***Book Club***

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Aug 18, 2009
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In the middle of "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson about the US ambassador to Germany in 1933/1934. Very interesting.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Recently read "Blindness" by José Saramago.

I have actually been a fan of Saramago and read 4 of his books before this: History of the siege of Lisbon, The elephant's journey (see my profile pic), The gospel according to Jesus Christ, and Job. But I never wanted to read "Blindness" because it sounded too much like a horror movie and I don't care for horror movies.

Now I'm a bit torn about it. As far as style goes, it's typical Saramago. In that sense, if you've read one of his books, you've read them all - the style is always the same. It's funny, it's entertaining, but it also gets a bit old at some point, at least after the 4th book.

The book itself is odd. On the one hand it's incredibly disgusting and very very explicit in all the disgusting scenes. Basically it's a 300-page orgy of fecies, urine, vomit, sex, rape, violence and death. I get that there is not much that separates us from wild animals - but you get that point after the 3rd chapter. After that you ask yourself what the point is of describing every little detail of violence and rape.

But the initial premise is intersting, as usually with Saramago. It's a good idea, and he's a great storyteller, so of course you cannot say that this is not a good book. It goes to show Saramago's skill that even though you are disgusted by what you read, you cannot put it down.

But I think now I am saturated with Saramago for a while. And I don't want to see the movie, even though I seriously wonder how they could possibly turn this book into a movie without it being prohibited for under 36 year-olds.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Also read "Last night in Twisted River" by John Irving this summer. It was the first book of his that I read and I really liked it! Once you get through the first chapter it is an absolute delight. What a great story teller, and what great characters! Definitely looking forward to reading more books of his.
 
Sep 9, 2009
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kingjr said:
The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas

The whole thing, not some shortend version.
Best book I've read yet. I'm reading it once every year and it doesn't get old.
One of his most dull books really - massively pointless interlude.

Dumas churned out ream after ream of great page turning fiction so why not try some other stuff before repeating that. La Reine Margot, The Women's War or The Black Tulip are particularly enjoyable.
 
Christian said:
Recently read "Blindness" by José Saramago.

I have actually been a fan of Saramago and read 4 of his books before this: History of the siege of Lisbon, The elephant's journey (see my profile pic), The gospel according to Jesus Christ, and Job. But I never wanted to read "Blindness" because it sounded too much like a horror movie and I don't care for horror movies.

Now I'm a bit torn about it. As far as style goes, it's typical Saramago. In that sense, if you've read one of his books, you've read them all - the style is always the same. It's funny, it's entertaining, but it also gets a bit old at some point, at least after the 4th book.

The book itself is odd. On the one hand it's incredibly disgusting and very very explicit in all the disgusting scenes. Basically it's a 300-page orgy of fecies, urine, vomit, sex, rape, violence and death. I get that there is not much that separates us from wild animals - but you get that point after the 3rd chapter. After that you ask yourself what the point is of describing every little detail of violence and rape.

But the initial premise is intersting, as usually with Saramago. It's a good idea, and he's a great storyteller, so of course you cannot say that this is not a good book. It goes to show Saramago's skill that even though you are disgusted by what you read, you cannot put it down.

But I think now I am saturated with Saramago for a while. And I don't want to see the movie, even though I seriously wonder how they could possibly turn this book into a movie without it being prohibited for under 36 year-olds.
I thought Blindness was overrated. Powerful story but it got bogged down in the second half. Not a feel good story. I think that American Psycho and the Hubert Selby book, The Room were two of the best disgusting books I have read. Both were compelling.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Just read the Hunger Games trilogy. Loved the first book and the underlying antiwar message was good. What disturbed me most was that when looking for the third book, Mockingjay, it was available in the teen section. :eek: Still ruminating over that affront!
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Currently reading "Jacques the Fatalist and his Master" by Diderot. It came up in several of my classes, so I got curious and when the semester was over I got it from the library. Some French people I have been talking to have told me they read it in high school, apparently it's an assigned reading for some. I had never heard of it, but I like it! I'm sure I'm missing a lot of the underlying themes, but just having a bit of previous knowledge through my classes and through reading the introduction already works pretty well.

"A reflection on living and on storytelling", as my professor put it. Basically Jacques is trying to tell a story, but life keeps getting in the way, and they keep getting sidetracked. Then Diderot also personally intervenes at times and has discussions with the reader. It's also a reflection on the form of the novel, dropping all conventions, such as background information, details, and storyline. "Where did they come from? Their point of departure. Where are they going? Do we ever really know where we're going?"

