What Are You Reading? (1 Viewer)

Skygazer

And in the end...
His politics are pretty idiosyncratic for the time, aren't they? Is there anyone else from that period who is even comparable?...] [... people who label Orwell as a "conservative" thinker? What do they even mean by that?
I suppose you could call them idiosynchratic even when it cut into his own political beliefs, he didn't tailor the truth to fit in. To his core he was egalitarian, anti elitist, anti privilige.
Condemning Stalin and his distortion of communism doesn't make him a conservative ( in a political sense, I mean) I think there is a degree of wishful cherry picking there.

Is there anyone else from that period who is even comparable? It seems as if most of the heavyweights from the period such as Lawrence, Eliot, Pound, etc. were on the far-right and then you had the Boy Scouts (as Joyce called them) Auden, Spender, and such cheering on Stalin.

Yes and no... but mostly no for me. You named some of his left wing peers, both Spender and Auden went to Spain too and witnessed the Stalinists betrayal of the republic, Auden recognised later that Orwell spoke out about the morphing of communism into totalitarianism. But Arthur Koestler did that too (he was also in Spain and imprisoned) with his novel Darkness At Noon - and other work of his ( that I haven't read!)

The artists of the right that you name, some of them were not only right wing but pro fascist, a lot of it through an aversion to mass culture and the revolting masses, attracted to a cultural hierarchy (with them at the top of course).
D H Lawrence, I don't know, seems more of a Pagan than anything else? :). T S Eliot, he did publish a lot of left wing writers and poets and was I think a moderate. So maybe democracy does have bad taste and no brains, it's difficult to deny that when you see what's happening at the moment, but it's still better than the alternative.
 
I agree with your labeling of Orwell's personal philosophy as egalitarian, anti-elitist, and anti-privilege. That's why I don't get why some people label him a conservative. The thing that I find remarkable about him was his power to imagine something outside the political conversations of his time.

Admittedly I don't know as much about Auden or Spender, I only heard somewhere that they were Stalinists. Thanks for setting the record straight for me. The reason why I mentioned those writers was mostly for their reputation for being aligned with certain movements, while Orwell to me appears more original. You see that he has a lot of doubt and lack of confidence in his own work yet he consciously chooses not to hide that. That takes a certain amount of courage you rarely see in political writing to be so honest. Dealing in absolutes is taking the easy way out.

Lawrence is pretty wild, isn't he? He's one that you constantly see critics trying to label. I read an article recently where somebody tried to rebrand him as a progressive because he called an anonymous writer out for a vulgar comment made about women. But then there is that infamous letter, where he seems to advocate euthanasia for the disabled. I've read a fair amount of his work yet his character remains hard to discern. I don't get the impression he cared about causes. If by pagan you mean he had a free-spirit, I definitely agree.

As for Eliot, you may be right about him being a moderate, but he was certainly an elitist, wasn't he? I can see why it would be easy for him to take that stance given his class and excellent education. Being around those ladies going on about Michelangelo and taking tea at Cambridge couldn't have been all that bad. That's not really my scene and I've never known any people remotely like that here in San Diego, but it sounds comfy. And yet those ladies weren't enough for him, were they? His puritan conscience demanded other like-minded people with deep and serious opinions about art.

And lastly Koestler, frankly, I don't know anything about him. I'll have to read his work someday. Would you recommend that novel Darkness at Noon? How would you describe his style?
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Auden and Spender were left wing and Spender was a member of the Communist Party but leftit. I agree with you about Orwell having doubts, not about what was happening politically; on that he was very stubborn and committed, but doubts about his own ability as writer, yes.

D H Lawrence: would be Pagan/Druid/Native American:) free spirit.I don't think he was that interested in Big Politics, he gets lumped in as a right wing artist along with the others. I have an old Penguin book of his letters from 1950 edited and forewarded by Aldous Huxley, in it Huxley describes him well and quotes Lawrence as saying "My great relligion is a belief in the blood, the flesh, as being wiser than the intellect.We can go wrong in our minds. But what the blood feels and believes and says is always true" So yes pretty wild, that's an extreme view on euthanasia. I'll recheck my book in case the letter is in there, but perhaps Huxley chose not to put it in at that time.

