Books The BOOK thread

Loon

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I can forgive that cos it's a great book. I didn't realise Oprah was including books from the '60s in her club, thought those book clubs were a new release thing.
It really is a great book. Almost feel like giving it a re-read.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Maybe V next, but Gravity's Rainbow is on the list. I read a NY Times review of Inherent Vice after I'd finished it which said Gravity's Rainbow and one of his other ones were great and it's bollocks that they're extremely difficult reads.

@oneniltothearsenal is a fan of GR, but others in the thread have given up c100 pages or less, so who knows?
Gravity's Rainbow is brilliant stuff but you have to be in the right mood for it and there are two (iirc) tougher patches that you just have to power through and not try to understand everything going on.

People make some books difficult I think because they get too caught up in the length and trying to follow everything all at once. GR isn't meant to be read like a James Patterson novel of that makes sense.
 

Jippy

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Gravity's Rainbow is brilliant stuff but you have to be in the right mood for it and there are two (iirc) tougher patches that you just have to power through and not try to understand everything going on.

People make some books difficult I think because they get too caught up in the length and trying to follow everything all at once. GR isn't meant to be read like a James Patterson novel of that makes sense.
I take it GR is not something you can take a break from to read something else during one of sections you need to power through? I suppose the risk of not understandings parts of it are you become disengaged and feel the whole storyline is getting away from you. I guess I need to try it and find out.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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I take it GR is not something you can take a break from to read something else during one of sections you need to power through? I suppose the risk of not understandings parts of it are you become disengaged and feel the whole storyline is getting away from you. I guess I need to try it and find out.
In general, I personally don't like to read more than one fiction book at a time. because I'll get just as sidetracked from a Dr. Seuss book as I would a novel but yes, for GR, you probably don't want to start reading something else. I know it can feel like a task but its more rewarding that way.

You're definitely right about why some people can't finish it. Even many writing professors and published authors will say something like "no one's really read GR." But there are those of us who have!
 

Jippy

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Just read Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf. Enjoyed it for the most part, as a study of the guy's depression and psychosis, but not sure about the last section. Can see why that was big in the 1960s with its hallucinogenic atmosphere.
I liked that it had a somewhat ambiguous ending too. Makes a change from having every loose end tied up.
 

BD

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Just read Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf. Enjoyed it for the most part, as a study of the guy's depression and psychosis, but not sure about the last section. Can see why that was big in the 1960s with its hallucinogenic atmosphere.
I liked that it had a somewhat ambiguous ending too. Makes a change from having every loose end tied up.
I read that one as I went through a bit of a Hesse phase. It was definitely quite different, but it didn't grab me as much as the others. I'm a fan of Hesse though - I must read another one soon. I'm actually learning German at the moment, and a goal of mine is to be able to read Siddhartha in german. Let's see.
 

Jippy

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I read that one as I went through a bit of a Hesse phase. It was definitely quite different, but it didn't grab me as much as the others. I'm a fan of Hesse though - I must read another one soon. I'm actually learning German at the moment, and a goal of mine is to be able to read Siddhartha in german. Let's see.
Some of the writing is fantastic and I do find the darker fiction from the 1920s and 1930s interesting. Would you have Siddhartha as your favourite Hesse and which others would you suggest? Everyone seems to have those two some way above his other novels.

Sticking to that era, I'm reading Appointment in Samarra now and really enjoying it - great recommendation from @entropy
 

BD

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Some of the writing is fantastic and I do find the darker fiction from the 1920s and 1930s interesting. Would you have Siddhartha as your favourite Hesse and which others would you suggest? Everyone seems to have those two some way above his other novels.

Sticking to that era, I'm reading Appointment in Samarra now and really enjoying it - great recommendation from @entropy
Siddhartha is possibly my favourite, but I read that a good few years before the rest, so it's hard to compare really. Narcissus and Goldmund, and Glass Bead Game are other ones that I read and enjoyed. N&G is a lot more accessible and has more of a story to it (and is enjoyable), whereas Glass Bead Game is one of those books that is somehow very enjoyable to read, despite not much happening across the 500 or so pages. One of those two are worth a go I'd say.

Demian is also well-regarded, but I am yet to read it.
 

Jippy

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Siddhartha is possibly my favourite, but I read that a good few years before the rest, so it's hard to compare really. Narcissus and Goldmund, and Glass Bead Game are other ones that I read and enjoyed. N&G is a lot more accessible and has more of a story to it (and is enjoyable), whereas Glass Bead Game is one of those books that is somehow very enjoyable to read, despite not much happening across the 500 or so pages. One of those two are worth a go I'd say.

