Welcome to the ICM Forum. If you have an account but have trouble logging in, or have other questions, see THIS THREAD.
500<400 (Nominations Sep 22nd)
Polls: Animation (Results), 2016 awards (Aug 25th), 1987 (Aug 25th), Benelux (Aug 30th), Knockout competition (Round 1)
Challenges: Romance, UK/Ireland, <400 Checks
Film of the Week: Hospital, September nominations (Aug 30th)

Read The Books You Should Have Already Read

Post Reply
Kowry
Posts: 3033
Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Location: Finland
Contact:

Read The Books You Should Have Already Read

#161

Post by Kowry » July 7th, 2015, 6:59 pm

brokenface on Jul 6 2015, 04:33:25 AM wrote:
mightysparks on Jul 5 2015, 11:01:43 PM wrote:
sebby on Jul 5 2015, 10:56:17 PM wrote:Have you tried Devil in the White City? It's non-fiction that reads like a novel.
Never even heard of it, but I shall put it on my to-read list. (I am completely clueless in all things literature :P )
yeah that is a good one. I'm amazed no-one's made a movie of it yet.
Wikipedia says Leonardo DiCpario bought the film rights in 2010.

But really sounds like an interesting book, added to my to-read list.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#162

Post by Leopardi » July 11th, 2015, 3:10 pm

I've finished Locked Up, actually not a bad read. None of the stories were exceptional, and all of them had that same 'small town Canadian' feel that's fine in small doses but can get on your nerves after a while. But still, many of the writers have talent and I liked the layout, a story or two for each of the lock stations from Kingston to Ottawa, all in order so you can imagine you're taking a trip down the canal yourself.

In the spirit of picking off the least-desirable titles from my lists, I'll pick Tristan from mine. I have a feeling it might be a bit of a slog.

Here's my further-reduced list (almost down to 10):

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. A History of the Ancient Near East (Marc Van De Mieroop). One of my girlfriend's textbooks from university on a topic I've always found interesting.

4. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

5. City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World (Witold Rybczynski). Another one recommended to me. Don't know much about it.

6. The French Revolution (Gaetano Salvemini). A history book that looks dated. Not sure what to expect here.

7. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

8. The Isles: A History (Norman Davies). A huge but seminal history of the British Isles.

9. Dr. Johnson's London (Liza Picard). A friend of mine raves about Picard's writing style, and this is a fascinating era of London history (well, they all are to me, but still...)

10. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

11. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

12. Plagues and Peoples (William H. McNeill). Who doesn't love the plague?

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 29354
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#163

Post by mightysparks » July 11th, 2015, 3:49 pm

I shall choose Plagues and Peoples for Leopardi for fun times with the plague.

So I only managed to get through two while I was away:

The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury. I thought this was ok; it was a collection of short stories about humans migrating to Mars. I hadn't realised There Will Come Soft Rains was part of this - I read it in highschool and loved it and it still gives me chills now. The rest of the stories ranged from ok to annoying. Overall I liked it, but not a whole lot.

Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein. This has been my #1 'to read' book for years, it sounded amazing and I 'knew' I'd love it. Not so. It's ridiculously sexist, and just put me off. It wasn't a particularly well-written book and although it started off interesting (a human who grew up on Mars with Martians learns to be human on Earth), turned into nonsense. The characters were annoying and unlikable and I got nothing out of it, except more fuel to the anti-sexism fire that burns within me.

I've started reading Outlander (wayyy further down the list) because of something on FB, and it'll probably take me a while but whatevs.

1. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
2. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
3. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
4. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
5. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
6. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
7. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
8. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
9. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
10. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy BooksShow
http://www.npr.org/2011/08/11/139085843 ... tasy-books

(note, I am only reading first novels in a series for now)

Read: 34/100

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
sebby
Posts: 5780
Joined: Jul 04, 2011
Contact:

#164

Post by sebby » July 11th, 2015, 4:16 pm

brokenface on Jul 6 2015, 04:33:25 AM wrote:
mightysparks on Jul 5 2015, 11:01:43 PM wrote:
sebby on Jul 5 2015, 10:56:17 PM wrote:Have you tried Devil in the White City? It's non-fiction that reads like a novel.
Never even heard of it, but I shall put it on my to-read list. (I am completely clueless in all things literature :P )
yeah that is a good one. I'm amazed no-one's made a movie of it yet.
It would be a much better TV series, I think. There's just too much there to fit into 2-3 hours.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#165

Post by Leopardi » July 11th, 2015, 5:10 pm

sebby on Jul 11 2015, 10:16:39 AM wrote:
brokenface on Jul 6 2015, 04:33:25 AM wrote:
mightysparks on Jul 5 2015, 11:01:43 PM wrote:Never even heard of it, but I shall put it on my to-read list. (I am completely clueless in all things literature :P )
yeah that is a good one. I'm amazed no-one's made a movie of it yet.
It would be a much better TV series, I think. There's just too much there to fit into 2-3 hours.
Wow, that does sound like a great read. I've always had a morbid curiosity about Holmes, and there's something about turn of the century Chicago that really turns me on (probably because of Sister Carrie and The Jungle). It goes on the must-read list for me - thanks!

jgwr
Posts: 1114
Joined: Oct 16, 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

#166

Post by jgwr » July 12th, 2015, 3:18 pm

Leopardi on Jul 11 2015, 09:10:24 AM wrote:In the spirit of picking off the least-desirable titles from my lists, I'll pick Tristan from mine. I have a feeling it might be a bit of a slog.
I actually recall liking Tristan (haven't read it in ages though). It's unfinished, but the Penguin edition has the surviving section of another Tristan which conveniently completes it.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#167

Post by Leopardi » July 20th, 2015, 4:35 am

jgwr on Jul 12 2015, 09:18:07 AM wrote:
Leopardi on Jul 11 2015, 09:10:24 AM wrote:In the spirit of picking off the least-desirable titles from my lists, I'll pick Tristan from mine. I have a feeling it might be a bit of a slog.
I actually recall liking Tristan (haven't read it in ages though). It's unfinished, but the Penguin edition has the surviving section of another Tristan which conveniently completes it.
I'm about a third of the way in and I have to say you're right, it's a hell of a read! I'm using the Penguin version, too, and while I would have liked more footnotes, the translation itself is nicely done.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#168

Post by Leopardi » July 25th, 2015, 4:20 pm

I've finished Tristan, and couldn't have been more wrong about it being a slog. I can't comment on the accuracy of the translation by A.T. Hatto (he does mention in the introduction that he won't even attempt to translate some of the nuances of meaning within single words in the original German, as they wouldn't translate well to modern German, let alone English). He chose not to even attempt a verse translation, not feeling he had the poetic skill to pull it off, and the prose version he created is excellent, flowing smoothly and lucidly from beginning to end (The Tristran of Thomas less so, but I think this is more because of the incompleteness of the original). This version demonstrates well Hatto's claim that Strassburg's Tristan is a worthy forerunner to the novel, bridging the gap between it and the medieval chivalric romance.

