What are you reading while ilx is stuck in a quicksand?

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yes i hate putting 'sandbox' in titles

xyzz, Sunday, 11 December 2011 19:40 (nine years ago) link

Currently reading a biog of Orson Welles by David Thomson. At the moment seems all 'on the cheap', bit of a trip to the library stuff with bits of psychology to fill in the time.

Actually better than I'm making it sound but I guess I'll skip to the bits around Citizen Kane

xyzz, Sunday, 11 December 2011 19:42 (nine years ago) link

sigizmund krzhizhanovsky's 'the letter killers' which has just been published in english by nyrb. also 'the valley of the dolls'.

є(٥_ ٥)э, Sunday, 11 December 2011 20:49 (nine years ago) link

'stone arabia' dana spiotta
'pictures at a revolution' mark harris

j crunchwrap supreme, Sunday, 11 December 2011 20:52 (nine years ago) link

i love valley of the dolls :)

got The King in Yellow for my birthday, it's been on my wishlist for a while, hopefully i can read it in bed tonight and have nightmares.

also reading Penguin Book of Japanese Verse which feels suitably reflective and wintry, even the non-winter poems, and Writing and Difference cos it is comfort food-y of an evening

Ban (Julie Lagger), Sunday, 11 December 2011 20:53 (nine years ago) link

No results found for "simon shitbag montefiore"

schalke nult fear (nakhchivan), Sunday, 11 December 2011 21:09 (nine years ago) link

'stone arabia' dana spiotta

i liked this a lot. also 'the king in yellow'.

є(٥_ ٥)э, Sunday, 11 December 2011 21:42 (nine years ago) link

The Looming Tower:Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright. 50p in a charity shop. I'm hoping that there's discussion about this book on old-ILX - because it's well outside my normal reading matter, I can't really engage critically with it, and wld like to see some more informed opinions. I'm certainly finding it gripping and scary and depressing, because it makes the gulf between 'us' and 'them' seem so very vast and unbridgeable.

w33d fowler, Sunday, 11 December 2011 22:21 (nine years ago) link

I finally got around to reading The Corrections, now going back to finish Polanyi's The Great Transformation as well.

Z S, Sunday, 11 December 2011 23:25 (nine years ago) link

whatdythink of the corrections

Never translate German (schlump), Sunday, 11 December 2011 23:59 (nine years ago) link

i liked it a lot, although i felt like the ending section (where the children are all back at enid's house for x-mas) didn't really deliver any sort of revelations like i was hoping it would. unless, i'm mistaken, that was the one time in the story where everyone's in the house at the same time, and by that point franzen had developed each of the characters to such an extent that i was really excited to see what would happen when all of the motivations could bounce off of each other in one location. anyway, i still enjoyed it despite that! i felt like enid was my own mom.

Z S, Monday, 12 December 2011 00:05 (nine years ago) link

i also ordered this and am psyched to read it:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51-subcKwtL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Z S, Monday, 12 December 2011 00:07 (nine years ago) link

Finally finished 1Q84, the dullness of the third book kinda negated my overall enjoyment of the first two. The confrontation scene near the end with Ushikawa was good though.

In the middle of Edmund White's Genet biography, and Gyula Krudy's Sunflower.

JoeStork, Monday, 12 December 2011 06:28 (nine years ago) link

i am reading play it as it lays by joan didion because horseshoe likes joan didion

spite n ease (harbl), Monday, 12 December 2011 11:19 (nine years ago) link

i think the reason i haven't read that is just people telling me how quickly you can read it, what with the times i have picked it up & started reading it not having been rapid & unstoppable. one day

Never translate German (schlump), Monday, 12 December 2011 11:26 (nine years ago) link

I am reading The Changing Light at Sandover by James Merrill.

woof, Monday, 12 December 2011 11:28 (nine years ago) link

I picked up the Mouseguard graphic novel for cheap the other day. It looks... quite good...

dog latin, but cool (dog latin), Monday, 12 December 2011 12:23 (nine years ago) link

just started Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

the deli llama, Monday, 12 December 2011 12:36 (nine years ago) link

I've been reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I don't recall seeing Ellison mentioned as an influence on Pynchon, but there seems to be a straight line from the hallucinatory screwball slap-stick of something like the "Golden Day" scene to, say, the opening bar scene in V.

o. nate, Monday, 12 December 2011 19:47 (nine years ago) link

'Strong Opinions' by Vladimir Nabokov. Strong recommend.