Demian is also well-regarded, but I am yet to read it.
Brilliant, thanks. I'll put Siddartha and N&G top of the list. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing. I think I was expecting it to be slightly dense and maybe even dry, given a lot of the subject matter of Steppenwolf.
 

BD

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Brilliant, thanks. I'll put Siddartha and N&G top of the list. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing. I think I was expecting it to be slightly dense and maybe even dry, given a lot of the subject matter of Steppenwolf.
No problem. From memory, N&G is lighter than Steppenwolf - if not in writing then definitely in content. Would be interested in what you think of them.
 

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Would recommend The Descent of Alette by Alice Notley if you’re interested in epic poetry. Writing about it at Uni and it really is phenomenal.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Brilliant, thanks. I'll put Siddartha and N&G top of the list. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing. I think I was expecting it to be slightly dense and maybe even dry, given a lot of the subject matter of Steppenwolf.
I haven't read N&G but Demian and Glass Bead Game are the ones I'd recommend. Demian is short (you could finish it in an evening really) and the story moves quickly. Glass Bead Game is different, much more cerebral and about ideas rather than actions but its really good on multiple levels.
 

Jippy

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@Jippy John O’Hara is a master. His writing is so effortless.
I do enjoy his writing. Great flow and can change pace, plus the way the novel is structured with the flashbacks and back story works so well. He must've had a good editor:smirk:

I haven't read N&G but Demian and Glass Bead Game are the ones I'd recommend. Demian is short (you could finish it in an evening really) and the story moves quickly. Glass Bead Game is different, much more cerebral and about ideas rather than actions but its really good on multiple levels.
I like short and punchy. Thanks for the recommendations, I think I'll probably end up reading a few more of his, so might be more what order I can pick them up, given exorbitant book prices out here.

I'm hoping I can raid some secondhand book shops in Sydney on a visit next month and stock up.
 

entropy

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@Jippy haha. Unfortunately, he died never receiving due credit for his work. He was often overshadowed by Fitzgerald who was adored by everyone, even though he only really had one good book to his name.
 

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Have just read two books on the Iraq war. First was Generation Kill which was made into a HBO mini-series by David Simon. Does a great job describing the dysfunction at the ground level as American marines blitzed their way into Baghdad in March and April 2003, while more broadly portraying the culture of the marines at that particular moment in time. The second is Tom Ricks’ Fiasco which focuses on the dysfunction at the decision-making level at the top. It’s just one feck up after another as the pages turn, a non-fiction book that can leave you genuinely angry, most of all in the knowledge that none of these people will ever face any real consequences for what went down.
 

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Have just read two books on the Iraq war. First was Generation Kill which was made into a HBO mini-series by David Simon. Does a great job describing the dysfunction at the ground level as American marines blitzed their way into Baghdad in March and April 2003, while more broadly portraying the culture of the marines at that particular moment in time. The second is Tom Ricks’ Fiasco which focuses on the dysfunction at the decision-making level at the top. It’s just one feck up after another as the pages turn, a non-fiction book that can leave you genuinely angry, most of all in the knowledge that none of these people will ever face any real consequences for what went down.
“Fiasco” is a compelling read. Paul Bremer….
 

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“Fiasco” is a compelling read. Paul Bremer….
So infuriating reading about him. But I can’t even blame him ultimately, it’s the guys above him.
 

Loon

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On the airport novel front, I just picked up Anthony Horowitz's new James Bond book.
 

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On the airport novel front, I just picked up Anthony Horowitz's new James Bond book.
The new Bond book and the new John Grisham came out last week so I was all over both!

JG has unusually gone for a 3 story novella which I'm not sure really works for him as the first story is really getting somewhere when it ends.

With A Mind To Kill is excellent.
 

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Cheers! Let me know what you think while you get further in. I'm really happy others have picked up some of my favorite books.
Finally finished this one. Only took me 6 months :lol:

Contemplated giving up not long after I said I was enjoying it. Took a break from it for a few months and then picked it up again last week. I was really happy I persisted with it. Great read.
 

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Just read Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf. Enjoyed it for the most part, as a study of the guy's depression and psychosis, but not sure about the last section. Can see why that was big in the 1960s with its hallucinogenic atmosphere.
I liked that it had a somewhat ambiguous ending too. Makes a change from having every loose end tied up.
I found it really boring. Wasn't invested in the character at all.

But that's the thing with books - what appeals to me might not appeal to you, and vice versa.

