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Author Topic: books: what are you currently reading?  (Read 309410 times)
ryler
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« Reply #600 on: May 19, 2009, 04:17:06 PM »

Gravity's Rainbow..Thomas Pynchon...

Walkerman, let me know how you like it.  That's one of those love it/hate it  books which evokes strong opinion either way.  It's on my "to read" list, and I'll be curious which opinion camp you may fall in.
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Walkerman
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« Reply #601 on: May 19, 2009, 10:17:46 PM »

Walkerman, let me know how you like it.  That's one of those love it/hate it  books which evokes strong opinion either way.  It's on my "to read" list, and I'll be curious which opinion camp you may fall in.

It's a very difficult book to read.  I originally got it because Tom Robbins lists it as one of his great inspirations, and I reall, really like Tom Robbins (isn't Another Roadside Attraction the inspiration for the Da Vinci Code?).  Besides, what could be wrong with a book based upon a man's erections predicting V2 missile strikes?

Anyhow, I have to read it in sections, with long hiatuses between sections.  I'm no prude, but some of the perversions described just make me put the book down and begin a new haitus.  Then, I tell myself, it's just a book, and I begin anew.  Long story short, I have been reading it for well over 20 years and have yet to finish it.  Someday I will.  At that point, I hope I will look back and say it was worth it.  If I answer in the affirmitive, I probably try to read it front to back.

Now, wasn't that a helpful review?!?
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ryler
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« Reply #602 on: May 20, 2009, 02:20:11 PM »

Actually, it was a helpful review.  I am finishing up a book called Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.  I believe I started it a year ago almost--and while it's not a difficult read in terms of concepts presented, or even style of writing, there's a certain redundancy to it that has me put it down for long stretches.  The author was very inspired by Pynchon and has been compared to him often, so your review tells me that when I'm done with this book, I'm going to read a few quick, entertaining reads before embarking on anything that feels like work --i.e. Pynchon.  (This current book alternates between brilliant and dull; it is the brilliance that has me stick with it, for those who may wonder why I wouldn't just shelve it.)
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Walkerman
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« Reply #603 on: May 20, 2009, 03:03:27 PM »

Actually, it was a helpful review.  I am finishing up a book called Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.  I believe I started it a year ago almost--and while it's not a difficult read in terms of concepts presented, or even style of writing, there's a certain redundancy to it that has me put it down for long stretches.  The author was very inspired by Pynchon and has been compared to him often, so your review tells me that when I'm done with this book, I'm going to read a few quick, entertaining reads before embarking on anything that feels like work --i.e. Pynchon.  (This current book alternates between brilliant and dull; it is the brilliance that has me stick with it, for those who may wonder why I wouldn't just shelve it.)

If you haven't already read them, I'd gladly recommend Another Roadside Attraction and/or Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.  They almost have to be read at least twice, because it's difficult to see the actual plot until you are well into the book.  I think Robbins just uses the "plot" as a vehicle for discussing his views on life.  Second reads of them were much more enjoyable than the first reads.

If you like the outdoors, and want some light, but very funny stories, try "They Shoot Canoes, Don't They" or "Don't Sniff a Gift Fish" by Patrick McManus.
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Caleb
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« Reply #604 on: May 24, 2009, 02:12:15 PM »

Currently reading Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton.
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jbrummer
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« Reply #605 on: May 24, 2009, 02:27:40 PM »

Try a book called Gould's Book of Fish by an author from down under (whose name escapes me right now).  I think it's safe to say it will be unlike anything you've ever come across before.  A blend of history, meta-fiction, prison-escape, Faulkner, icthyology and oil painting.  Some very poetic passages and some great humor as well.  Probably not everybody's cup of tea, but worth a look. 

And of course, anything by Cormac McCarthy you can get your hands on.
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teh
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« Reply #606 on: May 26, 2009, 02:30:25 AM »

jbrummer is right about Cormac McCarthy.

Just finished "No Country for Old Men." by Cormac McCarthy. and "Issac's Storm." by Erik Larson last month. I just started "City of Thieves" by David Benioff this weekend with the story set in Leningrad during the siege by the Nazi Army in WWII. Watched Sergeant York w/ Gary Cooper (set during WWI) while perusing the forum.

P.S. I was able to spend the weekend with my son who is an Army officer getting ready for his second deployment along with his wife who is also an officer who will be heading to her first deployment. He majored in Criminal Justice and minored in Military History so he is always a good resource for book recommendations. Don't forget to pause for a minute to think about Memorial Day and remember both the veterans and those on active duty including those in the National Guard and the Reserves. 
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« Reply #607 on: May 26, 2009, 10:00:39 AM »

jbrummer is right about Cormac McCarthy.

Just finished "No Country for Old Men." by Cormac McCarthy. and "Issac's Storm." by Erik Larson last month. I just started "City of Thieves" by David Benioff this weekend with the story set in Leningrad during the siege by the Nazi Army in WWII. Watched Sergeant York w/ Gary Cooper (set during WWI) while perusing the forum.

P.S. I was able to spend the weekend with my son who is an Army officer getting ready for his second deployment along with his wife who is also an officer who will be heading to her first deployment. He majored in Criminal Justice and minored in Military History so he is always a good resource for book recommendations. Don't forget to pause for a minute to think about Memorial Day and remember both the veterans and those on active duty including those in the National Guard and the Reserves. 
  Ditto  on "remembering".

