Author Topic: What are we reading?  (Read 146514 times)

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Reelist

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1440 on: April 16, 2011, 07:01:37 AM »
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all I hear are good things about that book. I've been wanting to read it for a long time. The only Marquez I've read was in highschool, 'Chronicle of Death Foretold' I'm pretty sure it confused the shit outta me. Books are always better when you're not 'forced' to read 'em.
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ᾦɐļᵲʊʂ

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1441 on: April 18, 2011, 12:12:19 AM »
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He's only one of the most celebrated authors of all time and the book you posted is an undisputed masterpiece..

That common knowledge wasn't strong enough recommendation for you?

Better late (and cheap) than never I guess.

Well, like I said, I had always heard mention of him, varying levels of praise, but no friends were discussing him, so there wasn't an immediacy to read it like there might be in regards to a book a friend might lend me to read so that we could discuss it.  Not that the only books I read are on recommendation, but unless I find it on my own to read solo (which, believe it or not, there are millions upon millions of books to choose from) I try to read suggestions so I can discuss the work with someone, which leads to enrichment of the book's message.

I'm not implying I found a rare, obscure gem, but I was surprised by how amazing this book is.  I'm not saying anything new now.  In fact, your post really says nothing beyond what I had already insinuated, you just needed it in your own language for your own purposes, I guess.  Fuck, I don't even know why I'm responding.  I guess I need it for my own purposes, too.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1442 on: April 20, 2011, 11:06:19 PM »
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Who else?  Let's book club.
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

JG

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1443 on: April 21, 2011, 01:22:55 AM »
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I picked it up, going to start in da mornin.

Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1444 on: May 05, 2011, 08:59:06 PM »
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Did you begin Pale King?  I'm about done, probably would be done if I hadn't started posting on Xixax(!).

This is a really great and valuable demonstration of DFW's writing process:  http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/digital/dfw/
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

JG

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1445 on: May 06, 2011, 10:06:55 AM »
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Did you begin Pale King?  I'm about done, probably would be done if I hadn't started posting on Xixax(!).

This is a really great and valuable demonstration of DFW's writing process:  http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/collections/digital/dfw/

Have about 90 pages left, had to read it in between a bunch of other stuff for school. NOT QUITE READY TO TALK ABOUT IT. that's a super cool link, btw, thnx.

Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1446 on: May 10, 2011, 03:18:31 AM »
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Basically we're either going to have to get more people to read Pale King or the essential parts of my profile will remain inside jokes between you and me.  Let me know when you're ready to talk about it.

Also:
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

Pedro

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1447 on: May 10, 2011, 05:58:13 PM »
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How are you liking it, Merrill?  I have wanted to read Bernhard for a long while, but I have not had the time.  I started Correction, but within five pages I knew it was not something I could read casually.  It was recommended by a friend after I read Lynne Tillman's American Genius, which I quite enjoyed.  So for what it's worth, you should check out that novel.  

My last semester of college is winding up, so my only reading is for the essays I'm working on.  I'm most involved with:


Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1448 on: May 10, 2011, 06:06:45 PM »
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Thanks for the recommendation I'll check it out!  It's too early in Correction for me to say much about it, although in these early pages it reminds me of Saul Bellow in certain themes and dreamy intellectual aspects.
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1449 on: May 10, 2011, 07:16:23 PM »
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I'm ready to talk about it now.

spoilers

So many penetrating moments in the book, but also terrific stretches of character and flashes of beauty.  Did you become bored in the moments that were meant to express boredom and thereby permitted by narrative logic to be boring themselves?  I admit I sometimes did, especially in the late chapter that's a long conversation between the equally boring (for completely different reasons) Meredith Rand and Shane Drinion.  Although that chapter had its shining moments too.  What do you think about its flaws as unfinished material and potentially inert subject material versus the development of Wallace's style and voice and the many successful moments?  I thought the pros vastly outweighed the cons.

