Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 891454 times)

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Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9620 on: January 11, 2020, 09:14:57 PM »

He also wrote a book about Mother Teresa that seems to just as hostile to her, if the fact that it was republished  in the same format as the others is a good indicator.


I've read what I think may have been the original magazine article version of the Mother Teresa thing in one of the anthologies of his journalism. He's not really hostile towards her - well, he sort of is, but in a roundabout way. He's more interested in the myth the world has made out of her due to some kind of need for a "Mother Teresa" figure, and how very different it is to the actual work she does and to her methods.

For some reason Hitchens' doesn't add the Clintons killing of Vince Foster (et al) to his list of charges - which can only be an oversight as he's happy to advance every other accusation sensible or silly, including being 100% all in on the "Wag The Dog" theory of the post-Monica wars.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2020, 09:36:07 PM by SimonNZ »

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9621 on: January 13, 2020, 03:57:47 PM »


« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 05:35:34 PM by SimonNZ »

Offline LKB

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9622 on: January 14, 2020, 10:19:53 AM »
Still going with Jack Reacher, but also started this today and pleased to find it very well written. The section near the beginning on the Curies was a model of potted biography and popular history:



Obliquely related:

https://books.google.com/books?id=T6PjIRx26FIC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22L.+Douglas+Keeney%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid-cHZ2IPnAhW3GDQIHQmDCtoQ6AEIHTAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

I recommend 15 Minutes. For those too young to have memories of the most dangerous years of the Cold War, the book will be an eye - opener. The account of the Texas Towers alone makes the book worthwhile.

Duck and cover,

LKB
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Offline JBS

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Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9624 on: January 18, 2020, 10:23:46 AM »
RIP. Without Christopher we wouldn't have had Silmarillion (my favorite Tolkien book) or other posthumous works published except maybe much later.

Also continuing through latter segments of Proust's Swann's Way (the Finnish translation actually divides Swann's Way in 2 volumes, the first one is about the Combray section, I'm currently in vol 2 of Finnish translation which includes Swann in love and Names of places: the name). IIRC, the next two parts of original In Search of Lost Time (In the Budding Grove and Guermantes Way) are also divided in Finnish translation into 2 volumes each. So in translation this monumental work is 10 volumes in total.

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9625 on: January 18, 2020, 06:29:06 PM »
Halfway through Age Of Radiance but also knocked of this:



A very good deep dive into one pivotal year, corralling a lot of info you'd elsewhere find scattered across a number of volumes, along with the authors reexamination of contemporary reviews and interviews, and his own interviews with many of the Beatles inner circle.

from the back cover:

"The year that changed everything for the Beatles was 1966—the year of their last concert and Revolver, their first album of songs not intended for live performance. This was the year the Beatles risked their popularity by retiring from the tour circuit, recording songs that explored alternative states of consciousness, experimenting with avant-garde ideas, and speaking their minds on issues of politics, war, and religion. It was the year Americans burned their records after John’s explosive claim that the group was “more popular than Jesus,” the year they were hounded out of the Philippines for “snubbing” the country’s first lady, the year John met Yoko Ono, and the year Paul conceived the idea for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band."
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 06:32:40 PM by SimonNZ »

Offline steve ridgway

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9626 on: January 18, 2020, 09:04:12 PM »
Halfway through Age Of Radiance but also knocked of this:



A very good deep dive into one pivotal year, corralling a lot of info you'd elsewhere find scattered across a number of volumes, along with the authors reexamination of contemporary reviews and interviews, and his own interviews with many of the Beatles inner circle.

from the back cover:

"The year that changed everything for the Beatles was 1966—the year of their last concert and Revolver, their first album of songs not intended for live performance. This was the year the Beatles risked their popularity by retiring from the tour circuit, recording songs that explored alternative states of consciousness, experimenting with avant-garde ideas, and speaking their minds on issues of politics, war, and religion. It was the year Americans burned their records after John’s explosive claim that the group was “more popular than Jesus,” the year they were hounded out of the Philippines for “snubbing” the country’s first lady, the year John met Yoko Ono, and the year Paul conceived the idea for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Pop and rock music got so much more experimental and interesting that year after the Beatles picked up the studio sound manipulation techniques of 1950s/60s “classical” music.

