What Are You Currently Reading?
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19-05-2017, 12:33 AM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(18-05-2017 05:24 PM)Vivian Darkbloom Wrote:  
(18-05-2017 11:44 AM)Gert Heide Wrote:  You too? I read, and enjoyed one of GGM's books as a kid in high school. Later - much later - I picked up One Hundred Years... at a garage sale, expecting to enjoy this just as much. Oooops. If I ever fall into a coma for a very long time, it will be a repeat of the experience, only not nearly as agonising. Pretentious and and utterly without point or meaning. What is it with fans of Magical Realism? You can find more entertaining and more imaginative writing in the token short story in some high school yearbook.

Wow! Speaking of pretention, did you read your own post?
I found One Hundred Years of Solitude to be wonderfully imaginative. It's pure storytelling. Those who feel the need to find meaning in fiction confound me. I find that writers who set out to deliver "a point" often produce the worst kind of writing. So I'm wondering if you could provide some examples of good books "with meaning", that I can better understand what you mean.

Pretentious? Anyone who uses 'Vivian Darkbloom' [the letters of Nabokov's name re-arranged by himself for comic effect] would surely be a world expert on pretentiousness.
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19-05-2017, 12:56 AM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
How about a thread in which people name books or writers they'll never revisit? I've been reading reviews on Amazon of a very famous fantasy fiction work that, while it has far fewer fans than Tolkien's books, has acquired a small cult following that regards it as something as epic as the Odyssey and the Iliad only more important. But as one of the 15% of the reviewers who hated this book said, cult followers are bound to accentuate the positive and ignore the negatives. By negatives, I mean rambling descriptions of furniture and characters' clothing and facial tics, insanely stupid plots, characters who've been given amazingly witty names but the same personality as a dozen other characters. On top of this literary equivalent of Boiled Water Soup are contrived overlays of the author's philosophical, religious and political points of view. [This has either to be done with great craft and subtlety or, preferably, placed in a non-fiction essay.] The search for yet more great novelists in the 20th and 21st century capable of matching the great writers in previous generations may be the cause of this. People who imagine themselves to be the next Dostoevsky or Joyce need talent. Many just seem to have an inflated ego, and fans who can't tell the difference.
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19-05-2017, 07:51 AM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 12:56 AM)Gert Heide Wrote:  How about a thread in which people name books or writers they'll never revisit? I've been reading reviews on Amazon of a very famous fantasy fiction work that, while it has far fewer fans than Tolkien's books, has acquired a small cult following that regards it as something as epic as the Odyssey and the Iliad only more important. But as one of the 15% of the reviewers who hated this book said, cult followers are bound to accentuate the positive and ignore the negatives. By negatives, I mean rambling descriptions of furniture and characters' clothing and facial tics, insanely stupid plots, characters who've been given amazingly witty names but the same personality as a dozen other characters. On top of this literary equivalent of Boiled Water Soup are contrived overlays of the author's philosophical, religious and political points of view. [This has either to be done with great craft and subtlety or, preferably, placed in a non-fiction essay.] The search for yet more great novelists in the 20th and 21st century capable of matching the great writers in previous generations may be the cause of this. People who imagine themselves to be the next Dostoevsky or Joyce need talent. Many just seem to have an inflated ego, and fans who can't tell the difference.

Oh, come on -- if you're going to slam something, at least have the courage to tell us what it is!

When I was a child and first learning to read, I loved the Hardy Boys, and later on, the Tarzan books of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I can't see myself revisiting either of those, but I give the benefit of the doubt to any serious literature. If I don't like something (or someone), I may try it again a few years later in case I missed something (or in case I just needed to be a little older to appreciate it). I really can't think of anything (short of juvenile fiction like the Hardy Boys) that I would absolutely not revisit.

As for 100 Years of Solitude, I've owned a copy for years but never got around to reading it, and I must say that I've heard nothing but good things about it until now. Now I feel that I must give it a try.

Big Grin
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19-05-2017, 07:55 AM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 12:33 AM)Gert Heide Wrote:  Pretentious? Anyone who uses 'Vivian Darkbloom' [the letters of Nabokov's name re-arranged by himself for comic effect] would surely be a world expert on pretentiousness.

Different people have different tastes.
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19-05-2017, 08:10 AM (This post was last modified: 19-05-2017 08:14 AM by Gert Heide.)
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 07:51 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(19-05-2017 12:56 AM)Gert Heide Wrote:  How about a thread in which people name books or writers they'll never revisit? I've been reading reviews on Amazon of a very famous fantasy fiction work that, while it has far fewer fans than Tolkien's books, has acquired a small cult following that regards it as something as epic as the Odyssey and the Iliad only more important. But as one of the 15% of the reviewers who hated this book said, cult followers are bound to accentuate the positive and ignore the negatives. By negatives, I mean rambling descriptions of furniture and characters' clothing and facial tics, insanely stupid plots, characters who've been given amazingly witty names but the same personality as a dozen other characters. On top of this literary equivalent of Boiled Water Soup are contrived overlays of the author's philosophical, religious and political points of view. [This has either to be done with great craft and subtlety or, preferably, placed in a non-fiction essay.] The search for yet more great novelists in the 20th and 21st century capable of matching the great writers in previous generations may be the cause of this. People who imagine themselves to be the next Dostoevsky or Joyce need talent. Many just seem to have an inflated ego, and fans who can't tell the difference.

Oh, come on -- if you're going to slam something, at least have the courage to tell us what it is!

When I was a child and first learning to read, I loved the Hardy Boys, and later on, the Tarzan books of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I can't see myself revisiting either of those, but I give the benefit of the doubt to any serious literature. If I don't like something (or someone), I may try it again a few years later in case I missed something (or in case I just needed to be a little older to appreciate it). I really can't think of anything (short of juvenile fiction like the Hardy Boys) that I would absolutely not revisit.