America's Mobile, Monday, 12 December 2011 20:42 (nine years ago) link

i think the reason i haven't read that is just people telling me how quickly you can read it, what with the times i have picked it up & started reading it not having been rapid & unstoppable. one day

― Never translate German (schlump)

Get forty pages in and it gets more rapid and unstoppable.

youtube cover, Tuesday, 13 December 2011 00:21 (nine years ago) link

ty, i have trainrides tk so'll pack it

Never translate German (schlump), Tuesday, 13 December 2011 10:09 (nine years ago) link

have switched to library book I need to give back - Casualties of Credit: The English Financial Revolution, 1620-1720. Pretty good - clear, good topic, more history of ideas than history; a bit narrow or superficial in places - the book-from-thesis air.

woof, Tuesday, 13 December 2011 10:29 (nine years ago) link

Tiny Sunbirds Far Away. Author is friend of friend. Distancing effect of 12 yr old narrator not really doing it for me.

ledge, Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:39 (nine years ago) link

catch 22. i was dubious 50 pages in and now i can say for sure: it's rubbish!

caek, Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:50 (nine years ago) link

;_;

ledge, Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:50 (nine years ago) link

have switched to library book I need to give back
Am doing this all the time.

wang dang google doodle (James Redd), Tuesday, 13 December 2011 17:00 (nine years ago) link

rereading all these Ann Beattie stories I forgot about the first time, and Michael Hiltzik's The New Deal: A Modern History.

Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 13 December 2011 17:01 (nine years ago) link

Ann Beattie is so rad.

flexidisc, Tuesday, 13 December 2011 17:05 (nine years ago) link

It's a long twisted pipeline with lots of Amazon e-samples on one end and lots of coming due library books on the other.

wang dang google doodle (James Redd), Tuesday, 13 December 2011 18:36 (nine years ago) link

started IQ84 and it's fine so far but (somebody said this on another thread) there is a LOT of attention paid to breasts and it is kind of uncomfortable-making and distracting.

Got time for one or two more 2011 book before I have to make my best of the year ballot. Do I read Morgenstern's Night Circus or something else? Suggestions for best of fiction 2011 contenders?

remy bean in exile, Tuesday, 13 December 2011 21:22 (nine years ago) link

American Pastoral

Z S, Wednesday, 14 December 2011 20:24 (nine years ago) link

'Middlemarch'...loving it so far

MikeBee, Wednesday, 14 December 2011 20:54 (nine years ago) link

it occurred to me earlier that there is a logic to the boob fixation in iq84

i suspect jay rubin may have missed some key to it tho and just gone "huh cool there are lots of words about boobs in this book"

i don't know, though, that's mainly because in my head for some reason jay rubin is the comic book guy

thompp, Wednesday, 14 December 2011 23:45 (nine years ago) link

i started "pulphead" last night and the first piece in there, about attending a christian rock festival, is so great. hope the rest of book lives up to it: http://www.gq.com/entertainment/music/200401/rock-music-jesus.

n/a, Thursday, 15 December 2011 16:59 (nine years ago) link

ty for the link, there, i am hearing so much good press about that book but somehow none that makes me want to actually pick it up, i figured i would have to read a thing first

Never translate German (schlump), Friday, 16 December 2011 00:28 (nine years ago) link

ty for link too, that was a great read. a book like that wouldn't normally be on my radar but it's under serious consideration now.

ledge, Friday, 16 December 2011 10:05 (nine years ago) link

The Enigma of Capital by David Harvey. It's very engaging, but I've just got that slight uncertainty that comes when reading about something you know little or 0 about, from a perspective you're predisposed to agree with.

woof, Friday, 16 December 2011 11:12 (nine years ago) link

capitalist agriculture and the origins of the european world-economy in the sixteenth century

his venerable escutcheon, Friday, 16 December 2011 11:33 (nine years ago) link

I am reading "The Demolished Man" by Alfred Bester - I picture Samuel L. Jackson as the main cop. Before that I read "Waystation" by Clifford D. Simak, it was very good.

jel --, Friday, 16 December 2011 18:58 (nine years ago) link

I've had some difficulty getting into it (because of the voice and dialect of the narrator/protagonist), but The Book Of The Night Women is really gripping.

