Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
J_RBG
May 20, 2014



'Fantasy' as a genre is a product of a relatively recent separation in ""Western lit"" between the products of imagination and the products of reality, to exist the term explicitly needs some kind of scientific rationalism to break from. It defines itself by its difference from our current system of knowledge. Whereas there were plenty of medieval European authors (eg Geoffrey of Monmouth's History) that express what would have been taken by many people as some kind of truth, while also explicitly incorporating imaginative embellishments.

This is broadly what happens when you think of god's creation as structured analogically, and take classical works like Pliny's Natural History as authorities on science––very broadly speaking, knowledge was essentially literary in substance in that the world could be interpreted like a book, so it was within the realms of possibility that our harder boundary between imagination and reality is more blurred. Everything your senses perceived out in the world was a metaphor for the deeper truths expressed in a prior sacred text! And there was basically zero atheism, everyone believed in a divine creator.

Essentially because we're dealing with a massive system of knowledge radically different to our own, terms like 'fantasy' and 'sci-fi' are just very myopic.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Carmant
Nov 23, 2015


Treadmill? What's that? Is that some kind of cake?




Tfw trying to read Umberto Eco but I know nothing about ecclesiology

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



I started reading a few books set in "the real world" that are far more fantastical to me than any fantasy I've read. They're about elements of "the real world" that are distant enough from me that they hit the "wow, this is fantastical" bits of my thought. Rather than some bullshit that has a troll who's dumb but strong but is actually really smart in his own way, if we humans just learn how to redefine intelligence...

The North Tower
Aug 20, 2007

You should throw it in the ocean.

Thanks for the insight, thread. I picked up ‘Drive Your Plow...’ and ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ today. I’ve only read Saunders’s ‘Civilwarland...’ before, but I hope I like it as much as I liked that one.

So I have a question. I’m (frankly/obviously) a dumb guy when it comes to lit. I went to a decent university, but I was a history major so I read nonfiction at the time. I mostly read leftist critical theory when I’m not tackling a ‘course’ on lit: for example, I recently read everything in Bloom’s Ancient Greek block to get my bearings around wtf is going on (and hey look at that! The Oresteia is mentioned in page 2 of Engels’s ‘The Origin of the Family and Private Property’! Glad I read it!). How could I be better at understanding literature besides reading more? I have Bloom’s list as a baseline of ‘these aren’t bad places to start’, but I know that he’s not God and that he will miss out on things. What is a good strategy towards being less of a dumbass? My question about Dante being fantasy is a good example—how do you all know that my question is a faulty premise? I can do this for politics, so what do I need to do to get to this baseline level for lit? What can I read that could make me less ignorant, considering I don’t have the money to go back and get another BA as a lit major?

I’m down to sink 600+ hours into something, but I need some steering toward being more informed. Plus you could say that unto this thread I breathed...a little life.

The North Tower fucked around with this message at 06:57 on Oct 12, 2020

Frazzbo
Feb 2, 2006
Thistle dubh

The North Tower posted:

Y’all still reading books? I’m starting A Little Life soon, as The South Tower picked it up recently, and I try to read any books she gets that interest me.

Serious question: are Dante and Milton fantasy authors?

Please, if you value your time & sanity, do not read A Little Life! It is utter garbage - as someone here correctly described it, "misery porn". Not only is it badly written, with endless repetition and no discernible redeeming features at all, it seems to function only as some method of cathartic expulsion of all manner of grotty fantasies on the part of the author, each worse than the last. I can only think the critics banded together and said "ok, let's troll the reading public by praising this to the heavens". Steer well clear, you have better things to do with your life (even in lockdown)!

The North Tower
Aug 20, 2007

You should throw it in the ocean.

Frazzbo posted:

Please, if you value your time & sanity, do not read A Little Life! It is utter garbage - as someone here correctly described it, "misery porn". Not only is it badly written, with endless repetition and no discernible redeeming features at all, it seems to function only as some method of cathartic expulsion of all manner of grotty fantasies on the part of the author, each worse than the last. I can only think the critics banded together and said "ok, let's troll the reading public by praising this to the heavens". Steer well clear, you have better things to do with your life (even in lockdown)!

