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Author Topic: What are you reading?  (Read 265310 times)
garebear
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« Reply #225 on: February 26, 2012, 01:37:43 AM »

..


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garebear
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« Reply #226 on: February 26, 2012, 01:40:10 AM »

,,


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xxxLinda
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« Reply #227 on: March 01, 2012, 04:25:52 PM »

garebabes, I'm loving your black and white sheets ^^^  ooooh




me?  I'm re-reading Dickens xL


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xxxLinda
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« Reply #228 on: March 01, 2012, 04:43:02 PM »


also during January and February, I read most if not all of these.  Alexander McCall S mith

A neighbour gave me one then I found another 3 or 4 of them at the Charity Bookshop for 50p each.  

I'd already read the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency set in Botswana, many years ago.  But these are better.  Posh and artistic clever people in Edinburgh Scotland.  Loveable understandable characters, funny comments, totally astute social comment.  

These are a quick read - you'll get through the entire thing in one night.  Lightness and niceness.  

Sweet.

xL

Dickens is depressing...  A page a day, yawn.
I'm still reading much too much news on our www.



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Mr. Magoo
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« Reply #229 on: March 01, 2012, 05:37:15 PM »

hart's concept of law
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Benny B
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« Reply #230 on: March 01, 2012, 07:29:58 PM »

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Psalms 150


« Reply #231 on: March 02, 2012, 12:38:41 PM »

organizational behavior and leadership
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Mr Nobody
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« Reply #232 on: March 02, 2012, 12:41:18 PM »

The Pit and the Pendulum.
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jon cole
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« Reply #233 on: March 04, 2012, 06:59:27 AM »

"division street" stud terkel
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« Reply #234 on: March 04, 2012, 12:01:53 PM »

The Jansen Directive-Robert Ludlum
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dr.chimps
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« Reply #235 on: March 04, 2012, 04:07:38 PM »

Pete Dexter's 'Train.' Plot/story was a bit of a mess, but the writing, well, it's Pete Dexter. Can't go wrong, at all, there. 
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« Reply #236 on: March 04, 2012, 05:35:50 PM »

Pete Dexter's 'Train.' Plot/story was a bit of a mess, but the writing, well, it's Pete Dexter. Can't go wrong, at all, there. 
Reminds me of "Petticoat Junction".
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Radical Plato
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« Reply #237 on: March 05, 2012, 04:21:46 AM »

As I Lay Dying


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« Reply #238 on: March 05, 2012, 04:26:42 AM »

As I Lay Dying

Masterpiece. One of the most powerful books I've read.
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xxxLinda
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« Reply #239 on: March 07, 2012, 12:31:49 PM »

that's on my to do now list.  ^^^
I'm going to buy As I Lay Dying, £1 on Amazon plus p+p.  I've never read it, so I can't wait.
 




Bought Lady Chatterley's Lover for 20p at Oxfam the other day.  I've not read it since I was 16 and it was banned before that.  When I first read it I thought it racy or something profound.  What else would I think?


I re-read Women in Love last year when the movie was on tv.


today I can't help but think that Lawrence was mysoginist and utterly puerile.  He's repetitive and he is demeaning to women.



Here's a review of Lawrence, despite which I will finish rereading Lady Chatterley tonight:
this is funny:

Men with Beards/Lawrence...
Pros:Great writing and description of place
Cons:Flat characters who are only models for conflicting ideas about the world.
The Bottom Line: Read Thomas Hardy instead.