Daniel, Esq., Saturday, 17 December 2011 10:38 (nine years ago) link

It's kind of fun to listen to Janáček while reading IQ84; Sinfonetta is totally at odds with the tone of the book - at least as of the halfway point - and it's a really weird counterpoint to the narrative.

remy bean in exile, Sunday, 18 December 2011 19:39 (nine years ago) link

alice munro: which is the best collection to introduce people to her?

i want to read her for the next work book club, but i'm not sure which to recommend. no one's read her. aside from open secrets (b/c I've read it already), do folks here have any recommendations for what to choose?

rayuela, Monday, 19 December 2011 16:56 (nine years ago) link

i started with 'hateship, friendship ...' but i have never finished it

r n i am reading the stephen king novel with the american date in the title, it is kind of fun

thompp, Monday, 19 December 2011 17:04 (nine years ago) link

also 'malone dies'

thompp, Monday, 19 December 2011 17:04 (nine years ago) link

I just finished 'The Marriage Plot'

M. White, Monday, 19 December 2011 17:05 (nine years ago) link

Sigh, my book club has selected Augustus by John Williams. Not that the writing isn't great, it's just painfully self-serious and the whole thing is epistolary (i.e. all the prose is in letter form), and it's the sort of thing that's a bit of a chore to read after a job that involves reading a lot of complicated stuff.

Hurting, Monday, 19 December 2011 17:05 (nine years ago) link

i just finished malone dies--didn't dig it as much as Molloy but still pretty great.

flexidisc, Monday, 19 December 2011 17:17 (nine years ago) link

how was the marriage plot m white?

j crunchwrap supreme, Monday, 19 December 2011 17:20 (nine years ago) link

I'm starting Underworld for the third time and will start Candice Millard's account of the Garfield assassination.

Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 19 December 2011 17:21 (nine years ago) link

Rayuela: I would rep for runaway as being munro's 2nd best collection

smoove operator, Monday, 19 December 2011 21:54 (nine years ago) link

alice munro: which is the best collection to introduce people to her?

The selected stories published in the late nineties is exemplary. Hateship... boasts the greatest number of superb, memorable short stories. Among the early volumes The Moons of Jupiter is also consistent.

Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 19 December 2011 21:55 (nine years ago) link

'live of girls and women' is a good intro to munro & might work better as a book club selection

є(٥_ ٥)э, Monday, 19 December 2011 22:09 (nine years ago) link

i don't know what i'm reading. nietzsche. probably middlemarch. i'm wondering how much middlemarch i can read before spring semester starts; maybe i'll read 1q84 if i get done with the eliot before then.

j., Tuesday, 20 December 2011 07:44 (nine years ago) link

About 70 pages into The Trial by Kafka and... it's good, it is just a bit of a slog. Or maybe I'm just not in the mood.

big popppa hoy, Tuesday, 20 December 2011 08:03 (nine years ago) link

just finished

http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/8/2009/11/500x_makers-novel-cover.jpg

p good if a touch overlong

HOOS aka driver of steen, Tuesday, 20 December 2011 08:17 (nine years ago) link

has anyone read any of john jeremiah sullivan's essays? v interested after reading a james wood review.

Crowell, Tuesday, 20 December 2011 15:42 (nine years ago) link

i started "pulphead" last night and the first piece in there, about attending a christian rock festival, is so great. hope the rest of book lives up to it: http://www.gq.com/entertainment/music/200401/rock-music-jesus.

― n/a, Thursday, December 15, 2011 4:59 PM (5 days ago) Bookmark Permalink

n/a, Tuesday, 20 December 2011 15:44 (nine years ago) link

i'm getting near the end of it now, that first essay is still the highlight but there's other great stuff in there too - the long piece about the 19th century naturalist was esp. good. sometimes his style gets in the way a little bit but overall the book's worth reading.

n/a, Tuesday, 20 December 2011 15:46 (nine years ago) link

awesome. thanks n/a.

Crowell, Tuesday, 20 December 2011 16:26 (nine years ago) link

schlump -- re: what my book club thought, there were complaints that it didn't map onto any sort of victorian literature and that madeline was an undignified heroine b/c she hooked up (!). anyway, i don't know much about victorian lit but thought that was a silly complaint.

thanks all for the alice munro suggestions!

rayuela, Tuesday, 20 December 2011 16:41 (nine years ago) link

I've recently read

To Engineer is Human, Henry Petroski. A collection of essays that make the same point repeatedly: engineers study engineering mistakes and catastrophes because they teach them more than the successes. Got it, Hank!

Field Notes From a Catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert. A book about global warming. She visits scientists and encapsulates their findings in clear language even average lay people can understand, explaining why we are thoroughly screwed.

The First Salute, Barbara Tuchman. American Revolutionary War history with a lot of side excursions to Europe and the West Indies, so as to make the global situation plainer, allowing American readers to understand that we didn't win the war, so much as the British lost to the French because of the neutrality of the Dutch.

Aimless, Wednesday, 21 December 2011 04:49 (nine years ago) link

i've tried picking up maybe 6 -- 8 books since i finished book of night women, including some supposedly great reads, but so far, they're all paling in comparison.

