What are you currently reading?

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

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Spotted Horses

Quote from: Mandryka on November 16, 2022, 08:19:49 AM
Abandoned hal way through. I think Faulkner lost the knack of writing in it.  Maybe all late Faulkner is weaker than the first novels -- and the later you get, the weaker it becomes.

I'm sorry you didn't find the Mansion compelling. My own reaction to the Snopes trilogy is that the first book is very direct and that the final installments, written many years later, are somewhat disjointed in their connection with the The Hamlet, but rewarding in their way. I personally don't agree with your suggestion of a monotonic decline of quality if Faulkner's writing. I wouldn't suggest anyone try to read straight through Faulkner. I've spent months or years before feeling I am ready for another encounter with Faulkner

Mandryka

#12201
Quote from: Spotted Horses on November 16, 2022, 09:31:10 AM
I'm sorry you didn't find the Mansion compelling. My own reaction to the Snopes trilogy is that the first book is very direct and that the final installments, written many years later, are somewhat disjointed in their connection with the The Hamlet, but rewarding in their way. I personally don't agree with your suggestion of a monotonic decline of quality if Faulkner's writing. I wouldn't suggest anyone try to read straight through Faulkner. I've spent months or years before feeling I am ready for another encounter with Faulkner

One thing that started to frustrate me is the lack of a feminine voice. I wanna see inside Eula's head! Re late Faulkner, have you read The Fable?  The reason I suggested a deterioration is that I felt that The Town was rather successful, but maybe you're right, maybe I've ODed on Faulkner.

Mink is a strange person - is he mad?
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Spotted Horses

Night Boat to Tangier, Kevin Barry



Two middle-aged Irish men, Maurice and Charlie wait in a ferry terminal in Spain, acting on a tip that the estranged daughter Dilly may be passing through the terminal, involved in some illicit activity. At first we listen to their seemingly banal conversation, but as the novel unfolds in flashbacks we learn of their back story, involving sordid relationships and drug trafficking. Compelling.

Ganondorf

So far The Golden Bowl has surpassed my highest expectations. James's prose is very subtle and ambiguous, much like Thomas Mann's prose although at the same time also very different. I'm roughly 1/3 through.

Mandryka

Quote from: Ganondorf on November 22, 2022, 06:54:20 AM
So far The Golden Bowl has surpassed my highest expectations. James's prose is very subtle and ambiguous, much like Thomas Mann's prose although at the same time also very different. I'm roughly 1/3 through.

I'm glad you like it. Just at the level of style, I love the long rich metaphors. And the tensions, the complexity of the relationships - very special stuff.

I am sure I will never forget in all my life the spooky chapter where they go into the little shop and find the golden bowl.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Spotted Horses

#12205
Quote from: Mandryka on November 22, 2022, 08:39:57 AMI'm glad you like it. Just at the level of style, I love the long rich metaphors. And the tensions, the complexity of the relationships - very special stuff.

I am sure I will never forget in all my life the spooky chapter where they go into the little shop and find the golden bowl.



I read it ages ago, perhaps time to return to James.

Note added: I already downloaded the free Kindle edition of The Golden Bowl, and got lost in the third or forth sentence. :)

Mandryka

#12206
Henery James is not kindle-able. You need the ritual of opening the book, smell the paper, flick forward and back, measure how long you've got to  to the next chapter. You have to hold it in your hand and stare at it until its meaning dawns. It's a lot easier for me than Falkner, perhaps because I understand Edwardian English better than Mississippi-ese! How can you resist this sort of metaphor for the effect of a daughter's marriage on the life of her father?

