Hard to read, the fiction.

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by denimdestroyedmylife, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. Dakota rube

    Dakota rube Senior member

    Messages:
    14,506
    Likes Received:
    193
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    Location:
    A bit better than yesterday, all day vomiting for
    ^^Wow. Conflicting advice from two of my most trust-worthy SFers. I would've given it up for certain long ago, but the gal who loaned me the book is the star of my November "What I did last night" post...

    I'm sure there's something in it for Rube if I can make it to the end. A book club "discussion" or something.
     


  2. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    14,595
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    I've been slogging through what should be an easy read: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I have started, stopped and re-started this blasted thing a half dozen times since last autumn and haven't made but a 100-page dent in it. The book lies dormant, silently mocking me, on my coffee table. . .
    I hated that book and could not get through it. It almost broke up my relationship with my wife as it is her favorite book, and early on in our relationship, she begged me to read it. I just couldn't Our dog is named Owen, after Owen Meany.
    Weird. I had a girlfriend, one of whose favorite books was A Prayer for Owen Meany. Unlike you, I had the good fortune of never even trying to read it. I did like her other favorite, which was The Grapes of Wrath. Is A Prayer for Owen Meany some sort of "official chick book"? I never thought so.
     


  3. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

    Messages:
    22,173
    Likes Received:
    7,369
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Ah, here is the best part of a thread like this: I read 100 Years of Solitude and enjoyed it. Keeping track of several generations of characters can be a challenge, I guess, especially when some share the same name, but I managed it. :brainflex:

    good for you - I mean that with no sarcasim. I honestly love some of his other writing, and my wife loves his writing, and I value my ablity to read and comprehend literature. it was a bitter failure for me not to be able to handle this book.
    Wow, quite a different strokes for different folks illustration. 100 Years of Solitude is easily one of my favorite books. I was completely floored by my first reading of it and have returned to it several times.
    Dune is awesome and it is popular for a million different reasons, most of which are probably valid.

    I am shocked -- shocked -- to learn that you like Dune. [​IMG]

    In the category of somewhat difficult but worth it I would include William Gaddis's A Frolic of His Own and JR. His unpunctuated, immersive writing style can be difficult to get into at first, but it is absolutely brilliant when you surrender to it and let yourself be carried along by the tide. They are a bit like Absalom, Absalom (or other Faulkners for that matter) in that way.
     


  4. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

    Messages:
    22,173
    Likes Received:
    7,369
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Is A Prayer for Owen Meany some sort of "official chick book"? I never thought so.

    My dad liked it; it bored the hell out of me.

    For whatever that proves. I generally find Irving to be readable (I think I missed his most recent one or two), but that one didn't do it for me at all.
     


  5. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

    Messages:
    20,605
    Likes Received:
    390
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    greater chicago
    I hated that book and could not get through it. It almost broke up my relationship with my wife as it is her favorite book, and early on in our relationship, she begged me to read it. I just couldn't

    Our dog is named Owen, after Owen Meany.


    wow, that's a surprise. did you like other stuff by the same author?
     


  6. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

    Messages:
    25,745
    Likes Received:
    238
    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Location:
    Constantinople
    Finnegans Wake
     


  7. 1969

    1969 Senior member

    Messages:
    2,712
    Likes Received:
    991
    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Infinite Jest. I really enjoyed reading it, but couldn't really put it together as a novel. re-read it a few times, and last year picked up the study guide which gave some new light to a few things.
     


  8. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    80
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2002
    Location:
    Canuckistan

    I am shocked -- shocked -- to learn that you like Dune. [​IMG]


    There is so much that is good about Dune. My aunt from Jordan actually introduced me to the novels. I was playing the RTS game Dune 2 on my computer when she interrupted me and asked if I had read the novels. So the next day I went to the library. I went through the entire series in a couple of months.

    Generally speaking, I am not in to sci-fi and fantasy though. Tolkien and the Dune series are the exceptions rather than the rule.

    Dune may have noships and cool genetic experiments, but it's really not about that. It's all the various layers and the things he's commenting on throughout the series that make it a great book as oppposed to just another sci-fi book.
     


  9. GoSurface

    GoSurface Senior member

    Messages:
    8,488
    Likes Received:
    375
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. If I remember correctly, I think I ended up liking it a lot. Although, that was around 6 years ago.
     


  10. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

    Messages:
    22,173
    Likes Received:
    7,369
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Infinite Jest. I really enjoyed reading it, but couldn't really put it together as a novel.

    Good call, I agree completely. I'd pick it up and read a bit and be impressed by its brilliance. But I just couldn't sustain it (although I think I did read all the way through). I found it to be one of those pieces that are more impressive as an exercise in virtuosity than an enjoyable or enlivening reading experience.
     


  11. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

    Messages:
    22,173
    Likes Received:
    7,369
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    There is so much that is good about Dune. My aunt from Jordan actually introduced me to the novels. I was playing the RTS game Dune 2 on my computer when she interrupted me and asked if I had read the novels. So the next day I went to the library. I went through the entire series in a couple of months.

    Generally speaking, I am not in to sci-fi and fantasy though. Tolkien and the Dune series are the exceptions rather than the rule.

    Dune may have noships and cool genetic experiments, but it's really not about that. It's all the various layers and the things he's commenting on throughout the series that make it a great book as oppposed to just another sci-fi book.


    I don't really have an opinion on it either way. I read the first book when I was in high school and I think I enjoyed it. Somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd book of the series I got bored or distracted and put it down, never to return.
     


  12. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    14,595
    Likes Received:
    1,928
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2006
    I don't really have an opinion on it either way. I read the first book when I was in high school and I think I enjoyed it. Somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd book of the series I got bored or distracted and put it down, never to return.

    the quality of the Dune books drop off very steeply, though I don't recall exactly when. I am pretty sure the second is quite good, but not so sure about the third.
     


  13. hi-val

    hi-val Senior member

    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Yay! I read GR too. [​IMG]

    Strangely, I could not make it through Pynchon's V, which is much shorter, and supposedly more accessible. When I lose track of characters, and I have to keep backtracking, that is the death knell.

    EDIT: there is a Jonathan Franzen essay in How To Be Alone about difficult books; he compares reading them to mountain-climbing. I forgot the rest. He mentions Gravity's Rainbow and uh... uh... that other guy. Uh......


    Plus One. I tried Gravity's Rainbow because I liked Crying of Lot 49 a lot. 130 pages in, I had no real idea what was going on because he introduces infinite characters in the first 50 pages.
     


  14. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    14,384
    Likes Received:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2006
    Location:
    The wild and the pure.
    wow, that's a surprise. did you like other stuff by the same author?
    You should understand that my reading list is not up to SF standards. If two people have not been murdered by page fifty, I usually put it down.
     


  15. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    80
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2002
    Location:
    Canuckistan
    the quality of the Dune books drop off very steeply, though I don't recall exactly when. I am pretty sure the second is quite good, but not so sure about the third.

    I think it was the 4th that wasn't so good, but it was good again by Chapterhouse (the final book).
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by