A personal favorite chapter of mine was number 8, which is I believe Toni Ware's backstory.  Beautiful crushing prose and the most terrific landscape descriptions I've ever seen from Wallace.  David gets a blowjob from the Iranian Crisis in a closet due to a case of mistaken identity!  Classic, really funny David moments, also the long, long car trip to the IRS headquarters, although some of the self-referential aspects didn't click due to his early death, especially the beginning of his first chapter when he's talking about lawyers and publishers and stuff.  That's too bad.

I give the book a thousand golden moons.  What about you?
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

JG

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1450 on: May 11, 2011, 05:15:37 PM »
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I'm ready to talk about it now.

spoilers

So many penetrating moments in the book, but also terrific stretches of character and flashes of beauty.  Did you become bored in the moments that were meant to express boredom and thereby permitted by narrative logic to be boring themselves?  I admit I sometimes did, especially in the late chapter that's a long conversation between the equally boring (for completely different reasons) Meredith Rand and Shane Drinion.  Although that chapter had its shining moments too.  What do you think about its flaws as unfinished material and potentially inert subject material versus the development of Wallace's style and voice and the many successful moments?  I thought the pros vastly outweighed the cons.

A personal favorite chapter of mine was number 8, which is I believe Toni Ware's backstory.  Beautiful crushing prose and the most terrific landscape descriptions I've ever seen from Wallace.  David gets a blowjob from the Iranian Crisis in a closet due to a case of mistaken identity!  Classic, really funny David moments, also the long, long car trip to the IRS headquarters, although some of the self-referential aspects didn't click due to his early death, especially the beginning of his first chapter when he's talking about lawyers and publishers and stuff.  That's too bad.

I give the book a thousand golden moons.  What about you?

Firstly, I think the media strategy of talking about the book in terms of whether or not its actually boring is just sort of cute and unnecessary. Its a good book, and if its ever boring its not because of the subject matter. Its the same factor in a lot of his work. Wallace explained a lot, and, very often, dryly.

The chapter you mentioned (Rand and Drinion) was actually one of my favorites. Wallace's prose seems to me most effective when narrating from the perspective of another character (even if its "David Foster Wallace," though I agree - if there was one chapter that DFW's suicide cast a weird glow over - it was his "memoir" chapter.)  However, you mentioned Ch. 8, and if there is one chapter that I struggled with on my first read through - it was that one. So I guess that just shows you that we are different types of readers.

Ultimately, I think its a great work, though incomplete (as opposed to IJ, which feels complete in its incompleteness, ie. its decision to not further traditional plot points) ... It feels like a scattering of wonderful chapters from some masterwork, but, having read the notes at the end of the novel, maybe its better that way? Its like like having this really vast canvas, but no one room can hold the canvas, so its spread out across many rooms. You can see the work, but only in bits and pieces, and in this case, the doors to some of the rooms have been locked. But if you squint hard enough you can kind of see the whole thing. Could the guesswork ultimately be apart of the book's charm?

I would recommend Pale King first as a supplement to his other work, namely IJ, because if there is one thing this novel did for me it was clarify that Wallace's fiction was on a very specific track. I recall the Fogle's "doubling" chapter, which is essentially a novella, entirely readable unto itself.. In that section, Fogle discusses the effects of the drug obetrol and hits on a sentence that eerily recalls the opening moments of IJ ("I am in here...") Moments like that are abound throughout the novel, beyond thematic echoes - relationship dynamics, structurally...

I'll think about it for weeks to come. I too give it many gold moons.


Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1451 on: May 11, 2011, 05:59:51 PM »
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Its a good book, and if its ever boring its not because of the subject matter. Its the same factor in a lot of his work. Wallace explained a lot, and, very often, dryly.

I don't know if it's a media strategy so much as a natural reflex as a reader.  Sometimes the subject matter is boredom, and as a book on boredom you ask yourself what's boring about it, how is the author portraying boredom?  You're right and wise to say that conversation about boredom has become disproportional to larger questions, and I think that's because the book is new and it's one of the easiest and most obvious themes to tackle.  But we can ignore it if you want.

