The Literature Thread

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Macrology
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by Macrology » Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:49 am

DaMU wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:42 am
Keep buying books, plz halp.
I counted recently.

I own 143 books that I haven't read yet.

Edit: I just bought 8 more the other day.
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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DaMU
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by DaMU » Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:51 am

Macrology wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:49 am
I counted recently.

I own 143 books that I haven't read yet.

Edit: I just bought 8 more the other day.
Bought three today, a mercy that I've read one of them already (Ira Levin's Deathtrap).
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Takoma1
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:17 pm

DaMU wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:42 am
Next up is Lauren Beukes' The Shining Girls on audio, and Blake Crouch's Dark Matter and King's Doctor Sleep in print.
I really like The Shining Girls. Such a neat, horrific premise. Her next novel, Broken Monsters, isn't quite as coherent, but it's also one I'd recommend.
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:53 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 8:17 pm
I really like The Shining Girls. Such a neat, horrific premise. Her next novel, Broken Monsters, isn't quite as coherent, but it's also one I'd recommend.
Noted! I'm enjoying Shining Girls so far, demented villain, plucky heroine, and the premise is just too damn good of a hook.
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:55 am

Someone on Twitter was quoting the "1408" short story, so I re-read it, and it's still pretty damn good. I just love the phone talking back to Enslin (something they shifted in the film). "Six! This is six! This is goddamn fucking SIX!!!"
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DaMU
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by DaMU » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:36 pm

DaMU wrote:
Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:53 am
Noted! I'm enjoying Shining Girls so far, demented villain, plucky heroine, and the premise is just too damn good of a hook.
Finished this on the way to work this morning, there were some gasps, and a lot of happiness at a story well told. It's just nice to have a book that's well-done, hits its coulda-been-predictable turns with gusto and honesty. Excellent stuff. Very happy with this one.
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Takoma1
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Fri Dec 13, 2019 9:57 pm

DaMU wrote:
Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:36 pm
Finished this on the way to work this morning, there were some gasps, and a lot of happiness at a story well told. It's just nice to have a book that's well-done, hits its coulda-been-predictable turns with gusto and honesty. Excellent stuff. Very happy with this one.
Yay! Glad you liked it!

It's the kind of book I'd love to see as a film, but would have little faith that someone could capture the spirit of the book.
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Slentert
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by Slentert » Mon Dec 30, 2019 12:48 pm

5 favorite books I've read for the first time in 2019

1. The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
2. Breakfast at Tiffany's (Truman Capote)
3. The Quiet American (Graham Greene)
4. The Maltese Falcon (Dashiell Hammett)
5. Get Shorty (Elmore Leonard)

+ 5 comics I've read for the first time this year as well

1. Beasts of Burden Vol. 1 (Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson)
2. The New Frontier (Darwyn Cooke)
3. Isola Vol. 1 (Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl)
4. Multiple Warheads Vol. 1 (Brandon Graham)
5. Enigma (Peter Milligan & Duncan Fegredo)
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:18 pm

Trying to finish Blake Crouch's Dark Matter and Sarah Lotz' The White Road before the new year. Gonna be close.
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:49 pm

My best of 2019 would look something like this:

Non-Fiction
What There is to Say We Have Said

It took me a year and a half to read this book. And not because it was slow or boring, but rather because I fell so in love with the people in it that "watching" them age was just emotionally too much for me. The book is a collection of letters between Eudora Welty and William Maxwell, two friends who corresponded with each other for about 60 years. Their communication with each other is so loving and funny and heartfelt and honest that it gave me shivers. I underlined so many passages in lines. They led different lives in many ways (he was a family man with a wife and two daughters, while Eudora never married). She was more successful than he was as a writer, and yet they compliment each other so well. Whether romantic or platonic, anyone would be lucky to have this kind of relationship with someone in their life. It's also fascinating to watch history unfold tangentially in their writing, such as desegregation, the Kennedy assassination, the time that Eudora couldn't catch a flight because of the eruption of Mt. St. Helen's, etc.

Clever Girl Finance

Just a really solid book with broad but clear and actionable financial advice.

Trevor Noah: Born a Crime

A really fascinating autobiographical look at Trevor Noah's childhood. I had no idea some of the things he's experienced. It's funny but also heartbreaking, especially when you get to the parts where he's witnessing the increasingly violent abuse against his mother.

