what are you reading?

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Unremarkable
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Postby Unremarkable » Fri Jan 21, 2005 3:51 pm

Oh my God, John changed his avatar!

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Ryan
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Postby Ryan » Fri Jan 21, 2005 4:15 pm

I've been trying to read between the lines for the last week. It's not working out.

So I'm going to paw at photo books instead - "Showtime" by Steve Gullick, and "A Lifetime Shooting Sports & Beauty" by Walter Iooss.

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c-dog
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Postby c-dog » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:09 am

Betty Felon wrote: Pico Iyer fills my heart. I can't describe his writing any other way. He offers so much insight and philosophy, and he's so well read and simultaneously aware of pop culture, that I learn something fascinating or am made to think deeply every three pages. And his words are gorgeous.

All travel writing should aspire to the level of Pico Iyer.


I want to thank Betty for this comment way back whenever it was - it made me read some of his books - and they are everything you said they are and more!

On that note anyone else reading anything good lately?

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Liesbeth
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Postby Liesbeth » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:42 am

not quite heavy literature (thankfully) but I really like the psychological crime novels by Barbara Vine. It's a pseudonym of Ruth Rendell, but unlike her regular whodunnits these are really interesting character studies. Gotta love it when a crime writer dares to reveal who the killer is in the first chapter.

Other than that I was given a novel recently which turned out to be about a middle-aged writer with a midlife crisis. Brrr. What is it about writers that makes them think it is a good idea to make a writer the central character of a novel. I don't care how difficult their plight is, they should just write a compelling book about someone interesting or stop writing books if it's that bad.

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the new girl
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Postby the new girl » Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:19 pm

I just finished Bill Bryson's "The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America" and Josh Kilmer-Purcell's "I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir." Both mighty hard to put down, Bryson's is about a meandering car journey around most of the US, with random observations, stops and souvenir shop discoveries. It's a good read, but written about events occuring in 1989, so not all that relevant.

The second book is a riot. I only bought it because after my member discount at Barnes & Noble it was less than $4 and it looked like a funny bit of light summer reading. Basic premise: a former NYC drag queen writes his memiors of a year or so of crazy events, parties, relationship with his male-escort boyfriend, etc, etc. It's an interesting enough story in and of itself, but the author's narrative style is completely entertaining. This was one that I couldn't put down and I'd reccomend for an easy summer/beach/plane read if you can pick it up cheap.

Other recent reads:
*Jonathon Safran Foer--Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (really, really good)
*Joan Didion--The Year of Magical Thinking (sad, but good, and makes you think)
*Gabriel Garcia Marquez--100 Years of Solitude (one of my favorites, I just read his Memories of My Melancholy Whores and I needed a bit more of a fix)

Up Next:
A couple of books on an interesting/timely topic, and I'm interested to see how they treat a similar/the same subject (I'm a nerd at heart):
*Peter Singer (and somebody else whom I've forgotten)--The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter (I like reading Singer's stuff [he's a big animal-rights-ethics guy] and it'll be interesting to see what he says here)
*Michael Pollan--An Omnivore's Dilemma (this is the more mass-market/popular title of the two and I really want to see if different evidence is presented and/or if the level of analysis is much different...)

I love books :) NERD!

bijou
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Postby bijou » Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:48 pm

America... by the Daily Show writers. Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert and Bill Maher collectively make it possible to maintain sanity in an insane political climate.

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Postby LoveSickJerk » Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:22 pm

I recently finished Too Loud A Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal, which was fantastic! Currently I'm in the middle of Nabokov's Pale Fire, thanks to The X-Files.

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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Sun Sep 10, 2006 5:11 pm

c-dog wrote:I want to thank Betty for this comment way back whenever it was - it made me read some of his books - and they are everything you said they are and more!


YAY! I'm so glad you enjoy him! What did you read? He is the reason I am in Japan right now.

New Girly: I LOVE Bill Bryson too...he is so free from the cloying solipsism of so many travel writers. He's just purely enjoyable. Joan Didion is amazing, and I loved Micheal Pollan's "The Botany of Desire" (very Nietsche/Birth of Tradgedy, actually) so please tell me how it turns out. I think I'll follow your lead and read som Marquez.

