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Reading thread - Page 54

post #796 of 808

Speaking of post-modern authors, has anyone read any of John Barth's books?


I really enjoyed "The Sot-Weed Factor" while I was at uni and subsequently read another of his novels, "Giles Goat-Boy".


I didn't enjoy Giles as much as the Sot-Weed Factor, but both were interesting and worthwhile reads. I think that they came out at around the same time as Pynchon's Lot 49.

post #797 of 808
If you liked Lot 49, the traditional pairing is Barth's Lost in the Funhouse, which is also excellent in it's way.
post #798 of 808

68. Taipei


This novel comes from that smug and lonely NYC/East Coast bubble of pretentious hacks who lack any vision, ability, perspective or authority. It is a meandering and dull waste of time that follows Paul (obviously the writer Tao Lin) as he ingests a lot of drugs and awkwardly achieves nothing of consequence. Dialogue focuses around nothing, everyone avoiding making choices, half heartedly agreeing to do drugs, etc. None of the characters are interesting, nothing about their lives are compelling. The writing is so severely lacking in detail, depth, reflection or action as to be possibly a ure for ALL sleeping problems. It's not even interesting enough to be a critique of some modern day lifestyles, trends or reality, it's too insubstantial to offer anything at all.


I have no idea why this book garnered any positive feedback or criticism, it is an absolute bore and proffers nothing at all. Any one who enjoyed this would be the sort of person I'd want to avoid.


The book is like early Brad Easton Ellis, just without any of the compelling parts, originality, surprises or style.


This was worse than the Swan Book (just shorter). If someone gives you this for Christmas consider never seeing them again.

post #799 of 808
Just finished The Face of Another by Kobo Abe – and damn. One of the greatest books I've ever read.

Abe masterfully blends the mania of Dostoevsky's Raskalnikov with the hidden depth of Nabokov's Humbert, bent in the direction of the sublime struggle in Sartre's Nausea. Atop that, he's a world-class prosodist (or has the most eloquent translator of all time). The only way I can fault the novel is that at times, it felt obvious that a novelist must have written it because it's unfathomable that a solipsistic scientist with no background in literature could find such eloquence to describe the misery of his struggle.

I'm working to uncover a potential allegory with a small subplot at the end of the book. If anyone's familiar with that (academically?), I wouldn't refuse the guidance.
post #800 of 808

Finally finished Swann's way. A lot of it definitely flew over my head, but some of his stream of consciousness thoughts really resonated with me. Will be very interesting to re-read in a few years and see what I get out of it then. Ideally in French.. 


Might try The Face of Another next before starting the next Recherche volume. Or read some epic fantasy first :embar:

post #801 of 808
I just started Swann's Way. My 2015 project is to read ~the whole thing~ in the English (so I get it) and in French (so I get original language). So far it is hard to put down because so good. Also i see myself rereading it because there's so much going on. I feel like I should save it for when I'm at peak mental awareness and have two hours to set aside, so that I can keep all the relevant info in my head, but then I'd never get very far.
post #802 of 808
post #803 of 808
Mary McCarthy also had a pretty cool review:


(McCarthy was married for a while to Edmund Wilson, who was good friends with Nabokov before they fell out.)
post #804 of 808


Finally finished this 500 page tome that James Wood of the New Yorker gushed over: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/05/19/the-world-as-we-know-it. It was a bit disappointing, I should've known better. The tone of the narrative has a nice, gentle, contemplative, wise quality, from the depth of knowledge dispensed by both main characters and from the context of the story, of a friend who shows up at the doorsteps of the narrator after having disappeared for several years to tell of his experiences working in post-war Afghanistan during its rebuilding. Unfortunately the narrative quality never moves beyond its beginnings. Too little of the narrator is revealed, the climatic reveal is terrible. A lot of press has accused the novel of misogyny, neither of the two female characters in the story have a voice, and both are portrayed as beautiful but superficial. I think it's more a case of the novelist not knowing how to write female characters in general, and worse yet the sex scenes. Can't help but feel like I've wasted my time on this one. The only remotely useful thing I got out of it was learning in detail how tranches and CDOs worked.

Edited by accordion - 1/18/15 at 2:00am
post #805 of 808
Unless you have scholarly fantasies of a pipe and tweed and high leather armchairs and hellaciously conservative morals, I'd stay the fuck away from James Wood.
post #806 of 808

I actually like Harold Bloom a lot, same mold but more badass, and they hate each other. I like using Bloom to beat down pomo kids.

post #807 of 808
Never really read any Bloom...I figure he's probably okay based on knowing that he seems to like Pynchon, and that he bigged up John Crowley's "Little, Big".
post #808 of 808

Hilary Mantel fans should check out BBC's adaptation of Wolf Hall. Never read the book but the series has good reviews.

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