jenks

thread death
i'm reading pale fire. it's alright. i really liked lolita but this one feels too much like it's trying to impress me. it's like being forced to eat a whole birthday cake. before it i read the fifth head of cerberus which did the same unreliable narrator thing in a much less ostentatious way, despite being the one that involved clones and robots.

i'm going to read tolstoy or something next, just a good honest look into the human condition that isn't trying to throw up all sorts of bells and whistles and clever misdirections.
I’m reading the new George Saunders which looks at a bunch of Russian short stories to discuss the writers and their art/craft but also the habits of reading. It won’t appeal to everyone here but I think it’s very well done, sensitive close reading.
 

borzoi

Well-known member
i've got that one on hold at the library despite not enjoying the short story collection or essay collection of his that i tried to read. idk what keeps me coming back to him. but i assume the russian stories will be good at any rate.
 

luka

Well-known member
Lets call it the first 20 pages. Up to the seal and the word 'usurper'
A voice, sweettoned and sustained, called to him from the sea. Turning the curve he waved his hand. It called again. A sleek brown head, a seal’s, far out on the water, round.

Usurper.
 

version

Well-known member
Read Play It As It Lays the other day. Took a little while to get into it, but enjoyed it by the end. Can see why Ellis raves about it and where he got Less than Zero from. Think I'd have enjoyed it more if the weather were better and I could have read it lounging in the sun like I did LtZ. It's that sort of book.

About halfway through Blood Meridian now. It's great. Much better than I'd expected after semi-jokingly slagging off McCarthy a while back. Alarming to think the judge was a real guy and not far off the way he's described in the book.
 

catalog

Well-known member
My mate bought me that as a present after we did a long walk together, it's one of his favourites. Got it somewhere. Keep meaning to give it a go. I did read a few pages when I first got it but gave up very quick.
 

version

Well-known member
Why'd you give up? It isn't particularly difficult and it gets into it pretty quickly. They're kicking someone in the face and trying to pop out his eyeball within the first chapter.
 

catalog

Well-known member
It was just something about the tone that didn't sit right with me at that moment, very tired out, aching, on a train.

A bit fed up of the mate who bought it for me.

And then I got sidetracked I suppose.

Also I don't particularly like any of the films I've seen of the books (The road, No Country...).

Find that whole world a bit overwrought and trying to be too mythic. A slightly off register for me.

But... I was talking to someone else last year about his much I loved "Deadwood" and they said I would love Blood Meridian, that it's his best one.

So it's on the long list... especially now with your thumbs up as well
 

version

Well-known member
I was put off by what I thought was the tone for a while, but I'm enjoying it now I'm actually reading it. He definitely is going for mythic, but he's simultaneously puncturing an older myth and replacing it with one of his own.

One thing which jumps out at me's the decay of the thing. People are missing teeth, fingers and whatever else, horses are covered in sores, the food's turning, water has to be gouged out of the sand. Everything's rotting and tinged with violence. There are these squalid details too, little things like the men eating a bunch of meat then wiping their hands in their hair. You can almost smell the book at times, smell it and feel the heat.
 

william_kent

Well-known member
I used to work with a guy who casually mentioned that he is friends with Cormac on Facebook... "how come" I asked, "Oh, I met him in a bar in Thailand" - all you need to know, not a stamp I"d want on my passport at my age...
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I used to work with a guy who casually mentioned that he is friends with Cormac on Facebook... "how come" I asked, "Oh, I met him in a bar in Thailand" - all you need to know, not a stamp I"d want on my passport at my age...
I've never been to Thailand, which is a bit of a shame cos seems I've missed my chance to go there without, inevitably and rightly, being tried, convicted and hanged as a kiddly-fiddler in the court of public opinion as decreed by Lord Chief Justice Sir Elon of Musk.
 

william_kent

Well-known member
I've never been to Thailand, which is a bit of a shame cos seems I've missed my chance to go there without, inevitably and rightly, being tried, convicted and hanged as a kiddly-fiddler in the court of public opinion as decreed by Lord Chief Justice Sir Elon of Mus
Reminds me of this (since deleted) tweet:

Every picture I've seen of Grimes and Elon Musk is giving me horrible flashbacks to seeing my friends in our Vampire: The Masquerade LARP dating 35 year old libertarians in leather dusters with katanas who parked on the Denny's sidewalk while blasting Closer by Nine Inch Nails

— stalinist thug (@CyberspaceSeven) May 8, 2018
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I just read Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian having watched the film the other day. I enjoyed it a lot, all the technical stuff about mizzen masts and top gallants and so on was cool, not sure I will dig into the following 87 books that he wrote though. Well, not all of them. The second one is called Post Captain which I think is a play on words cos he hopes during the first to get promoted to Post-Captain, but it doesn't really work out and it looks like - from the notes in this book - that the second book is after he is a captain and therefore not set at sea, which seems strange to me, can anyone confirm? Also I didn't realise he started this series in 1969, though I suppose it had to have been a while back for him to produce 174 of them.
Next up The Star Fraction by Ken MacCleod which turned up today with perfect timing, anyone know it?
 

jenks

thread death
Musil’s Man Without Qualities - vol 1 700 pages of mitteleuropean fiction set just before the start of 1WW. It’s quite slow going but I’m appreciating its rather dilatory pace. I am enjoying it enough to have ordered the second volume - another 700+ page behemoth.
I’m interleaving it with the massive Meades anthology plus The Mermaid of the Black Conch and Cold New Climate - both contemporary small press fiction.
Also the very slow ongoing read of Pound’s Cantos.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I did something very uncharacteristic last week and bought a contemporary novel — 'Summerwater' by Sarah Moss — after reading an article in The New Yorker. It's very short so I thought what the hell. (Although with all the usual attendant guilt over not tackling a canonical Alp like Proust instead.)

Not sure what I made of it overall but I did find it a novel experience to be reading about people who are very much of my time. The thoughts they have, their preoccupations and dreads are very familiar to me and probably to most people. The feeling of a world in economic, political and geological decline. The suppressed anxiety and guilt over global capitalism. The contradictory forces of reactionary instincts and liberal, progressive aspirations. Wanting to get away from the city and our phones but also wanting to get back to them as soon as we're away from them.

Most novels I read are set in the 19th century so it was quite refreshing. And it's very well written in places, and went somewhere I didn't expect it to.
 
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