What are you currently reading?

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SimonNZ



Only intended to read the section on Adlai Stevenson, but that is so well written I'll be doing the whole book.

k a rl h e nn i ng

Quote from: SimonNZ on January 21, 2023, 04:52:04 PM

Only intended to read the section on Adlai Stevenson, but that is so well written I'll be doing the whole book.
Fascinating!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[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

Brian

What unites the six men being discussed? Is there a theme?

Dry Brett Kavanaugh


SimonNZ

Quote from: Brian on January 21, 2023, 06:11:58 PMWhat unites the six men being discussed? Is there a theme?

Sort of. Five of them are people he considered friends, and who, unlike many other writers, he thinks also considered him a genuine friend. The character studies are meant to be warts and all, but with love. The exception is Edward VIII, who Cooke knew only as an interviewer, and his section is meant to show a meaningful contrast with the other five.

Or at least that's what I've gleaned from the introduction.

Klavierman

Just started it, but so far, so good.

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

Hermann Hesse: Gertrude. Reread.






Ganondorf

I finally finished unabridged Hugo's "Les Miserables", a project I started years ago. I somehow find it much harder to read ebook so there have been months when I haven't touched Les Miserables. Still very good though. Almost done with James's "The Golden Bowl" too (roughly 30 pages left) , which has also been an absolute blast.

Let's see if I'll pick up Les Travailleurs de la mer some day.

Ganondorf

Finished The Golden Bowl today. That ending and the book as a whole was a masterpiece in ambiguous storytelling. I think this will not be the last Henry James work I'll pick up.

SimonNZ

Started:



Even though this is 1400 pages I can tell from the first 50 that its going to be a fast, fun read.

ultralinear

Quote from: SimonNZ on January 27, 2023, 03:23:05 PMStarted:



Even though this is 1400 pages I can tell from the first 50 that its going to be a fast, fun read.

Oh that's my Desert Island book - I have the 1896 Birrell edition in 6 volumes, which I discovered languishing unappreciated in a South London junk shop more than 30 years ago.

A lot of it comes down to whether you like Boswell as a person. No doubt his puppyish enthusiasm could be wearing at times - Johnson would occasionally snap at him for it - all of which he would faithfully record, the insults along with the affection - but there can be little doubt that he must have made a very cheerful companion.  And still does.

His London Journal 1762-1763 is a very entertaining read.  It covers the period up to his first meeting with Johnson, but is probably more famous for the "Louisa episode", in which he gives a day-by-day account of how his plan to achieve a pox-free sex life came to nothing in spectacular fashion, and has to be one of the most hilarious things ever set down in print.  It's the combination of preening self-regard - he finds himself endlessly fascinating - with the continual pratfalls and humiliation, all of it told with engaging frankness.


Ganondorf


ritter

#12292
Currently reading:



André Suarès (1868-1948) was, along with Paul Claudel, André Gide and Paul Valéry, one of the leading figures of the Nouvelle Revue Française in its initial years, but has now lapsed into obscurity (compared to his distinguished peers, at least). These Remarques were published in 12 monthly instalments towards the end of WW1 (August 1917 ro July 1918), and were reissued in a single volume in facsimile form in 2000. Publishing house Gallimard aptly describes this as "Essay, political pamphlet, reaction to immediate news (Germany, Europe, the Bolshevik revolution, the papacy) are balanced with the most demanding analytical literature and the most varied creation (theatre, poetry)". Beautifully written, the articles and poems clearly reflect an intellectually alert and highly cultured personality. A pleasure to read...

...and simultaneously:



I had never read any Simenon until now, and thought the Maigret novellas (or short stories) would be a good entry point. Some go by without leaving much of an impression, but others are small jewels (particularly, IMO,  as far as describing the settings in which the commissaire undertakes his investigations).

One thing caught my attention, though: it rains a hell of a lot wherever Mr. Maigret is  ;D .
ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
« ...tout cela qui prend forme et solidité, est sorti, ville et jardins, de ma tasse de thé. »

SimonNZ

Quote from: ultralinear on January 28, 2023, 02:37:39 AMOh that's my Desert Island book - I have the 1896 Birrell edition in 6 volumes, which I discovered languishing unappreciated in a South London junk shop more than 30 years ago.

