What Are You Currently Reading?
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19-05-2017, 12:01 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 08:42 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(19-05-2017 08:10 AM)Gert Heide Wrote:  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.

When I look for books to buy I dismiss ones with more than one or two 10/10 notes on suspicion that reviews were written by fanboys. It's a good move as when I bought such books to test my theory they were shit unworhy of being burned.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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19-05-2017, 12:27 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
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"The machine of consumerism is designed to encourage us all to believe that our preferences are significant and self-revealing; that a taste for Coke over Pepsi, or for KFC over McDonald’s, means something about us; that our tastes comprise, in sum, a kind of aggregate expression of our unique selfhood."

"Intellectual insecurity is, alas, a pervasive problem in the literary world. You can find it among fans of easy-to-read commercial fiction who insist (on very little evidence) that the higher-brow stuff is uniformly fraudulent and dull, and you can find it among those mandarin bibliophiles who dismiss whole genres (on equally thin evidence) out of hand. One of the favorite gambits of people secretly uncertain about their own taste is identifying some popular book of incontestably lower quality than their own favorites and then running all over the Internet posting extravagant takedowns of it and taunting its fans. Yeah, I’m not crazy about “Fifty Shades of Grey,” either, but I’m not going to invest that much energy in proclaiming this sentiment to the world. To do so suggests you’re less interested in championing good writing than you are in grabbing any chance to feel superior to somebody else."

A teacher, a parent, a romantic partner, a friend, a roommate, even a co-worker has made them feel ashamed over a book or genre of books they enjoy or admire. They were told to put away the comics or teased for de-stressing with a romance novel on coffee break. Or, conversely, they might dream of being included in some tony, brainy (and possibly entirely imaginary) community of letters while at the same time worrying that they won’t make the grade. There are those whose fantasies of leading a “literary” life largely involve having their own superior discrimination and erudition admired by other superior minds. The result of all this baggage is a preposterous, resentful pecking order in which readers get way too much pleasure out of pissing on other readers’ preferences and/or jumping, on the slightest pretext, to the conclusion that their own are being ridiculed."

"It’s usually those with the least faith in their own opinions who become the most outraged when the consensus does not agree with them. [...] All the same, even if we’re not to blame for our insecurities, we are responsible for recognizing them for what they are. And for growing up and getting over it."

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"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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19-05-2017, 12:39 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 12:27 PM)Vera Wrote:  "The machine of consumerism is designed to encourage us all to believe that our preferences are significant and self-revealing; that a taste for Coke over Pepsi, or for KFC over McDonald’s, means something about us; that our tastes comprise, in sum, a kind of aggregate expression of our unique selfhood."

I certainly do agree that taking one's own tastes as objective is the definition of snobbery. However, there are real standards of quality within various literary forms which determine whether books are considered well executed or otherwise within those parameters. Being able to discriminate such standards is indeed a personal accomplishment, you just need to avoid applying the standards from one genre to another. So for instance, by the standards of magic realism, 100 Years of Solitude is a great work. It's just that magic realism isn't to everyone's tastes.
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19-05-2017, 12:54 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
I honestly can find neither the desire nor the strength to get all bent out of indignant shape because someone dislikes something I like or to gallop to its rescue.

Do I think Tchaikovsky an idiot for calling Handel's music fourth-rate? You bet your derriere I do. Do I feel the need to start ranting and accusing people of being stupid or pretentious? Yeah, life's too short for this and I am too sure of my OPINIONS and subjective tastes to waste even a second of my precious, limited time.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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19-05-2017, 12:56 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 12:54 PM)Vera Wrote:  Do I think Tchaikovsky an idiot for calling Handel's music fourth-rate? You bet your derriere I do.

I sometimes think that being unrealistically opinionated is one quality many artists must possess to produce great works -- like an obsession or something similar.
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19-05-2017, 01:07 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 12:54 PM)Vera Wrote:  I honestly can find neither the desire nor the strength to get all bent out of indignant shape because someone dislikes something I like or to gallop to its rescue.

Do I think Tchaikovsky an idiot for calling Handel's music fourth-rate? You bet your derriere I do. Do I feel the need to start ranting and accusing people of being stupid or pretentious? Yeah, life's too short for this and I am too sure of my OPINIONS and subjective tastes to waste even a second of my precious, limited time.

Don't have any trouble taking the time to scold others, though, do you? Lecture_preist
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The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. (G.B.Shaw)
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19-05-2017, 01:11 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 12:56 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  I sometimes think that being unrealistically opinionated is one quality many artists must possess to produce great works -- like an obsession or something similar.

Yabut Tchaikovsky is nowhere near great enough for a stupidity of such magnitude Angel







I don't know, being the world's naivest cynic™ I am still stunned when I see examples of truly intelligent and talented people being petty and mean Undecided

But this reminds me of Orwell's Benefit of the Clergy essay (my admiration for Orwell might've taken a blow after I found out he was homophobic (I'd be really happy to be proven wrong, so if anyone can - you're most welcome), but I do agree with him on a lot of things)

All in all, I don't think that in order to be a great artist (or scientist, or anything, really) you must be an arrogant jerk. I have too high an opinion of people, artists and scientists to believe it Blush

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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19-05-2017, 02:18 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 12:54 PM)Vera Wrote:  I honestly can find neither the desire nor the strength to get all bent out of indignant shape because someone dislikes something I like or to gallop to its rescue.

Do I think Tchaikovsky an idiot for calling Handel's music fourth-rate? You bet your derriere I do. Do I feel the need to start ranting and accusing people of being stupid or pretentious? Yeah, life's too short for this and I am too sure of my OPINIONS and subjective tastes to waste even a second of my precious, limited time.

For what it's worth, I prefer Tchaikovsky (especially his ballets) to Handel -- but there's certainly nothing wrong with Handel, and I'm biased -- I like romantic music in general better than baroque. Just different tastes. My own favorite composers are Chopin and Mahler, both shameless romantics. But that Bach guy is pretty good, too.

Tongue

This thread has certainly taken a weird direction. Token "What Are You Currently Reading?" content: Ilya Smirin, King's Indian Warfare (a collection of annotated chess games). How's that for nerdiness?
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19-05-2017, 02:25 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
Yeah, and I kinda... detest Romantic music (and not sure Mahler even *counts* as music). Où sont les bonnes musiques d'antan? Tongue

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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19-05-2017, 02:47 PM
RE: What Are You Currently Reading?
(19-05-2017 02:25 PM)Vera Wrote:  ...and not sure Mahler even *counts* as music... Tongue

Them's fightin' words -- but I'm a romantic milquetoast, so I'll let it go.

Laugh out load

As for composers insulting each other, I think my favorite is Beethoven, who after hearing someone else's opera (of the same basic story that later became Beethoven's Fidelio), wrote to the composer: "I liked your opera. I think I will set it to music."
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