Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 1124645 times)

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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10880 on: May 12, 2021, 03:51:03 PM »
I have been thinking about reading this author. She hails from my adopted home state of Georgia and seems to have some things in common with the author I am currently reading...:

Flannery O'Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find & Other Stories


I purchased this book after listening to Bessie Smith sing "A Good Man is Hard to Find" while in her hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee where my girlfriend and I were traveling a couple weeks back—I was reminded of O'Connor's story, namesake of this her first short story collection, which I read for a short story composition class in college and loved at the time. Well, it took me until now to explore any of her other work and I'm kicking myself for it. She's a brilliant writer, and it's always a small victory for me to discover a female writer whose work I can appreciate, in light of my shamefully male-centric literary knowledge and collection. She writes a lot about the city I call home, which seems to represent to her everything that the "big city" stands for, especially in comparison to the rural countryside where many of these stories are set. Death and destruction are themes that loom large in her work, but so are grace and redemption; she was above all a Catholic writer, one with a seemingly keen understanding of the suffering of the world. Deceptively simple, fascinating small portraits of my great and terrible homeland, the American South. Reading McCarthy and now O'Connor, I can foresee myself embarking on a bit of a "Southern Gothic" kick over the next couple months...

Also read a bit of the Book of Daniel today (in the King James Version): the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, which was referenced by one of O'Connor's stories, called "A Circle in the Fire"; and the famous Daniel in the lion's den.

P.S. In case I haven't already mentioned it, I finished Blood Meridian a couple of days ago. What a crushing experience that whole book was. I suspect I'll read it again and again over the years, as I feel like I've only begun to appreciate the tip of the iceberg, as it were. There were bits I couldn't make heads or tails of. Blood Meridian marks the 50th book I've read since New Year's Day. I don't know whether I ought to be proud or terribly embarrassed for how much of my valuable time I've sunk into reading (mostly fiction) this year; currently I'm leaning toward the latter feeling. Anyway, I purposely picked a book I thought would make a big impact to ring in this milestone, and I was right to choose it.


I am (mostly) sure you will like the Lonely Hunter very much. The story and atmosphere in the book is very Deep South. There are race, poverty, hate, violence, corruption, love, dignity, trust, elegance, etc. in the story. The movie adaptation is great as well, and you could possibly start with the movie. I will look for A Good Man and Blood Meridian. I am thinking about making a thread of 10 best books read in 2021 at the end of the year (Good idea or bad idea?). Would you consider listing the books and others?  As for female writers, it seems to me that you enjoyed some works by Japanese female authors. If you are interested, I would like to recommend Green Wheat by Colette, Garden Party/Her First Ball by Mansfield, and Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki (Lady Purple).

I am glad I read many books when I was young. However, I regret I didn't read science books at that time. Also, I went to clubs/bars with some girls, partied and danced almost every night. The economy was great and I had money. But now, I am not sure if I really had fun or not.

P.s. I love Chattanooga, TN. Elegant and sophisticated city.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 04:09:15 PM by Dry Brett Kavanaugh »

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10881 on: May 13, 2021, 04:23:48 AM »


In the book's presentation Meyrink is described as a sort of Austrian Poe ---and indeed, so far, so good Gothic. The atmosphere is dark, mysterious, menacing, the characters are strange and the setting in Prague's Jewish Ghetto with its narrow alleys and eerie houses* only adds to the lugubrious feeling. Yet despite the doom & gloom, it's a page turner.

* been there, seen that  :)
“I love melody, I love to sing. I refuse to compose music only intended to be discovered and understood by future generations.” 

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Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10882 on: May 13, 2021, 11:39:09 AM »
Blood Meridian marks the 50th book I've read since New Year's Day.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! That's remarkable and impressive! Congratulations! I envy you, I really do!

Quote
I don't know whether I ought to be proud or terribly embarrassed for how much of my valuable time I've sunk into reading (mostly fiction) this year; currently I'm leaning toward the latter feeling.

I say you should be proud*. If anything, your quick reading pace has been an inspiration to me, to pick up where I left many years ago and become again the avid reader I used to be. Thank you, good sir!

* As an 18-th century Romanian historian put it: There is no more beautiful and useful pastime in a man's whole life than the reading of books. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miron_Costin)



« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 12:37:27 PM 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 vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10883 on: May 13, 2021, 12:53:01 PM »

I am (mostly) sure you will like the Lonely Hunter very much. The story and atmosphere in the book is very Deep South. There are race, poverty, hate, violence, corruption, love, dignity, trust, elegance, etc. in the story. The movie adaptation is great as well, and you could possibly start with the movie. I will look for A Good Man and Blood Meridian. I am thinking about making a thread of 10 best books read in 2021 at the end of the year (Good idea or bad idea?). Would you consider listing the books and others?  As for female writers, it seems to me that you enjoyed some works by Japanese female authors. If you are interested, I would like to recommend Green Wheat by Colette, Garden Party/Her First Ball by Mansfield, and Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki (Lady Purple).