Apparently a lot of it is inspired by "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" by Lawrence Sterne. I tried to read this book years ago, but gave up quickly. This makes me want to try again, even though this is definitely a lot easier to read than "Tristram Shandy". For those maybe unfamiliar with "Tristram Shandy", the main character is telling the story of his life, but doesn't get to his own birth until about halfway in.

My favourite quote so far: "Que deviendrai-je quand je n'aurai plus rien à dire?" - "What will I become when I have nothing left to say?"
 
If we're talking about unusual narration such as Tristram Shandy not being born until halfway through the story of his own life, I recently read "The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas" by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, widely regarded as the greatest South American writer until Gabriel García Márquez just had to steal Brazil's thunder. Brás Cubas hasn't picked up a pen until after his death, so he has no compunctions about pride and is fully prepared to expose his own mediocrity. Chapters are very short; and the narrator is full of far too much sarcasm for a book of its time. There's one bit where he talks about a supernatural experience, but prefaces it by warning the reader that if they aren't interested in the theorizing or the psychological aspect, and are only interested in the narrative, they can skip the chapter; also at one point he states "Now watch, reader, as I make the most skilful segue in this book!" - then makes a skilful segue. I also highly enjoyed the chapter entitled "How I didn't become a Minister of the State". It consists entirely of ellipsis.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Ha, sounds fun! Another one like this that I recently read was "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler" by Italo Calvino. He spends the first chapter congratulating the reader for having chosen to read his new book, and telling him to choose the most comfortable reading position, and to tell his roommates "Don't disturb me, I am reading the new book by Italo Calvino!!"
 
RetroActive said:
Ha, I was just looking up Journey to the End of the Night. It's been about ten yrs. since I read it, think I'll read it again.
http://www.amazon.ca/Journey-Night-Louis-Ferdinand-Celine/dp/0811216543/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377839312&sr=1-1&keywords=journey+to+the+end+of+the+night
Then you'll have to read Trifles for a Massacre, lol.

Still reading The True and Only Heaven by Christopher Lasch. Enjoying every page of it. Love Lasch's analysis of Georges Sorel and his analysis of the Frontier Myth. Combining traditional moral values and ethics with working class movement; search for independence, rejection of wage labour and the ideal of society of small workshop on small scales. :)
 
Mar 25, 2013
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Just finished The Insider's Guide to Match-Fixing in Football. An excellent book and Declan Hill did real investigative work into the topic getting some great access to the corruptors and players involved. It was more a study of the issue and how and why it happens and the measures that people are willing to go to, to get a game fixed. He goes into both aspects of arrangement and gambling fixes.

A great read for any football fan and a real eye opener into the corruption in the game.

http://www.declanhill.com/
 
Mar 12, 2014
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Echoes said:
Interesting interview with Gilad Atzmon about Orwell's 1984 & Homage to Catalunya. I don't agree with everything but it's quite different from mainstream (in English with French subs).

http://www.egaliteetreconciliation.fr/Entretien-avec-Gilad-Atzmon-sur-le-national-socialisme-de-George-Orwell-25441.html
O, thanks for the reminder that I still need to read Homage to Catalonia! I've got the book for years, but somehow still didn't read it yet.

I do wonder why this thread doesn't have that many posts. Don't people on here read much at all?

When it comes to my taste of books, it has been described as "you like all those depressing books" once, meaning books from authors like D. Coupland, books like 'Between shades of gray'. It's not entirely true, though, since I don't think it's really easy to describe the books I like. Maybe I'll write some more about it, if at some point it looks like this thread isn't as dead as I currently think it is.
 
Finished Steven Weinberg's The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe for the second time. Always a great read. This was the first book I read on the subject - I suggest everyone to read it.

In this book, Steven Weinberg starts by covering the basic terms and notions of cosmology and physics (1977 and they remain the same) and then carefully explains how It all began. Obviously, the book follows the standard model also known as the Big Bang and is mainly focused on the first three minutes of the Universe - It was during this short time period that the biggest reactions with fundamental and later atomic particles took place, eventually creating concise matter and the Universe as we know it.

Steven Weinberg points out himself that the book was writen so as to people with basic knowledge on the subject can understand its content.

If you're eager to read it or do not want to buy the book, try this pdf (have not read this version myself, but it must be it)

Recommend it to everyone, have a nice read.


Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize in Physics.


Next read: Peter Singer's Animal Liberation
 
I'm currently reading Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling, by BikeSnobNYC, I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. Would highly recommend if you haven't read it already.

Btw., sorry if this book has already been mentioned in prior posts... I had enough of a challenge digging up this 'ole thread (didn't want to start a new one), so, didn't have the patience to read all the posts.
 

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