or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Streetwear and Denim › Reading thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Reading thread - Page 34

post #496 of 669

Sounds like you're reading the wrong fiction. Good fiction should be entertaining and have some thought provoking kernel to expound upon.

 

And please don't read pop-psychology. It's pandering and perpetuates stupidity.

eg:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2005/jan/18/educationsgendergap.genderissues

post #497 of 669
come to think of it, there are some fictions I've read that resonate deeply. bukowski, kerouac, miller, palahniuk, the usual suspects. I guess I just gotta find more like them.
post #498 of 669
Quote:
Originally Posted by eluther View Post

I absolutely love Murakami, but 1Q84 was one of the worst thing I've ever read – I returned it to the book store after 100 pages. It's actually the only book I've ever returned. Most of the problems could be chocked up to poor translation, but I don't see how it could do what WUBC does unless something shifts dramatically.

I think Kafka on the Shore's a great second Murakami novel. It complements WUBC in a lot of ways, kind of like a companion EP to a longer LP.

An interesting viewpoint, and one quite different from my own - which is why discussing literature is interesting.

I really enjoyed both Wind-up Bird Chronicle and 1Q84. I liked WUBC more than 1Q84, but that perhaps is because WUBC is the first Murakami book I ever read and I read it in both Japanese and English (which is something that I'm not capable of doing anymore as my Japanese has degraded considerably). As it's the first one I read, I may well have overly fond, nostalgic memories of it (similar to what someone was saying about Neuromancer a page or two back).

Anyway, I definitely prefer both WUBC and 1Q84 to Kafka on the Shore. The story in Kafka just didn't gel as well for me as did the stories in some of Murakami's other works. Perhaps I should re-read it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan138zig View Post

did anyone ever feel that reading fiction is a "waste of time" compared to nonfiction? I've been reading these pop-psychology/marketing books like Influence and Tipping Point and I just feel they actually can make my life better, with knowledge that can be applied in everyday life. while fiction, despite being a great source of entertainment, is virtually disposable.

Do you watch TV dramas or comedies? Do you go to see movies? How are these things different to reading fiction?

Not only is reading an enjoyable way to pass the time, but reading good fiction allows you to get into someone else's vision of the world. Well-written fiction is a joy to read, and is worth reading simply for that reason alone.
post #499 of 669
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan138zig View Post

did anyone ever feel that reading fiction is a "waste of time" compared to nonfiction? I've been reading these pop-psychology/marketing books like Influence and Tipping Point and I just feel they actually can make my life better, with knowledge that can be applied in everyday life. while fiction, despite being a great source of entertainment, is virtually disposable.

I think that's an important stance to acknowledge – because it's really easy to conclude that something that's nothing more than one person's cognitive contrivance has much less utility than something that can explicitly help you work in the world. I am certainly not accusing you of doing this, but if you literally just read the words on the page and maybe paint some kind of vague scene that the writer cajoles, you certainly aren't going to a deep experience that enriches your connection to those around you. You could very well just be reading a gossip column in the Odessa Tribune.

However, if you develop empathy and understanding for how literature as an art form works, it can be more instructive and more persuasive than something as explicit as Malcom Gladwell. Narrating a series of events lets someone surreptitiously convey their point without immediately arming your defenses. I read the whole of Crime & Punishment and really enjoyed it, only to find some bullshit salvation narrative at the end; but it's completely conceivable that Dostoevsky could persuade you to avoid the anxiety of Raskolnikov's duress by simply being Christian. That's a powerful way to shape someone's life, both in realizing that literature has that power and in the persuasion of any individual author.

I won't belabor the point any more, but I think it's worth being cognizant of the fact that literature has a very real everyday value if you invest time to work with it.
post #500 of 669
Meant to post this earlier, but I forgot to actually sit down and finish my thoughts. It's a long-ish read.
Murakami thoughts (Click to show)
Anyway, I just finished reading the WUBC. Really great stuff. I agree with Matt above: 1Q84 stands head and shoulders above this one, but I wouldn't want to give the impression that I think this is a "lesser" book. I haven't read enough Murakami to decide for myself where exactly it stands, but it reeled me in just as far as the other stuff I've encountered. I like how unflinchingly Murakami portrays hard, cruel human behavior (Boris "the Man-Skinner," yikes), and I like how beautifully he renders the sad, damaged people who have no choice it seems but to go on delivering or alternatively suffering the violence he illustrates. He's brutally frank when dealing with violence and pain, and he's brutally frank dealing with sensuality too. Though the obvious point here might be how (relatively) sexually explicit his books can be, he also captures the moments of intimacy between humans that is not strictly limited to a sexual act or to time-worn relationships. The glance from a stranger walking down the street can trigger a fanciful daydream, human touch calls forth a web of complicated emotional history, and a simple conversation with a neighbor about death and hereditary baldness can be a bridge from lonely despair to profound human connection.

