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oneniltothearsenal

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I've been reading some Charles Willeford lately and its some great stuff.
  • The Shark-Infested Custard
  • The Burnt Orange Heresy
  • Cockfighter
Burnt Orange Heresy was apparently made into a movie set to come this summer with Mick Jagger. He is definitely a fun read.
 

SteveJ

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If anyone's interested in the lives of the Brontë family, this is an excellent drama:

 

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Ham on Rye is much better, less of a rant but still a very angry and bitter person writing. Now I'm hooked in.
Good to hear, didn't finish Post Office even though it felt like a fast read. I'm not sure what the issue was. I'm not one who really values plot, so I don't think the fact that it felt a bit plotless was the issue. I might try it again at some point.

I have Ham on Rye too, so I might check that out some time soon after reading your thoughts.

East of Eden is my main read at the moment, really enjoying it. About half way through and it all just seems to flow smoothly. Tell you what, Steinbeck had a way with opening chapters that I've not seen before, starts with something vague and broad, and then ties it into the story.

Wonder how this comparison was received back in the 50s:

"The church and the whorehouse arrived in the Far West simultaneously. And each would have been horrified to think it was a different facet of the same thing. But surely they were both intended to accomplish the same thing: the singing, the devotion, the poetry of the churches took a man out of his bleakness for a time, and so did the brothels."
 

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Good to hear, didn't finish Post Office even though it felt like a fast read. I'm not sure what the issue was. I'm not one who really values plot, so I don't think the fact that it felt a bit plotless was the issue. I might try it again at some point.

I have Ham on Rye too, so I might check that out some time soon after reading your thoughts.

East of Eden is my main read at the moment, really enjoying it. About half way through and it all just seems to flow smoothly. Tell you what, Steinbeck had a way with opening chapters that I've not seen before, starts with something vague and broad, and then ties it into the story.

Wonder how this comparison was received back in the 50s:

"The church and the whorehouse arrived in the Far West simultaneously. And each would have been horrified to think it was a different facet of the same thing. But surely they were both intended to accomplish the same thing: the singing, the devotion, the poetry of the churches took a man out of his bleakness for a time, and so did the brothels."
I think people had bigger issues accusing Steinbeck of being a communist sympathizer to worry about his feelings on the church. East of Eden is the less controversial of his books, compared to Grapes of Wrath.
 

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Yeah Grapes of Wrath is scathing about capitalism, exploitation of the poor, connivance of the authorities etc while calling for unionisation. Not totally sure about his Luddite views on farming, but the way small tenant farmers were squeezed out was brutal.
I read Of Mice and Men earlier this year too, but it wasn't a patch on Grapes.
 

Twigg

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Yeah Grapes of Wrath is scathing about capitalism, exploitation of the poor, connivance of the authorities etc while calling for unionisation. Not totally sure about his Luddite views on farming, but the way small tenant farmers were squeezed out was brutal.
I read Of Mice and Men earlier this year too, but it wasn't a patch on Grapes.
I'm going to read Grapes of Wrath some time soon as well. Definitely interested in more Steinbeck.

Have you read East of Eden? This book doesn't seem to have as much social commentary as you describe in Grapes of Wrath, it seems rather more concerned with the individual and motive (I particularly like his discussions on 'monsters'), with a few comments on culture and the broader aspects of life here and there. I mean, it does highlight an ever changing world, but doesn't yet feel like it's taking a side or critiquing capitalism and such, if you know what I mean. I'm only actually 250 or so pages in though, which is not even half way actually so I've further to go than I thought.
 

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I'm going to read Grapes of Wrath some time soon as well. Definitely interested in more Steinbeck.

Have you read East of Eden? This book doesn't seem to have as much social commentary as you describe in Grapes of Wrath, it seems rather more concerned with the individual and motive (I particularly like his discussions on 'monsters'), with a few comments on culture and the broader aspects of life here and there. I mean, it does highlight an ever changing world, but doesn't yet feel like it's taking a side or critiquing capitalism and such, if you know what I mean. I'm only actually 250 or so pages in though, which is not even half way actually so I've further to go than I thought.
I've only read Grapes and Of Mice and Men. The latter is only c120 pages, more a novella, and is a bit of a riff on the crushed dreams of the poor.

Not sure of the timeline of when he wrote them, but he was certainly very socially aware. I guess living in California he likely saw the big migration of desperate workers from the dust bowl.

