PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human October 22, 2012 - 3:16am
  • Is it good?
  • Is it bad?
  • Is it meh?
  • Is it blowing your mind?
  • Would you recommend it?

 

I'm currently reading two books, Ico and More Than Human. I alternate when I get tired of reading whichever.

Ico- This book is progressing nicely so far. It's written surprisingly well (considering what it's based off of and what little information is given) and has kept me entertained.

More Than Human- My feelings on this book fluctuate. It starts off very slow, and right when I become attached to a character another one is introduced. It's somewhat frustrating.

Dave's picture
Dave from a city near you is reading constantly October 22, 2012 - 5:07am

Good post Pandah-san.

This weekend I read Harbor Nocturne by Joseph Wambaugh. It is part of the Hollywood Station series of novels.  It was great. The latter two of the series became very formulaic and I was worried this one would be the same.Thankfully it was not. Harbor Nocturne, while bearing Wambaugh's distinct style, was a fast and engaging read, and departed from the structure of (at least) the last novel, and had a much more robust story arc and well rounded characters.

I also read This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. I got this on my Nook, and new nothing about it before hand.  It was a great read, but when I finished I was confused. I'd read it as a novel, and that didn't work out so well. I poked around the interwebs to figure out why it wasn't sitting well with me, and learned that it's less of a novel and more a collection of short stories, or at least, is better read as such.  I liked it a lot better after that. It's definitely worth the read.

And finally, I'm almost done with Raylan by Elmore Leonard. I can't put it down and now I want to watch the show (Justified) to see how closely it follows.  

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. October 22, 2012 - 7:26am

@ panda - would that be More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon? Awesome book in my opinion, he is one of the underrated writers of his era. I have a couple of his story collections, they are pretty good too.

MTH was one of the books that got me into golden age sci-fi.

I am also reading a bit of vintage sci-fi, Tales Of Ten Worlds by Arthur C Clarke. A collection of his early years short stories. It is rather good and i woukd definitely recommend it, though to be fair ACC is one I always recommend to people looking for good science fiction.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 22, 2012 - 12:37pm

I always have a few going on, but the main book is Strangers in the Land by Stant Litore. 

Is it good? Yes, The Zombie Bible series are the most interesting 'page turners' I've read in years. Before a publisher picked him up it was the best indie book series I'd ever read. I can't remember the last time I was waiting for a book to come out counting down the days.

Is it bad? No, see below.
Is it meh? No. The worst part of the book was probably just above average instead of insanely awesome.
Is it blowing your mind? Yeah, it shows what life 'would' have been like if Biblical figures had dealt with zombies as a sad fact of life that had always been in the background. It's not some mindless endorsement of the faith, nor a silly parody which is what I expected. The living are deep and nuanced as you're likely to see in fiction, the plots are interesting and deep without being hard to follow, and it really makes zombies something to be afraid of again.
Would you recommended it? In the strongest possible terms. If this guy isn't one of the big names of the next few years something is wrong with people who read, not him.

Boone Spaulding's picture
Boone Spaulding from Coldwater, Michigan, U.S.A. is reading Solarcide Presents: Nova Parade October 22, 2012 - 9:01am

I'm currently reading two books, Ico and More Than Human. I alternate when I get tired of reading whichever."

Me too. Habit since childhood...

I am alternating between David Foster Wallace's The Pale King and Dostoyevsky's Notes From Underground.

Is it good?
Is it bad?
Is it meh?
Is it blowing your mind?
Would you recomnend it?

 

Both are blowing my mind. I recommend both. Both are postmodern-for-their-times novels. Both have a strong philosophical questioning of the banality of everyday life from the POV of civil servants. I had read Notes From Underground many years ago when I was too young to truly appreciate it...but the ending, reading "it seems that we may stop here", is very interesting in that I have not yet finished The Pale King but I am (of course) aware that this is the unfinished novel of DFW...

