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Reading thread

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

  1. lampedusa

    lampedusa New Member

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    Not exactly Murakami, but this is a wonderful new novel set in Japan -- I Called Him Necktie by a Japanese-Austrian writer, Milena Michiko Flasar. It's about a hikikomori - a young man who has secluded himself from society and begins a friendship with a necktie-wearing businessman in a Tokyo park.

    http://www.amazon.com/Called-Necktie-Milena-Michiko-Flasar/dp/1939931142



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
  2. DividedWay

    DividedWay Senior member

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    I finished reading Cloud Atlas last night. Saw the movie a few days ago, and I decided to pick it up. I was curious.

    It's more than a little bit self-obsessed. One of the characters writes a "Cloud Atlas sextet" that, well, has six parts, and each subsequent one interrupts the previous, until the sixth plays all the way through, then they resume in decreasing order. It's supposed to be an incredible piece of music. The book follows the same form, with six tales of six people ranging over ~500 years, each interrupted approximately halfway through by the next. I found the first few stories to be... boring.

    Conceptually, it's an interesting idea- you have a delayed and delayed and delayed climax, and then the real, the final climax comes in the middle of the book, at the close of the final story (chronologically), and the secondary climax (for me) came at the end of the second to last story, chronologically (i.e. the second story to end). You are then supposed to get to successive climaxes, but I found it tiring. Too much climax, and for decreasing stakes.

    However, his depiction of a "corpocracy" as dystopian future was fantastic- if for no other part than this story, and the final story, it's worth reading. It deals with climate change, and evils of a profit-seeking world, but also with definitions of who people are. While the actual book is relatively trite about all the above issues, it inspires some fantastic questions. The final story dealt with an end-of-history, as the final people with the ability to remember the past accurately die off, and humanity returns to a barely iron-age civilization, trapped on Hawaii. It completed the largely heavy handed "selfishness will be the death of the human race" message, which is fine, but it also raised questions about intervention and invasion and civilization. And while it did not have the climactic movie line (that I really enjoyed): Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others. Past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future," this was implicit in the book. And it's a message that really does resonate with me, especially here, on a clothing forum where so much of what people think about is how they present themselves and build their own future. It's true of the CM people, who call each other gentlemen and try to show how erudite (yes I did have to look up the word to make sure I was right about what it meant) to SWD people who try to look mysterious and powerful, or like a dystopian astronaut, or like me trying to show how self-aware I am by inserted the above parenthesy'd phrase. If none of us needs the reminder that by each action we build our self, it was nice for me to be reminded that it was each real action, and not just which ridiculously expensive designer leather or jacket I buy, that builds the world.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
    4 people like this.
  3. wogbog

    wogbog Senior member

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    Finished Amis' The Information. Starting to doubt I'll like any of his other stuff as much as Success, but I liked the last half more than the first half. idk
     
  4. eluther

    eluther Senior member

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    I've only read Money – enjoyed it. Curious what you think of the character of his work in general.
     
  5. ManofKent

    ManofKent Senior member

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    I gave up with Amis after 'The Information' - it felt like he was going downhill rapidly. I liked his early stuff.
     
  6. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    Is Money his best, then? I've pretty much only read that and The Rachel Papers, I think (due to the awesome movie). But I enjoyed it a great deal. (I'm also obsessed with Will Self, who is probably Amis's biggest fan).
     
  7. The Ernesto

    The Ernesto Senior member

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    It's been so long since I read London Fields I can't remember what I thought. I think I enjoyed it.
     
  8. ManofKent

    ManofKent Senior member

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    I'd rank Money as his best, closely followed by London Fields. I enjoyed both The Rachel Papers and Success, and although not that critically acclaimed thought Dead Babies was very good. Time's Arrow always seemed like sub par Kurt Vonnegut, without much of the humour, but some people seem to like it. I got bored with The Information, and thought Night Train was a very pointless pastiche - not badly done, but uninteresting. I know I've read Other People but I can't remember much about it so I guess it was neither that good nor that bad.


    of course he also wrote the script to this:

    [​IMG]
     
    3 people like this.
  9. The Ernesto

    The Ernesto Senior member

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    I just realised I read The Pregnant Widow. That's how forgettable it is.
     
  10. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    Thanks, MoK! :fistbump:

    This is very helpful, and I was able to pick up a couple of these for the pile.