I'm not a big fan of Eliot ever since I read Painted Shadow about his first wife Vivienne, I agree about the elitiism.

I would recommend Darkness at Noon, I read it years ago ( and it is writen in lovely plain, readable english) because there was a thing about Orwell basing a lot of his character Winston Smith in 1984 from the Koestler's book,
it's based on the Show Trials in Moscow and the the main protaganist Rubashov. There are definitely similarities and both books have a bleak ending.Orwell admired the book, and stayed as a guest of Koestler on a doomed mission to save socialism:) So yes read it if you can Sean.
 
Stand Still Like the Hummingbird, a collection of essays by Henry Miller, turned out to be a really nice book. I take it from the shelf every now and then, read a couple of pages and think about things I usually do not think about.

In Anderson the Storyteller Miller used a term that I've never heard before: "We repaired to a bar nearby..."
I didn't know that you can repair to a bar. Sounds funny.
 
In Anderson the Storyteller Miller used a term that I've never heard before: "We repaired to a bar nearby..."
I didn't know that you can repair to a bar. Sounds funny.
I have come across this word, used in this context, before and it sounds like the word refers to the act of going to the bar but does it imply that the characters in the story are in some state of disrepair (thirsty? tired?) beforehand?
 

mjp

Founding member
It doesn't specifically mean going to a bar and it's got nothing to do with disrepair. It's just more "upperclass" speech that's fallen by the wayside. Saying "repaired to the bar" is probably more of a tongue in cheek use, as a more common use would be to "repair" to some other room after a formal dinner.

I thought the term was British, but if you've never heard it on the other side of the Atlantic, maybe it wasn't. Either way, it's not something anyone says anymore, unless they're trying to be funny.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Nice article Andreas. I just didn't do my research first.There was hours of walking after I'd taken my car (not a four wheel drive) as far as it would go. I had nothing to do after that, the ferry back over to Islay wasn't due for a couple of hours; on it I had exchanged hellos with three Swedish guys on the Whisky trail, who were heading across to Jura Distillery, they were lovely; asked me where I was headed etc.

After giving up getting to Barnhill I parked my car back at the wee ferry bit, went for a walk, then a nap in the back of my car, woke up to this loud rumbling noise, sat up to see the ferry, looming large. When I turned around the three Swedes were laughing and waving from their car, they thought I had wandered off and would miss the last ferry out.
I will to go back and maybe rent Barnhill too:). The beaches on Jura aren't great though, dark horrible sand, not like Harris, so not a destination for that.


PS have you seen this about Thomas Mann's house in Los Angeles? it's sad, because I bet that would be a popular destination for staying in
http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2016/08/25/the-spoil-of-destruction/
 
I will to go back and maybe rent Barnhill too
I wish I could accompany you on that trip, in the hope of some free drinks at the distillery :wb:.

have you seen this about Thomas Mann's house in Los Angeles?
To be honest, I've never cared too much about T.Mann's life and work, I didn't even know that he had a house in Los Angeles. But there's one book of him which I read with great pleasure, I think it was his last one: Confessions of Felix Krull.
 

Skygazer

And in the end...
Okay, you go to the distillery Andreas, I'll go to Barnhill :)
I have The Magic Mountain that's all and it still has the dog ear foldover at p32, where I stopped, I'll get back to it?! (got it as a set with Gunter Grass's Tin Drum, which I did finish).

That looks very different - the Confessions book, going by the comments, I think I'd like it too..
 
It's been a while since I've been here and I would like to post a few comments. I have been fairly busy trying to read Buk recommendations. The first one is "To Kill a Mockingbird." It was fantastic. Then I rented the movie. It was also grand. I remember seeing it as a kid as they played it over and over again on black and white TV in the 1970's.It's hard to believe that Harper Lee wrote one book. I wrote one book too and no one on planet Earth is buying it.
 
