Not signed in (Sign In)
    •  
      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2012
     (10422.81)
    Paul McAuley's IN THE MOUTH OF THE WHALE.
  1.  (10422.82)
    @ InvincibleM I love Pynchon and particularly Gravity's Rainbow but @Bankara is very right about it being an insanely tough read sometimes. If it interests you but you find yourself getting stuck with it, I would recommend putting it down for a bit, picking up some earlier or lighter Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49 or Slow Learner maybe) and then coming back to it. It worked for me; I burned out on Gravity's Rainbow twice, picked up both V and Crying of Lot 49 instead and then came back to Gravity's Rainbow. After consuming other Pynchon I found reading Rainbow (:P lol) more easy and much more satisfying.
  2.  (10422.83)
    I've read a few of his short stories and the Crying of Lot 49 already, but still thanks for the encouragement/words of warning.
  3.  (10422.84)
    I have been reading 'interiors porn' today - aka Elle Decoration, and books 'Living normally' (basically people with cluttered but still masses less books than I think is normal, houses), 'Sew and Stow', and 'Sew Liberated'. Books go back to the library tomorrow before I am driven to find the sewing machine and ignore my household for a dig through the SELE that is my wardrobe, my loft and a fair chunk of my room in search of the perfect bit of cloth or 20 for things...

    It was that or think about stuff and look at the building site that is the kitchen
  4.  (10422.85)
    @InvisibleM Rainbow's...rough and sometimes stunning. But man, it can get brutal. Just keep moving through it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2012
     (10422.86)
    I just skimmed every page of last year's Book Club, in order to write a list of everything I read last year. I can only remember about fifty books, and some of those I didn't finish, but it's a whole lot better than I would've done if left to my own devices. I wish my public library's online account had a record of all the books I've ever checked out. In the meantime, flipping through that thread again has convinced me to put another half-dozen books on hold there, so I'm going to be busy soon.

    Right now I'm re-reading Bonehunters, from the Malazan series, to refresh me while I wait for Reaper's Gale to arrive. I'm skipping every character I don't enjoy (Apsalar, Taralack Veed) and getting a whole lot more out of the re-read of the rest. Should go back and do the whole series once I'm finished, I think.
    Also I'm reading Cioran's The Trouble With Being Born, which Lucien kindly lent me. It's fantastic, though I'm only about 150 aphorisms in. Lucien, on the off-chance you read this, I've got a copy of Gombrowicz's guide to philosophy in six hours and fifteen minutes with your name on it.
  5.  (10422.87)
    Allana -- I started keeping track of the books / short stories I read on a journal site. It's nice being able to go back and see what I read.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2012
     (10422.88)
    Goodreads does a good job of keeping track as well.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2012 edited
     (10422.89)
    Parts of it are absolutely brilliant but hundreds of pages (usually within the same paragraph) can be quite difficult to maintain focus through.


    Bankara has essentially summed up the Pynchon experience. I think you can't actually read him like you read a novel. The words are just going to slide off of your brain if you do that. I found after a while with him I had to read the way you look at those magic picture things, or those no-glasses 3D images where you have to let your eyes cross to see anything. I had to just let the words roll along and not look at them too closely, and when I sunk into the hypnosis of it eventually ideas would happen that were often wonderful, or music would fall out of some sentence in a totally unanticipated way.

    Doing this, I'm sure I missed just tons of meaning.

    But I couldn't figure out a better way to extract any meaning from it. This was how I ended up needing to approach V, Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon.

