XIXAX Film Forum

Non-Film Discussion => Other Media => Topic started by: jenkins on August 13, 2013, 02:18:30 PM

Title: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on August 13, 2013, 02:18:30 PM
let's see. quick and easy
it's common for me to hear dissatisfaction about the writer jonathan franzen, from a variety of people who like to read books and talk about books, whether on the internet or in person.
it's less common but also likely for me to hear from specific types of art/culture people about how marvelous franzen is.

franzen stated that he wants to be marvelous with literature. could google quote what he said, some thing about literature not being taken seriously enough and he wants to be quite serious about literature.
franzen took his oprah deal because of course 500,000+ people buying his book was healthy decision making.
in the lit world, david foster wallace is across-the-map taken seriously. when you hear disdain for dfw, what's striking about it is how uncommon it is. on topic, franzen was one of two major friends for dfw, before dfw killed himself.

i read as much as i watch movies. often. and i've never read franzen. not a book of his, not a sentence. i think maybe ~2-3 sentences of his i've read, in passing and by accident. for the simple reason that no one has sold me on him

so i started this topic where people can talk about franzen. it started here

trashculturemutantjunkie [13|Aug 01:36 PM]:   perplexed by how hated jonathan franzen is in the lit world. he's the mulligan of irl
trashculturemutantjunkie [13|Aug 01:36 PM]:   can someone tell me why he's viewed as stupid for saying this: Jonathan Franzen: I’m struck by how different in feel The Informers and The Sound of Things Falling are from the Latin American “boom” novels of a generation ago. I’m thinking of both their cosmopolitanism (European story elements in the first book, an American main character in the new one) and their situation in a modern urban Bogotá. To me it feels as if there’s been a kind of awakening in Latin American fiction, a clearing of the magical mists, and I’m wondering to what extent you see your work as a reaction to that of Márquez and his peers. Did you come to fiction writing with a conscious program?
polkablues [13|Aug 01:50 PM]:   My issue with that is it feels less like a legitimate question asked with the intent of actual illumination and more like Franzen trying to self-consciously prove his intellectuality.
polkablues [13|Aug 01:53 PM]:   My issue with Franzen in general is that The Corrections is a superficial Kurt Vonnegut imitation that tricked a bunch of people into thinking it's great literature.
Title: Re: jonathan franzen
Post by: jenkins on September 11, 2013, 04:10:44 AM
idk in the future i might shift this entire topic over to a more generalized literature-oriented topic. for today:

TN: Franzen wrote an essay describing the reader-writer relationship as either Status based or a Contract model, emphasizing the decision to either err on the side of difficulty without compromising aesthetic, or sustain the reader’s trust. For whom do you write?

SDLP: Are those my only two choices? If so, then I reject them both as dully simplistic. Ultimately, why or for whom I write is of no moment to me; I’m too busy writing to much care. But if I were to engage with the spirit of your question, I suppose readers would do well to manufacture a state of artistic openness.

sdlp = sergio de la pava, whose equal in movieland is steve mcqueen or carlos reygadas or whomever you hear and see while thinking "holyshit, thank god"


bonus quote for béla tarr fans:

The White Review — What do you read apart from the classics such as Kafka?

László Krasznahorkai — When I am not reading Kafka I am thinking about Kafka. When I am not thinking about Kafka I miss thinking about him. Having missed thinking about him for a while, I take him out and read him again. That’s how it works. It’s precisely the same with Homer, Dante, Dostoevski, Proust, Ezra Pound, Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Attila József, Sándor Weöres and Pilinszky…
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: jenkins on September 30, 2013, 10:07:43 PM
sergio de la pava's personae (http://www.amazon.com/Personae-Novel-Sergio-Pava/dp/022607899X/) was released today. in my above post i compare him to "steve mcqueen or carlos reygadas" and that feels artistically appropriate now because, while his first book was raved upon and ignited conversations about esoteric publishing and etc, personae is seeding questions about construction

initial reviews have suggested there's too much sdlp, and he maybe needs an editor to trim for the reader. haven't critics said the same about mcqueen and reygadas?

it's apparently difficult to read, by its intended nature. ideas from an ancient greek (aristotle! so damn common) are spotted through the narrative. well, ok, i've been to wikipedia about energeia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potentiality_and_actuality#Energeia), and while it's not fun to have homework prep a book, it's fun to learn a thing for the sake of a good read

points seem illustratable by the table of contents and the first page of the book:


are you already tired? diminish (or equalize) your fears:


that's why they paint him next to other people like gass and dfw and pynchon (pynchon also has a new book (http://www.amazon.com/Bleeding-Edge-Thomas-Pynchon/dp/1594204233/), but i know which pynchon book interests this board)

i'd enjoy bookclubbing this with someone here. seems unlikely but could happen. publishers weekly review (http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-226-07899-1) for basic info
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: jenkins on October 21, 2013, 04:23:14 PM
^^ haven't bought it, haven't read it  :oops:

ahhhem. all the readers are crazy today of course, because there's a new haruki murakami short story in the new yorker, and this is how it begins:

He woke to discover that he had undergone a metamorphosis and become Gregor Samsa.


tl;rl (too long;reading later)
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: jenkins on October 21, 2013, 10:53:17 PM
don't think anyone anticipated the smash hit of my bookclub (jk)

giving myself an excuse to do this. everyone knows murakami? i'm going to quote him, so --

Samsa had no idea where he was, or what he should do. All he knew was that he was now a human whose name was Gregor Samsa. And how did he know that? Perhaps someone had whispered it in his ear while he lay sleeping? But who had he been before he became Gregor Samsa? What had he been?

defines the nature of this piece: the character begins as the demetamorphosized(sp?) version of the metamorphosis character gregor samsa. he doesn't know anything about himself except he's human, and his room doesn't tell him anything (eerie)

Samsa looked down in dismay at his naked body. How ill-formed it was! Worse than ill-formed. It possessed no means of self-defense. Smooth white skin (covered by only a perfunctory amount of hair) with fragile blue blood vessels visible through it; a soft, unprotected belly; ludicrous, impossibly shaped genitals; gangly arms and legs (just two of each!); a scrawny, breakable neck; an enormous, misshapen head with a tangle of stiff hair on its crown; two absurd ears, jutting out like a pair of seashells. Was this thing really him? Could a body so preposterous, so easy to destroy (no shell for protection, no weapons for attack), survive in the world? Why hadn’t he been turned into a fish? Or a sunflower? A fish or a sunflower made sense. More sense, anyway, than this human being, Gregor Samsa.

lol. murakami! jealous to the fullest. samsa learns his human body and its operations, since he's not a bug anymore. murakami is  excellent at giving the conception of being human an artistic pulse. it's quite amazing and hilarious

(mentioning a hilarious bird paranoia.)

“Is this the Samsa residence?” the woman said, craning her head up to look at him. Then she twisted her body all over. Much the way the earth twists during a violent earthquake.

how can murakami do that??? how can he so effortlessly blend? i enjoy all kinds of writing, as with movies, and i can't help being surprised and delighted by people who are line-for-line great

Samsa closed the door behind her. She stood there, looking him up and down. It seemed that his gown and slippers had aroused her suspicions.
interpreting mechanics of social interaction. i'm cracking up

Once again, the woman writhed suddenly. Samsa had no idea what this action meant or what its purpose was. Yet he was drawn by instinct to the complex sequence of movements.

notice: the earthquake metaphor that enticed me earlier is now becoming important. murakami's examination and investigation of what it means to be human and how humans interpret the world and interpret each other is so good

Back bent, the young woman took the heavy black bag in her right hand and toiled up the stairs, much like a crawling insect.
the insect reason -- idk what to say, i'm dying. "There was so much in this world that he had to learn." i'm laughing so much

“Just talk?”

“There is so much I want to ask you,” Samsa said.

“About what?”

“About this world. About you. About me. I feel like there are so many things we need to talk about. Tanks, for example. And God. And brassieres. And locks.”

the romance, of course! earning its title

Samsa certainly had no idea what lay ahead. He was in the dark about everything: the future, of course, but the present and the past as well. What was right, and what was wrong? Just learning how to dress was a riddle.

it's true, right? murakami is using a fiction story, based on a fiction story that blended the bizarre with the ordinary, to blend the ordinary with the bizarre

“Look out for birds,” he called after her. She turned and nodded. Then she walked out to the street.
^^lol. certain running jokes/themes i'm omitting for the sake of people who haven't read this, but i already mentioned the bird one and it makes me laugh every time

Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: polkablues on October 21, 2013, 11:38:08 PM
I love Murakami's prose, but his plotting has a tendency to disappear up its own ass. It works fine in short story form, but in my limited experience with his novels, it makes them a little unbearable.
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: jenkins on October 22, 2013, 12:16:03 AM
aww. to which book are you referring? he's numerous. maybe it was a wacky one? oh wait. maybe it was a wackier one?

as an adult he went to a ball game and decided to become a writer. that's how it happened, not that he wanted to be a writer since he was little and kept reading proust or etc. part of what makes him captivating is his unique life-learned perspective, and his interests in broad cultures (as opposed to a dominant lit culture orientation). true enough, he pisses off certain serious literature people. for example: the nobel. everyone knows his nobel will come, and some people can't believe that hasn't already happened, and some people don't want it to
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: polkablues on October 22, 2013, 12:26:25 AM
To be fair, I've only read 1Q84 and about half of Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Like I said, the actual writing is fantastic, the ideas and themes are strong, I just question his capability (or possibly his desire) to frame them into a narrative. If he were to abandon plot altogether, I think he would be entirely in his element and I would enjoy his novels much more.
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: Lottery on October 22, 2013, 02:20:15 AM
Yes, I agree entirely. I far prefer Murakami's short stories to his novels.
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: jenkins on October 22, 2013, 04:51:08 AM
crazy talk

i'm blaming 1Q84
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: xerxes on October 22, 2013, 10:47:43 AM
To be fair, I've only read 1Q84 and about half of Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Like I said, the actual writing is fantastic, the ideas and themes are strong, I just question his capability (or possibly his desire) to frame them into a narrative. If he were to abandon plot altogether, I think he would be entirely in his element and I would enjoy his novels much more.

I would suggest giving some of his shorter novels a try. South of the Border, West of the Sun is one of my favorites.
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: Lottery on October 22, 2013, 06:01:48 PM
crazy talk

i'm blaming 1Q84

I wouldn't be a proper fan of his work if it wasn't for Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman which is just fantastic.
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: jenkins on October 22, 2013, 06:28:46 PM
my point: happy you're reading and talking about reading! however you see it, glad you're seeing it

blind willow, sleeping woman for the curious (is your life ebooked? recommended)

but idk 'bout curiousness 'cause no one seems interested in the short i linked. it is indeed a short. i'm blaming new yorker
Title: Re: franzen has a reputation. anyway, this is a topic about words
Post by: BB on October 22, 2013, 10:00:58 PM
I'm interested! I just don't have much to say (anymore).
Title: Re: someone pointed a gun at all the books, is that rude? seems kinda pretty
Post by: jenkins on November 19, 2013, 01:43:19 AM
recently my book reading has been roadblocked. because i have a bookstack and i was multireading and anyway things spiraled then froze. today i thought "what the fuck is going on with me and book reading" then of course i wanted to get back in action. i don't like it when i'm not book reading

charles willeford's i was looking for a street had been sitting in my bookstack and i started that, then i felt like reading a pulp novel

pulp novel -- i've arrived at a bookclub idea. check it out. how's it look? does it look pretty good? you know the dress. you know the suit. you know the cigarettes, the bars and beaches and thugs and mysteries and etc. this bookclub idea can seduce someone(s) here maybe. it's fun and easy. not all bookclub ideas are fun and easy. the ones i've mentioned here previously aren't fun or easy. soon(ish) i'm going to read philip roth's sabbath's theater, which is 464 pages and that's notsobad, so drenk and i can chat it

idk, seems possible to hear "oh, i'll read this with you"


jim thompson, you know him? he wrote the killer inside me, pop 1280, the getaway, the grifters. those were turned into movies. i like him a lot. he worked with kubrick also. you can wiki him:

a swell-looking babe has that kinda funny title, people on amazon like it, it's cheap, and it's 160 pages. so it's a bookclub possibility. here's its description from amazon:

It was supposed to be only a temporary job--something to pay the bills until Dusty could get his feet back on the ground and raise enough money for medical school. After all, there's nothing wrong with being a bellboy at a respectable hotel like the Manton--that is, until she came along.