It's sometimes hard to connect with the heroes of these early works - not the case here with Tristan. He's a very talented but deeply flawed individual: he's conflicted, has trust issues, he lies and acts rashly, he runs away from responsibility. This is someone who is both easy to relate to and repugnant at the same time, a wonderful character study for its time. It's easy to see why Nietzsche (through Wagner) was so profoundly influenced by this story, and I think I would benefit from rereading The Birth of Tragedy to better appreciate his mindset when writing it. And if you're not a fan of the psychological aspect, there's also plenty of adventure, scraps with monsters and rivals to keep you interested. I would rank this among the best of the writings from this age, truly something special.

All right, no more gushing. Mighty, you've had a long run with sci-fi, it's time to knock another fantasy title off the list. I'll pick The Kingkiller Chronicles for you and hope you have the same unexpected success with this one that I had with Tristan.


Here's my list:

1. Charlie Codman's Cruise (Horatio Alger, Jr., 1866). "A poor Boston boy is shanghaied aboard a ship full of rough sailors to ensure his silence about an embezzlement and blackmail plot." Written two years before Alger made it big with Ragged Dick.

2. The Tom Barber Trilogy (Forrest Reid, 1931/1936/1944). "...Traces the passage from innocence to awareness in the hero, Tom, as he grows from the age of 10 to 15. These are not novels of childhood, however. They are full of classical references, explorations of consciousness, and realism which make a potent mixture, producing a 'paradise lost' of modern times." - Routledge History of Literature

3. Just So Stories (Rudyard Kipling, 1902). "Distant lands, the beautiful gardens of splendid palaces, the sea, the jungle and its beasts, even the desert, are the wonderfully exotic settings for the Just So Stories." A collection of 12 origin stories Kipling had originally told to his children.

4. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

5. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

6. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

7. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

8. Not Wanted on the Voyage (Timothy Findley, 1984) Shortlisted for the 1984 Governor-General’s Award for Fiction. "Not Wanted on the Voyage is a retelling of the biblical flood tale with a feminist twist, but there is a lot more than this going on in this story. Amongst the themes that are examined are family roles and dynamics, the danger of being at the mercy of your faith, and the arbitrariness of nature...very funny in parts, but painfully gruesome in others." - The Canadian Book Review

9. A History of Western Philosophy (Bertrand Russell, 1945). "A precious book ... a work that is in the highest degree pedagogical which stands above the conflicts of parties and opinions." - Albert Einstein. A flawed but passionate history of western philosophy, by one of the great intellects of the 20th century.

10. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!
Last edited by Leopardi on July 25th, 2015, 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#169

Post by Leopardi » August 9th, 2015, 12:34 am

I've finished Plagues and Peoples, a bit stiff and on the academic side but still quite enjoyable due to its content. The book takes on a huge topic, essentially the history of disease, how society is shaped by it and how it is shaped by society. I'll put the description behind spoilers since I yammer on a bit:
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
It starts way back in pre-history, where we begin to see the onset of 'civilized' diseases (those that can only really reach an epidemic state when there is a population density typical in cities). These outbreaks, often coincident with war, served to break down existing societies and create new ones. He cites the Indo-Aryan Invasions as a possible example, in which the native Indus Valley Civilization were forced to band together with local forest-dwelling tribes to stave off the Aryan invaders due to disease outbreaks (plus perhaps drought and famine) depleting their population. The forest dwellers were never fully accepted into society and the mix of cultures ultimately gave rise to the caste system in India. I have no idea how well-substantiated this theory is, but it's an interesting read nonetheless.

It moves to early written history, where we hear of countless devastating instances of disease, the particulars of which we can only speculate about, including the identity of the diseases themselves (apparently even Galen's descriptions are lacking due to his focus on humors and, possibly, his dismissal of other symptoms that would have helped to identify them). By the end of this chapter you almost become desensitized to reading of 30% and 50% mortality rates, and of whole towns being snuffed out. The book even has an appendix with nine pages listing all the known major outbreaks in China alone up to 1911. It's hard to exaggerate how miserable life must have been during this early period.

And of course, things only get worse as we move to the next chapter covering the years 1200 to 1500. It's not that the diseases necessarily get deadlier here, more that they get around a lot more due to the opening up of trade routes (both overland and by sea) and dig in all the more because the cities are getting bigger. The Black Death was, of course, the heavyweight during this period, spreading over most of Eurasia (including as far west as Greenland). The author theorizes that the proliferation of sheep in Europe helped to curtail the plague in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. As the Little Ice Age set in, these sheep were used to produce higher quality clothing and blankets than were previously available from the Levant, leading to people being warm enough that they didn't need to huddle so closely at night, thereby reducing the skin-to-skin contact that spread the disease. Again, a theory, but still an interesting read.

The next chapter covers the years 1500 to 1700, where the New World comes to the forefront with the near obliteration of aboriginal groups. The tragic story is worse than some realize, disease-wise: The devastating smallpox epidemic that was brought by European explorers at the beginning of the 16th century, killing a third of their population, was closely followed by an outbreak of measles in 1530-1531, then a mystery disease (possibly typhus) in 1546, then influenza in 1558-1559. In tropical regions two predominantly African diseases, malaria and yellow fever, took hold a few generations later. Christian missionaries had little difficulty convincing the native population that their religion was the one True Faith, as the diseases all seemed to spare the former while wiping out the latter nearly completely. In return, syphilis may have made its way east to Europe, certainly a terrible disease but not exactly a fair trade nevertheless.

One interesting specific example of how disease may have shaped culture: The mysterious disease, the English Sweate ravaging western Europe in the early 16th century, led Luther and Zwingli to break off their colloquy out of fear of catching the disease without reaching an agreement. This cemented the split between the Lutherans and Calvinists that still exists to this day.

Finally we move to the chapter from the year 1700 onward. Here we have the rise of medical science, as doctors moved from the antiquated humorism theory to newer techniques that turned out to be much more effective, culminating in Edward Jenner's smallpox investigation that led one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. Around the same time, Napoleon had a major setback after his troop of 33 000 veterans in Santo Domingo were utterly devastated by an outbreak of yellow fever and other tropical illnesses in 1802. Unable to use them for his political ambitions he ultimately decided to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States in 1803. One wonders what the map of the U.S. would look like today without this unfortunate event.

