Random thoughts about Books

Discussion in 'Books' started by riverplate, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. G-boot

    G-boot Member

    Manchester United
    Nov 6, 2004
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    One of the few public quotes Salinger gave was "A writer needs ego." So yes, it was something he valued. I don't know about ego in other areas in life, but I think it does serve authorship command. Plus, from what I hear from woman, he was considered a great looking man.
     
  2. G-boot

    G-boot Member

    Manchester United
    Nov 6, 2004
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The thing with most entertainment, especially with books, most readers who confront a book they are "supposed to automatically think is great" will approach that book with automatic aversion. They are preparing themselves to not like it, to set themselves apart from the hype. I hear this reaction a lot about Catcher and The Great Gatsby, mainly because readers were required to read them. Readers resent the required part and it taints the quality of the story.
     
  3. G-boot

    G-boot Member

    Manchester United
    Nov 6, 2004
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Re-reading this book is a joy. It took him ten years to write, so I ask myself why it took him so long to write in a conversational tone that seems so natural and easy. Then I flip to random sections of the book and realize that almost any paragraph is entertaining on its own and can stand alone as pure craftsmanship. The tone is consistent throughout as hostile, but with a funny release. Not many writers can pull that off. It shows that Salinger had to consider what was on the present page as the entertainment value. His conversational tone is deceiving and down plays his deep talent.

    Most other books get you to flip the page based on wondering what will eventually happen later. With Salinger's books, the pay off is on the page you are currently reading. That is why popular fiction today can be written in a year vs Salinger's ten year project. Quantity book series are readable but soon thrown away, forgotten, while quality offers the re-read.
     
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  4. guignol

    guignol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    mermoz-les-boss
    Club:
    Olympique Lyonnais
    Nat'l Team:
    France
    this is an excellent observation. i can only say i don't think it applies to me: not in general (i hope) since i'm aware of my own unvoidable a priori about such books and take a perverse kind of satisfaction in disappointing them. and in particular about this book because i was not forced to read it (the "required reading" that took its exact place at my school was john knowle's a separate peace.)
    sadly, your first sentence is an indictment that likely applies to 99% of books printed (not in terms of separate titles but total number of copies). someone on this board recently made a thread about how horrible moby dick was... mainly because it wasn't a page-turner.

    the payoff for any good reader must be on the page he's reading. carpe paginem! think of the average bestseller reader picking up proust: flipping pages to see what happens next one is in for 4000 dreadful disappointments!

    your opinion is so well thought out and argumented that i'm almost tempted to pick up CITR again... unfortunately there is so much else i really must read before this mortal coils shuffles off that i will regretfully have to continue to disagree with you.

    with all due respect of course!
     
  5. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Part of what never fails to capture the class is that his tone is deceptive in at least two ways. First, as you say, it comes across like JDS just tossed off the pages, which is obviously not the case. But second, in terms of the way he creates the character of Holden: on the reread, nearly all the students come away thinking of him in an entirely different way than they did on the first read a few years before.
     
  6. Harry Bond

    Harry Bond New Member

    Oct 18, 2013
    Taif, Saudi Arabia
    Club:
    12 de Octubre
  7. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Faroe Islands
  8. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Faroe Islands
    On Reading Proust
    interview with Justice Stephen Breyer was conducted in French by Ioanna Kohler and was initially published in La Revue des Deux Mondes in Paris as part of a special issue entitled “Proust vu d’Amérique.”
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/nov/07/reading-proust/

    :eek:
     
  9. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Hm. . . @guignol would normally be here by now. I think he has his settings such that any mention of Proust sends him a notification. Must be offline.
     
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  10. guignol

    guignol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    mermoz-les-boss
    Club:
    Olympique Lyonnais
    Nat'l Team:
    France
    anatole france said of la recherche:" life is too short, and proust is too long"*.

    for many readers he starts being "too long" right from the very first pages. but those who fall under his spell find, when they get to the end of those 7 volumes**, that he is much too short. the desire to reread comes instantly; since reading the work took me over a year i decided to go onto other things but that i would pick it up again in the future has always been a certainty. it has even occurred to me that one day, when all my other must reads had been read (i am approaching that point already) i would from then on read nothing but proust until the day i can read no longer.

    the rereading of proust actually starts before you finish. first of all, many of his passages are so long and complex that you need to go over them a couple of times just to unravel them. more importantly, there are parts which hold such a subtle yet compelling thrill that you feel but can't quite grasp, and you read them over and over trying to seize that truth which makes you shudder without knowing why.

    la recherche is not only about madeleines. it is made of them.


    *he took pains however to point out that the fault lay with himself and not with proust.

    **mine is actually bound in 12 volumes, in la pleiade it's either 3 or 4 tomes and the next re-edition will probably be 5, new notes are added constantly.
     
  11. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Faroe Islands
    Cribbing from Joseph Conrad? :whistling:
    "Art is long and life is short, and success is very far off." - Preface to The N***** of the 'Narcissus'
     
  12. guignol

    guignol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    mermoz-les-boss
    Club:
    Olympique Lyonnais
    Nat'l Team:
    France
    doubtful. actually conrad is cribbing hippocrates (more precisely cribbing whatever latin author cribbed hippocrates), and rather directly. the wording of anatole france's quip distances it from all of these, though only relatively since ars longa vita brevis is one of the most universally repeated and reworked aphorisms in world literature.
     
  13. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Faroe Islands
    It's all Greek to me. :oops:
     
  14. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Faroe Islands
    Actually, what you wrote here
    made me think of other things in the Preface
     
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  15. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    #140 Dr. Wankler, Nov 20, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
    Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Canus (sic) and the FBI of J.Edgar Hoover...

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/art-books/camus-sartre-fbi-hoover/#.Uou0LCc2o60

    The 3rd paragraph in the excerpt is my favorite...

    The FBI had been keeping an eye on Sartre from as early as 1945. Soon after, they began to investigate his contemporary, Albert Camus. On 7th February, 1946, John Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, wrote a letter to “Special Agent in Charge” at the New York field office, drawing his attention to one ALBERT CANUS, “reportedly the New York correspondent of Combat [who] has been filing inaccurate reports which are unfavorable to the public interest of this country.” Hoover gave orders “to conduct a preliminary investigation to ascertain his background, activities and affiliations in this country.” One of Hoover’s underlings had the guts to inform the director that “the subject’s true name is ALBERT CAMUS, not ALBERT CANUS” (diplomatically hypothesizing that “Canus” was probably an alias he had cunningly adopted).

    The irony that emerges from the FBI files on Camus and Sartre, spanning several decades (and which, still partly redacted, I accessed thanks to the open-sesame of the Freedom of Information Act) is that the G-men, initially so anti-philosophical, find themselves reluctantly philosophizing. They become (in GK Chesterton’s phrase) philosophical policemen.

    Hoover needed to know if Existentialism and Absurdism were some kind of front for Communism. To him, everything was potentially a coded re-write of the Communist Manifesto. That was the thing about the Manifesto—it was not manifest: more often it was, as Freud would say, latent. Thus FBI agents were forced to become psychoanalysts and hermeneuts—drawn into what the historian Carlo Ginzburg neatly called the “cynegetic paradigm” (a brotherhood of clue-hunting detectives in which he includes Freud and Sherlock Holmes). Thus we find intelligence agents studying scholarly works and attending lectures.

    But the FBI were “philosophical policemen” in a second sense: in tracking Camus and Sartre (surveillance, eavesdropping, wiretapping, theft) they give expression to their own brand of philosophical investigations. In particular, the FBI philosophy files reveal how the agency became so dogmatically anti-conspiratorial.
     
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  16. riverplate

    riverplate Member+

    Jan 1, 2003
    Corona, Queens
    Club:
    CA River Plate
    [​IMG]

    Salinger Stories 'Leaked' Online - N.Y. Times
    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/28/salinger-stories-leaked-online/?_r=0
     
  17. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Anyone read Sophie's Choice?

    I ask because my daughter is reading the work as her selection as a banned book. Aside: I did a cursory search of Sophie's Choice (meaning that I wiki'ed it) and found that it had been banned once. A parent in California complained because of the sex in the book. Weird. The book is over 550 pages long and the sex happens on about page 500. It is NOT an impressionable reader who's going to wade in at 500 pages to get to the sex...

    Anyway, for those who've read it, did you "forget" that the book is called Sophie's Choice? I did. I was so engrossed in the book and the so completely dysfunctional relationship between Nathan and Sophie that I forgot that there was this choice that was going to be revealed. And when we find out what Sophie's choice was, it was like I'd been hit by a 2x4. I was completely floored.

    Or did you see it coming and I was just less observant?
     
  18. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I don't know anything about Jean Paul Sartre or Albert Camus, but if you're interested in J. Edgar Hoover and treatment of accused Communists you could read Many Are The Crimes by Ellen Schrecker.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I didn't know that book. Thanks. I read her earlier book, No Ivory Tower about McCarthyism's impact on college campuses. That was pretty damn good, so she's probable pretty solid here.
     
  20. Owen Gohl

    Owen Gohl Member

    Jun 21, 2000
    Haven't read this but would like to see how well it compares to Revolutionary Road, which deals with the same period. Thought RR was outstanding.
     
  21. riverplate

    riverplate Member+

    Jan 1, 2003
    Corona, Queens
    Club:
    CA River Plate
    [​IMG]

    Sherlock Holmes In Public Domain, American Judge Rules - N.Y. Times
    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2...-the-public-domain-american-judge-rules/?_r=0
     
  22. chaski

    chaski Moderator
    Staff Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Itchycoo Park
    Club:
    Lisburn Distillery FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Faroe Islands
    Researchers say that reading a novel can change the biology of your brain

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...b3f-b1666705ca3b_story.html?tid=auto_complete

    Would results be different if they used Moby Dick?
     
  23. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Probably would depend on the brain.
     
  24. riverplate

    riverplate Member+

    Jan 1, 2003
    Corona, Queens
    Club:
    CA River Plate
    Interesting piece on early audio recordings of authors reading their works...

    Hearing Genuine Voices of Midcentury Fiction - N.Y. Times
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/books/hearing-genuine-voices-of-midcentury-fiction.html?_r=0
     
  25. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I don't normally follow Colbert, except from clips on the P&CE forum, but apparently Colbert's started his own book club: the cOlbert Book Club.

    His take on Gatsby: Couldn't you boil this book down to bitches be crazy?

    Great interviews with Mariel Hemmingway on her illustrious grandfather and Carie Mulligan, who plays Daisy in the movie, in which Colbert enlists Star Trek and Reading Rainbow tropes...

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-collections/426086/colbert-s-book-club
     

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