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post #136 of 799
Just finished Dave Egger's 'You shall know our velocity'.

It had it's moments, there's a half decent book struggling to get out.
I couldn't relate to the characters in any meaningful way so I didn't really care about them. There's the odd passage where the author managed to engage me in events, but generally it read like a teenage fan of Kerouac trying to do their own pastiche, and failing badly.
post #137 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by LonerMatt View Post

Love God Bless You, Mr. Roswater and Welcome to the Monkey House - how's Hocus Pocus compare?

I enjoyed Hocus Pocus, although it wasn't my favourite. It's a bit difficult to choose a 'best' Vonnegut book, as they are all good. I think that the ones that I enjoyed most, and which I like to dip back into from time to time, are "Mother Night", "Cat's Cradle" and "Bluebeard".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Portland Dry Goods View Post


GR is definately worth picking up and dont get discouraged if it seems like nonsense. my strategy reading it for the first time was to localize some of the smaller stories and anecdotes within it and appreciate them one at a time. its a bit less alienating if you break it up that way or coast through and enjoy what grasps you. rereading it will always bring missed moments to the table. if you wanna mine the book then the companion is likely to be valuable but theres some fun stories (within stories [within stories]) that can be appreciated without a dissertation.

V. is great but I think Crying Lot of 49 is the best introduction to Pynchon. its shorter than most of his books but its got the same level of wit. makes for a good beach read

I agree that "The Crying of Lot 49" is a good introduction to Pynchon. It's funny, interesting, and as PDG said, it's not too long. Vineland, whilst longer, is also enjoyable. I must admit that I really found it a bit hard to get into Gravity's Rainbow at first and so I put it down for quite some time before picking it up again and finishing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ManofKent View Post

Just finished Dave Egger's 'You shall know our velocity'.

It had it's moments, there's a half decent book struggling to get out.
I couldn't relate to the characters in any meaningful way so I didn't really care about them. There's the odd passage where the author managed to engage me in events, but generally it read like a teenage fan of Kerouac trying to do their own pastiche, and failing badly.

Agreed. There are a few, younger authors like Eggers out there at present, and I think that their books could have done with some good editing.

I've found Jonathan Safran Foer's writing to be similar to that of Eggers - technically very good, but at times a bit of a confused pastiche that could have done with some good editing. Particularly Foer's "Everything is Illuminated", which was like two books in one and it couldn't make up its mind as to whether it was being a serious and yet sometimes witty novel, or an attempt at "magical realism". To my mind, the two clashed very jarringly at times.

In terms of Eggers, I preferred "What is the what" and "Zeitoun".
post #138 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by Portland Dry Goods View Post

late to my own party!

GR is definately worth picking up and dont get discouraged if it seems like nonsense. my strategy reading it for the first time was to localize some of the smaller stories and anecdotes within it and appreciate them one at a time. its a bit less alienating if you break it up that way or coast through and enjoy what grasps you. rereading it will always bring missed moments to the table. if you wanna mine the book then the companion is likely to be valuable but theres some fun stories (within stories [within stories]) that can be appreciated without a dissertation.

V. is great but I think Crying Lot of 49 is the best introduction to Pynchon. its shorter than most of his books but its got the same level of wit. makes for a good beach read

 

Funny you should mention this, as I was recently told it is too pretentious to read Pynchon on the beach, oh well.

Thanks for the tip though, I will try the Crying Lot of 49. It sounds like the one I should read (I first need to find out what is happening with those vomit zombies in Leviathan Wakes though).

post #139 of 799



This is an amazing book about two sons who are trying to figure out just who their dad really was. On the surface, he was an accomplished painter who created an artwork coveted by European museums. But after he dies, there's a key piece missing from his masterwork and from his life. An enigmatic thriller that's impossible to put down.
post #140 of 799
+1 on the crying of lot 49 being the best intro to pynchon. GR is still the really great novel though, for all its faults. just the first paragraph makes the hair on my arms stand up (wasn't this nabokov's sure-fire test of great prose?) , and the companion is definitely worth buying, there are so many arcane references you would never get otherwise- not that you need them to enjoy the book but it adds extra layers.

has anybody read 'against the day'? I'm lazily mid-way through and enjoying it a lot more than i expected...
post #141 of 799
Now I wonder if I'm the only one who feels Lot 49 is a bit..... dated, and as such, while short, may actually turn people off to the longer ones, which feel more -- wait for it -- timeless. biggrin.gif
post #142 of 799

I'm reading Spin at the moment.