 It was as if his son-in-law's presence, even from before his becoming his son-in-law, had somehow filled the scene and blocked the future—very richly and handsomely, when all was said, not at all inconveniently or in ways not to have been desired: inasmuch as though the Prince, his measure now practically taken, was still pretty much the same "big fact," the sky had lifted, the horizon receded, the very foreground itself expanded, quite to match him, quite to keep everything in comfortable scale. At first, certainly, their decent little old-time union, Maggie's and his own, had resembled a good deal some pleasant public square, in the heart of an old city, into which a great Palladian church, say—something with a grand architectural front—had suddenly been dropped; so that the rest of the place, the space in front, the way round, outside, to the east end, the margin of street and passage, the quantity of over-arching heaven, had been temporarily compromised. Not even then, of a truth, in a manner disconcerting—given, that is, for the critical, or at least the intelligent, eye, the great style of the facade and its high place in its class. The phenomenon that had since occurred, whether originally to have been pronounced calculable or not, had not, naturally, been the miracle of a night, but had taken place so gradually, quietly, easily, that from this vantage of wide, wooded Fawns, with its eighty rooms, as they said, with its spreading park, with its acres and acres of garden and its majesty of artificial lake—though that, for a person so familiar with the "great" ones, might be rather ridiculous—no visibility of transition showed, no violence of adjustment, in retrospect, emerged. The Palladian church was always there, but the piazza took care of itself. The sun stared down in his fulness, the air circulated, and the public not less; the limit stood off, the way round was easy, the east end was as fine, in its fashion, as the west, and there were also side doors for entrance, between the two—large, monumental, ornamental, in their style—as for all proper great churches. By some such process, in fine, had the Prince, for his father-in-law, while remaining solidly a feature, ceased to be, at all ominously, a block.



Or a successful American businessman's realisation that he is, in fact, an aesthete, and that he must dedicate himself to the pursuit of the finest, the most beautiful

Over and above the signal fact of the impression made on Maggie herself, the aspirant to his daughter's hand showed somehow the great marks and signs, stood before him with the high authenticities, he had learned to look for in pieces of the first order. Adam Verver knew, by this time, knew thoroughly; no man in Europe or in America, he privately believed, was less capable, in such estimates, of vulgar mistakes. He had never spoken of himself as infallible—it was not his way; but, apart from the natural affections, he had acquainted himself with no greater joy, of the intimately personal type, than the joy of his originally coming to feel, and all so unexpectedly, that he had in him the spirit of the connoisseur. He had, like many other persons, in the course of his reading, been struck with Keats's sonnet about stout Cortez in the presence of the Pacific; but few persons, probably, had so devoutly fitted the poet's grand image to a fact of experience. It consorted so with Mr. Verver's consciousness of the way in which, at a given moment, he had stared at HIS Pacific, that a couple of perusals of the immortal lines had sufficed to stamp them in his memory. His "peak in Darien" was the sudden hour that had transformed his life, the hour of his perceiving with a mute inward gasp akin to the low moan of apprehensive passion, that a world was left him to conquer and that he might conquer it if he tried. It had been a turning of the page of the book of life—as if a leaf long inert had moved at a touch and, eagerly reversed, had made such a stir of the air as sent up into his face the very breath of the Golden Isles. To rifle the Golden Isles had, on the spot, become the business of his future, and with the sweetness of it—what was most wondrous of all—still more even in the thought than in the act. The thought was that of the affinity of Genius, or at least of Taste, with something in himself—with the dormant intelligence of which he had thus almost violently become aware and that affected him as changing by a mere revolution of the screw his whole intellectual plane. He was equal, somehow, with the great seers, the invokers and encouragers of beauty—and he didn't after all perhaps dangle so far below the great producers and creators. He had been nothing of that kind before-too decidedly, too dreadfully not; but now he saw why he had been what he had, why he had failed and fallen short even in huge success; now he read into his career, in one single magnificent night, the immense meaning it had waited for.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

JBS

I need to remember not to read The Golden Bowl (is that the book those quotes are from?)...
Seriously, those quotes are exactly why I rarely get along with James: it ranges round so much and veers into so many tangents that the idea it means to convey gets lost in the hubbub.

They're not stream of conciousness: they don't really track the character's thoughts, rather they track the author (or the supposed omniscient third person narrator).

