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crash



Joined: 07 Aug 2003
Posts: 5456
Location: the chocolate city with a marshmallow center and a graham cracker crust of corruption
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i'm struggling to get through this book. it's sorta like a tess of the d'urbervilles set in cairo, but with more sexism and patriarchy. almost all of the characters are cruel or pathetically weak. it's well written though. i've read other stuff by him that i really liked.
Post Thu May 27, 2010 8:13 am
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O2K
SFF has a stalker.


Joined: 14 Jul 2004
Posts: 1856
Location: Orange County
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The lives of Animals by Coetzee

It's pretty good. Coetzee is an amazing writer.
Post Thu May 27, 2010 9:22 am
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outpatient



Joined: 07 Jul 2005
Posts: 475
Location: haggis and scotch eggs
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just finished:



good stuff. really heats up halfway through and doesn't let up.

&



this killed me from start to finish. I never watched Mock The Week and didn't really give a shit, but I flicked through the first few pages and decided to buy it.

the introduction ends like this:
"In any case, the whole of television and celebrity is simply a distraction aimed at keeping you sedated while your pockets are picked by vested interests that may or may not be lizards. You're going to end up with celebrity reality shows piped directly into your eyes the same way that classical music is played to fatten cattle. What kind of person buys the autobiography of a panel-show contestant? Wake up you CUNT."

being called a cunt is a weird impetus to buy a book, but there it is.
Post Mon May 31, 2010 7:40 am
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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More people should be called cunts. To their face. But not by me.
Post Mon May 31, 2010 4:46 pm
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kese



Joined: 16 Mar 2003
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Just finished listening to the audio version.
Been a big fan of the movie, now I'm an even bigger fan of the book. Lends itself towards much clearer explanation of just what the hell was going on in the movie.
Post Mon May 31, 2010 5:57 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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So the biggest problem I have with Ulysses is that the short, jerky sentences (which are often fragmentary) employed by Joyce make it hard to get into the rhythm of reading. I've always felt that a really good novel doesn't seem like a novel at all when you're reading it; it's consuming and captivating. But Joyce seems to eschew that idea here, blending narrative with an ergodic style typified today by Saporta's "Composition No. 1" or, more famously and in extremis, Danielewski's House of Leaves. The result is that I find myself thinking not about the words I'm reading but about random thoughts. Ulysses takes a great effort to read in my opinion, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let it beat me.
Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:02 pm
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breakreep
homophobic yet curious


Joined: 27 Sep 2004
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Location: Fifth Jerusalem
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I disliked Ulysses when I tried to read it nearly a decade ago and gave up within a dozen pages. I'm aware I might like it now, but there are a good 100+ books on my reading list that take higher priority.

House of Leaves was one of the worst pieces of shit I've ever seen. This is a much more recent conclusion than that for Ulysses and I stand by it thoroughly. Fuck that bad-faith faux-ironic shit-written atrocity of a coloring book.
Post Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:50 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
Posts: 8547
Location: Third Coast
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breakreep wrote:
House of Leaves was one of the worst pieces of shit I've ever seen. This is a much more recent conclusion than that for Ulysses and I stand by it thoroughly. Fuck that bad-faith faux-ironic shit-written atrocity of a coloring book.


Them's fightin' words. I can concede gimmicky, but piece of shit is taking it too far. When I was reading it I found myself constantly wondering about Danielewski's writing process. How did he organize his complex ideas? How did he present the book to an editor? What was his selection/censoring process like? The book is as much an example of taking a literally novel idea and making it successful and engaging as it is a workshop on writing in general.
Post Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:09 pm
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SteveJB



Joined: 08 Jul 2007
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Location: Salisbury UK
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I read Ulysses last summer, there are some good chapters but a lot of it just drags.

I'm not entirely sure of why it was such a great achievement to turn an epic story into a boring day in the life of some Irish guy but there we go.

It's got a lot of cleverness for the sake of it and it's nigh on incomprehensible for the average reader in parts ("oh you've written it in old english? well done, I don't speak it.")

But I finished it, unlike treasure island which I tried to read twice growing up just didn't enjoy in anyway, and Catch 22 which I just didn't get at all.
Post Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:40 pm
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breakreep
homophobic yet curious


Joined: 27 Sep 2004
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SteveJB wrote:
("oh you've written it in old english? well done, I don't speak it.")


Heh.

Captiv8: I don't like Aesop Rock either.
Post Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:45 pm
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Captiv8



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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breakreep wrote:
SteveJB wrote:
("oh you've written it in old english? well done, I don't speak it.")


Heh.

Captiv8: I don't like Aesop Rock either.


That doesn't bother me. He has mastered being abstract for abstract's sake, and that's all well and good. Float is my jam, Labor Days has some good songs, and likewise with Bazooka Tooth but None Shall Pass was kind of a dud for me.

I'd still shake your hand and buy you a beer in real life.

And as for Joyce, I don't even think he's writing in Old English. It's more like a blend of old slang and words he has decided to makeup, combine, or adjust as suits his purpose. None of this, of course, makes conquering Finnegan's Wake an attractive idea.
Post Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:22 pm
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Charlie Foxtrot



Joined: 23 Jan 2008
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Ulysses is just...it's like some writers don't even try to be understandable. The last chapter has sentence that goes on for seven pages. There's random Latin phrases everywhere. It's kind of like how The Sound and the Fury opens with the 60 page monologue of a retarded guy, or how Cormac McCarthy doesn't put quotation marks around dialogue. It's unfathomable how well regarded (critically) some of these works are.
Post Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:38 pm
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Dr Sagacious



Joined: 01 Mar 2009
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Location: Redford
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When did Aesop Rock get brought up in this conversation? Did I miss something? Haha.

Anywhodiddy, I've been reading volumes and volumes of comics lately. Neil Gaiman is a bit of a genius, who I want to snuggle with eventually, and spy on his dreams at night.
Post Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:18 pm
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medicineman
HALFLING


Joined: 21 Apr 2007
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Captiv8 wrote:
but None Shall Pass was kind of a dud for me.




Really? really? I have such a hard time understanding how someone could appreciate his style and not see that album as kind of a pinnacle, in a way at least, the balance finally acheived between unbridled and sometimes aimless ingenuity and years of craftsmanship and experience. I felt kinda the same way about "When Life Gives You Lemons"...Atmosphere finally fulfilled their promise of all along and made this near-perfect, quintessential, edifice of a record and then...sleep from longtime supporters? Whatevs. Back to books.


I just finished 'Great Expectations', since it had been sitting on my shelf since I was about 15, when I wrote off Dickens, and I figured, well maybe I didn't give this stuff a fair shake, and I gave it a go. A charming enough little piece of fluff I suppose. I still have the same problems that I always had with Dickens, and certain other writers contemporary to him, like "Why is the narrator talking to me so fucking much?" I do get the feeling, from some turns of phrase and paragraphs, though, that perhaps Dickens was in fact a better writer than he let on his writing, if that makes sense...maybe he was too greatly limited by the demands of his audience and the serial format to really ever do what he might have been capable of. In any case...the book definitely moves in fits and spurts, drags badly in spots, has a few interesting speculations on childhood morality and how adult morality develops, and generally makes me glad I am not a child in a Dickens book.

So now I just started 'Snow Crash', which has definitely got me in the first few pages, and 'Promiscuities' by Naomi Wolf...since I need a refresher on making me feel bad about an oppressive patriarchal system which I tacitly support, or something.
Post Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:23 am
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SteveJB



Joined: 08 Jul 2007
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Location: Salisbury UK
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Captiv8 wrote:
breakreep wrote:
SteveJB wrote:
("oh you've written it in old english? well done, I don't speak it.")


Heh.

Captiv8: I don't like Aesop Rock either.


That doesn't bother me. He has mastered being abstract for abstract's sake, and that's all well and good. Float is my jam, Labor Days has some good songs, and likewise with Bazooka Tooth but None Shall Pass was kind of a dud for me.

I'd still shake your hand and buy you a beer in real life.

And as for Joyce, I don't even think he's writing in Old English. It's more like a blend of old slang and words he has decided to makeup, combine, or adjust as suits his purpose. None of this, of course, makes conquering Finnegan's Wake an attractive idea.


I was refering mainly to one part in particular, here's the summary from Wiki:


Quote:

Episode 14, Oxen of the Sun
Bloom visits the maternity hospital where Mina Purefoy is giving birth, and finally meets Stephen, who is drinking with Buck Mulligan and his medical student friends. They continue on to a pub to continue drinking, following the successful birth of the baby. This chapter is remarkable for Joyce's wordplay, which seems to recapitulate the entire history of the English language to describe a scene in an obstetrics hospital, from the Carmen Arvale


Quote:

Deshil Holles Eamus. Deshil Holles Eamus. Deshil Holles Eamus.


to something resembling alliterative Anglo-Saxon poetry


Quote:

In ward wary the watcher hearing come that man mildhearted eft rising with swire ywimpled to him her gate wide undid. Lo, levin leaping lightens in eyeblink Ireland's westward welkin. Full she dread that God the Wreaker all mankind would fordo with water for his evil sins. Christ's rood made she on breastbone and him drew that he would rathe infare under her thatch. That man her will wotting worthful went in Horne's house.


and on through skillful parodies of, among others, Malory, the King James Bible, Bunyan, Pepys, Defoe, Addison and Steele, Sterne, Goldsmith, Junius, Gibbon, Lamb, De Quincey, Landor, Dickens, Newman, Ruskin and Carlyle, before concluding in a haze of nearly incomprehensible slang, bringing to mind American English employed in advertising. Indeed, Joyce organised this chapter as three sections divided into nine total subsections, representing the trimesters and months of gestation.

This extremely complex chapter can be further broken down structurally. It consists of sixty paragraphs. The first ten paragraphs are parodies of Latin and Anglo-Saxon language, the two major predecessors to the English language, and can be seen as intercourse and conception. The next forty paragraphs, representing the 40 weeks of gestation in human embryonic development, begin with Middle English satires; they move chronologically forward through the various styles mentioned above. At the end of the fiftieth paragraph, the baby in the maternity hospital is born, and the final ten paragraphs are the child, combining all the different forms of slang and street English that were spoken in Dublin in the early part of the 20th century.


As for Aesop Rock, I thought None Shall Pass was really really good.
Post Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:22 am
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