What are we reading lately?

Discussion in 'The Off Topic Room' started by oval99, Jun 27, 2017.

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  1. Jun 27, 2017 #1

    oval99

    oval99

    oval99

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    Well, let's complete the "doing lately" trilogy with what we've been reading. Here we go:

    -The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (6th ed., David Thomson). I love this guy (I know many don't). He has some of the tastiest film writing out there, and his knack for getting to the core of an actor or director is eerie (and often hilarious). His insights into film are trenchant and revealing, built on decades of viewing and writing. He brings to his writing a wonderfully holistic quality: clearly he's read a lot (I even spotted an AJ Liebling reference in there somewhere) and he knows about art history too. He's also not afraid to slay sacred cows (if you're a John Ford fan, go ahead and skip that entry). In all, I respect him the most for prodding filmgoers to become more demanding viewers, to ask more of films. I can't think of higher praise for a critic than that.

    By the way: If you love film and want to get to know Thomson better, watch the youtube video below where he and longtime friend Michael Barker (of Sony Pictures Classics) shoot the breeze about how much they love films. It's a treat.

    Some choice bits:

    -About Burt Reynolds: "Burt without his mustache (but with his rug) could look grim and shifty."
    -On Woody Allen: "'Woody' was the most famous film director in America from the late 1970s onwards, and then a reluctant household name as his famed soul-searching took a banana-skin skid into public scandal. Can he be merely amusing when he has drawn so melodramatic a trail through the courts and the public prints? More important, can he develop as an artist? Has he ever shown that unmistakable promise? I am skeptical."
    -On Jennifer Lawrence: "Lawrence has great skin tone, the rather fleshy sheen of a teenager, still, and she has considerable screen presence -- whether she can act is another matter. But influence is everything."
    -On Stanley Kubrick: "The Shining, for me, is Kubrick's one great film, so rich and comic that it offsets his several large failures. Perhaps Jack Torrance is a monster, a dad run amok; perhaps family is the suffocation that anyone should dread. The film is very funny (especially as Nicholson goes over his edge), serenely frightening, and endlessly interesting."

     
  2. Jun 27, 2017 #2

    DamageInc

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    Past six months:
    Lowry - Under the Volcano (2nd time, stunning piece of literature. Prose off the charts)
    Pynchon - Vineland (worst thing he has written, easily)
    Herr - Dispatches
    Sebald - Austerlitz
    Macdonald - Based on a True Story: A Memoir
    Céline - Journey to the End of the Night
    Zola - The Belly of Paris
    Sartre - Nausea
    Camus - The Plague
    Weiss & Sallah - Tiger Force: A True Story of Men and War (interesting journalism, but poorly written)
    DeLillo - Mao II
    Bourdain - Kitchen Confidential Updated Edition
    Matthiessen - Far Tortuga (absolutely brilliant, a big highlight)
    Faulkner - Light in August (2nd read, great atmosphere and tone throughout)


    Currently reading The Savage Detectives by Bolaño and Drawing the Line by Edwin Danson.
     
  3. Jun 27, 2017 #3

    Badgertooth

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    That is the best list I've seen in some time.
     
  4. Jun 27, 2017 #4

    Badgertooth

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    Marlon James - A Brief History of Seven Killings

    A multi narrative masterpiece of the time leading up to the attempted assassination of Bob Marley

    Kent Haruf - Eventide

    Sentence by quiet sentence, it unfolds some of most mesmerically beautiful prose.

    John Williams - Stoner

    It made me think earnestly about the Big 3: beauty; truth & death

    Cormac McCarthy - Blood Meridian

    Two words: The Judge

    George Saunders - Tenth of December

    Short form isn't dead, it's kicking ass and taking prisoners
     
  5. Jun 27, 2017 #5

    DamageInc

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    One of my favorite segments of Blood Meridian. Near the end of book, the kid has some small semblance of a search for redemption going on. But it's all too late for him.

    ”The kid rose and looked about at this desolate scene and then he saw alone and upright in a small niche in the rocks an old woman kneeling in a faded rebozo with her eyes cast down. He made his way among the corpses and stood before her.
    She was very old and her face was gray and leathery and sand had collected in the folds of her clothing. She did not look up. The shawl that covered her head was much faded of color yet it bore like a patent woven into the fabric the figures of stars and quartermoons and other insignia of provenance unknown to him.
    He spoke to her in a low voice. He told her that he was an American and that he was a long way away from the country of his birth and that he had no family and that he had traveled much and seen many things and had been at war and endured hardships. He told her that he would convey her to a safe place, some party of her countrypeople who would welcome her and that she should join them for he could not leave her in this place or she would surely die.
    He knelt on one knee, resting the rifle before him like a staff.
    Abuelita, he said. No puedes escúcharme?
    He reached into the little cove and touched her arm. She moved slightly, her whole body, light and rigid. She weighed nothing. She was just a dried shell and she had been dead in that place for years.”

    Have you read The Border Trilogy? The Crossing is every bit as brilliant. Suttree as well.