I'll read East of Eden at some point, as I did enjoy Grapes of Wrath, which I definitely recommend.
 

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I've only read Grapes and Of Mice and Men. The latter is only c120 pages, more a novella, and is a bit of a riff on the crushed dreams of the poor.

Not sure of the timeline of when he wrote them, but he was certainly very socially aware. I guess living in California he likely saw the big migration of desperate workers from the dust bowl.

I'll read East of Eden at some point, as I did enjoy Grapes of Wrath, which I definitely recommend.
Was thinking I should have started off with Of Mice and Men, as people tend to be disappointed by it after reading those other two works first.

Yeah that makes sense, kind of echoes his life experiences as you'd expect. I've read a few comparisons of the two books, and people seen to echo what I've said, so I'm looking forward to reading Grapes of Wrath and checking out his broader views on things.
 

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Was thinking I should have started off with Of Mice and Men, as people tend to be disappointed by it after reading those other two works first.

Yeah that makes sense, kind of echoes his life experiences as you'd expect. I've read a few comparisons of the two books, and people seen to echo what I've said, so I'm looking forward to reading Grapes of Wrath and checking out his broader views on things.
Ah, bit late for me now. Like I said though, the book is about a quarter of the size of Grapes of Wrath, so no real surprise it lacks the depth etc...The version I got had a long foreword by Steinbeck's wife which was interesting though. The guy sounded a character.
 

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Ah, bit late for me now. Like I said though, the book is about a quarter of the size of Grapes of Wrath, so no real surprise it lacks the depth etc...The version I got had a long foreword by Steinbeck's wife which was interesting though. The guy sounded a character.
Hah fair enough, I look forward to it. What version do you have?
 

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“Is it surprising,” Foucault asked in his book Discipline and Punish, “that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals?”
 
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Grapes is probably his most powerful work, although I haven’t read The Moon Is Down or Cannery Row.

mustve read Mice and Men half a dozen times, more endearing every time

The Pearl, a great read although not one of the epics, still haS that Steinbeck power and always compelling.

Travels w/Charlie was a bit disjointed and in recent years there was a spate of journos doing a 50th year anniversary re-run of his Travels. I did read one of them, (can’t remember the author) and found it a well worthwhile insight to the man himself

Found East of Eden a bit dispiriting In a way that even Grapes wasn’t because the narrative was so strong In that. Dunno, East... just didn’t do it for me.

Love Steinbeck though.
 

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I loved East of Eden, one of the favourite books. Grapes of Wrath was great too but I preferred East of Eden.

Cannery Row was nice, though I didn't enjoy the follow-up Sweet Thursday as much.
 

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Really need to start thinking about my next read, I hate the big gaping hole that gets left when I've finished a good book. I don't want to exhaust Steinbeck though but I want something similar to his work. Can anyone suggest any similar authors?

Considering some Faulkner as I read the first 30 or so pages of The Sound and the Fury and it was interesting, but I heard his stuff is really difficult and confusing in parts, so I might put that off for the moment. Catch 22 is another I'm considering. Not sure how similar these are to Steinbeck's work though.
 

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Really need to start thinking about my next read, I hate the big gaping hole that gets left when I've finished a good book. I don't want to exhaust Steinbeck though but I want something similar to his work. Can anyone suggest any similar authors?

Considering some Faulkner as I read the first 30 or so pages of The Sound and the Fury and it was interesting, but I heard his stuff is really difficult and confusing in parts, so I might put that off for the moment. Catch 22 is another I'm considering. Not sure how similar these are to Steinbeck's work though.
No idwa who is like Steinbeck tbh, I'm hoping Faulkner is good though -I have As I Lay Dying on the shelf. Isn't his stuff disliked by some for being written in regional dialect, like Cormac McCarthy?

Speaking of authors who're supposed to be a difficult read, I've just started Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai. Not entirely sure what on earth is going on in it yet.
 

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No idwa who is like Steinbeck tbh, I'm hoping Faulkner is good though -I have As I Lay Dying on the shelf. Isn't his stuff disliked by some for being written in regional dialect, like Cormac McCarthy?

Speaking of authors who're supposed to be a difficult read, I've just started Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai. Not entirely sure what on earth is going on in it yet.
Cormac is who I recommended another time I saw that question of finding works similar to Steinbeck’s. Faulkner does have some of that going on with his old South style; I didn’t know people thought that of Cormac, but that’s probably because he’s writing in my regional dialect.
 

