Top 3 Favorite Books Released 2013 (1 Viewer)

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
1. A Deep & Gorgeous Thirst by Hosho McCreesh
2. Algerian Chronicles by Albert Camus
3. Tenth of December by George Saunders

And how about 3 favorite books not from 2013 that you discovered this year?

1. Hunger by Knut Hamsun
2. Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion
3. Hard Revolution by George Pelecanos
 
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Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
I feel like I hardly had anytime to read this year...but was glad to read my first books by Don Carpenter, Lori Jakiela, John O'Brien, Ben Myers, and Scott Silsbe. Some more great stuff from Dave Newman, Bill put out Nate Graziano's best book to date in Hangover Breakfasts, Scott McClanahan and Jenni Fagan blew up, and William Taylor, Jr started off the year with a good book.

Anyone know what's due next year that's worth a look?
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
1. The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
2. Tenth of December by George Saunders
3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

As for books I read and enjoyed that weren't from this year...

1. A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin
2. That's Not A Feeling by Dan Josefson
3. something else

I'm honestly having trouble recalling everything I read this year. I'm not terribly certain I finished as many books as I started...
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
LTS. I have a "journal" where I write down the books I've read and date it, just to keep track. I had to refer to it for my 3 lists.
 
The best books for me this year:
The Devil All The Time-Donald Ray Pollock
A Hologram For The King-Dave Eggers
Hand-Drying In America-Ben Katchor(the Julius Knipl guy)

Worst book was Submergence by J.M. Ledgard. It received great reviews, but I thought it was awful.
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
I could have a list of 3 books i bought/got that i haven't gotten to:

1. Me and the Devil by Nick Tosches
2. A Hologram For the King by Dave Eggers
3. James Brown bio The One
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
That being said, no pun intended, have you ever read Trainspotting or any Irvine Welsh for that matter? If so have you been able to get through that?
 

mjp

Founding member
I have not.

I'm not opposed to getting into the rhythm of the dialog or narration of a book. You have to do that to read Twain, I seem to remember having to adapt to Confederacy of Dunces, and I'm reading a collection of articles now that were written in the 30s and 40s, and even that has language differences.

But it felt gimmicky and forced to me the Fagan book. It distracted me every time she did it.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
i liked hologram for the king a lot. i started 'the circle,' but i put it down after 80 pages. i may pick it back up, but i wasn't impressed with it at all. i normally like (and defend) dave eggers, though.
 
That being said, no pun intended, have you ever read Trainspotting or any Irvine Welsh for that matter? If so have you been able to get through that?
Where I come from, i.e. Newcastle, the accent and dialogue are very similar to Scots (lowland Scots at any rate) so I never had any problem with it. I also read The Broons and Our Wullie as a kid but I'm guessing they weren't a big hit Stateside ;)
Anyway, loads of people I met at university from other parts of England really struggled with Irvine Welsh. I had a hell of a time explaining 'Stoat the baw' to them, for example. I think it must be really difficult for someone who isn't familiar with the language used to get through his books. Which is a shame because when he's good, he's fucking excellent likesay.
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
I couldn't even get 30 pages (or whatever they are on Kindle) in to that. Being taken out of the story by the Scottish patois every few paragraphs was torture. It takes a lot for me to give up on a book, but I just couldn't make it through that one.

MJP, any examples spring to mind where an approach like that DID work for you/who does it best?

I see a lot of writers pick up the label of "regional writer" because they do things in prose and dialogue that are regional...be that fair or not. No idea what kind of label they'd give a guy from New Mexico, but I see lots of region-specific stuff sneak into my work. At what point does "local flavor" become a gimmick I couldn't say...but I though Jenni balanced it out pretty well. Welsh's books are very thick with it -- and gettign it was kind of a point of pride when reading his work years ago. I suppose I enjoy it as one of the ways that written English as a language really lives and breathes...so I tolerate it a lot better! But yes, it certainly is a choice that will cost you readers...and, chale, if you do it, it damn well better be chingon, ese.
 
A Clockwork Orange is a book written in a dialect form which I found really worked for the story. Made up
faux-Russian terminology and specific local vocab makeup much of Alex's monologue, but the story itself
remains very clear. Talent has much to do with communicating ideas in a difficult format.
 

mjp

Founding member
MJP, any examples spring to mind where an approach like that DID work for you/who does it best?
Regional patois like Fagan's didnae, doesnae or gonnae, I have to say no, that never works for me. Maybe I'm an idiot, but when I hit those kinds of things I have to stop and translate in my mind, even though they're close to the English words. Which may be the point; if it's an English word, type an English word. It's not a stage play where you have to define or indicate an accent, it's a book. And in a book it just feels forced. To me.

If I was familiar with the dialect or knew people who used it it would be a different story. I can understand and read Caribbean patois because I heard it every day for many years, but if you're not familiar with it, it's just a lot of senseless gibberish. As is most patois to most non-speakers. So I don't see who Fagan's book is speaking to except people who are familiar with the dialect.

That aside, I did read a chunk of it, and I'm afraid I wasn't particularly impressed with the story or the writing, so there's that too. ;) If I couldn't wait to turn the page to see what happened next I would have suffered through the dialect. And eventually adapted to it, I suppose. Since I didn't bother I'm not really in a position to judge of whether it's a good book. I can see that a lot of people like it.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
A bit late into this... just to add, I really enjoyed The Pantoptican, Anais was a brilliant character, you became involved with and cared about, for me, there was a very large dollop of Lisbeth Salander ( Stieg Larsson's trilogy in there - no complaints from me).
With the vernacular dialect, it is a hard act to pull off and I don't think it added anything to the authenticity of the characters, which is probably the main reason it's done.