She Left Me the Gun

After her mother's death, the author begins to investigate her mother's youth and why she fled rural South Africa. On the one hand, there are times that the author clearly did not want to push too hard to get the full story (understandable as she is often interviewing family members in a foreign country where she feels out of place). But on the other hand, the stuff that she uncovers is brutal. It involves her mother, as a teenager, trying to get her father convicted of raping and otherwise abusing her many siblings and the way that she was absolutely destroyed by the South African court system. The story was something that was fascinating and made me really, really angry at the same time.

What If

Just a delightfully nerdy slice of fun.

Fiction

The Silver Star

Two girls abandoned by their mother find their way to their uncle's farm. This was a short and satisfying story about overcoming obstacles and especially those who would abuse their power over you.

The Bone Clocks

One of those stories so good that at times it hurts your heart. I loved the fantasy/sci-fi element at the center of this book, and the characters were especially good. The kind of book that you want to see as a movie, and yet you don't want it to happen for fear they'll mess the whole thing up. Splendid.

News of the World

This was a great short little book. An elderly man makes his living in post-Civil War American by traveling from town to town reading newpapers as a sort of theater performance. An old friend asks him to take a young girl back to her family--she's been a captive of a Native American tribe for several years. But a devious and dangerous man is on their trail and wants the girl for himself. This one was heartfelt with some great action sequences and an interesting exploration of what it means to belong. Did I cry at the last ten pages? Yup.

Lincoln in the Bardo

I'd previously read and loved George Saunders' short story collection, and so I was interested to see how he handled a full-length novel. It was excellent. The story takes place in the days after Abraham Lincoln's son has just died. We switch between the grieving Lincoln and the ghost of his son who is in a sort of limbo in the graveyard where he is looked after by other restless spirits. Every page of this book made me feel like someone was squeezing my heart. Love and loss and letting go, what it means to move on, and where we find strength to say goodbye. If you've experienced any recent loss of a loved one, this will hit you really hard. I was constantly on the edge of tears with it, but I couldn't put it down.

Station Eleven

I've been really burned out on post-apocalyptic media for the last few years, but this book was so beautifully written and the characters so wonderfully realized. The rare novel that switches between multiple perspectives and yet there wasn't one dominant one that you always wanted to get back to. The story moves in time and space, flashing forward and backward from the time of the outbreak of a worldwide pandemic. This is a story where character live and die, and then live again through their art and memories. A character-driven page turner that manages to paint a bleak future without excessive violence or exploitation.

The Kind Worth Killing

This one kind of botches the ending in my opinion (as in the author couldn't resist just one more twist!), but for most of the story it's a fun, trashy page-turner that puts a modern spin on the old Strangers on a Train idea. A man at an airport bar meets a strange woman who basically offers to help him murder his unfaithful wife. I had several moments of "Wait, WHAT?" in this book, with most of them being delightfully bonkers plot twists and turns. I know it's a little cold to recommend a beach read, but this is the kind of book that you can bang out in a day or two.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

This is the first book of the Chaos Walking series and it has a heck of a premise. A young man lives in a strange place where there are only men and everyone can hear each others' thoughts (they call it the noise). But not only the thoughts of other people, ALL thoughts--animals, fish, snakes, etc. As the youngest member of his community, Todd is on the cusp of some sort of indoctrination. But as that time approaches, he learns some horrible truths about his fellow villagers and must set out on a quest to protect himself and a new friend he discovers. This book will stab you in the heart a thousand times. I really want to read the rest of the series, but boy did this one take a lot out of me emotionally. Patrick Ness also wrote the short novel A Monster Calls, and I really love the way that he evokes the inner lives of his characters. This is the kind of book where a character can do something stupid or horrible, and yet you understand him so well that instead of being angry or annoyed, you just feel sad for what it will mean for him.
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DaMU
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by DaMU » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:33 pm

DaMU wrote:
Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:47 pm
I'm about 100 pages into House of Leaves and simultaneously love and hate the book. It's really something else. The slow and steady description of the hallway in the house makes for some of the creepiest shit I've read. The matter-of-fact uncanny nature of it recalls Ligotti to me. Reading that far into the story also encourages you to read some of the footnotes, which leads to an entire other sub-story about the narrator's mother and her experiences in a psychiatric ward. They're eerie and tragic and so far completely unrelated to the main drama but completely in keeping with Danielewski's interest in showing you the forward path before wrenching you off into off-roads and cul-de-sacs.