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Cormac is who I recommended another time I saw that question of finding works similar to Steinbeck’s. Faulkner does have some of that going on with his old South style; I didn’t know people thought that of Cormac, but that’s probably because he’s writing in my regional dialect.
I love Cormac, but he does seem somewhat divisive. The dialect he uses is much denser than Steinbeck's I'd say- hadn't really thought to compare them tbh- subject matter so different too.
 

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I began and am half way through The Master and Margherita after reading someone recommend Russian classics here. Its a surprisingly easy and flowing prose for a Russian translated work.
 

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I love Cormac, but he does seem somewhat divisive. The dialect he uses is much denser than Steinbeck's I'd say- hadn't really thought to compare them tbh- subject matter so different too.
I think then the question was a request for classic American authors like Steinbeck; so maybe it applies less so here. The similarities are more...‘spiritual’ than direct, so to speak.
 

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No idwa who is like Steinbeck tbh, I'm hoping Faulkner is good though -I have As I Lay Dying on the shelf. Isn't his stuff disliked by some for being written in regional dialect, like Cormac McCarthy?

Speaking of authors who're supposed to be a difficult read, I've just started Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai. Not entirely sure what on earth is going on in it yet.
I think the gripe with Faulkner is the stream of consciousness style, with stuff happening without context. Throw in regional dialect as well and you might have a real toughie. From the little I read though the dialect didn't seem to be much of a problem. I've also read some McCarthy (who I fecking love) and didn't struggle with the dialect in his books either, but damn Blood Meridian was a grind. I want to read Suttree but since it's compared with blood meridian I've been putting it off for a while.

Might be wrong here, but isn't Satantango the one which doesn't use paragraphs and also had an 8 hour movie made of it? I downloaded it for Kindle once and never got around to it. Let us know how it is as you go on will you.
 

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Yeah fair enough I was reading it as 1930s depression era stuff.
I was more thinking about his philosophy I guess, his broader ideas and stuff. His dabbles in good and evil, the human condition and all that cliche stuff. I've decided to try more Dostoevsky and will probably read The Brothers Karamazov.
 

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I think the gripe with Faulkner is the stream of consciousness style, with stuff happening without context. Throw in regional dialect as well and you might have a real toughie. From the little I read though the dialect didn't seem to be much of a problem. I've also read some McCarthy (who I fecking love) and didn't struggle with the dialect in his books either, but damn Blood Meridian was a grind. I want to read Suttree but since it's compared with blood meridian I've been putting it off for a while.

Might be wrong here, but isn't Satantango the one which doesn't use paragraphs and also had an 8 hour movie made of it? I downloaded it for Kindle once and never got around to it. Let us know how it is as you go on will you.
Ah right, didn't know Faulkner was prone to stream of consciousness, thought it was just the dialect some were wary of. As I Lay Dying is inching up my list of books to read and it's only about 250 pages at least if it proves hard work.
Can't believe you found Blood Meridian a grind. I loved it and raced through it. I think Orchard Keeper next, then the border trilogy for me.

I'm about a third in Satantango. The no paragraph thing only really irks for the first few pages. Still not 100% clear what's going on, but it's building nicely and I actually like his writing- seen a lot of people online slagging it off as leaden.

I was more thinking about his philosophy I guess, his broader ideas and stuff. His dabbles in good and evil, the human condition and all that cliche stuff. I've decided to try more Dostoevsky and will probably read The Brothers Karamazov.
I bought the Brothers Karamazov the other month- bit of a beast at 870 pages. Bought Bleak House yesterday which is also massive, but comfortably on track for the 52, so not worried about how long it takes tbh.
 

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Ah right, didn't know Faulkner was prone to stream of consciousness, thought it was just the dialect some were wary of. As I Lay Dying is inching up my list of books to read and it's only about 250 pages at least if it proves hard work.
Can't believe you found Blood Meridian a grind. I loved it and raced through it. I think Orchard Keeper next, then the border trilogy for me.

I'm about a third in Satantango. The no paragraph thing only really irks for the first few pages. Still not 100% clear what's going on, but it's building nicely and I actually like his writing- seen a lot of people online slagging it off as leaden.


