So. . . What Are You Reading? (2012 Edition)

Discussion in 'Books' started by Ismitje, Jan 1, 2012.

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  1. guignol

    guignol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    mermoz-les-boss
    Club:
    Olympique Lyonnais
    Nat'l Team:
    France
    since my daughter was asking me questions about it i just reread (i could perhaps simply say read because i don't think i even got through it completely when i was a thorough thoreauvian... parts of walden are a bit silly)

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    these old ML editions are a joy to read, or simply to hold
    this volume is actually an almost "complete works"; strange that it just says walden on the cover. his speech about john brown, and especially his relating of a canoe trip in the maine woods ("the allegash and east branch") are much better and make me want to pick up The Maine Woods and read the other two parts.
     
  2. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    Otherwise Known as the Human Condition by Geoff Dyer (2011)

    Really interesting essays I've been reading around in. Excellent essays on jazz, including a few mentions of a trio I'd never heard of whose CDs I bought recently at a library benefit sale. Great book reviews, and very good essays on photographers. Also

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    The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century by Alex Ross (2007)

    Really good history of 20th Century music from Strauss and Mahler to John Adams, focused mostly on the European classical tradition but Ross highlights the influences of folk, popular, and world music on the Western concert tradition, and vice versa.
     
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  3. nicodemus

    nicodemus Member+

    Sep 3, 2001
    Cidade Mágica
    Club:
    PAOK Saloniki
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
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    Sputnik Sweetheart (1999) by Haruki Murakami

    I'm a big Murakami fan and enjoyed the overwhelming majority of this book, but I was a bit underwhelmed/puzzled by the ending. Murakami never really wraps anything up nice and neat, but this was kind "Huh?"
     
  4. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Given your avatar, that seems like a perfect ending for you. ;)
     
  5. nicodemus

    nicodemus Member+

    Sep 3, 2001
    Cidade Mágica
    Club:
    PAOK Saloniki
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Haha. I almost forget that's my avatar at times.
     
  6. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Working on two right now:

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    Bob Shacochis's take on the US mission in Haiti when we set about restoring Aristide to the presidency in the mid-1990s. Interesting so far and I am just in the historical background section.

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    The eighth of the Aubrey/Maturin books, O'Brian's The Ionian Mission. As good as the others with months yet to go before I finish the series. Perfect!
     
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  7. Val1

    Val1 Member+

    Arsenal
    Mar 12, 2004
    MD's Eastern Shore
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I first read Sophie's Choice 25 years ago. I thought I was going to be William Styron fan for life after reading The Confessions of Nat Turner, and then I read a lot of dreck. I decided that Styron only had 1 and a half stories in him. Sort of left a bad taste in my mouth for two decades. I have to say, it has been quite refreshing to rediscover just how great this book is. Even now, knowing what the choice is, I find that I forget about where the book is going because I'm wrapped up in the current story...

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  8. guignol

    guignol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    mermoz-les-boss
    Club:
    Olympique Lyonnais
    Nat'l Team:
    France
    i was so impressed by the wind-up bird chronicles that i immediately went on a murakami spree. i found wild sheep chase very similar, and if only slightly inferior* it was probably because the surprise of his surrealistic style was no longer new, and his constant cultural tag-dropping started to irk. norwegian wood started, and sputnik sweetheart confirmed, a feeling that each murakami would be less satisfying than the previous, so another couple i had already taken out went back to the library unread.

    not to say i don't like murakami. i recommend him heartily, which is not something i generally do for living authors. i liked wub and sheep chase enough that i think i may re-read one of them someday. but i don't think anything could convince me to pick up a thousand pages of 1Q84. unless you want to try!

    *in hindsight actually i wonder if it might not in fact be superior.
     
  9. nicodemus

    nicodemus Member+

    Sep 3, 2001
    Cidade Mágica
    Club:
    PAOK Saloniki
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm not a Murakami novice and have read a good cross-section of his works: Norwegian Wood, After the Quake, After Dark, South of the Border West of the Sun, Underground and now Sputnik Sweetheart. That's a mixture of novels, short stories and non-fiction. I'm definitely a fan, but Sputnik was the first one where I was just kind of "meh" when it was over. I have 1Q84, Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Hard-Boiled Wonderland... at home ready to read.

    South of the Border, West of the Sun and to a lesser extent After Dark don't really have the whole surrealism thing going on. One of the thing that I love about Murakami's work is his love for a vast array of music. Music always figures prominently in the lives of his characters and I like that because it's such a huge part of mine. I could understand how he's not for everyone, but I think his work is probably a little bit more diverse than most people give credit for because some of his more recent works break with the trends of his blockbusters.
     
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  10. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    I read that on a 30 hour bus trip back when I was in graduate school. Had dreams featuring the charcters when I nodded off. I remember waking up and being confused because something that happened in the novel didn't make sense, but then I realized I'd dreamed a plot twist that Styron didn't see fit to follow up on.

    Read about 70 pages of this book this afternoon

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    The Ring Resounding by John Culshaw, an account of the first ever complete studio recording of Richard Wagner's four-opera cycle. Interesting account of what had to be a ginormous administrative headache, not to mention the feats of audio engineering involved. The first opera in the series was recorded in 1958, the second was the final one recorded in 1965, with the final two being recorded in 62 and 64.