    Lot 49 and Vineland were much clearer reads. Actually Vineland may be the Pynchon I've most enjoyed, on every level. That is a really good book, short compared to his other work, and not as opaque, but just as deep.
    •  
      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2012
     (10422.90)
    Ugh, yet another website to update for no good reason.... No, I think I'll stick with doing it the hard way. It's more fun.
  6.  (10422.91)
    Allana -- An easier way to keep track would be to update your bio on here and add a section "Books I've read this year".
    • CommentAuthorBankara
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2012
     (10422.92)
    Pynchon is totally one of those 'love or hate' authors. I have to admit that Rainbow forced me to conclude that I would never read another one of his books but I have to admit that when Inherent Vice came out I was quite tempted to pick it up. I agree with Bill that you have to find an approach to it that makes it enjoyable or else it is just brutal to get through. If you expect him to make sense, or stop introducing characters despite the fact that there are only fifty more pages left to read, you are going to be disappointed. I kept expecting it to go somewhere, or adhere to some kind of logic and it just never did. It kept becoming more and more absurd instead and it frustrated the hell out of me. However, 4 years later and the visuals conjured by it stick with me. I think that the absurdity and pointlessness are meant to be a sort of meta-commentary on the nature of war. Inserting that kind of metaphor into the book without ever addressing or acknowledging it is a remarkable feat in of itself. Maybe I am ready for another Pynchon novel...
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2012
     (10422.93)
    Vineland. Read Vineland!
    • CommentAuthorBankara
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2012
     (10422.94)
    Noted. Beginning 1Q84 today. Will report back as to whether Murakami has written the great Japanese love story.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2012 edited
     (10422.95)
    I can't get enough of reading old,battered, pulpy genre compilations that i've collected over the years.You can find some real gems within their yellowed pages...

    Just started one called NEW WORLDS FOR OLD edited by Lin Carter.It came out in 1971 from the legendary BALLANTINE BOOKS in New York.

    It's got some rare stuff in it from Lovecraft,Poe,Wilde,Howard,Lord Dunsany,Clifford Ball and other greats.It will probably disintegrate by the time i finish it.I love the smell of old books.Aint nothing like it.
    •  
      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2012 edited
     (10422.96)
    Second Vineland.

    @flecky

    Reading Lin Carter's history of fantasy (Ballantine again) as a teenager lead to some wonderful discoveries.
  7.  (10422.97)
    Haven't posted here in a while. Finished Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix a couple of weeks ago. THERE ARE NO WORDS. Srsly one of the best books I have ever read -- one of those times you put something down knowing you were in the presence of greatness. I have the version with the short stories at the back as well, which I stupidly read first (because they were published first) even though they are mainly set after the novel. They are put at the back for a reason. Anyway, Ellis fans should definitely READ IT if they haven't already.

    Now on The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin, three chapters in. The style took some getting used to, and perhaps this is insensitive of me, but the directness of the critique of patriarchy feels a bit pat. That's probably unfair seeing as it was written 40 years ago. Holding my interest for now, but we'll see.

    Got a kindle now, and downloaded a heap of H.P. Lovecraft short stories for free (FREE!!). Some better than others as expected, but I'm only 12% in and reading chronologically. I think the style is wonderful, but I'm a sucker for ornate archaisms. Great to finally understand how massive an influence he has had on fantasy / sci-fi / comics authors and artists.

    (Also: thanks @Warped: Calibre is great!)

    I did buy the kindle version of Justine by de Sade -- it's horribly edited (typos / formatting errors everywhere) and I suspect the translation srsly tones down the dirty bits. Which makes me pretty annoyed, because it robs the text of a lot of its meaning. Turns out Justine is actually less gruesome pornography and more a novel of ideas (on religion, morality, politics). It takes Rousseau to a place Nietzsche would eventually build on. But I will have to seek out a better version, I think...
    •  
      CommentAuthorkahavi
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2012
     (10422.98)
    Yesterday I went to a local bookstore to see if I could find some new books for my bookshelf. Ended up buying John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, which is one of my favourite books ever, and started to read it again. I also found Mervyn Peakes Gormenghast Trilogy, which I've been planning to buy for ages! Now I have five books that I'm in the middle of reading (besides all the stuff I'm studying for my MA thesis). This makes me extremely happy.
    •  
      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2012
     (10422.99)
    @ kahavi - Haha, excellent! We are in very similar boats. I have had a collected copy of Gormenghast on my bedside table for a few months, but in amongst the MA reading it doesn't see a lot of love ...
    •  
      CommentAuthorkahavi
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2012
     (10422.100)
    @Osmosis: Somehow, I think my thesis work will suffer from this purchase... I regret nothing!