 

Highly recommended for anyone looking for clever SF - totally great.

post #143 of 799
what in particular do you find dated about L49 noob? of course the hipsterish knockabout general milieu, but isn't that true of all his work? (many chapters of GR descend into annoying slapstick..). I'd say it's a good introduction because a lot of characteristic pynchon themes arise in this short book: the 'evil demi-urge' counter-movement played out through historical /dynastic narratives and micro-narratives; the incredible prescient moment when she looks down at the night-lit city and sees it as a live piece of glowing circuitry; the system gone increasingly awry towards the end as she notices more and more fucked-up clues to the existence of the 'anti network' (incidentally that INS dude always insisted this section contained some of the best prose pynchon ever wrote); that wonderful trope of 'ritual reluctance' he introduces whereby everyone knows but nobody wants to speak the name of the dreaded Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
TRYSTERO

Edited by robinsongreen68 - 7/16/13 at 8:55am
post #144 of 799
I think the slapstick is part of what I find charming from Pynchon. Also, Inherent Vice is a textbook definition of a beach read (this might become more apparent in a year or so when the movie comes out) though its not by any means Pynchon's best work.

I started Against the Day some time ago but got sidetracked (same thing has happened twice with Mason and Dickson). enjoyed the first section.


Currently looking for something to bring to NYC for 3 days for market week downtime. I might finish the 4th dark tower earlier than expected, but I dont want to start anything huge or a new series. any good standalone reads under 300 pages? something I can bang out when i arrive too early at the airport
post #145 of 799
Same thing happened to me with Vineland and Against the Day just didn't get around the finishing them. Love the camp element in his work also.
post #146 of 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post

The William Gass intro is worth the price alone. icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif

Come to think of it, his intro to Anatomy of Melancholy as well as his own In the Heart of the Heart of the Country were really amazing too, like you can just tell instantly they are the product of reading vast libraries and writing non-stop for the last fifty years. I guess this might be relevant because the two authors are very often confused.

Yeah In the Heart of the Heart of the Country is a beautiful collection of short stories. Gass's prose are amazing. I would definitely recommend Omensetter's Luck, his first novel. On the other hand I just finished Middle C and never really got into it.


Edited by jwalterweather - 7/19/13 at 5:02pm
post #147 of 799
You guys are making me want to dive into my copy of Against the Day. My introduction to Pynchon came from Mason & Dixon, read the first page at a bookstore, had to come back the next day because it was all I thought about in between.

Finished The Illiad, loved it at first but started to get impatient with it in the second half. Too much so-and-so impaling so-and-so with his bronze spear and looting his corpse etc etc. I started William Gaddis' JR, and at work I'm about to finish Vonnegut's Hocus Pocus and replace it with Martin Amis' The Rachel Papers.
post #148 of 799
Just finished reading Bechdel's Fun Home, now on to Joe Sacco's Footnotes in Gaza.

I've also got Scary, No Scary, Cane, IQ84, and some other books on my shelf to read. Really want to pick up a book by Anne Carson or Fanny Howe, but those two will have to wait in the wings with Gaddis' Recognitions, a re-reading of some Pynchon books, and a re-reading of Daniel Maximin's L'isolée soleil.
post #149 of 799
i started the recognitions last summer but found the prose quite mannered and dated-seeming, as a result i gave up far too quickly. i loved carpenters gothic though.
interested to know how you get on, i really should try again.
currently reading thomas bernhard's the loser and david markson's wittgenstein's mistress, there is a wonderful essay on this latter by DFW that i'd recommend to anyone interested.
Edited by robinsongreen68 - 7/20/13 at 8:07am
post #150 of 799
Just finished The Windup Girl. holy shit that book was good.

Starting Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as I'm a bad nerd and haven't read it yet.
Edited by GraphicNovelty - 7/20/13 at 4:22pm
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