Neither one of these novels has some typical plot to plod through. The "story" of each is the narrative we give our chaotic, seemingly-plotless lives...and, since I've read a great deal and I find that I may very well have read every basic plot ever written (several times over), I'm not missing the comfort of a typical plot and/or narrative arc...quite the contrary - I'm jazzed by the dispensing of typical fiction's trappings.... 

 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like October 22, 2012 - 9:24am

The Inheritors by William Golding

The story itself is kind of boring (early man/neanderthals running around trying to survive,) but the way he portrays them and their thoughts is cool. They say, "I have a picture in my mind," to say they have an idea; things like that. Plot-wise it feels like the characters are mostly going to die.

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human October 22, 2012 - 12:25pm

@Dave

I saw those on your Goodreads list, not that I stalk or anything.

@Wickedvoodoo

Yes it is! At the point I'm at right now I'm enjoying it more and more. In relation to old sci-fi, have you heard of Cordwainer Smith? I just bought his collection of short stories recently and he is said to be very underrated.

@Dwayne

That actually sounds very cool. I'm a little too into zombies. Can you get his books on Amazon?

@Boone

I own Notes fom the Underground but have yet to read it, but it doesn sound good.

 

kimberlynotkim's picture
kimberlynotkim from the Delta is reading everything October 22, 2012 - 12:31pm

I'm reading "Crazy Enough," a memoir by Portland musician/celebrity Storm Large. It's probably not for everyone but I'm really getting into it; there's a lot in there that I relate to. Some bits are heartbreaking, some are really hot, and it's surpassed my expectations (I thought it was going to be a typical "rock star memoir" type thing). So far the message I'm getting from it is that our childhoods shape us but need not define us, even when everyone assumes that they do.

OtisTheBulldog's picture
OtisTheBulldog from Somerville, MA is reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz October 22, 2012 - 12:37pm

I'm reading the Book of Illusions by Paul Auster. It was recommended by a friend who bought me a used copy. It's pretty meh for my tastes. Decent plot, but waaaaaayyyyyyy too much backstory, exposition and weak dialogue. Really drags the book down for me. I know a lot of people dig Auster but for me it's kind of a lesson on what not to write - not my cup o' tea. But I'm determined to finish it.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 22, 2012 - 12:41pm

@Panda - Yes. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=stant%20litore&sprefix=stant%20&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Astant%20litore

In order they 'happened' are Strangers in the Land, Death Has Come Up into our Windows, and What Our Eyes Have Witnessed (The Zombie Bible) but you can jump around each is it's own story.

PandaMask's picture
PandaMask from Los Angeles is reading More Than Human October 22, 2012 - 2:18pm

I added them to my wishlist. Thank you.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 23, 2012 - 3:42am

If you don't mind reading them on a Kindle/Kindle app I can loan them to you.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts January 31, 2013 - 12:27am

Why isn't this thread used much more?

Things I've been reading the past week or two:

Samuel R Delany - DARK REFLECTIONS -- Was a book that elevates the heart a bit. Achingly beautiful, there's this one scene, tiny spoiler (not really,) with a bunch of gay black artists that decide to sneak into the NYC libraries at night and change the "Negro fiction" signs to "black fiction," and social awareness that follows in a matter of weeks. For a couple days whenever I thought about that scene I'd bawl like a little bitch.

Dennis Cooper - WRONG (stories) -- For some reason I read a bunch of graphically gay books last week. I guess this is transgressive fiction, and his dark experiments within stay interesting. I love the structure of this collection, all the shorts playing into passing references within the final novella of the collection.

Junot Diaz - BRIEF WONDEROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO -- Cool. Intertextual. I guess you can't ask for anything much better. I find it interesting that yeah, a lot of it does push past the malignant, stagnant style of literary fic yet he has the antiquated long denouement at the end. And it works great, considering the narrative frame.

Laird Barron - OCCULTATION (stories) -- In the middle of this. Is there anyone doing the supernatural horror vibe better than him nowadays? The prose is well-informed by the genre, if falling victim to vague actions and globulous imagery due to its content.

