What are you reading?

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J sub D
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by J sub D » 27 May 2010, 09:02

D.A. Ridgely wrote:
Hugh Akston wrote:He also stipulated that any audiobook must be read by Charleton Heston.
Which oddly enough, at least according to his literary executors, is how they spelled "Gilbert Gotfried" a hundred years ago.
Even as a joke, that is just plain evil.
EDIT: Oh, and the civil rights and basic human dignity thing too. - JasonL

My guess is this is the love child of some Objectivists what got excommunicated. - Warren

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by J sub D » 27 May 2010, 09:10

Stevo Darkly wrote:Well, if you really want to hear about it, you ought to start by reading a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and All That Crap, but that stuff just bores me, if you want to know the truth. The author was a guy named Mark Twain. Complete phony. This place is full of phonies. A big glitzy city like Hannibal will do that do you. It's full of people prostituting themselves. I'm not kidding you.

Anyway, at the end of that book, me and old Tom Sawyer found this money that some robbers hid in a cave and all. Six thousand dollars. Very big deal. And anyway, then the Widow Douglas, who was about 800 years old and didn't look any too gorgeous, if you want to know the truth, adopted me ...
Goddam you Stevo Darkly, goddam you to Hell. ;-)
EDIT: Oh, and the civil rights and basic human dignity thing too. - JasonL

My guess is this is the love child of some Objectivists what got excommunicated. - Warren

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Number 6 » 27 May 2010, 10:42

Hugh Akston wrote:I once listened to Charleton Heston reading Old Man and the Sea. There was so much testosterone in the car that I grew a mustache in 45 minutes. And a second pair.
Win.
That goes in the file for future use as a sig.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dhex » 27 May 2010, 11:51

my wife gave me kindred by octavia butler to read...and i kind of hate it already. something about the way she writes is very off-putting.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Ellie » 27 May 2010, 11:54

dhex wrote:my wife gave me kindred by octavia butler to read...and i kind of hate it already. something about the way she writes is very off-putting.
We read Fledgling in a women's literature class, and while I enjoyed the idea that specfic was getting play in a literature class, the book itself was pretty disappointing. It didn't feel literary, or even especially interesting. There was a lot of "and then this happened and then this happened. Then this happened. A character told me I was special. I was special. Then this happened. Then this happened." Blargh.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dhex » 27 May 2010, 12:19

that seems to be her thing. liz liked it, which surprises me a bit since she's usually pretty harsh on style questions. i'll see if the next 20 pages leave me cold.
"i ran over the cat and didnt stop just carried on with tears in my eyes joose driving my way to work." - God

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Hugh Akston » 27 May 2010, 13:36

So I just finished reading John Fante's Ask the Dust. I would have hurled it across the room at great speed had I not borrowed it from a friend. My kingdom for a well-written book about or set in Los Angeles.

After that I read the Marvel Civil War HC which, like most summer "event" stories, left me a little cold. Particularly because of the potential that such a story has.

I just started a book called Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. It's the first book I have read in a good long while that has not won or been nominated for any kind of Prestigious Literary Award. But it's hard to resist a steampunk zombie novel.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dbcooper » 27 May 2010, 19:01

Hugh Akston wrote:So I just finished reading John Fante's Ask the Dust. I would have hurled it across the room at great speed had I not borrowed it from a friend. My kingdom for a well-written book about or set in Los Angeles.

After that I read the Marvel Civil War HC which, like most summer "event" stories, left me a little cold. Particularly because of the potential that such a story has.

I just started a book called Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. It's the first book I have read in a good long while that has not won or been nominated for any kind of Prestigious Literary Award. But it's hard to resist a steampunk zombie novel.
Yeah, I thought Ask the Dust was shithouse.

You could try Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion. Have you read Day of the Locust? Howsabout some Chandler?
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Hugh Akston » 27 May 2010, 19:46

I have read neither Didion nor Chandler, I'll take a look at my next opportunity. My friend and I have several running jokes about Day of the Locust and Ms. Lonelyhearts. I'm looking for a novel that depicts the city of angels as something other than a vacuous dystopia where dreams go to be used for porn fodder then dumped back out on the streets. Kind of a literary LA Story, ideally.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dbcooper » 27 May 2010, 19:54

Yeah, you're probably not going to go for Play it as it Lays then.

Sounds like you might be after that Steve Martin novella then?
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dhex » 27 May 2010, 22:12

this book is getting better, but it's not getting good.
"i ran over the cat and didnt stop just carried on with tears in my eyes joose driving my way to work." - God

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Hugh Akston » 27 May 2010, 22:35

dbcooper wrote:Yeah, you're probably not going to go for Play it as it Lays then.

Sounds like you might be after that Steve Martin novella then?
I've read both of them. They weren't bad.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Taktix® » 28 May 2010, 05:28

I'm half-way through John Adams by David McCullough. It's a very pleasing read, especially given the constraints of its genre...
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by GinSlinger » 28 May 2010, 08:25

Taktix® wrote:I'm half-way through John Adams by David McCullough. It's a very pleasing read, especially given the constraints of its genre...
Would that genre be biography . . . or history?

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by J sub D » 28 May 2010, 08:40

James Michener - I don't understand the accolades. I just tried to read "Mexico" and surrendered to boredom after a hundred pages.

Of course, YMMV.
EDIT: Oh, and the civil rights and basic human dignity thing too. - JasonL

My guess is this is the love child of some Objectivists what got excommunicated. - Warren

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Andrew » 28 May 2010, 09:04

I was reading Pynchon's Inherent Vice (and enjoying it), but some jerk put a hold on it which kept me from renewing it, so I'll have to finish it some other time.

I've decided I need to read some of the classic hard-boiled detective novels, so right now I'm reading Jim Thompson's The Getaway (inspiration for the Peckinpah movie of the same name). It's pretty kick-ass. Well-written, clear, and to the point, too. Next will be Dashiell Hammett's Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and Red Harvest. Not too sure about the stuff after that, but maybe a few books by James Cain.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Fin Fang Foom » 28 May 2010, 09:53

A
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Number 6 » 28 May 2010, 10:35

Hugh Akston wrote:I have read neither Didion nor Chandler, I'll take a look at my next opportunity. My friend and I have several running jokes about Day of the Locust and Ms. Lonelyhearts. I'm looking for a novel that depicts the city of angels as something other than a vacuous dystopia where dreams go to be used for porn fodder then dumped back out on the streets. Kind of a literary LA Story, ideally.
Ah, it's fantasy you're wanting....
" i discovered you eat dog dicks out of a bowl marked "dog dicks" because you're too stupid to remember where you left your bowl of dog dicks."-dhex, of course.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 28 May 2010, 12:28

Hammett's pretty much solely responsible for the invention of the modern American detective story but he reads to me more like a period author now. Especially by contrast to his greatest fan, Chandler, whose prose still sounds, at least to my ear, modern if not contemporary.

Both Hammett and Chandler's works have been collected and published by the Library of America in well bound, reasonably priced volumes. LoA has also published two collections of American crime novels (e.g., this one), both of which make excellent samplers and surveys of the genre.

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Ellie » 28 May 2010, 15:18

J sub D wrote:James Michener - I don't understand the accolades. I just tried to read "Mexico" and surrendered to boredom after a hundred pages.
I love John Leonard's lines about Michener's books being stapled together from file cards, and "[Michener's] personal covenant is not with God, but with the encyclopedia."

That said, I remember reading Mexico as a teenager and enjoying it. Centennial, on the other hand, was ridiculously interminable. He starts with DINOSAURS, for Pete's sake!
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dbcooper » 28 May 2010, 16:49

D.A. Ridgely wrote:Hammett's pretty much solely responsible for the invention of the modern American detective story but he reads to me more like a period author now. Especially by contrast to his greatest fan, Chandler, whose prose still sounds, at least to my ear, modern if not contemporary.

Both Hammett and Chandler's works have been collected and published by the Library of America in well bound, reasonably priced volumes. LoA has also published two collections of American crime novels (e.g., this one), both of which make excellent samplers and surveys of the genre.
Thanks for the link. The Big Clock (in that volume) made for a pretty good movie, but was remade into a much better movie - No Way Out.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Stevo Darkly » 28 May 2010, 16:53

I once read Michener's Space about 15 years ago, and I remember sort of enjoying it.

That's all I remember about it, though. That, and it featured a fictitious US state, which was kind of interesting. Unless I've mixed it up with some other book.

I am currently reading (about 75% of the way through) The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy by N. A. M. Rodger. It's about the British Navy, mostly circa 1740-1763.

I am finding it to be a very interesting book. In addition to being about the Age of Sail, which fascinates me, it's also a bit of a mythbuster book, which also tends to really appeal to me. The British navy during this period was not run like "a floating concentration camp" (although it might have got worse later, during the wars with Napoleon).

I was actually rather struck by what was often the looseness of an officer's control of his subordinates in that time and place. This was also one of the things that struck me about The Killer Angels. (The Civil War novel.)

I kinda would have liked to have read more about how battles at sea were fought, etc. But it's not that kind of book. It's mostly about how the ships were organized, run and manned; and what a typical naval career might be like. And to some extent, how the navy guys got along with the rest of British society. I'm about to start the section on the influence of politics on the navy. It might sound a little dry, but it's fairly easy to read, and the mythbusting and the occasional touch of humor liven it up quite a bit, in my eyes.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Andrew » 28 May 2010, 21:07

D.A. Ridgely wrote:Hammett's pretty much solely responsible for the invention of the modern American detective story but he reads to me more like a period author now. Especially by contrast to his greatest fan, Chandler, whose prose still sounds, at least to my ear, modern if not contemporary.

Both Hammett and Chandler's works have been collected and published by the Library of America in well bound, reasonably priced volumes. LoA has also published two collections of American crime novels (e.g., this one), both of which make excellent samplers and surveys of the genre.
I'm not terribly bothered by books that are dated. If they're good, I don't notice whether they're dated, and if they're bad, it's not being dated that sinks them. I have one of the LoA Hammett books right now with his 3 big ones, and I after I get through some Hammett and Cain, we'll see how much energy I wish to devote to Chandler.

I finished The Getaway today, and wow. Most of the book is excellent hard-boiled fiction, but suddenly it slams into a surreal ending. Most internet reviews seem to bitch about it, but I thought it was great. Instead of just being a pleasurable read, it transforms the book into something much more.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by dbcooper » 28 May 2010, 21:17

Andrew wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:Hammett's pretty much solely responsible for the invention of the modern American detective story but he reads to me more like a period author now. Especially by contrast to his greatest fan, Chandler, whose prose still sounds, at least to my ear, modern if not contemporary.

Both Hammett and Chandler's works have been collected and published by the Library of America in well bound, reasonably priced volumes. LoA has also published two collections of American crime novels (e.g., this one), both of which make excellent samplers and surveys of the genre.
I'm not terribly bothered by books that are dated. If they're good, I don't notice whether they're dated, and if they're bad, it's not being dated that sinks them. I have one of the LoA Hammett books right now with his 3 big ones, and I after I get through some Hammett and Cain, we'll see how much energy I wish to devote to Chandler.

I finished The Getaway today, and wow. Most of the book is excellent hard-boiled fiction, but suddenly it slams into a surreal ending. Most internet reviews seem to bitch about it, but I thought it was great. Instead of just being a pleasurable read, it transforms the book into something much more.
Yeah, the ending is wonderfully mean spirited. Almost makes you wonder if that was supposed to be hell.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Jadagul » 29 May 2010, 22:36

Eliezer Yudkowsky--an AI researcher who used to coblog with Robin Hanson--seems to have written a Harry Potter fanfic. A fanfic which asks what would have happened if Harry were a child prodigy nearly-perfect Bayesian rationalist. I have laughed so hard that I cried, multiple times. And I'm like a quarter of the way through.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/1/H ... ationality

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