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Didn't get...

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  • Didn't get...

    Another stolen thread from another forum (Ligotti's) that I don't post in but sometimes check out. Thought it was quite an interesting topic, like Grant Morrison, I'm ripping it off here to see what you guys might make of it:

    So, the question is: what writer did you:

    A) really not get until some later time (and was there anything that helped you to "get it")

    B) really not get, and still do not get, but feel there is something to them

    C) really not get, and feel pretty confident that, yup, there's nothing there to get.
    It's one I'm going to have a little think about first...
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  • #2
    No takers.. oh well, I'm going to give it a go anyway... I might make a new thread called 'posts I didn't get' and include this one!

    A) Philip K Dick: Try as I might I really didn't get this guy for a while... I had a feeling that there was something there, but he just didn't click for ages. I think the 'click' came when I realised he was predominately a moral writer after reading A Scanner Darkly and re-reading High Castle. Now he's one of my all time favourite authors... funny how it goes, sometimes!

    B) James Joyce (a predictable and common choice, I'd think): I liked 'The Dead,' but not the rest of The Dubliners really and Young Artist had it's moments (both good and bad), but I've yet to summon up the courage to tackle Ulysses and I find modernism in literature, in general, off putting and too obscure for my tastes - but still, I want to give him a go... I'd also include Camus here. I've only read The Outsider, which was okay... I've got another on my shelves that I mean to give a go this year sometime as there's quite alot I like in absurdism in general. I might also add Virginia Woolf here. I've only read Mrs Dalloway, which I hated, but I fancy giving the Waves a go one day.

    C) Ha! Sooooo many! Let's say Orson Scott Card and leave it at that!
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    • #3
      A) really not get until some later time (and was there anything that helped you to "get it")
      Not a writer exactly but a character: Mike's own Elric. I first read the Elric novels off the back of the first Hawkmoon tetralogy in my mid-teens and they were 'alright' I guess but they didn't leave a huge mark on me or anything (I wasn't a particularly 'angsty' teenager, I guess) and I certainly wouldn't have put Elric in the top tier of my favourite Moorcock characters. It wasn't until my late 30's that I read them again and this time not in the 'classic' six book volume series but in the order Mike wrote/published them and suddenly they all clicked into place for me. The difference? Apart from the order I think it was simply age; I was older is all. Sometimes you read/watch something as a child and when you go back to it with adult eyes you can see the wires and stuff that were previously invisible to you the first time and your memories are ruined by the experience. Elric was the opposite; of something I didn't have especially fond memories of but second time around I found the stories and the character fresh and exciting. I maintain that those original ten Science Fantasy novellas Mike wrote (including the sublime 'To Rescue Tanelorn...') are among the best fantasy stories ever put to paper. That said, I still don't get the image that some people seem to have of Elric as a meat-grinding, nihilistic, killing machine with a Death Metal soundtrack. Mike's vision of Elric always seemed far more humane than that to me.

      B) really not get, and still do not get, but feel there is something to them
      Jane Austen. I was given Pride and Prejudice to read at college one lesson and my first reaction to that opening sentence was "Bullshit!". My second was an primeval urge to throw the book across the room into the nearest waste bin. I still haven't felt the need to take it back out again but apparently a lot of very knowledgeable people think the book has some merit to it. Good luck to them says I. I'm not going to waste my time when there's a stack of JG Ballard novels waiting to be read.

      C) really not get, and feel pretty confident that, yup, there's nothing there to get.
      Anything with the words 'by L. Ron Hubbard' on the cover. The only benefit those books could possible deliver to mankind is to be buried in soft peat for six months and then recycled as firelighters. Alternatively - because we're trying to reduce our carbon footprint - you could always wipe your arse with the pages. I guess.
      _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
      _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
      _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
      _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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      • #4
        [QUOTE=David Mosley;261834]
        Apart from the order I think it was simply age; I was older is all. Sometimes you read/watch something as a child and when you go back to it with adult eyes you can see the wires and stuff that were previously invisible to you the first time and your memories are ruined by the experience.
        Very true. Age effects it and sometimes just what mood you're in at the time. When I read Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness I knew it was brilliant, but I was in a melancholy mood (in the middle of an unhappy relationship) and it's a melancholy novel - I just couldn't appreciate it as much as I otherwise might have.