I understand why American Southern vernacular might be an obstacle, but Faulkner hardly ever does that.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Mandryka

#12208
Quote from: JBS on November 23, 2022, 07:17:05 PMThey're not stream of conciousness: they don't really track the character's thoughts, rather they track the author (or the supposed omniscient third person narrator).



It would be really interesting to compare James in Golden Bowl and Faulkner in Part 4 of The Sound and the Fury. Faulkner seems to have a go at doing the stream of consciousness thing, for white men only. It seems true that in both Faulkner as in James we're often faced with interpretation "from the outside" of a character at the most pregnant, crucial moments  - we have to make sense of his motivations from his actions and words. In a sense, that makes understanding their motivations rather like understanding real life others. And I would argue that the James approach to narration is very appropriate in so far as his aim is the exploration of tricky and subtle moral problems.

To give two examples from Faulkner, where what I say may be disputed, I'll mention Eula's suicide in The Town and Benji and Jason's actions at the end of Chapter 4 of The Sound and the Fury.

(The "game" in The Town of Ratliff's and Gavin Stevens's attempts to make sense of why Flem Snopes moved his own money out of de Spain's bank is also relevant -- I need to think about it.)



Quote from: JBS on November 23, 2022, 07:17:05 PMI need to remember not to read The Golden Bowl (is that the book those quotes are from?)...
Seriously, those quotes are exactly why I rarely get along with James: it ranges round so much and veers into so many tangents that the idea it means to convey gets lost in the hubbub.



I don't agree that the idea gets lost. James makes the idea sublime. It's a poem.

There are extremely elaborate and extended metaphors in Faulkner I think  - for example, the comparison of Eula with a goddess, a spirit. But of course, the two authors are different.


Quote from: JBS on November 23, 2022, 07:17:05 PMI understand why American Southern vernacular might be an obstacle, but Faulkner hardly ever does that.


Well, what sort of vernacular does Ratliff speak in the Snopes novels? Or the preacher in The Sound and the Fury? These are both Faulknerian characters I have pained reading!

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

JBS

Quote from: Mandryka on November 23, 2022, 11:15:44 PMWell, what sort of vernacular does Ratliff speak in the Snopes novels? Or the preacher in The Sound and the Fury? These are both Faulknerian characters I have pained reading!



It's been a long time since I read those. I don't remember enough to answer your question. But Southern revival preaching has a distinct rhetorical style.

But when I said "Faulkner hardly ever does that"--well, the last part of Sound and Fury is one of the places were he does do "that".

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Ganondorf

My favorite characters in The Golden Bowl are The Assingham couple, especially Fanny whose analyzing of the main characters' motives makes one think she is (genderflipped) stand-in for the author. Then there is also The question of whether she actually knows what she's doing when trying to help them or whether she's panicking out of guilt and desperation because she inadvertently is causing an affair to happen.

Spotted Horses

Quote from: Mandryka on November 23, 2022, 12:25:14 PMHenery James is not kindle-able. You need the ritual of opening the book, smell the paper, flick forward and back, measure how long you've got to  to the next chapter. You have to hold it in your hand and stare at it until its meaning dawns. It's a lot easier for me than Falkner, perhaps because I understand Edwardian English better than Mississippi-ese! How can you resist this sort of metaphor for the effect of a daughter's marriage on the life of her father?
...

I never found the smell of the book enhanced appreciation of literature. The only time I recall noticing a distinct smell was when it was a moldy old volume from a used book store.

What is clear now is that I won't be able to read James except at a point when I have ample time, which isn't going to happen, regrettably.

Mandryka

I'll mention something about The Golden Bowl. There's an audio book on YouTube. It really is complete, and it's read straight - an amateur and not an actor, and almost certainly someone who loves it. You'd have to love it to volunteer for the task.


I think it's very good, and if anyone wants to read it they could do far worse than to read a chapter, follow it with a chapter on the audio book etc etc.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Spotted Horses

Quote from: Mandryka on November 24, 2022, 07:26:49 AMI'll mention something about The Golden Bowl. There's an audio book on YouTube. It really is complete, and it's read straight - an amateur and not an actor, and almost certainly someone who loves it. You'd have to love it to volunteer for the task.