Ron Rash - SAINTS AT THE RIVER -- Loving this so far, if only because it speaks to me (which is quite distracting when you're trying to read.) Subtle prose for being so very Southern, Kevin Canty is probably the closest relation I could think to make. A drowned girl, environmentalists, and the disintegrating ethnosphere all wrapped up into the "shit gets weird when I visit my hometown" story trope. He does it so smartly it's not a trope though.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer January 31, 2013 - 7:07am

The String of Pearls by Thomas Peckett Prest -- This is the original Sweeny Todd story. I am about halfway though and reading it for a literary criticism class. The action and tension are spectacular. There are scenes that manage to be ridiculously gruesome without actually showing anything. The dialogue, however, is clunky, god-awful, expository trash. Overall, it is still a great book though.

Nightscape by David Morell -- This is a collection of short stories. I think they are fantastic. There is a definite Twilight Zone bent to the stories, which I love. They are very simple, with very simple twists, but they are a lot of fun. Each story has a page introduction where he talks about the inspiration for the story, which I like as well. I've got one story left to read on this one.

First Shift: Legacy by Hugh Howey -- This is a prequel to the Wool novellas. I loved the novellas, and I really like this book. It has parallel narratives though, which I think is slowing down my reading of it. It has lots of little breaks where it is really easy to put the book down and read something else.

Dimiter by William Peter Blatty -- I am listening to this on audiobook. Blatty narrates. If there has ever been anyone on the face of the Earth more proud of his writing, I don't know who it would be. Blatty reads over-written, flowery, run-ons like he might orgasm at any second. The story itself is scattered all over the place, and extremely complicated with nothing seemingly related to anything else. Supposedly, it all comes together at the end if you can work your way through it.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. January 31, 2013 - 9:20am

The Boys from Brazil - After taking Clevenger's class, I really appreciate Ira Levin's dialogue.  That man was a genius.  Also, he was way ahead of his time.

Mastering the Ride - I miss my motorcycle.  DAMN YOU, SNOW.

awesomehotdogs's picture
awesomehotdogs from Denver, CO February 2, 2013 - 7:30am

Just finished Isn't it Pretty To Think So by Nick Miller - nothing groundbreaking, but I really like how he implements modern social technology and how it basically ruins many of the characters/ relationships in the book. 

Currently working through Richard Ford's The Sportswriter because I guess I am going through an old-man phase of literature. When people get to writing about the suburbs, something just hooks me. Even the cherriest of descriptions seem the most macabre and sureal. 

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 2, 2013 - 12:34pm

I need to get onto some Richard Ford. Have you read any Frederick Barthelme? He does the suburbs just perfectly. I'm meaning to pick up his TWO AGAINST ONE at the library this month.

R.Moon's picture
R.Moon from The City of Champions is reading The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion; Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schimdt PH.D; Creating Characters by the editors of Writer's Digest February 2, 2013 - 2:19pm

@Ren: have you read Independence Day? I have it, never read it. Wondering if I'd worth my time. 

Reading Nemesis by Jo Nesbo. For all you noir/crime lovers, definitely check out his Harry Hole series. Fucking great. 

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 2, 2013 - 3:09pm

I only know Ford's short stories. They're good. Sort of a Southern minimalist kinda writer who writes a bunch about Montana, much like Kevin Canty does. INDEPENDENCE DAY I'm pretty sure is a follow up to SPORTSWRITER.

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life February 3, 2013 - 12:35am

I'm reading:

 Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis. I have to admit, I'm checking it out based on the inclusion of Gun Machine on so many best of 2012 lists. I don't know why, but if possible, I like to read author's work from the first book onward. Anyway, despite the lunacy going on, I am kind of bored of the book. Lots of nutty stuff going on (the Falconer is especially good), but nothig to really hang on to. 