The rise of cholera leads to a movement to clean water systems and distance sewer systems from human habitation (thanks, John Snow). Some were slow to adopt these practices: We're told of two villages in Hamburg, one administered by the new German Reich that drew its water directly from the Elbe River, and the latter administered by the Prussian government that installed water filtration systems from the same source. When cholera broke out in 1892, on one street who were German on one side and Prussian on the other, the former were hit badly by the epidemic while the other were spared completely, conclusive evidence that miasmatists were wrong and Germ Theory was correct.

I've left a lot out, of course, but this gives a brief overview in case you're interested in the subject.
One regret I had with this book (entirely my own fault) was that I purchased an early edition of it; later editions have an updated section with the rise of AIDS, which I'm sure would be a worthwhile read. All in all I'd recommend it, but I've also heard the similarly-themed Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond is a very entertaining read and perhaps more accessible than this one overall. I'm not sure, since I haven't read it yet, but after this one I may just pick it up.

I'll pick Not Wanted on the Voyage for myself next. We'll see how that goes. Here's my list, now nearly down to the target Top 10:

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. A History of the Ancient Near East (Marc Van De Mieroop). One of my girlfriend's textbooks from university on a topic I've always found interesting.

4. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

5. City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World (Witold Rybczynski). Another one recommended to me. Don't know much about it.

6. The French Revolution (Gaetano Salvemini). A history book that looks dated. Not sure what to expect here.

7. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

8. The Isles: A History (Norman Davies). A huge but seminal history of the British Isles.

9. Dr. Johnson's London (Liza Picard). A friend of mine raves about Picard's writing style, and this is a fascinating era of London history (well, they all are to me, but still...)

10. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

11. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10476
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#170

Post by funkybusiness » August 11th, 2015, 4:52 am

sebby on Jul 11 2015, 10:16:39 AM wrote:
brokenface on Jul 6 2015, 04:33:25 AM wrote:
mightysparks on Jul 5 2015, 11:01:43 PM wrote:Never even heard of it, but I shall put it on my to-read list. (I am completely clueless in all things literature :P )
yeah that is a good one. I'm amazed no-one's made a movie of it yet.
It would be a much better TV series, I think. There's just too much there to fit into 2-3 hours.
news: Scorsese directing.

User avatar
sebby
Posts: 5780
Joined: Jul 04, 2011
Contact:

#171

Post by sebby » August 11th, 2015, 6:28 am

funkybusiness on Aug 10 2015, 10:52:39 PM wrote:
sebby on Jul 11 2015, 10:16:39 AM wrote:
brokenface on Jul 6 2015, 04:33:25 AM wrote:yeah that is a good one. I'm amazed no-one's made a movie of it yet.
It would be a much better TV series, I think. There's just too much there to fit into 2-3 hours.
news: Scorsese directing.
I'll allow it.

jgwr
Posts: 1114
Joined: Oct 16, 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

#172

Post by jgwr » August 11th, 2015, 3:12 pm

Leopardi on Aug 8 2015, 06:34:00 PM wrote:I'll pick Not Wanted on the Voyage for myself next. We'll see how that goes.
It's an admittedly very long time since I read that, but I absolutely HATED it.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#173

Post by Leopardi » August 15th, 2015, 2:19 pm

jgwr on Aug 11 2015, 09:12:35 AM wrote:
Leopardi on Aug 8 2015, 06:34:00 PM wrote:I'll pick Not Wanted on the Voyage for myself next. We'll see how that goes.
It's an admittedly very long time since I read that, but I absolutely HATED it.
I actually didn't mind this one, but it's still a bit of a love-hate relationship with it for me. The writing is awkward in places: situations are either over-described or under-described, the dialogue feels unnatural and there's a tendency to dwell on the everyday while hinting that things are just a little off, a technique that I find is overdone in Canadian writing and film. There's also just a glimmer of magical realism in this story, which I've never had much fondness for.

At the same time things tighten up in the latter third of the book, the symbolism Findley plays with early on becomes clearer, as do the themes he presents us with. Not as good a book as I was hoping for, but not too bad either. I haven't read much Canadian literature, but this was better than some they served us in school.

I'm going to bite the bullet and choose The Isles: A History next. It's a big (1222 pages), dense no-nonsense history book so it'll take me a while to finish.


1. Charlie Codman's Cruise (Horatio Alger, Jr., 1866). "A poor Boston boy is shanghaied aboard a ship full of rough sailors to ensure his silence about an embezzlement and blackmail plot." Written two years before Alger made it big with Ragged Dick.

2. The Tom Barber Trilogy (Forrest Reid, 1931/1936/1944). "...Traces the passage from innocence to awareness in the hero, Tom, as he grows from the age of 10 to 15. These are not novels of childhood, however. They are full of classical references, explorations of consciousness, and realism which make a potent mixture, producing a 'paradise lost' of modern times." - Routledge History of Literature

3. Just So Stories (Rudyard Kipling, 1902). "Distant lands, the beautiful gardens of splendid palaces, the sea, the jungle and its beasts, even the desert, are the wonderfully exotic settings for the Just So Stories." A collection of 12 origin stories Kipling had originally told to his children.

4. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

5. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

6. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

7. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

8. A History of Western Philosophy (Bertrand Russell, 1945). "A precious book ... a work that is in the highest degree pedagogical which stands above the conflicts of parties and opinions." - Albert Einstein. A flawed but passionate history of western philosophy, by one of the great intellects of the 20th century.

9. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!

10. A History of New York (Washington Irving, 1809). "A History of New York is a chronicle of New York's fifty years under Dutch rule in the 1600s that plays fast and loose with the facts, to uproarious effect. Irving's good-humored spoofing had staying power, and his satire provided the city with its first self-portrait."

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#174

Post by Leopardi » October 4th, 2015, 11:35 pm

I've finished The Isles: A History a weighty tome that attempts to cover the entire history of the denizens of the British Isles. Note that I'm choosing my words carefully - this isn't so much a history of Britain as a story of how the various societies that inhabited the islands interacted and became the complex mix of cultures we know today. That's not to say there isn't traditional history here - there's a ton, lot of dates, places and key events that you'll find in other history books - but Davies tries to distinguish his book by focusing more on how these events shaped culture, their clashes, their migrations, the loss of language and the evolution of traditions.

