What are you currently reading?

Started by facehugger, April 07, 2007, 12:36:10 AM

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foxandpeng

The Puritans: Their Origins and Successors
D Martyn Lloyd Jones
Banner of Truth


This is a great read. A fine analysis of the history and impact of the Puritans.
"A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people ... then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour — such is my idea of happiness"

Tolstoy

vers la flamme

Been a while since I've participated in this thread but I have been reading a good bit lately. Currently Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's Some Prefer Nettles. I get the feeling that a good bit of subtlety is being lost in translation, something that happens all too often of course when reading translated fiction, but especially so in this case. But I am coming away with the impression that Tanizaki is a very odd guy with lots of unusual psycho-sexual hangups. The kind of guy Freud would have a field day with. Psychological elements aside, it's a fascinating story about marriage, and aesthetics.


ritter

First approach to the work of René Crevel, the "archangel of surrealism" and a literary "meteor" who committed suicide (ha was also I'll with tuberculosis) in 1935, just a month before he would have turned 35.



La Mort difficile is a largely autobiographical novella, and has been described as a critique of bourgeois conventions from the perspective of the main character, a bisexual young man. Crevel, who was considered ravishingly handsome, came from a well-off Parisian family, was close both to the surrealists and Dada, joined the communist party, and frequented the beau monde (e.g. Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles). So, in a sense, he embodied the artistic milieu of the roaring twenties in Paris. Let's see...
ritter
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« ...tout cela qui prend forme et solidité, est sorti, ville et jardins, de ma tasse de thé. »

aligreto

Bentley: The Brontes and their world





Having recently read/re-read the major novels of the three Bronte sisters I decided to get some background information from this book. It was both an enjoyable and informative read. It paints good portraits of each of the sisters and of the people around them and it also certainly paints a good picture of the time and environment in which they lived.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Spotted Horses

The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway.

I read this book long ago in high school, and I remember being unimpressed. I thought I might find more depth to it now, but not the case. I find it hard to relate to the silly self indulgence of the American and British expatriots in Europe, the anti-semitic depiction of the character Cohn is distasteful, and the adoration of bullfighters ridiculous.

Mandryka



This is the one that has been the most recommended. Recommended by Americans who I've met in real life; by a French guy I know who is very very keen on Faulkner, and who in fact has written a book on Faulkner; by Americans I've met on internet forums. I can see why. It is a pleasure to read: well written linear prose written with  more or less schoolbook grammar and punctuation. The characters are characterful. Their physical description is masterfully graphic. For once we're not in someone's deeply troubled head.

I can't quite see what the point is yet -- I can't see whether it is only a series of stories well told. I'm half way through Part 2 -- Labove has just graduated in Law, and he has  to deal with the 11 year old Eula.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

Quote from: vers la flamme on October 08, 2022, 07:20:25 AM
Been a while since I've participated in this thread but I have been reading a good bit lately. Currently Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's Some Prefer Nettles. I get the feeling that a good bit of subtlety is being lost in translation, something that happens all too often of course when reading translated fiction, but especially so in this case. But I am coming away with the impression that Tanizaki is a very odd guy with lots of unusual psycho-sexual hangups. The kind of guy Freud would have a field day with. Psychological elements aside, it's a fascinating story about marriage, and aesthetics.



Tanizaki used to be my favorite author decades ago, but not any more.
I'd like to recommend this book. The author is very popular in Japan and he writes historical novels. 





vers la flamme

^Do you not like him anymore? Or has he simply been replaced as a favorite by someone else?

That book looks awesome. I don't know anything about the Russo-Japanese War. But dang, it looks huge! Multiple volumes, each around 400 pages. Have you read all of them?

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

Quote from: vers la flamme on October 10, 2022, 05:42:41 PM
^Do you not like him anymore? Or has he simply been replaced as a favorite by someone else?

That book looks awesome. I don't know anything about the Russo-Japanese War. But dang, it looks huge! Multiple volumes, each around 400 pages. Have you read all of them?


I still like Tanizaki, but now I prefer Kawabata and Mishima. I personally think that his early short stories are the best. The book below is vg, imo. "Secret" is about a cross-dresser in Tokyo before WWI, and "Children" is about a sado-masochistic play by children. These sick stories were translated and published by a prestigious academic press!  ;D

https://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/19/books/sensation.html

https://www.complete-review.com/reviews/tanizaki/gourmet_club.htm


Japan transformed from a feudal country to one of major powers through R-J war. The novel above is magnificent.








