading?

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Okri
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Postby Okri » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:04 pm

Read the latest from Loorie Moore and Margaret Atwood. Both are pretty remarkable, with the note that Moore's book didn't quite reach my stratospheric expectations.

Current only Pamuk's latest.

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Postby kaytodd » Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:17 pm

I am about a quarter through Rick Perlstein's lengthy tome about 1960's politics, Nixonland. Franz Ferdinand recommended it a while back and I am also enjoying it. One thing has stood out about this story, and I am sure everyone who started reading this book in 2009 has noticed it as well. The way the right in this country responded to LBJ's landslide victory for the Presidency and his party's success in Congressional elections is very similar to what is going on in the U.S. right now. Appeals to the worst instincts of working and middle class whites, blatant lies about the content of much needed federal legislation and the motives of those behind them (in the mid-1960's it was the Civil Rights Acts and Medicare), the spreading and acceptance of rumors that were absurd on their face, etc.

The examples I have run across are many, but there was one I thought was particularly timely. In 1966, a Democratic congressman from Iowa, John Schmidhauser, was at a town hall meeting prepared to discuss a wide veriety of issues, including the riots that had been convulsing U.S. cities the last two years. The congressman was completely flummoxed when the meeting turned into a shouting match. At the very beginning of the meeting, people shouted that they heard Martin Luther King was organizing a large group of blacks in Chicago. They were going to ride down to Iowa on motorcycles, rape white women, kill white men and burn down every town they come to. Of course, Schmidhauser said he had heard no such thing and that it was an absurdity anyway. That was the end of any productive discussion at that town hall meeting.

The more things change...
The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Postby dreaMaker » Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:33 pm

Last week i finished two great books..

Man and Boy (Tony Parsons)

and

The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

i LOVED them!

i am reading ''Father Goriot'' (Balzac) at the moment..

Okri
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Postby Okri » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:19 pm

Recently finished....

Nobody Movie, by Denis Johnson
Quick read. It ries to ape old style pulp and mostly succeeds. Johnson's prose alternates between the lacerating and the oblique. Needs more punch in the end and comes off as minor Elmore Leonard.

The Selected Works of TS Spivet by Reif Larson
Fantastic work with a bad ending. Every brilliant work of "children's literature" I read will simply be a sledgehammer against the Harry Potter phenomena. Artful, fascinating, discursive. The ending doesn't quite have the punch the book needs (Larson includes one element nearing the end that doesn't work and throws the whole thing askew) so it won't rank with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time or The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but a worthwhile read nonetheless.




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Postby Franz Ferdinand » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:57 pm

Good call on the Mandanipour, Okri. The cover caught my eye a few weeks back, and I'm in the middle of it now. A terrific read.

The Man Booker announced its longlist for the year and it seems to be a good list. They seemed to go for a mix of new talent and established greybeards. Four of the books are currently available here in Canada and I've read three of them (the underwhelming, perhaps not entirely deserving Toibin and Waters). Based on the Lessing Nobel, I would cynically pick William Trevor to win, simply because he is 81 and is already a five-time shortlisted writer, but we shall see.

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Postby Okri » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:51 pm

Read Brooklyn a while ago. Was very disappointed with it (and moreso because I had to pay overdue fines)

I much prefer The Little Stranger to Night Watch. I liked how she married the idea of Victorian Gothic to this very trenchant class study.

I only read a few pages of Man Gone Down when it came out a few years ago. I've been meaning to return to it.... eventually.

My favourite books so far from 2009 are Brothers by Yu Hua (winner of the Man Asian Literary Award) and Censoring an Iranian Love Story by Shahriar Mandanipour.

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Postby Franz Ferdinand » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:12 am

He won't show up on the site with the other recently deceased, but I wanted to offer condolences for the loss of Frank McCourt, the author of "Angela's Ashes". He passed away at 78.

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Postby Franz Ferdinand » Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:57 pm

Funny you should mention it, I am actually in the middle of it. I took it on a flight with me and I devoured 300 pages of it, it is good but it's missing something "The Night Watch" had. Maybe I'll know when I finish it, but it is a good read. Also in the middle of Iain Pears' "Stone's Fall", I definitely want to get around to "An Instance of the Fingerpost", it is waiting on my shelf.

Recently for Booker potentials, I've also read Colm Toibin's "Brooklyn" earlier (hard to follow "The Master" for sure), Samantha Harvey's "The Wilderness", "Samantha Hunt's "The Invention of Everything Else", Patrick McCabe's "The Holy City", and Kamila Shamsie's "Burnt Shadows".

Have you read Michael Thomas's "Man Gone Down", the winner of the IMPAC Dublin Award? It is a fantastic read, not sure if it is empty rhetorical posturing or a work of immense lyrical genius, but it's one of the most powerful and gripping books I've read recently.

Okri
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Postby Okri » Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:16 pm

I'll wager on The Little Stranger making the shortlist. It's very good.

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Postby Franz Ferdinand » Sun Jul 12, 2009 3:47 pm

Still slogging through Infinite Jest, possibly slightly behind the 75-pages-per-week pace, still going from the laugh out loud funny to the befuddled "huh?" throughout.

Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is finished. Wow. It's about all I can offer to add on this novel right now, it is a complex and fascinating read.

Booker season is almost upon us and I am looking forward to the slate this year, I hope it is better than last's!

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Postby Franz Ferdinand » Wed Jun 24, 2009 9:25 pm

I've read every single other Murakami, I guess I was letting my anticipation for Wind-Up Bird simmer for a while to get more out of it. It is just great so far. I also can't wait for his new novel to be translated and released here, it sounds fantastic.

Infinite Jest is about what I expected. I will just try to plow through it the first time, let myself get immersed without worrying about understanding it too much of it. So far I've found that a lot of the 200+ footnotes might be about pills, although the filmography of James O. Incandenza is just hilarious. There is a lot of comedy that I can appreciate, and his flights of rhetorical fancy aren't too out there. I am looking forward to being enriched by having read it ???

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Postby FilmFan720 » Wed Jun 24, 2009 5:06 pm

flipp525 wrote:
Franz Ferdinand wrote:I am also in the middle of "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle"; you can imagine the intellectual pounding my brain is getting right now!

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is one of the best books I've ever read. It's almost life-changing.

I just started it...it is great so far




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"Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."
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Damien
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Postby Damien » Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:47 am

The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher. Some of the most beautiful, most evocative prose ever written.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby cam » Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:09 am

I have been doing a lot of reading--some political commentary, so biographies--but mainly during all this I am reading detective novels: Henning Mankells' Kurt Wallander; Peter Robinson's Alan Banks; Robert Crais' Elvis Cole. I have read a number of each author and character.
For summer reading, every character above is memorable. There is nothing more enjoyable than an afternoon nap preceded by a hunk of one of these.

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flipp525
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Postby flipp525 » Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:40 pm

Franz Ferdinand wrote:I am also in the middle of "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle"; you can imagine the intellectual pounding my brain is getting right now!

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is one of the best books I've ever read. It's almost life-changing.

How is Infinite Jest? I own it, too, just never got around to reading it.
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