The "hate" isn't real; it's more frustration, since my brain struggles to keep all of the information straight, and sometimes it makes for such dense reading that I can only read ten pages in a day before I have trouble assembling all the data into something manageable and coherent. Which is clearly the goal of the novel, so mission accomplished. It's just... I haven't had to be so attentive to a book since decoding Chaucer's Middle English in college.
Finished this today. It sure is something. Out of the three core "documents" (the Navidson record, the Truant personal notes, the appendices/extra stories), the Navidson record feels the most effective. It's hard to shake that uncanny element of the story. How thoroughly it resists explanation even as it digs deeper and deeper into the character personalities and the house's unfathomable underbelly. Eeriest place since Hill House, for my money. Truant's recollections are at times arresting but just as often maddening/wandering to a distracting degree. The increasing stylistic excess of the book, evocative of the climax of Bester's The Stars My Destination, can come off gimmicky at times but generally contributes to the feelings of dislocation, of the world knocked off its axis inside the pitch-black hallways.

[Oddly the most emotional sequence to me is a throwaway anecdote about a baby in a maternity ward that carries no narrative relationship to the rest of the work (though it's symbolic for sure).]

Very glad I read it. Appeals to my fascination with puzzles, mazes, decoding/unpacking.
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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Takoma1
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by Takoma1 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:13 am

DaMU wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:33 pm
Very glad I read it. Appeals to my fascination with puzzles, mazes, decoding/unpacking.
This book was the source of my worst ever gift-giving fiasco.

I got it for my younger brother. At the time, we weren't communicating a lot and I had no idea what he was into. So we all get together for Christmas and I thought the story sounded cool so I bought him the book.

He opens the book and looks at a few pages (words literally scattered all over the page), looks at me, and goes (kind of amused, kind of annoyed), "I'm dyslexic."

FAIL.
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DaMU
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by DaMU » Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:17 am

Takoma1 wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:13 am
This book was the source of my worst ever gift-giving fiasco.

I got it for my younger brother. At the time, we weren't communicating a lot and I had no idea what he was into. So we all get together for Christmas and I thought the story sounded cool so I bought him the book.

He opens the book and looks at a few pages (words literally scattered all over the page), looks at me, and goes (kind of amused, kind of annoyed), "I'm dyslexic."

FAIL.
That's a big ol' d'oh.
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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DaMU
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Re: The Literature Thread

Post by DaMU » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:27 am

DaMU wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:18 pm
Trying to finish Blake Crouch's Dark Matter and Sarah Lotz' The White Road before the new year. Gonna be close.
Finished both of these.

Dark Matter I'm of two minds about. The actual prose and characterization is strained, sometimes on the verge of B-movie level, with 'helpful' description like "What if everything you knew was wrong?" (Ugh.) There's also the hacky sci-fi premise, delivered with the fast-moving pulp energy of Michael Crichton. But often bad Crichton. I honestly would've stopped reading if not for two friends' insistence that the novel is one of their favorites. So I pushed through the first hundred or so pages with a mix of indifference and frustration... and then, once the hero makes a crucial discovery about a dimension-hopping invention, the novel finally opens up and hooks into its premise... and then, once the hero realizes the refractive consequences of his own traveling into alternate dimensions, the novel really finds its over-the-top groove with about a hundred pages to go. I can't envision this being a favorite (again, that prose...), but I've never had the experience of reading a story and watching it slowly figure out the shit it wants to do.

The White Road wasn't as arresting as I'd hoped, but I might've been expecting a more out-and-out horror-fest. What's there instead is-- after a harrowing extended opener-- a considerable look at trauma, set on Mt. Everest, filtered through the uncanny. Apparently based on real life instances of "Third Man syndrome," where people in life-or-death situations (often hikers or explorers) feel or see the presence of an additional entity. In this novel, those passengers become avatars of old mistakes and lingering grief. Well-done overall.
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The above-written is wholly and solely the perspective of DaMU and should not be taken as an effort to rile, malign, or diminish you, dummo.
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