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  1.  (10422.261)
    @Argos
    I'm very cautious with translations now. When I was younger I read the Kinsella translation of The Tain. It felt like this epic story had any poetry or power dried out by the change of language.

    Recently I read The Glass Bead Game and again couldn't help feel that the translation had taken something away from the story. Here one example was very specific. Du and Sie in German mean you (informal) and you (formal). To use the wrong one can be an insult. In fact you can get fined for calling a Police officer Du.

    In the translation the way this is communicated in English ends up extremely clunky. I think the translator has to tease the story into the new language without getting between the reader and the text. With the third Larsson book the word choice started jarring too much for me.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2012
     (10422.262)
    Ahh, that makes sense. Yeah the subtle nuances of a language can get be really difficult to translate, and some things just can't be brought down to being a literal translation.

    @Magnulus - haha! Good to know that the coffee thing is actually a Scandinavian thing and not just a Larsson tic.

    @rickiep00h - agreed, don't force yourself to read through it. I've read that book about 4 times but only because every different spanish teacher I had used it as required reading (I always took the spanish for spanish speakers classes). I do like the book, but it's true for any book that you should just read at the pace in which it compels you to. So if it takes you 10 years, eh, that's fine too, haha.
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      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2012
     (10422.263)
    FORCE YOURSELF TO DO UNCOMFORTABLE THINGS. IT IS AN IMPORTANT LIFE SKILL.
    It's like only ever reading newspapers with your political bent: insular and self-affirming and fucking naive.

    I'm reading Hothouse by Brian Aldiss, after Music, in a Foreign Language by Andrew Crumey. Both, I think, are nigredo's suggestions. They are both pretty good. Next is Knots by R.D. Laing, suggested by lucien. Good stuff, Whitechapel.
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      CommentAuthorrickiep00h
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2012
     (10422.264)
    Well, the first time I tried reading Wizard and Glass I got about a quarter of the way through it and then let it rot for a good 8 years or so. I'll probably just shelve Don for a while and let other stuff take its place.

    I'll get there one day, just not today.
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2012
     (10422.265)
    @allana

    Glad to be of service, ma'am. Not worth it if you can't share it :)
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2012
     (10422.266)
    Doing uncomfortable things is one thing, reading a book that is not compelling is not an uncomfortable thing.

    Reading a novel that is difficult but challenging can be rewarding.

    Reading a novel that just doesn't call to you to pick it up again is a waste of time. There is no virtue in pointless tenacity.
    • CommentAuthorCrusherJoe
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2012
     (10422.267)
    Rickiep00h, try an audiobook version.
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      CommentAuthorFinagle
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2012
     (10422.268)
    @oddbill - I read all ten books of the Left Behind series, to try to get a sense of what it is that goes on in the heads of the hyperevangelical community. I consider that time well spent, even though it was also hideously painful at the time.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2012
     (10422.269)
    @allana: I read Hothouse when I was a kid; I can still feel the sappy, overgrown jungle weirdness of it.

    @oddbill: I agree with you on that. If I'm about halfway through a book, and I'm finding it tedious and arduous, I tend to give up nowadays.
  2.  (10422.270)
    I made a promise to myself at the beginning of the year that if I started to read a book I would finish it, but I'm now a lot more discerning about what I start...
  3.  (10422.271)
    Just finished reading a volume of J G Ballard's short stories and while not being as ... unsettling as his later novels the ideas are still just as skewiff.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2012
     (10422.272)
    I've been rereading Y: The Last Man. In vol 4, page 42, there is a scene in which Yorick recounts his nightmares concerning urethral maggots.

    There's no escaping them...
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2012
     (10422.273)
    I'm listening to Gladwell's Outliers via audiobook. I'm generally suspicious of pop sociology, but its a fun read (listen?) so far.
  4.  (10422.274)
    I'm still quite supportive of the idea of powering through even tho a book doesn't have the power to grip you. I've not really been gripped by H.P. Lovecraft, but I think it's interesting on a thematic and historical level, so worth reading. I've only read part 1 of Don Quixote, and like you found it enjoyable, but not VITAL (made me want to play a lot of Baldur's Gate...) I think yr wife's probably right, in that part 2 is more of a sequel and I'm not sure you would lose anything by picking it up 10 years from now. But I think it WILL BE worth reading, eventually.