There were aspects of the book that I wasn't a fan of: It seemed to be written more for the native Briton than anyone else, with the casual use of lesser known place names that might confuse the non-British reader. Topics are split up awkwardly at times (there are countless examples of 'see page XXX' in parentheses, sometimes several dozen pages off). The text has more than its fair share of typographical errors (forgivable for such a large text, and I believe this is a 1st edition), and I wish the author had gone into more detail on some topics and less on others, but that's his prerogative, I suppose, and once again forgivable when the topic so vast (some things just have to be left out). And for those that remember the Frasier episode where Frasier mentions to Niles that the book doesn't go into enough detail on the Plantagenets as he'd like, I'd disagree, there's plenty of detail and I might even say it's the best part of the book! The weakest part is the chapter on Imperial Britain - too short and not enough detail on how life was changing in the ever-growing cities during the post-Industrial era (fairly broad strokes here).

Davies discusses Kipling's writings at some length, and so I'll choose Just So Stories for myself next. I'm not a huge fan of Kipling, to be honest, but hopefully with help from Davies' perspective I'll see him in a new light now. Here's my list of books to choose from, now finally whittled down to ten:

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. A History of the Ancient Near East (Marc Van De Mieroop). One of my girlfriend's textbooks from university on a topic I've always found interesting.

4. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

5. City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World (Witold Rybczynski). Another one recommended to me. Don't know much about it.

6. The French Revolution (Gaetano Salvemini). A history book that looks dated. Not sure what to expect here.

7. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

8. Dr. Johnson's London (Liza Picard). A friend of mine raves about Picard's writing style, and this is a fascinating era of London history (well, they all are to me, but still...)

9. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

10. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#175

Post by Leopardi » October 12th, 2015, 11:24 pm

I've finished Just So Stories and, as I thought would be the case, it's just not for me. Kipling has that mix of jejuneness and stuffiness that I find a real chore to read. There are exceptions (I enjoyed Captains Courageous, for example), but I found this one a dud, frankly.

I'll choose The French Revolution for myself, to try to improve my options the next time around (it's the book I'm least interested in in this list). Here's my list of ten to choose from:

1. Charlie Codman's Cruise (Horatio Alger, Jr., 1866). "A poor Boston boy is shanghaied aboard a ship full of rough sailors to ensure his silence about an embezzlement and blackmail plot." Written two years before Alger made it big with Ragged Dick.

2. The Tom Barber Trilogy (Forrest Reid, 1931/1936/1944). "...Traces the passage from innocence to awareness in the hero, Tom, as he grows from the age of 10 to 15. These are not novels of childhood, however. They are full of classical references, explorations of consciousness, and realism which make a potent mixture, producing a 'paradise lost' of modern times." - Routledge History of Literature

3. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

4. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

5. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

6. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

7. A History of Western Philosophy (Bertrand Russell, 1945). "A precious book ... a work that is in the highest degree pedagogical which stands above the conflicts of parties and opinions." - Albert Einstein. A flawed but passionate history of western philosophy, by one of the great intellects of the 20th century.

8. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!

9. A History of New York (Washington Irving, 1809). "A History of New York is a chronicle of New York's fifty years under Dutch rule in the 1600s that plays fast and loose with the facts, to uproarious effect. Irving's good-humored spoofing had staying power, and his satire provided the city with its first self-portrait."

10. Stoner (John Williams, 1965). "The greatest American novel you've never heard of." - Tim Kreider (The New Yorker). This one has gotten a lot of press in the last few years, and I think was a forum book club choice a few years back.

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10476
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#176

Post by funkybusiness » October 12th, 2015, 11:27 pm

Leopardi on Oct 12 2015, 05:24:55 PM wrote:
10. Stoner (John Williams, 1965). "The greatest American novel you've never heard of." - Tim Kreider (The New Yorker). This one has gotten a lot of press in the last few years, and I think was a forum book club choice a few years back.
I believe it was the first book club selection and the only one to be read by more than 2 or 3 people.

edit: I really enjoyed it.
Last edited by funkybusiness on October 12th, 2015, 11:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#177

Post by Leopardi » October 13th, 2015, 3:10 am

funkybusiness on Oct 12 2015, 05:27:27 PM wrote:
Leopardi on Oct 12 2015, 05:24:55 PM wrote:
10. Stoner (John Williams, 1965). "The greatest American novel you've never heard of." - Tim Kreider (The New Yorker). This one has gotten a lot of press in the last few years, and I think was a forum book club choice a few years back.
I believe it was the first book club selection and the only one to be read by more than 2 or 3 people.

edit: I really enjoyed it.
Ah yes, it's all coming back to me now, and I see from Goodreads that Burney and Art liked the book while Mighty didn't. Around the same time, one of my coworkers read it and, from what I remember, wasn't a huge fan. Curious to see on which side of the fence I'll be on.

Does this mean you'll be selecting this book for me next? :whistling:

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10476
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#178

Post by funkybusiness » October 13th, 2015, 3:46 am

Leopardi on Oct 12 2015, 09:10:50 PM wrote:Does this mean you'll be selecting this book for me next? :whistling:
eeh... yeah sure.

here's me.
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
Picnic at Hanging Rock the novel

Dostoyevsky's The Idiot

Gillespie_Early Russian Cinema.pdf

The Aesthetics of Shadow Lighting and Japanese Cinema.epub

X'ed Out trilogy graphic novels

Saga vol 1 graphic novel

The Material Ghost - Gilberto Perez

Paradise Lost - Milton

Great Expectations Dickens

David Bordwell - Eisenstein

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#179

Post by Leopardi » October 14th, 2015, 2:40 am

funkybusiness on Oct 12 2015, 09:46:52 PM wrote:
Leopardi on Oct 12 2015, 09:10:50 PM wrote:Does this mean you'll be selecting this book for me next? :whistling:
eeh... yeah sure.

here's me.
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
Picnic at Hanging Rock the novel

Dostoyevsky's The Idiot

Gillespie_Early Russian Cinema.pdf

The Aesthetics of Shadow Lighting and Japanese Cinema.epub

X'ed Out trilogy graphic novels

Saga vol 1 graphic novel

The Material Ghost - Gilberto Perez

Paradise Lost - Milton

Great Expectations Dickens

David Bordwell - Eisenstein
Awesome, thanks! Do you need a selection soon, by the way? I'm going to be with my current book for the next couple of weeks and it sounds like Mighty's still pretty busy these days, but if now works better for you, though, I'll pick something today.

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10476
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#180

Post by funkybusiness » October 14th, 2015, 4:05 am

Leopardi on Oct 13 2015, 08:40:53 PM wrote:
funkybusiness on Oct 12 2015, 09:46:52 PM wrote:
Leopardi on Oct 12 2015, 09:10:50 PM wrote:Does this mean you'll be selecting this book for me next? :whistling:
eeh... yeah sure.

here's me.
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
Picnic at Hanging Rock the novel

Dostoyevsky's The Idiot

Gillespie_Early Russian Cinema.pdf

The Aesthetics of Shadow Lighting and Japanese Cinema.epub

X'ed Out trilogy graphic novels

Saga vol 1 graphic novel

The Material Ghost - Gilberto Perez

Paradise Lost - Milton

Great Expectations Dickens

David Bordwell - Eisenstein
Awesome, thanks! Do you need a selection soon, by the way? I'm going to be with my current book for the next couple of weeks and it sounds like Mighty's still pretty busy these days, but if now works better for you, though, I'll pick something today.
now or later, doesn't really matter. I was just making a list.