I am glad I read many books when I was young. However, I regret I didn't read science books at that time. Also, I went to clubs/bars with some girls, partied and danced almost every night. The economy was great and I had money. But now, I am not sure if I really had fun or not.

P.s. I love Chattanooga, TN. Elegant and sophisticated city.

I appreciate the detailed reply, DBK. Definitely excited to read McCullers' Lonely Hunter. It sounds excellent and the author seems like a fascinating character.

I would absolutely participate in such a thread! Great idea. There are some definite front runners for the year that I have in mind already, but then we still have another 7 months of the year, so we'll see what changes.

I'll have to check out those books you mentioned; I know nothing of Colette. Mansfield I have been curious about ever since you or another poster here brought her up a few months back and I'll seek out that book. Tale of Genji has the great esteem of being known as the first novel, and that it was written by a woman (a Japanese woman, no less) is an awesome thing in my book.

Sounds like you spent your 20s well; there's always the rest of your life for science books (something I'd love to read more of myself; while I am a medical professional and passionate about the healthcare field, I spend very little of my time reading full-length books on the natural sciences). I reckon I've done well with my young years so far, but who knows how I'll feel 10, 20, 30 years down the line. I got partying out of my system for the most part in my early 20s; I feel like I've done enough binge drinking, pot smoking and psychedelic drugs for a lifetime, though I am not opposed to returning to this lifestyle if the feeling takes me. This voracious reading thing is kind of a new thing for me in the covid era; I've always been a reader, but never near this pace. I suspect I'll always be an introvert, and what better introverted pastime than books and music.

My girl and I loved Chattanooga, she halfheartedly tried to convince me that we ought to move there. Absolutely beautiful place, very clean, very green, and as you say, very elegant and sophisticated for a city of its size in the South. Reminded me a bit of Tallahassee, Florida where we went to school. Lots of history in that Chattanooga. Then there is Lookout Mountain, the great Tennessee River, etc. I'd love to spend more time in the state of Tennessee.

Sorry to derail the thread so much, but it's always great to talk to you and the other intelligent and sympathetic people of this thread, even if the conversation is not directly related to books.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10884 on: May 13, 2021, 12:58:18 PM »
Whoa, whoa, whoa! That's remarkable and impressive! Congratulations! I envy you, I really do!

I say you should be proud*. If anything, your quick reading pace has been an inspiration to me, to pick up where I left many years ago and become again the avid reader I used to be. Thank you, good sir!

* As an 18-th century Romanian historian put it: There is no more beautiful and useful pastime in a man's whole life than the reading of books. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miron_Costin)

Thanks, man. I've found your attitude toward life an inspiration myself, especially the passion for great music and literature that you wear on your sleeve.

I like the Costin quote. I'm not sure whether I totally agree, my love for music and nature is so deep in my bones that literature could not possibly hope to usurp them, but the reading of books has brought immense joy to my life and will continue to do so, hopefully for many years to come.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10885 on: May 13, 2021, 12:58:25 PM »
Sorry to derail the thread so much, but it's always great to talk to you and the other intelligent and sympathetic people of this thread, even if the conversation is not directly related to books.

That's one of the greatest pleasures of being a GMGer: there's really no genuine off-topic. Everything is related to everything.
“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 #10886 on: May 13, 2021, 01:06:16 PM »
I've found your attitude toward life an inspiration myself, especially the passion for great music and literature that you wear on your sleeve.

Thank you too.

Quote
I like the Costin quote. I'm not sure whether I totally agree, my love for music and nature is so deep in my bones that literature could not possibly hope to usurp them, but the reading of books has brought immense joy to my life and will continue to do so, hopefully for many years to come.

Well, literature has been my very first love --- I even dabble(d) in it myself, mostly poetry. That's probably the reason why I love Lieder so much.
“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 vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10887 on: May 13, 2021, 01:17:06 PM »
Thank you too.

Well, literature has been my very first love --- I even dabble(d) in it myself, mostly poetry. That's probably the reason why I love Lieder so much.

Nice! While I've kept a journal for several years and occasionally dabble in poetic writing, I can't say I've ever written much with the aim of creating something for others to read. I do however write and sing songs, but the lyrics are always secondary to the music in my case.

That's one of the greatest pleasures of being a GMGer: there's really no genuine off-topic. Everything is related to everything.