Daniel, Esq., Wednesday, 21 December 2011 16:26 (nine years ago) link

"The Magicians" by Lev Grossman, which is super fun so far

PROVEN BY BOOZE SCIENCE, Friday, 23 December 2011 00:01 (nine years ago) link

btw belated thx for the book club digest rayuela, i needed the vicarious inclusion, & think "what do you think of madeleine as heroine" is one of the more interesting threads to unravel re: the book (that & the ~describing depression~ one, for me)

i read a lot slower than you guys but i'm reading/still reading eileen myles' inferno & really loving it, as a bildungsroman & as something as just audible & loose as her poems, as a voice, as a memory. it is about new york in the '80s in a very textural, routine-y way, it's fun to read.

Never translate German (schlump), Friday, 23 December 2011 00:23 (nine years ago) link

Finished: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

Started: Fernando Pessoa - The Book of Disquiet

tanuki, Friday, 23 December 2011 00:31 (nine years ago) link

finished malone dies and the stephen king, now reading murakami and smth called 'blood of elves'

thompp, Friday, 23 December 2011 01:16 (nine years ago) link

i liked the witcher books quite a bit but i dont think i can partic defend them

є(٥_ ٥)э, Friday, 23 December 2011 01:16 (nine years ago) link

it made me really happy that you were reading beckett just btw

є(٥_ ٥)э, Friday, 23 December 2011 01:17 (nine years ago) link

no problem schlump...i did think madeline was a flatly written character, but that this had nothing to do with her sexuality. maybe this is because she was written to be so normal, and eugenidies can't write compelling, normal characters? just speculating. on the other hand, the depression parts were my favorite, though, and i thought he nicely captured the way in which people who have no experience with depression tend to view/approach depression.

alice munro has pulled ahead of gary shteyngart in the book club vote. anyone here read 'super sad true love story'?

in the middle of reading
-why we write: the politics and practice of writing for social change and
-dark matter: a century of speculative fiction from the african diaspora

rayuela, Friday, 23 December 2011 01:25 (nine years ago) link

iirc there were a # of ppl on real ilx that quite liked 'super sad' but i think its his worst novel, well-written but charmless.

~*~ (є(٥_ ٥)э), Friday, 23 December 2011 01:28 (nine years ago) link

yea super sad is not v good i read it

j crunchwrap supreme, Friday, 23 December 2011 05:06 (nine years ago) link

I am about halfway through The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark, and I'm enjoying it very much. Her use of the omniscient voice is incredibly deft and artful. It gives the impression of a particularly keen-eyed and scrupulous intelligence that understands everything and thererfore has no need of opinions.

Aimless, Friday, 23 December 2011 19:02 (nine years ago) link

i liked SSTLS a lot personally

muriel spark is great

n/a, Friday, 23 December 2011 19:06 (nine years ago) link

I endured a violent Spark addiction two Christmases ago -- I read four of her novels at one go. She's great.

Lord Sotosyn, Friday, 23 December 2011 19:08 (nine years ago) link

the marriage plot does not seem like a book that should have been written by a grown-ass man

thompp, Monday, 26 December 2011 21:20 (nine years ago) link

heh. are you reading it now?

just finished ursula k leguin's lathe of heaven. strongly reminded of PKD as I read -- thought the dispossessed & left hand of darkness were fantastic -- this one, not so much.

rayuela, Tuesday, 27 December 2011 02:27 (nine years ago) link

Currently reading Disturbing the Peace by Vaclav Havel.

o. nate, Tuesday, 27 December 2011 23:10 (nine years ago) link

Man, I'm disappointed that Underworld, despite three or four splendid passages, is a waste of time.

Lord Sotosyn, Tuesday, 27 December 2011 23:30 (nine years ago) link

alice munro has pulled ahead of gary shteyngart in the book club vote. anyone here read 'super sad true love story'?

haven't yet read it, but do have it. so i'd vote for this for a book-club!

Daniel, Esq., Tuesday, 27 December 2011 23:32 (nine years ago) link

It's pretty bad

Number None, Tuesday, 27 December 2011 23:39 (nine years ago) link

bummer. it looked kind of funny, maybe intentionally?