The next Buk recommendation was J.D. Salinger's "Nine Stories." Buk raved about this. This was also fantastic. As I read each story I started to realize that I had read this before, probably while going to my local community college between 1980 and 1983 where I earned an Associate Degree in Science majoring in Biology.

Then I read "Fahrenheit 451." This was also a Buk recommendation. This story was also engaging. Between bits of reading I couldn't wait to get back to it to see what happened next. I also had flash backs of having read this book. I suspect it was a high school reading deal. I think this book was exceptional as far as feeling like the characters were totally real.
 
My main man Bukowski loved Carson McCullers so I had to read some of her stuff in order to honor himself. There is a RUSH lyric, "The heart is a lonely hunter on the dangerous frontier." I had a double motivation to read this book as a result since I love RUSH tremendously. I can see why Buk loved her so much. She can really write. Her descriptions of scenes and emotions were incredible. This was her first book and she became an instant sensation.

Reading has become one of my most cherished past time ever since I started to suffer my chronic severe knee pain starting in 2002 after having had 3 knee surgeries. In the words of those literary giants Beavis and Butt Head, "reading rules..it kicks ass, yeah."
 
Let's switch things up here. I read "in the service of 11:11" because I'm one of those weird New Age people. This is the 2nd of the 11:11 books I have read. Call me weird...I don't care. I also read "The Kindness Diaries" because me Mum sent it to me and she wanted me to read it. I'll do anything my Mom asks including jumping off a bridge. This book is about a Brit who rides a yellow motor bike around the world with no money and no where to stay. He survives on the kindness of strangers and makes it around the world.
 
I also read Carson McCuller's "Reflections in a Golden Eye." Cool title. It wasn't superb but Buk told me to read it in an round-about way and so I read it.

I also read a Neil Peart's book, "Clockwork Lives." For those of you who may perhaps live in a cave, Neil is the best drummer ever. He is the drummer of RUSH and he is also a good writer.
 
Last but not least is another Bukowski recommendation "Bow Down to Wood and Stone." This is an incredibly cool title. I love it...Bow Down to Wood and Stone. Hank recommended this book to Sherri Martinelli in the book "Beer Spit Night and Cursing." He kept telling her over and over again to read this book but she never did. It drove Buk a bit mental.

This book was written by Josephine Lawrence and it came out in 1938. I got a first edition for $13 because it was pretty worn in terms of mold and whatnot. The flow of the language was stifled compared to modern day language. It took me a while to get through this one. The character development is thorough and it covers almost their whole lives.

Buk said it was good and that was good enuf form me. I didn't put all of this is one post because I knew people would complain that it was too long if I did it in one post. I'm sure some people will complain that I did multiple posts. I'm trying to increase my stats because I haven't posted in so long. I'm way behind Sky Gazer and Pouge Mahone. I wonder if Roni even remembers me. I'm looking forward to the ever present insults from mjp. It's good to be back.

I'm listening to the B, drinking good beer, and I bought a pack of Pall Mall in tribute to my literary boss.
 

zobraks

Reaper Crew
Moderator
I didn't put all of this is one post because I knew people would complain that it was too long if I did it in one post. I'm sure some people will complain that I did multiple posts.
Yup, it's hard to please people in these parts.
I'm trying to increase my stats because I haven't posted in so long.
Just throw in a heap of YouTube screens (of your favo(u)rite movie moments, stuff you're listening to and so on) and you'll be there in no time.
I'm looking forward to the ever present insults from mjp.
:p

P.S. Welcome back.
 
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mjp

Founding member
Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years by Mark Lewisohn. The first in a massive trilogy of books (this volume is 944 pages!), this one covers childhood through 1962, when The Beatles were primed and ready to blast off.

I don't usually like biographies that go too deep into the family history of someone, what great uncle Cletus did in the war, and all that, but this is the first bio I've ever read where I didn't want to immediately skip past the family background. And it starts in 1845, if you can believe it, and includes a three page description of the pre-1971 British monetary system (what the hell was a "bob" anyway?).

As for a 944 page book, I know it's a bit much, but that's why GOD invented the Kindle.

