So, What Are You Freakin' Well Reading Now? part (ii)

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Caissa

I'm reading The Vicar of Wakefield.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Started reading Black Boy by Richard Wright and I am almost surprised by how much I love the writing style. Usually I find older books (pre 1950s) dated in their colloquial language and style, but this is a fantastically written book for both style and content.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

Being and Time by Martin Heidegger.  I've avoided reading Heidegger thus far but felt I had to give this book at least an attempt due to the numerous references made of it in other tracts.  Borrowed it two weeks ago from a friend, and I'm already nearing the end of page two.

Just finished reading your post. Like!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Just finished Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood and am moving onto Nabokov's Lolita. Really liking this American Novels course and its guidance.

Unionist

Nabokov spent about the last half of his life in the U.S. and wrote all his best-known books there - in American English. Maybe not a good comparison, but I'd call Michael Ondaatje a Canadian novelist - not Sri Lankan. Joseph Conrad is sometimes called a Polish novelist, but I wouldn't object to seeing his works in an English Novels course. Etc.

 

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@Unionist -- thanks for the info! I thought it would be something akin to that, or just such an influence in American literature that they had to include it.

I agree with your comparisons of Michael Ondaatje as well as Yann Martel is someone who brings that up as well. Though I suppose his family is French-Canadian, he just lived abroad for a bit.

That brings up an interesting question of influence of nationality when it comes to writing, especially with Nabakov. I guess that is up to the individual writer to decide.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

[I'm guessing they side-stepped that fact the Nabokov was Russian-- wondering why he was placed in this list]

Bacchus

Malled by Caitlinn Kelly

 

Writer has to enter the world of retail

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

"Consent of the Networked:  The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom" by Rebecca MacKinnon.

It deals with the relationship between tech corporations, governments and the digital commons (us folks) and the challenge to maintain a free and open internet.

Often the technologies used to spy on people in developed countries as part of the infotainment industry's war on sharing are the same technologies used by repressive governments to put a lid on political dissent.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

On my reading list - I hope to purchase a copy soon.  

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

moving on to On The Road. A reread, but still excellent nonetheless.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Started reading Steve Martin's 'An Object of Beauty'; first book buy in a while -- on sale, hard copy, $7. Been looking out for it, pretty sweet purchase.

Slumberjack

Lies

PDF reader.  A formidable collection of writing.

Bacchus

Haiti by Philippe Girard

jas

Looking forward to starting The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom, which I bought with a gift card.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I just finished reading, "Texada Tapestry, A History."  It is a interesting history of one of the islands in the Salish Sea.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Finishing Junot Diaz's This is How you lose her. What an excellent writing voice!

Caissa

How  was the Steve Martin book, Kaitlin? I saw a student reading it before class this morning.

Timebandit

I've been reading Scandinavian crime fiction lately.  Two of Nesbo's Harry Hole novels (Norwegian), two of Adler-Olson's Carl Morck novels (Danish), and the first of Mankell's Wallander series (Swedish). 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

I really liked the beginning of it and its exploration of the art world and working within the art world, especially through the eyes of a 20-something girl and her first real job after collage. I found some of the storylines, particularly the love interest stuff to be annoying and distracting from what seemed like an art history book dsiguised in a narrative story.

And the narrator who is the best friend of the protagonist didn't work for me because I just didn't care about him and also didn't believe he would have so much intimate knowledge of the lead. I think the book would have come off better for me if the narrator were the protagnoist or was just an omniscient voice.

However, I love Steve Martin's writing voice -- he takes hilarious jabs at the art world stereotypes while simulataneously expressing love of the art world. Also, no one write dialogue like Martin (over statement ... maybe). 

All and all, I enjoyed how much thought and research was written into this book, and felt I learned a lot about art as an industry and art history -- that is definitely the forte. He created an interesting protagonist that was multi-faceted and incredibly flawed and gave me major reactions. I could have done without some parts as I mentioned, and I thought the book could have ended about five pages before it did, but I enjoyed the experience.

I will always love Steve Martin and his writing, but don't know if I would recommend this book to everyone. I did recommend it to my 26 year old art history lady friend though.

Caissa

The student I saw reading it was sitting in a Literary Theory class.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

That makes sense. I've read some reviews applauding its combination of somewhat unrelated genres -- art history/theory and fiction. Without revealing the whole book, some of the subplots, specifically the 'detective/mystery' style one, don't seem necessary to me. I found it distracting from the main story, but hey, maybe it was supposed to signify or reveal something I just didn't get.

I always enjoy reading Steven Martin, though, because of his ability to write 'actual' people, especially female characters. They are believable. And he is freakin' hilarious sometimes, and I copied down numerous quotes from the book, and laughed out loud.

If you are interested in reading it, it is about 300pages, but it is an easy-style read to sit down to.

 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Bumping this thread so we can stop co-opting The Inconvenient Indian thread! ;)

But over the holidays I finished Freedom by Jonathon Franzen, whom I don't particularly like as a person, given all his persistent road comments about DFW, but damn is he a good writer.