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#181

Post by Leopardi » October 31st, 2015, 8:23 pm

I've finished The French Revolution. It started off very interesting, going into detail on life for the average French peasant in the early to mid 18th century, then discussing the factors that led up to the French Revolution, particularly the role the physiocrats and their newly-conceived idea of laissez-faire capitalism (a topic that has, of course, returned with a vengeance in the last few decades) and how it exacerbated the already extreme distribution of wealth. The middle chapters I found less interesting, getting a little too bogged down in the minutiae of the parliamentary battles, and the treatment of the French Revolutionary Wars seemed too brief, by contrast. Similarly, the aftereffects of the war were relegated almost entirely to an epilogue, which I think was a mistake, especially considering the extent to which the lead-up to the revolution was described.

Funky, thanks again for joining in, and I'll choose Picnic at Hanging Rock, since I don't think I know anyone that's read the book (in real life anyway - surely someone on the forum's read it before?) and I'm curious to know whether it should be on my radar.

Here's my list:

1. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel). A fascinating topic taken on by the inimitable Studs Terkel. Who wouldn't want to read this?

2. Childhood in the Middle Ages (Shulamith Shahar). A history book I thought sounded interesting.

3. A History of the Ancient Near East (Marc Van De Mieroop). One of my girlfriend's textbooks from university on a topic I've always found interesting.

4. Mapping St. Petersburg (Julie A. Buckler). Recommended to me, but I don't know much about it.

5. City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World (Witold Rybczynski). Another one recommended to me. Don't know much about it.

6. The Return of Martin Guerre (Natalie Zemon Davis). I thought the film adaptation was quite interesting so I thought I'd give the book a try.

7. Dr. Johnson's London (Liza Picard). A friend of mine raves about Picard's writing style, and this is a fascinating era of London history (well, they all are to me, but still...)

8. My Sister and I (Unknown, attributed by a handful of people to Friedrich Nietzsche). Almost certainly a fake, it's still a part of Nietzsche's legacy (for right or wrong) and students of Nietzsche should be familiar with it.

9. The Devil's Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science (Philip Ball). Another fascinating history book!

10. Conquest of the Useless (Werner Herzog). I've been wanting to read this since it came out, but haven't found the time yet. The personal journal of Herzog while he was making Fitzcarraldo (in which, from what I remember, he'd write in extra-small chicken scratching to infuriate Kinski, who couldn't read was being written of him, in order to rev him up for the day's shoot. Or maybe that was Aguirre? Not sure...).

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#182

Post by Leopardi » November 13th, 2015, 4:24 pm

I've finished Stoner, and I have to say, was absolutely mesmerized by it. My review (really just a few random thoughts about it) contains major spoilers, so if you have any intentions of reading the book (and you should!) whatever you do, don't read it beforehand. This will no doubt be my Book of the Year for 2015, as I'd be shocked if any other books trump it at this late stage of the game.
Major spoilers! Read the book first!Show
This is a novel that (among other things) explores blind conformity: Stoner ought to return to the farm after his education because that is what farm boys do; he should enlist in the war because that is what patriots do; he should respect Lomax's authority and pass Charles Walker because that is the easy thing to do. Edith, to me, is a symbol of conformity: She abandons her trip to Europe to marry Stoner because marriage is expected of her; she hosts social engagements with a pleasant facade because this is what people expect of married couples in academia, and she has a child because that is expected of her as a married woman. One complaint mentioned in the introduction is that Edith is too spiteful with Stoner, that her hatred of him (at least in the middle act) is too all-consuming. I found her response to her situation to be a little one-noted as well, but at the same time I felt a kinship to her that I didn't expect at first: She's socially awkward, feels most comfortable when alone, and yet is hypersensitive to how the world perceives her. I'm the same way a lot of the time, and it was disconcerting to relate so well to such a cold and unsympathetic character.

I had a morbid fascination watching the relationship of Bill and Edith develop, a very awkward and unnatural courtship that is a departure from so many novels that precede it and yet is probably closer to describing actual relationships than most of them. The marital difficulties that follow were painful for me, watching the awkward courtship blossom into an equally awkward marriage that cut too close for me not to relate.

I loved the clean and precise writing of Williams, as good as any author I've come across in the naturalist school. The book's middle section was especially well written, and it's obvious it was written by someone well-versed in academic process. Walker's orals are related with enough painful detail to give me flashbacks from my own experience with them, and it was a bit surprising to find they really haven't changed that much in the half century since the book was written (or the nearly full century since when it was supposed to take place). The professorial politics were also spot-on (in my indirect experience, at least), and I'd be shocked if the altercations described weren't at least partially autobiographical (Williams had been a professor for ten years when Stoner was first published).

I was worried that the latter third of the book would fall into a more conventional narrative (Stoner and Lomax become enemies, Stoner has an affair, Lomax thwarts it, etc.) but it manages to steer itself away from becoming a conventional novel, ending in a very satisfying way for me, without fireworks or melodrama, just a slow descent into death that will probably fit most of our own experiences someday. I enjoyed the descriptions of falling in and out of lucidity, the warmth, comfort, even anticipation as death approaches. There were passages that reminded me of a dream I had a few months back (a mildly erotic one involving Rich! I think I'm safe in writing this as no one actually reads these reviews anyway, right?), one of the more vivid and haunting dreams I can remember having. Some beautiful prose here.
I'll choose A History of the Ancient Near East for myself, continuing my effort to get the least eye-catching books off this list whenever there's an opportunity.

1. Charlie Codman's Cruise (Horatio Alger, Jr., 1866). "A poor Boston boy is shanghaied aboard a ship full of rough sailors to ensure his silence about an embezzlement and blackmail plot." Written two years before Alger made it big with Ragged Dick.

2. The Tom Barber Trilogy (Forrest Reid, 1931/1936/1944). "...Traces the passage from innocence to awareness in the hero, Tom, as he grows from the age of 10 to 15. These are not novels of childhood, however. They are full of classical references, explorations of consciousness, and realism which make a potent mixture, producing a 'paradise lost' of modern times." - Routledge History of Literature

3. Selected Journalism 1850-1870 (Charles Dickens, 1850-1870). "[Selections] from the pieces Dickens wrote after he founded Household Words in 1850 until his death in 1870. It contains 'Night Walks', 'On Strike' and 'New Year's Day' which are among Dickens' most remarkable pieces." One of my favourite writers.

