Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 918598 times)

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Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9880 on: May 22, 2020, 04:19:19 AM »
Btw, I found Moby Dick much more readable than that part of War and peace which I managed to read. Of course, one cannot judge a book unless one has completely read it.

Offline Jo498

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9881 on: May 22, 2020, 05:42:14 AM »
"Kreutzer sonata" is a quick read but many hate it because it is Tolstoy in his puritan preacher mode. The best of his shorter prose is probably "The Death of Ivan Ilich", an utterly brilliant piece, psychologically infinitely more subtle than Kreutzer sonata.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9882 on: May 22, 2020, 07:15:45 AM »
I've only read AK once when I was much younger but at the time the Kitty-Levin stuff were my favorite parts.

Finally, something we can agree upon.  8)
"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  --- Victor Hugo

Offline Philoctetes

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9883 on: May 22, 2020, 10:14:13 AM »
"That wouldn't be believable. Well, not if you don't believe it" (Trick, 1999).

"You'd like me to be dumb and nothing more. Maybe you think that, but I don't. But that's how it should be" (Undertow, 2009).

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9884 on: May 22, 2020, 10:16:42 AM »


Anyone got an opinion about what Ernaux does?
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9885 on: May 22, 2020, 10:20:26 AM »
Relatively speaking, I am approaching the end of Proust's In the shadow of young girls in flower. The narrator recently met Elstir, a painter. Narrator certainly makes me squirm with embarrassment at times with his relentless stalking. At least in this book he is still an adolescent but I understand he continues his borderline narcissistic and possessive traits even in later volumes when he is older.

That being said, especially this Balbec section of the book is incredibly evocative text.

Have you come to the bit yet where the narrator ejaculates in his pants when he sees someone (Gilbert maybe) going for a walk in the Jardin du Luxembourg? That was the moment when I sat up and said to myself that this Recherche du temps perdu isn't quite what it seems.

His stalking is central to the novel IMO. As much as he stalks other people, he can never find out the truth. Other people are in some sense fundamentally unknowable -- I think that's the idea.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 10:23:05 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Philoctetes

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9886 on: May 22, 2020, 11:26:22 AM »
"That wouldn't be believable. Well, not if you don't believe it" (Trick, 1999).

"You'd like me to be dumb and nothing more. Maybe you think that, but I don't. But that's how it should be" (Undertow, 2009).

Offline ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9887 on: May 22, 2020, 11:49:49 AM »


On a humorous note, reading the title of that book, and the blurb on Amazon, I was reminded of an anecdote that has become famous here in Spain: when bullfighter Rafael “El Gallo” was introduced to José Ortega y Gasset and told the latter was a philosopher, someone tried to explain to him what a philosopher actually did. The bullfighter’s response was “Hay gente pa tó”—loosely translatable as “It takes all sorts (to make a world)”.   :)
ritter
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„ Kein’ Musik ist ja nicht auf Erden, die unsrer verglichen kann werden“.

Online SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9888 on: May 22, 2020, 12:04:55 PM »


Found that so fascinating that I read it in one sitting some years back. It is, admittedly quite a short book, but I'm quite a slow reader and that doesn't happen often.

TD: still loving - and highly recommending - Bird Lives! and from the author's background detail of the Kansas City jazz scene in the 30s realise I'm going to have to hunt down his book length study of that subject.

Online SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9889 on: May 22, 2020, 12:10:45 PM »
"Kreutzer sonata" is a quick read but many hate it because it is Tolstoy in his puritan preacher mode. The best of his shorter prose is probably "The Death of Ivan Ilich", an utterly brilliant piece, psychologically infinitely more subtle than Kreutzer sonata.

I keep meaning to get around to "Hadji Murat", whose reputation as a key Tolstoy work has increased steadily in recent decades - especially since getting a big puff in Harold Bloom's The Western Canon.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 12:19:30 PM by SimonNZ »

Offline Philoctetes

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9890 on: May 22, 2020, 03:05:45 PM »
On a humorous note, reading the title of that book, and the blurb on Amazon, I was reminded of an anecdote that has become famous here in Spain: when bullfighter Rafael “El Gallo” was introduced to José Ortega y Gasset and told the latter was a philosopher, someone tried to explain to him what a philosopher actually did. The bullfighter’s response was “Hay gente pa tó”—loosely translatable as “It takes all sorts (to make a world)”.   :)

Lol. Love that story. When folks ask what I do, I simply say I'm a teacher (will be a professor come to December, then I'll say that)

Found that so fascinating that I read it in one sitting some years back. It is, admittedly quite a short book, but I'm quite a slow reader and that doesn't happen often.

