Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 611950 times)

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Offline Brian

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8540 on: January 16, 2018, 09:12:51 PM »
Thanks, Jessop! Will probably buy, then. :)
I was surprised by what an attentive long-time classical listener Murakami obviously was, and how he was able to highlight and articulate differences in specific sections of various recordings of the same works.
I'm not surprised after 1Q84 began with a whole page of description about Janacek's Sinfonietta!

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8541 on: January 20, 2018, 07:12:06 PM »
Exactly what I was hoping, Poe was one my earliest literary loves . . . and a sane bio has been wanted for a long time, it seems.

(. . . and then, to be sure, I wandered to the University of Virginia, which maintains a kind of Poe shrine adjacent to The Lawn.)

This is excellent, and everything I had hoped for, and more. Thanks again, David.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline milk

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8542 on: January 21, 2018, 01:30:09 AM »
For me, just some light reading:



(That's The Destruction of the European Jews, by Raul Hilberg. Just started volume one. That's what my set looks like, but that's not my photo.)
I think I read this but I don't remember it being so long! 3 volumes?

Online Alberich

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8543 on: January 22, 2018, 09:50:23 AM »
1/3 through "No name" already. Collins did it again, he sucked me in with The Moonstone last winter and now with this. Collins, though 12 years younger than Dickens, learned very early one vital lesson which apart from an exception here or there took Dickens until his very latest novels to learn. Namely, that having characters with depth in them is more interesting than unceasing flow of well-made but in large doses tiresome caricatures. Plus the fact that having too much painted in black and white reduces suspense between the characters. And oh boy, I love it how even though in many cases I anticipate the plot twists Collins prepares, he still manages to pull them off convincingly. I think you could even argue that creating predictable plot twists that work in spite of being predictable, shows even greater skill in plotting than having completely unpredictable ones work.
"Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars."
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Offline bwv 1080

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8544 on: January 22, 2018, 10:13:57 AM »
Kotkin convincingly portrays Stalin as a rational (and ruthless) ideologue rather than some sort of deranged psychopath.  All he did was obstinately apply Leninist ideology, refusing any concessions or compromise.



Now into the Great Terror.  Kotkin refrains from speculating on Stalin's psychology, but does state that it went well beyond  a cold, calculated effort to preemptively eliminate any potential rivals. 

One tidbit- one purge list of 'Trotskyite Fascists' that Stalin had drawn up included Mao Zedong, but for some reason this list was never acted upon.
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Online Alberich

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8545 on: January 26, 2018, 09:25:56 AM »
More British literature - started The Hound of the Baskervilles.
"Whatever causes night in our souls may leave stars."
 - Victor Hugo

Offline milk

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8546 on: January 26, 2018, 06:42:59 PM »

Offline Alek Hidell

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8547 on: January 26, 2018, 08:55:26 PM »
I think I read this but I don't remember it being so long! 3 volumes?

Well, there's an abridged version that's much more readily available (I think it's all you can find on Amazon, for example). Maybe you read that?

Anyway, I found my copy of this unabridged version on AbeBooks.
"When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist." - Hélder Pessoa Câmara

Offline jessop

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8548 on: January 26, 2018, 10:31:30 PM »


I should really read some of her science fiction work. Sad to hear of her recent passing, but she left a good amount of stuff for us all to read!

Offline milk

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8549 on: January 26, 2018, 10:40:55 PM »
I should really read some of her science fiction work. Sad to hear of her recent passing, but she left a good amount of stuff for us all to read!
I can't find anyone quite like her. I do recommend her "Hainish" books. They're not continual or chronological. You can read any one of them (the first novella isn't great but after that they're all interesting and fun too). She really wrote a kind of imaginary sociology and presented problems that shine a mirror on our assumptions about the self and human culture. Le Guin was very economical. She didn't "waste words," unlike most contemporary sci-fi writers. Her language is often beautiful but never extravagantly so. I don't find her peer, really.

Offline jessop

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8550 on: January 26, 2018, 11:07:05 PM »
I can't find anyone quite like her. I do recommend her "Hainish" books. They're not continual or chronological. You can read any one of them (the first novella isn't great but after that they're all interesting and fun too). She really wrote a kind of imaginary sociology and presented problems that shine a mirror on our assumptions about the self and human culture. Le Guin was very economical. She didn't "waste words," unlike most contemporary sci-fi writers. Her language is often beautiful but never extravagantly so. I don't find her peer, really.
Thanks for that overview! I have wanted to read the Hainish cycle for a while but never got around to it. Now, I plan to read them after I finish a couple of books I gotta read first................