Recently I've been way into:

1.) Haruki Murakami-- delightful, devourable, not exactly high literature, but not exactly pop trash either. Same erudition shelf as Vonnegut. Good for trains.

2.) Speeches of Abraham Lincoln-- Did you know that Lincoln was totally hilarious and super sarcastic? Brilliantly crafted arguments. Good for when you need a reminder that America has a heart and soul.

Also:

3.) The Japanese Version of the Gideon Bible-- I picked up a bright orange religious text in a hotel room titled "The Teachings of Buddah". Naturally, I turned directly to the Life Of Women section to find, among other things, that there are 4 types of women:

1.) Those who become angry at trivial things, are fickle, greedy, jealous, and have no sympathy for others.
2.) Those who are trivial, fickle, and greedy, but not jealous and have sympathy.
3.) Those who are not trivial and greedy, but get jealous and have no sympathy.
4.) Those who are not trivial, greedy, can remain calm, are not jealous and have sympathy.

There are also 7 types of wives. I had high hopes for Buddhism, but it's just as sexist as the rest. Boooo!

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chelsea
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Postby chelsea » Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:54 pm

i just finished talk to the hand by lynne truss. she's the woman who wrote eats, shoots, and leaves which made her my hero. in talk to the hand she "takes on the sorry state of modern manners." i didn't agree with everything she said, but a lot of it has merit. i REALLY recommend eats, shoots, and leaves however.

next i'll read the wonder spot by melissa bank. it could be mistaken for cheesy "chick lit" but it's really not. her characters actually have some substance and she herself some intelligence.

a couple of weekends ago i read short short stories, dave eggers' collection of, well, short short stories that he wrote for the guardian a couple of years back. they are absolutely wonderful and it's a complete shame that the book isn't sold in the US. do whatever it takes to get your hands on a copy.

i've been meaning to read some haruki murakami...what's a good one to start with?

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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:02 pm

chelsea wrote:i've been meaning to read some haruki murakami...what's a good one to start with?


"Sputnik Sweetheart" is an excellent place to begin because of it's excellent beginning:

"In the spring of her twenty-second year, Sumire fell in love for the first time in her life. An intense love, a veritable tornado sweeping across the plains flattening everything in its path, tossing things up in the air, ripping them to shreds, crushing them to bits. The tornado's intensity doesn't abate for a second as it blasts across the ocean, laying waste to Angkor Wat, incinerating an Indian jungle, tigers and all, transforming itself into a Persian desert sandstorm, burying an exotic fortress city under a sea of sand. In short, a love of truly monumental proportions. The person she fell in love with happened to be seventeen years older than Sumire. And was married. And, I should add, was a woman. This is where it all began, and where it all wound up. Almost."

A love that incincerates Tigers....

How I do love it when this thread gets going. I'll have to look for the Egger's book.
Last edited by Betty Felon on Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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junker347
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Postby junker347 » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:16 pm

anything by James Rollins... he is the historical fiction / action writer Dan Brown can only dream to be as good as... his new book Black Order is just as thought-provoking as it is exciting!

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c-dog
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Postby c-dog » Mon Sep 11, 2006 5:16 am

Betty Felon wrote: YAY! I'm so glad you enjoy him! What did you read? He is the reason I am in Japan right now.


I just finished Global Souls - amazing. He makes such insightful observations and connections - I want to read everything of his now.

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icapants
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Postby icapants » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:59 am

I have just started reading again, after giving up my bookworm ways upon h.s. graduation. I'm trying to read Lolita and it's pretty hard for me to get into it, but I'm trying. It's starting to make a little more sense to me.

I've got a stack of books by my bed (and a list on my livejournal) that I plan to read/am reading.

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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:48 pm

icapants wrote:I have just started reading again, after giving up my bookworm ways upon h.s. graduation. I'm trying to read Lolita and it's pretty hard for me to get into it, but I'm trying. It's starting to make a little more sense to me.

I've got a stack of books by my bed (and a list on my livejournal) that I plan to read/am reading.


Lolita totally freaks me the *%&^ out. Take care.

Also, that "Freakanomics" book is totally fun and I heartily recommend it. It's not at all heavy; you can read the whole thing in 5 hours. Afterwards, you'll be just full of all sorts of random interesting facts. For example, that in the online dating world's list of desirable attributes, blond hair on a woman is the statistical equivalent of a college degree.