It has one of the best openings ever, and the case she covers is endlessly fascinating (eventually evolved into satanic conspiracy with noted conspiracist, now gone, Ted Gunderson).
"That wouldn't be believable. Well, not if you don't believe it" (Trick, 1999).

"You'd like me to be dumb and nothing more. Maybe you think that, but I don't. But that's how it should be" (Undertow, 2009).

Offline Jo498

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9891 on: May 22, 2020, 11:13:06 PM »
I keep meaning to get around to "Hadji Murat", whose reputation as a key Tolstoy work has increased steadily in recent decades - especially since getting a big puff in Harold Bloom's The Western Canon.
It is also good but IMO in no way such a deep psychological "key" work as Death of Ivan Ilich or maybe some others. Very roughly Hadji Murat seems a more mature treatment of topics he did earlier with "The cossacks" and similar stories from the wars in Caucasus or at other borders of the Russian Empire.
I don't know about free kindle or other options (and I was reading the stuff in German translation, you will probably in English, not Russian) but often one finds all or most of the shorter/middle prose pieces by Tolstoy collected in one or two volumes. This is a worthwhile addition for any bookshelf and one can read as many stories as one feels like.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Online SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9892 on: May 22, 2020, 11:29:07 PM »
Penguin Classics have three or four useful roundups of the shorter works for the English reader.

The Tolstoy I really want to go back to, one I read in mid teens but can barely remember now is the Sebastopol Sketches.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9893 on: May 22, 2020, 11:34:43 PM »
Penguin Classics have three or four useful roundups of the shorter works for the English reader.

The Tolstoy I really want to go back to, one I read in mid teens but can barely remember now is the Sebastopol Sketches.

Have you read Orwell's Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool?

I have read War and Peace (though I left out the didactic chapters on Philosophy of History), and I read Anna Karenina (which I very much enjoyed.) But everything else, including Hadji Murat, didn't make an impression, least of all the later works. War and Peace is good because Pierre Bezukhov is such a sympathetic character -- the way he's always losing his glasses etc.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 11:38:57 PM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9894 on: May 22, 2020, 11:41:31 PM »
I finished Moby-Dick. Now what am I supposed to do all day long - work?!

Try Billy Budd!
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Online SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9895 on: May 22, 2020, 11:46:36 PM »
Have you read Orwell's Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool?
.

No....I've read most of Orwell but that ones not familiar. You'd recommend it?

If we're going to play this game: have you read Orwell's Keep The Aspidistra Flying? It's a favorite of mine and one that I continually recommend to anyone who'll listen.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9896 on: May 23, 2020, 12:57:49 AM »
No....I've read most of Orwell but that ones not familiar. You'd recommend it?



Very much so. Orwell's journalism, essays and letters are well worth exploring.



If we're going to play this game: have you read Orwell's Keep The Aspidistra Flying? It's a favorite of mine and one that I continually recommend to anyone who'll listen.

Yes I have, very good.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9897 on: May 23, 2020, 01:15:20 AM »
Last night, Henry de Montherlant’s play Port-Royal (followed the 1960 TV production with the text in the Pléiade edition):

 
This one-acter, set in the Port-Royal convent in Paris during the Jansenist controversy of the 1660s, deals with the nuns being forced to choose between their convictions—which interestingly don’t seem to emanate from a deep knowledge of the principles they’re supposed to be based on—and power (papal and royal) that they also acknowledge and respect. Quite powerful, IMHO, and rather moving.
ritter
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Online vers la flamme

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9898 on: May 23, 2020, 07:45:15 AM »
It really etches in one’s mind and heart. Try Demian if you haven’t done so already.

Glad to hear someone feels similarly. I read and loved Demian, but not since high school, I ought to reread it now that I understand life a little bit better.  :D

Online SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9899 on: May 24, 2020, 07:55:45 PM »
A couple of interesting lists from Literary Hub:

The 50 Best Contemporary Novels Under 200 Pages

The 50 Best Contemporary Novels Over 500 Pages

edit: I should include the list that led me over to them:

The 20 Best Works of Nonfiction of the Decade
« Last Edit: May 24, 2020, 08:00:43 PM by SimonNZ »