I will keep that in mind and might read something else. Wife seem interested in ‘Drive Your Plow...’, so I can probably make that the one, instead.

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again

Lipstick Apathy

The North Tower posted:

. How could I be better at understanding literature besides reading more? I have Bloom’s list as a baseline of ‘these aren’t bad places to start’, but I know that he’s not God and that he will miss out on things. What is a good strategy towards being less of a dumbass? My question about Dante being fantasy is a good example—how do you all know that my question is a faulty premise? I can do this for politics, so what do I need to do to get to this baseline level for lit? What can I read that could make me less ignorant, considering I don’t have the money to go back and get another BA as a lit major?


I'd be very interested in this answer as well. So far i've just been doing the 'read lots' strategy. I asked before for any 'books about books' that arent 'hOw tO wRiTe A nOvEl iN tEn mInUtEs!' but the key does seem to be just to read a lot. I would recommend 'how fiction works' by James Wood, though. Very entertaining and educational for a layman like me, and got me lots of ideas of what to read. But pretty much I just read what enough people call 'good' in this thread (or the discord, now) and have been doing that for a few years.

Ras Het
May 23, 2007

when I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child - but now I am a man.


A lot of nonfiction about history and culture reference fiction as well. Like you say leftist, so think Hobsbawm, think any of the New Left Review crowd. I think part of the answer is that if you're not geared towards reading literature you also ignore the references to fiction that abound in most scientific work. I think with history in particular thinking that you're like isolated from literature, then that's definitely you and not the books you're reading, like you showed with your Engels example

The North Tower
Aug 20, 2007

You should throw it in the ocean.

Ras Het posted:

A lot of nonfiction about history and culture reference fiction as well. Like you say leftist, so think Hobsbawm, think any of the New Left Review crowd. I think part of the answer is that if you're not geared towards reading literature you also ignore the references to fiction that abound in most scientific work. I think with history in particular thinking that you're like isolated from literature, then that's definitely you and not the books you're reading, like you showed with your Engels example

Come join the leftist lit (should be leftist books, but I haven’t had a mod change it) thread I started a month or two ago. I’m all in on Eric Hobsbawm—his culture sections were really great (especially Russian ballet). But my current reading load is about 50 fiction/50 nonfiction a year. Like I don’t have a problem drawing connections between different books, I just don’t have the education beyond high school for lit analysis. I’m literally an analyst for my job, so maybe there’s some courses on how to analyze lit? I caught some Yale courses on Moby Dick after I finished it for the first time, so should I continue with things like that?

Famethrowa
Oct 5, 2012



derp posted:

I'd be very interested in this answer as well. So far i've just been doing the 'read lots' strategy. I asked before for any 'books about books' that arent 'hOw tO wRiTe A nOvEl iN tEn mInUtEs!' but the key does seem to be just to read a lot. I would recommend 'how fiction works' by James Wood, though. Very entertaining and educational for a layman like me, and got me lots of ideas of what to read. But pretty much I just read what enough people call 'good' in this thread (or the discord, now) and have been doing that for a few years.

I found "On Writing" by Stephen King to be a fantastic and interesting perspective. Even if you don't enjoy his work, the way he talks about writing's impact on his life is moving, and I think the advice and information he gives on the craft of writing is similarly useful to "appreciating writing".

Ras Het
May 23, 2007

when I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child - but now I am a man.


The North Tower posted:

Come join the leftist lit (should be leftist books, but I haven’t had a mod change it) thread I started a month or two ago. I’m all in on Eric Hobsbawm—his culture sections were really great (especially Russian ballet). But my current reading load is about 50 fiction/50 nonfiction a year. Like I don’t have a problem drawing connections between different books, I just don’t have the education beyond high school for lit analysis. I’m literally an analyst for my job, so maybe there’s some courses on how to analyze lit? I caught some Yale courses on Moby Dick after I finished it for the first time, so should I continue with things like that?