I think the difference for me between 1Q84 and WUBC is mostly just a matter of pace and style. Each of these books hit their own snags in the storyline where I just had to just sit dumbly, book in front of me, lost and wondering, "why the fuck are we going in this direction?" But they both picked up (for me at least). It's just that 1Q84 hit that snag halfway through, whereas WUBC hit that maybe a third of the way through. 1Q84 is over 1,000 pages. That a book could hum along for more or less 500 pages without one bump along the way made for a ridiculously inviting read. That's basically 5/6 the length of the WUBC. Also, I loved the weird fairy tale shit running throughout 1Q84. Dark and upsetting folk and fairy tales have always been a really intriguing genre for me. The Little People was like a mix of Terry Pratchett and something that is disturbing and not Terry Pratchett. WUBC was of course dark and surreal and all over the place, but I think I preferred how much more profoundly significant the mystical aspects of the narrative were in 1Q84.

And there was actually a female narrator. A really welcome change. I don't know if Murakami has any other female protagonists, but my hunch would be he doesn't. The female characters in his books kind of remind me of the character Chameleon from the first novel in that awful series of books by Piers Anthony. Maybe that sounds dumb. Maybe you don't know who Piers Anthony is. You might not think he's awful. But anyway there are pretty much always female characters of a certain type: a young, innocent fantasy girl character who holds a sibling-like relationship with the main character, although there are some stray sparks of sensuality between the two; an older and more experienced woman of refined taste, stern-yet-tender demeanor, and a problematic past, who also elicits a minor sexual pulse in the narrative; a one-true-love who is so close yet so far away; and then typically a somewhat important woman who has frequent sexual relations with the main character. Aomame wasn't truly unique in terms of eluding familiar categories, but she was just as well drawn character as any of Murakami's other male characters, and I think that's an important thing in books, in general. Of course, these figures are tropes: they're meant to show up the way they do. I don't know why Murakami decides to write these kinds of characters (that's someone else's graduate thesis I'm sure), but I'm sure it's something he's conscious of. In fact I know he's aware of this, because he says as much in this really interesting interview. But it's nice that 1Q84 tried to open up some different doors and step away a little from a set pattern.

Speaking of Murakami tropes, the pop-culture references might understandably get old to some readers, but I've enjoyed how they've enhanced the text for me. I never really thought it would be worthwhile to listen to classical music, but the way he embeds them so fittingly into the text is like when you read an interesting Wikipedia page and come across a link to yet another article and smile to yourself, "hey, I'd like to learn about that too." Click. Now reading about the Battle of Nomonhan. Click. Now listening to Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Cool. Maybe I'll pick up a book on one of these topics and learn more about them. Yeah, that's a great idea. Come to think of it, that's a pretty concrete demonstration of how fiction can offer me something when I didn't really expect anything to begin with. I just wanted to read a good story and now I'm sitting here with this head full of ideas about how the heck humans bump around and make meaning out of their strange and heavily insignificant lives, and I've got a desire to read more about the different experiences humans can have, the things they can observe, the thoughts they can have, the ways in which they can express, etc. On this point, 1Q84 and the WUBC were pretty much equal. I think most of his books are at the same level in that respect. They just make me want to learn a little more, open up new connections to the world. I didn't mean to end my thoughts by responding somewhat to danzig's question above, but I guess I would have wound up here if I went on about reading fiction long enough. It's a bug. You get bit by something and then suffer this strange headrush of curiosity. Franz Liszt. Russian history. A former professor's published book. Your brother's boring and unintelligible lawyering job. I really enjoyed both of these books, and when I encounter truly great fiction it makes me want to reach out and touch more of the world. Or, in Murakami's case, taking a curious exit off the highway and stepping into a new world entirely.
post #501 of 669
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan138zig View Post

did anyone ever feel that reading fiction is a "waste of time" compared to nonfiction? I've been reading these pop-psychology/marketing books like Influence and Tipping Point and I just feel they actually can make my life better, with knowledge that can be applied in everyday life. while fiction, despite being a great source of entertainment, is virtually disposable.

I often do, but Im pursuing science as a career, and there are always new stuff to learn.
post #502 of 669
I tend to have time set aside in the day to read both for information/school and for pleasure.
post #503 of 669
Gah, thanks goldentribe ... I pm'd to discover your thoughts on prose, found out you blocked me. ffffuuuu.gif

I guess you were a stealth neuromancer fan after all. facepalm.gif

Random book thought: it can be hard with no IRL peeps left to nerd out with. Reading appears to be on the decline. Woe, woe....
post #504 of 669

I think you were looking for "extolling".

 

"Began" usually denotes a process rather than a direct action. If the train "decelerated ten kilometers from the airport" it would have lowered its speed at that point, but not necessarily continued to slow down for the rest of the distance.  And if we want to give Gibson even more credit, the "average" distance it takes for a passenger train to stop is one mile, so in saying Case's train began decelerating 10km out, he's also implying that the train is moving at a high speed.

 

But the virtue of Gibson's prose lies in the ways it's incorrect. Like Faulkner, his use of the vernacular reflects the culture he's commenting on.

post #505 of 669
Quote:
Originally Posted by futuresailors View Post

But the virtue of Gibson's prose lies in the ways it's incorrect. Like Faulkner, his use of the vernacular reflects the culture he's commenting on.