4. Tea Table Talk (Jerome K. Jerome, 1903) "...an eye-opening glimpse into this now almost extinct art. The participants are already bemoaning the lack of invigorating conversation in society: 'Conversation has become a chorus; or, as a writer wittily expressed it, the pursuit of the obvious to no conclusion.'" Jerome charmed me with Three Men in a Boat and I try to read anything from him I can get my hands on.

5. The Victim of Prejudice (Mary Hays, 1799). "Mary Hays' passionate tale of a girl who is raped but refuses to marry her seducer offers a powerful alternative to Victorian constructions of the 'fallen woman.' This early feminist novel...should be read by anyone interested in the literary history of the sexualized female, in women's studies, or in British Romantic literature." - Anne K. Mellor (UCLA)

6. The Belly of Paris (Émile Zola, 1873). "Unjustly deported to Devil's Island following Louis-Napoleon's coup-d'état in December 1851, Florent Quenu escapes and returns to Paris. He finds the city changed beyond recognition. the old Marché des Innocents has been knocked down as part of Haussmann's grand programme of urban reconstruction to make way for Les Halles, the spectacular new food markets." My girlfriend read this while in Paris (her first and only Zola so far) and she raved about it, an instant favourite for her. My boss and I talk about Zola from time to time, too, and this (along with Germinal) is a favourite of his as well. Just missed making it onto my Top 10 Most Anticipated Book list on Goodreads.

7. A History of Western Philosophy (Bertrand Russell, 1945). "A precious book ... a work that is in the highest degree pedagogical which stands above the conflicts of parties and opinions." - Albert Einstein. A flawed but passionate history of western philosophy, by one of the great intellects of the 20th century.

8. Italian Mysteries (Francis Lathom, 1820). A lesser known, later title by one of the infamous Horrid Novel authors. Hooray for cheap thrills!

9. A History of New York (Washington Irving, 1809). "A History of New York is a chronicle of New York's fifty years under Dutch rule in the 1600s that plays fast and loose with the facts, to uproarious effect. Irving's good-humored spoofing had staying power, and his satire provided the city with its first self-portrait."

10. What's Bred in the Bone (Robertson Davies, 1985). The second novel in Davies' celebrated Cornish Trilogy (and note that I haven't read the first in the series, nor do I own it, so if it's chosen I'll go out and grab a copy before starting this one), this series, and Davies' writing in general, so affected my sister that she actually got a tattoo of the title quote some years ago. Shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize.

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 29354
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#183

Post by mightysparks » November 13th, 2015, 4:25 pm

Wait you had an erotic dream about Rich :/
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#184

Post by Leopardi » November 13th, 2015, 4:36 pm

Wait, people read these reviews? :/

User avatar
mightysparks
Site Admin
Posts: 29354
Joined: May 05, 2011
Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Contact:

#185

Post by mightysparks » November 13th, 2015, 4:37 pm

I do :P But I'm not really sure that's the question that should be getting answered :ph43r:

Also I advise everyone to stay away from Stoner because it's an awful book <_<
Last edited by mightysparks on November 13th, 2015, 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want." - Stanley Kubrick

iCM | IMDb | LastFM | TSZDT

Image

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#186

Post by Leopardi » November 13th, 2015, 5:45 pm

I'm pretty sure we've all had erotic dreams about Rich before, nothing unusual about that. Now shouldn't we be getting back to talking about how awesome Stoner was?

:P
Last edited by Leopardi on November 13th, 2015, 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10476
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#187

Post by funkybusiness » November 13th, 2015, 10:07 pm

aaah I'm going to read Picnic this weekend. I was busy finishing some Joyce-related materials and an Imamura book. I should be able to finish Picnic this weekend. it's <200 pages.

Stoner is wonderful. I should buy it and re-read it (again). I dug up the book of the month club thread and mighty finished it first. "A terrible book." quoth mighty, followed immediately by burneyfan with "Well, hell, now I really want to read it." and then on sept. 11 2013 at 04:45:05 PM PST, one Leopardi said "I happened to pick up Stoner last year on the strong recommendation of the store owner and it's been high on my list of books to read since then." I apparently said the first seven chapters were mindnumbingly boring. and then Gershwin says "Has everybody gone mad? :ermm: There is not one single dull syllable in Stoner. -_- "

in other news, Leopardi, have you read The Stammering Century by Gilbert Seldes?
Last edited by funkybusiness on November 13th, 2015, 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kasparius
Posts: 24609
Joined: Sep 14, 2011
Contact:

#188

Post by Kasparius » November 13th, 2015, 10:42 pm

funkybusiness on Nov 13 2015, 03:07:11 PM wrote:aaah I'm going to read Picnic this weekend. I was busy finishing some Joyce-related materials and an Imamura book. I should be able to finish Picnic this weekend. it's <200 pages.

Stoner is wonderful. I should buy it and re-read it (again). I dug up the book of the month club thread and mighty finished it first. "A terrible book." quoth mighty, followed immediately by burneyfan with "Well, hell, now I really want to read it." and then on sept. 11 2013 at 04:45:05 PM PST, one Leopardi said "I happened to pick up Stoner last year on the strong recommendation of the store owner and it's been high on my list of books to read since then." I apparently said the first seven chapters were mindnumbingly boring. and then Gershwin says "Has everybody gone mad? :ermm: There is not one single dull syllable in Stoner. -_- "

in other news, Leopardi, have you read The Stammering Century by Gilbert Seldes?
I miss Burney :(

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#189

Post by Leopardi » November 13th, 2015, 10:56 pm

funkybusiness on Nov 13 2015, 03:07:11 PM wrote:aaah I'm going to read Picnic this weekend. I was busy finishing some Joyce-related materials and an Imamura book. I should be able to finish Picnic this weekend. it's <200 pages.

Stoner is wonderful. I should buy it and re-read it (again). I dug up the book of the month club thread and mighty finished it first. "A terrible book." quoth mighty, followed immediately by burneyfan with "Well, hell, now I really want to read it." and then on sept. 11 2013 at 04:45:05 PM PST, one Leopardi said "I happened to pick up Stoner last year on the strong recommendation of the store owner and it's been high on my list of books to read since then." I apparently said the first seven chapters were mindnumbingly boring. and then Gershwin says "Has everybody gone mad? :ermm: There is not one single dull syllable in Stoner. -_- "

in other news, Leopardi, have you read The Stammering Century by Gilbert Seldes?
I went back and reread that thread this morning as well to see what other people had written about it. :) I don't have any other books by Williams, but Burney's comment on Augustus makes me want to pick it up soon (not right away, though, just went through two book-buying binges recently so I need to cool my jets a bit). A friend and coworker also mentioned to me she had heard from multiple people that they enjoyed his Butcher's Crossing even more than Stoner, so there's another one to add to the must-read pile.

