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post #46 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
I'm fond of any text by Thomas Mann.

Also Junichiro Tanizaki's The Makioka Sisters.
+1 on the Makioka Sisters, and really anything by Tanizaki ("Diary of A Mad Old Man", "A Cat, A Man, And Two Women").
post #47 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonglover
My name is Jonathan Glover.

Hmm...as for McSweeney's, I tend to ignore the movement it's associated with. The writing is amazing, and in my mind that's timeless in itself. It's not as if it's thematically consistent, unless you count the Icelandic issue (has little to do with the prose) and the comics issue. I never really understood the McSweeney's hate, just assumed it was cynical backlash, as what the quarterly is supposed to represent to various sects and the dearth of great and varied writing that comes out of the mag seems to me like it has to be totally unrelated. Unless McSweeney's represents some all-encompassing modernist abyss. If the best writers on the planet are constantly found canoodling with McSweeney's (Chabon, Vonnegut, Murakami, Boyle, Updike, mainstream intelli-comic extraordinaire Neil Gaiman) , I don't see how that could be a bad thing.

First of all, Jon, let me say that I have no idea why I went with the first four letters of your user name, rather than the much more obvious first three. At least I didn't ask who Jong was, and why you were so fond of him. My capacity for such idiocy is endless.

I liked McSweeney's, but eventually grew very frustrated with it. There are some real diamonds there, but they're buried among the same tedious coal in every issue, it seems to me. After posting my earlier response, I visited the site, to see if I was being too hard on it, but it seemed like it hadn't changed very much since I last visited a year or two ago. I don't know what it could do to please me; it just seems like it has become something of a perpetual motion machine, producing more of the same simply because that's what it does. Its attitude has become its prison. I'd love to read its better, emotionally compelling works, but I don't want to dig through the snark/too-familiar cleverness to get to them.

As for "Moby-Dick," your comments don't offend me at all, as I hope my critiques won't you. It isn't for everyone, and I think it takes a certain mindset to really enjoy it. Personally, I find it a great ride, and some passages, particularly Ahab's speeches, almost demand to be read (shouted) aloud. I love how it defies form, convention, even common sense, and how it manages to be about everything, all at once. It's like it all came tumbling from Melville's mouth in a single mad breath. Quite the accomplishment for a book that tops out at more than 700 pages in most editions.

Upon your elaboration, I can better understand where you were coming from with your initial reply, and I can appreciate the sentiments. Modern fiction is over underrepresented in such lists, I'll agree; but I think that's a function, at least in part, of the McSweeney syndrome mentioned earlier. It takes effort to sort the wheat from the chaff. With the classics, some of that work has been done for the reader. I'll certainly have to check out some of your recommendations that I haven't yet read, such as "Here They Come."
post #48 of 61
That book has quite a polarity in readership opinion. I’ve read Moby Dick twice and didn’t like it one bit. The first time I figured it was because I was too young and naive, read it again five years later and it still sucked. There’s maybe about 5 compelling chapters in that book that are written in well prose and make the book worth anything. The rest of the book is everything you never wanted to know about whaling (as I stated earlier). Melville wrote some 7 other books and no one batted an eye because that merchant marine sing song bore you to death story telling is obnoxious.

Despite this I still recommend the book, there are people like you who find it a great master work and I would hate to deter someone from finding that out for themselves.

You want crazy, stick with Joyce.
post #49 of 61
Moby Dick has a fair amount of homosexual nuances, and it's not in the titular function.
post #50 of 61
Queequeg is the Adirondack Indian word for "forbidden Lover". Coincidence?
post #51 of 61
Well you know what they say about the Navy...

100 Men board a ship, 50 couples come off.
post #52 of 61
The British Navy has been described as "Rum, Sodomy and the lash", but that was the British navy of old. I was in the navy for four years and while you did run into the occasional gay guy, I doubt their numbers were any different than the population at large.
post #53 of 61
"Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Lube..."
post #54 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawyerdad
+1 on the Makioka Sisters, and really anything by Tanizaki ("Diary of A Mad Old Man", "A Cat, A Man, And Two Women").

Yes, anything by Tanizaki. In Praise of Shadows and Naomi are also very good. He's one of the more accessible Japanese authors.

Being something of a specialist in the field of Japanese literature, I can also recommend The Tale of Genji if you have the stomach for a very long but enchanting book. It's basically the story of the numerous love affairs of an extraordinary aristocratic gentleman who possesses an inimitable style in the midst of a highly aesthetic culture.

For a modern classic that is rather twisted and disturbing, Abe Kobo's Woman in the Dunes is outstanding and was made into an excellent movie that you should watch after reading the book. The book's detailed treatment of the mechanics of sand add dimension to the movie.
post #55 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday
First of all, Jon, let me say that I have no idea why I went with the first four letters of your user name, rather than the much more obvious first three. At least I didn't ask who Jong was, and why you were so fond of him. My capacity for such idiocy is endless.