Offline ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8551 on: January 27, 2018, 02:47:40 AM »
A selection of the prose by Victoria Ocampo (extracts from her autobiography and sketches about other people):



Ocampo was a member of an extremely wealthy Argentinian family, but had intellectual inclinations that led her to frequent the company of many renowned figures of her time (e.g., Ernest Ansermet and Pierre Drieu La Rochelle). At the behest of José Ortega y Gasset, she founded Sur (one of the most influential literary reviews in the Spanish-speaking world during the middle years of the 20th century).

Perfectly fluent in French (as was the custom among the aristocracy in South America in the early to mid 1900s), she performed the title rôles in Stravinky’s Perséphone—under the composer—and Honegger’s Le Roi David—under Ansermet—in Buenos Aires  (even if she was never a professional actress).

Victoria’s younger sister Silvina Ocampo (also a writer) was married to Adolfo Bioy Casares (and they were all close to Jorge Luis Borges).

So far, the book has covered the childhood and adolescence of a rich girl, in rather undistinguished prose, but it is a good portrait of the Argentinian beau monde of the time. I suppose it’ll get more interesting as her passion for literature and the arts comes into full blossom.





« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 06:57:42 AM by ritter »
Ritter
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« Là, tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,
   Luxe, calme et volupté ».

Offline Ken B

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8552 on: January 29, 2018, 12:34:10 PM »
This.



A somewhat odd book. The name comes from a huge apartment block in which lived many Old Bolsheviks and high officials in Russia in 1931. The book is about them, their fate, their mindset. Parts of it drift off into theory, but mostly it's a convincing portrait of a community of True Believers. He likens bolshevism to other millenerian cults, like early Christianity.
It does assume a basic familiarity with the history. The NEP is not explained for example, not even the acronym, and the details of Stalin's rise are assumed, etc.   Overall an outstanding book so far, a little over half way through.

Recommended for Andrei
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline Ten thumbs

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8553 on: February 01, 2018, 02:33:58 AM »
Off the Skelligs
by Jean Ingelow

Ingelow is not everybody's cup of tea (frequently enters into moral and religious argument), but at least she's original. I'm nearly halfway through and I've no idea what's going to happen yet.

This is actually a very good novel and contains some powerful scenes. Ingelow is not a Romantic, which makes a change and she is definitely not sentimental. Ought not to be forgotten.
A day may be a destiny; for life
Lives in but little—but that little teems
With some one chance, the balance of all time:
A look—a word—and we are wholly changed.

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8554 on: February 03, 2018, 01:19:28 AM »
Finished:



Started:


Offline Draško

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8555 on: February 03, 2018, 03:54:17 AM »


The World of Jeeves

Complete Jeeves & Wooster short stories, thirty-something of them. I've been enjoying them for most of last year. Bit by bit, they never should be read back to back. 

Offline Jo498

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8556 on: February 03, 2018, 04:08:11 AM »
Of the short stories I usually read them in bunches as they were grouped in the older collections. Overall, I think they are usually better than the longer novels. Especially the later novels are not that good anymore although usually Jeeves and Wooster is still better than the late "Blandings" novels. (The earlier Blandings are among the best but I tend to find Galahad insufferable.)

A few days ago I finished a rather interesting SF novel by Lem: Niezwyciężony (The Invincible). Written in 1964 this already has a fully fledged conception of something like "nanobots" and I wonder if Lem was the first one with the idea. Maybe not (wiki says "one of the first" without source/citation) but it is very well explained and developed.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline bwv 1080

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8557 on: February 14, 2018, 07:34:53 AM »
rereading from about 25 years ago, mostly the audiobook, which is well done but you need the book sometimes to see the section changes.  There does not seem to be much thought into the audiobook chapters other than each of the 43 'chapters' is about 50 minutes long.  The book itself has four large chapters with numerous unnumbered sections within

Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Offline Brian

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8558 on: February 14, 2018, 07:39:20 AM »
(The earlier Blandings are among the best but I tend to find Galahad insufferable.)
:( Galahad is my favorite, but I have noticed that he is best when he doesn't appear often, and you wish for more of him, rather than when he is a central character.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #8559 on: February 14, 2018, 07:54:40 AM »
Re-reading:

"How awful that the artist has become nothing but the after-dinner mint of society.”