- - -

Lewisohn says: 'We know everything there is to know about the Beatles, so what else can possibly be written?' People say that all the time – and I don't agree with it for a second. I wouldn't argue the Beatles' story has been told often, but I would argue that it can't be told again and differently. It's been related the same old way for so very long and it's also dying under the suffocating blanket of 'celebrity'. I want to start again, I want to press the Refresh button.

This is a comprehensive biography, three volumes, a sequential history in which I set out to relate everything that happened, and do so with integrity, attention to detail, accuracy and, I believe, a fair understanding of where the story needs to be told and how to tell it. I'm writing so it unfolds as if in real time – there's no hindsight cleverness, so you get a vivid sense of the forward movement. The Beatles' story always had tremendous energy, speed, vitality – and this must be tangible to the reader.

It all boils down to this. They were four war babies from Liverpool who really did change the world, and whose music and impact still lives on in so many ways, after all these years. I say, let's scrub what we know, or think we know, and start over: Who really were these people, and how did it all happen?
 

Johannes

Founding member
I'm currently reading, among other stuff, this short story collection by Alice Munro

Munro_Dance.jpg


Most of these stories have been written in the perspective of a young girl living in rural Canada while closely observing what their mother, father, sister, aunts and brother are doing all day.

While before reading this collection I might have made the assumption that stories with content such as this will painfully bore the shit out of my asshole, reading Alice Munro taught me that often times this is the case indeed, but not always.

There is one story, called "Boys and Girls", I really dig. It's all shades and nuances, tho. Except the one where some girl gets hammered and barfs all over herself while babysitting. To this I could relate.
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
I just finished Jenni Fagan's The Panopticon and enjoyed it thoroughly. It seems to be the novel of a fully formed writer, unlike some first novels. The use of slang was appropriate and easy. There was a distinct difference between most of the characters dialect but it wasn't so radical that it made it tiresome & thick to read through like an Irvine Welsh novel can sometimes be. And the last chapter was clean, clear, to the point, and clever but not too cute.
 

mjp

Founding member
a 944 page book, I know it's a bit much...
To give you some idea how deep this thing goes, I'm 31% through it (no page numbers in the Kindle) and they've only just now named themselves "The Beatles" (or "The Beatals" if Stu gets his way), and they don't even have a drummer yet. That's right, 300 pages about a group before they even got their first drummer.

So if the typical musician's biography or autobiography leaves you feeling like you didn't get enough detail, like you just skimmed the surface (which most of them do), this is the book for you! Ha.
 
I'm Not reading it by now, but have been pointed to the novel:
'FAN MAN' (1974) by one William Kotzwinkle lately.
Does anyone know it? Is it any good? Should I read?
 
I finished The Brothers Karamazov finally after working at it for 2 years. I regret taking so much time to read the novel especially since I hardly payed attention to Smerdyakov (the servant of the family, for those of you who don't remember), not realizing he would end up so important later on. I found just about everything prior to the murder scene very boring except for the occasional interesting scene or line. Raskilnikov is more interesting and dynamic a character compared to the eponymous Brothers K., though the ending with Alyosha is more satisfying and convincing than Raskolnikov's resolve to change his ways in the epilogue. Nonetheless, I read Crime and Punishment in about a few days, not a couple years.

Now I'm reading Abel Debritto, whose book on Bukowski I got through an interlibrary loan. If any of you live in San Diego and want to read his book, I apologize, but I'll be done in a couple days. It's a fascinating book that debunks a lot of presumptions I had about Bukowski's rise to fame. The most intriguing part of the book so far to me is the way Bukowski and his editors created myths to boost his reputation in the little magazine scene. I'll write a bit more about my thoughts on the book in its thread after I'm done. I highly recommend it.
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
I'm Not reading it by now, but have been pointed to the novel:
'FAN MAN' (1974) by one William Kotzwinkle lately.
Does anyone know it? Is it any good? Should I read?
is it the re-issue edition with the Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. forward? New York City circa 1970? Can't go wrong. I may have to chase down a copy for myself.
 
