OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children January 14, 2014 - 8:11am

 

I pass a used book shop almost every day on my way to work. The prices are very reasonable and I like very much that the window is always a riotous jumble of titles and authors. I am wondering, based on the titles in the photo, does anyone have a recomendation? Perhaps a favorite author or subject you find interesting that might interest me as well.

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children January 14, 2014 - 8:22am

Not sure if that has enough size to be viewed clearly. This should be a better view if interested.

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e320/weasel55l/Graphics/BookStore_zps6f5d7a53.jpg~original

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore January 14, 2014 - 8:52am

Amy Sedaris is funny as hell, though I haven't read that book.

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne January 14, 2014 - 10:31am

Toni Morrison's Beloved is supposed to be excellent, though I've not read it. I'd thought the one on the middle right edge was a biography of James Joyce I have that I seem to remember liking, but looking at the cover it's not the same book (similar picture, but different). Labyrinths of Reason I remember coming across at one point and it sounded interesting to me, but I don't know much about Poundstone and haven't read it. I like books of philosophy, theoretical [whatever], and logic, even if they're a bit academic, so your mileage may vary. It's a slightly older book, I want to say from the late 80s?

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel January 14, 2014 - 1:28pm

Beloved is great. I covered it in my American Lit class. Definitely a must read. 

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children January 14, 2014 - 3:56pm

I saw the Toni Morrison and figured it was one of those 'must read' classics. Of course that's how I got suckered into reading Anna Karina... In a classic case of judging a book by it's cover, I had the Amy Sedaris pegged as the literary equivilant of a 'chick flick'. I may take a chance on it after all. Labyrinths looked like an interesting title, that one caught my eye too. The one I was initially leaning toward was The Bed of Procrustes - Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms. I'm generally a fan of both philosophy and aphorisms, unless it's another prejudgement based on the cover.

JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life January 14, 2014 - 6:20pm

I see THE HUNTER in there, in the center. Great book, great series! A must-read if you dig crime fiction.

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions January 14, 2014 - 9:03pm

You're concerned about being 'suckered' into reading Toni Morrison's Beloved...

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children January 15, 2014 - 1:38am

You're concerned about being 'suckered' into reading Toni Morrison's Beloved...

Yeah, pretty much. I don't really know anything about it other than it's one of those 'must read' books by one of those 'must read' authors. Sometimes the book is eaiser to read without the hype and build up pre-attached. If it turns to out to be only really good or even just ordinary, it's seems a let down. 

Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon January 15, 2014 - 6:29am

MattF said: You're concerned about being 'suckered' into reading Toni Morrison's Beloved...

I was thinking the same thing. haha

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne January 15, 2014 - 8:30am

I'm with OtterMan on that one. I'd heard so many amazing things about Stephen King's The Dark Half, so I just recently finished it. I found it mediocre at best, and it really trudged along in spots. Some of his work I'll read in a couple of days, even the bigger books, but that one took me weeks, and I gave up and read the entirety of Koji Suzuki's Ring at about the last third of Dark. And that wasn't the most fun book to read either, because Jesus, what a lousy translation—but I still got through it in a quarter of the time it took me to get through Dark.

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children January 15, 2014 - 8:44am

I'm seeing lot's of support for Toni Morrison, duly noted. I stopped this morning and took a better look, the guy on the bottom row with the dark glasses and bow tie was bothering me, turns out that one is James Joyce - Ulysses. Another from the must read classic list... 

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions January 16, 2014 - 6:13am

I guess I've just never heard the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and Presidential Medal of Freedom classified as "hype" before.

I'll go out on a limb and tell you not to buy Toni Morrison's Beloved, because I don't believe you'll enjoy it.

It can be a difficult book and requires a kind of paragraph by paragraph, word by word attention that the modern lay-reader doesn't seem particularly suited for. The plot moves differently. The characters speak differently. The idiom is different. It requires some flexibilty, acuity and work. It's not something you read in two nights and then search for the sequel.

Which is a shame (that most people won't read it), because it is spectacularly suspenseful, creepy, and viscerally horrifying in a too real way--everything the modern reader typically seeks--essentially it has all the thrills of genre, and within an incredibly ambitious and complex canvas. Its rewards to the reader are large (hence the earned hardware).

And just so you know, nobody has ever called Joyce's Ulysses a 'must read.'