The Man With The Getaway Face, which is of course great: I've read so many of the Parker novels out of sequence, I've dedicated this year to starting from 0, and this one is tight and sharp. A step up even from The Hunter. Stark reads so much like Stephen King's early stuff: fast-paced, sardonic, and gutty.

Secret Dead Men by Duane Swierczynski: fun, meta-fictional crime writing. This was his first novel (I'd read other novels of his, but now I'm backing up), and like many other raised-on-comic book writers, his style is fast, hyper, and visual. Reads a bit restrained, like he's playing it safe. Fair enough. 

The Ravine, by the late, mostly unknown outside of Canada Paul Quarrington. Man, Paul Quarrington. Paul fucking Quarrington. I've been waiting to read this: the knowledge that there will be no further Quarrington books weighs heavy on my mind, and I am rationing them out to last as long as I can. Canada's answer to John Irving, Quarringotn is obsessed with relationships between people, rather than sex. Same-sex platonic (or non, or subtextual) partnerships are given equal time in the spotlight. Every permutation of human connection gets covered, and portrayed with roadworn but hopeful relevance. Reading in sequence again is important: watching Quarrington segue from young artist to scarred-but-wiser statesman is so much more valuable than the price of admission. 

awesomehotdogs's picture
awesomehotdogs from Denver, CO February 3, 2013 - 8:31am

@Ren  @R.Moon - Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land are all a part of the "Bascombe Trilogy" by Ford. 

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 3, 2013 - 8:56am

Ron Rash - SAINTS AT THE RIVER

Finished this, further thoughts. The main girl's boss's last name is Gervais, and the first thing he does in the book is do some sexual harassy-type line in a total nod to THE OFFICE. I really enjoy these blatant sort of shout-outs, it makes me feel connected with a writer on his creative landscape, rather than just enjoying it on a strict him-writer-me-reader level, know what I mean?

There's a part where a character says of a writer character, he's too sentimental. I'm thinking Rash kinda meant this for all writers though, as if all these novels are really little more than eulogies. Maybe it's just these Southern writers though, always trying to be so fucking heavy.

Deets999's picture
Deets999 from Connecticut is reading Adjustment Day February 4, 2013 - 9:33am

The Bascombe Trilogy by Ford is tremendous, particularly Independence Day which I feel is way better than Sportswriter.  Lay of the Land was a very worthy conclusion (if he is only doing three books).  Ford's, dare I say, prose, mines territory with mind-boggling intricacy!

I randomly bought Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore last week and am flying through it.  Only about 300 pages, but very contemporary and fun read - hoping to finish it off tonight!

Yeah reading!!!

awesomehotdogs's picture
awesomehotdogs from Denver, CO February 13, 2013 - 8:24am

Diving into the latest Joshua Mohr - Fight Song. 

I tend to approach his books like I do a box of cookies. "Well, I hate two already, may as well finish the whole box." 

He's always been known for his gritty characters, who are mostly absent the first half of this book. But once you're over the first half, the party shows back up. 

Still working through it, but I totally recommed it. 

avery of the dead's picture
avery of the dead from Kentucky is reading Cipher Sisters February 13, 2013 - 8:45am

I just finished An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin.  Was okay.  It deals in the art world and I enjoyed learning about some of that, the business side and the behind the scenes.  The plot was dull and character driven, although I hated the main character (which was intentional).  It was enjoyable up until the last 50 pages or so at which point I checked out and had to force myself to finish it. 

I'm getting the taste of that out of my mouth by re-reading Stephen King's Lisey's Story.  Which I highly recommend.  This is only my second go around with it, but I loved it the first time and I feel like I'll appreciate it more right now. 

After that I'm not sure.  Something that's already on my shelf. 

 

Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder February 13, 2013 - 9:36am

Another shout for Penumbra. I just finished it a few weeks ago and YES it was a great read!

EVERYONE DIES.

Really, everyone dies.

KIDDING!

I just finished Spin by Robert Charles Wilson -- started strong, finished weak, and am not moved to read the rest in the trilogy. 