Quote
The chapter you mentioned (Rand and Drinion) was actually one of my favorites. Wallace's prose seems to me most effective when narrating from the perspective of another character (even if its "David Foster Wallace," though I agree - if there was one chapter that DFW's suicide cast a weird glow over - it was his "memoir" chapter.)  However, you mentioned Ch. 8, and if there is one chapter that I struggled with on my first read through - it was that one. So I guess that just shows you that we are different types of readers.

I thought in Chapter 8 and other moments in other chapters DFW was casting a kind of forlorn shadow over the midwest, tones of misery and longing like you see in southern gothic, but given the DFW twist.  These moments were really powerful for me.  I was potentially being hard on the Rand and Drinion chapter, and like with the boredom theme it's DFW himself who supplied me with the ammunition to criticize the chapter, in the form of Rand's observations on Drinion and vice versa.  Some of my favorite lines were in the chapter, and Drinion's levitation was a wonderful wtf.  It also has a richly textured and believable atmosphere.

Quote
Ultimately, I think its a great work, though incomplete (as opposed to IJ, which feels complete in its incompleteness, ie. its decision to not further traditional plot points) ... It feels like a scattering of wonderful chapters from some masterwork, but, having read the notes at the end of the novel, maybe its better that way? Its like like having this really vast canvas, but no one room can hold the canvas, so its spread out across many rooms. You can see the work, but only in bits and pieces, and in this case, the doors to some of the rooms have been locked. But if you squint hard enough you can kind of see the whole thing. Could the guesswork ultimately be apart of the book's charm?

I plan to geek out and visit the university the papers are going to be stored at once they're released to the public.

Quote
I would recommend Pale King first as a supplement to his other work, namely IJ, because if there is one thing this novel did for me it was clarify that Wallace's fiction was on a very specific track. I recall the Fogle's "doubling" chapter, which is essentially a novella, entirely readable unto itself.. In that section, Fogle discusses the effects of the drug obetrol and hits on a sentence that eerily recalls the opening moments of IJ ("I am in here...") Moments like that are abound throughout the novel, beyond thematic echoes - relationship dynamics, structurally...

Yeah you alluded to this in the other thread, but I find it's really hard to convince people to take the time to read Infinite Jest, and I'm hoping the attention surrounding him right now might lead people to him in whatever form is most appealing to them, including the reading of Pale King first.
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

ᾦɐļᵲʊʂ

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1452 on: May 16, 2011, 02:32:00 AM »
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Really comprehensive and articulate about the art of Japanese comics and the man who greatly pioneered what manga is today.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

72teeth

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1453 on: May 16, 2011, 03:23:17 AM »
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just finnished "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro... now im reading "Middlesex" by Jeffery Eugenides... want to read Tom Perrotta now
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Mr. Merrill Lehrl

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #1454 on: June 09, 2011, 05:35:36 PM »
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Speaking of DFW (which JG and I were), samsong's recent post reminded me of a great passage from the Writer's Thesaurus.

personally i was really surprised that a film that utilized so many archetypes and familiar symbols/imagery could still be as moving as this was.

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utilize
This is a puff-word. Since it does nothing that good old "use" doesn't do, its extra letters and syllables don't make a writer seem smarter. Rather, using "utilize" makes you seem like either a pompous twit or someone so insecure that he'll use pointlessly big words in an attempt to look smart. The same is true for the noun "utilization," for "vehicle" as used for "car," for "residence" as used for "home," for "indicate" as used for "say," for "presently," "at present," "at this time," and "at the present time" as used for "now," and so on. What's worth remembering about puff-words is something that good writing teachers spend a lot of time drumming into undergrads: "Formal writing" does not mean gratuitously fancy writing; it means clean, clear, maximally considerate writing. --David Foster Wallace

No offense to samsong who uses a lot of dynamic words in order to emphasize and dramatize his viewing experiences.  That's his style and everyone should have a personal style.

Also:



I want to read American Genius next, as this thread reminded me.
“If I had to hold up the most heavily fortified bank in America,” Bolaño says, “I’d take a gang of poets. The attempt would probably end in disaster, but it would be beautiful.”

 

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