I have to confess I don't know anything about Gilbert Seldes, let alone The Stammering Century. Is it something I should have on my radar?

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#190

Post by Leopardi » November 13th, 2015, 10:59 pm

Kasparius on Nov 13 2015, 03:42:22 PM wrote:
funkybusiness on Nov 13 2015, 03:07:11 PM wrote:aaah I'm going to read Picnic this weekend. I was busy finishing some Joyce-related materials and an Imamura book. I should be able to finish Picnic this weekend. it's <200 pages.

Stoner is wonderful. I should buy it and re-read it (again). I dug up the book of the month club thread and mighty finished it first. "A terrible book." quoth mighty, followed immediately by burneyfan with "Well, hell, now I really want to read it." and then on sept. 11 2013 at 04:45:05 PM PST, one Leopardi said "I happened to pick up Stoner last year on the strong recommendation of the store owner and it's been high on my list of books to read since then." I apparently said the first seven chapters were mindnumbingly boring. and then Gershwin says "Has everybody gone mad? :ermm: There is not one single dull syllable in Stoner. -_- "

in other news, Leopardi, have you read The Stammering Century by Gilbert Seldes?
I miss Burney :(
Do we know if she's intending to take a temporary break or something a little more permanent? She still checks movies and shows up for some challenges but otherwise seems to stay away from the forum. Was it something we said? :unsure:

Kasparius
Posts: 24609
Joined: Sep 14, 2011
Contact:

#191

Post by Kasparius » November 13th, 2015, 11:01 pm

I blame Monty!
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
no just kidding, I hope it's only temporary

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10476
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#192

Post by funkybusiness » November 14th, 2015, 12:09 am

Leopardi on Nov 13 2015, 03:56:22 PM wrote:
funkybusiness on Nov 13 2015, 03:07:11 PM wrote:aaah I'm going to read Picnic this weekend. I was busy finishing some Joyce-related materials and an Imamura book. I should be able to finish Picnic this weekend. it's <200 pages.

Stoner is wonderful. I should buy it and re-read it (again). I dug up the book of the month club thread and mighty finished it first. "A terrible book." quoth mighty, followed immediately by burneyfan with "Well, hell, now I really want to read it." and then on sept. 11 2013 at 04:45:05 PM PST, one Leopardi said "I happened to pick up Stoner last year on the strong recommendation of the store owner and it's been high on my list of books to read since then." I apparently said the first seven chapters were mindnumbingly boring. and then Gershwin says "Has everybody gone mad? :ermm: There is not one single dull syllable in Stoner. -_- "

in other news, Leopardi, have you read The Stammering Century by Gilbert Seldes?
I went back and reread that thread this morning as well to see what other people had written about it. :) I don't have any other books by Williams, but Burney's comment on Augustus makes me want to pick it up soon (not right away, though, just went through two book-buying binges recently so I need to cool my jets a bit). A friend and coworker also mentioned to me she had heard from multiple people that they enjoyed his Butcher's Crossing even more than Stoner, so there's another one to add to the must-read pile.

I have to confess I don't know anything about Gilbert Seldes, let alone The Stammering Century. Is it something I should have on my radar?
I've heard all of Williams' books are worthwhile.

The Stammering Century is about the 19th century, specifically about the religious movements, cults and fads of the century and the swindlers, con artists and generally unhinged people who led those movements. I'm a ways into it and it is really quite fascinating. Seemed like something you'd be into with your lists of general history subjects. It's published by New York Review Books, same as publishes the John Williams novels. http://www.nyrb.com/products/the-stammering-century

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#193

Post by Leopardi » November 14th, 2015, 12:14 am

funkybusiness on Nov 13 2015, 05:09:53 PM wrote:
Leopardi on Nov 13 2015, 03:56:22 PM wrote:
funkybusiness on Nov 13 2015, 03:07:11 PM wrote:aaah I'm going to read Picnic this weekend. I was busy finishing some Joyce-related materials and an Imamura book. I should be able to finish Picnic this weekend. it's <200 pages.

Stoner is wonderful. I should buy it and re-read it (again). I dug up the book of the month club thread and mighty finished it first. "A terrible book." quoth mighty, followed immediately by burneyfan with "Well, hell, now I really want to read it." and then on sept. 11 2013 at 04:45:05 PM PST, one Leopardi said "I happened to pick up Stoner last year on the strong recommendation of the store owner and it's been high on my list of books to read since then." I apparently said the first seven chapters were mindnumbingly boring. and then Gershwin says "Has everybody gone mad? :ermm: There is not one single dull syllable in Stoner. -_- "

in other news, Leopardi, have you read The Stammering Century by Gilbert Seldes?
I went back and reread that thread this morning as well to see what other people had written about it. :) I don't have any other books by Williams, but Burney's comment on Augustus makes me want to pick it up soon (not right away, though, just went through two book-buying binges recently so I need to cool my jets a bit). A friend and coworker also mentioned to me she had heard from multiple people that they enjoyed his Butcher's Crossing even more than Stoner, so there's another one to add to the must-read pile.

I have to confess I don't know anything about Gilbert Seldes, let alone The Stammering Century. Is it something I should have on my radar?
I've heard all of Williams' books are worthwhile.

The Stammering Century is about the 19th century, specifically about the religious movements, cults and fads of the century and the swindlers, con artists and generally unhinged people who led those movements. I'm a ways into it and it is really quite fascinating. Seemed like something you'd be into with your lists of general history subjects. It's published by New York Review Books, same as publishes the John Williams novels. http://www.nyrb.com/products/the-stammering-century
I've just added it to my wishlist - thanks!

User avatar
xianjiro
Donator
Posts: 6454
Joined: Jun 17, 2015
Location: Kakistani Left Coast
Contact:

#194

Post by xianjiro » November 14th, 2015, 2:27 am

I've no idea how I would compile a list of just ten books.

Listen, Daddy. Teacher says, 'every time a car alarm bleeps, into heaven a demon sneaks.'
sol can find me here

Kowry
Posts: 3033
Joined: Jul 03, 2011
Location: Finland
Contact:

#195

Post by Kowry » November 14th, 2015, 2:58 am

So it's been year since I posted here. Lilarcor chose Solaris for me, still haven't read that, because the only available translation of the book is a poor one, so I'm waiting for a better one (there is a newer English translation, but it's only available for digital download, and I'm stuck with physical books at the moment)

Anyway, from my previous list I have already read I, Robot (I'm still not really sure about Asimov...), Mythago Wood (good), and I'm in the middle of reading Deepness of the Sky. So I had those replaced, otherwise it's the same list as last year.

