What are you currently reading?

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

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SimonNZ

Nearly finished:



More than lives up to its reputation as a classic of humour.


Quarter of the way in (and somewhat less funny):


aligreto

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

vers la flamme

Quote from: vers la flamme on April 01, 2021, 03:28:40 PM
Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love



Having finished Haruki Murakami's running memoir whose title pays tribute to this classic collection, I figured there's no time like the present to finally read some Ray Carver. Wow. I'm hugely impressed with the beautiful writing here. It's not at all what I expected, which was bleak, joyless, depressing minimalist narratives of downtrodden working-class Americans. Well, I guess that's all there, too, but what I'm finding more impressive is the deep poetry in this writing, which seems obsessed with the minutiae of life and the specter of death. This is dark stuff, sure, but some of it warms my heart, especially the stories toward the middle of the book. I'm fairly close to finishing and I suspect I'll be reading more Carver quite soon.

Man, that book was amazing! Going to see if I can't pick up one of Carver's other collections later today, after work.

Curious what the GMG community thinks of Ray Carver. Any fans?

Artem

I'm a big fan of Raymond Carver. Got to him via Murakami too. I have 3 or 4 of his books. They are all kind of the same, but that doesn't make them less interesting. His writing is great when you want to clear your mind after a reading a dense, long book.

Recently finished these two relatively short novels. My Friends was pretty good, very tranquil and humanistic look into a person's state. Mishima's book was odd and felt like Tales from the Crypt series. It was written for Playboy, which explains its bizarreness.


vers la flamme

#10684
More Raymond Carver, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?



I love it. Very much in the same vein as the later collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Simple, beautiful stories, sometimes dark, sometimes heartwarming, always featuring characters who are more complex than they might at first seem. This being his debut collection, many of these stories were written before Carver kicked the booze for good. There are only a couple more collections of his stories that I still have yet to read, but I may take up Artem's suggestion of returning to it as a "palate cleanser" after a more challenging read. In any case, I suspect I will be returning to Love and Quiet for a long time to come.

One last brief comment: these Vintage Contemporaries editions are absolutely beautiful. Vintage is probably my favorite publisher of trade paperbacks.

@Artem, it seems you and I may go for the same kind of books. Have you read any other Mishima? I've been wanting to check that one out, but from what I can tell, it's somewhat of an oddity among his works.

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

#10685
Quote from: vers la flamme on April 02, 2021, 03:20:51 AM
Man, that book was amazing! Going to see if I can't pick up one of Carver's other collections later today, after work.

Curious what the GMG community thinks of Ray Carver. Any fans?

I read many positive reviews on the book at Amazon, I must get a copy.


Quote from: Artem on April 03, 2021, 11:21:31 PM
Mishima's book was odd and felt like Tales from the Crypt series. It was written for Playboy, which explains its bizarreness.

That's an outlier among Mishima's works though I personally love his writing in the novel. Mishima just had fun writing silly and ridiculous, and he showed that he was very good at it. Confessions of a Mask, Sound of Waves, Gold Pavilion, and Sailor Who Fell From Grace (I never liked the English title) are typical works of Mishima. Plus, Death in Midsummer and Other Stories, and Five Noh Plays, are enjoyable collections of his works.

Now reading Medieval Architecture by Nicola Coldstream.

P.s. It's worth watching the movie of Sailors Who Fell.

Dry Brett Kavanaugh


Ganondorf

It most definitely is! Much better than I remembered!

Artem

Quote from: vers la flamme on April 04, 2021, 01:19:53 PM
@Artem, it seems you and I may go for the same kind of books. Have you read any other Mishima? I've been wanting to check that one out, but from what I can tell, it's somewhat of an oddity among his works.

As Dry Brett Kavanaugh points out Life for Sale is indeed an outlier in Mishima's oeuvre. It is probably worth reading after finishing Mishima's major works.

I've only read a couple of Mishima's novels, including Confessions of a Mask, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion and The Frolic of the Beasts. I enjoyed them all to a different degree. To me Mishima is a kind of writer that I would try to read everything he published.

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

#10689
I like Mishima when he doesn't bring his social ideology.
In contrast to its cover, Death in Midsummer offers accessible and non-disturbing stories. The Noh Plays compiles interesting and creative plays. Highly recommended.

Artem

I'll follow you recommendations next time I'm buying Mishima's books. Thank you very much.

vers la flamme

Just finished Hiroko Oyamada's The Factory



What a strange book, which had a shocking twist ending of sorts. I enjoyed it a lot, for its dense, oppressive atmosphere and its often whimsical world-building. The author really succeeded in conjuring a workplace that seems to go on forever and ever, temporally and spatially. It's a pretty freaky reading experience. My biggest critique is that the story of one of the three narrators really doesn't seem to go anywhere, and fizzles out a little bit before the end of the novel. But that aside, it's a good book. I'd recommend reading both of Oyamada's novellas that have been translated into English, but ultimately I think I preferred The Hole. Excited to read more from this promising young author. Unfortunately it seems she is not the most prolific writer in the world.

Artem

Enjoyed your review. I was also hooked on the atmosphere of that book.

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

#10693
Quote from: Artem on April 05, 2021, 06:15:36 AM
To me Mishima is a kind of writer that I would try to read everything he published.

Somehow, Mishima' s works lie beyond whether or not you like them. If you want to know Japanese literature, or just literature, you must read some of his works. It seems to me, even a majority of readers who dislike him admit Mishima's talent in elegance, delicacy, structure, paradox, etc. Are his works likable/acceptable? That's a totally different thing.

Quote from: Artem on April 06, 2021, 05:41:17 AM
Enjoyed your review.

+1. Nice and insightful review.

vers la flamme

Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep



A classic hardboiled mystery. This is my first time reading anything like this. Really enjoying it so far. The insights of the cynical protagonist are often quite hilarious. I might have to read some more Chandler in the near future. These Vintage Crime/Black Lizard editions look excellent.

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

#10695
Now reading Botchan (Young Master) by Soseki Natsume. A straight-talking, hot-headed and honest young man of upperclass family in Tokyo goes to a rural and unsophisticated area in Japan to teach at a high school (it's like an upperclass young guy in Boston going to a village in Mississippi). He fights with the people in the conservative, ridiculous, and corrupt system. He doesn't care if he will win the fight or not because he is--- "botchan." Hilarious and ironic.

Ed. Natsume was one of Glenn Gould's favorite writers.

https://www.peterowen.com/extract-damian-flanagan-introduction-to-the-three-cornered-world-by-natsume-soseki/

aligreto

Masterpieces of Maupassant





Over the last couple of months I have read this collection [English translation]. Maupassant was a very admirable author equally at home in the novel or in the short story. He was a progressive writer and was not adverse to tackling delicate subjects. I have enjoyed re-reading these works. There are wonderful characters ranging from farm hands to elite Parisian socialites and they all have their own story. Maupassant was, for me, a bit like Dickens in that he unveiled the under belly of an apparent civilized society. But human nature is human nature whenever or wherever it appears.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

vers la flamme

#10697
Quote from: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on April 07, 2021, 05:15:43 PM
Now reading Botchan (Young Master) by Soseki Natsume. A straight-talking, hot-headed and honest young man of upperclass family in Tokyo goes to a rural and unsophisticated area in Japan to teach at a high school (it's like an upperclass young guy in Boston going to a village in Mississippi). He fights with the people in the conservative, ridiculous, and corrupt system. He doesn't care if he will win the fight or not because he is--- "botchan." Hilarious and ironic.

Ed. Natsume was one of Glenn Gould's favorite writers.

https://www.peterowen.com/extract-damian-flanagan-introduction-to-the-three-cornered-world-by-natsume-soseki/

That was a fascinating read. I didn't know of the Soseki/Gould connection. I've been meaning to read Kokoro and I Am A Cat, but I'll have to add Botchan and The Three-Cornered World to that list. Haruki Murakami has also cited Soseki as his favorite Japanese author, and references to his works play a big role in Kafka on the Shore.

Edit: I ordered a copy of The Three-Cornered World, along with Yukio Mishima's Star, a novella that was recommended to me highly, and Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata. My obsession with Japanese literature continues!  :laugh:

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

#10698
I haven't read Kusamakura (grass pillow), aka. The Three Cornered World. I will get a copy.  Usually, Kokoro, Botchan, and Cat are considered to be Natsume's major works in Japan, as well as the West. The first English translation of Kusamakura was published in the 1960s under the title, The Three Cornered World. This is the book Glenn Gould was obsessed with. Early in this century, a new edition by a reputed translator was published under the original title, Kusamakura. Unless the publisher (Penguin P.) was confident of its quality vis a vis the quality of older edition, they wouldn't have published the new edition. 


It seems to me, a few questions remain. Was Gould's well-known transformation partially or largely influenced by Natsume's art philosophy? Why did the significance of Kusamakura replace that of Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, which I personally admire?

https://youtu.be/jvI5a3kZl0M

https://youtu.be/w9wjPMBNJXo

Dry Brett Kavanaugh

#10699
Quote from: aligreto on April 08, 2021, 01:35:54 AM
Masterpieces of Maupassant





Over the last couple of months I have read this collection [English translation]. Maupassant was a very admirable author equally at home in the novel or in the short story. He was a progressive writer and was not adverse to tackling delicate subjects. I have enjoyed re-reading these works. There are wonderful characters ranging from farm hands to elite Parisian socialites and they all have their own story. Maupassant was, for me, a bit like Dickens in that he unveiled the under belly of an apparent civilized society. But human nature is human nature whenever or wherever it appears.

Well-said. I admire Maupassant's works, including his short stories.

The books in the pic look so cool and hip!