Agreed!

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10888 on: May 13, 2021, 02:56:25 PM »
I appreciate the detailed reply, DBK. Definitely excited to read McCullers' Lonely Hunter. It sounds excellent and the author seems like a fascinating character.

I would absolutely participate in such a thread! Great idea. There are some definite front runners for the year that I have in mind already, but then we still have another 7 months of the year, so we'll see what changes.

I'll have to check out those books you mentioned; I know nothing of Colette. Mansfield I have been curious about ever since you or another poster here brought her up a few months back and I'll seek out that book. Tale of Genji has the great esteem of being known as the first novel, and that it was written by a woman (a Japanese woman, no less) is an awesome thing in my book.

Sounds like you spent your 20s well; there's always the rest of your life for science books (something I'd love to read more of myself; while I am a medical professional and passionate about the healthcare field, I spend very little of my time reading full-length books on the natural sciences). I reckon I've done well with my young years so far, but who knows how I'll feel 10, 20, 30 years down the line. I got partying out of my system for the most part in my early 20s; I feel like I've done enough binge drinking, pot smoking and psychedelic drugs for a lifetime, though I am not opposed to returning to this lifestyle if the feeling takes me. This voracious reading thing is kind of a new thing for me in the covid era; I've always been a reader, but never near this pace. I suspect I'll always be an introvert, and what better introverted pastime than books and music.

My girl and I loved Chattanooga, she halfheartedly tried to convince me that we ought to move there. Absolutely beautiful place, very clean, very green, and as you say, very elegant and sophisticated for a city of its size in the South. Reminded me a bit of Tallahassee, Florida where we went to school. Lots of history in that Chattanooga. Then there is Lookout Mountain, the great Tennessee River, etc. I'd love to spend more time in the state of Tennessee.

Sorry to derail the thread so much, but it's always great to talk to you and the other intelligent and sympathetic people of this thread, even if the conversation is not directly related to books.



Just like other fancy cities, the cost of living in Chattanooga seems to be high.  Still it is a nice city with good education.

Since you are in medical field, you may read The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo in a perspective different from that of other readers. It is a half fiction-half nonfiction based on a real incident of vivisection of American POW by “ordinary” Japanese people. Endo explicitly suggests that the Japanese mass has no conscience. While his Silence is very good, the Sea and Poison is solid and equally challenging.

@Florestan, you too, may like the book, which is not less than Silence IMO.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10889 on: May 14, 2021, 02:14:24 AM »


Just like other fancy cities, the cost of living in Chattanooga seems to be high.  Still it is a nice city with good education.

Since you are in medical field, you may read The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo in a perspective different from that of other readers. It is a half fiction-half nonfiction based on a real incident of vivisection of American POW by “ordinary” Japanese people. Endo explicitly suggests that the Japanese mass has no conscience. While his Silence is very good, the Sea and Poison is solid and equally challenging.

@Florestan, you too, may like the book, which is not less than Silence IMO.

Thanks for the rec. I looked for it but it hasn't been translated in Romanian. I found this instead:



The Samurai


Have you read it?
“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 #10890 on: May 14, 2021, 02:41:56 AM »
Nice! While I've kept a journal for several years and occasionally dabble in poetic writing, I can't say I've ever written much with the aim of creating something for others to read.

My case exactly. I wrote what little I wrote for my own pleasure and because I felt inspired to write, that's all. When I was in elementary school, though, I really dreamt of becoming a writer.  :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

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10891 on: May 14, 2021, 03:27:16 AM »
Thanks for the rec. I looked for it but it hasn't been translated in Romanian. I found this instead:



The Samurai


Have you read it?

I haven't read it, but the book has a good reputation. If available in Romanian edition, you may like A Life of Jesus. I haven't read it either, but my friends in North America like it.


Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10892 on: May 14, 2021, 10:01:39 AM »
I haven't read it, but the book has a good reputation. If available in Romanian edition, you may like A Life of Jesus. I haven't read it either, but my friends in North America like it.

There are only three Endo books available in Romanian: Silence, The Samurai and The Scandal. I'm quite tempted by the latter two.

Also on my wishlist:



Thousand Cranes and The Sound of the Mountain

In the same vein: what Mishima novels should I look for?

Speaking of Jesus, I've read and greatly enjoyed Papini's Story of Christ and Renan's Life of Jesus.



“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 vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10893 on: May 14, 2021, 10:51:32 AM »
^For my part, I can recommend the three Mishima books I've read all very highly: Confessions of a Mask, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, and Star, though I'm not sure which of these, if any, are available in Romanian.

That book Thousand Cranes by Kawabata is brilliant.