    I've put Lovecraft on hold while I power through The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, which is very readable indeed. Also bought vols 4 and 5 of Unwritten, which look amazing.
  5.  (10422.275)
    I'm working through my random books of the 20th century. Finished The Talented Mr Ripley, which has a lot of moral ambiguity and captures a certain atmosphere of the 1950s. Just starting Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard, mainly because in On Writing Stephen King sings his praises for Elmore's use of dialogue.
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      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2012
     (10422.276)
    @Bill: There IS no virtue in pointless tenacity, but what is "pointless"?
    I think I'm gonna go with the argument that classics of literature deserve the benefit of the doubt. Just because something doesn't capture your fancy in the first 100 pages (or even the first two-thirds) doesn't mean you shouldn't collect that knowledge, even just to be able to relate to your fellow man. My favourite example is Catcher in the Rye: what a shit book. But the payoff for most people comes in that last passage, and if I hadn't stuck it out, obnoxious as it was, I really wouldn't know what my peers see in it at all -- thus I wouldn't be able to mock them nearly so mercilessly for their loyalty.
    Granted, I ignore a lot of mass culture (most prominently the major leagues of indie rock -- Arcade Fire and Animal Collective and the like). It just doesn't jive with me. But I still have a passing knowledge of lots of music and movies just because that media is so ubiquitous anyways. Books are a different beast: nobody forces excerpts on you when you're out grocery-shopping. You have to make that effort.
    (That isn't to say I don't have a huge list of must-read books that I'm putting off. First up: Infinite Jest. I put it down after the first 30 pages, but I WILL go back.)
  6.  (10422.277)
    Finished The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. The final conversation in the book reaches some real Lord of the Flies territory -- desperate and defeated in facing the incredible inhumanity of man. At first I had a problem with the character of Liz, how very passive and deferential she is... but actually I think Le Carré puts her on an innocence to experience arc, politically and romantically. Plotting is extraordinary (although kinda unbelievable if you think about it). Very very satisfied.

    Discovered this manga called Sundome, an erotic comedy about sexual obsession and domination. Funny and bleak and sexy and disturbing all in one. Very good, if yr into that sort of thing...
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeMay 4th 2012
     (10422.278)
    Reading Phil Baker's biography of Austin Osman Spare, which is by turns exasperating, captivating and just plain annoying...it's a lovely edition though.

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      CommentAuthorWaxPoetic
    • CommentTimeMay 5th 2012
     (10422.279)
    @oddbill - I have bookmarks in about 20 percent of the books in my home including Don Quixote and Moby Dick and Ulysses and several different translations of The Odyssey. My relationship with books is one that I've had to allow to become less about finishing them and more about relishing them in one way or another. I agree with everyone who suggested letting it go if it's not compelling to you, and I would add that having a copy of Part 2 around (perhaps in a drawer somewhere so that it isn't visible) can be an invitation instead of a challenge (or another pair of not-exactly-opposites like that).

    Alison Bechdel is coming to St. Louis for a talk tomorrow, so I think I'm going to do a power re-reading of Fun Home and I might even skim someone else's copy of Are You My Mother? (And yes, i will buy one and I will ask her to sign it and I already know this.)

    Also, I heart Saramago, and finally decided to go back to the library to feed my need for new books (because working in a bookstore is the best way to go broke on books.)(Truth.) with The Elephant's Journey. le sigh.

    Destinations by Jan Morris - if you ever fancy a wonderful set of essays written in the mid to late 70's about various places around the world - this is your book. She's a wonderful writer and says careful and specific things.

    I'm still not ready to go back to Gormenghast yet. It's in a drawer. With a bookmark sticking out of its middle. Waiting.
  7.  (10422.280)
    Currently reading Tolkien's Gown and Other Stories of Famous Authors and Rare Books by Rick Gekoski.
    The book is a series of stories, growing out of a season of radio programmes, exploring the genesis of different books. The framing device is that Gekoski is a 20th century author rare book dealer and uses books that have passed through his hands as a way into each story.
    Overall enjoyable, even though his town can be somewhat condescending sometimes.