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What book are you reading at the moment? Part 2

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  • This has become my favorite thread...

    A fairly random set of thoughts: On the non-fiction/ academic reading versus reading fiction--hanks for the feedback. It amazes me that some people find no pleasure in reading, regardless of form, topic, or content. Clearly that is not the case here (of course), but I think that we are becoming a minority. I think those of us who read both fiction and non-fiction (or academic and non-academic or literary and non-literary or whatever) are an even rarer breed. I suppose asking a question about thinking of them as different modes of reading is asking a question to a fairly select audience...


    DF, either Michael John is a fantastic choice. I've said elsewhere that Harrison's The Course of the Heart is one of my favorite novels, and I also quite like Signs of Life. I suppose it goes without saying that I think the Viriconium stories are as good as fantasy gets.

    Kevin, I can't wait to read what you say about the second ether novels when you are finished with War. You're blazing through them!

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    • Just finished Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black. Normally I read fiction for fun. Getting to the end of this just required shear bloody mindedness. Why I wasted the time I don't know.

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      • My pace is slowing a bit Doc. Not because my interest has wained. The lovely bride had a torn rotator cuff repaired yesterday and its been a bunch of steppin and fetchin for the McCabe unit. On the bright side, I did see RocknRolla in the wee hours. Great flick for that genre!
        Last edited by Kevin McCabe; 03-14-2009, 02:06 PM. Reason: Typo on name
        Kevin McCabe
        The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

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        • Originally posted by Doc View Post
          Do you find that fiction helps you unplug after reading academic work?
          For me it's more like a change of frequency, or plugging into something simply different, preferably without footnotes (the latter with apologies to the late David Foster Wallace.) It is also about the fact that in more academic or research reading I tend to be on the hunt for things while with fiction I can sit back and let things hunt me, takeover my mind for a while and let a story play out. The fact that these days I like to be pursued by red-eyed, non-human, albino ex-emperors much more than, say, anyone from Yoknapatawpha County would probably give an unenlightened psychologist half a career.

          Some of my students have asked me through the years how I read for pleasure after I read so much for my academic life. I suppose some of them cannot understand that they are remarkably different pursuits, since fewer and fewer of them read for pleasure. Regardless, I find that I sometimes need the catharsis of reading fiction after academic heavy lifting.
          They are different to me, too, and the general apparent loss of "reading for pleasure" in this world is alarming to me.

          Back to thread topic: besides reading the Elric series again I will probably be starting The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, usually considered the world's first novel. I'll be reading it in what I am told is a splendid new translation by Royall Tyler. The idea of being happily lost in such an epic work that does not contain vikings, Odin or endless dark nights has a certain appeal to me right now.

          Cordially,
          Luce

          "When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."
          - Mark Twain, notebook entry, 1898.

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          • Reading Jeff VanderMeer's "Shriek: An Afterword" right now. "City of Saints and Madmen" ( also by VanderMeer ) was one of my favorite books of the past 5 years. I really like his style. Kinda reminds me of MM at times. ( lots of strange characters and cool concepts )

            Just picked up "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" a few days ago. Trying to read some of the classic stuff that I didn't get around to when I was younger.

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            • Ellisons Time of the Eye was excellent!!
              Im away to start another one of his i picked up yesterday called All the Sounds of Fear.
              "I hate to advocate drugs,alcohol,violence or insanity to anyone,but they've always worked for me"

              Hunter S Thompson

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              • Sounds good, tf. I've been thinking on revisiting HE for a while...

                Just finished "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins. Found it quite gripping, especially given its YA categorization; surprisingly hard to put down. Also on "Freedom in Exile," the autobiography of the Dalai Lama; and also the graphic novel series "Fables."
                McN

                "I learned: the first lesson of my life: nobody can face the world with his eyes open all the time." Salman Rushdie, 'Midnight's Children'

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                • John Calvin Batchelor's "The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica", after letting it sleep in my mind for about twenty-odd years.

                  I'd read a good part of it during a prolonged stopover at the secondary airport on my way home one Christmas, and it blew me away, to the extent that I couldn't pick it up for about twenty years.

                  I'm discovering it's as every bit as mindblowingly brilliant as it was when I first read it.
                  sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

                  Gold is the power of a man with a man
                  And incense the power of man with God
                  But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
                  And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

                  Nativity,
                  by Peter Cape

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                  • Originally posted by Starsailor View Post
                    Reading Jeff VanderMeer's "Shriek: An Afterword" right now. "City of Saints and Madmen" ( also by VanderMeer ) was one of my favorite books of the past 5 years. I really like his style. Kinda reminds me of MM at times. ( lots of strange characters and cool concepts )
                    For what it's worth, Jeff's pretty open about how much of an influence Mike has been on his career, and, as the introduction to City of Saints and Madman shows, Mike makes no secret of his admiration of VanderMeer's work.

                    I'm with you on your opinion, though, Starsailor. His work is fantastic. Veniss Underground is actually my favorite work of his. I know I'm in the minority.

                    Starting Chuck Palahniuk's Diary. Long overdue.

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                    • Master of the Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy.
                      Madness is always the best armor against Reality

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                      • Ploughed through my Ellison books in the last few days(2 of em)
                        Away to open The Executioners Song by Norman Mailer.
                        "I hate to advocate drugs,alcohol,violence or insanity to anyone,but they've always worked for me"

                        Hunter S Thompson

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                        • Finished Ayesha: The Return Of She, and Haggard drags even more drama out of the story! Change of plan from the book I had lined up (Spinrad's 'Iron Dream') because The Unforsaken Hiero came today and I'm straight into that.
                          You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

                          -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

                          Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

                          :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


                          "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

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                          • Just about done Larsson's Dragon Tattoo and I suppose what I'm seeing is a decent populist writer who knows what shocks people. One reviewer nailed it on the head by writing that the book shows a side of Sweden people from overseas don't usually hear about... which doesn't really impress me, showing that humans are humans. I don't consider it a bad use of my time, though, and am hopeful for the next hardcover whose title escapes my mind.
                            Thick as wind-blown leaves innumerable, since 1985

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                            • Also finished a book I've had in my work bag for a while (would you believe years rather than months?), The Daily Life of the Aztecs by Jacques Soustelle. A painstaking reconstruction of what was known 50 years ago about every aspect of Mexican society on the eve of the Spanish conquest. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the culture. I shall be looking for another copy because this one fell in half during its many travels to and from work!

                              Just going into my bag is The Buccaneers of America by Exquemelin. I wonder how long this one will be in there?!
                              You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

                              -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

                              Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

                              :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


                              "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

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                              • That Soustelle book sounds interesting Gov.
                                Am away to have a look for it right now.
                                "I hate to advocate drugs,alcohol,violence or insanity to anyone,but they've always worked for me"

                                Hunter S Thompson

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