Whatcha reading?

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Moderator » Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:55 am

Mark -
Thank you for the offer. I may pick up Sandman in the next few days simply because so much has been said about it -- of a positive nature, that is -- and I'm needing something to read over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Maybe I ought to indicate what bugged me about Stardust and Anansi...

Stardust is simple. I simply didn't like the writing style. Couldn't get into it and lost interest.

Anansi Boys, while an interesting and at times fun read left me cold because of two things: First, I felt it was a bit too light and whimsical a piece. I was, of course, comparing it with the dark sophistication of American Gods, and it came up lacking in that regard. IMHO. Probably more the fault of my expectations than anything to do with the book. Secondly, despite some very fun touches, the ending just didn't hit me very well. Too mild and unimpressive. It was a bit too pat for me, almost a shrug.
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby markabaddon » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:14 pm

Offer stands on Sandman if you would prefer to borrow a volume or two before buyng, just let me know. Before you read Sandman I should tell you that if you start with volume 1, the first couple of issues are not that great. Neil even admits this. He really starts finding his voice in issue 8, the Sound of Her Wings, where we meet Dream's sister Death. After that, with only some mis-steps, the rest of the series is incredible. I have both the regular trade versions, as well as the Deluxe oversized Absolute Sandman editions, so I could easily send you the trade copies

Style is a very subjective thing. On Stardust, I really liked it as it reminded me of the fairy tale it was modeled after. Plus, I had the benefit of first reading it with the Charles Vess illustrations, which were gorgeous and added a great deal of depth to the story (now if I can only remember whom I loaned that edition to)

Anansi Boys, to me was beautiful. I did not find it a light piece, with several murders, and the final scene where the Tiger spirit tries to kill Diasy and her mother, but again that is very subjective. As for the ending, as a new Dad at that point, I loved it. Was it a bit pat? Yeah, but after the ambiguious ending of American Gods (which I also liked, not to knock it), my hunch is that Neil was going for something more definitive. One question I had for you, and would be curious to throw this to the authors in our group, is if others saw the same level of growth in wriitng style from American Gods to Anansi Boys. Whether you liked the work or not, I thought Neil took a lot more chances and Anansi seemed much mroe mature and complex than American Gods (again, not to denigrate AG, as I loved it)
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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Lori Koonce
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Lori Koonce » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:26 pm

Lori, I really do need to read Preacher, no idea why I have not done so yet (I may add it to my wish list for Hanukkah Harry)


Mark, if he dosen't help ya out, let me know. You've, got a BD commin up, and maybe I'll send ya the first trade paperback.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby markabaddon » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:22 pm

Thanks Lori, I appreciate it, but I may just pick up a copy for myself at some point over the hoidays or see if one of my buddies has one I can borrow
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Lori Koonce » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:40 pm

Whatever it takes Mark. Well worth the effort. And if nothing else, ya gotta "meet" Casidy, who is an Irish Vampire and Tulip who is a hit person who can't hit the broad side of a barn.

Not to mention it's kinda fun to watch Jesse use his "word of god" on the bad people!

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David Loftus
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby David Loftus » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:18 pm

After zipping through the Stieg Larsson trio, I got interested in reading other foreign police procedurals, so I've been working my way steadily through several series that are also set in Sweden (and better written than Larsson's, from a literary quality standpoint): the Kurt Wallander books by Henning Mankell (fairly recent and very good), and the Martin Beck series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö (more austere and older -- they started in the 1960s).

I also went back to Proust, which I fully intend to read all the way this year; got bogged down in the middle of volume 4 back in February or March, but now I'm on my way again.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby David Loftus » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:28 pm

By the way, I started to write something ABOUT reading Proust on my blog today, although I'll get into more detail in tomorrow's post:

http://www.americancurrents.com/2010/11 ... oftus.html
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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FrankChurch
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Tue Nov 16, 2010 5:57 pm

G.K. Chesterton continues to give light to dark bowers.

A man who climbed over other men and said, I am this mountain.

Not bad Frank.

-----------

Welcome back David. Hope you are having a bejeweled fall. Kiss the sacred earth and thank God you live in Portland.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby David Loftus » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:59 am

My second, more detailed piece about reading Proust, is up:

http://www.americancurrents.com/2010/11 ... oftus.html
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:43 pm

Like a lot of folks I discovered Poe as a kid but didn't realize how little I knew about his life (other than he's buried up the road in Baltimore) until I stumbled upon Kenneth Silverman's bio at a used bookstore a couple of weeks ago. I'm up to 1831 when he first started seriously getting published.

Who knew his mother was a famous (in her time) actress who died when he was 8 years old? That he attended West Point? Nobody tells me anything.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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FrankChurch
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Nov 19, 2010 2:38 pm

Why do you think he drank? Military life does that to you.

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Ezra Lb.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Ezra Lb. » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:49 pm

Orphaned at 8. Separated from his brother and sister. Raised by a distant, miserly step-father. Abandoned when he reached the age of 21. What sounds like what today would be called clinical depression.

Interesting cultural factoid: Poe had his first literary success as editor of the Southern Literary Messenger a magazine in an age when the first wave of magazine production seriously began in America. The author makes the point that one of the things responsible for this growth in the appetite and audience for magazines was a breakthrough in eyeglass technology in the 1830s. All of a sudden lots more people could see well enough to read.
“We must not always talk in the marketplace,” Hester Prynne said, “of what happens to us in the forest.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby markabaddon » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:39 pm

Ez, since you are a fellow Lovecraft enthusiast, I would encourage you to pick up some of the graphic novel interpretations by Michael Ziegerlig of Lovecraft's stories. His version of Call of Cthulhu really is extraordinary. Just re-read it over my vacation and it blew me away

Also, and I realize I may be late to recognize this, but Joe Hill, Stephen King's son, is one helluva writer. I read his collection 20th Century Ghosts over the break also and was very impressed. I am not sure how I would classify most of these tales (not that it really matters), but several of them were highly disturbing, in a good way
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby Moderator » Fri Jan 07, 2011 1:00 pm

I just finished reading Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw.

I'd recommend it if you're a hardcore fan or Borudain's or if you have a love of the food business. (Frank, you might enjoy it.)

I found it a little too slap-dash and at times self-serving, particularly when it came to his previous book Kitchen Confidential. He spent too much time either resciding or justifying his comments in that book, as well as using Medium Rawas an opportunity to continue a handful of other wars with foodies who disagree with him. It reads -- and may well have been -- a series of essays rather than a fully concieved book with a singular thread. It seems Mr Bourdain finds himself in a bit of a schizophrenic mood these days, and his writing reflects that. No longer willing to even assert his qualifications as a chef, he opines on a myriad of topics ranging from his love of the American Burger, to his distaste for McDonald's. From super-secret hard-to-get reservations, where he lovingly tells us about the celebrities he hangs out with and the contraband food they, together, consume as some form of food porn (a topic he seems happily to indulge in several chapters), to a completely flipped view of his days as judge on Top Chef (which seems to deserve a book in and of itself), to his thrill at eating even the most humble of foods in southeast Asia. I respect his variety of tastes but it becomes more than a little distracting as the reader is whipsawed across the globe with little to connect one chapter to the next.

Whereas KC took us inside the restaurant industry, this one took us to a much more superficial level, and seemed related more to demonstrating Bourdain's celebrity and influence when compared to his earlier works. Despite the fact he keeps ridiculing himself, he focuses in on the things he has been able to do as a result of his television show or his publishing career. The problem with Medium Raw, as the NY Times sees fit to comment in their own review, is "he gives it to us half-cooked."
- I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

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FrankChurch
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Postby FrankChurch » Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:16 pm

That show he did on France almost made me horny. Food porn is evil. Good cuisine doesn't just bite you on the leg in the midwest.


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