On another note, "100 Years of Solitude" is amazing from, like, the 3rd paragraph. Wow!

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Betty Felon
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Postby Betty Felon » Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:55 pm

c-dog wrote:
Betty Felon wrote: YAY! I'm so glad you enjoy him! What did you read? He is the reason I am in Japan right now.


I just finished Global Souls - amazing. He makes such insightful observations and connections - I want to read everything of his now.


Ah...yeah those essays are great. A little dense though. That Hong Kong essay blew my mind, I loved the whole idea of British F.I.L.T.H. (Failed in London Try Hong Kong) and the Chinese that used to serve them slowly switching places. Of course that won't happen, and internet has changed so much his voicemail nightmare. But still, insanity.

Pico-san's other works are slightly lighter.

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aj
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Postby aj » Mon Sep 18, 2006 6:46 pm

Betty Felon wrote:
Also, that "Freakanomics" book is totally fun and I heartily recommend it. It's not at all heavy; you can read the whole thing in 5 hours. Afterwards, you'll be just full of all sorts of random interesting facts. For example, that in the online dating world's list of desirable attributes, blond hair on a woman is the statistical equivalent of a college degree.


I just put that on my list. I wanted to read it before, but I didn't remember until the last two weeks when I've found myself in the "business" section on numerous occasions.

Which brings me to a question: Anyone recommend a good book on starting a small business? I have seen quite a few, but the info they provide is generally more up-to-date online.

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John
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Postby John » Mon Sep 18, 2006 9:12 pm

Found "No country for old men" by Cormac McCarthy on the bedside table of the house where I'm staying here in Austin and elected to spend my day off sitting in bed reading it. Corking good yarn, but petered out toward the end.

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No You Are
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Postby No You Are » Tue Sep 19, 2006 7:13 am

John wrote:Found "No country for old men" by Cormac McCarthy on the bedside table of the house where I'm staying here in Austin and elected to spend my day off sitting in bed reading it. Corking good yarn, but petered out toward the end.


I just read that book on a roadie we took last week.

My advice, if you find a bag 'o drug money... just let it be.

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grant
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Postby grant » Tue Sep 19, 2006 7:56 pm

Great title, though.

Speeches of Abraham Lincoln-- Did you know that Lincoln was totally hilarious and super sarcastic?


True fact: And a former professional wrestler.

I'm still wading through Samuel Delany's Neveryona, which is kind of a collection of post-colonialist theory essays disguised as a sword-n-sorcery narrative (although there's been very little in the way of swords, and no sorcery to speak of at all).

I like Delany better when he's doing science fiction, but there's still a bunch of interesting things going on in this. I think I'd like it better if I'd read the first book -- it's one of those second-in-a-trilogy "but it can stand alone!" books. The main character is a young woman who knows how to read & write and is traveling around her mostly pre-literate home country (something like an English grad student in the world of Conan), piecing together bits of wisdom about how the political & economic systems work, and what the history of the place really is (no easy feat when hardly anyone can write).

Next on my end table is the collected Bone comics -- which is an actual sword-and-sorcery trilogy disguised as Pogo funny strips. I've bought around seven of the small collections, but borrowed the whole thing from a friend so I can finally read the ending.

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c-dog
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Postby c-dog » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:31 am

Betty Felon wrote:
c-dog wrote:
Betty Felon wrote: YAY! I'm so glad you enjoy him! What did you read? He is the reason I am in Japan right now.


I just finished Global Souls - amazing. He makes such insightful observations and connections - I want to read everything of his now.


Ah...yeah those essays are great. A little dense though. That Hong Kong essay blew my mind, I loved the whole idea of British F.I.L.T.H. (Failed in London Try Hong Kong) and the Chinese that used to serve them slowly switching places. Of course that won't happen, and internet has changed so much his voicemail nightmare. But still, insanity.

Pico-san's other works are slightly lighter.


His essay on Toronto was my favorite - mostly because I'm pretty familiar with the city. I think he may have oversung it as the great utopia of globalized cities - but it is a great place. I loved the part about Honest Ed's - definitely a T.O. institution.


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