Marcia Hillis. The perfect woman. Beautiful. Experienced. Older and wiser. The only woman to ever measure up to that other her--the one whose painful rejection Dusty can't quite put from his mind.

But while Dusty has designs on Marcia, Marcia has an agenda of her own. One that threatens to pull the Manton inside-out, use Dusty up for all he's worth and leave him reeling and on the run, the whole world at his heels.

A richly-imagined crime narrative of the Oedipal and betrayal, A SWELL-LOOKING BABE is Thompson at his very best--a cornerstone in Thompson's enduring legacy as the Dimestore Dostoyevsky of American fiction.

hell yeah. andalso,

today i learned about charles williams. he's option b. here's how wiki describes him:

Of Williams's twenty-two novels, sixteen were paperback originals—eleven of them Gold Medals; he is described by Gorman as "the best of all the Gold Medal writers." Pulp historian Woody Haut calls Williams the "foremost practitioner" of the style of suspense that typified American pulp literature from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s: "So prolific and accomplished a writer was Charles Williams that he single-handedly made many subsequent pulp culture novels seem like little more than parodies." Fellow hardboiled author John D. MacDonald cites him as one of the most undeservedly neglected writers of his generation. O'Brien, singling him out as especially "overdue" for "wider appreciation," describes Williams as a stylist consistently faithful to "the narrative values which make his books so entertaining and his present neglect so inexplicable."

As of mid-2006, only three of Williams's novels are in print in the United States: River Girl, Nothing in Her Way (1953), and A Touch of Death (1954). As of 2013, sixteen of Williams's novels were released as e-books by Mysterious Press.

he sounds like a terrific find. i haven't seen movie versions of him, of which dead calm is supposedly the best, and i haven't read him either. has anyone read him? i clicked amazon links and read descriptions and feel most interested in


177 pages. amazon users don't seem thrilled by it, but they don't seem thrilled by him in general. he seems kinda off the map. the diamond bikini's description:

Raised at the racetrack, a boy comes to live on a Texas farm

Billy doesn’t know how to read a book, but give him a racing form and he can tell you everything about a pony that you’d ever want to know. He and his father live on the road, traveling from Aqueduct to Hialeah and back again, until an overzealous Welfare lady demands they settle somewhere more wholesome than the track. Not knowing anyplace wholesome, Billy’s father takes him to Texas instead, to live on his brother Sagamore’s farm.
There Billy meets bootleggers, gangsters, and the beautiful Miss Choo-Choo Caroline, a Chicago stripper who is wearing nothing but a tiny, diamond-encrusted G-string when she disappears. Uncle Sagamore, an enterprising brute, sees this as a chance for profit. For a boy with gambling in his veins, there could be quite a lot to learn.

let's see how this goes. if you've read this far, good start to the club imo
Title: Re: someone pointed a gun at all the books, is that rude? seems kinda pretty
Post by: jenkins on November 24, 2013, 07:39:16 PM
you know, i think there's definitely a positive to the failure of ^that particular bookclub. i both always want to read a crime novel and never want to read a crime novel. so i'm all fuck it anyway and today i bought a poetry book instead. mhmm


(edit) you can't ^ on a new page but i'm going to idgaf the situation. have you noticed my day is grumpy? yeah. so, poetry. so poetry, of course
Title: Re: books vs films: the infographic
Post by: jenkins on November 29, 2013, 02:04:53 PM

not sure how this was "scored" and it's not an important article. someone made this internet fluff and i'm being chatty

with this, mendes was born fucked. did anyone go see james franco's as i lay dying? is it out? does anyone care? i can't imagine someone read as i lay dying and thought "oh this should be a movie" and i can't imagine the same for revolutionary road. i didn't see the mendes version. no part of me felt i had to. i don't care when this is done (franco is making the sound and the fury now........) and i don't become mad. i just don't see them. i just don't care

there could be an interesting conversation about jurassic park the book vs jurassic park the movie. intention and perception. presentation and ability. but idk, i had both around the same time years ago, and both artists have notable talents, but i can't really buy into book over movie here

lol. i've never read or thought about reading lotr. but it's so popular as a book! apparently not as respected as the movies however. hmm

these were my favorite bars. they're both so well respected and i guess no one can figure out who to respect more. nice
Title: Re: the notable japanese movie magazine, what's that called?
Post by: jenkins on December 09, 2013, 07:40:56 PM
sideswiping my neveralive book topic by asking if anyone knows

the japanese equivalent/similar version of sight & sound or cahiers du cinema? i've been curious about it. haven't found its name. the big cinephile magazine of japan, i feel like one must exist
Title: Re: pondering american books about [surprise me]
Post by: jenkins on December 14, 2013, 01:50:24 PM
with this you get to tell me what to read. i think some of you like bossing around and some are curious about bossing around and some think it'd be funny to boss around (i think it's funny)

please be bossy, tell me what to read:

tampa by alissa nutting
^a middle-school female teacher seduces a student. inspired by true american events. its potential strikes me as irl crazy. people are reading and liking it

lucky man by ben tanner
^i forget where i heard about this. it's now a $3 gamble. i sampled "Gabe was a god. Well, Gabe is a god, but I was thinking about the first time I saw him. It must have been eighth grade and there they were, he and Jake, wrestling right out in front of the school. It was the kind of sunny day where the haze in the air seems to dance from one ray of the light to the next, and in the middle of all that dancing were Gabe and Jake throwing each other around, rolling in the dirt, bouncing off the statues of long obscure soldiers, and laughing away the whole time like they were on to something that the rest of us were just never going to understand."

low down death right easy by j. david osborne
^i like the publisher and this seems kinda random to me so i like it. "It's about meth, fishing, trash American culture and young adult despair. Imagine a Raymond Carver or Jim Thompson for the text message age and that would only begin to get it."--KRIS SAKNUSSEMM, author of Reverend America "

genie by richard powers
^he's called the smartest guy writing, by people who see him as the smartest guy writing. that's not a bad rep. but like, i wonder what his prose is like. i could (tom)cruise for $3

gil the nihilist: a sitcom by sean kilpatrick
^right away i'm jealous he used screenplay format. worried i'll read it and think "oh i can do that, i should do that." i appreciate your style, kilpatrick. butler wrote about his year's reads for vice, and said "Sean Kilpatrick remains one of my favorite working writers, and this may be his most fucked yet. Set up as the shooting script for a sitcom revolving around three anarchic, misogynistic, desperately horny and beautiful pieces of shit, Gil the Nihilist lays it on thick from the first page and only gets more and more pigged out and black to the heart as it goes. Most any sentence Kilpatrick piles on is one you could get tattooed on your gums: 'I bow to fast food. My smelted teensy ritual. It vacations in your catheter. The animal supplement smacks of copyright. Go on, shine what bucks you. No one takes their vitamins alone.'"
Title: Re: pondering american books about [surprise me]
Post by: BB on December 15, 2013, 04:36:20 PM
richard powers
i wonder what his prose is like.

I read Galatea 2.2 a little while back. Heady stuff. His prose is unflowery, straightforward -- perhaps even surprisingly so. Read him, why not?
Title: Re: pondering american books about [surprise me]
Post by: jenkins on December 15, 2013, 05:25:57 PM
decided. thanks!
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: jenkins on December 23, 2013, 02:40:42 PM
movie people know him as béla tarr's writer, lit people know him as László Krasznahorkai (<-- permanent c+p name for me, tbh)

newly translated book came out recently, i don't read many review things for movies or books, but year end lists do their job. now i'm bubbling with excitement

A novel in 17 episodes, Seiobo There Below explores our insatiable desire to be loved, to achieve transcendence through any means, and to glimpse, however fleetingly, the sacred—and why we continually fail in our attempts to attain satisfaction. A kind of counterweight to Krasznahorkai’s other works so far available in English, which deal in madness and melancholy, Seiobo There Below is my favorite of the five and a major achievement for its author, its translator, and its editor.
I reviewed Seiobo There Below for The Coffin Factory earlier this year, and now can only say that even among Krasznahorkai’s already magnificent oeuvre, this is a novel with very few rivals.
Seiobo There Below is a colossal work that stands on its own, seemingly outside of time. Otherwise known for his dark, apocalyptic visions, Krasznahorkai has pushed himself to the limits of the imagination in this extraordinary study on the nature of the sacred in art and civilization. As the protagonists of these short works of incantatory prose search for a higher meaning in art, they stumble over a luminous immanence they can barely countenance.
(lit critics who made lists for conversationalreading.com)

i have to read this. always knew. now i'm realizing i of course have to read this asap. Krasznahorkai isn't a quick or easy read, but he's a great read, and maybe someone here wants to read this along with me and our sense of community will bolster our reading aspirations. that can happen
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: Axolotl on December 23, 2013, 11:30:08 PM
I'll read it, I've wanted to get into Hungarian literature for a while and it's a choice between this guy or jumping into Peter Esterhazy's 1000-page Celestial Harmonies which interests me a lot. How about february?
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: jenkins on December 24, 2013, 01:05:24 AM
please and thank you(!) february is a great choice

are you reading it in primary language? jealous if so. it's 465 pages translated. let's give it the whole month, february is tiny with days and the book is big. excited for us
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: Axolotl on December 24, 2013, 02:12:31 AM

are you reading it in primary language?
Haha no, I don't read Hungarian.
Have you read any other Krasznahorkai books? I'll hopefully have read Satantango by feb, I ordered it a week or so ago.
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: jenkins on December 24, 2013, 02:33:28 AM
i read the melancholy of resistance. it's like, very impressive. krasznahorkai and thomas bernhard are very impressive i know for sure, and i know i want to read more of them. more and more and more

what's your reading language?
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: Axolotl on December 24, 2013, 02:56:41 AM
what's your reading language?
I've read Concrete and The Loser by Bernhard. I really liked them both, and I'll be reading others of his whenever I need another dose of disappointed, angry virtuousity. Given that he's a favorite writer of one of my favorite writers(Sebald) pretty much guarantees I'll end up reading and liking everything he's written.
Knowing newarly nothing about Krasznahorkai, I was under the(probably wrong) impression he was a very different writer than Bernhard. Like dense, Proustian sentences, multiple, shifting narrative voices, casual surrealims etc.
What similarities did you find?
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: jenkins on December 24, 2013, 10:43:32 AM
english, that's what i read too. that's the only language i know, tbh

mmmm you're a lit person!!(!!) i'm happy. we're 3/3 in lit interests. i mean all you gotta do is say sebald to tether our friendship. rings of saturn has one of my favorite quotes. again and again i read it

Perhaps we all lose our sense of reality to the precise degree to which we are engrossed in our own work, and perhaps that is why we see in the increasing complexity of our mental constructs a means for greater understanding, even while intuitively we know that we shall never be able to fathom the imponderables that govern our course through life.

