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Old 05-05-2011, 03:18 PM   #46
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I wonder if anybody else would be interested in a literary book club here? I've joined the general book club and it's very good, but the picks vary widely and can sometimes be decidedly non-"literary" (which there is nothing wrong with - reading is for entertainment as much as for anything else).

But I would love to have a monthly selection always based on "literature" (a subjective word for sure, but I think we could manage) and have a monthly discussion around it.

During the months when the general book club tackles "literature" (such as the "classics" months) this one could be put on hold to join the other. Or, this one could be every month too.

It could be set up in a similar way as the general book club here with monthly categories and nominations and such.

If there is interest, I would be willing to organise it (in a different thread of course). Please let me know. I have messaged pilotbob (moderator and general book club runner) about the idea and he approves.

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Old 05-05-2011, 03:54 PM   #47
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Strange about Blood Meridian, I am a native English speaker and I seem to be reading it very slowly too, (and there is nothing wrong with your English that I can see!). It's not a criticism but I wonder whether it is to do with the style of narration and the "difficulty" of forming representations of what is being read.
I admire McCarthy, I have read the trilogy (All the pretty horses, The Crossing, Cities of the Plain), I keep the Road on hold as it is so good that i do not want to waste it and i keep on hold No Country for the same reason. I was alittle repulsed by Blood Meridian as I thought it would have been very dark and full of injustice and sufference, that is not missing in the trilogy but at least is mixed with more sunny narrative episodes.

The trilogy is full of hard text blocks, when McCarthy explains his philosophy about life, usually through the words of some strange shaman or gipsy or lod man of the mountain. Those I skip at every rereading .

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I recently wrote my MA thesis on the cognitive processes that might contribute to the reader's construction of a representation of a narrative - the text being seen as something analogous to a "diagram" for such a construction. One of the issues I didn't tackle but I think is really interesting is why we, some of us anyway, actually prefer texts in which the construction of such a representation is both facilitated and, at the same time, blocked or interrupted by the text. We like to have some imaginative work to do and often feel that texts that do not require such work of us are of less literary merit.
Are we talking of the same text blocks? A master in describing without saying is E.M Forster.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:08 PM   #48
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Em, Beppe... if you want sunny passages, I'd stay clear of The Road.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:43 PM   #49
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Em, Beppe... if you want sunny passages, I'd stay clear of The Road.
I know, that's why I wrote sunny. But right at the beginning when he gets some oil for future use, remember?, that was already sunny for me .

In the Crossing, the tracking of the she-wolf, in spite of the obvious building up of the imminent tragedies, is very sunny sunny.

Dark, is really dark, misery, pain, injustice, and no hope, just more punishment.

In the pretty horses, at least they make it in the lake, under the moon. And in Cities of the Plain, before getting cut to slices, he paints that shack to make it their love nest, plus other sunny amenities.
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:42 AM   #50
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re: Foster Wallace

I read the cruise essay in his "Another Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" - indications of his ... issues were there (in hindsight). I have "Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself" by David Lipsky (author shadows DFW on tour) on my TBR.


re: Murakami

I couldn't get into "Kafka on the Shore" but liked "Dance, Dance, Dance" and "After Dark"; "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" is on my TBR pile.


I don't read that much literary fiction, but found Tom Rachman's "The Imperfectionists" worthwhile, in case anyone is undecided.

After putting the book off fearing it was over-hyped, a while back I read Jane Gardam's "Old Filth" ... which was excellent! I had read "The Queen of the Tambourine" previously; you get the idea early on the protagonist is an unreliable narrator, but how much?