Just lent my friend my copy of Chickenhawk, the autobiographical account of a Huey pilot at the beginning of the Vietnam war (war never with a capital W, since war was never declared). I found it really interesting, easy to read and that the protagonist wasn't the usual egotistical maniac that you often find in American autobiographies. But my friend said it was shit and that "He just describes flying into the jungle in great detail, landing, then doing it again and again!" And he's a very smart guy.

Horses for courses, I suppose.
 

Badunk

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Just about to finish the third in the 'English Shaun' series. Shaun Attwood is a guy from Widnes who tried ecstasy in the Manchester rave scene as a teenager and then moved to Arizona to become a stockbroker. He became really good at it but still liked to party at the weekend. However, trying to source good pills leads him to becoming the drug kingpin of the rave scene, a life of absolute hedonism and debauchery with a group of insane friends and hangers on, clashes with Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano, who wants to muscle in on his territory, and, ultimately, jail. The first book, Party Time, depicts his early life and his move to America and rise to the top of the rave scene. Hard Time is about his two year long court case, during which time he is incarcerated in one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's squalid jails. And Prison Time is his stay in the federal prison before deportation back to England.

He has a very descriptive style of writing, paints vivid pictures of the madness he has lived through , and his books are so accessible and entertaining that I've flown through them. Highly recommended.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Finally finished this one. Only took me 6 months :lol:

Contemplated giving up not long after I said I was enjoying it. Took a break from it for a few months and then picked it up again last week. I was really happy I persisted with it. Great read.
Nice work! It's definitely an accomplishment as I've met plenty of lit professors and published authors that admit they never finished it.
 

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In general, I personally don't like to read more than one fiction book at a time. because I'll get just as sidetracked from a Dr. Seuss book as I would a novel but yes, for GR, you probably don't want to start reading something else. I know it can feel like a task but its more rewarding that way.

You're definitely right about why some people can't finish it. Even many writing professors and published authors will say something like "no one's really read GR." But there are those of us who have!
Aye, started it in 2007-08 on Plech's recommendation. Got to 95-100 and stopped for nigh on 3 years before a boring work commute in 2010 August became the ideal way to power through. What a book.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Aye, started it in 2007-08 on Plech's recommendation. Got to 95-100 and stopped for nigh on 3 years before a boring work commute in 2010 August became the ideal way to power through. What a book.
Nice! Do you have any other favorite epic novels? I'm thinking of starting one soon but can't decide. I also loved Bolano's 2666 so I'm hoping to find something. Debating Olga Tokarczuk's Books of Jacob which just had an English translation.
 

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Read Klara and the Sun while on holiday.

Pretty damn bland.
Which one?

Nice! Do you have any other favorite epic novels? I'm thinking of starting one soon but can't decide. I also loved Bolano's 2666 so I'm hoping to find something. Debating Olga Tokarczuk's Books of Jacob which just had an English translation.
Have you read The Savage Detectives? Admittedly I only read half of it but it was great and I loved 2666 (particularly the crime parts).
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Which one?



Have you read The Savage Detectives? Admittedly I only read half of it but it was great and I loved 2666 (particularly the crime parts).
I have. I really liked it, but 2666 is still one of my favorites.
 

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Finally started Klara and the Sun.

Was a bit unsure of it at the start and it seemed a bit childish, but the sinister undertones have started now and I can't put it down now.
 

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Which one?



Have you read The Savage Detectives? Admittedly I only read half of it but it was great and I loved 2666 (particularly the crime parts).
Such a great book...he writes beautifully (and is translated really sympathetically).

I just started reading Raymond Carver (Farwell, My Lovely) for the first time and can't put it down.
 

Jippy

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Just read an Agathie Christie Poirot novel, Evil Under the Sun, for a bit of nostalgia- picked a couple up in a secondhand book shop.
Her little judgemental asides are funny, eg 'she had that hard-faced look women over 30 get'.
The story is engaging enough, but rife with the classist and sexist attitudes of the day, which are a bit of an eye-opener.
 

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Currently reading Red Notice by Bill Browder. Really enjoying it so far, hard to believe it's a factual story at times.
Just finished Red Notice and his follow up, Freezing Order. Browder truly has an incredible story to tell, thought I knew the gist of it from the clips and articles I've read online, but that barely scratches the surface.

Good read in their own right, but if anyone has an interest in Russian corruption or how Russia operates in general (which should be everyone in the current climate) then its required reading.

Its still ongoing too, I tend to believe him when he says he is Putin's enemy #1, now Navalny is taken care of at least.
 
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