krasznahorkai is quite different from bernhard in themes and focus. they share cognitive grammar and long sentences. i brought up bernhard because when i said i've only read the melancholy of resistance i thought also of bernhard, and i've only read corrections. two writers from the top shelf whom i've only sampled and can't wait to keep reading
Title: Re: seiobo there below related story about human computers
Post by: jenkins on December 29, 2013, 02:06:05 PM
this screencap demonstrates i've made the purchase

andbut the secret evidence here is i had to call amazon. thing is, i spoke to a human with a computer voice.  honestly. the person on the other phone was definitely a human but definitely sounded like a computer. what's the device's name and what are the intentions and is it a personal choice? idk. that was intense future stuff
Title: Re: seiobo there below related story about human computers
Post by: Axolotl on December 30, 2013, 12:38:28 AM
That's probably an offshore call center. A friend of mine is a manager at one of those and he told me the operators are taught some unholy mixture of southern and Boston accent.
Title: Re: seiobo there below related story about human computers
Post by: jenkins on December 30, 2013, 09:36:34 AM
woa. that's also intense future stuff. yesterday i google'd for info about what i heard, but all i could find was an article about ebay using speech modulators for its customer reps. the goal is to provide emotional distance during the conversation. so they sound like computers to help emotions. i can't remember my search phrase, i can't find an article again, i sound imaginary or insane. over a computer. perfect
Title: Re: topic is lit news about a gun in a vagina
Post by: jenkins on January 08, 2014, 05:58:03 PM
seems best to begin at the beginning with this

Jennifer McCarthy, a former wife of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy, was arrested in a bizarre assault case in Santa Fe, N.M., last week. She was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and released on $5,000 bail.

ah! terrible it happened, terrible i know about it. she's cormac's ex-wf and she made a mistake. you don't have to tell me :(

According to arrest records, McCarthy and her current boyfriend, whose name has been redacted, were arguing about space aliens Saturday morning.

ideological fights with a romantic partner are so difficult and challenging, we can all relate. seems highly possible the bf was making derogatory comments about any number of space aliens (obvious)

The boyfriend alleges that McCarthy went into her bedroom alone


and came out wearing lingerie,

typical included detail

with "a silver hand gun"

of course there was a gun

"in her vagina."

fascinating, huh. tbh i will remember this story and its quiet end

The boyfriend says she made sexual actions with the gun, then removed it and pointed it at him, saying: "Who is crazy, you or me?" According to his account, he took the gun from her and threw it in the toilet; after she attempted to retrieve it, he took the gun again and put it in a trash can outside. The police were then called.

seems like an ok question to ask

Title: Re: topic is lit news about a gun in a vagina
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on January 08, 2014, 06:16:05 PM
This thread has finally evolved into full-blown click-bait. I approve.
Title: Re: topic is lit news about a gun in a vagina
Post by: Lottery on January 08, 2014, 06:53:38 PM
Hahah, holy shit. I thought McCarthy dumped her because he was a deadbeat loner but I guess craziness is a good reason too.
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: Axolotl on January 11, 2014, 05:38:06 AM
Seiobo There Below just came in the mail.
The epigraph made me more excited than I thought it was possible for an epigraph to make me about reading a book.  That epigraph is cooler than epigraphs have a right to be.
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: jenkins on January 11, 2014, 01:44:30 PM

excited you're here btw. excited about reading seiobo. anyone in our lives who isn't reading seiobo should be jealous of us for having someone with whom to read seiobo. probs. that's probs true. hell yeah

last bought the mongolian conspiracy

because katherine silver translated it, from rafael bernal -- who appears to've been a mysterious slightly wtf writer, this is set in mexico city and stars a cop (+hooker side character[right?]), and silver has also translated césar aira, horacio catellanos moya, daniel sada, and i haven't read it but i think it's impressive she also translated il postino, which was made into a movie in 1994 (the movie is about a poet and a postman and the postman learns poetry things and makes observations about the ocean, it's emotional), and anyway a mongolian conspiracy is afoot
Title: Re: Seiobo There Below — László Krasznahorkai (group read)
Post by: Axolotl on January 12, 2014, 04:42:51 AM
Thanks for helping remind me that Aira had 2 new books translated last year
Title: Re: what a trailer to a book is like
Post by: jenkins on April 12, 2014, 02:14:44 PM
what a trailer to a book is like

[ Invalid YouTube link ]

(highly likely that most people in here have their names google monitored and will know it was shared at xixax for example, btw)
Title: Re: what a trailer to a book is like
Post by: Axolotl on April 12, 2014, 02:35:33 PM
Title: Re: what a trailer to a book is like
Post by: jenkins on April 12, 2014, 02:58:46 PM
can't believe they left out james franco! he must have been busy
(edit: you removed franco from your post, which i'll interpret as a positive response)

i guess maybe they're all idiots and bad writers and should expect a genocide. you and i both read frequently and sure enough the group can often evoke that famous capote quote about kerouac, in which they appear more like typists than writers, but i admire them at large in a kerouacian way, for their vibrancy, attempts at reconciling themselves with the world, and their unshackled investigation into the process of writing. it isn't always easy or rewarding reading, but i find flowers in the concrete all the time. most people aren't born great writers, and i still like to hear about their lives, their passions aspirations pulses ruminations curiosities etc

cicero has said similar things:
What people must understand about the Beats is that it isn’t just about the writing; it is about a complete life, a literary life, an artful life, a life of creation.

(^he's not in the yolo book)
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Axolotl on April 16, 2014, 10:32:10 AM
Forgot to mention this in the pataphysics thread. Thought it's appropriate here too-



Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on April 16, 2014, 01:42:52 PM
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Axolotl on June 18, 2014, 08:20:47 AM
Twists of Hate
via Bookforum (http://www.bookforum.com/inprint/021_02/13258)

Two fictional takes on the war in Iraq
William T. Vollmann


“WE HAD REACHED THE CROSS ROADS before noon and had shot a French civilian by mistake. . . . Red shot him. It was the first man he had killed that day and he was very pleased.” So far, this incident, and the style in which it is told, would be appropriate for either Redeployment or The Corpse Exhibition, two new works of fiction about the Iraq war, the first by Phil Klay, a former marine who served in Iraq during the surge, and the second by Hassan Blasim, an Iraqi filmmaker and writer who moved to Finland as a refugee in 2004. In fact it comes from a late Hemingway story called “Black Ass at the Cross Roads.” The setting is France, sometime after D-day, when the Nazis are fleeing. The narrator’s business is to kill them as they go by.

By the standards of the Iraq war, he turns out to be a bleeding heart. Even after his contingent ambushes a half-track “full of combat S.S.,” the worst of the worst, he feels uncomfortable about keeping souvenirs from their corpses: “It’s bad luck in the end. I had stuff for a while that I wished I could have sent back afterwards or to their families.”

Of course, Hemingway was no career soldier; he was a writer and therefore, never mind his tough-guy stuff, a professional sensitive. But he was around war enough to be grieved, hardened, enlightened, and damaged by it, and to write about it movingly. This essay is not about him except insofar as he can be a foil to the other two writers under discussion. I need not discuss either his greatness or his glaring faults except to say in regard to the former that he surely remains a natural standard of comparison for modern war literature, which is why I mention him now, and in regard to the latter that (excluding much mawkishness about gender relations) sentimentality rarely figures high on his list of official sins.

But “there is something about a man shot off a bicycle at close range that is too intimate.” And one of the fleeing German cyclists they hit “was not dead but was shot through both lungs. . . . He had a nice face and he did not look more than seventeen. . . . He was trying to take it the way he’d always heard you should. . . . Claude bent over and kissed him on the forehead.”

Since that story was written, we’ve marched considerably deeper into the darkness.

In one of the stories in Redeployment, an Iraqi child plants an IED. “We blew it in place right after the kid left,” says a soldier character. “Now, I’d have shot that fucking kid. I’m mad I didn’t. If I caught that kid today, I’d fucking hang him from the telephone wires outside his parents’ house and have target practice till there’s nothing left.”


I BELIEVE THAT BOTH of our Iraq wars have been unjust wars, fought for specious reasons, and therefore productive of great evil. It is an understatement to say that Redeployment and The Corpse Exhibition fortify my opinion.

What Klay himself thinks about the current Iraq war I don’t know for certain. Since the most haunting aspect of Redeployment, for me at least, is what its “message” might be, I have pored through it for clues. The dedication of Redeployment is “for my mother and father, who had three sons join the military in a time of war.” But if you read this book through, you will be hard put to find a character who feels enthusiastic about the American “accomplishment” in Iraq, no matter how many times he redeploys. To tell the truth, Klay’s soldiers are equal-opportunity haters. They hate Iraqis, and they despise the fat, self-indulgent civilians like me who are against these wars, not to mention all the other fat civilians who act proud of American soldiers and grateful for their service. (Did I leave anyone out?) Hence this soldier’s summation of Iraq Veterans Against the War: “We lived in a place that was totally different from anything those hippies in that audience could possibly understand. All those jerks who think they’re so good. . . . Alex is gonna go and act like a big hero, telling everybody how bad we were. We weren’t bad. I wanted to shoot every Iraqi I saw, every day. And I never did. Fuck him.”

That “place that was totally different,” where is it? Sure, Iraq is part of it, maybe even in the center of it—the Iraq that Bush and Cheney made, with considerable post-invasion assistance from angry, pitiless Muslim fundamentalists. All of Hassan Blasim’s characters live there; one of them is described thus: “He was used to surprises, and his experiences had taught him not to waste time looking for reasons for his predicaments and to look for the emergency exit instead.”

Sometimes, this place also incorporates parts of our own United States. In the story “After Action Report,” an Iraqi boy has “grabbed his dad’s AK” and fires. In self-defense, a marine “shot the kid three times before he reached the ground. . . . The kid’s mother ran out. . . . She came just in time to see bits of him blow out of his shoulders.” The marine shooter is traumatized by the gaze of the dead boy’s little sister. A staff sergeant consoles a soldier: In two and a half months of deployment, “how much fucked-up shit have we seen? And she’s been here for years. . . . Look, this isn’t even the wildest Fallujah’s been. . . . Al-Qaeda used to leave bodies in the street, cut off people’s fingers for smoking. . . . You don’t think the kids see?” Then, with no transition, he begins to talk about home: “When I was a kid I knew about all the shit that was going on in my neighborhood. When I was ten this one guy raped a girl and the girl’s brother was in a gang and they spread him out over the hood of a car and cut his balls off. . . . And Fallujah’s way crazier than Newark. . . . This girl is probably fucked up in ways we can’t even imagine. She’s not your sister. She’s just not.”

But this “different place”—this realm of casual nightmare violence that makes Klay’s protagonists so sad, stressed out, and belligerent—is in the end divorced from geography. After the traumas of war, Klay’s soldiers inhabit this place wherever they go. It’s a mind-set in which distinctions between “us” and “them” collapse, and in which the possibility for even the most basic forms of human connection and sensitivity, except perhaps among fellow soldiers, becomes impossible.


ANOTHER STORY from Redeployment:Just before a young man leaves for Iraq, his Vietnam-vet father regales him with an anecdote about a certain bar (perhaps in Bangkok, where I have seen comparable demonstrations) where the girls can suck quarters up their vaginas. “I had this friend,” continues the father, who heated up a stack of quarters with his cigarette lighter “till they’re branding iron hot. Then he calls over a girl. . . . It smelled like sizzling steak.”

Where did that man’s malice come from? Does anybody care? “She’s not your sister. She’s just not.”


WHY ISN'T SHE? The reason might have something to do with whatever you saw back home in Newark. Once you get to Bangkok or Saigon (or Fallujah), there might not be much love lost.