I believe D. H. Lawrence, despite writing constantly about men and women in a risqué manner for his time, was gay. There is nothing wrong with that; many of my favorite writers are gay. Why do I say this? Because of the three Lawrence novels I've read to date in only one does he even get close to writing an authentic relationship between a man and a woman. It's not in the two novels I would expect though. In Lady Chatterley's Lover and in Women in Love, Lawrence writes about women as if they are an alien species that he has heard about but never seen. In each book during the sensual scenes (because honestly there is no real sex in Lawrence's books and I'm really at a loss why everything he wrote was deemed pornographic, even for the tighter laced post-Victorian era he wrote in) between a man and a woman I really expected him in earnest to write that women have teeth down there. You know in their loin regions. Oh, and before I start the review proper the one novel that he seems to write women well is in The Rainbow, the first novel in the Trilogy that follows with Women in Love and ends with Aaron's Rod. But, as one last pre-review aside, The Rainbow could have just been called Jude the Obscure - Part 2 since it read exactly like a Thomas Hardy novel.
So, anyway Women in Love is by some strange group of polltakers considered the most widely read English novel of the 20th Century. I doubt this, and if I'm wrong then people really need to get out and read more of the 20th Century Classics. The story involves two sisters (the women who will fall in love), and two men (the recipients of this affection). Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, the daughters of the protagonist of The Rainbow, begin the novel by having a discussion about marriage. Ursula, the eldest daughter, is a schoolmistress (a teacher). Her sister, Gudrun, has just begun teaching also after a time away from their provincial hometown life. Gudrun was an artist of some merit that fluctuates throughout the novel to fit the scenes, but by an average account she made a modest success during her time in London. Why she returned to the backwoods home she grew up in is never quite explained, but she's home, and that is enough for this novel.
The two sisters begin by talking about marriage. Ursula for some unknown reason doesn't think she needs to get married, and this shocks her bohemian sister who can't understand why her sister would go against social customs. This scene is stupid in light of the novel taken as a whole. Both women throughout the novel change their opinion on this question with gusto. The reader after awhile has to wonder if Lawrence just happened to put words into the character's mouths to play devils advocate, or if he is trying to say something like women have a flippant nature. Besides very radical shifts in opinion the women are given very little description besides the color of the clothes Gudrun is wearing and that each of them are quite beautiful. What do they look like exactly?  Well...

Lawrence is a bit vague on that. I never could quite get a mental image of either of them. Only one woman in the whole book is ever described in detail and she's a boyish built shorthaired baby-talking lispy nymph, who warrants pages of description but who is pretty much unnecessary for the plot.

The women really aren't important to the novel, even though they are in the title. The real characters are the two men. Birkin, a self-portrait of Lawrence, is a local teacher. Sometimes he's a preacher though; I couldn't tell which he really was. Once he was even something like the principal of the school. Oh but who cares for consistency, especially since he never seems to go to work or have any material responsibilities. The details aren't important anyway, but I'll get to that in a bit. Birkin is basically an opinionated bore, dressed in a Heathcliff-esque (Wuthering Heights reference, not the lazy cat) brooding manner who spouts off his quasi-naturalism to anyone happening to cross his path. Birkin is angry all the time, quite violent in speech and sickly too. He is never painted in a good light and doesn't represent a very good model for Lawrence's personal philosophy (if this is what he is trying to achieve with the character). Ursula falls in love with this pig headed fool.
Gudrun falls in love with the other man, Gerald. He is from a rich family that owns all of the coal mines in the surrounding area. He's quite good looking in a Germanic / Nordic way, and is the most richly described character in the book. He's just about as flippant as the women are. He likes being a captain of industry. He hates being a captain of industry. He is having the time of his life with his adventurous lifestyle. Everything bores him to tears. He's a spineless worm around Gudrun. He's a domineering patriarch towards Gudrun. Why does he change? Sometimes we are given hints, sometimes the changes come after talking to Birkin, but most of the time they just seem to change in order to have something else for Birkin/Lawrence to expound about.

One other thing, Birkin loves quite passionately and believes that a pure love between two men is stronger than any love a man and a woman can share.