Right now, I'm reading The Art of Fielding, which is a slight disappointment but a compulsive read nonetheless. Lacks some gravitas. Of course, that's what I thought while reading Skippy Dies, but that turned into awesomeness. Fielding and Skippy are similarly voiced and constructed (if memory serves me).

Another couple great books I recently finished: State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett, and of course the ubiquitous Gone Girl. 

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 13, 2013 - 11:40am

Italo Calvino - If on a Winter's Night a Traveler -- These kind of books that are nearly all punchlines and aphorisms are impossible to read. I keep going back and reading the last sentence again then the whole last page. Slow going.

Joan Didion - The White Album (Essays) -- I haven't read her before but this particular collection seems to be the most suggested on MFA reading lists more so than her novels. But, it's cool. Just the way her brain works relating one thing to the next is an interesting enough style.

Eudora Welty - Collected Stories -- This is the writer who all the Southern writers say is the best ever. And yeah, they're good, antiquated but good. I've always known her for her photography and I think maybe I just prefer her in that medium. I can see a lot of people here liking her stories though.

Mark Richard - Ice at the Bottom of the World (Stories) -- I thumbed through this one and am pretty excited about it. I'm waiting for an afternoon where I can read through the whole thing uninterrupted.

Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder February 13, 2013 - 12:29pm

“That's the real excellent scary part, that feeling, and that feeling won't come if the lady from next door is there and your mom won't ride the ride, because what brings on that feeling most is when your mom rides wedged in tight with you and your brother on nights like this, when your mom will scream the excellent scream, the scream that people you see in snatches on the boardwalk stop and stare for, the scream that stops the ride next door, the scream that tells us to our hearts the bolts have finally broken.
― Mark Richard, The Ice at the Bottom of the World: Stories

 

The intriguing title prompted me to investigate. Very cool. Copped this from his Goodreads author page. My emphasis.

That's a great almost-100-word sentence.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like February 13, 2013 - 1:21pm

Three Novellas by Thomas Bernhard:

I finished Amras (the first of the three) today. It was good. [thought successfully completed]

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like February 13, 2013 - 1:25pm

My amazon shopping cart is looking pretty badass right now.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon February 13, 2013 - 1:35pm

Renfield said: Italo Calvino - If on a Winter's Night a Traveler -- These kind of books that are nearly all punchlines and aphorisms are impossible to read. I keep going back and reading the last sentence again then the whole last page. Slow going.

Joan Didion - The White Album (Essays) -- I haven't read her before but this particular collection seems to be the most suggested on MFA reading lists more so than her novels. But, it's cool. Just the way her brain works relating one thing to the next is an interesting enough style.

Mark Richard - Ice at the Bottom of the World (Stories) -- I thumbed through this one and am pretty excited about it. I'm waiting for an afternoon where I can read through the whole thing uninterrupted.

I didn't like If on a Winter's Night. I just found it really annoying.

Joan Didion is one of my favorite authors. For novels try - Play It As It Lays. It's awesome.

I've read Ice at the Bottom of the World a bunch of times. Solid collection there.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer February 13, 2013 - 1:58pm

Currently reading Herniated Roots by Richard Thomas. Really enjoying it so far. He has a great knack for broken people, especially those that sort of broke themselves.

Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder February 13, 2013 - 2:20pm

My amazon shopping cart is looking pretty badass right now.

My Amazon wishlist isn't badass. It's looking woefully insurmountable. Adding Mark Richard's book isn't helping.

Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin February 13, 2013 - 8:43pm

I'm reading a goddamn fantasy epic, which means that I'm a couple hundred pages off of a 5 or 6 year wait for the next book.

Song of Ice and Fire, I mean, they are fine books and enjoyable. GRRM does really good limited third narration and I've come to appreciate a number of the tricks he utilizes, but that will make a 5 or 6 year wait no more tolerable.

The Gentleman Bastards series is significantly lighter reading, but again, who wants to wait a decade between volumes? And past that, what the fuck is Scott Lynch doing taking as long as GRRM to write a book when it comes out so much lighter?