        I've had a fluctuating relationship with LotRs over the years. I read it quite young and loved it, but once I got into Elric (I was an angsty teenager you'll be surprised to hear ) I kinda put it behind me as something of my childhood. It wasn't until I read it again at ~30 that I realised that I actually still liked it (inspired after watching the first film). Either that or I was regressing back to my childhood in some kind of early mid-life criss...
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        • #5
          A) Terry Pratchett. I tried a number of times, but it wasn't until my niece bought me Carpe Jugulum that I found a way in and haven't looked back.

          B) Margaret Atwood. I have tried a number of times, and I know everyone goes on about her work so there's probably something there, but I just cannot see it and a couple of the ones I have tried have made my hands itch to throw them at the wall.

          C) Jeanette Winterson, Will Self, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie - all shit as far as I'm concerned. Same with Rowling. And Dan Brown. And Neil Gaiman. And... where does this list stop? I stopped reading fantasy and sf a long time ago.

          But I'm an old fart, set in my ways round about 1972.
          "By means of our myths and legends we maintain a sense of what we are worth and who we are. Without them we should undoubtedly go mad."
          MM - Mother London

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          • #6
            A) Tim Powers. For the first time The Anubis gates looked me a little pedant and I thought "why is he changing the plot this way ?" I finished the book and 2 days later I was just being hit by great and fond memories of the book. When I read it again later, around my ~36 it was a HIGH pleasurable experience.

            B) Borges. Yeah, probably the best Latin American writer, I read two of his books that did not ring the bell, but it was rather my fault than his I bet.

            C) Machado de Assis, ask any American literature scholar about Brazilian writers and they will come up with M. De Assis easily, yet, I can tell you that his books never really appealed for my tastes, although he was a writer of a time period I love, the 19th century. It does not mean he is not good, it may be a case of taste.
            Last edited by zlogdan; 02-16-2013, 09:17 AM.
            "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
            "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

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            • #7
              Nicolo Machiavelli - read The Prince, didn't get it. Worked for a genius programme manager who ticked all of Machiavelli's boxes. Read The Prince again. Got it.

              F Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby - not sure why it's such a classic, although my niece reckons it's brilliant.

              China Mieville - Perdido Street Station - WTF?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by porcus_volans View Post
                Nicolo Machiavelli - read The Prince, didn't get it. Worked for a genius programme manager who ticked all of Machiavelli's boxes. Read The Prince again. Got it.

                F Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby - not sure why it's such a classic, although my niece reckons it's brilliant.

                China Mieville - Perdido Street Station - WTF?
                I like the Great Gatsby although mainly for the last page, which I think is beautifully written. Truth is, I'm not a massive fan of the Great American Novel, so it's not a book for me... But nicely written, I thought, and an amazing last page - and at least it's not a long book, which is more than I can say for...

                Mieville's a strange one. I kinda liked Perdido S.S., but I thought it was highly flawed and kinda long... like kinda 400-500 pages too long! (Quite a flaw indeed!) I then read the Scar and liked it, although mainly for the misanthropic female character. I had high hopes, but everything else has been a total disaster! Almost unreadable so. A sad case of the emperor's new clothes or as you say, WTF?
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                • #9
                  I have a copy of Perdido... at my shelf, every time I grab it and try to read it I end up reading something else !
                  "From time to time I demonstrate the inconceivable, or mock the innocent, or give truth to liars, or shred the poses of virtue.(...) Now I am silent; this is my mood." From Sundrun's Garden, Jack Vance.
                  "As the Greeks have created the Olympus based upon their own image and resemblance, we have created Gotham City and Metropolis and all these galaxies so similar to the corporate world, manipulative, ruthless and well paid, that conceived them." Braulio Tavares.

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                  • #10
                    A) Angela Carter, Camus, Balzac, G. Eliot, Chopin. Though I'd read works by some of these folks years ago, I didn't really appreciate them (and several other writers) until I started following recommendations made here by Mike and all y'all Miscellanists. The "What book are you reading now?" thread might've expanded my mind more than anything else I've encountered on the 'net. Not kidding.

                    B) William Vollman. Most difficult goddamn fiction I've ever met if you don't count books written in languages I can't read.

                    C) John Grisham and Scott Turow. Sorry if I'm repeating something I've posted elsewhere, but I cannot stand novels comprised of single-sentence paragraphs. The same admission price is better spent on a fistful of junk like Batman Inc. and Daredevil because comics at least give you some halfway decent illustrations that look cool and colorful when you're still awake and wasted at 3 a.m..

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