For non-fiction, I'm going to strongly recommend folks think of trying Barbara Demick's "Nothing to Envy" - stories of six North Korean refugees. The government goes to great pains to hide what's going on, so this is about the only way to find out the truth. The stories are given in narrative format, rotating among the defectors, so there's a nice element of tension regarding the build up to their decision to leave, as well as the actual escape.
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Old 05-06-2011, 03:25 AM   #51
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I've read about The Queen of the Tambourine, I think it's in my wishlist...
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Old 05-06-2011, 11:57 PM   #52
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Your experience of 1984 is very different from mine. It's a few decades since I read it, but it is a book that haunts me. I find it quite a difficult read, because I keep stopping to think about this or that bit and going into imaginative flights.
Oh - as a novel I actually liked it. I really liked the setting and the atmosphere. I also really enjoyed the "saving" of Winston Smith. The whole book was his journey to an enlightenment of sorts and it was definitely worth it.

My reaction was really to a heavy-handedness I thought Orwell used to get the message across. I almost got the impression that he thought his message was so important that he could not risk that the reader might miss it.

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Old 05-08-2011, 03:02 PM   #53
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I feel that the NY Times Book Review and other mainstream sources are good enough at pointing out books such as Infinite Jest and Blood Meridian. I'm really curious about the bits of gold that might be in hidden in Smashwords or the Amazon Kindle site. I'm new to this, so excuse me if I'm going over well-tilled ground, but I'd love to find the equivalent of the Times Book Review for indie eBooks — a well-considered guide to non-genre fiction. Does such a thing exist?
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:06 AM   #54
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Well, I finally finished Blood Meridian.

Spoiler:

It is impressive how in a work so filled with brutal depictions of violence the most disturbing scene in the book is precisely the one in which almost nothing is shown. When I was getting close to finishing the novel, I thought I didnít care about the fate of any of the characters. They all had become repulsive to me. But when I reached the ending I felt sick and shaken, almost like in those moments when, after waking up from a nightmare, you still donít know you are in the real world. I couldnít help thinking about that ending for hours.

And then there is that enigmatic epilogue. I didnít understand a single word from it. Anybody care to discuss it?


I think I understand what beppe is saying. The Road also recreates a very harsh world, but then there is that tender relationship from the father and his son. They are fighting to have a better life. There are brief reasons for hope. In Blood Meridian the characters themselves are the main reason the world is so brutal. They don't fight against their circumstances; they make everything worse. Even the kid doesn't seem to be different.

I have no doubt this guy is a great novelist, but I wonít be in any hurry to read any other of his books.
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Old 05-14-2011, 02:31 PM   #55
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Well, I finally finished Blood Meridian.


And then there is that enigmatic epilogue. I didnít understand a single word from it. Anybody care to discuss it?
I too have just finished the book, and am equally mystified by the epilogue. That aside I think it is a stunning piece of literature, (apparently based upon real people), that, aside from the "story", is an object lesson in what literature can do. In a way the most interesting character is never mentioned - the narrator.
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:34 AM   #56
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Reading a book by Cormack McCarthy is not an experience that leaves you unscathed. I've done it twice and will probably do it again, but not soon. There aren't many authors who can get to me like he does.

Regarding indie reviews, I think there are many blogs dedicated to this, some of them authored by MR members. I'm not very interested in indie books so I haven't sampled them though. The trick, as always, would be to find a reviewer or reviewers who have similar tastes to yours...
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:46 AM   #57
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I'm in, I need educating, I need to find QUALITY reads, I don't know where to start, so thanks Florence, now I just browse this thread for ideas, Anyone going to buy me a new load of eBooks hehehe !
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:06 AM   #58
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I am currently reading Winters Tale by Mark Helprin. It is a beautifully written novel. Highly recommended.
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:40 AM   #59
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I am currently reading Winters Tale by Mark Helprin. It is a beautifully written novel. Highly recommended.
I read this years ago and loved it. I've been wondering whether to re-read it or not lately, but I no longer have the p-book and I don't think it's available in e-book. Not last time I looked anyway.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:10 PM   #60
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A long article reviewing Roberto Bolano's work at the New York Review of Books.

THE TRIUMPH OF ROBERTO BOLANO
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