Also just finishing up Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, which if you read Straphanger with bbc or generally like books about city planning, is for you, and The Drunken Botanist, which is less narrative than I thought, but still fairly interesting. PLUS there are a lot of amazing cocktail recipes in there.

Caissa

I'm reading this at the moment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grand_Design_(book)

Unionist

Corrected link:

http://bit.ly/1hxhwX1

How is it so far?

 

 

sherpa-finn

Well, I bet it has a real humdinger of a "who dunnit?!" style final chapter. (My money's on the butler.) 

Caissa

I'm enjoying it, Unionist. It gets a bit dense at times. I haven't studied physics since 1980 but stretching the brain is supposed to help keep off the onset of Alzheimers. It's interesting reading the theories of physicists who are mention on The Big Bang Theory (ex. Clerk Maxwell and Feynman). I have about 30 pages to go.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Finished 'The Inconvenient Indian' by Thomas King (oooooobviously) if yall don't read along with bbc 1. you should, but more importantly 2. this was a great read

Moving on to Aerogrammes and Other Stories by Tania James next (before starting up our next bbc selection)

Still finishing The Drunken Botanist, which is more my guitly pleasure, less intense reading book.

Caissa

I'm reading Paris by Edward Rutherford and Youth by J.M. Coetzee.

MegB

I'm reading the kind of brainless drivel some people reserve for summer reading, the kind of books that serious writing goes to to hang itself. Seasonal affective disorder forces me to reserve thought-provoking writing for when there are two or more days of sunshine in a row and the temperature outside is in the plus teens instead of minus double-digits. For the same reason I was able to, last Sunday, sit through nearly 45 minutes of some rom-com on television before I felt my brain turning to mush when usually I'll run screaming during the opening credits. Spring can't come soon enough ...

Caissa

SAD affects me as well. It's sunny and freezing here today.

MegB

The sunshine is the best thing about today!

Timebandit

Over the holidays I read Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam (a thoughtful gift from my girls), Jo Nesbo's The Bat (the first Harry Hole novel) and Cockroaches ( the second), then read Jussi Adler-Olsen's Conspiracy of Faith. So I'm still pretty hooked on Scandinavian crime fiction, but Pratchett was a delightful romp, with his usual social undertones. I'll be sad when he stops writing. I started into Under Heaven by Guy Gsvriel Kaye in a fit of insomnia last night. So far, its pretty good. I also recently read The Tiger by John Vaillant - Terrific piece of nonfiction. Learned a lot more about Siberian tigers, very gripping story.

oreobw

I don't read much fiction . . .  now reading Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood: Complicated Women by Mick LaSalle.

To me, it is a really good overview of the roles available to women during this period but not available later after the code was enforced.   Good stuff if you like old movies.

Also,  -22c again tonight (plus wind chill).  I am looking forward to spring.

Slumberjack

A review of Alexander R. Galloway, Laruelle: Against the Digital:  From the Decision to the Digital

Quote:

The Laruellian Kernel

Are philosophers no better than creationists? Philosophers may claim to hate irrationalist leaps of faith, but Laruelle locates such leaps precisely in philosophers’ own narcissistic origin stories. This argument follows from Chapter One of Galloway’s Laruelle, which outlines how all philosophy begins with the world as ‘fact.’ For example: the atomists begin with change, Kant with empirical judgment, and Fichte with the principle of identity. And because facts do not speak for themselves, philosophy elects for itself a second task — after establishing what ‘is’ — inventing a form of thought to reflect on the world. Philosophy thus arises out of a brash entitlement: the world exists to be thought. Galloway reminds us of this through Gottfried Leibniz, who tells us that “everything in the world happens for a specific reason” (and it is the job of philosophers to identify it), and Alfred North Whitehead, who alternatively says, “no actual entity, then no reason” (so it is up to philosophers to find one).

Unionist

I finally read Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being, and enjoyed it thoroughly, as I do any book which mentions Schrödinger’s cat.

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Schrödinger’s cat, eh? I will have to read it!I don't read a lot of fiction but will have to make an exception here if it mentions  that perplexing cat (I remember a story by Ursula Le Guin that also featured the famous feline).

 

After watching Harry Shearer's documentary, The Big Uneasy, I've been reading two rather devastating analyses of the Hurricane Katrina issues: Ivor Van Heerden's The Storm and one entitled Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms by McQuaid and Schleifstein. Both are lucid, detailed explications of the issues (with some hints at solutions) from different perspectives. Von Heerden (and Harry Shearer, in his film) make the point (with multiple examples)that the mainstream media deliberately misrepresented what happened as a "natural disaster," which was false. The N.O. disaster was a man-made catastrophe (grace a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). They also illustrate the consequences facing a public servant who tries to get problems fixed before they become catastrophes.  The specifics may relate to Louisiana, but the general themes are much broader -- and troubling.

sherpa-finn

This was my summer of Canadian historical fiction: first came Joseph Boyden's The Orenda. And then Lawrence Hill's Book of Negroes. Both were terrific reads - Canadian epics, really, hugely evocative of very particular times and places.

