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Reading thread - Page 27

post #391 of 733
I finish a book every week or two. People itt are making me think I should start reading on public transport.

Finished Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey (and other writings). A Sentimental Journey had all the sillyness and beauty that I love about Sterne. It was very short though. The other writings [sermons, a heartsick journal, some other stuff] weren't great on their own but I liked them because they gave insight into an author I'm loving.

Gonna start Nabokov's Bend Sinister next.
post #392 of 733
Ooh, I read that recently. What a shock. I'd put it right up there with Pnin and Pale Fire and whatever else peeps consider his best novels that aren't Lolita. As far as I can tell, it may not have achieved top tier status due some early bad reviews by dumbass magazines. Effing dumbasses.

Mary, his first, and maybe shortest novel, I also found really fun and compelling. (The protagonist reminded me a lot of Knut Hamsun's guys from books like Hunger or Mysteries).

I also heard The Gift (maybe the longest of his early novels, and the last he wrote in Russian?) is really, really good. Can anyone confirm?
post #393 of 733
Is pale fire worth reading?
post #394 of 733
It's so good that it's worth buying two copies, so you can read it as Nabokov intended.
post #395 of 733
Pale Fire is awesome.

How did Nabokov intend it to be read? I read the poem, then took the footnotes in order... I feel like if you followed Kinbote's directions when he says stuff like "See line 212" then the ending/twist would've been given away pretty early. When I reread it I'll probably take it that way though to see what happens.
post #396 of 733
I read the gift years ago, it's wonderful but i felt there was a lot i was missing. I think each of the main parts contains motifs from a great Russian writer- Lermontov, Chekhov etc- so in many ways it's his love letter/farewell to Russian literature. Having only read those writers in translation, a lot of that went over my head. Also, even though he translated it himself, I don't think the prose is quite up to the level of the books he wrote in english.
Pnin is just gorgeous, perhaps the novel of his that i love the most, but I think Ada is the best of all.
I'm often surprised that his short stories don't get more attention. 'Spring in Fialta' is a masterpiece.

noob, ages ago you made some comments about ben marcus being overrated, has that assessment changed?
Edited by robinsongreen68 - 2/27/14 at 10:55am
post #397 of 733

Currently reading a small, very strange, but -so far- wonderful book.

Apparently a modern classic, I was not aware of it (or the author) until recently.

His writing is amazing.

 

post #398 of 733
Quote:
Originally Posted by momentoftruth View Post

How are you liking it? I thought it was a "better" book than 2666 but I gotta say I enjoyed reading the latter much more (despite the grisly murder victim descriptions). His shorter novels are great too. Really liked Distant Star

The Santa Teresa section of 2666 is one of the most powerful things I have read. Unfortunately this tends to make the rest of the sections pale in comparison. The Savage Detectives is a more coherent and successful work IMHO.
post #399 of 733
post #400 of 733
Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicNovelty View Post

Is pale fire worth reading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brightorangetrousers View Post

It's so good that it's worth buying two copies, so you can read it as Nabokov intended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wogbog View Post

Pale Fire is awesome.

How did Nabokov intend it to be read? I read the poem, then took the footnotes in order... I feel like if you followed Kinbote's directions when he says stuff like "See line 212" then the ending/twist would've been given away pretty early. When I reread it I'll probably take it that way though to see what happens.

+3. Pale Fire is fantastic and is well-worth reading and re-reading. Read straight through the first time, have a think about it, and then read it through as wogbog mentions above, flicking back and forth to various sections. It's certainly a multi-layered work, susceptible to various interpretations.
post #401 of 733
would you call it a heavy read?
post #402 of 733
read that it was kind of a love letter to russian literature so i figured i'd actually go backwards instead of forwards. started crime and punishment. smile.gif
post #403 of 733
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinsongreen68 View Post

I read the gift years ago, it's wonderful but i felt there was a lot i was missing. I think each of the main parts contains motifs from a great Russian writer...

noob, ages ago you made some comments about ben marcus being overrated, has that assessment changed?


Oh, cool -- and thanks -- The Gift still sounds pretty awesome, then. As long as he's referencing the digestible Russians. laugh.gif

I dunno, regarding Ben Marcus, I liked his first two books OK -- I think what I said was he wasn't the first person I'd reach for, or recommend to someone looking to get into recent North American fiction -- especially when you usually only get one shot with that sort of thing -- they'll read one if you're lucky. I'm sure part of it is also just some lingering jealousy over the rise of that extended McSweeney's clique, everyone within a stone's throw of Dave Eggers getting book deals (everyone and their husbands and wives), grants, exposure through his Best American Non-Required series, those sinecures that places like Stanford like to dole out under the rubric of a contest. I also think that that particular brand of cleverness gets boring after awhile. And for me, even feels a bit dated. (I'm not sure about journals in the UK, but here, for like a five year run, we were absolutely saturated with that type of thing, all these short, zippy stories with over-elaborate titles for each section, warmed-over metafiction straight from the seventies, that whole rich white person I'm so over it super-ironic tone... )

I'm not even sure how 'rated' he is right now. It'd be interesting to find out. I do see he had another novel come out about a year ago...

.

Edited by noob - 2/27/14 at 6:53pm
post #404 of 733
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan138zig View Post

would you call it a heavy read?

if you mean pale fire, no not at all, you quickly get used to the format and then its really funny and towards the end has an almost filmic momentum.

Thanks for the reply noob, I notice there's a lot of pre-publicity for his new collection here, plus some parts of it have featured in the new yorker- they actually read as bizarrely conventional compared to the one thing i've read of his (notable american women). I didn't know he had links with mcsweeney's, i've never read any eggers but from what i thought i knew about him, their writing seemed very different: notable american women was kind of a dystopian sci fi-esque premise as narrated by thomas bernhard with a few odd recurring tropes: a kind of aleatory dread, gender/power shifts and an obsession with the harmful effects of language. I hadn't come across that particular mix before...
Anyway the reason i asked is that INS dude really rates him so I need to give him a proper shot, just wanted to get an impression from someone more immersed in contemporary US literary culture, much appreciated!
Edited by robinsongreen68 - 2/28/14 at 6:16am
post #405 of 733
^ I think what's been putting me off from pale fire is that I still haven't found a way to appreciate poetry. they just sound... disjointed to me.
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