A lot of it comes down to whether you like Boswell as a person. No doubt his puppyish enthusiasm could be wearing at times - Johnson would occasionally snap at him for it - all of which he would faithfully record, the insults along with the affection - but there can be little doubt that he must have made a very cheerful companion.  And still does.

His London Journal 1762-1763 is a very entertaining read.  It covers the period up to his first meeting with Johnson, but is probably more famous for the "Louisa episode", in which he gives a day-by-day account of how his plan to achieve a pox-free sex life came to nothing in spectacular fashion, and has to be one of the most hilarious things ever set down in print.  It's the combination of preening self-regard - he finds himself endlessly fascinating - with the continual pratfalls and humiliation, all of it told with engaging frankness.



I'll probably be doing the London Journal not to long after finishing the Life, so its good to hear you rate it well. Have you read any of the other of the Journal volumes? I see them in secondhand shops from time to time, so should grab them. I saw the Hebrides volume just yesterday.

ultralinear

Quote from: SimonNZ on January 28, 2023, 09:49:28 PMI'll probably be doing the London Journal not to long after finishing the Life, so its good to hear you rate it well. Have you read any of the other of the Journal volumes? I see them in secondhand shops from time to time, so should grab them. I saw the Hebrides volume just yesterday.

I have the 1766-1769 volume published under the title of Boswell In Search of a Wife, his future responsibilities as Laird of Auchinleck having begun by then to weigh upon him.  Not a straightforward quest, seeing as there cannot have been many in his social circle not fully acquainted with the details of his life, including how often he'd caught the clap.  I don't know if the word discretion was in Johnson's Dictionary, but it doesn't seem to have been in Boswell's.  His writing has an immediacy which was unusual if not unique at a time when there seems to have been a general expectation that the printed word needed to have a certain grandeur about it.  There's nothing pompous about Boswell - he puts you right there at the chop-house table, squeezed in between Joshua Reynolds and Oliver Goldsmith, capturing scraps of conversation and inconsequential remarks overheard.  Somewhere (it might be in the Life) he records an evening in a tavern with Johnson, who is struggling to make himself heard over the hilarity emanating from the next table where a group of country curates up in town for some purpose are noisily getting hammered.  Eventually Johnson leans forward to observe irritably that "this merriment of parsons is very provoking."  And you can see it clearly - the frown, the harumphing, turning round to cast looks of disapproval - it doesn't mean anything, in the grand scheme of things, but in that moment Johnson is brought back to life.

SimonNZ

Quote from: ultralinear on January 29, 2023, 11:14:40 AMI have the 1766-1769 volume published under the title of Boswell In Search of a Wife, his future responsibilities as Laird of Auchinleck having begun by then to weigh upon him.  Not a straightforward quest, seeing as there cannot have been many in his social circle not fully acquainted with the details of his life, including how often he'd caught the clap.  I don't know if the word discretion was in Johnson's Dictionary, but it doesn't seem to have been in Boswell's.  His writing has an immediacy which was unusual if not unique at a time when there seems to have been a general expectation that the printed word needed to have a certain grandeur about it.  There's nothing pompous about Boswell - he puts you right there at the chop-house table, squeezed in between Joshua Reynolds and Oliver Goldsmith, capturing scraps of conversation and inconsequential remarks overheard.  Somewhere (it might be in the Life) he records an evening in a tavern with Johnson, who is struggling to make himself heard over the hilarity emanating from the next table where a group of country curates up in town for some purpose are noisily getting hammered.  Eventually Johnson leans forward to observe irritably that "this merriment of parsons is very provoking."  And you can see it clearly - the frown, the harumphing, turning round to cast looks of disapproval - it doesn't mean anything, in the grand scheme of things, but in that moment Johnson is brought back to life.

Thank you for that. I'll definitely be grabbing any of the Yale "Private Papers" editions I can find.

Looking at wikipedia now I see there's actually 12 volumes. I wasn't aware of any after the seventh, "The Ominous Years"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Boswell#Published_journals