Daniel, Esq., Tuesday, 27 December 2011 23:55 (nine years ago) link

i've heard it compared to egan's a visit from the goon squad, which i liked. for those who've read both, is it an accurate comparison?

rayuela, Wednesday, 28 December 2011 00:20 (nine years ago) link

ehh, not sure. both def have some brilliant passages & maybe notably the best stuff was excerpted before both were published imo

j crunchwrap supreme, Wednesday, 28 December 2011 00:26 (nine years ago) link

goon squad > sstls imo, though im not the biggest goon squad fan.

im actually reading 'the keep' now. feel like its giving some of the same quibbles as good squad but ima stick w/ it

j crunchwrap supreme, Wednesday, 28 December 2011 00:27 (nine years ago) link

Yup, didn't really like Goon Squad either but i'd take it over SSTLS. I presume some of the comparisons are because both of them are set in the near future

Number None, Wednesday, 28 December 2011 00:29 (nine years ago) link

typing goon 3x there, it was a certainty id fuck 1 up

j crunchwrap supreme, Wednesday, 28 December 2011 00:30 (nine years ago) link

i'm reading egan's emerald city right now, and liking it much more than the keep. only 2 stories in though.

rayuela, Wednesday, 28 December 2011 00:33 (nine years ago) link

"In the Beginning was the Command Line"

HOOS aka driver of steen, Wednesday, 28 December 2011 01:49 (nine years ago) link

finished Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. more journalistic than analytic biography which translates into a quick breezy read and a handy summation of the personal computer revolution since the 70s. towards the end it does read too much like a business magazine article. Jobs is a monumental asshole, as everyone knows, though the extent and dimensions of his genius are a matter of personal perception. I won't stop buying Apple gadgets. A review in NYRB was OTM, concluding that Isaacson proved you can reveal a subject's flaws while still writing a hagiography. But the romance/glorification of Jobs isn't so obnoxious that you can't read the book. I liked it.

higgs boson (the deli llama), Wednesday, 28 December 2011 12:20 (nine years ago) link

when I refer to Jobs as an asshole, that means I wouldn't want to have worked for him and don't think much of the way he treated his children. totally respect & admire his accomplishments. first computer I bought was a Mac II in 1986.

higgs boson (the deli llama), Wednesday, 28 December 2011 12:25 (nine years ago) link

The Thelonious Monk biography by Robin D.G. Kelly is good, but for the first time in years, I'm more drawn to fiction, so I need to pick up something else to read, too. I started Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, but despite all the hype/praise, I'm having trouble into it.

Is Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games any good? Looks interesting, but it's also about 1k pages long, so could be a slog.

Daniel, Esq., Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:26 (nine years ago) link

"getting" into it.

Damn this "smart" phone.

Daniel, Esq., Wednesday, 28 December 2011 13:27 (nine years ago) link

I'm most of the way through Hot Countries, Alec Waugh, a travel book published in 1930. Most interesting aspect of it is the fact that tourism was a well-established activity, but air travel was as yet unknown. As he mostly is visiting islands, it is all done via ships.

Second most interesting aspect is that European colonialism was the unchallenged rule throughout the world. Waugh includes several matter-of-fact discussions of the problem of white men posted to the tropics who were only able to find brown-skinned sex partners, and how this worked out for all the parties involved. There are many heavily racist remarks scattered through the book, but they are cloaked in such a thick covering of it's-all-for-their-own-good paternalism that I doubt the author ever noticed the disconnect between his liberalism and his racism.

Most irritating thing about the book: he splices in about 40 pages of an unfinished and unfocussed novella set in tahiti, on the pretext that it is enlightening to the reader, whereas the truth is he was just padding shamelessly.

Aimless, Thursday, 29 December 2011 21:01 (nine years ago) link

Alec Waugh, Alec Waugh... I can't remember whether he was the brother of Evelyn or the template for Waring in What's Become of Waring by Anthony Powell, or both or neither.

Some of Evelyn's travel writing is excellent as well.

Fizzles, Thursday, 29 December 2011 22:26 (nine years ago) link

Franny and Zooey. Superb. Ok the mysticism is so-so, ending especially is somewhat damp, but for a fond, sharp, and beautifully detailed portrait of a family it is peerless.

ledge, Friday, 30 December 2011 10:12 (nine years ago) link

Ok maybe not peerless. If you know of any peers toss them this way.

ledge, Friday, 30 December 2011 10:13 (nine years ago) link

Alec was Evelyn's older brother. The racism has become even more explicit toward the end, where he is discussing haiti. Several times now he has called blacks "stupid" and he fully buys into the idea that mulattos are smarter, because they have less "savage blood".

Aimless, Friday, 30 December 2011 16:31 (nine years ago) link

Disposed of Alec Waugh. I am now starting Pale Fire. It may be too clever for me, like those little wooden puzzles where a sphere is constructed out of eight or so angular pieces you must fit together, but it's too soon to say.

Aimless, Sunday, 1 January 2012 20:46 (nine years ago) link

just finished stone arabia, and by extension all three spiotta novels in about a month and a half.

find something that works and stick with it, right?

cad, Monday, 2 January 2012 03:50 (nine years ago) link


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