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Reading thread

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

  1. Nope, but I'll put that on my list once I finish rereading Neuromancer
     
  2. fireflygrave

    fireflygrave Senior member

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    Neuromancer :nodding:

    also if you haven't read it already I recommend going straight to Snow Crash since its basically jacked up absurdist neuromancer
     
  3. robinsongreen68

    robinsongreen68 Senior member

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    I've carried that sentence in my mind for years without considering the bestiality aspect, but now that you've pointed it out, I don't entirely discount it.. is there an echo of Yeats's leda and the swan (published the preceding year i think) there, both in terms of the image and the percussive force of the language? 'the great wings beating still/Above the staggering girl'
    also isn't there a bit of yeatsian cadence/imagery in the mccarthy quote? kinda like 'were you but lying cold and dead/and lights were paling out of the west'
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  4. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Never read Rushdie then, you'll be 10 pages and and sick the prose.

    I tend to enjoy overly flowery prose (and also starkness) - I enjoy Chabon's novels.

    I wouldn't call Murakami stark though - almost the opposite - there'll be pages devoted to everyday routines, or the description of a dream - almost the opposite of McCarthy's almost emotionally void writing.
     
  5. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Snowcrash is basically the greatest book of all time. The opening alone is worth it, the fact it continues to be totally awesome the entire time is an intense bonus. For those unconvinced, I present this as a discussion for prose:

    “The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallow subcategory. He's got esprit up to here. Right now, he is preparing to carry out his third mission of the night. His uniform is black as activated charcoal, filtering the very light out of the air. A bullet will bounce off its arachnofiber weave like a wren hitting a patio door, but excess perspiration wafts through it like a breeze through a freshly napalmed forest. Where his body has bony extremities, the suit has sintered armorgel: feels like gritty jello, protects like a stack of telephone books.”
     
  6. GraphicNovelty

    GraphicNovelty Senior member

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    Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey is great contemporary Sci-Fi but nobody seems to have read it.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. wogbog

    wogbog Senior member

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    McCarthy has pages of everyday routines too! I've read All the Pretty Horses twice and all I remember is caballeros mopping up beans with tortillas and petting horses.

    I like writing that makes me slow down and digest it, and McCarthy/Rushdie/Nabokov/Faulkner all fit into that camp. Rushdie was the first I read doing that sort of thing but I've fallen out of love with him a little since then. It is a little obnoxious when writing exudes "dayumm I'm clever", especially when they're clever enough to get away with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  8. fireflygrave

    fireflygrave Senior member

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    Oh, see, what I mean by 'stark' is the feeling of the prose, not it's efficiency. Murakami can go on and on about tiny details but the way he does it, so matter-of-fact and simply is what I mean. The opposite of the way Murakami does detail would be in my mind the way Dickens does it.
     
  9. eluther

    eluther Senior member

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    I've only read The Satanic Verses, but Rushdie's writing is wonderful. I don't know if you're accusing him of being clever (and getting away with it), I don't get that feeling of artifice/contrivance that I associate with "clever" writers.

    For me, a better example than Chabon (though he's just as guilty of it), is Umberto Eco. His semiological work is without flaw, but his prose is so needlessly ornate – almost to the point of being overcome with kitsch. He's obviously a brilliant thinker, but he's incapable of not lording it over the prose. For me, it was just eye roll after eye roll of convoluted over-feeling. It's like a series of strings of the whale quote from McCarthy. When you use them sparingly, it holds, but when that grandeur is a writer's M.O. it's tiresome.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Superb0bo

    Superb0bo Senior member

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    ^^ I couldnt finish the last Eco novel, extremly complicated and dificult to get into. And I love foucoults pendelum and enjoyed baudolina and the name of the rose.
     
  11. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    Don't get all the Chabon hate. Really enjoyed all the Chabon I've read.

    Fireflygrave - you'd like Junot Diaz, I reckon, I linked to a short story of his on Hara, check it out.
     
  12. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    I reading Midnight's Children at the moment and the prose is so overly whimsical, fluid and contrived that I'm basically wanting to burn the fucking thing. It's getting in the way of following the pretty poor excuse for a narrative (which, at 150 pages in has been Grandad meets Gradmum, has kids, Mum has me - 150 pages and that's what I've fucking read).
     
  13. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    +1. I didn't find him particularly contrived or irritating and I really enjoyed the couple of books of his that I've read.

    On the other hand, if someone does really want to read something contrived, where the author appears to be trying to show off and say, "Oh, look at me, I'm such a virtuoso", then have a look at Jonathan Safran Foer or Dave Eggers.

    Both of them can write well, but I find that all too often, their work is filled with irritating, unnecessary flourishes and it really just makes me think of a teenager trying to be clever for the sake of being clever, rather than someone trying to write well.

    Safran Foer's "Everything is Illuminated" and Eggers's "You Shall Know Our Velocity" were both like that. I both enjoyed them and was irritated by them, as they would have been so much better without the seemingly juvenile attempts at verbal virtuosity or clever little literary techniques. Some good editing was required in both cases.
     
  14. LonerMatt

    LonerMatt Senior member

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    100% agree on Everything is Illuminated.
     
  15. notwithit

    notwithit Senior member

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    That's exactly what kind of pissed me off about Lolita - although I still enjoyed it - and pretty much ruined The Eye for me. I felt like Nabokov was winking at me the entire time and waiting for me to wink back and say "oh, I see what you did there" and tip my hat to his cleverness and allusions. I liked some other stuff of his I've read, like some of the short stories.


    The only Rushdie I've read is Midnight's Children, and I highly recommend it. If you didn't want to go to India before reading it, you will after you've finished it.

    I don't disagree with what people are saying about Foer, but I thought Everything Is Illuminated is so good that it succeeds in spite of all of the unnecessary over-adornment. The only Eggers I've read is What Is the What, which steered clear of most of the issues I've heard tend to plague his writing. I thought Chabon's Kavalier and Klay had a fantastic start - the first few chapters would have made a ridiculously good novella - and had a nice ramp-up somewhere in the middle with the part in Antarctica or wherever (I read it a while ago and forget the specifics), but the other several hundred pages didn't keep pace with the couple of good parts.

    I just started reading The Good Lord Bird. I'm not usually into historical fiction, but it paints a vivid enough picture of the time and place that I'm getting drawn into it in spite of the lack of developed characters.

    Also, I fucking hated The Sound and the Fury. The best part of the book is that in an episode of The Venture Bros. one of the characters references the same passage from Macbeth as the title.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  16. futuresailors

    futuresailors Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    Yeah, What is the What was pretty unpretentious. I mostly liked Eggers because rather than being clever and wanting your return wink/hat tip he came across as self-consciously pretentious in a "I know you know I know I'm trying to be clever, so let's both enjoy how clever we are" way. That and the "I made so much money off this book that if you mail me a letter I'll send you some" made it seem like he was trying to build a rapport with the reader rather than show off.

    If you want to give another historical fiction piece a shot and want to keep with the bird titles, The Painted Bird by Kosinski was absurd and entertaining and disgusting and sad and a whole bunch of other adjectives.
     
  17. notwithit

    notwithit Senior member

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    Awesome, I love adjectives.
     
  18. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    Interesting. My experience was entirely different. Yes, Nabokov does slip in a whole lot of allusions and verbal tricks, but to me, it was done in a very natural, unpretentious way. A lot of younger, modern authors try to imitate such things, I think, but their writing often ends up sounding very pretentious as a result. Whereas with Nabokov it was very natural, with people like Safran Foer it seemed like he was always saying, "Look at me, look at me, aren't I clever?"



    "Everything is Illuminated" was good, but I really disliked the conflation of the two stories - the "real" story on the one hand, and the "magical realism" story on the other hand. I understand that Safran Foer was writing meta-fiction and that it's very post-modern and all that, but for me at least, it really jarred and the magical realist part of the story just intruded into, and got in the way of, the other story. Also, the magical realist part of the story just felt really forced and overdone, unlike magical realism from someone like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, for example.



    I was thinking of mentioning Kosinski, as I read all of his books while I was at uni. He was a very interesting and complex character, and while he represented "The Painted Bird" as historical/autobiographical when it was first published, there were later serious objections raised as to the authenticity of the story. It's still an enjoyable read, though, as are quite a few of his other books.

    Probably his best-known book - which I found to be very enjoyable - is "Being There", which was made into a film with Peter Sellers, just before Sellers died in the early 1980s (I think).
     
  19. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    I put down Everything is Illuminated after the first twenty pages, stuffed with fart jokes, clumsy narration, sit-com level humor, sit-com level stereotypes. I couldn't fault him, being so young (and also connected) but I always wondered what the appeal of that book was, other than a massive pre-market campaign and accolades that appeared to come from neutral journalistic sources, rather than friends of the family...
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
  20. eluther

    eluther Senior member

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    I wonder if it's Rushdie's attempt at creating a mythos for a magical realism plot? Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude is pretty similar. Curious if you find the narrative of that equally as poor.

    Seeing @notwithit's recommendation of the book, too, makes me want to pick it up.


    @noob I totally agree, but read the whole book.

    I find Foer incredibly obnoxious. In interviews, as well, he's just so fucking precious and unacademic. He's the anti-Bukowski or something. Not that Bukowski's academic. And Foer's plots surrounding the Holocaust and 9/11 are just such cheap ploys overreaching for the sublime and falling into sentimentality. I do not feel that he's a writer who "honors the subject" – not that you should, mind you, but that seems to be what he's after.

    I will say that Foer didn't strike me as *wink wink nudge nudge* as Eggers is. Eggers is arguably one of the worst and least capable of it. Nothing I've ever read of his was actually clever. Smarmy and navel-gazing, yes. But the what-he-tries-to-pass-as-cleverness is so puerilely conceived, it's nothing but obnoxious. Like a precocious 10-year-old showing off to a room of adults.

    Also, I agree that Everything Is Illuminated's parallel magical realism felt tacked-on and unnecessary. Rushdie does it so aptly in The Satanic Verses, just to tie everything back in together. I've also never realized how many writers do the parallel magical thing: Rushdie, Foer, Murakami...I felt like there were two more but they fell from my mind as soon as I started typing.
     

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