Yeah, this is sort of what I was curious about. Excerpted, it certainly lacks poetry, so I was wondering if maybe it worked better as a whole (or was at least intentional). Faulkner always sounds amazing, though, no matter what he's up to....

Also: Yes, exclaiming! Chosen for the hyperbole. smile.gif
post #506 of 669
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan138zig View Post

did anyone ever feel that reading fiction is a "waste of time" compared to nonfiction? I've been reading these pop-psychology/marketing books like Influence and Tipping Point and I just feel they actually can make my life better, with knowledge that can be applied in everyday life. while fiction, despite being a great source of entertainment, is virtually disposable.

I have always felt this way to some extent. I have always felt that if I am going to spend the time to read a book, it better teach me something factual about the real world. When it comes to pure entertainment I would prefer a movie or tv show. I am starting to come around to the idea that fiction can be just as if not more informative than nonfiction. That is to say, I believe it is possible, but I have not really read any fiction books recently. Does anyone have any recommendations of must read fiction that is at least somewhat rooted in reality or at least discusses real world themes?
post #507 of 669
Quote:
Originally Posted by futuresailors View Post
 

 

And please don't read pop-psychology. It's pandering and perpetuates stupidity.

 

 

this

post #508 of 669
Quote:
Originally Posted by a bag of it View Post

I have always felt this way to some extent. I have always felt that if I am going to spend the time to read a book, it better teach me something factual about the real world. When it comes to pure entertainment I would prefer a movie or tv show. I am starting to come around to the idea that fiction can be just as if not more informative than nonfiction. That is to say, I believe it is possible, but I have not really read any fiction books recently. Does anyone have any recommendations of must read fiction that is at least somewhat rooted in reality or at least discusses real world themes?
I found Henry miller's Tropic of Cancer to be mind opening. And maybe some bukowskis palahniuks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post

An interesting viewpoint, and one quite different from my own - which is why discussing literature is interesting.

I really enjoyed both Wind-up Bird Chronicle and 1Q84. I liked WUBC more than 1Q84, but that perhaps is because WUBC is the first Murakami book I ever read and I read it in both Japanese and English (which is something that I'm not capable of doing anymore as my Japanese has degraded considerably). As it's the first one I read, I may well have overly fond, nostalgic memories of it (similar to what someone was saying about Neuromancer a page or two back).

Anyway, I definitely prefer both WUBC and 1Q84 to Kafka on the Shore. The story in Kafka just didn't gel as well for me as did the stories in some of Murakami's other works. Perhaps I should re-read it.

Do you watch TV dramas or comedies? Do you go to see movies? How are these things different to reading fiction?

Not only is reading an enjoyable way to pass the time, but reading good fiction allows you to get into someone else's vision of the world. Well-written fiction is a joy to read, and is worth reading simply for that reason alone.

How are those different, you ask? Movies only demand 2 hours of my time, and that's why I prefer movies for entertainment.

Edit: sorry if I sound curt. I'm just repeating your question so that you'll know what my reply is about.
Edited by dan138zig - 3/30/14 at 4:35am
post #509 of 669

Hey guys, if you prefer movies and not books, there's a thread for that.

 

There are literally hundreds of recommendations in this thread. Instead of asking for a recommendation of 'must read', why not go over the past posts where I and many others reviewed books and talked about them. Asking a question about the reviews would be more useful, or just looking at what we (collectively or individually) enjoyed and why would be a better use of your time, I think.

 

That being said, if you consider fiction as 'just entertainment' perhaps no book will fix your banal  attitude.

 

Love,

 

LonerMatt.

post #510 of 669
Quote:
Originally Posted by noob View Post


Yeah, this is sort of what I was curious about. Excerpted, it certainly lacks poetry, so I was wondering if maybe it worked better as a whole (or was at least intentional). Faulkner always sounds amazing, though, no matter what he's up to....

Also: Yes, exclaiming! Chosen for the hyperbole. smile.gif


The reason I posted those two quotes, in particular, is I found them not only evocative, but also enjoyed the cadence. I really enjoy it when writers use fairly grotesque settings/actions are a way of exploring a feeling or moment. I can't write down why (I don't know) and I can't phrase my ideas in a less wanky way because I'm not a beautiful writer myself. In a similar way to the Kupling quotes I posted a while a go - these ones are just small moments in a larger story - separate from the narrative/character/thematic content that stick out (to me) as parts where Gibson is actually writing - not also telling a story, advancing a plot, creating a world, etc.

 

If you don't dig it, that's fine, but I tend to think ultra paired down writing is dull and boring (words are great, that's one of the reasons reading's great) and I also don't really think the extreme-fetish that is 'sparse prose' is helpful or meaningful. Saying a lot with a little is fine, letting the author really capture a reader with a careful, but elaborate, use of words is also great.

 

Futuresailors makes an excellent point about the way the prose reflects the environment - and Gibson's influence certainly stems from the way he invented, subverted and twisted words to suit his world of the matrix, etc, etc, etc.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Streetwear and Denim
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Streetwear and Denim › Reading thread