Dry Brett Kavanaugh

My current (fun) reading.
Autopilot: The Art & Science Of Doing Nothing. Andrew Smart.


 

SimonNZ

Knocked off this quickie:



Half way through this biggie:


aligreto

I began reading "The Wings of The Dove" by Henry James recently.

I could not get past the first ten pages due to the unwieldy text and writing style.
This rarely happens with me but perhaps I will return to it again at some point in the future.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Mandryka

Quote from: Mandryka on October 10, 2022, 01:45:22 PM


inear prose written with  more or less schoolbook grammar and punctuation.

Spoke to soon. Just look at this sentence.

If he had lived in Frenchman's Bend itself during that spring and summer, he would have known no more—a little lost village, nameless, without grace, forsaken, yet which wombed once by chance and accident one blind seed of the spendthrift Olympian ejaculation and did not even know it, without tumescence conceived, and bore—one bright brief summer, concentric, during which three fairly well-horsed buggies stood in steady rotation along a picket fence or spun along adjacent roads between the homes and the crossroads stores and the schoolhouses and churches where people gathered for pleasure or at least for escape, and then overnight and simultaneously were seen no more; then eccentric: buggies gone, vanished—a lean, loose-jointed, cotton-socked, shrewd, ruthless old man, the splendid girl with her beautiful masklike face, the froglike creature which barely reached her shoulder, cashing a check, buying a license, taking a train—a word, a single will to believe born of envy and old deathless regret, murmured from cabin to cabin above the washing pots and the sewing, from wagon to horseman in roads and lanes or from rider to halted plow in field furrows; the word, the dream and wish of all male under sun capable of harm—the young who only dreamed yet of the ruins they were still incapable of; the sick and the maimed sweating in sleepless beds, impotent for the harm they willed to do; the old, now-glandless earth-creeping, the very buds and blossoms, the garlands of whose yellowed triumphs had long fallen into the profitless dust, embalmed now and no more dead to the living world if they were sealed in buried vaults, behind the impregnable matronly calico of others' grandchildren's grandmothers—the word, with its implications of lost triumphs and defeats of unimaginable splendor—and which best: to have that word, that dream and hope for future, or to have had need to flee that word and dream, for past.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

ultralinear

Quote from: aligreto on October 12, 2022, 01:06:20 AM
I began reading "The Wings of The Dove" by Henry James recently.

I could not get past the first ten pages due to the unwieldy text and writing style.
This rarely happens with me but perhaps I will return to it again at some point in the future.

That's about 9 more pages than I've ever managed.  I've tried his work a few times over the years, and I just don't get on with it at all, in fact I find it intensely irritating.  Yet I love Proust, so it's not that I have a problem with dense pages of convoluted paragraph-long sentences obsessively examining every minute aspect of inconsequential trivia in microscopic detail. ;D  I think maybe the issue is that this kind of pointillist writing style puts you very much inside the consciousness of the writer, which in James's case I do not find a congenial place to be.  I don't want to see the world through his eyes.  For one thing, he comes across as the most frightful snob.  But then so does Proust. ;D  So I guess I just plain don't like him, and leave it at that. ::)

VonStupp

#12154
Per the LMYW thread, I realize I haven't read any Stephen King. I avoided him mainly because I heard his writing is dense and horror isn't really my scene.

My wife picked up a random assortment of used novels back when she was with child, so I am trying my hand at SK's The Gunslinger (1982/2003) and The Eyes of the Dragon (1984).

VS

 
"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff."

Spotted Horses

Quote from: Mandryka on October 12, 2022, 10:24:18 AM
Spoke to soon. Just look at this sentence.