  Also; Sergeant York is a great story.  (Apologies to the thought of the thread)
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #608 on: May 30, 2009, 02:43:48 PM »

I just started rereading 'Of Human Bondage' by W. Somerset Maugham. I read it a few years ago and have considered it perhaps my favorite book, it will be interesting to see how I feel about it this time around. So far the writing style has been a great relief after some of the last books I read which were too wordy(Brothers Karamazov and House of Leaves). I think it's a great skill to be able to express an idea with very few words.
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ryler
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« Reply #609 on: May 30, 2009, 05:29:57 PM »

Jeremy,

I read Of Human Bondage and loved it, too.  Though I'd have to say that my all time favorite book was The Brothers Karamazov!  It may depend on which translation you read.  I read the one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, a fairly recent translation.  I think Constance Garnett is the longstanding preeminent Russian translator, but I think the Pevear/Volokhonsky edition is more accessible.  Funny this taste thing.  I want to try War and Peace by the same translators, but am daunted by the sheer number of characters in that book.  And maybe a bit by the amount of French included in the text.  But someday I'll give it a stab.  I don't think I'd force myself to finish it, though, if entertainment eludes me.
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jeremy3220
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« Reply #610 on: May 30, 2009, 07:56:06 PM »

It may depend on which translation you read.  I read the one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, a fairly recent translation. 

That's the one I read. The book seems to be comprised of really long conversations by characters I just can't relate to. However I did like Crime and Punishment.
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ryler
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« Reply #611 on: May 31, 2009, 11:36:40 AM »

Well, ain't that funny because I thought Crime and Punishment, while a decent read, was an overextended trip into the deteriorating mental state of Raskolnikov.  And as Dostoevsky showed and showed and showed again that journey into self-punishment and innocence lost as it may intersect with mental illness, I thought he could have used some help from Reader's Digest editorial staff!  While The Brothers Karamazov had my rapt attention.  It was the whole orchestra while C & P was an unaccompanied bass, a well-played bass, but a lonely one. 

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Caleb
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« Reply #612 on: June 01, 2009, 05:02:42 PM »

Currently reading:

Everyday Life In Medieval Times by Marjorie Rowling. It starts at the death of Charlemagne and goes from there. I'm just getting started but it's great so far. I like all the details about how things were done; the part about the scribes writing the books is of particular interest to me. Interesting stuff.
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Walkerman
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« Reply #613 on: June 01, 2009, 06:23:09 PM »

Currently reading:

Everyday Life In Medieval Times by Marjorie Rowling. It starts at the death of Charlemagne and goes from there. I'm just getting started but it's great so far. I like all the details about how things were done; the part about the scribes writing the books is of particular interest to me. Interesting stuff.

Have you tried Will and Ariel Durant?  You can go into as much detail as you wish...or as little.  It's a great concept.
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Caleb
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« Reply #614 on: June 01, 2009, 06:35:55 PM »

Have you tried Will and Ariel Durant?  You can go into as much detail as you wish...or as little.  It's a great concept.
When I read your comment as was thinking, "Who are Will and Ariel Durant?" Then, being the good bobble-head I am, I Googled them. WOW! How did I miss this stuff? Thanks for the heads up on this, Walkerman. I'm going to spend some time getting more acquainted.

 
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Danny
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« Reply #615 on: June 06, 2009, 03:48:52 AM »

              Finished "A walk in the woods" by Bill Bryson. Not a bad read. I would like to see a book written by his companion "Katz" though. He was a splash of cold water in the face many times in the dull pages of this book.
               GA_ME lent me another book about the AT, I think it's the 1st man to ever do the whole 2,200 miles. I'll probably read some short stories by John Erickson first, to have some comic relief then start into that one.
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« Reply #616 on: June 07, 2009, 03:00:10 AM »

20,000 Leagues under the Sea.  +1
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« Reply #617 on: June 07, 2009, 09:02:15 PM »

I was fortunate to inherit the set of Will and Ariel Durants books from my parents library.. so I grew up with them. A notable by Will Durant, I believe his first book, is the Story of Philosophy which I consider a great primer.
Rob
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Danny
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« Reply #618 on: June 09, 2009, 02:35:46 PM »

  OK, I started "Walking with Spring" by Earl V. Shaffer. He's the 1st one to solo-hike the entire length of the AT.
   GA_ME lent me this book a few weeks ago when we linked up in Delaware. He was a long distance hiker himself before he became limited by a car accident.
                  Anyway it looks like a good book.
                       
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teh
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« Reply #619 on: June 30, 2009, 12:17:28 AM »

I just finished two great books while on vacation that I would recommend looking to broaden their perspective:

1) "City of Thieves" by David Benioff which is based on the siege of Leningrad by the Germans during WWII and began watching a 12 hour documentary of WWII. The book was written by the author after conversations with his grandfather, a Russian immigrant.

2) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by journalist Jean Dominique-Bauby who suffered a stroke and was in a coma for 20 days. When he awakened he could only communicate by blinking his left eyelid to a transcriptionist. Dominique-Bauby got pneumonia and died two days after his book was published.

While I am on here, I am multi-tasking and watching correspondent Jason Jones on the Daily Show is doing man on the street interviews with U.S. and Iranian Citizens to see if they can name the other country's Presidents. I know it's comedy and fake news but it's still pretty funny. Gotta go play my guitar.
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TEH

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