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9627 on: January 25, 2020, 05:35:58 PM »


This was superb, particularly in the three sections near the end covering Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Up to this point I'd say the book was highly recommended.

Then the conclusion section was so astonishingly bad and bizarrely undermined and contradicted everything that came before it that I was left baffled. It was as though an industry apologist had granted access to all the materials in the book as long as they could have the final word, including the astonishing statement that a meltdown every decade or so is just the price we pay for this glorious energy source along with rolling out all the disingenuous industry spin about "fearmongering" and provable fatality figures. Its been a week since I finished it and I still feel angry and cheated.

Read up to right before the conclusion...then stop.

halfway through both of these:



aslo dipping into these:



Oates loses a point for including herself, Burgess gets a point for not including himself

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9628 on: January 26, 2020, 02:40:10 AM »
That’s a nice one, with the texts she wrote for Libération. She recorded some excerpts (in her unmistakeable, seductive voice) as La jeune fille et l’enfant. I’ve had it on cassette since it was first released, and I think that is the only format ever released (no transfer to CD AFAIK, and not on YouTube either).



Just finished L'amant. About to start L'Amante Anglaise.

Is there a recommendable book on Duras -- biography, critical etc? L'amant has made me curious about her family -- mother, big brother.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 02:41:44 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline steve ridgway

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9629 on: January 26, 2020, 04:00:43 AM »
The Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Music. The discussion of abstruse Boulez books led me to https://archive.org/details/cambridgehistoryof20thcenturymusic/ where I’ve started reading it on my iPad for free but as there was a cheap paperback “Like New” updated edition on Amazon I’ve ordered that too.

Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9630 on: January 26, 2020, 09:22:51 AM »
Still continuing through Les Misérables (funny that I'm reading at the same time two of the longest French novels).

One stereotype which seems to bother me a bit is that Hugo is apparently of the opinion that all the landladies are nosy and gossiping spies who like nothing better than find out the secrets of every person they come across.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2020, 09:25:02 AM by AlberichUndHagen »

Offline Florestan

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9631 on: January 26, 2020, 11:14:24 AM »
Still continuing through Les Misérables (funny that I'm reading at the same time two of the longest French novels).

One stereotype which seems to bother me a bit is that Hugo is apparently of the opinion that all the landladies are nosy and gossiping spies who like nothing better than find out the secrets of every person they come across.

Maybe in France back then they really were.  :)
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Offline ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9632 on: January 27, 2020, 02:25:53 AM »
Just finished L'amant. About to start L'Amante Anglaise.

Is there a recommendable book on Duras -- biography, critical etc? L'amant has made me curious about her family -- mother, big brother.
The standard biography of Duras seems to be that by Laure Adler, originally published in 1998 with to popular success:



Then there's this book by Alain Vircondelet, which is actually in my library, that has a chapter called "Durasie", which (as per an amazon reviewer) deals with her imaginary reconstruction of her Far Eastern childhood (and which I might take a look at soon).



Note that both Adler and Vircondelet have each published other books on Duras, dealing with more specific issues of her life and/or work. Their biographies have been translated into English.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9633 on: January 27, 2020, 08:14:46 AM »
Great stuff. I read it many years ago, and was really impressed. The novel is also the first in Duras’s “Indian Cycle” (for lack of a better term), as the character of Anne-Marie Stretter appers again in Le Vice-Consul and later becomes central in the extraordinary India Song (book, play, film).

In fact, I'm not reading L'Amante Anglaise but L'amant de la chine du nord -- my bad. And even there there's a reference to Anne Marie Stretter. Fabulous book by the way, genre bending. And I'm sure it was a naive oversimplification on my part to think that these books are some sort of prototypical autofiction.