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10894 on: May 14, 2021, 11:01:16 AM »
^For my part, I can recommend the three Mishima books I've read all very highly: Confessions of a Mask, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea, and Star, though I'm not sure which of these, if any, are available in Romanian.

Confessions... is OOP (btw, so is Blood Meridian  :( ), The Sailor... is available.

Quote
That book Thousand Cranes by Kawabata is brilliant.

Thanks for the tip.
“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 vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10895 on: May 14, 2021, 12:00:50 PM »
Confessions... is OOP (btw, so is Blood Meridian  :( ), The Sailor... is available.

Thanks for the tip.

Hmm, sorry to hear that. I hope one day these classic books return to print in your primary language so you can experience them for yourself.

Today I started Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man & the Sea



A high school required-reading special for many in the United States of America, somehow this was never on the curriculum and I've never read it before. So far so good. Lots of beautiful writing about the power of nature, aging, solitude, and inner struggle, both spiritual and physical. Another deceptively simple book, not plot-driven in the slightest. My admiration for Hemingway continues to grow. His books, even when they are difficult, are a pleasure to read. Sadly, I think, the legend of Hemingway, his larger-than-life constructed persona, which is the pinnacle of what we might today call toxic masculinity, has colored much of how people read his books today, in a mixed way that is perhaps largely negative. There is a great deal of sensitivity to his writing.

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10896 on: May 14, 2021, 12:02:36 PM »
+1 on Kawabata's Cranes (I like the cover art of Romanian book). For Endo, I would say Samurai. If you are comfortable with English translation, Life of Jesus and The Sea and Poison are preferable.

Generally, I don't recommend Mishima to average/normal people. The Mask and Sailor are his best works, but the stories, if not writing/expression, are challenging. Specially, the Mask partially deals with the psychology of a homosexual protagonist, and some readers are uncomfortable with it. Still, these works evince his genius in writing skills and imagination. His writing is like an elegant Gothic architecture. In contrast, Kawabata's writing is like a small and simple wooden house, but beautiful and deep.

I checked the availability of Romanian editions of Mishima. I would recommend Confessions of a Mask (oop), The Sailor, Dupa Banchet (personal fav of mine), Sete de Iubire, and Templul de aur, in this order. In sharp contrast to Endo, beauty is more important than life or ethics for Mishima, who is mainly an aestheticist writer.

Offline aligreto

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10897 on: May 14, 2021, 12:04:42 PM »
Hmm, sorry to hear that. I hope one day these classic books return to print in your primary language so you can experience them for yourself.

Today I started Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man & the Sea



A high school required-reading special for many in the United States of America, somehow this was never on the curriculum and I've never read it before. So far so good. Lots of beautiful writing about the power of nature, aging, solitude, and inner struggle, both spiritual and physical. Another deceptively simple book, not plot-driven in the slightest. My admiration for Hemingway continues to grow. His books, even when they are difficult, are a pleasure to read. Sadly, I think, the legend of Hemingway, his larger-than-life constructed persona, which is the pinnacle of what we might today call toxic masculinity, has colored much of how people read his books today, in a mixed way that is perhaps largely negative. There is a great deal of sensitivity to his writing.

Very true and very unfortunate.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline JBS

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10898 on: May 14, 2021, 12:25:54 PM »
Hmm, sorry to hear that. I hope one day these classic books return to print in your primary language so you can experience them for yourself.

Today I started Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man & the Sea



A high school required-reading special for many in the United States of America, somehow this was never on the curriculum and I've never read it before. So far so good. Lots of beautiful writing about the power of nature, aging, solitude, and inner struggle, both spiritual and physical. Another deceptively simple book, not plot-driven in the slightest. My admiration for Hemingway continues to grow. His books, even when they are difficult, are a pleasure to read. Sadly, I think, the legend of Hemingway, his larger-than-life constructed persona, which is the pinnacle of what we might today call toxic masculinity, has colored much of how people read his books today, in a mixed way that is perhaps largely negative. There is a great deal of sensitivity to his writing.

That's quite possibly his greatest book.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #10899 on: May 15, 2021, 03:04:56 AM »
That's quite possibly his greatest book.

I really enjoyed it. One of those one-day reads, so I wouldn't be surprised if I read it again one of these days before too long. There are still a handful of major Hemingway books that I have yet to read, so I'm in no position to proclaim this or that book as his greatest, but I'm excited to see how this one stacks up once I read more of them. I just got To Have and Have Not and I just ordered For Whom the Bell Tolls and I hope to read both before the year's over.

Anyone watch the new Ken Burns Hemingway PBS doc? I watched the first episode. Pretty good, I think.