So, what is the novel about? Basically these four people squabbling over each other and having a lot of fights based on 'strongly' held ideals. Not much happens in the novel. Events take place in the background, but the plot is never driven. There are not enough characters to create any intrigue over the romantic outcome, and the characters all seem to fall right in line with their respective partners too easily. Of course they fight, but every time one of them really gets angry the other one always seems to come crawling back in beaten submission to the gloriousness of the other. This is played out in just about every possible permutation (with the exception of Gudrun who only fluctuates between icy b*tch and vaguely interested in Gerald (but she is a woman in love don't forget). The novel breaks down to being about the ideas that Birkin holds and to a lesser extent the ideas of the other characters. None of the other three hold ideas drastically different from Birkin's though; they just aren't quite as passionate about them and set themselves up for Birkin's angry assaults.
So what are the basic ideas? I'll explain them this way first.

If you've ever read Ayn Rand's Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged take away the plot, keep the characters and everything about them. Remove the strong capitalist overtones but keep the strong individualism, bull headedness, and the way the strong characters dominate and then lay themselves prostrate to each other and you've got the general idea of this novel. Or better yet read anything by Neitzsche and take away all the bookishness of his philological learning and just keep the random attacks on everything in modern society and you've got a pretty fair picture of Birkin.

If those descriptions don't help -- basically Lawrence believes that everything in his modern society is diluted, horrible, weak and wrong. Everything good about the world has been bastardised into a pale spectre of its true self, and life is basically lived inauthentically by just about everyone. Only a few people are aware enough to realize this, and for those few living just a few pure moments is more valuable than living a lifetime like the masses do.

Maybe if I hadn't read many other books that deal with this same idea I would find it novel, but honestly nothing said was very interesting to me. I'd heard it all before, and read it in either more eloquent manners or with plots that sustained my interest beyond the constant preaching. When modern society isn't being critiqued to death various forms of love are being argued. These arguments could all have been taken straight out of Plato's Symposium with Birkin as the wise Socrates at the helm.
On the topic of love, there are only two scenes where passion takes any kind of substantial form. The first is between the two men when they decide to wrestle each other. During this scene their oneness gets penetrated by the other, and Birkin is surprised when Gerald rises up in a welcoming motion over powers and tops him. The only other scene is between Ursula and Birkin. This scene deals mostly with the mightiness of Birkin's loins, and the realization that not all truth of the world springs from the phallic center of man but deeper mystery's lie in the whole body of a man (man meaning man, not a pre PC word for people). Both scenes are quite homoerotic and added to my feeling that Lawrence only included the women to the novel as a social convention. The real love story is between the two men. The ideal a woman can fill in Lawrence's world is as an attractive beard that will act as a shield between the sensitive man and a harsh world.
I did like the book though, all criticism aside. I think that Lawrence is a very talented writer and worth being read. Even though the content of the book did little for me his writing style was wonderful and his description of place is amazing. I'd highly recommend The Rainbow to people interested in Lawrence though. Actually I would recommend reading Thomas Hardy to anyone interested in the topics of pastoral English life during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and it's interplay between tradition and modernity as it relates to individual versus society. This novel, while considered a classic I think boils down more to being an angry book by a man angry about the treatment his earlier books had received. It was difficult not perceiving this book as a five hundred-page rant by Lawrence.
This wasn't much of a consumer review, but basically I'd say if you are interested in reading the canon of 20th century English novels then you should check this out. If you are looking for a nice easy read I'd avoid this one and settle for something more interesting from the same time period. Who would I recommend? Well Thomas Hardy as I said, or Anton Chekov. I'm sure there are many other wonderful late 19th century writers who tackle Lawrence's terrain in a more enjoyable manner. I just realized that I'm only recommending 19th century authors in lieu of this 20th century writer. Maybe Lawrence would have been a better fit to the previous century. As a last stalwart against the High Modernist tradition emerging in the early 20th century he comes across as a bitter and reactionary opponent to the coming times, but his anger makes most of his arguments seem half-baked and impotent.


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xxxLinda
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« Reply #240 on: March 07, 2012, 01:37:34 PM »

..

Can't believe noone else adored or even appreciated these black and white sheets?  It's all in the details?



Complete and utter perfection for a reading thread...
xL


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Mr. Magoo
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« Reply #241 on: March 16, 2012, 07:19:21 AM »

Quine's Methods of Logic
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Benny B
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« Reply #242 on: March 16, 2012, 07:25:53 AM »



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funk51
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« Reply #243 on: March 16, 2012, 09:17:34 AM »

 Grin the latest willie mays book.
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Soul Crusher
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« Reply #244 on: March 16, 2012, 09:35:07 AM »

 Wink

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dr.chimps
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« Reply #245 on: March 16, 2012, 03:18:11 PM »

Wink
Like anybody believes you read. Cites a book? Yes. Reads it? Not a chance. Joke`s on you.
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Mr Nobody
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« Reply #246 on: March 16, 2012, 05:11:32 PM »

I am reading the Farmers Almanac fucking intense stuff.
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dr.chimps
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Chimpus ergo sum


« Reply #247 on: March 23, 2012, 01:50:13 PM »

Read 'Count to a Trillion' by John C. Wright. Recommended by a friend who thought I would like this sci-fi space opera. Had a lot of trouble with this one. Supercilious tone, a lot of info-dump, and all the characters were  unsympathetic. A couple of nice descriptions to the plus. I like a good sci-fi story, but like a lot of the writers of the genre (sorry) they let their lecturing get in the way of telling a good yarn. 5/10
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« Reply #248 on: March 25, 2012, 02:22:40 AM »

The Faithfull Spy-Alex Berenson
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Benny B
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« Reply #249 on: March 25, 2012, 04:02:33 AM »

I typically list a book here just after I have begun reading it. I got sidetracked from "Maximum City" (great read thirty pages in, lol) when I became aware of a book that was mentioned in a New York Times article. I am glad I did...I devoured it in a few days. Superbly written, Williams shares a story that, although a decade younger than I, spoke to me on several levels. Good read.


A pitch-perfect account of how hip-hop culture drew in the author and how his father drew him out again-with love, perseverance, and fifteen thousand books.


A Conversation with Thomas Chatterton Williams

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in New Jersey, but my parents are from out west. They moved the family to New Jersey when my father, a sociologist by training, took a job in Newark running anti-poverty programs for the Episcopal Archdiocese. My father “Pappy” who is black, is from Galveston and Fort Worth, Texas. My mother, who is white, is from San Diego. They both lament the decision to move east.

I spent the first year of my life in Newark, but was raised in Fanwood, a solidly middle-class suburb with a white side and a black side. We lived on the white side of town mainly because Pappy, who had grown up under formal segregation, refused out of principle to ever again let anyone tell him where to live.

I studied philosophy at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and more recently, attended graduate school at New York University.

Q: Why did you write this book?

I started writing this book out of a searing sense of frustration. It was 2007, hip-hop had sunk to new depths with outrageously ignorant artists like the Dip Set and Soulja Boy dominating the culture and airwaves, and something inside me just snapped. I was in grad school at NYU and one of my teachers gave the class the assignment of writing an op-ed article on a topic of choice, the only requirement being to take a strong stand. I went straight from class to the library and in three or four hours banged out a heartfelt 1000 words against what I saw as the debasement of black culture in the hip-hop era. After some revisions, the Washington Post published what I had written and it generated a lot of passionate feedback, both for and against. I realized that there was a serious conversation to be had on this subject and that there was a lot more that I wanted to say besides. That was why I started.

By the time I finished writing, though, it had become something quite different, something very personal, a tribute to my father and to previous generations of black men and women who went through unimaginable circumstances and despite that, or rather because of it, would be ashamed of the things we as a culture now preoccupy ourselves with, rap about, and do on a daily basis.

Basically, the book began as a Dear John letter to my peers and ended as a love letter to my father.
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