Very happy to have discovered Duras -- all those years battling with the French language has let me reap many rewards, and reading Duras is one of them for sure.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 09:01:42 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline ritter

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9634 on: January 27, 2020, 10:02:10 AM »
In fact, I'm not reading L'Amante Anglaise but L'amant de la chine du nord -- my bad. And even there there's a reference to Anne Marie Stretter. Fabulous book by the way, genre bending. And I'm sure it was a naive oversimplification on my part to think that these books are some sort of prototypical autofiction.

Very happy to have discovered Duras -- all those years battling with the French language has let me reap many rewards, and reading Duras is one of them for sure.
Yep, I was a bit surprised seeing you turning from L’amant to L’amante anglaise, as the latter is a novel (and play, but both derived from a much earlier theatre piece titled Les viaducs de la Seine-et-Oise) dealing with a particularly gruesome fait divers (based on actual newspaper reports from the late 40s), and is Duras in a completely different vein.

I haven’t read L’amant de la Chine du Nord, which Duras wrote in reaction to the film that Jean-Jacques Annaud made of L’amant, which she publicly and notoriously disavowed (even if I suppose she got a hefty check for ceding the rights).

Do explore her films, Mandryka! I very much liked Une aussi longue absence (not directed by her, but by Henri Colpi, the original script is by Duras, though) and, most particularly, Le navire Night (Duras at her most durasien IMHO).



« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 10:24:06 AM by ritter »
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Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9635 on: January 30, 2020, 06:47:15 AM »
I've read Daniel Deronda for over 1/3 of it and enjoying it so much that I wonder why this is not usually considered among her very best novels. I have heard the criticism that the two plotlines seem like they are from two different novels and dont seem connected. So far I dont agree with that (although I do agree that Gwendolen's plotline is better written), I think there are parallels between Mirah and Gwendolen in their seeing the world as their enemy but from different reasons and they react to hostility in different ways. Mirah remains innocent and wide-eyed while Gwendolen is haughty though ultimately sympathetic.

Btw, while the book handles serious matters it is still full of extremely funny jokes and witticisms.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9636 on: January 30, 2020, 07:48:59 AM »
I've read Daniel Deronda for over 1/3 of it and enjoying it so much that I wonder why this is not usually considered among her very best novels. I have heard the criticism that the two plotlines seem like they are from two different novels and dont seem connected. So far I dont agree with that (although I do agree that Gwendolen's plotline is better written), I think there are parallels between Mirah and Gwendolen in their seeing the world as their enemy but from different reasons and they react to hostility in different ways. Mirah remains innocent and wide-eyed while Gwendolen is haughty though ultimately sympathetic.

Btw, while the book handles serious matters it is still full of extremely funny jokes and witticisms.

I didn't manage to finish it, but I did get as far as 1/3 I think,  and I wondered why it's rep isn't higher too. But either I got distracted or the book deteriorated and I just abandoned it less than half way through. From memory (this may be wrong) there's a load of stuff about zionism and it didn't capture my imagination. I await your reaction to the rest of the book with bated breath (well . . . not quite . . . but you know what I mean.)
« Last Edit: January 30, 2020, 08:51:08 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline JBS

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9637 on: January 30, 2020, 10:59:35 AM »
I didn't manage to finish it, but I did get as far as 1/3 I think,  and I wondered why it's rep isn't higher too. But either I got distracted or the book deteriorated and I just abandoned it less than half way through. From memory (this may be wrong) there's a load of stuff about zionism and it didn't capture my imagination. I await your reaction to the rest of the book with bated breath (well . . . not quite . . . but you know what I mean.)

It's been a few years since I read Daniel Deronda, but I do think it's a better novel than most of her other novels, except for Middlemarch.  The zionism is a rather romanticized British thing.  Perhaps it would be better to call it Disraelism.

TD
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9638 on: January 30, 2020, 11:43:25 AM »
All the Light we Cannot See:
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #9639 on: January 30, 2020, 12:47:27 PM »
I think Daniel Deronda is rated highly by the critics, its just less popular with the reading public.

Back when I read Eliot I thought Romola was an unexpected treat and deserved to be better known.