I mean, what's the "analysis" you want to do? Doesn't it fundamentally boil down to recognising connections between different works, which again leads you to the advice "read more"?

The North Tower
Aug 20, 2007

You should throw it in the ocean.

Ras Het posted:

I mean, what's the "analysis" you want to do? Doesn't it fundamentally boil down to recognising connections between different works, which again leads you to the advice "read more"?

I’d need to think about this more, but I guess more than ‘I recognize thing from other book’. Like if someone was loving up a puppet show in a book I’d obviously draw a connection to Don Quixote, but I’d like to get better at drawing out themes and meaning.

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005



read more and reread more, and read about the book. that should be sufficient enough for leisurely reading

don’t go into thinking you need to read the same way you would in a high school lit class, that’s only there for a general prep for university.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




The North Tower posted:

Come join the leftist lit (should be leftist books, but I haven’t had a mod change it) thread I started a month or two ago. I’m all in on Eric Hobsbawm—his culture sections were really great (especially Russian ballet). But my current reading load is about 50 fiction/50 nonfiction a year. Like I don’t have a problem drawing connections between different books, I just don’t have the education beyond high school for lit analysis. I’m literally an analyst for my job, so maybe there’s some courses on how to analyze lit? I caught some Yale courses on Moby Dick after I finished it for the first time, so should I continue with things like that?

The North Tower posted:

I'd need to think about this more, but I guess more than 'I recognize thing from other book'. Like if someone was loving up a puppet show in a book I'd obviously draw a connection to Don Quixote, but I'd like to get better at drawing out themes and meaning.
Analysis is just asking why. The best way to answer that question is by reading enough to see patterns that point to (but do not necessarily constitute) an answer. Literature courses in higher education are mainly useful because they focus your reading on sets of related books and existing analysis of them – you're drawing connections between books, yes, but also between ideas about and informed by (and within!) them. Seeing a Don Quixote allusion is recognition; understanding its presence is analysis.

Edit: More broadly speaking, just getting what an author is getting at is analysis. What is the author saying (whether intentionally or not) with this allusion? What is the author saying with the book at large? Over the scope of their body of work?

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 20:38 on Oct 12, 2020

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005



but also do make a habit of taking note of whatever passage interests you for whichever reason

The North Tower
Aug 20, 2007

You should throw it in the ocean.

Thanks to all of the above. I’ve poo poo up this thread enough for now so I’ll take a break, but I appreciate the pointers.

Opulent Ceremony
Feb 22, 2012


I've been going through some of the previous books of the month in the forum and really loved The Magus and Black Lamb Grey Falcon. Can anyone recommend another book by either author?

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009


If you want to read a book on books read Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory. While a leftist himself, On Literature is not an overtly political framing of literature and literary criticism. It gives a good history on the idea of literature and then humbly tells you how Eagleton himself views literature and criticism. It is wonderful and probably only 200 pages or so long.

A poster a while ago asked about Ducks, Newburyport. I am about a third of the way through and am enthralled. I think it does evade the "novel" descriptor in that there's no plot, as such. But as a microscopic view of the anxieties and quirks of a present-day Ohioan housewife it is completely terrific.

There are a lot of metafictional aspects to it that have been very rewarding. Since the book is almost literally a stream-of-consciousness I hearkened back to reading Joyce or Faulkner. What sets Ellman's narration apart is how self-censoring and self-effacing and self-correcting she is. It's an edited stream-of-consciousness. She calls her bum her "sit-me-down-upon." If her train of thought takes on oblique turn, she goes back and clarifies. She chastises herself if she has an overly sexual thought.

In addition to that, I've experienced a couple times now is when something is brought up, a song or a book or a recent political event, and I can't remember if it's something I had been thinking about recently myself or if it had come up earlier in the text. There are certain thoughts that she comes back to to ground her as she goes about her day.