    Stoner was quite a classic read. Surprised it had gone overlooked for so many years considering its themes and readability. Then again, Moby Dick only sold a few hundred copies while Melville was still alive.
     
  6. Jun 27, 2017 #6

    zoze

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    +1 on the border triology and let me add "Child of god".
    Also William's two other novels "Butcher's Crossing" and "Augustus".
     
  7. Jun 27, 2017 #7

    oval99

    oval99

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    Couldn't agree more. Amazing list. Funny you mention Lowry/Volcano. I recently saw the John Huston film and was blown away. Albert Finney is devastating. Only "Leaving Las Vegas" offers as demolishing a view of end-stage alcoholism. Some might find these works depressing, but I love the honesty. People having a beastly time of it deserve to have their stories told too. To deny those stories is to deny the maddening complexity of life. And it's reassuring in my times of darkness that life isn't indeed all roses and that pain is a part of life. I take the "Otto Dix" approach to life: show me it all. I want to learn as much about humanity as I can -- and that includes the painful stuff. Exhibit A: His painting below ("Uneven couple"). It unsparingly speaks to the implacability of sexuality, despite the harsh inevitability of a body's decay (painfully displayed here). The overall effect is overwhelming: absurd, grotesque, and almost too real to bear.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Jun 27, 2017 #8
    ... KKF forum posts .... :dontknow:
     
  9. Jun 27, 2017 #9

    valgard

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    :rofl2:
     
  10. Jun 28, 2017 #10

    oval99

    oval99

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    Hey, this is the off-topic forum, we can let it get a little blue. But then again I'm weird: I'll be looking at something like that painting while watching an old Frasier rerun :dontknow:
     
  11. Jul 6, 2017 #11

    Nomsdotcom

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    Just read:
    Wayward Bus by Stienbeck
    Outer Dark by Cormac McCarthy
    Dubliners by Joyce

    Food related:
    Sea and Smoke (really good read, great young chef from the NW)
    Franklin BBQ ( I want to build a smoker now :(
    Heritage- Sean Brock

    Need something dark and similar to Stienbeck... if anybody has any recommendations?
     
  12. Jul 6, 2017 #12

    Chicagohawkie

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    Samurai by Saburo Sakai
     
  13. Jul 8, 2017 #13

    DanHumphrey

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    Currently: Clan of the Cave Bear

    Previous: All five existing A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) books, twice. It takes a little bit of time to get through those...
     
  14. Jul 8, 2017 #14

    BloodrootVW

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    Blood Meridian--what a great read.
     
  15. Jul 8, 2017 #15

    BloodrootVW

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    Also, just started Master and Margarita by Bulgakov
     
  16. Jul 11, 2017 #16

    Badgertooth

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    Essential. Darkly funny too.
     
  17. Jul 11, 2017 #17

    BloodrootVW

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    I am really liking it so far. Any other recommendations from that period?
     
  18. Jul 11, 2017 #18

    DamageInc

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    V. by Pynchon was released in 1963.
     
  19. Jul 11, 2017 #19

    riba

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    Twelve chairs? Monday Begins on Saturday is pretty cool. Victor Pelevin for recent stuff (e.g. The Sacred Book of the Werewolf)
     
  20. Jul 11, 2017 #20

    Badgertooth

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    Release period...
    Anthony Burgess - Clockwork Orange
    But the 60's were so rich with counterculture classics:
    Catch 22
    Slaughterhouse 5
    100 years of Solitude

    But perhaps more prescient is a book written in the same era (20's) but that resonated especially in the '60s and after: Hermann Hesse - Steppenwolf
     
  21. Jul 12, 2017 #21

    DanHumphrey

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    Finished Clan of the Cave Bear last night; on to The Valley of Painted Horses.
     
  22. Jul 12, 2017 #22

    fimbulvetr

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    Similar to Steinbeck SORT OF is Dos Passos's USA Trilogy. It blew my dang mind.
     
  23. Jul 19, 2017 #23

    Nomsdotcom

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    Thanks, I'll check out out!
     
  24. Sep 13, 2017 #24

    DamageInc

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    Just started on Absalom, Absalom! by Faulkner.
     
  25. Sep 14, 2017 #25

    stuplarosa

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    A Reader's Guide to The Classic British Mystery by Susan Oleksiw has a list of 100 books. I have been working on reading all 100.
     
  26. Sep 19, 2017 #26

    Chef Doom

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    All things related to Tantra and Neo-Tantra.

    There is more to life than knives and stones if you know what I mean 😉
     
  27. Sep 19, 2017 #27

    alterwisser

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    Quick, this guy needs to be banned before he infects us with this virus that's wrecking him
     
  28. Sep 19, 2017 #28

    Chef Doom

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    That's not fair, the off topic room is suppose to be a safe space line my psychologists couch, or a massage table, or a lonely bar 😂
     
  29. Oct 18, 2017 #29

    online

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    Also William's two other novels "Butcher's Crossing" and "Augustus".
     
  30. Oct 18, 2017 #30

    DamageInc

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    After watching Blade Runner 2049, I really wanted to read Pale Fire by Nabokov, so that's what I'm doing. Liking it better than Lolita so far.
     

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