I am now introducing myself to the novels of William Faulkner (an oversight of a misguided education). First was As I Lay Dying and then The Sound and the Fury. Both terrific books - but with some really challenging passages due to the use of shifting voices, dialects, etc. (I figure if I can warm up on Faulkner, - sooner or later, I might take another run at Joyce.)

Unionist

Ok, now I'm reading Hilary Mantel's [url=http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/19/hilary-mantel-short-story-a... Assassination of Margaret Thatcher[/url]. Should be finished in about 5 minutes.

Never heard of it, did you?

 

Bacchus

I just read a Guardian interview with the Author of it

 

It was interesting

Unionist

Finished.

I love short stories. They're short, and they're stories. What could be better?

 

Slumberjack

Michael Foucault and Feminism

Quote:
  Poststructuralism and contemporary feminism have emerged as two of the most influential political and cultural movements of the late twentieth century. The recent alliance between them has been marked by an especially lively engagement with the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault. Although Foucault makes few references to women or to the issue of gender in his writings, his treatment of the relations between power, the body and sexuality has stimulated extensive feminist interest. Foucault’s idea that the body and sexuality are cultural constructs rather than natural phenomena has made a significant contribution to the feminist critique of essentialism. While feminists have found Foucault’s analysis of the relations between power and the body illuminating, they have also drawn attention to its limitations. From the perspective of a feminist politics that aims to promote women’s autonomy, the tendency of a Foucauldian account of power to reduce social agents to docile bodies seems problematic. Although many feminist theorists remain critical of Foucault’s questioning of the categories of the subject and agency on the grounds that such questioning undermines the emancipatory aims of feminism, others have argued that in his late work he develops a more robust account of subjectivity and resistance which, while not without its problems from a feminist perspective, nevertheless has a lot to offer a feminist politics. The affinities and tensions between Foucault’s thought and contemporary feminism are discussed below.

mark_alfred

Just finished Cockroach by Rawi Hage.  It was good.

Doug Woodard

Unionist wrote:

Corrected link:

http://bit.ly/1hxhwX1

The Grand Design:

I haven't read it, but from the reviews I suspect that a quote I'm fond of might be relevant (from the British biologist J.B.S. Haldane, 1920s)

"The universe is not only queerer than we imagine; it is queerer than we can imagine"

mark_alfred

I'm reading three books right now:

  1. Strength of Conviction, by Tom Mulcair
  2. Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari
  3. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Enjoying all three so far.  I'm two-thirds through Strength of Conviction, one quarter through Sapiens, and one-third through Jane Eyre.  The first two are non-fiction, with the first being a political autobiography of the current NDP leader, and the second being a pop history/science book about the development of Homo Sapiens from back when we shared the Earth with other human species like Neanderthals to today, whereas the third is a classic fiction novel.  All very good so far.

ETA:  I tried to underline the titles of the books when I wrote this post, but the underline function of posting here at Babble doesn't seem to work.  So, I'm now putting them in italics instead.

swallow

Saw a lot of people reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me over the hols - so I read it myself. Great stuff, anyone else read it? 

MegB

I'm re-reading Poison Flower by Thomas Perry. It's one of a series of thrillers featuring a Native American woman protagonist. One book I'd highly recommend is Canada After Harper. It's a series of essays by people like David Suzuki and Linda McQuaig on shit Harper did.

Doug Woodard

A fragment reviewing Orwell's last word; I expect it will be especially relevant to the administration of President Trump:

http://qz.com/95696/you-probably-didnt-read-the-most-telling-part-of-orw...

I have to admit though that Mike Harris and Stephen Harper made pretty good tries at Newspeak at times.

Timebandit

I'm reading Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. It's an really good book, and I'm enjoying it immensely, but I thought his Yiddish Policeman's Union was better. Took itself a little less seriously.

lagatta4

I just finished Eleanor Marx, a life, by Rachel Holmes. She was her father's daughter and much more, as she was involved in concrete activism in the UK and beyond. But also the very sad, lethal story of her toxic relationship with the cad of all cads. 

I'm waiting for news about a translation I'm supposed to do about an Italian activist (no more public info for the time being, sorry) so I've been looking at some of his contemporaries who were young partisans. I found a great photo of Primo Levi, his wife Lucia and above all his sister Anna Maria, who was far more involved as a partisan than Primo managed to be (he was arrested with the rest of his partisan band before they had done much beyond leafleting and removing Fascist and Nazi posters) http://theprimolevifanblog.tumblr.com/post/81082449551/primo-levi-with-h...

She survived the war; unlike Primo I don't think that she was held in a concentration camp; she managed to stay undercover. She is being quite the coquette in this photo, in that 1940s style... 

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