1. Cat's Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut, 1963) - Haven't really explored Vonnegut past Slaughterhouse-five. Satirical exploration of science, technology and religion.
2. Shock Value (John Waters, 1981) - the director's autobiography of some sort
3. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Robert A. Heinlein, 1966) - another essential sci-fi author whose books I have never read. Lunar colony rebels against rule from Earth. The book discusses libertarian ideals.
4. Blindsight (Peter Watts, 2006) - modern hard science fiction, exploring the nature of identity and consciousness.
5. The Road (Cormac McCarthy, 2006) - Well this is probably known by all but anyway: a sci-fi novel telling the tale of father and son travelling through a post-apocalyptic world.
6. If Chins Could Kill (Bruce Campbell, 2002) - Campbell's career autobiography
7. The Shadow of the Torturer (Gene Wolfe, 1980-1983) - The first part of Wolfe's acclaimed sci-fi fantasy series, The Book of the Sun."The tetralogy chronicles the journey of Severian, a disgraced journeyman torturer who is exiled and forced to travel to Thrax and beyond."
8. Soft Machine (William S. Burroughs, 1961) - well, Burroughs.
9. The Gulag Archipelago (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1973)
10. The Short Stories of H.G. Wells (H.G. Wells, various dates) - Obviously I'm not going read through all of them at once, but if you have any recommendations what would be the 5-10 most essential Wells short stories to check out first, that would be nice.

User avatar
Knaldskalle
Moderator
Posts: 9507
Joined: May 09, 2011
Location: New Mexico, Trumpistan
Contact:

#196

Post by Knaldskalle » November 14th, 2015, 4:38 am

Kasparius on Nov 13 2015, 03:42:22 PM wrote:
funkybusiness on Nov 13 2015, 03:07:11 PM wrote:aaah I'm going to read Picnic this weekend. I was busy finishing some Joyce-related materials and an Imamura book. I should be able to finish Picnic this weekend. it's <200 pages.

Stoner is wonderful. I should buy it and re-read it (again). I dug up the book of the month club thread and mighty finished it first. "A terrible book." quoth mighty, followed immediately by burneyfan with "Well, hell, now I really want to read it." and then on sept. 11 2013 at 04:45:05 PM PST, one Leopardi said "I happened to pick up Stoner last year on the strong recommendation of the store owner and it's been high on my list of books to read since then." I apparently said the first seven chapters were mindnumbingly boring. and then Gershwin says "Has everybody gone mad? :ermm: There is not one single dull syllable in Stoner. -_- "

in other news, Leopardi, have you read The Stammering Century by Gilbert Seldes?
I miss Burney :(
Burney and Bees: The missed misses. (u)
Personal film goals for 2019.
ImageImageImageImage

Kasparius
Posts: 24609
Joined: Sep 14, 2011
Contact:

#197

Post by Kasparius » November 14th, 2015, 6:20 am

Knaldskalle on Nov 13 2015, 09:38:37 PM wrote:
Kasparius on Nov 13 2015, 03:42:22 PM wrote:
funkybusiness on Nov 13 2015, 03:07:11 PM wrote:aaah I'm going to read Picnic this weekend. I was busy finishing some Joyce-related materials and an Imamura book. I should be able to finish Picnic this weekend. it's <200 pages.

Stoner is wonderful. I should buy it and re-read it (again). I dug up the book of the month club thread and mighty finished it first. "A terrible book." quoth mighty, followed immediately by burneyfan with "Well, hell, now I really want to read it." and then on sept. 11 2013 at 04:45:05 PM PST, one Leopardi said "I happened to pick up Stoner last year on the strong recommendation of the store owner and it's been high on my list of books to read since then." I apparently said the first seven chapters were mindnumbingly boring. and then Gershwin says "Has everybody gone mad? :ermm: There is not one single dull syllable in Stoner. -_- "

in other news, Leopardi, have you read The Stammering Century by Gilbert Seldes?
I miss Burney :(
Burney and Bees: The missed misses. (u)
I guess the sausage fest is just too strong around here...

User avatar
Leopardi
Donator
Posts: 1168
Joined: Feb 04, 2012
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Contact:

#198

Post by Leopardi » November 14th, 2015, 4:36 pm

xianjiro on Nov 13 2015, 07:27:24 PM wrote:I've no idea how I would compile a list of just ten books.
I had the same problem, but in the end decided to go with two lists, one mostly the classics and the other more contemporary, and I cycle between them now, giving a larger combined list overall to work with. Also, there's no rule (I don't think so anyway) that you have to stick to ten title, so if your list is larger post it anyway and we'll sift through it, don't worry!

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10476
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#199

Post by funkybusiness » November 18th, 2015, 12:46 am

Kowry, you forgot to pick something from Leopardi's list. I'll pick Cat's Cradle from your list. I thoroughly enjoy those Vonnegut novels I've read.

I read Picnic at Hanging Rock on Sunday but forgot to post. It's interesting how the film isolates (or, at least, how I read the film) the sexual awakening of the girls and the relationship to Victorian repression, when the book has a more widespread rejection of Victorian and English standards (again, at least that's how I read it). Also, Miranda is at the center of the film, most certainly, while the book is much more about Michael, Albert, Irma and Sarah (the young generation and how they'll accept or reject Australia and all that entails). Worthwhile and not just for those who enjoyed the film. a solid read. *edit: also, I found the book's structuring of sections around individual characters and their respective Fates as consequence of the Events of the Picnic within a continually ongoing narrative, never stopping but occasionally looking forward when a character's time within the narrative framing is over, to be quite well done, really underrated. Like Leopardi, I don't know anyone who's actually read the book but it is extremely well plotted.

here's me again.

Dostoyevsky's The Idiot
Gillespie_Early Russian Cinema.pdf
The Aesthetics of Shadow Lighting and Japanese Cinema.epub
X'ed Out trilogy graphic novels
Saga vol 1 graphic novel
The Material Ghost - Gilberto Perez
Paradise Lost - Milton
The Leopard - Giuseppe di Lampedusa
David Bordwell - Eisenstein
The Men With the Movie Camera - Philip Cavendish
Last edited by funkybusiness on November 18th, 2015, 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
funkybusiness
Donator
Posts: 10476
Joined: Jan 22, 2013
Contact:

#200

Post by funkybusiness » November 21st, 2015, 11:54 pm

alright I'll pick for Leopardi, A History of Western Philosophy!

Post Reply