Philly, I don't have it yet.
Was looking for a really cheap copy of the original English version, but what I found only started at about 8,- EUR, which would still be alright, but then I saw a German editon titled 'The William Kotzwinkle Omnibus' containing 5[!] novels (Fan Man, Night Book, Swimmer in the Secret Sea, Dr Rat, Fata Morgana) for about 10 and jumped in.
Still waiting for it to arrive.
 

mjp

Founding member
you weren't tempted by the 1728pp version of the Beatles book?
I was, but they won't sell that version to a U.S. Kindle. Why an electronic version of a book would only be available regionally is a mystery, but the world is a mysterious place.

From what I've read about the differences between the versions, I don't think I'm missing anything (other than even more minutia, if that's possible).
 

PhillyDave

“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Just finished Red Jade by Henry Chang, a police procedural murder mystery. Some of the dialogue was trying to hard to sound cool when in fact it sounded a bit stilted but really the story flowed and the crime and how it unfolded was interesting. Today hit the jackpot. 7 books and On the Waterfront DVD for a grand total of $9.54. 1 i gave to my dad. The others are American Rust by Philipp Meyer, Sundog by Jim Harrison, The Dain Curse by Dashiell Hammett, Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, Legs by William Kennedy, and Johnny Too Bad by John Dufresne. What should I read next?
 

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
I just saw Mapplethorpe's show at the montreal art museum.
There were a few photos by Diane Arbus, and of Mapplethorpe by a bunch of other photographers.
All this to say that on my way out, picked up Patty Smith's Just Kids. That is what I am reading.
Also picked up a great copy of the Brothers K, mentioned above, for a dollar.
 
I would have liked seeing that show and have been meaning to read the Patti Smith book for awhile, Black Swan. Did you get an old Modern Library edition of Brothers K? I lost mine, unfortunately.
 

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
I would have liked seeing that show and have been meaning to read the Patti Smith book for awhile, Black Swan. Did you get an old Modern Library edition of Brothers K? I lost mine, unfortunately.
No, I found a used 1982 Penguin Classics copy,
Still happy with the one dollar find.
20160918_181040.jpg
As for the show, I'm glad that I went. I loved the Patti Smith photos, Blondie, the music and all. As for the big dicks in 'gros plan', I got tired of the subject, although I can appreciate the quality of the black and white photographs. It was almost funny the way the the show was set up. There were many photos of flowers alternating with hard core sex scenes. His flower shots were not so great. O'Keefe did beat him at that (in paintings).The show is truly dated, even outdated but it was somewhat important in the 70's for any artist to push the limits.
 
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I'm currently re-reading David Calonne's great article On Some Early Bukowski Poems which appeared in the yearbook of the Bukowski Society 2011/12/13. Very much worth reading.
I like the following excerpt, among many others:

even Shakespeare's gone, and I'm no Shakespeare,
and I guess that's what hurts too: to know you are limited
forever,
the sea coming in only so far
and then rolling back,
the hands the lips the eyes
the bodies and sounds of bodies,
knowing you at last as nothing
and leaving as nothing

(from 10:30 P.M.)
 

Johannes

Founding member
Game of Thrones.jpg


I know. But I ran out of other shit to read. It's - not surprisingly - well made Fantasy if you dig this kind of stuff. I hear they made a quite successful series out of it, just kidding.

Gotta love how everything is always so dramatic in this genre, like everybody is king and your mad dwarfed half-brother who also fucks your wife wants to kill you and nations must fall in blood and battle while some dragons circle overhead.

One day I'm going to write a 5000 pages fantasy epos where people just walk around, look at each other, invite each other to dinner and stroke the cat now and then.
 

LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
I just finished Jenni Fagan's The Panopticon and enjoyed it thoroughly. It seems to be the novel of a fully formed writer, unlike some first novels. The use of slang was appropriate and easy. There was a distinct difference between most of the characters dialect but it wasn't so radical that it made it tiresome & thick to read through like an Irvine Welsh novel can sometimes be. And the last chapter was clean, clear, to the point, and clever but not too cute.

It's one of my favorite novels of the last decade. I tried, and failed, to convince several friends who enjoyed Welsh to read it. Alas.
 

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