When our soldiers are sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, about whose people and customs they know very little to begin with, that’s got to make it worse. Our America-centered media and education system poorly prepare our children to grow up into informed instruments of American global power. Whatever your opinion may be of American global power, I hope you will agree that ignorance and isolation hardly facilitate achievement.

Let me quote a cynical exchange between two of Klay’s government-subsidized American do-gooders in Iraq:

“USAID claims agriculture should be employing thirty percent of the population,” I said.
“Right,” said Bob, “but the whole system broke down after we trashed the state-run industries.”
“Fantastic,” I said.
“It wasn’t my idea,” said Bob. “We remade the Ministry of Agriculture on free market principles, but the invisible hand of the market started planting IEDs.”
None of this is any compliment to the American ideologues and greedheads who remade the Ministry of Agriculture. What were their free-market principles, exactly? Who was supposed to benefit? Did they know or care what the Iraqis wanted?

When I visited Somalia as a journalist in 1992, I saw French soldiers buying fruit in the market, while the US Marines I wrote about were stuck in a sweltering stadium, with nowhere to go except on patrol (at which point we got shot at). They were supposed to be keeping the peace, confiscating weapons. Their job was impossible. “Don’t be surprised if you see tempers fray,” one soldier told me. “This ain’t our job. We only know how to kill.” And who can blame them? In a Klay story called “Prayer in the Furnace”—the most revealing of the collection, and perhaps the best—a trainer on escalation-of-force procedures, trying to teach restraint, gets shouted down by the colonel: “I’m not having any of my Marines die because they hesitated. . . . Marines do not fire warning shots.”

If I mean nothing to you and you make no sense to me and there’s a war, why should I fire a warning shot?

(As a matter of fact, the marines I briefly met in Somalia were heroically, almost inhumanly restrained.)


IF IT'S TRUE what the staff sergeant said, that “Fallujah’s way crazier than Newark”—and I certainly believe it—why, then, an Iraqi’s point of view on the war should be even bleaker and more brutal than a marine’s. Such indeed is the case with The Corpse Exhibition, whose stories are at times almost Hemingwayesque in their stripped-down style and content but more often employ surrealist techniques. The very first sentence of the first story sets the tone: “Before taking out his knife he said, ‘After studying the client’s file you must submit a brief note on how you propose to kill your first client and how you will display his body in the city.’” In another story, the narrator informs us toward the end: “I was killed by friendly fire, myself.”

The marines in Redeployment at least find occasional security in each other. They cry at each other’s funerals, keep each other company when their wives abandon them, take each other to strip clubs, and even sometimes feel guilty over each other’s deaths. “I will remember the sounds PFC made” as he died, one vet notes in acronym-numbed language while thinking of a fellow soldier fatally injured by a bomb. “I will remember that I was his NCO, so he was my responsibility. And I will remember PFC himself as though I loved him.”

Everybody in The Corpse Exhibition is far more alienated than that.

“Amid the panic, as men, women, and children trampled on each other to escape, Christ saw that his mother’s chair was empty, and he pressed the button” of his suicide vest. A young woman tells how her husband’s “killers had sent his body back decomposed and decapitated.” (During the Yugoslavian civil war I heard firsthand accounts of the same, often with the added refinement that the body would be mailed back in pieces, over a period of time.) “Everyone . . . ridiculed the woman’s story and claimed they had stories that were stranger, crueler, and more crazy.” An old woman interjects: “That’s a story? If I told my story to a rock, it would break its heart.”


LINE FOR LINE and paragraph for paragraph, Blasim writes more interestingly than Klay, whose prose tends to be flat. The quoted dialogue about “the invisible hand of the market” is an adequate sample of his style. Blasim’s ability as a wordsmith is not necessarily superior to Klay’s, his sentences no better for the way they convey what they say, but his content is more strange and striking. “When we were in high school we used to fuck a prostitute who would give us her customers’ shoes.” “I found myself sitting on the ground, a few paces away from my own burning body!” He is a magical realist whose magic is the contagion of death. His people are mostly civilians, and they are all ruined by the war and its aftermath. His imagination is fertile in gruesome phantasmagorias. The dead speak, and cannibalize one another. A man wakes up with an inappropriate smile on his face, wanders around trying to hide it from his family and maybe get rid of it, then becomes a victim of violence. Certain members of a family can make knives disappear or reappear, and when one of these adepts, kidnapped and tortured by terrorists because he has dealt in pornography, is condemned to have his arms cut off, he vanishes all their swords and knives, so “they decided to amputate his arms with bullets. . . . They set fire to him and chanted, ‘God is most great.’”

As you can see, Blasim has a sense of humor. He must have learned his jokes from the Grim Reaper. Here’s one story that will give you a good laugh: A kidnapped man gets sold from one militant group to the next. Each time, they pose him in one of those nightmare confessional videos with which we are now all too familiar. First he is an Iraqi Army officer who has been raping and killing by order of the Americans, and his captors pose him by a bunch of severed human heads. Then he is an Iranian-sponsored murderer, then a Sunni terrorist, and so it goes. Finally he must act out the part of a bloodthirsty Afghan leader of Al Qaeda; “they slaughtered the men in front of me like sheep as I . . . made threats against everyone in creation.” Blasim is an artist of the horrendously extraordinary.

As for Klay, although he has obviously drawn on the experiences of others for his protagonists, each of whom has a different army job and family background, the situations and characters feel somewhat homogeneous. This does not make me think less of him or his stories. In fact Redeployment is an enormously challenging book with which to engage. First it made me angry; then it made me think. There is very little hope in it, but much sincerity. One of his heroes declaims: “i dont feel bad about shooting mosques and never will they were insurgent ratholes every fucking one.” What can I do with this statement but grant it some sort of reality? Having been to a mosque or two in my time, I don’t believe that all mosques are insurgent ratholes. But I do believe that some Americans, who may or may not be soldiers, think so, and that I am hiding my head in the sand until I accept that they think so.


IN ONE OF Blasim’s most Borges-like stories, an Iraqi refugee tries to start a new life in Europe. “When he applied for asylum in Holland he also applied to change his name: from Salim Abdul Husain to Carlos Fuentes”—because, as his cousin advised him, “perhaps you should choose a brown name—a Cuban or Argentine name would suit your complexion, which is the color of burnt barley bread.” And so Carlos Fuentes marries a nice Dutch woman, and lives happily ever after until he leaps from his apartment window. His dreams of Iraq have gotten to him. In the final nightmare, he has become a terrorist with a rifle, killing children and everyone else “with skill and precision.” He finds himself taking aim at Salim Abdul Husain, who escapes him by jumping out the window.

In fact there is no escape, either for “them” or for “us.” I highly recommend both these books for their ability to make you feel the ghastliness of that “different place,” the place where “we” and “they” must now live out certain nightmares.

William T. Vollmann is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the seven-volume study of war and violence Rising Up and Rising Down (McSweeney's, 2002). His book Last Story and Other Stories will be published by Viking in July.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on June 18, 2014, 01:18:03 PM
for nonreaders: vollmann isn't only a politics/war writer, he's lived something like a dream life imo

this realm of casual nightmare
If I mean nothing to you and you make no sense to me and there’s a war, why should I fire a warning shot?
And so Carlos Fuentes marries a nice Dutch woman, and lives happily ever after until he leaps from his apartment window.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on September 11, 2014, 11:28:27 PM
to remember this, from new tab, which i think anyone here interested in the nature of young people writing for the pure joy of writing should read

But here’s the thing: Maybe I didn’t want to live in a city so much as observe one from a close distance, like in Sim City. Living in a city was like living multiple lives, each capable of crushing me. It meant forcing myself to meet people, impenetrable three-dimensional emotion factories, being nice to them because I never knew what being nice to them could lead to, parties to attend or job opportunities or collaborating on something or whatever else. The insane number of possibilities a city offered. Trying to compute that number in my head felt like a kind of string theory.

"impenetrable three-dimensional emotion factories" i can't help but take the kids seriously. this guy is my age btw, somewhere near my age
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on December 21, 2014, 06:41:52 PM
gif book is happening:


Dennis Cooper’s tenth novel bears all of the earmarks of his legendary and controversial work — intricate formal and stylistic play, disturbing content, an exploration of the borderline between fantasy and reality, concern for the emotions and dilemmas of youth, etc. — but it is both something unique in his body of writing and possibly something of a world’s first in the novel genre itself.

Instead of gathering materials from language, sentences, and the developmental character and narrative possibilities allowed and restricted by written fiction, Cooper has turned his characteristic inventiveness on the animated gif, employing gifs’ tightly wound, looping visual possibilities, nervous rhythms, tiny storylines, and their status as dismembered, twitching eye candy to compose a short novel of unexpected complexity, strangeness, poetry, and comedy.

"Zac’s Haunted House" is as fun and eerie to explore as its namesake attraction, and, the more closely one searches and decodes its carefully detailed sequences and construction, a deep and fraught fiction puzzle.

"Zac's Haunted House" will be available as a free download or to view online from January 15, 2015.

Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on February 08, 2015, 05:16:39 AM
when i get excited about a new literature essay book i get so excited

the new hot one now is

after sampling bastard out of carolina (http://www.amazon.com/Bastard-Out-Carolina-Dorothy-Allison/dp/0452297753), loving it, buying it, beginning to read it, and after thinking i'd right now want to read a murakami book i've never read, sampling after dark and sputnik sweetheart, adoring both of them with equal intensity, unable to decide on one, then remembering how i already bought-to-read bastard out of carolina and deciding not to buy a murakami, but getting myself all revved up on books again while feeling distant from real people who always seem to hurt me though not many people say they want to hurt people so that's mysterious, while feeling withdrawn, scared of life temporarily, i made my way back to books and their pretend people and their fascinating ideas and discussions and word orders, all us readers all of us want the world to be like our books, we wish it, we do, that's why we keep reading, anyway during all of this while i'm getting excited about books and reading again i think about the book i've always wanted to write, you know, the book i've said for all these years i'll write, which promise of a book has through my life taken various shapes and forms that haven't yet amounted to a finished book, while the thought of what my book might be was in my head i sampled the unspeakable, and right there on the first page i read


which aligns with growing thoughts i've had about what book i could finish, an idea for a book that could grow into the size of a book, since well you may not realize it but i'm an extremely emotional person who can't react the same every day since, looking at the world through my emotions, the world looks different to me every damn day, and all these other times i've begun a book in the first-person, how have i expected that to last???, even when i invent a character it doesn't last, because i can't continuously get inside myself or inside a character through the same window, aka my previous book plans haven't overall been realistic i don't think, and by the way i should mention i wouldn't any longer want to put together a collection of short stories, although that's already maybe possible, no, it's a novella i say now, aiming for ~20k words, i can do it, hell i bet i could've done it in the first-person, but my idea for today and i'm excited about it my idea is to begin to talk about myself in the third-person a bit i guess, the plan is to give the narrator one of those tones where they're describing people and what they're doing etc, the third-person omniscient narrator thing, and i think the idea of such a narrator will allow me to bypass the problem i have with regulating my emotions, since the emotions of this narrator exist only in their words and the observations they make, aka the narrator is fashioning it all together as a story but the narrator isn't me the narrator isn't real, the narrator is simply the idea of writing, and idk i'm liking that idea today is what i'm saying, i think i'm going to make a book out of it, although yeah i've said such things before and where's the book

i haven't pinpointed the story yet but i'm not worried about that, it's easy, i look back on my life and there it is. i'd say i'll update on the process but that'll give me stress so i won't say that or do that
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Axolotl on February 08, 2015, 11:16:07 AM
Here's Cesar Aira who's one of my personal writing heroes  talking about some of the stuff you mentioned (http://vimeo.com/117793736). He talks about how prevalent present tense is in fiction these days and connects it with our storytelling mechanisms being developed in childhood through cinema as opposed to story books in earlier times, and he talks about why he doesn't like first person. I half-agree with him on both parts. I don't think most people who write in first-person are good enough to write in first person and present tense can be a really lazy choice. Of course none of that matters if you're good, some of the GBOATs have been written in first person and present tense. But it's important to not let yourself fall into those traps for unmotivated reasons on your way to getting good. He might legitimately have forgotten how well he used first person in "How I Became a Nun" (it's right there in the title!) because he's written 3917 books. I think what Aira calls the "free indirect style" in Varamo is really the most exhilarating way to write these days. It's third person omniscient with the narrator able to do wild cosmic-scale perspective shifts instantaneouly.

Anyway good to read your post and best of luck.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: polkablues on February 08, 2015, 12:46:07 PM
I can't think of a single book I've read in present tense that wasn't a hack piece of shit. And first-person POV peaked with "The Things They Carried" and has been all downhill since then.

Enough negativity from me. Kick ass on the book, jenks.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Drenk on February 08, 2015, 04:30:03 PM
One of the best written book in the english language is in the present tense. Gravity's Rainbow. Some writers are just great.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Garam on February 09, 2015, 05:28:16 PM
Most of Trainspotting is, and it's pretty great. James Kelman's novels are good at this. And Alan Sillitoe.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: polkablues on February 09, 2015, 05:56:18 PM
So I guess the moral is, I need to read more better books.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: 03 on February 09, 2015, 10:40:46 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51t%2BeL2nsqL.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1935554131/ref=wl_it_dp_v_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=2NRQAP1F8P3NM&coliid=I213AB2WNUB8OP)
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on February 12, 2015, 08:10:03 PM
this is the poetry book (http://www.amazon.com/Bipolar-Cowboy-Noah-Cicero-ebook/dp/B00TCG3V7C/) and what's next is the beginning notes and i don't think you have to wonder if i like this writer and think he sometimes says what i want to say kind of thing:

Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: 03 on February 12, 2015, 08:37:58 PM
you should definitely talk more like that;;
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Drenk on February 13, 2015, 05:15:46 AM
This is not news, but I'm reading Mason & Dixon. Again. And it is wonderful. I'm reaching, but something Mason said made me think of this in The Master : If you figure a way to live without serving a master, any master, then let the rest of us know, will you? For you'd be the first person in the history of the world.

And the words of Pynchon:

« Someone owns you, Sir. He pays for your Meals and Lodging. He lends you out to others. What is that call'd, where you come from?"

"Why, and if you are free of such Arrangements," Mason shrugs, "hurrah thrice over and perhaps one day you may instruct all the rest of us in how, exactly. »

Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on March 05, 2015, 09:06:22 PM
i about fell out of my chair when i saw this --


and that's a completely true account of my reaction, except for the chair part. the amount of interest i have in this book does fine on its own but, mmmmmm, with that cover -- that's why bookshelves exist, right, put that fucker face out -- it's holographic (or whatever), if you can't tell -- that cover makes me like the book more because i like the cover

this is my current queue for books i want to read soon:
musical brain (pictured)
the dream of my return -- horacia castellanos moya, march 10 release. translated byyyyyyyy, yup. kat. her. ine. sil. ve. r.
to rewind, chris andrews did the translation for musical brain
to fast forward and rewind, only today did it click for me that of course i've heard of your face tomorrow. but yeah, those 1242 pages have intimidated me. can't find anyone who's read it, but i continue to look forward to and be excited about dark back of time

if soon i seem more poetic and appreciative of life, and even appreciative of its problems, that'll no doubt be because i'll've read these three books by spanish-language writers, who are always my favorite writers, they just always are. in fact two of these writers are already two of my favorite writers
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on March 07, 2015, 12:49:56 PM
yeahbut, this is what happens. this is what happens: currently being enticed by yet another book, and i can't decide the next one i want to read. that's a small potato problem i know, but all the small potato problems together really cramp up my reading plans

look at this fucker:

this is what's been said:
Rodrigo Rey Rosa is the most rigorous writer of my generation, the most transparent, the one that knows best how to weave his stories, and the most luminous of all. —Roberto Bolaño

this is what it's about:
In the vein of the writings of Paul Bowles, Paul Theroux, and V. S. Naipaul, The African Shore marks a major new installment in the genre of dystopic travel fiction. Rodrigo Rey Rosa, prominent in today’s Guatemalan literary world and an author of growing international reputation, presents a tale of alienation, misrecognition, and intrigue set in and around Tangier. He weaves a double narrative involving a Colombian tourist pleasurably stranded in Morocco and a young shepherd who dreams of migrating to Spain and of “riches to come.” At the center of their tale is an owl both treasured and coveted.

The author addresses the anxiety, distrust, and potential for violence that characterize the border of all borders: the strait that divides Africa and Europe, where the waters of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic meet. His often-remarked prose style, at once rich and spare, endows his work with remarkable elegance. Rey Rosa generates a powerful reality within his imagined world, and he maintains a narrative tension to the haunting conclusion, raising small and large questions that linger in the reader’s mind long after the final page.

if you don't want to read it i think you got a personal problem. i do want to read it so i got a personal problem, as described. goddamnit
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Axolotl on March 07, 2015, 01:00:35 PM
You can fill a library floor with the writers bolaño has called 'the [insert superlative] writer of my generation.' He's like a 15 year old who recently discovered the term 'GOAT'. I love it.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: 03 on March 07, 2015, 01:19:21 PM
Quote from: jncos
but all the small potato problems together really cramp up my reading plans
woulda been better if you replaced 'plans' with 'pants', which is what i originally read.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on April 14, 2015, 01:31:49 PM
i was sitting alone there in the diner having a parade in my emotions to celebrate the upcoming release of harper lee's go set a watchman, thinking how it's going to be an important cultural moment of the year, a book that'll get people talking about books, then since i haven't read about the book i traveled to wikipedia, and soon landed on this nytimes article that reminded me there tend to be some various reasons that moments worth celebrating are also worth questioning:

Harper Lee’s Condition Debated by Friends, Fans and Now State of Alabama

investigators interviewed Ms. Lee last month at the assisted living facility where she resides
And the spectacle of a very public debate about Ms. Lee’s mental condition and true intentions has added an operatic blemish to what should have been a triumphant moment for HarperCollins and the millions of fans who have clamored for decades for Ms. Lee to produce another book.

A lot is at stake, including the legacy of one of the country’s most beloved authors. Many wonder whether “Watchman,” which was rejected by a publisher in the mid-1950s and then rewritten as “Mockingbird,” will turn out to be a flawed, amateur work when it is released in July, and a disappointing coda to a career that has been defined by one outsize hit.
Ms. Lee — known to many as Nelle, her legal first name — had a stroke in 2007 and has severe hearing and vision problems.
When he asked her about her new novel, he said she seemed to be “in her own world” at first, and asked, “What novel?” Reminding her of “Watchman,” he told her “You must be so proud,” and she responded with “I’m not so sure anymore,” Mr. Flynt recalled.
who visited Ms. Lee last fall after the death of her sister, and said she was largely uncommunicative, lying in a fetal position in bed in the middle of the afternoon.

but oh idk, these are my favorite quotes:
he is not prepared to judge whether Ms. Lee is capable of consenting to publish the book. “It’s a call only God or a doctor can make,” he said. “I am more concerned that Nelle is content than the discussion of her cognizance.”
“I just don’t know why people would be so negative,” he said. “We are a poor rural county and this new book puts us on the map again.”
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on April 18, 2015, 09:14:10 PM
^is this old news to everyone? when i brought up harper lee irl recently, i was made fun of for chatting old news

so i bought adventures in immediate irreality (http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Immediate-Irreality-Max-Blecher-ebook/dp/B00STV6YGG/) and it's so good. it's going to become like the book of disquiet to me i predict, in that i might not ever finish it but i'll continue to think of it and read from it when i need to remember the way it looks at the world

i don't think you people would think i'm exaggerating when i say i see so much of myself in this book. quote from an intro:

Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on August 11, 2015, 08:14:24 PM
While checking to see which Fante books were in stock, a typical bookstore procedure of mine, and Factotum being the last book I finished, 1933 Was A Bad Year the last book I bought, yesterday I ended up learning about a graphic novel titled Fante Bukowski (http://www.amazon.com/Fante-Bukowski-Noah-Van-Sciver/dp/160699851X/).


It came out on Aug 8. I read it in a half hour while eating a cafe snack. It's a graphic novel, it reads like an adult's teen book. There are things like that to say. Or I mean, I just said that, but also this book has stayed in my feelings in a way I've enjoyed.

It's approximately the fourth graphic novel I've read, ever. I read Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Comics-Invisible-Scott-McCloud/dp/006097625X/), felt satisfied. This was unusual for me. I was clearly being marketed. I was against it! I mean, R. Crumb drew around Bukowski writing (http://www.amazon.com/Theres-No-Business-Charles-Bukowski/dp/0876856229).

I just figured this Fante Bukowski guy was destined to be a phony or a second-fiddle at best.

I'm sorry but I just derailed and I'm not even talking to anybody. So ok, I wanted to find a page to use as a quote, to contextualize the tone, mood, voice, oh you know, of Fante Bukowski, the graphic novel I read and could hypothetically create a strongly appreciative post in tribute to now, and I was specifically going to describe the writer and how by sampling Saint Cole (http://www.amazon.com/Saint-Cole-Noah-Van-Sciver/dp/160699817X/) too I think he's crafty at portraying the hard life, and Amazon doesn't have a Fante Bukowski page sample so I was on Google Images, and so what distracted me was bumping into this photo of Bukowski wearing a Star Wars t-shirt:


I was super into being excited about seeing that photo. Then I wondered if it was real. I could imagine a Star Wars/Bukowski fan making it, putting it on the Internet, it not being looked up as it gets passed along, a photoshop which breezes into reality, then I saw this photo:


and I wondered if that was the shirt that was Photoshopped, then I wondered if that was the chair, and the cat is new of course but I realized the glasses were new, then wait that photo is unrelated, chill cat tho, and this was a real head-scratcher:


Then I landed on two Bukowski forums. One said the photos were from Das war's (http://www.amazon.com/Das-wars/dp/3891366000/), a photography book with Bukowski on the cover, but the other forum was chatting about something I forgot to read about but links to a photo album named after Thomas Hoepker (http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&STID=2S5RYDYE913M).

There was mention of a photo of both of them wearing the Star Wars t-shirt. The t-shirt appears to be real. She's Linda King (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_King), "a poet, playwright, and artist working in painting and sculpture who was immortalized in the poetry and prose of her former love Charles Bukowski. During the 1970s, King edited the little magazine, Purr."

It was mentioned on both Bukowski boards, which boards didn't mention the links of the other, or the same info, so I don't think they were conversationally linked, and they both mentioned hearing Bukowski cried during Star Wars.

Ok so while looking again for the page to quote I bumped into this:


I'm going to concentrate and here the quote is I know which one I'm going to pick, ok I'll describe it first, this is from after the end of the story, this is the post-credit sequence in the book, and the abrupt quality of the message, together with how quickly I found and read this book, it does hit me in a funny way I mean:


That's not what a photo of me would look like, but I get that feeling, the worry and the whole bit, you know. And by the end of Fante Bukowski I was roped into the writer's style, his style, different from the actual Fante Bukowski, which name is described within the book as fake and the real name given is also not the writer's name, and by already being magnetized to this storytelling format and certain other aspects I was able to appreciate a graphic novel from a perspective I don't usually, so he got me hook, line, and sinker and so ok, ok. Mice.

Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on September 26, 2015, 03:27:17 PM
this is honestly from page 43 of Let's Pretend This Never Happened:


art as life as art.

it's almost like i'm trying to break off my roof, because i am trying to break off my roof, my current non-work time spent writing and congruently reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened, The Indian, The Neighborhood, I Love Dick, along with the many other books i pick up to sample this or that. i do this because if i read one thing for too long while writing i begin to sound more like the thing i'm reading, which bothers me, it makes me feel like i'm creating a chart which isn't what i want to create.

I Love Dick i have a physical copy of, the other three i mentioned are on my phone to read while i'm wherever doing whatever. i bring I Love Dick with me when i go eat. many people stare at its title then stare at me. some people ask questions. on top of that the author is named Chris Kraus but is female. the name of the publishing house, which she co-started, is Semiotext(e). so basically the book can start an interesting conversation in a second flat, and can also cause people to engage in unusual pondering.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on November 05, 2015, 03:07:32 AM
how's everyone doing at being caught up on the epigraph conversation? within the past week i shared an epigraph page of mine. zero people here seemed to care, i can't tell, well -- you know, i'd like to count Garam's positive comment about font selection as related to the topic of epigraphs.

since i told this place about my epigraphs, i first trimmed them down to one, now currently the whole epigraph page is missing. the page i said i definitely loved and would never change is absent. whatever, i'm still thinking about it, and i'm always afraid of anything.

today i picked up Lily Tuck's The Double Life of Liliane. Tuck won the National Book Award for another book. here's her beginning:


two dedications, two epigraphs and a prologue.

it's interesting to me that the themes her epigraphs represent are similar to mine, and similar also to Skullcrack City:


i'm worried about people not liking/needing/appreciating three epigraphs, here's a book with three epigraphs and a dedication. people, i've left out a dedication, give me some credit. (currently considering nixing the epigraphs and dedicating the novella to my mother.) the Skullcrack epigraphs bothered me actually, but in this weird way in which what actually happened was they stayed in my thoughts and i ended up being inspired toward three epigraphs.

so these things on my mind, i see this book:

ok that's his old book with a new cover. i open it up to take at look at how it begins, this is how it begins:


a dedication (to the previous owner of New Bev), and five epigraphs that fill a page and require me to use two screenpics.

i should just dedicate it to my mother, i don't know. i still don't trust a dedication/epigraph combo. and really one short, sweet epigraph works best, in terms of reasons it does, but i'm too excited for that now. i shouldn't even be thinking about epigraphs maybe, i forget.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Drenk on November 05, 2015, 02:32:25 PM
I'm not sure about keeping epigraphs, but I do love them and find them important for me when I am writing. Right now, my epigraph is from The Amber Spyglass. It is the end of a sentence. It is: "...and then he was gone, leaving behind such a vivid little burst of happiness."

I'm against too many epigraphs, though.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Just Withnail on November 05, 2015, 03:54:11 PM
I'm against too many epigraphs, though.

Don't know if they still count as epigraphs when they come at the end, but I find the barrage of quotations in the "Brief Anthology of Quotations" at the end of Sontag's On Photography to work very well because they're so many.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on November 05, 2015, 05:03:29 PM
hopefully this conversation has been directed toward an outside perspective and also it's a trick to chat about myself. has anyone thought of that before? hold on lemme concentrate, i'm going to "think out loud" about this:


this used to be second or third and sometimes it's alone and now when there are three it's always the top. it's so philosophically summarizing. are you jealous or you like whatever? i'm worried it's been used... the thing here is this describes both Boogie Nights and Trainspotting for example. this directly describes a certain core those movies share. sums 'em up. sobut, we've seen both movies, it's also true they have like one or two differences.

so the quote is a possible pivot, but it lacks a tone. but one can easily lack a tone. sometimes it's better to lack. a really great way i read it recently -- you're master to the words you don't use, you're slave to the words you do. who said it? maybe dr. phil i don't remember.

it's ok not to give a tone, it's ok not have have a fucking epigraph, it's also maybe-ok to have two or three. the second one now is:


when recently i cut them down to one, i cut them down to this one. it gives tone and philosophy and that's helpful in my opinion. i'd say the writing that follows mirrors this quote in many ways i adore enough that i did the writing. its tone also points to my intended tone, a reality of type, for example this quote perhaps describes Shadows in Paradise, La Vie de Bohème, and the Leningrad Cowboys. this is Spanish-language literature, a fantastic deep-love type that's being heavily translated now, since it's so good it's gotta be shared, but also the idea of being in a city is vital, the idea of a city is a global ideal, and a person walking through sadness tends to be a distinctive quality of certain Scandinavian art that i appreciate.


so now we're in the land of overthinking and we're on epigraph three. feel how light it is. it's the lightest. i miss its lightness when it's not present. it's light enough to feel like air, which is also the problem with using it.

but all three at once, that doesn't feel overall light. now i want to track down a single epigraph that has the quality of all three but, mmmm, if the epigraph wasn't found through a natural course i can't trust it. looking up my epigraph! can't do it. gotta find it. finding these three while writing helped me write, so i like all of them but -- well there you go, that's the edit, what felt good at the time and what do you want to look at a decade from now?

Right now, my epigraph is from The Amber Spyglass. It is the end of a sentence. It is: "...and then he was gone, leaving behind such a vivid little burst of happiness."

see, i'm jealous you took the end of a sentence. and yeah, that's a great epigraph. it describes the theme and does exactly what an epigraph should do. it's pure. remember when Spielberg describes liking a movie idea he can hold in his hand? i can hold this book idea in my hand through its epigraph.

oh i want to read the whole thing! are you really writing it? i truly hope so.

i must admit there's a bit of preliminary groundwork i'm laying through my epigraphs. as to say, the book's theme isn't quite able to be held in one's hand. because i'm writing it. i think the second epigraph illustrates such form nicely. that's an epigraph that could have an epigraph, which is kind of, you know, because i'm writing it. there's a certain place outside theme and story, and outside being outside those things, which is where i want to be. i think launching the reader into the prose without hinting at this might give the piece a rougher time.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Drenk on November 06, 2015, 07:17:32 AM

oh i want to read the whole thing! are you really writing it? i truly hope so.

I'll quote David Foster Wallace quoting DeLillo:

The best metaphor I know of for being a fiction-writer in the middle of writing a long book is Don DeLillo's "Mao II," where he describes the book-in-progress as a kind of hideously damaged infant that follows the writer around, forever crawling after the writer (i.e. dragging itself across the floor of restaurants where the writer's trying to eat, appearing at the foot of the bed first thing in the morning, etc.), hideously defective, hydrocephalic and noseless and flipper-armed and incontinent and retarded and dribbling cerebro-spinal fluid out of its mouth as it mewls and blurbles and cries out to the writer, wanting love, wanting the very thing its hideousness guarantees it'll get: the writer's complete attention.

I'm just beginning, and it is more than deformed—it's almost non-existant, but it's trying to get my complete attention. It will be in french, though! I have never really written seriously in english. I will probably try one day! Anyway, you'll have time to learn french before I finish that project, I'm sure! I am a slow learner and a slow writer...

And I would keep the "I tried to see how I could run off into my own words" as the only epigraph; it is, I think, a powerful evocation. The rest has to be contained in the words.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: cronopio2 on November 06, 2015, 07:53:43 AM
so you read Tavares? cool
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on November 06, 2015, 10:51:20 AM
And I would keep the "I tried to see how I could run off into my own words" as the only epigraph; it is, I think, a powerful evocation. The rest has to be contained in the words.

well ok so now you've put that into my head. that's what i was asking for. but no matter the final selection i hope you read it all and love it. deal.

so you read Tavares? cool

yeah, and i shouted out to you when i posted it in the other thread.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on January 15, 2016, 02:45:29 PM
the name of the poetry book is Witch Hunt #1, this is its trailer (http://vimeo.com/148261764). it was shot on an iPhone 4s using an app called 8mm. i think it feels like a John Waters short. the music is part of what influences this feeling. and the tone, and the theme, and her face. maybe Kenneth Anger. one of the better book trailers i'v seen, and it's for a poetry book.

Kodak is about to release its digital 8 milli. i'm the type of person who continues to most like the movies where i can feel the human hands. and i think the capabilities of art forms are as open and endless as the humans that make them, and i like when people like things, since i tend to like things too.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on April 05, 2016, 06:52:35 PM
this is 6/7/2016 and i hope it's a crossover capable of generating shared reading interest:


a Daniel Johnston biographical graphic novel written by Scott McClanahan and illustrated by Ricardo Cavolo. this is glorious.

Two Dollar Radio are a ma/pa publisher i've mentioned here before. they're a high-level legit indie publisher. great stuff. i'm very much looking forward to this 1/10/2017 book release, another writer who has been around already:


i made this post instead of ordering a shirt and a book.

Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Garam on May 29, 2016, 07:38:46 PM
Bill Drummond is an interesting fellow. He was manager for Liverpool bands Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes for a while, before switching gears and making some pioneering sample-heavy chill out albums in the Acid House years under the KLF/JAMs moniker. Under another pseudonym they released a deliberately terrible, schlocky disposably formulaic single just to see if they could get it to number 1. They managed it, and wrote a manual on how to make your own number 1 single. Many people followed its rules and got their own number ones. During a live performance at an awards ceremony they shot blanks at the audience with machine guns, dumped a dead cow on the red carpet and fucked off. They would use their own money to place full page ads in various national newspapers exclaiming 'ABANDON ALL ART'

They were the biggest selling singles act in the world in 1991, and went on to delete their entire back catalogue and burn a million pounds of their profit (almost all of it) on the isle of Jura. Just about everything they made from their music career they erased.


Art pranksters basically. Not enough of them around anymore. His book, 45, is fantastic. Here's a bit;

I'm on the train down to London with a journalist who's been doing an interview with the band. Chit chat chit chat. He asks me why I think so much talent has come out of Liverpool. Blah blah blah. Instead of giving him the usual social commentary about dole queues, seaport to the world and the Celtic soul of the city, I go straight into hyperdrive, letting whatever rubbish that wants to rush out of my mouth:
"It's the Interstellar ley line. It comes careering in from outer space, hits the world in Iceland, bounces back up, writhing about like a conger eel, then down Mathew St in Liverpool where the Cavern Club - and latterly Eric's - is. Back up, twisting, turning, wriggling across the face of the earth until it reaches the uncharted mountains of New Guinea, where it shoots into space. Deep space. You know what ley lines are? Those things that hippies are into, imaginary power lines across ancient Britain, lines that can be traced by Saxon churches, stone circles, burial mounds, that sort of stuff. But just boringly straight and static. Well, this interstellar ley line is a mega-power one. Too much power coming down it for it not to write about. The only three fixed points on earth it travels through are Iceland, Mathew St in Liverpool, and New Guinea. Whenever something creatively or spiritually mega happens anywhere else on earth, it is because this interstellar ley line is momentarily powering through the territory.

"Whenever The Bunnymen do a brilliant gig, we know it's because they were on the line. Sometimes it's only there for a couple of songs. Sometimes it pumps through one bit of the world for a dew days, even a couple of years."

I decide to shut up before I get too carried away, and get a couple of teas from the buffet. When I return, the journalist is making notes. He tries to draw me out on this interstellar ley line stuff. I'm thinking that he is thinking, "I got a nutter here - I wonder what other crank theories I can get out of him?" I make light of what I have already said. But inside my head I'm going, "Of course, it all makes sense: interstellar ley lines, why had I not realised before?" Another part of my brain is going, "You fuckin' eejit Drummond, get a grip." And yet another is going, "Why did I pick Iceland, Mathew St and New Guinea?"

These are the reasons why. When I was 17, my sister and I hitched a ride on an Icelandic trawler in Grimsby. The crew had sold their catch their and were heading back home. It took us five days. Jane and I spent the summer there, exploring the island. It blew my mind. The lunar landscape like Arctic deserts, the geysers, the bubbling sulphur pools, the rocks that could float in water, the whale fisheries, the volcano where Jules Verne started his Journey to the Centre of the Earth, the Icelandic sagas (I was reading the Penguin edition as we hitched our way around). But the place that affected me the most was this bit only 60 miles north-east of Reykjavik. I can't remember its name, it's a wide valley, an uninhabited wilderness with parallel crackes in the ground. Big cracks, giant cracks, some hundreds of feet deep, some filled with crystal clear water. At certain points you could leap across a crack, at other points they might be 20 feet wide. But these cracks, and there were a lot of them, went on mile after mile, following the flow of the valley. As I said, it blew my mind. My sister told me that it was the beginning of the Atlantic rift, where the new world of the Atlantic rift, where the new world of the Americas and the old world of Europe and Africa had been ripped apart. Geographically speaking, Iceland is neither the Old World nor the New.

It was as if we were in a land that was still in the initial throes of creation, where molten rock flowed and the rocks moved and life just about clung to its edges. The landscape was unsoftened by time, vegetation or man's master plans. Hard, harsh, cold, violent and threatening. My kinda landscape. A landscape for Odin and Thor, a landscape for the Old Testament God without olives, sunshine and the tender thighs of Hagar. So. If an interstellar ley line is going to hit the world anywhere it is right there, splitting the New World from the Old World.

Next. Mathew St, Liverpool. As I said, both the Cavern Club and Eric's Club were in Mathew St. One of the things I liked about Liverpool at the time was that it had neither respect for its heritage nor any realisation that this heritage could be exploited. At some point in the mid-70s they flattened all the Victorian warehouses down one side of Mathew St and filled in all the cellars to make a car park. That was the end of what had been the Cavern Club. Nobody cried. No petitions were signed. It wasn't until the mid to late 80s that a heritage trail of Japanese and Americans bursting with cash started turning up, demanding to see where those four lads that shook the world had started.

Throughout the 70s the creative youth of Liverpool hated The Beatles and all they represented. The shadow the Fab Ones forecast over popular culture was too dark and big for any bunch of likely lads in Liverpool to find a patch of sunshine and set up their stall. The weird thing is, it was almost at the same time as the old Cavern Club was filled in that a local promoter called Roger Eagle got Eric's going in a cellar directly across the street. And it was from us lot who cadged our way into Eric's that the music press perceived a whole new Liverpool scene blossoming forth. Not that it ever came to that much. Frankie goes to Hollywood were never going to revolutionise the minds of a generation, define an age and find a cure for boredom. But they were fab. Anyway. As I said, they flattened all the warehouses down one side of Mathew St. But there was one at the bottom they didn't. Back further in time, maybe late 75 or early 76, I wandered into this last standing warehouse. There was a bloke in it trying to hammer a nail into a piece of wood. He told me he was a poet. HIs name was Peter O'Hallaghan. He had short grey hair and a moustache and talked like a man who Knew.
"Karl Gustav Jung had a dream and the dream went like this: he found himself in a dirty, sooty city. It was night and winter and dark and raining. He was in Liverpool. He was with a bunch of mates, walking up through these dark streets. Up from the docks, heading for the town, the bars, the bright lights, Lime St. Jung and his mates found themselves in this small, cobbled square. A number of dimly lit streets converged on this square, and in the centre of the square was a small pool, and at the centre of the pool an island. Like I said, it was a shit night, rain, fog, smoke and just the odd gas lamp. But that small island was bathed in pure sunlight. On the island, a lone tree was growing, one of those sort people have in their gardens with tulip-like flowers, but he knew his mates couldn't see the tree or even the pool. One of them remembered somebody who had moved to Liverpool from Switzerland, and now they'd seen the place he couldn't work out why anybody would want to move here. But Jung, in his dream, thought "I know why", and then he woke.
"And Jung interpreted the dream, just like Joseph did for Pharoah, 'cause that's what he did for a living. Jung reckoned the dream represented his life at the time. Drab and dreary, unclear, unpleasant. Everything in it was shit, going nowhere. But that year in the sunlight was like a vision of almost unearthly beauty. It was that vision that kept him alive, well not literally, but you know what I mean. From that he reckoned Liverpool to be the Pool of Life. According to legend the 'Liver' is the 'Seat of Life'. If he had ever visited Liverpool in reality he might have thought differently. The dream was a turning point in Jung's life. A watershed. The goal had been revealed. Throughout this dream he understood that within yourself is all meaning - and something about an archetype being found there. That the journey was to the centre of your own whatever-it-is. The sunlit tree was his true centre, its roots drinking from the Pool of Life, the fountainhead. Whatever shit is going on, you can find your way there."

Peter O'Hallaghan didn't look like a hippie, more a Scouse Beat. So he was OK with my prejudices of the time. I didn't really understand what he was on about but it resonated and I remembered it almost word for word, which is unusual for me. O'Hallaghan then told me he too had had a dream and in this dream he could see the spring bubbling forth from the cast-iron drain cover in the middle of the road where Button St, Mathew St and a couple of other roads met. The morning after his dream he came down to Mathew St, and sure enough there was a manhole cover. He did some research at the library and discovered there was a spring there that had been covered in Victorian times and channelled into the city's sewerage system. On the corner of Mathew St and Rainford Gardens was a warehouse with a 'To Let' sign. He went to the bank, got a loan, got the lease and was now setting up the Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun. He had commissioned a bust of Jung which would be set in the outside wall of the building.

I jacked in my job building and painting stage sets at the Everyman Theatre and became a pupil of the school. Moved all my tools and my workbench into the basement of the warehouse. The ground floor was divided into market stalls under the name 'Aunt Twacky's', selling groovy tat, second hand records and brown rice. On the first floor O'Hallaghan, his cousin Sean and a sculptor called Charles Alexander opened O'Hallaghan's Tea Room. It soon became the creative hub of the city. For the price of a mug of tea a generation of dole-queue dreamers spent their days discussing the poems they had written, the books they were writing, the happenings they were staging, the bands they were forming.

The people of Liverpool were proudly insular; none of my fellow pupils at the school sipping their mugs of tea gave a shit whether anybody in London ever heard of their existence or if any quarter of the media ever documented their creativity. All that mattered was what other people thought within the city state of Liverpool. Every day people staged impromptu performances, happenings, readings, installations, exhibitions, while Peter O'Hallaghan communicated his wisdom from behind the tea bar. Ken Campbell, the iconoclast of British theatre, arrived and decided it was the place to set up his Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool. I was enlisted to design and build the sets for the company's premier production, a twelve-hour adaptation of the Illuminatus trilogy of books.

The rains were heavy. Late one night while I was hard at work building sets in the cellar, water began to seep through the walls. The seep grew to a gurgle. The gurgle to a flow. I was ankle deep and my bench began to float. The spring under the manhole cover must have been flooding. 'The sewers can't take it, captain.' The Pool of Life was coming to get me.

Ken Campbell taught me to entertain the possibility of everything. I was 23 years old - a very good age for entertaining possibilities. O'Hallaghan dreamed new dreams and moved on. Aunt Twacky's closed down. The tea room moved downstairs and changed its name to The Armadillo. In the year of '78 it seemed like a million bands formed in Liverpool. Most of them never left the imagination of their members. If they had nowhere to rehearse or even no instruments to play, they all could sip mugs of tea in The Armadillo. The movers and shakers of this scene were all to be found holding court at their seperate tables. The idea of this being the Pool of Life was a very entertaining possibility.

So that's why Mathew St, Liverpool.

New Guinea?  I've never been there. But my great-great-uncle on my mother's side, a certain Oliver Tomkins, was a missionary. He went out to New Guinea to spread the Word but got put in a pot and eaten by savages with bones through their noses. Then when I was a boy there were the pages of the National Geographic, with their colour photos of New Guinea tribesmen; the phantasmagorical figures with nightmare masks, dancing with demons and up to all sorts of pagan witchcraft. Bodies painted, skin pierced - and all this was real, not some Hollywood film. It was all going on now. It was there in the pages of the National Geographic. My grandad had given me a stack of back issues. I kept them under my bed. Who needs the Dandy, the Beano, Hotspur and Victor when you've got the National Geographic?

At 17 I saw a French film, Obscured by Clouds. Pink Floyd had done the music. It was about a bunch of French hippies who had got this map of New Guinea. In one bit of the map, the central highlands of the island, there was a white patch with no cartographic information, just the words 'obscured by clouds' (but in French). This was, I learned from the subtitles, the only bit of the world left unmapped. These hippies set off to get there. They climbed up through seething, writhing jungles, met up with the savages that I had met on the pages of the National Geographic, climbed further up into the mountains accompanied by Pink Floyd music. And, just like my missionary forefather, were never seen again. It was a shit film, but it left its mark. Seventeen's a great year for having marks left.

So in my subconscious, New Guinea must be the place where all taboos are broken, where all the demons run round free. Where the unknowable areas of the soul will forever be left unexplored, dark and dangerous, and if you attempt to get to know or tame them, you pay for it big time. So if that interstellar ley line was going to leave this earth somewhere it had to be from those unchartable jungle-covered highlands in New Guinea. Makes sense.

Iceland and New Guinea are both islands, mystical things in themselves. On opposite sides of the world, the antithesis of each other in every possible sense: geographically, historically, mythically. All of this adds to the fact that these two islands have ended up symbolising to me the very yin and yang of the human soul. So far apart thatk, in some strange way, they almost meet.

So, back to Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes. In my secret world I began to identify the souls of the two bands with the two islands: The Bunnymen, Iceland; The Teardrops, New Guinea. The Bunnymen: cold, grey, honest, northern, dour, unformed, harsh, hard-working, cloaked in a glacial splendour with a halo of northern lights, and with roots deep and mystical. The Teardrops' soul was less the band's than Julian Cope's alone, a soul with the uncontrollable creative energy of the jungle. A soul with a thousand masks, dark and devious, light and seductive. A soul charmed by birds of paradise and poisoned by belly-going serpents. A soul being born, fornicating, dying, all at the same time.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on April 25, 2017, 01:54:55 AM

this one gets filed in 'humor' btw. when i see other people on other message boards i wonder about their post count and level of commitment. as far as i can tell, we're a rather humdrum internet collective, in terms of how fucking weird and intense the internet can become. i won't read this book but it made me think of this place and what i mean is i already lived it.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on October 06, 2017, 12:50:01 AM
Kazuo Ishiguro Is Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/books/nobel-prize-literature.html)
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Robyn on October 06, 2017, 07:13:04 AM
he's good? (i mean oblivious, but what do you think?)
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: polkablues on October 06, 2017, 11:39:00 AM
All I've read of his work is "Never Let Me Go," but based on that alone I'm comfortable classifying him as one of the greats. Simple prose, a poetic ear, and humanity in spades.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on November 03, 2017, 12:36:00 AM
in my dreams i'm the one who wrote this

Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: polkablues on November 03, 2017, 01:46:50 AM
I find the exclamation point very confrontational.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: lorenscope on January 08, 2018, 12:44:23 AM
I'm a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro's work and Kenzaburo Oe and right now I'm planning to purchase 4 paperbacks of Haruki Murakami novels (Kafka On The Shore, Norwegian Wood, Sputnik Sweetheart, and South Of The Border West Of The Sun) after I'm done with replacing my old tires with nitto (http://4wheelonline.com/NittoTires.19627) and front wheel alignment.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: wilder on January 17, 2018, 12:15:08 AM
jenkins [16|Jan 07:55 PM]:   I blew her a kiss and it shattered the window and exploded her head and went through the wall behind her, through the entire building and everything else in its path into the sky, moving so fast it didn't ever disrupt clouds, up and up, halving an airplane as it continued into space, crushing meteoroids such that they smothered and killed stars, piercing and assassinating the sun, eventually reaching the end of everything and opening a hole in the lining, deflating it and carrying it off like a popped balloon.
jenkins [16|Jan 07:58 PM]:   that's the final line to The Garbage Times, which is 1/2 novellas that comes in one volume bounded in tete-bech (there is no back cover: there are two front covers and the text is flipped)
jenkins [16|Jan 07:59 PM]:   you guys sometimes the kids are so good seriously. that's Sam Pink. and really he writes in this like normal-people prose, like a refreshed version of Bukowski perhaps, like that, he hang out with the homeless, all the time, he's a security guard in a bar in this book, and that's his fucking final line. it's like omg

(https://i.imgur.com/Teatmq6.jpg) (https://www.amazon.com/Garbage-Times-White-Ibis-Novellas/dp/1593766815)
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: wilder on February 16, 2018, 04:23:58 PM
Kier-La Janisse (author of House of Psychotic Women (http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=3661.msg342444#msg342444)) is working on a book about Robert Downey Sr.

Call for Proposals: "Truth and Soul: The Films of Robert Downey Sr."
via Spectacular Optical


Spectacular Optical Publications (www.spectacularoptical.ca) is a small-press publisher of cult film and pop culture books based in Canada. Following our earlier anthologies KID POWER! (2014), SATANIC PANIC: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s (2015), LOST GIRLS: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin (2017) and YULETIDE TERROR: Christmas Horror on Film and Television (2017), we are accepting proposals for essays and interviews for our sixth book (and fifth anthology project), tentatively titled “Truth and Soul: The Films of Robert Downey, Sr.” to be curated by Kier-La Janisse and Clint Enns.

Guidelines for Proposals:

We are accepting proposals for essays or interviews of 3000-5000 words relating to the work of Robert Downey, Sr. Essays can focus on a specific film, offer a comparative study of several films, or offer overarching analyses reflecting upon the social or political themes found in the films. We are looking for unique readings of Downey’s films that explore the historical context in which they were made, the legacy and influence of his work both in the mainstream and avant-garde, analysis of the race, class, and gender politics found therein (especially in relation to Downey’s subversive humour) and more. We are looking for writing that provides other Downey enthusiasts with new ways of thinking about his work.

The writing and tone of Spectacular Optical books aims to live in that space between academic and pop cultural (less formal than academic writing but not as colloquial as pop cultural writing), with all pieces rigorously researched to support a central thesis and offering new insight that will stand up to peer review. We are not looking for reviews or excessive plot synopses, but analysis that approaches the films from a unique or surprising angle.

First-hand research in the form of interviews with actors and other artists who have worked with Downey are also welcomed. Priority will be given to proposals that demonstrate existing access to the intended interviewees.

Each accepted piece shall comprise a chapter of the book, which aims to provide a vibrant and informative overview of Downey’s body of work.


All proposals are due by April 1, 2018.

More info on submitting proposals here (http://www.spectacularoptical.ca/2018/02/call-for-submissions-truth-and-soul-the-films-of-robert-downey-sr/)
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on October 21, 2018, 08:51:45 PM

i admire this guy from afar. i mean we're fb friends and we've messaged but i don't really know him and we don't commonly engage in conversation. i just like his whole style. he's a 3xl who lives in the south and as far as i can tell he's simply making his way through life. he recently put out these four chapbooks and has made comments about it seeming odd for him to put out chapbooks at this point but he did it anyway. i'm into writers who don't write to earn a living but write to live.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Drenk on October 23, 2018, 04:46:02 PM
It's a short piece of writing:

74 Facts and One Lie


Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Just Withnail on October 26, 2018, 06:42:45 PM
I HIGHLY recommend The Garbage Times (and a big thanks to jenks for the recommendation and a copy to read).
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on October 26, 2018, 07:41:52 PM

spontaneous mentioning to Just Withnail: i'm starting this short that i expect to be over 24 pages and not too many pages. it has to be over 24 to publish it, and i want to write it as its own thing. it's going to be a prose adaptation of a previous script, coming from a combination of this idea having been sitting in my thoughts for a while now, and a final push from Gogol's The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories (https://www.amazon.com/Diary-Madman-Stories-Signet-Classics/dp/0451418565/). that's like, i read that and i'm like, okay seriously, you know, i'm like, Gogol is a classic, and he gets to have that much fun. basically it's rather hard to envy someone's misery and quite easy to envy their fun, so i'm feeling like i want to have that much fun. i've dabbled in this as prose before, in Cosmic Robotics (https://www.amazon.com/Cosmic-Robotics-Morgan-Drolet/dp/0692794239/) for example, and i've read it in contemporary terms through Beyond the Valley of the Apocalypse Donkeys (https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Valley-Apocalypse-Donkeys-Jordan/dp/098715611X/). a goal here is to disengage from reality ("Logic is the laziest form of magic") and enter a purified narrative state with subterranean human condition elements. it's another way to write and whenever i do it it still ends up darker than i had anticipated, but this one has the light and shadows in its recipe: it's the cannibal love story i've mentioned and written about before. it'll be a love story in that he'll love being eaten by her. i have previous material to refer back to, an established narrative framework (it has a good narrative concept, i was more into formal ideas back then actually), and some idea about how i plan to write this out.

i'd adore hearing about your script when/if you want to chat about it.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Something Spanish on November 14, 2018, 05:43:44 PM
sorry, finished reading Gravity's Rainbow last week and....holy shit did that get deep in me. Pynchon is not human. getting through it at times was laborious, at times the epitome of literary pleasure, all in all an experience i'll cherish in this life. wanted to read it since about summer 2017, but never thought I'd have the mental wherewithal or literary endurance to reach the last page. last year I got to about page 30 before giving up, until giving it another go two months ago. was definitely hopping on google nonstop during the first section for reference comprehension, quickly abandoned that pattern thereafter since it was diminishing the experience (not to mention time consuming), and started plowing through it with minimal pauses for brief researches. There's a lot of technical rocket engineering passages that can be a slog to read through, but if I could register most of the info most likely an average reader can too. It's only in the last year+ that i began reading frequently, definitely never attempted to tackle a book this challenging and supposedly impenetrable. if anything it has made me a much more confident reader, ready to take down those difficult Joyce novels and maybe even some Nabakov. excited to get through the rest of pynchon's stuff.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: eward on November 14, 2018, 05:53:06 PM
Go with Mason & Dixon or Against the Day next!
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on November 14, 2018, 05:58:42 PM
best to you and your endeavors whatever they become, control your own destiny, we're in a friend zone

i'd like to discourage becoming a fan of a writer over exploring the concept of novels in their entirety. from Gravrity's Rainbow if you want to reach into history there's The Recognitions (https://www.amazon.com/Recognitions-American-Literature-Dalkey-Archive)--this keeps within the idea of running with the big-idea writers--and forward, do it if you haven't done it, Infinite Jest you know it. if you already did those you already did them and i wasn't sure. but what i'm saying is you can keep the bar Pynchon-high but move in lateral directions, which makes you more of an interesting person at parties, from a certain perspective i'm mentioning because of philosophical impulses.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: eward on November 14, 2018, 06:03:36 PM
from Gravrity's Rainbow if you want to reach into history there's The Recognitions (https://www.amazon.com/Recognitions-American-Literature-Dalkey-Archive)--this keeps within the idea of running with the big-idea writers--

I've had The Recognitions on my Kindle for over a year now. One day, soon soon, I will finally get to it.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on December 12, 2018, 09:35:25 PM

Guillermo Rosales (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillermo_Rosales)
Born in Havana, Rosales was a lifelong misfit diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Rosales committed suicide in Miami in 1993, at the age of 47. Before doing so, he destroyed most of his work.

the book:
It has been hailed for its precise, lapidary style
basically it's an easy read and he heavy-metal shreds the whole way through. it's like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest but with only the cuckoos, and written by Knut Hamsun or etc great talent, also written by one of the cuckoos.

it's a short book and it's the best book recommendation i've ever offered. i found my way to the book by chance. but it's that feeling where i always belonged here. if you like tremendous books about troubled souls in troubled lives (lol who doesn't) this is a book you've been wanting to hear about.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on December 13, 2018, 05:56:39 PM
he allows me to look at heavy stories in clear ways, with even some lightness, is why i think he's a general good idea for a reader
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on December 18, 2018, 03:29:33 AM

an intellectual version of The Halfway House, a sick man being taken care of, in this one it's literal sickness, tuberculosis, based on the author's own experience. sick and dying people tend to write good books. that's when they do all their best existential thinking, you know. it's a different type of reading because the writing is designed a different way. this one is like nightmare poetry prose.

i'm obsessed with this line in it
Here in this hospital, will I end up like the pilgrim dreaming of riches who, upon waking, shows me his penniless hand, minus a finger or thumb?
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on December 20, 2018, 08:25:25 PM

it’s a Japanese classic about being human feeling impossible. he downward spirals. the writing genre is: I-Novel (私小説 Shishōsetsu, Watakushi shōsetsu) used to describe a type of confessional literature where the events in the story correspond to events in the author's life.

the writer and the woman he lived with drowned themselves in a river, he was 38.

this is how I feel less alone in the world. This calms me.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on December 23, 2018, 01:20:11 AM
^he twice tries suicide, fails both times, the first time a woman successfully dies, he's sent to a mental hospital and leaves without being able to feel either happy or not happy


this book, somehow, introduced interior monologue to literature, le monologue intérieur, which had only been sampled from in larger pieces, or appeared as soliloquies, this is linked with stream of consciousness and subjective fiction, which influenced Joyce, who brought it to another level with Ulysses, he noticed what was happening, the only other person who noticed what was happening had been, of course, Mallarmé

it's fucking insane to me that interior monologue wasn't an established writing form until 1887
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: jenkins on December 24, 2018, 01:22:41 PM
^i really enjoyed it. it inspired a major movement but it's considered minor work, since it's a common slice-of-life narrative, though frankly i felt lucky to be in that world at that time

now i am onto

which is a larger book that will take me longer to read. i'm not sure if there's a particularly alluring detail about it, i just want to read it
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Robyn on February 18, 2019, 05:37:52 PM
I am reading two different books by Roberto Bolano atm. Whores who kill (don't know the english title`?) and The Unknown University. I have cried several times during the last couple of days, he's my new favorite author, like he reminds me so much of other authors I enjoy, I have seen several things straight out lifted from this,  it's crazy that I haven't discovered this until now... i have read The Savage Detectives before btw.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Robyn on February 18, 2019, 05:41:16 PM
Wait, what is this thread about? I was trying to found a book thread. I have written about 30 pages in my notebook tonight. Bolano inspires me.
Title: Re: misc book thread
Post by: Robyn on February 18, 2019, 05:55:11 PM
No like really, Bruno K. Öijer has been my favorite author for the last 6 years... I borrowed my old teacher's  copy of Öijer's collected poems, and   carried it in my bag like a bible for three years, before he got really anxious about it and wanted it back, just so he could give me my own copy of it as a graduation present. Now I feel like I will carry Bolanos poems as a bible for at least the next three years.