As for 100 Years of Solitude, I've owned a copy for years but never got around to reading it, and I must say that I've heard nothing but good things about it until now. Now I feel that I must give it a try.

Big Grin

Good luck with 100 Years.

I read loads of Hardy Boy books and the one teacher who read aloud to us every afternoon usually picked one from the series to entertain us. I've never read a Tarzan book. I imagine they're just as good.

The book I avoided mentioning was Gormenghast. Speaking ill of it can provoke fans into paroxysms of indignation, possibly because the author suffered from a tragic illness which worsened sharply as he laboured on Volume Three. Volume The First [i.e. Titus Groan] failed to provide [me] with any reason to continue after Page Fifty, yet, idiotically, I ploughed on till the end like some moron trudging through a swamp rather than turning back. If you're a fan, apologies. De gustibus non est disputandum. I find there's inevitably something irritating, however old I get, about hearing something I like disparaged. It might prove to be the same for any fans of Mervyn Peake presently reading this and deciding I have to be an uncultured retard. Yup. That's me all over. If I don't like what someone else thinks is sublime, they're welcome to hate me. Kids think this way. Adults probably do too.
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19-05-2017, 08:42 AM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 08:10 AM)Gert Heide Wrote:  
(19-05-2017 07:51 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Oh, come on -- if you're going to slam something, at least have the courage to tell us what it is!

When I was a child and first learning to read, I loved the Hardy Boys, and later on, the Tarzan books of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I can't see myself revisiting either of those, but I give the benefit of the doubt to any serious literature. If I don't like something (or someone), I may try it again a few years later in case I missed something (or in case I just needed to be a little older to appreciate it). I really can't think of anything (short of juvenile fiction like the Hardy Boys) that I would absolutely not revisit.

As for 100 Years of Solitude, I've owned a copy for years but never got around to reading it, and I must say that I've heard nothing but good things about it until now. Now I feel that I must give it a try.

Big Grin

Good luck with 100 Years.

I read loads of Hardy Boy books and the one teacher who read aloud to us every afternoon usually picked one from the series to entertain us. I've never read a Tarzan book. I imagine they're just as good.

The book I avoided mentioning was Gormenghast. Speaking ill of it can provoke fans into paroxysms of indignation, possibly because the author suffered from a tragic illness which worsened sharply as he laboured on Volume Three. Volume The First [i.e. Titus Groan] failed to provide [me] with any reason to continue after Page Fifty, yet, idiotically, I ploughed on till the end like some moron trudging through a swamp rather than turning back. If you're a fan, apologies. De gustibus non est disputandum. I find there's inevitably something irritating, however old I get, about hearing something I like disparaged. It might prove to be the same for any fans of Mervyn Peake presently reading this and deciding I have to be an uncultured retard. Yup. That's me all over. If I don't like what someone else thinks is sublime, they're welcome to hate me. Kids think this way. Adults probably do too.

I'm not familiar with Gormenghast -- in fact, I've never heard of it. But even if I were a big fan, I wouldn't be offended. Different strokes for different folks. I would be more suspicious of something that everyone liked than something that not everyone liked. Great books are not to everyone's taste, and that's OK.
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19-05-2017, 08:46 AM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
Weird New England by Joseph A. Citro
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19-05-2017, 10:04 AM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 08:10 AM)Gert Heide Wrote:  The book I avoided mentioning was Gormenghast. Speaking ill of it can provoke fans into paroxysms of indignation, possibly because the author suffered from a tragic illness which worsened sharply as he laboured on Volume Three. Volume The First [i.e. Titus Groan] failed to provide [me] with any reason to continue after Page Fifty, yet, idiotically, I ploughed on till the end like some moron trudging through a swamp rather than turning back. If you're a fan, apologies. De gustibus non est disputandum. I find there's inevitably something irritating, however old I get, about hearing something I like disparaged. It might prove to be the same for any fans of Mervyn Peake presently reading this and deciding I have to be an uncultured retard. Yup. That's me all over. If I don't like what someone else thinks is sublime, they're welcome to hate me. Kids think this way. Adults probably do too.

I read the Gormenghast trilogy when I was a teenager on the recommendation of a close friend, who loved it. I never understood what he saw in it, but I guess I didn't catch on to its bizarre appeal. He also recommended lots of other books which became my favorites, including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the Moomintroll series.
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19-05-2017, 10:06 AM (This post was last modified: 19-05-2017 10:25 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 08:46 AM)Gwaithmir Wrote:  Weird New England by Joseph A. Citro

Okay, so what's weird in New England (besides that "Bread and Puppet Museum" in Glover, Vermont)?

http://breadandpuppet.org/museum
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19-05-2017, 10:56 AM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 12:33 AM)Gert Heide Wrote:  
(18-05-2017 05:24 PM)Vivian Darkbloom Wrote:  Wow! Speaking of pretention, did you read your own post?
I found One Hundred Years of Solitude to be wonderfully imaginative. It's pure storytelling. Those who feel the need to find meaning in fiction confound me. I find that writers who set out to deliver "a point" often produce the worst kind of writing. So I'm wondering if you could provide some examples of good books "with meaning", that I can better understand what you mean.

Pretentious? Anyone who uses 'Vivian Darkbloom' [the letters of Nabokov's name re-arranged by himself for comic effect] would surely be a world expert on pretentiousness.

So what's your excuse?

If you're going to be pretentious you can at least have good taste.

Care to address the second part of my post or give examples of great writers you consider unpretentious?

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. (G.B.Shaw)
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