Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 1125455 times)

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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10800 on: April 25, 2021, 01:28:52 PM »

The Bible, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Dostoyevski, Tolstoy and Dickens cover those areas for me more than enough.  ;D

Strangely/Interestingly, not many people talk about Shakespeare on this thread. Personally I am not a big fan of his works. I maybe missing something since I read his works when I was pretty young.

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10801 on: April 25, 2021, 02:03:16 PM »
Strangely/Interestingly, not many people talk about Shakespeare on this thread. Personally I am not a big fan of his works. I maybe missing something since I read his works when I was pretty young.

There's a seperate Shakespeare thread, which unfortunately has been largely inactive the last couple of years.

https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,23394.280.html

But speaking of Shakespeare I've off and on been picking away one chapter at a time a John Middleton Murray (he of the Bloomsbury group, married to Katherine Mansfield) study of Shakespeare's works from the 1930's.

I'd had it unread for so long I was considering putting in the next box to go to the charity shop, but as soon as I chanced a few pages I immediately assessed the quality of the intellect and that it would produce distinct individual interpretations and ideas.

(can't find an image of the Jonathan Cape paperback edition from the 60s I've got)
« Last Edit: April 25, 2021, 02:04:56 PM by SimonNZ »

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10802 on: April 25, 2021, 02:37:12 PM »
The obvious next step with Orwell: Animal Farm



No, I had not read this either. So far, so good.

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10803 on: April 25, 2021, 02:45:03 PM »
The obvious next step with Orwell: Animal Farm



No, I had not read this either. So far, so good.

I read practically every word of Orwell when I was in my 20s and have reread a number since, but I've never understood the bestseller status of Animal farm or how it has eclipsed so many better works by him.

Personally I'd recommend Down And Out In Paris And London as the next essential Orwell after 1984. Or a single volume selection of the essays.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10804 on: April 25, 2021, 02:51:04 PM »
I read practically every word of Orwell when I was in my 20s and have reread a number since, but I've never understood the bestseller status of Animal farm or how it has eclipsed so many better works by him.

Personally I'd recommend Down And Out In Paris And London as the next essential Orwell after 1984. Or a single volume selection of the essays.

Maybe you'll be pleased to know that I was able to order a copy of Down and Out (which I've been curious to read since noting Anthony Bourdain's brief mention of it in his book Kitchen Confidential, which I read a few weeks ago) for fairly cheap and will be reading that next.

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10805 on: April 25, 2021, 03:11:09 PM »
Maybe you'll be pleased to know that I was able to order a copy of Down and Out (which I've been curious to read since noting Anthony Bourdain's brief mention of it in his book Kitchen Confidential, which I read a few weeks ago) for fairly cheap and will be reading that next.

Nice. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

I think I've mentioned it on this thread before, but I also feel that Keep The Aspidistra Flying deserves to be much better known than it is, fwiw.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10806 on: April 25, 2021, 03:19:31 PM »
Nice. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

I think I've mentioned it on this thread before, but I also feel that Keep The Aspidistra Flying deserves to be much better known than it is, fwiw.

Can’t say I know anything about that one. Care to sell a new but enthusiastic Orwell fan on it? What’s it about? Fiction, nonfiction, or what?

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10807 on: April 25, 2021, 03:31:02 PM »
Can’t say I know anything about that one. Care to sell a new but enthusiastic Orwell fan on it? What’s it about? Fiction, nonfiction, or what?

A novel. A huge spleen-vent about worship and pursuit of the money-god as the only path in life and the quixotic pursuit of another.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10808 on: April 25, 2021, 03:35:30 PM »
A novel. A huge spleen-vent about worship and pursuit of the money-god as the only path in life and the quixotic pursuit of another.

Thanks; that sounds very interesting. Going to be looking out for that and a collection of essays (there are many of these; not sure which would be the one to go for, but I expect one can't go wrong).

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10809 on: April 26, 2021, 01:35:10 AM »
George Orwell's 1984



Somehow, I've never read this, or any other Orwell, before. Most people I know had to read this in high school but for whatever reason it was never on the curriculum. Anyway I'm finding it quite shocking, not only for its crushing bleakness, but also for its powerfully vivid language of violence and sexuality. There is something very English about it in that sense. At the same time I'm very much enjoying it. I'm just shy of the halfway point of the book.