    [​IMG]


    On top of the pile: DeLillo's Running Dog. The length? Manageable. The verdict? Awesome, totally awesome. You know what I love about DeLillo, aside from his paranoia, his bumblebee-flies-anyway plots, and his general greatness? It's the near-singular prose style, the supple acrobatics, the mix of cultures, high and low, but most of all it might be the way he's able to vary the tone and the pace from novel to novel without sacrificing any of that, as if each book arrives with some type of dial attached -- loss-less prose. Like where something like The Names might be cranked to a ten -- full sonic grandeur --- Running Dog is maybe at a two: pleasantly brisk, a thriller's pace. Disarmingly fun, but so sweet and calorie dense it won't leave you hungry.

    I guess I mention this only because I've never heard anyone discuss this book, ever. But -- no surprise -- it's DeLillo. It's great.


    [from Amazon:] DeLillo's Running Dog, originally published in 1978, follows Moll Robbins, a New York city journalist trailing the activities of an influential senator. In the process she is dragged into the black market world of erotica and shady, infatuated men, where a cat-and-mouse chase for an erotic film rumored to "star" Adolph Hitler leads to trickery, maneuvering, and bloodshed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  11. t3hg0suazn

    t3hg0suazn Senior member

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    Finished My Struggle: Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgaard. A friend recommended it saying he had a similar writing style to Murakami. I found this true to some extent (lots of stream of consciousness through everyday life) but the overall tone was just much more neurotic and morbid, so I enjoyed it less than Murakami. Probably won't continue with Books 2-3.
     
  12. ManofKent

    ManofKent Senior member

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    Just finished Martin Cruz Smith's Three Stations. Not the best Renko novel, but still beautifully written
     
  13. wogbog

    wogbog Senior member

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    I've only read The Rachel Papers, Success, and The Information, so not a huge sampling. I loved Success. The structure was clever and well executed, the writing was great (reminded me alternately of Nabokov and Vonnegut so a lil derivative but beautiful and funny the way they are), it made me laugh, and it made me feel things. Rachel Papers and The Information were a slog. Maybe when the narrative is all from a single character's POV, the bile of his characters' thoughts is harder to get through and less funny. Not sure, but I didn't like them as much. I'll probably pick up Money because it's the famous one or Time's Arrow because of the cncept if I come across them.

    Finished The Song of Solomon. Loved it. Tight and worked by its own logic. There weren't a lot of individual lines that stood out to me but overall it was wonderful to read on every page.

    Starting Zadie Smith's White Teeth now.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  14. fireflygrave

    fireflygrave Senior member

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    Okay, I finished Tsukuru Tazaki last week. My thoughts:

    Definitely my least favorite Murakami thus far (which is not to say I didn't enjoy it- still better than a lot of books out there). I've so far read 1Q84, The Windup Bird Chronicle, Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World and Dance Dance Dance. I think that my problem with it is largely the 3rd person narration. 3rd person worked well in 1Q84 (though I prefer his first person writing overall) because the story was so odd, and the multiple viewpoints worked well with a more detached style. With the intensely personal nature of Tsukuru Tazaki, though, it seems like first person would have served the story better.

    I also felt like the book was too short for how many plot threads got introduced. I like Murakami's technique of leaving some things unexplained, but it felt like this book just sort of decided to stop. It felt like everything got resolved way too easily, like the protagonist didn't really have any obstacles to overcome once he started looking up his friends. I dunno, it's hard to explain, it just felt kind of unfulfilling compared to his other works.
     
    2 people like this.
  15. Jbravo

    Jbravo Senior member

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    Started Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Any one read it?
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. Best Budz

    Best Budz Senior member

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    Yes it's a terrible book
     
  17. eluther

    eluther Senior member

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    I completely agree. I can only assume the emotional tenor of the conflict is different for Japanese audiences. The series of meetings is just so protracted and prosaic that I can't imagine American audiences finding a lot of joy in reading them.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Jbravo

    Jbravo Senior member

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    double post
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
  19. Jbravo

    Jbravo Senior member

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    I don't expect it to be a masterpiece of modern literature but is it at least a decent page-turner?
     
  20. noob in 89

    noob in 89 Senior member

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    So the grandfather just bequeathed me his set of first-run Ian Fleming books, the hardbacks and the paperbacks. The covers are mostly amazing, but does anyone know where to start with these?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014

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