I think it's very good, and if anyone wants to read it they could do far worse than to read a chapter, follow it with a chapter on the audio book etc etc.



Seems inconsistent that you think it is impossible to appreciate James on a Kindle, as opposed to a physical book, but an audio recording is ok. How do you absorb those three-page sentences an an audio recording? You'd need a cue n every comma. :)

Mandryka

#12214
Quote from: Spotted Horses on November 24, 2022, 07:04:01 PMSeems inconsistent that you think it is impossible to appreciate James on a Kindle, as opposed to a physical book, but an audio recording is ok. How do you absorb those three-page sentences an an audio recording? You'd need a cue n every comma. :)

It does. I have a big problem about reading certain things in Kindle - academic pieces, books where you want to go back and forth like this one. Kindle is too clunky, and I've never found an e-reader with faster hardware. But when you listen to an audiobook, you're forced to abandon any thought of going back to a passage. You're almost forced to go forward at the pace of the narration, you have to submit to that pace. And that can be quite a good experience, though certainly not the best one if you want to understand.  I think sometimes the audiobook can give you the general gist of the chapter, which you then refine and polish up by reading the book.

I like kindle for popular fiction. Stuff where you just start at page 1 and work forward to the end. Anything else, and as I say, it's just too clunky. But there's not the sense of submission to another person's chosen pace like in an audiobook, so . . .

A tablet is maybe better, and I use them for pdfs. But I don't like the glare . . .
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Mandryka

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Spotted Horses

Quote from: Mandryka on November 24, 2022, 07:19:08 PMIt does. I have a big problem about reading certain things in Kindle - academic pieces, books where you want to go back and forth like this one. Kindle is too clunky, and I've never found an e-reader with faster hardware. But when you listen to an audiobook, you're forced to abandon any thought of going back to a passage. You're almost forced to go forward at the pace of the narration, you have to submit to that pace. And that can be quite a good experience, though certainly not the best one if you want to understand.  I think sometimes the audiobook can give you the general gist of the chapter, which you then refine and polish up by reading the book.

I like kindle for popular fiction. Stuff where you just start at page 1 and work forward to the end. Anything else, and as I say, it's just too clunky. But there's not the sense of submission to another person's chosen pace like in an audiobook, so . . .

A tablet is maybe better, and I use them for pdfs. But I don't like the glare . . .


It's not that I don't know what you mean. In a way there is nothing more effective than your thumb to hold a place in a book that you want to go back to. But Kindle has its advantages, like when a character name appears and you say to yourself, "who the hell is that," and in kindle you can search and find the first appearance.

It's been years since I used an actual kindle. I use the kindle app on iPad and it is very responsive and has an elegant way to scan through pages. With my life as it is, if I had to read paper books only I just wouldn't read.

Mandryka

#12217
I find kindle software on my Samsung phone very good when I'm travelling. And yes iPad is better for kindle than the Amazon hardware. But there's the glare and I find that the light, is it blue light, stops me from falling asleep.  I spoke to Amazon to see if they have a faster e-reader, but they said no.

I think part of the problem is that the way they implement the fonts makes page refresh very resource consuming. And for me searching on an Amazon kindle reader is often painful - entering texts. I really hate the kindle e-reader, apart for reading light fiction.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Spotted Horses

Quote from: Mandryka on November 24, 2022, 07:45:45 PMI think part of the problem is that the way they implement the fonts makes page refresh very resource consuming. And for me searching on an Amazon kindle reader is often painful - entering texts. I really hate the kindle e-reader, apart for reading light fiction.

I think the issue is that the paper-white display is not like an LCD, it physically moves pigment particles to draw the screen, and that isn't fast. There is some advantage to it if you are trying to read in sunlight, otherwise iPad (and iPhone) work best for me.

Mandryka

If anyone knows of a faster e-reader, then please let me know.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen