Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

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Metcarfre
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Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Metcarfre » 12 Oct 2010, 15:02

So I picked up C.S. Lewis' science fiction trilogy yesterday (Out of the Silent Planet, Voyage to Venus, That Hideous Strength). As well I finally got a replacement copy of Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.

I started reading Fear and Loathing and man, what a ride. This book is incredible. It's manic, frenzied, discordant, and harrowing. Funny, disgusting, exasperating, and gripping. I can't really describe it too well except to say that, like all really good pieces of work about drugs, it both makes you deeply want to participate, and horrifies you at the prospect of doing so. Definitely, check it out!
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Tapir12 » 12 Oct 2010, 15:17

I've been on a classics binge for the last while. Over the summer I read Crime and Punishment and I just finished Catch 22.

Crime and Punichment was a lot more accessible that I expected. It was very enjoyable with interesting characters and ideas. Since reading the book, I've noticed a lot of references to Raskolnikov (the protagonist) elsewhere, which is kind of cool.

Catch 22 was definetly not what I was expecting. It's downright silly. While I did enjoy the sillyness and the over the top characters, I thought it did make some good points about the nature of war. My one big problem though was that pretty much all the female characters were prostitutes or sluts and the behaviour of the men around them was appalling.

I actually looked at a copy of Fear and Loathing a couple weeks ago, but decided to go for Catch 22 instead. Now I have a copy of Never Let Me Go to start reading.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Drinnik » 12 Oct 2010, 15:23

I wasn't taken with Crime and Punishment. Notes From Underground is a lot better.

Also, I recommend Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books. They're very British in humour, though, so they are an acquired taste.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby iamafish » 12 Oct 2010, 15:24

I read 2001 recently, which was rather good, and some Terry Pratchett, which was good in an entirely different way.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Yaxley » 12 Oct 2010, 17:15

metcarfre wrote:So I picked up C.S. Lewis' science fiction trilogy yesterday (Out of the Silent Planet, Voyage to Venus, That Hideous Strength).


metcarfre wrote:Voyage to Venus


Pardon me if I rant for a moment, but what is the deal with publishers screwing with Lewis's work? That book is called Perelandra. I know it has been published under the other name, but that's not what he called it, and you can't just fricking change titles of books whenever you feel like it, stupid publishers! (Watch now as some C.S. Lewis scholar comes in and takes me to task.)

Anyway, it's pretty good WWII era sci-fi, although I didn't like the third part as much.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Bananafish » 12 Oct 2010, 19:08

Catch 22 was hilarious, I love the shit out of that book. Notes from Underground owns, C&P owns, man the fuck up and go read the brothers karamazov though. I read C-22 forever ago but I vaguely remember a part where Yossarian is in Rome and there's a part that's really similar to the one where Raskolnikov dreams about the horse being beaten to death. I wish I could remember what the hell happened.

I'm on Vol 1 of Capital atm because non-fiction owns too.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Bananafish » 12 Oct 2010, 19:10

I found The Goebbels Diaries on Amazon for only FIVE BUCKS. Fuck YES I ordered a copy.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby sdhonda » 12 Oct 2010, 20:22

Bananafish wrote:I found The Goebbels Diaries on Amazon for only FIVE BUCKS. Fuck YES I ordered a copy.


Why?
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Murakami » 13 Oct 2010, 00:22

Going through David Mitchells books right now. Finished Black Swan Green and Ghostwritten, just started in Cloud Atlas. The first two were awesome, I love his style, his narrative, and how he propels a story, I love the playing with genres. Plus, he's funny too.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby elvor » 13 Oct 2010, 00:35

I read recursively. I start a book, find another book, read that instead, then go back and finish the previous book. :P

Having said that, my current stack goes:
H.P. Lovecraft collection (because goddammit I want to read his stuff at some point)
Mort - Terry Pratchett. I only read this once, ages ago, so I thought I'd give it another go.
Lord Sunday - Garth Nix. It's a kids series, but one I really enjoyed, and I read all the others as they came out, so when I saw a pretty much new copy of this for £1.50 at work I had to pick it up. Pretty good so far.

I'm also reading a piece of online fiction called Seeking Truth, which is pretty damn freaky.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Mad Madam Mimm » 13 Oct 2010, 00:41

I recently read Fannie Flagg's "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe".
oh.
my.
god.
I'd already seen the film, so I knew I was oing to enjoy it, but... wow. I mean, when I'd finished it, I felt legitimately sorry for everyone who hadn't read it. A lot of things describe themselves as "slice of life" (and are usually using it to cover for the fact that they're so boring), but this was so much more than that. This was... life pie.

You don't just get the story of Evelyn Couch, you also get the story of Cleo Threadgoode and the Threadgoode family, and on top of that you get the threadgoode family history for about three generations eeither side. It's the richest, most detailed, most beautiful book I have read in a long time.

Then I read Jasper Fforde's "Well of Lost Plots". It's hilarious, and very clever. I really want to read the rest of the series, even though i'm now reading them out of order.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby AlexanderDitto » 13 Oct 2010, 04:40

I really want to reread Catch-22 after someone quoted the scene where Milo describes how he makes a profit selling seven cent eggs from Milan to the mess halls for 4 and a half cents.

As for me, right now I'm reading Book 3 of Les Miserables, and The Elements of Typographic Style, by Robert Bringhurst.

...

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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Master Gunner » 13 Oct 2010, 05:03

Catch-22, Beautiful Losers, and War & Peace are probably my favourite books at the moment. Catch-22 for reasons already in process, Beautiful Losers because of it's weirdness and Canadian-ness, and War & Peace because, despite it taking an entire year to get through, it's damn interesting, especially since I love reading about history.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Lord Chrusher » 13 Oct 2010, 05:22

I am on a bit of a history binge right now. I am reading the New Penguin History of the World by JM Roberts right now. Before that I read The War of Wars: The Epic Struggle Between Britain and France 1793-1815 by Robert Harvey while before that I read Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West, Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic and Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom all by Tom Holland.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Dubious_wolf » 13 Oct 2010, 07:24

Lord Chrusher wrote:I am on a bit of a history binge right now. I am reading the New Penguin History of the World by JM Roberts right now. Before that I read The War of Wars: The Epic Struggle Between Britain and France 1793-1815 by Robert Harvey while before that I read Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West, Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic and Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom all by Tom Holland.


Is it sad that when I skimmed this post it sounded like it was Star Wars related? and thought the 100 years war would have been much more awesome if they had lightsabers?
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Bananafish » 13 Oct 2010, 13:01

sdhonda wrote:Why?


Uh, why not?

It just came this morning but I haven't had much time to actually read it :l
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby iamafish » 13 Oct 2010, 15:21

Dubious_wolf wrote:
Lord Chrusher wrote:I am on a bit of a history binge right now. I am reading the New Penguin History of the World by JM Roberts right now. Before that I read The War of Wars: The Epic Struggle Between Britain and France 1793-1815 by Robert Harvey while before that I read Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West, Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic and Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom all by Tom Holland.


Is it sad that when I skimmed this post it sounded like it was Star Wars related? and thought the 100 years war would have been much more awesome if they had lightsabers?


The 100 years war wasn't even mentioned in that post, the conflict between Britain and France discussed in the book is the Napoleonic War.

@Chrusher I really enjoy reading Tom Holland. He can go a bit over the top sometimes (especially in Persian Fire), but his books are really well written, well researched and well argued.

I've recently started reading The Roman Histories: The Reign of Augustus by Cassius Dio, having read a collection of essays about Greek Hoplite Warfare before that. Yes I'm a history nerd.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Bananafish » 13 Oct 2010, 17:17

the worst nerd
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby iamafish » 13 Oct 2010, 18:25

you spelled 'best' wrong
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Bananafish » 13 Oct 2010, 20:23

ok but you're cursed with finding things interesting that 90% of people think is boring as hell and while you're talking about roman power structure or w.e they'll be smoking a bowl
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Mad Madam Mimm » 13 Oct 2010, 22:14

Something else I read recently that had an effect on me: Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot".

It's.... interesting. I mean, it describes itself, with the line "nobody comes, nobody goes, nothing happens, it's awful". Except, the way in which nothing happens is very interesting. I read it, thinking it was all very significant but not really being sure why. Anyone else read it? Got any helpful interpretations? Other than the whole "Godot=God" thing because the author himself said that was wrong.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby iamafish » 13 Oct 2010, 23:16

Bananafish wrote:ok but you're cursed with finding things interesting that 90% of people think is boring as hell and while you're talking about roman power structure or w.e they'll be smoking a bowl


well I can smoke a bowl while talking about Roman power structure. And who cares if noone else finds it interesting? I do.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby elvor » 14 Oct 2010, 01:35

Oh yeah, also I'm listening to an audiobook version of Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson. Never read any of his stuff before. It's good! Love the over the top nature of the whole thing. Although all the infodumps can get boring.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Theremin » 14 Oct 2010, 02:09

Mad Madam Mimm wrote:Anyone else read it? Got any helpful interpretations?


The God = Godot thing is what I originally read into it, but I've heard some interesting alternatives.

One that fits quite well is the idea that Vladimir and Estragon are dead and in purgatory, being tested by god in order to get into heaven.

The idea there is that each day god gives the two a new chance to prove their goodness, and thus far they have failed each time. In this equation, the character of the boy represents 'forgiveness', as he shows up at the end of the day each time to say that Godot will not be coming today, but will be tomorrow.

"Oh, bugger, they've failed again...I'll give them one more chance."

I like that interpretation because it fits the fact that Vladimir and Estragon do something immoral each day. The first day, they fail to take any actioon that would benefit Lucky. The second, they say nothing when the boy mentions he is beaten.

Alternatively, you could go with what has been explained to me as the existentialist interpretation. As I understand this, it says that life has no inherent value, and that rather than philosophizing about meaning, one must live in a way that creates value.

Vladimir and Estragon, like the book said, nothing happens. They do nothing, really, and all they do is talk. Their lives are meaningless and the only way to create any value or meaning is to do something that affirms them.

Oh, also, you can pretty much just take God out of the first explanation and still have it as a parable about compassion.
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Re: Quarterly Literature Discussion Thread

Postby Mad Madam Mimm » 14 Oct 2010, 11:34

It did strike me as... hollow, I guess. Not that the play was void of meaning, mind, but that the characters are living out charades on purpose. They almost seem afraid of any meaning.

Like I said, it's... interesting.
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