I bought the Brothers Karamazov the other month- bit of a beast at 870 pages. Bought Bleak House yesterday which is also massive, but comfortably on track for the 52, so not worried about how long it takes tbh.
Oh don't get me wrong, Blood Meridian was a grind but it is also my favourite book. It was simultaneously painstaking and amazing. He has a magical way with words. I suppose I find the long drawn out sentences difficult (I tend to lose train of thought), which is why I dread the idea of a one paragraph book like the one you're reading.

I can't wait for McCarthy's new book, it looks interesting and will be his first following a female character. That said I should really read more of his existing stuff before thinking about that.

Honestly, I think the main reason I actually found it tough might have been my glasses prescription haha, because I've since changed that and I've been blitzing through books like never before.

Ah you're going for the 52 books challenge. I considered trying that again but I don't like the pressure of having to keep up with those challenges, because I feel like I end up reading for the wrong reasons then. A weird mental thing I guess. I'm going to try and workout how many I've read this year.
 

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Where's my arc, Paulie?
Really need to start thinking about my next read, I hate the big gaping hole that gets left when I've finished a good book. I don't want to exhaust Steinbeck though but I want something similar to his work. Can anyone suggest any similar authors?

Considering some Faulkner as I read the first 30 or so pages of The Sound and the Fury and it was interesting, but I heard his stuff is really difficult and confusing in parts, so I might put that off for the moment. Catch 22 is another I'm considering. Not sure how similar these are to Steinbeck's work though.
Have you read any of John O'Hara's works?
 

entropy

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Where's my arc, Paulie?
No, what would you recommend?
Yeah, definitely. Especially if you're looking for less stream of consciousness and a more crafted approach towards prose. Appointment in Samarra is an incredible debut novel. The annoying thing is he writes a lot about rich upstate folks, which can be a turn-off. His short stories are really good too.
 

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Yeah, definitely. Especially if you're looking for less stream of consciousness and a more crafted approach towards prose. Appointment in Samarra is an incredible debut novel. The annoying thing is he writes a lot about rich upstate folks, which can be a turn-off. His short stories are really good too.
Thanks man, I look forward to reading his stuff. Will let you know what I think when I get round to it.
 

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Recently finished Death and the Penguin. It's about a writer who lives with his emperor penguin in post Soviet Ukraine. The story has vodka, mafia business mixed with ignorance and cold Russian humor. An alright read.

Currently working my way through Recursion by Black Crouch. Alright start so far, interesting premise although I feel I've already spotted some inconsistencies that should not have made it past the editor but given the nature of the plot it might be on purpose.
 

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Recently finished Death and the Penguin. It's about a writer who lives with his emperor penguin in post Soviet Ukraine. The story has vodka, mafia business mixed with ignorance and cold Russian humor. An alright read.

Currently working my way through Recursion by Black Crouch. Alright start so far, interesting premise although I feel I've already spotted some inconsistencies that should not have made it past the editor but given the nature of the plot it might be on purpose.
Blake Crouch struck me as incredibly through after reading Dark Matter, so I imagine/hope the inconsistencies are on purpose. I read the first 30 or so pages of Recursion and wasn't really drawn in by it but the premise is still pretty cool. Will probably end up reading it some day.
 

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Getting more into reading the last 6-8 months or so and always had a keen interest in true crime / serial killer books. This has to be one of the best I've read to date, a truly surreal yet very real story of how Ann Rule worked with Bundy in a suicide helpline and befriended him, whilst he was carrying out numerous murders across the states.



 

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Read the last pages of East of Eden last night... my word, got goosebumps everywhere. Thinking of delaying Brothers Karamazov and reading more Steinbeck but I'm worried I'll be disappointed.
 

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Read the last pages of East of Eden last night... my word, got goosebumps everywhere. Thinking of delaying Brothers Karamazov and reading more Steinbeck but I'm worried I'll be disappointed.
I think @Invictus said that was his favourite Steinbeck? Read Satantango if you're looking for something to read now. I finished it at the weekend. It's a strange book in many ways, but compelling and well worth a read. I actually enjoyed Krasznorkhai's writing- this one just has no paragraphs, it doesn't have one sentence chapters or anything. He creates a vivid world of odd characters and it's pretty surreal, and leaves more questions than answers in many ways, but it's an enjoyable ride. I don't want to give anything away and I'm sure @oneniltothearsenal can give you a far better review of it. Would be interested if he preferred this or Melancholy of Resistance too.