I liked McSweeney's, but eventually grew very frustrated with it. There are some real diamonds there, but they're buried among the same tedious coal in every issue, it seems to me. After posting my earlier response, I visited the site, to see if I was being too hard on it, but it seemed like it hadn't changed very much since I last visited a year or two ago. I don't know what it could do to please me; it just seems like it has become something of a perpetual motion machine, producing more of the same simply because that's what it does. Its attitude has become its prison. I'd love to read its better, emotionally compelling works, but I don't want to dig through the snark/too-familiar cleverness to get to them.

As for "Moby-Dick," your comments don't offend me at all, as I hope my critiques won't you. It isn't for everyone, and I think it takes a certain mindset to really enjoy it. Personally, I find it a great ride, and some passages, particularly Ahab's speeches, almost demand to be read (shouted) aloud. I love how it defies form, convention, even common sense, and how it manages to be about everything, all at once. It's like it all came tumbling from Melville's mouth in a single mad breath. Quite the accomplishment for a book that tops out at more than 700 pages in most editions.

Upon your elaboration, I can better understand where you were coming from with your initial reply, and I can appreciate the sentiments. Modern fiction is over underrepresented in such lists, I'll agree; but I think that's a function, at least in part, of the McSweeney syndrome mentioned earlier. It takes effort to sort the wheat from the chaff. With the classics, some of that work has been done for the reader. I'll certainly have to check out some of your recommendations that I haven't yet read, such as "Here They Come."

I come off a little brash and all-knowing, also. I apologize for that. McSweeney's is an acquired taste, no doubt, but I definitely suggest you (or anyone for that matter) check out Here They Come. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

And, you've coaxed me back into re-reading Moby Dick, if only for Ahab's mad diatribe.

P.S. - I second LabelKing's Either/Or recommendation (or anything from Kierkegaard for that matter).
post #56 of 61
hey jonglover did you read the review of franzen's new memoir in the NYT? sounds like a riot. oh forgot caps... I read the Corrections and How to Be Alone, but I am utterly underwhelmed by Mr. Franzen, though I do share his taste in books; Pynchon and Gaddis are my favorites. He doesn't come close.
post #57 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by denimdestroyedmylife
hey jonglover

did you read the review of franzen's new memoir in the NYT?
sounds like a riot.

oh forgot caps...

I read the Corrections and How to Be Alone, but I am utterly underwhelmed by Mr. Franzen, though I do share his taste in books; Pynchon and Gaddis are my favorites. He doesn't come close.
I enjoy Pynchon, but Gaddis at his best rocks. His ear for speech is amazing.
Infinite Jest, which I don't think has been mentioned yet, is brilliant, impressive, and often fun, although also guilty of excess and occasional tedium.
post #58 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by gamelan
i'm on disability right now from a herniated disc. give me some good books to read. i'll tend to avoid anything that relates to history, politics, and world affairs so any recommendations there on how to ease into those subjects would be great. i'm muddling through Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man" right now. it is doubtful that i will finish it because the English is very tedious for my unread mind.

also, i'd love recommendations on good fiinance/personal investing books.

an an idea, here's what i've read so far. i've enjoyed all the books:

Machiavelli's The Prince
Agile Project Development with Scrum
Sun Tzu's The Ancient Art of War
Gogol's Deal Souls
Keith Ferrazzi's Never Eat Alone
Doestoevsky's The Idiot
Richard Burn's Pathfinder
Peter Lynch's One Up On Wall Street
Kenneth Fisher's Common Stocks, Uncommon Profits

on my plate:

Buffett's The Intelligent Investor
Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influnce People
Shackelton's Endurance
probably something by Pushkin since every other Russian novelist quotes him in their own novels

please help a man through periods of immense boredom.

-Jeff

Perfect way to ease into the Civil War. Michael Shaara's THE KILLER ANGELS, a real can't-put-it-down page turner, the perfect thing for the boredome blues. Stick with it. The first few pages are a bit confusing because you're just getting to know the generals. It ain't Pushkin, but it rips!
post #59 of 61
A couple of my favorite books were The Count of Monte Cristo and the D'artagnan romances (includes The Three Musketeers and Man in the Iron Mask) by Alexandre Dumas.
post #60 of 61
hey L.King - i'm reading The Magic Mountain now, in fits and starts. (which is how i read most books these days.) Still waiting for the aesthetic sense to envelope me, but I can see it will happen eventually. Have only just arrived at the asylum. I have on my future reading list Finnegan's Wake, which strikes me as a crazy-type book, a theme mentioned earlier in the context of Moby Dick. I bought it years ago, and never got past the first page. I intend to get Joseph Campbell's guidebook to help me through.
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