I'm going back to decent, god-fearing fiction after this.

 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated February 14, 2013 - 7:29am

@Nick - Might want to try Glen Cook's Black Company. I think all but one is stand alone, and with ten books/two short stories out and it not ending on a cliff hanger you might enjoy them/still be reading when the next one comes out.

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies February 14, 2013 - 7:42am

Libra/White Noise by Don Delillo

I'm consistently blown away by some of the lines and prose in both novels. I often have to stop and reread a sentence and think about it for a few seconds or even minutes. The depth of emotion and the insight into the human condition is like nothing i've read before. Really beautiful work and i think it's affecting my writing already.

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies February 14, 2013 - 7:43am

And it's the best dialogue i've read.

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) February 15, 2013 - 12:09am

Just finished reading Germinal by Emile Zola, and would highly recommend it.  It is French realist fiction, but it's better than that sounds, about the poverty of French Miners in the 1860's.  Coming from a long line of Miners myself, it was a fascinating read.  Zola just keeps cranking up the tension and tragedy, so that it becomes almost comical by the end.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions February 15, 2013 - 6:29am

SConley: Seconded. I think Don DeLillo is writing the best sentences in the English language right now. (Though there are others I think better at pure dialogue.) 

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies February 15, 2013 - 7:42am

The only other author who'd come close is Cormac McCarthy but his style is so different than DeLillo's that you can't really compare the two.

Michael Thomas's picture
Michael Thomas from South Jersey is reading books February 15, 2013 - 9:27am

Completely sucked into Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. Where do I even begin? Had to take a week break 300+ pages in to read something else. The footnotes and long sequences of narrative can be daunting. But since discovering him, I am hooked. No one has made me laugh out loud so much while reading (besides Kurt Vonnegut), or thought deeply about what I'd just read and re-read. My two favorite parts so far have been an early section when one of the characters, Erdedy, is losing his shit waiting for some chick to bring him weed and how he plans to turn off his phone and lose all touch with reality to go on a smoking binge in an attempt to wean himself from pot. There's something so fucking sad but true about how addiction can swallow someone whole. And one long narrative of Hal's grandfather speaking to his father (as a young boy) where it's written in almost a stream-of-consciousness style, and the only words are the dad's speaking to his son. Something about dialogue written where you only have the words and responses of the one speaker just seems to make it that more intimate and interesting. The scene where the kids are playing Eschaton and start pelting each other with tennis balls is hilarious. I could keep going...

During the break from IJ, I wanted to read some dystopian sci-fi to get inspired for the Sci-Fi challenge. Read The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner, which was scary (both the world he created and how it seems that we are in fact headed toward that world due to our earth-raping ways). Wrote it in the early 70's and it couldn't be more relevant today, with pollution/greed/chaos and climate change rearing its head almost daily and worldwide. Back at IJ again even though I sometimes have wanted to abandon it because of the length, it's just too good.

 

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like February 15, 2013 - 10:46am

Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler:

It's good. I'd be surprised if Danilo Kiš had not read this at some point before writing A Tomb for Boris Davidovich (also good). Kiš makes seperate stories out of the sort of events one finds in the memories which run through the mind of Koestler's main character. Both are rich without being wordy, though I wouldn't call either one "minimalist."

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 15, 2013 - 5:40pm

I read DeLillo's Point Omega the other night and wasn't too miffed about that one. Very somnambulatory type of writing.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions February 16, 2013 - 1:33am

I know you're a fan of the Southern writers, I am as well, and DeLillo might seem to drone compared to the wit/wisdom and occasional poetic thunderings, a whole different vein of American lit.

What DeLillo is doing is different; zero affection, zero jazz, a kind of stark concrete precision people would normally term mimimalist, except that his sentences feel somehow too loaded or too electric for the term. 