Michael J. Riser's picture
Michael J. Riser from El Cerrito, CA (originally), now Fort Worth, TX is reading The San Veneficio Canon - Michael Cisco, The Croning - Laird Barron, By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends - J. David Osborne January 16, 2014 - 7:08am

You make an awful lot of assumptions in that post, Matt. I'd call Ulysses a must-read for anyone studying literature to any real degree. It's a landmark book and a hell of a read. And someone who's won that many prizes is exactly who most qualifies as being hyped, as one would expect to love such an author while taste could dictate that they wouldn't, regardless of said author's accolades. I'm really loving Michael Cisco, for instance, and I think his work is excellent, but that doesn't mean that he'll be to everyone's taste, and not just because they're too stupid or too "modern reader" to understand or enjoy it.

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children January 16, 2014 - 8:18am

Some very sincere and helpful responses here, thanks to all. Nobody's on Mr. Obama's Audacity of Hope I see... 

Matt, I think you've pretty much nailed the issue here. I'm not an inexperienced reader and I don't mind an intellectual challenge. Do I want to take the risk, invest the time and accept the responsibility, or do I just want something light and fluffy to go with my morning coffee???

MattF's picture
MattF from Tokyo is reading Borges' Collected Fictions January 17, 2014 - 1:59am

Michael, I make several assumptions in that post. The Ulysses bit isn't really one of them, more of an assertion, nor is it a statement on the quality of Ulysses.

Ulysses is considered one of the great (often greatest) books of the 20th century. It's also considered one of the most difficult and perplexing reads of the 20th century, so even lovers of the work rarely recommend it, and unless you're aspiring to the upper towers of the Literary Industrial Complex, even amongst the literati it's more a feather in the cap than a 'must read.' In the reading and writing community you'll hear Dubliners or Portrait of the Artist recommended as 'must reads' exponentially more than you'll hear Ulysses, and I'd bet Portrait is taught ten times as often in our universities. If you're cornered by Harold Bloom at a martini party in the New Yorker's editorial offices, you should pretend you've read it. Otherwise, it's a masterwork of art that we mostly give a pass on. 

And awards are not historically given out for a book's likeability (in fact, the common knock against literary awards are that they're too often given to books the public will not like, and summarily ignore anything the public does enjoy). The Best Seller lists tend to mark public tastes and Amazon engines and criticism should steer tastes. Awards 'hype' a book's other qualities. If you see a book won an award and think you should therefore love it, you might likely be making a false assumption about your own tastes.

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children February 16, 2014 - 9:29am

Stopped by and made my selection a couple of weeks ago and just cracked it open this morning to start reading. Decided to go with light and fluffy with my morning coffee. Still interested in some of the other 'heavier' titles, I'll put them on my summer reading list. I did leaf through the Amy Sedaris book, It was more or less a cookbook with some humor mixed in, not quite what I was looking for. I think this was my first choice all along anyway.

Along these lines, do you ever write characters who are fond of aphorisms? Do you use ones you have heard from other sources or ones you've thought up on you own? Do you have any favorites from either catagory?

Some of my favorites, heard from others, 'A cat that sits on a hot stove will never sit on a cold one' (my Mother), 'Too soon we get old, too late we get smart' (Pennsylvainia Dutch). Made up myself, 'You can teach a child what to think, you can teach a child how to think, you can't do both', and 'You can't pick up one end of a stick'. A couple from this book that have already caught my eye, 'Education make the wise slighty wiser, but it makes the fool vastly more dangerous', and 'An idea starts to be interesting when you get scared of taking it to it's logical conclusion'.

Gordon Highland's picture
Gordon Highland from Kansas City is reading Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore February 16, 2014 - 11:14am

My first novel, Major Inversions, was filled with aphorisms. I was pretty into Palahniuk at the time. My notebooks had been abundant with little ditties I'd coined over the years and found ways to wedge into the first-person narrative. Memory fails at the moment, but one I remember is "Sometimes when you find yourself, you realize you preferred the mystery" (which was a theme of the story). He was kind of an idiot, so I'd also have him screw up common expressions like saying he'd "never been able to see the florist for the trees" or whatever. These days, most of that shit goes straight to Twitter.

OtterMan's picture
OtterMan from New Jersey, near Philadelphia USA is reading Ringworlds Children February 16, 2014 - 11:41am

Gordon, I don't LOL at much but that second one got me! The first one is true enough to be scary...