It's all very "realistic" and wholesome and I don't think this much attention and dignity has every been brought to the thoughts and daily toils of a housewife.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

apophenium posted:

If you want to read a book on books read Terry Eagleton's Literary Theory. While a leftist himself, On Literature is not an overtly political framing of literature and literary criticism. It gives a good history on the idea of literature and then humbly tells you how Eagleton himself views literature and criticism. It is wonderful and probably only 200 pages or so long.


I did a Let's Read of this not too long ago. Always happy to be corrected of any misconstruals I drew as well

https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...hreadid=3885107

ultrachrist
Sep 27, 2008


I didn't really care for Ducks, Newburyport. At first I thought it was dumb, then I came to enjoy it, but by page 500 I had had enough saw everything there was to see. I finished it anyway due to sunk cost fallacy. By bombarding you with useless details, it heightens the 'insight' delivered by political insights, which is a neat trick a couple of times but then gets old and transparent. edit: there's a light plot (about the mountain lion) that becomes more apparent as the book goes on.

I've read a couple of "one sentence" novels since. Zone by Mathias Enard was neat / horrific but I don't think my Mediterranean history is anywhere near the point to fully appreciate it. Solar Bones by by Mike McKormack was excellent.

ultrachrist fucked around with this message at 21:47 on Oct 13, 2020

AngusPodgorny
Jun 3, 2004

Please to be restful, it is only a puffin that has from the puffin place outbroken.

If you want to branch out into "one paragraph" novels, I enjoyed Reinhardt's Garden by Mark Haber. Personally I find the use of a single sentence or a single paragraph to be more of a gimmick than interesting in itself, but it had lots of flashbacks and Tolstoy and delusions so it had enough other things going for it.

emdash
Oct 19, 2003

and?


Who should I read that’s similar to Charles Portis and/or Pete Dexter

beer pal
Mar 30, 2010



anyone read the pevear and volokhonsky translation of master & margarita? i have a bad habit of just picking whichever cover i like best and only remembering to look at the translator when i get home

PeterWeller
Apr 20, 2003

I told you that story so I could tell you this one.



I started and finished The Silence last night during WS breaks. It's that short. But it was nice condensed DeLillo--put some slightly eccentric characters in a strange situation and sparsely narrate them saying interesting dialog at each other. I'd recommend it for anyone who's already a fan or anyone who wants to test the waters of DeLillo's style with something you can read in a sitting.

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005



beer pal posted:

anyone read the pevear and volokhonsky translation of master & margarita? i have a bad habit of just picking whichever cover i like best and only remembering to look at the translator when i get home

they’re contested at the forums (some hate them, and some love them) but I don’t think it’ll be any worse than any of the old public domain translations. give it a go

N
Oct 4, 2006
This space is for rent - $9.95/month no questions asked.

beer pal posted:

anyone read the pevear and volokhonsky translation of master & margarita? i have a bad habit of just picking whichever cover i like best and only remembering to look at the translator when i get home

Yes, and the translation is not good, even by P&V standards. You really want the Bergin & O'Connor translation if you can get your hands on it.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




There are no public-domain translations of that book. The ones to read are the Burgin/O'Connor (also published by Vintage) and the Ginsburg. The other one to avoid is Glenny's, which isn't bad but is sourced from a slightly censored text.

Matchstick
Jul 10, 2004



emdash posted:

Who should I read that’s similar to Charles Portis and/or Pete Dexter

News of the World (Jiles) is similar to True Grit, at least in setting and narrative.

pleasecallmechrist
Sep 22, 2013

I lack the most basic processes inherent in all living organisms: reproducing and dying.

Can someone post the discord link again? The last one Hieronomous posted is expired.