I don't always like his work (though I like most), but his sentences are incredible. Haven't read Point Omega. The first fifty pages of Underworld are amazing (though I didn't like the rest of the novel nearly as much). I'm tempted to type out some paragraphs from his short stories, but will resist. Read Libra over fifteen years ago, but remember it was very good (I still have this image of Oswald riding the trains in my head.)

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts February 16, 2013 - 3:20am

I do dig DeLillo, and Point Omega is worth it just for the perfection of the bookending chapters, but really it's just a bloated vignette, which I suppose is the mild frustration of his sort of thematic/pragmatic riffing. DeLillo sentence-by-sentence is good, but my favorite trait of his is the whole time dilation effect he fervently toys with, particularly perfected in these bookended chapters in PO. It defines a specific fascination I have with how prose fiction is perceived, image by image.

SConley's picture
SConley from Texas is reading Coin Locker Babies February 18, 2013 - 9:28am

There are just stark and interesting moments in Libra that stick with you. Like when his Russian wife sees herself for the first time on the tv screen at the electronics store and walks back and forth looking at it. Or when Oswald is in the brig and is being reprimanded and has to stand on the yellow line and there's this whole mental back and forth between him and the guard. Or when Oswald hits his wife for the first time. Everything is written really well.

Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder February 25, 2013 - 3:07pm

So, I'm currently reading Matterhorn by someone. Hmm. Let me check. Karl Mariantes. Supposedly it's one of the best novels about Vietnam ever written. It's quite an engaging novel, all the more remarkable because I tend to boredom reading war novels (not that I've read that many of them). But Matterhorn stands out for its emphasis on tensions within the Company, as opposed to the battles being fought against the enemy.

The opening piece of the novel centers on a leech stuck inside a man's penis. It's excruciating to read in parts.

Halfway through, the main protagonist thoroughly despises his superiors, despite the fact that he is desperate to join their ranks away from the front lines. Mind you, they've treated him and his platoon like rag dolls they're perfectly willing to allow to disintegrate in the line of duty. 

Meaningful exploration of racial politics, rank politics, office politics, privilege or the lack thereof. We worry today about soldiers not getting their body armor (and rightfully so), but what our veterans endured in Vietnam seems exponentially (and therefore unthinkably) worse. 

Jungle rot anyone? Immersion foot anyone? Cereberal malaria (sp?)? Forced marching (humping) without food for days and days and days... and days. Reduced to chewing the inside of tree bark. And/Or dying.

Mariantes is a good writer, not a great one. The prose is workman-like, but effective. 

Half-way through, and I'd recommend it to anyone with a passing interest in war novels, or the embattled psyches of those embroiled in war.  Just keep notes on the characters and their ranks, and where those ranks fall in the chain of command. The novel has a rather thorough glossary to reference military terms, but it could also have used a list of players.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions February 26, 2013 - 1:34am

Seconded. Matterhorn was an excellent book, and I think perfectly served by its workman-like prose. Can't remember offhand but I think he mentions spending about 30 years writing it? Hell of an accomplishment.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs February 26, 2013 - 5:21pm

I'm reading Haunt by Laura Lee Baer. Really good, but it took like 100 pages for me to figure out what was going on. The narrative reminds me a bit of what Steve Erickson does, but done in a more commercial way. It's gotten comparisions to House of Leaves, but I don't see it yet. It's a little noir-y.

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon February 27, 2013 - 11:20am

I've been meaning to pick that one up for some time now.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts March 1, 2013 - 9:54pm

Just finished THE GREAT GATSBY which I wasn't especially chuffed with, though I assume I might've been had I read it when one's supposed to. I remember the day I dropped out of high school I tried to return this book, required reading then, but couldn't for some reason or other, so through it out at the football field while I walked home. I notice now that I did the same thing graduating junior high with my woodshop project, a pretty good looking bookshelf, tossing that into the football field so I didn't have to carry it the two miles home. I haven't deciphered what this motif means about my life, but maybe getting this book over with will be some sort of resolution to it.

His dialogue is damn good, though, isn't it?