Irvine Welsh succeeds at it I think, because of the subject matter and because he is a damn good writer, others end up with a half baked parochial, naff text that doesn't travel well at all. Her book would have been just as good written with "English" dialect.

Most Scottish writers don't use it as a device, because of this pitfall of Tartanalia, it annoyed me too at the beginning, but after a wee:wb: while you forget it's there ( a bit like subtitles I suppose).

Best book of 2013 - from 2013, for me was Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan - brilliant.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
If I couldn't wait to turn the page to see what happened next I would have suffered through the dialect. And eventually adapted to it, I suppose.

well, that's it, isn't it? if it works for you, you're willing to work at the dialect bits.

(for the recond, I haven't read Fagan's novel, but I've read a few of her short stories and liked them very much.)

one of my favourite writers is Glasgow's James Kelman and he employs the dialect approach. if you read reviews of his books on amazon, one of the main critisisms to his work is that the patois may be style over substance. I disagree, but if you don't find substance, the style will only alienate and grate.
 
A Clockwork Orange is a book written in a dialect form which I found really worked for the story. Made up
faux-Russian terminology and specific local vocab makeup much of Alex's monologue, but the story itself
remains very clear. Talent has much to do with communicating ideas in a difficult format.
Nadsat is quite ingenious to me, and it helps to bring the reader into Alex's world. I haven't seen Fagen's novel, so I can't attest to how much use of colloquial spellings (or regional patois as mjp so eloquently put it, squinting through his pince-nez and sipping some Darjeeling with pinky raised) there is. But Nadsat is used so heavily in Clockwork that it forces the reader to learn it, yet the contextual tools for learning it on the fly are all deftly provided by Burgess as the words are used and then re-used in slightly different contexts as if he were aware of a bit of confusion on the part of the reader.

And a point of clarification: Nadsat is quite strongly-rooted in proper Russian with a dose of English school-boy colloquialisms, cockney rhyming slang, and all that cal.
 
I've only read Trainspotting and it is brilliant. Have Glue and E sitting around.
I've read quite a lot of his books (although I haven't read his last 3 novels, out of which I only really fancy reading Skagboys). Alongside Trainspotting and Marabou Stork Nightmares, I think Glue is Welsh at his very best. Is E another name for Ecstasy: 3 Chemical Romances by the way? That was quite good (it's nearly 20 years since I've read it though, which is depressing).
 

Hosh

hoshomccreesh.com
Hosh really like Crapalachia as well. May have to put that on the X- Mas list.

He's really hit his stride, I think. If it can hold will remain to be seen...Hill William (also out this year) was so much darker, and more hopeless -- but easily could've been included in Crapalachia. I enjoyed them both, though Crapalachia takes it by a nose for me. Of course he doesn't need my help selling books...

...but my favorite Hamsun is Growth Of The Soil. It's a truly great novel.

I've almost bought that book probably 5 times...but never pulled the trigger. I'll have to give it a try.

...E is really a brilliant book, his fav Welsh book.

And I'll have to try this one too.
 

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
The only 2013 release I've read this year is "Vampires In The Lemon Grove", by Karen Russell. It's a nicely varied collection of short stories. Funny, moving, chilling in parts... also her sense of humor is a lot sharper in these than it was in her previous novel "Swamplandia!"
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
i liked hologram for the king a lot. i started 'the circle,' but i put it down after 80 pages. i may pick it back up, but i wasn't impressed with it at all. i normally like (and defend) dave eggers, though.

Yeah I too loved Hologram but The Circle... didn't do much for me. I read through part one and got distracted and\or drunk and haven't gone back yet. There's still time, I could finish it before the end of the year...
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
A Clockwork Orange is a book written in a dialect form which I found really worked for the story. Made up faux-Russian terminology and specific local vocab makeup much of Alex's monologue, but the story itself remains very clear. Talent has much to do with communicating ideas in a difficult format.
Are readers more tolerant of dialect and
Maybe readers put up with a lot more when it is a futuristic novel, like A Clockwork Orange or Orwell's 1984 - I dinnae ken.
well, that's it, isn't it? if it works for you, you're willing to work at the dialect bits.
one of my favourite writers is Glasgow's James Kelman and he employs the dialect approach. if you read reviews of his books on amazon, one of the main critisisms to his work is that the patois may be style over substance. I disagree, but if you don't find substance, the style will only alienate and grate.
I have only read How late it was how late by James Kelman, it definitely doesn't grate you, barely notice it really, don't know if it because it is written in the third person mostly - like John Steinbeck; so the dialect is so seamless with the story, you hear the accent in your head effortlessly, with Welsh it's a lot of first person and often it's uncompromising and harsh.
 
Good question. I don't know which translation, it was probably Penguin Classics. I read it twenty years ago, and I no longer have the actual book.
 
Cheers, man. I had a quick look and, according to their site, Sverre Lyngstad translated the Penguin Classics version. Edit: actually that's a new translation but Penguin Classics is normally a safe bet for a good translation.
 

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