If he had lived in Frenchman's Bend itself during that spring and summer, he would have known no more—a little lost village, nameless, without grace, forsaken, yet which wombed once by chance and accident one blind seed of the spendthrift Olympian ejaculation and did not even know it, without tumescence conceived, and bore—one bright brief summer, concentric, during which three fairly well-horsed buggies stood in steady rotation along a picket fence or spun along adjacent roads between the homes and the crossroads stores and the schoolhouses and churches where people gathered for pleasure or at least for escape, and then overnight and simultaneously were seen no more; then eccentric: buggies gone, vanished—a lean, loose-jointed, cotton-socked, shrewd, ruthless old man, the splendid girl with her beautiful masklike face, the froglike creature which barely reached her shoulder, cashing a check, buying a license, taking a train—a word, a single will to believe born of envy and old deathless regret, murmured from cabin to cabin above the washing pots and the sewing, from wagon to horseman in roads and lanes or from rider to halted plow in field furrows; the word, the dream and wish of all male under sun capable of harm—the young who only dreamed yet of the ruins they were still incapable of; the sick and the maimed sweating in sleepless beds, impotent for the harm they willed to do; the old, now-glandless earth-creeping, the very buds and blossoms, the garlands of whose yellowed triumphs had long fallen into the profitless dust, embalmed now and no more dead to the living world if they were sealed in buried vaults, behind the impregnable matronly calico of others' grandchildren's grandmothers—the word, with its implications of lost triumphs and defeats of unimaginable splendor—and which best: to have that word, that dream and hope for future, or to have had need to flee that word and dream, for past.

Hamlet is probably the most linear in it's story telling of the Snopes trilogy, but as you see, it's not schoolbook grammar. I find that these passages can be musical in a way, and it helps to read them out loud and listen to yourself.

Quote from: aligreto on October 12, 2022, 01:06:20 AM
I began reading "The Wings of The Dove" by Henry James recently.

I could not get past the first ten pages due to the unwieldy text and writing style.
This rarely happens with me but perhaps I will return to it again at some point in the future.

It may be interesting to compare Hanry James' uncoiling sentences to Faulkner's. The obtuse sentence construction is something that came in James' late works and I remember reading somewhere that it was related to his switching from writing out his work on paper to dictating them.

Mandryka

Quote from: Spotted Horses on October 12, 2022, 09:18:11 PM
Hamlet is probably the most linear in it's story telling of the Snopes trilogy, but as you see, it's not schoolbook grammar. I find that these passages can be musical in a way, and it helps to read them out loud and listen to yourself.


Yes and there's the bizarre parable which comes shortly after that sentence. I look forward to continuing, while still not being very clear about what Faulkner's project is in this book. Whatever it is, it goes beyond a story well told.

Re reading it aloud, I find it helps to do that - with my Englishman's attempt at a Mississippi accent. You wouldn't want to hear it.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

aligreto

Quote from: ultralinear on October 12, 2022, 12:29:56 PM
That's about 9 more pages than I've ever managed.  I've tried his work a few times over the years, and I just don't get on with it at all, in fact I find it intensely irritating.  Yet I love Proust, so it's not that I have a problem with dense pages of convoluted paragraph-long sentences obsessively examining every minute aspect of inconsequential trivia in microscopic detail. ;D  I think maybe the issue is that this kind of pointillist writing style puts you very much inside the consciousness of the writer, which in James's case I do not find a congenial place to be.  I don't want to see the world through his eyes.  For one thing, he comes across as the most frightful snob.  But then so does Proust. ;D  So I guess I just plain don't like him, and leave it at that. ::)

All of that is fair enough and I do understand where you are coming from with it all. Another one that I did not enjoy was The Portrait of a Lady for the reasons that you have pointed out.
I should point out, however, that I did enjoy other works by Henry James such as The Aspern Papers, The Spoils of Poynton, The Turn of the Screw and Daisy Miller.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

aligreto

Quote from: Spotted Horses on October 12, 2022, 09:18:11 PM

It may be interesting to compare Hanry James' uncoiling sentences to Faulkner's. The obtuse sentence construction is something that came in James' late works and I remember reading somewhere that it was related to his switching from writing out his work on paper to dictating them.

The impact of the coincidental posting of the Faulkner passage was not lost on me. Faulkner is one to avoid for me then.  ;D

Thank you for the very interesting comment regarding James' dictation.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

aligreto

Quote from: ultralinear on October 13, 2022, 02:05:09 AM
Have you read Edith Wharton e.g. The Age of Innocence?  I was put off her for years because of the James connection, wrongly supposing that meant their writing would be similar, and was astonished to discover (eventually) just how readable and appealing her work is - well crafted, with sharp observation and even a sense of humour. :)

No. I have not. Thank you for the recommendation and explanation.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.