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

pleasecallmechrist posted:

Can someone post the discord link again? The last one Hieronomous posted is expired.

https://discord.gg/Ma2b93nbbp

That one should not expire

J_RBG
May 20, 2014



I read 'Love's Work' by gillian rose, it's very good and my edition came with a geoffrey hill poem at the end

pleasecallmechrist
Sep 22, 2013

I lack the most basic processes inherent in all living organisms: reproducing and dying.


Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat




I've been too frazzled these past few months for much serious reading or book posting, but I'd like to announce this year's Secret Santa in this thread and invite my fellow booklords to participate.

I really hope that everyone hasn't just decided to jump ship for the Discord server; I've always thought that the forum is a better and more thoughtful place to post about books.

Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 21:29 on Nov 20, 2020

J_RBG
May 20, 2014



I'll happily post here. My reading has been shot to poo poo the past month because I'm tired all the time. But I'm ploughing through Vollmann's The Ice Shirt because it ticks a load of my boxes, and I'm enjoying it. I wouldn't know what his reputation is among the US goons, because nobody seems to mention him, but this book is good anyway. It's essentially a retelling of the Vinland Saga with added drama, greater emphasis on the indigenous people of Greenland and Vinland, hand-drawn maps, psychogeographic contemporary stuff and some really good prose.

mdemone
Mar 14, 2001

There is no route out of the maze. The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive.




I love Vollmann, we definitely don't talk about him enough in here.

J_RBG
May 20, 2014



Yeah, one thing I appreciate especially is that he draws some very vivid characters out of the sagas. He certainly makes interesting choices with Freydis Eiriksdottir, he doesn't exactly change her but kind of fleshes out her psychology while also adding this anti-realist epic element by having her commune with Mi'kmaq and Inuit gods. I'm not entirely sure whether the Skraelings of the Vinland sagas are actually Mi'kmaq, a quick google doesn't help me out, but I suppose he's making educated guesses from medieval sources. Anyway it's real good

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

J_RBG posted:

I'll happily post here. My reading has been shot to poo poo the past month because I'm tired all the time. But I'm ploughing through Vollmann's The Ice Shirt because it ticks a load of my boxes, and I'm enjoying it. I wouldn't know what his reputation is among the US goons, because nobody seems to mention him, but this book is good anyway. It's essentially a retelling of the Vinland Saga with added drama, greater emphasis on the indigenous people of Greenland and Vinland, hand-drawn maps, psychogeographic contemporary stuff and some really good prose.

sounds good OP putting it on the list to get

Stunt_enby
Feb 6, 2010



is there a good study guide/companion type thing for king james bible new testament? like, historical background, summaries/common interpretations, etc

Nitevision
Oct 5, 2004

Your Friendly FYAD Helper
Ask Me For FYAD Help
Another Reason To Talk To Me Is To Hangout

J_RBG posted:

I'll happily post here. My reading has been shot to poo poo the past month because I'm tired all the time. But I'm ploughing through Vollmann's The Ice Shirt because it ticks a load of my boxes, and I'm enjoying it. I wouldn't know what his reputation is among the US goons, because nobody seems to mention him, but this book is good anyway. It's essentially a retelling of the Vinland Saga with added drama, greater emphasis on the indigenous people of Greenland and Vinland, hand-drawn maps, psychogeographic contemporary stuff and some really good prose.

This sounds sick, I'm ambiently aware of Vollmann but have never read him. Going on the list

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Bilirubin
Feb 16, 2014

The sanctioned action is to CHUG!!!




Bleak Gremlin

Stunt_enby posted:

is there a good study guide/companion type thing for king james bible new testament? like, historical background, summaries/common interpretations, etc

There are study bibles with these things included as marginalia. For believers the Scofield bible is a very commonly used reference; I think the Oxford annotated would be a more academic version

e. just checked my Scofield and there are several paragraph lead-ins to introduce each book, and the New Testament in particular has a lot of contextual information provided as footnotes throughout, which makes sense since Scofield was a Pauline leaning theologian

ee. just checked and the Oxford is Revised Standard Version not King James

Bilirubin fucked around with this message at 23:55 on Nov 21, 2020

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply