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Reading thread

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by rjbman, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. thewho13

    thewho13 Well-Known Member

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    The First Men in the Moon was such a fun (and also pretty chilling) book when I read it as a kid.
     
  2. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    35. Handmaid's Tale

    Set in Gilead - a fictional future evolution of the US - this story follows Offred who is a Handmaid - basically a woman who's job it is to breed. The story largely juxtaposes the time 'before' and the current time - one charactertised by incredibly strict laws placed on inter-gender conduct, roles and responsibilities. Offred and her fellow women have to dress as (basically) nuns, and are allowed no freedom at all. The government of Gilead has strong overtones of the Taliban and the Uzbek government, which I also found pretty cool.

    Throughout the story, Offred constantly thinks through the relationship between men and women and provides some real insights (for me). Atwood's writing is incredibly severe at points, and mimics perfectly the near resignation and bluntness of the main character.

    I was initially really uncertain about this book - it is often assigned for High School reading here and I find many of those books just don't do anything for me anymore - however, this book was actually both interesting and insightful. In light of the notallmen/yesallwomen debacle this was refreshing and interesting.

    This is not a difficult or mind-bending read - it won't shift anyone's paradigms, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the writing. It's a dystopic novel that is really honest and non-dramatic, which is rare (I think The Road is probably the only other not super dramatic dystopic novel I can remember reading). I know we have some fairly serious readers here (wogbog, cough cough), but I feel this book might be a tad overlooked and ignored at times. At least IME.
     
  3. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    Wogbog - ho was Infinite Jest?
     
  4. DividedWay

    DividedWay Well-Known Member

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    Infinite Jest is awesome. It is so worth the read, and re-read.
     
  5. wogbog

    wogbog Well-Known Member

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    I'm halfway through and yeah it's great. I thought there'd be points where I questioned whether it was worth rereading, but there hasn't been. It's long and dense but it comes in digestible chunks so once you start it's easy to keep going, and I never have Ulysses/Suttree/Faulkner moments of wondering wtf is going on. Beautiful/funny/sad/clever/exciting/everything. I might like it too much.
     
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  6. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

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    I thought it could even seem too surprisingly short on a retread, considering the sections are long, but not really that numerous. I wish someone would make me forget it so I could come it fresh.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  7. wogbog

    wogbog Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I've had "wow I'm at Escahton already!", II'm at the mattress scene already!", and "I'm at the Antitoi brothers already!" moments. I remember the first time reading it I was surprised that it ended (and not just because I didn't know when I'd hit the endnotes) and it'll probably happen again this time. It gives the impression that it could go on forever and I'd be OK with that. It's eerie how it has almost everything I look for in a novel. (He never quite taps into romantic love but that's the only lack I can think of.)
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
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  8. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

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    YES, it's the one thing I really wanted to see him tackle. I believe that his casual readers, his fandom, and even academia are so caught in the midst of this revisionist Everything is Love, Wallace Is About What It Means To Be Human spell, it's easy to forget how many things he actually kept at arms' length. I really wanted to see how this might change as he grew older, whether, like Cormac McCarthy, or any punk band that manages to endure, he would migrate from these wordsier ironies towards a more paired-down, emotional terrain. I think the Pale King, with its slightly different style and its Jesus bits (as well as the author's troubling need to appear Correct about everything) definitely hinted at this, though, due to editing, exactly how much is hard to say.

    The parts where he almost gets at romance are some of his best, I think: Mildred Bonk, The USS Millicent. Some of Lenore's escapades from Broom. :slayer:
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
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  9. DividedWay

    DividedWay Well-Known Member

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    I just finished East of Eden (my first Steinbeck since Of Mice and Men in High School...) and it was great. Preachy... but very human, and very good. Curious to know what other people think of it.
     
  10. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    I loved it so much. It's my favourite Steinbeck (who is my favourite author) - it's just such an enjoyable and thoughtful read.
     
  11. eluther

    eluther Well-Known Member

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    One of my all-time favorite books. The day I finished it, I went out and got pigasus tattooed.

    A (too) personal anecdote about the book: Cathy is obviously (and very effectively) one of the most loathsome characters I've ever read – it's difficult to even muster ambivalence about her, like you might with Henry Miller (as himself) in Tropic of... However, when she's discussing some nefarious bullshit, she says something to the effect of, "You have to wait for the opportunity to get what you want." And that has stuck with me as a truly, deeply, affirming directive in life. I absolutely, unequivocally do not believe in anything like "The Secret" or other woo-woo bullshit, but in my experience, having the patience to wait out the obstacles coming before you and whatever it is you desire has worked well.

    Mind you, another literary moral everyone should learn in tandem is Something Wicked This Way Comes – the things we think we want are seldom what we think they are.
     
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  12. Distorbiant

    Distorbiant Well-Known Member

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    Fun tidbit about Something Wicked: It was something like 2x-3x longer in its original draft. It's perhaps Bradbury's biggest cutting work. This is in contrast to works like Fahrenheit and Martian Chronicles which originated or were composed of smaller pieces.

    Wish I could get my hands on some of those older writings. Apparently his old house has a file cabinet stuffed full of novels and stories he never published.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  13. wogbog

    wogbog Well-Known Member

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    Hehe for me, the Wallace almost-romance that comes to mind first is Gately/Joelle (maybecause I just read their first conversation together in IJ :3) and the pregnant couple in TPK. Part of me wants to say that TPK shows a pared down emotional Wallace but I dunno... I found even Broom pretty darn emotional. So maybe it's just pared down Wallace. Definitely agree that IJ doesn't cover everything although it comes closer than most books. (This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately, how even my favourite writers have gaps in what they do, as far as emotion/style/narrative/other such things I look for in a novel.)

    East of Eden is lovely. The language and emotions were so lush and satisfying, like a difficult but not uncomfortable hike in book form. I didn't find it preachy at all when I read it but that seems to be a common complaint... I remember picking up Grapes of Wrath next and finding that one super preachy.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
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  14. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    SWTWC was a bit long for my liking.
     
  15. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

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    Delany fans: what is the ultimate Delany: Dhalgren or Hogg?



    (Or is it even, mercifully, something shorter?)


    .​
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  16. Distorbiant

    Distorbiant Well-Known Member

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    Srs?

    Aye, And Gomorrah.

    Just reading that story for the first time was like a punch in the face.
     
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  17. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Well-Known Member

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    100% srs. I've had Dhalgren on my list for so long, I can't remember if it was that or Hogg that non- die hard science fiction fans consider his best. I've been burned by sci-fi before!

    Oh...I see Aye + Gomorra is a collection? Thanks, that sounds good.

    I skipped through his auto-bio recently ... was surprised to find a very happenin' biracial, bisexual, Jacob-from-Twilight looking dude on the cover, not the big hobbit-y George RRRRRMartin type one associates with SF. :laugh: :hide:
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  18. Distorbiant

    Distorbiant Well-Known Member

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    Aye, and Gomorrah is a short story.

    It looks like that collection you found has almost every short story he has written. I might have to pick it up myself.
     
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  19. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Well-Known Member

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    36. Museum of Innocence

    What a book - this was a really, really enjoyable and fascinating book. It follows the story of Kemal, who is a wealthy business operator-owner in Istanbul. Set against the changing social norms in Turkey, complete with bombings and fighting, Kemal tells a love story through objects and memories (the 'Museum'). The novel opens with his engagement to Sibel - an upper class woman who he has already slept with. A chance encounter with a distant relative - Fusun - sees him completely head over heels, and he begins an affair with her, eventually completely obsessing with her. After his engagement with Sibel ends, Kemal meets with Fusun, but instead of picking up where they left off, Kemal finds her married, and becomes a fixture in her family's daily routine, just to be close to her. For 8 years he becomes a domestic ornament.

    The characters in this novel are interesting and well0thought out. Kemal's love borders on obsession and the immaturity of his actions is often complimented by his thoughtful reflection and self-doubt. Fusun is initially one dimensional, but begins to show slowly how she is crushed by her dreams, social expectations and her initial relationship with Kemal. The novel often dissects the problematic relationship between sex, marriage, love, commitment, desire and society in Turkey at that time. It also spends significant amounts of time with characters on the border of empowering love and absolutely crushing, almost stalker, obsession.

    A longer read, and a serious one, but a very, very good novel.
     

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