I did read Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 in school (and really enjoyed it at the time; I'd love to reread as an adult) and it seems there are numerous parallels between the two books, not only in the nature of the dystopian societies depicted, but also in the two protagonists and their stories of rebellion.

I also devoured quite a large amount of Orwell's novels when I was a young man and I loved them.
Given the two books that you have mentioned it is predictable that I should suggest Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Have you read it? It is basically on the same theme. The writing style is different of course but I like it.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10810 on: April 26, 2021, 01:41:41 AM »
I also devoured quite a large amount of Orwell's novels when I was a young man and I loved them.
Given the two books that you have mentioned it is predictable that I should suggest Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Have you read it? It is basically on the same theme. The writing style is different of course but I like it.

I've read some of it years ago but never did finish; I'll have to check it out. I know many feel that it offers a more believable dystopian vision for the West. I've read a couple of Huxley's nonfiction books, The Doors of Perception and The Perennial Philosophy, and enjoyed both.

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10811 on: April 26, 2021, 01:42:52 AM »
I've read some of it years ago but never did finish; I'll have to check it out. I know many feel that it offers a more believable dystopian vision for the West. I've read a couple of Huxley's nonfiction books, The Doors of Perception and The Perennial Philosophy, and enjoyed both.

Yes, Huxley was another one that I became obsessive about.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10812 on: April 26, 2021, 04:02:50 AM »
Speaking of dystopias, may I recommend you guys read We by Yevgeni Zamyatin, which preceded Huxley by a full decade and Orwell by no less than three, as it was written in 1921 and has the distinction of being the very first book banned the newly instated Soviet censorship.
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Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10813 on: April 26, 2021, 05:19:33 AM »
Speaking of dystopias, may I recommend you guys read We by Yevgeni Zamyatin, which preceded Huxley by a full decade and Orwell by no less than three, as it was written in 1921 and has the distinction of being the very first book banned the newly instated Soviet censorship.

Thank you. I have not come across that one before.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10814 on: April 26, 2021, 05:23:57 AM »
I've read a couple of Huxley's nonfiction books, The Doors of Perception and The Perennial Philosophy, and enjoyed both.

+1. As for a similar subject to The Doors, I like One River by Wade Davis. A story about Amazon, hallucinogenic plants, shamanism, a Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Schultes, and his student (Davis).

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10815 on: April 26, 2021, 05:26:36 AM »
Thank you. I have not come across that one before.

It's really the fountain from which all other dystopias have flown.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yevgeny_Zamyatin

That's the Romanian edition.



« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 05:30:19 AM by Florestan »
“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

--- Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), Argentinian composer

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10816 on: April 26, 2021, 05:58:24 AM »


Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt - Madame Pylinska and the Secret of Chopin

A magical little book about Chopin's music, life, love, nature, remembrance, disease, death, literature and... metempsychosis. Melancholy yet humorous. Very short (I read in an hour or so) but very well-written. If in a mood for such things, give it a try.
“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

--- Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), Argentinian composer

Offline Artem

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10817 on: April 26, 2021, 10:11:25 AM »
I did read Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 in school (and really enjoyed it at the time; I'd love to reread as an adult) and it seems there are numerous parallels between the two books, not only in the nature of the dystopian societies depicted, but also in the two protagonists and their stories of rebellion.
Have you read Zamyatin's We by chance? Second the earlier made recommendation for it.

Reading everything Orwell would be an interesting project. I only read Animal Farm long time ago, but it didn't connect with me to continue reading more Orwell after it. Maybe I will try 1984.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 10:13:38 AM by Artem »

Offline Artem

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10818 on: April 26, 2021, 10:18:56 AM »
It's really the fountain from which all other dystopias have flown.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yevgeny_Zamyatin

That's the Romanian edition.


It is a really great book. I have very vivid images of the way Zamyatin described the room of the main character, the big gatherings. The structure of the books is very cool too. Russian literature in the early 20th century was really something.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10819 on: April 26, 2021, 10:24:32 AM »
Russian literature in the early 20th century all through the 19th and 20th centuries was really something.

Fixed.  8)

I've said it many times but it bears repeating: politically I am a staunch and unrepentant Russophobe, culturally I am a staunch and unrepentant Russophile.  :D
“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

--- Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000), Argentinian composer