    Judging by the way my wife reacted when she saw the book, I think I know what she got me for Christmas

    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=808172

    Note to self: clear history before handing her the Ipad.
     
  11. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I left work half an hour early Friday to take advantage of the ridiculously short hours our library now "boasts" - 1-5 pm is it several days, including Fridays, and with the library closed Sat-Weds. for the holiday, I had to hustle. I got there at ten to five and they shut the computers off five minutes before closing, so I was definitely "impulse borrowing" whatever caught my eye. I grabbed four books, and finished this one:

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    The first book in what is apparently now a series, The Highly Effective Detective has an interesting protagonist, a lumpy sort of fellow who isn't terribly smart but opens a detective agency because he was inspired as a kid by Encyclopedia Brown. A lucky grab off the shelf. I didn't really enjoy the first fifty pages or so but it turned out nicely.

    Next up is something completely different:

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    Alan Furst's The Spies of Warsaw set in the early stages of WWII.
     
  12. champmanager

    champmanager Member

    Dec 13, 2001
    Alexandria, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Kazakhstan
    I just finished "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" by Michael Chabon. The first thing I've read of his, and the best novel I've read in quite a bit. It's a detective story set in an alternative present -day universe where the Jewish state of israel collapsed in 1946 and most European Jews wound up in Alaska, of all places. Chabon's scarily smart and has an extremely dry sense of humor. Some of his metaphors are worth the price of admission along. Its probably funnier if you're jewish (which I'm not), and you get bonus points if you've studied chess a bit. It reminds me more than a bit of Paco Taibo II (who I also recommend heartily, and I heartily wish the local library had more of his stuff in english and that I could read spanish at higher than a kindergarten level).
     
  13. Dills

    Dills Moderator
    Staff Member

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Jun 6, 2006
    Southampton|PA
    Club:
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
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    Gullhanger, Or How I Learned to Love Brighton and Hove Albion - Mike Ward

    Always a sucker for a good, entertaining footie book, saw this recommended in the essential soccer books thread, I got a Kindle Paperwhite from Santa, and Amazon has this currently for free, all the pieces just fell into place. So far, so good.
     
  14. guignol

    guignol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 28, 2005
    mermoz-les-boss
    Club:
    Olympique Lyonnais
    Nat'l Team:
    France
    [​IMG]
    a seventeen-year-old kid wrote this? get outta here!
     
  15. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
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    some light reading for the holiday season: "Monty Python's Tunisian Holiday" by Kim "Howard" Johnson (2008), a diary of the filming of "The Life of Brian" written by America's first Python fanzine editor and, since then, lomg time compiler of all things Python. Pretty interesting behind the camara look at the making of the movie. Not done ith it yet, but I did start on my next one, an autoboigraphy of the man playing Brian...

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    Graham Chapman, "A Liar's Autobiography, vol. VI". Man, did that guy accomplish something getting over his particular and immense alcohol addiction.
     
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  16. chad

    chad Member+

    Jun 24, 1999
    chicago
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I just started Gravity's Rainbow. Wtf.
     
  17. Ismitje

    Ismitje Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2000
    The Palouse
    Club:
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This was okay. Apparently Furst has several of these all set in the pre-WWII period, and I may have stumbled onto the worst of the lot. For a worst of the lot, I'd rate it pretty good and may give another one a try, as they stand alone. This one focused primarily on a French Military Attache trying to ferret out German invasion plans - tanks through the Belgian forests and into France he figures, which his superiors dismiss.

    I am midway through Patrick Culhane's Black Hats - Culhane is a pseudonym for Max Allan Collins of Road to Perdition fame, not that it would have had any bearing on my impulse borrowing. Black Hats is about Wyatt Earp, age 70 or so, teaming up with Bat Masterson to help Doc Holliday's (fictitious) son Doc Jr., threatened by gangsters (including a young Al Capone) in 1920 Manhattan.

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  18. Atouk

    Atouk BigSoccer Supporter

    DC United
    Apr 16, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Club:
    Queens Park Rangers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
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    Charles Dickens -- Barnaby Rudge

    On a week of vacation, I got 60% through this. Have to work on finishing it up this week. I'm quite enjoying my first full-on Dickens in a year or so -- reading a couple of the Christmas books got me in the mood.
     
  19. saladin747

    saladin747 Member

    May 21, 2011
    Fairport
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I just completed the book "I am The Secret Footballer" during my college break. Anyone who calls soccer their passion or is even interested in sports culture in general really needs to read it. ALot of whats in it I was already aware of but regardless its a real eye-opener, and sometimes not in the best ways. Quality
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  20. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Acnestia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've been a big fan (and self-admitted pimp) of Furst's books in this thread and I think Spies of Warsaw may very well be the worst of the lot; to me if felt like he simply mailed this one in and lost interest shortly after he imagined the characters. He has gotten more formulaic over his last few novels (although his most recent one, set in Greece, is a little better), so I would recommend going back to Night Soldiers if you're going to read anything else by him. Dark Star is also MUCH better than Spies of Warsaw.
     

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