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OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011


Hello. I am OscarDiggs and I like reading, although I'm not very good at it. Mostly I like to read Sci-Fi and Fantasy stuff, although in the last few years I've tried my hand at some “serious” works. Most of the time it doesn't go to well.

For example, I only recently learned (within the last few months) that you can have protagonists in books that lie to the reader! Unreliable narrators they're called. Shocking stuff!

Anyway, it's very easy to give up and lose motivation when you're confronted again and again with how little you know and just how far you have to go, but I want to persevere. Because about a year back I read “Lincoln in the Bardo” and it was fantastic.

It took me about 3 months to get through, where I would only read a few pages a week because the weird way the characters spoke put me off and the strange digressions into things like the White House party kept interrupting the flow. That was until I got about a third of the way in and at that point I finished the book straight up in about 3 hours. I was more invested with what happened to the characters here then any other dragon/elf war book I had ever read before. And if I can catch that high again? Well that would just be grand.

That was last year though and since then I've read... very few books you could actually call literature. Because motivation is a thing that I lack. That is the point of this thread. With the blessing of Hieronymous Alloy, I am going to document my experiences with Literature for the masses, in an effort to self-improve. Hopefully, sharing my fumbling attempts will help keep me motivated. That's the plan anyway.

Feel free to read along, to ignore, to recommend, to offer advice or to mock me in my journey forwards.

Books I have read before, in order

Animal Farm – I read this years ago for school. It was... alright. I can't remember much except for the pigs being smart and manipulative and everyone else being as dumb as, well, animals. Apparently an anti-socialist thing but I can't remember anyone or anything mentioning “Marx” or “Socialism” throughout the whole book. But then again, we're talking like 14 years ago now.

Of Mice and Men – Again a book from school. A bit boring from what I remember?

I, Claudius – I liked it in spite of itself. The fact it spoiled itself really obviously in the first couple pages did put me off, but despite knowing from that how everything was basically going to work out, I still liked it.

Catch – 22 – A really funny book all in all, had me cackling all the way through. There were some sad and serious elements but the whole thing read mostly as a comedy.

Mother Night – Another darkly comic book I enjoyed quite a bit. More serious then Catch – 22 by a bit, a bit more interesting to.

Lincoln in the Bardo – Took a while to get me hooked, but when it did I couldn't put it down. I read the last two thirds in about 3 hours.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – A nice, fun easy to read book. A little pointless? Like with the big bad just dying up like he did? But I enjoyed it nonetheless. Tom is a pretty interesting character, and I liked the little snap shot into the life of a young boy and the town he lives in.

And that's it, at least all the ones I can actually remember. There is an untold number of fiction books that could be in that list but they probably don't count as literature.

Books I am planning on reading next

Rudyard Kipling's Kim – I was recommended this by Alloy in the Recommendation thread based on what I liked about Tom Sawyer. It's also the cheapest option out of them on Amazon.

Pickwick Papers/David Copperfield by Charles Dickins – Also recommended, and I can get my hands on a copy of his complete works so it won't be any bother.

On the Road by Kerouac and Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon – The final set of recommendations from Alloy. Look interesting but I'd rather focus on the easier to get a hold of options first.

Huckleberry Finn – As a sequel to Tom Sawyer it's natural to continue here. However, I remember someone saying you should read from many authors, so I'd prefer to not continue with Twain right away.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court – I've seen the movie(s)! The actual description someone bought up make it sound really interesting, and I actually have a physical copy. But again, looking to vary authors.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga – I saw this on sale on Amazon and I got quite intrigued by the description. Ended up picking it up, but never got anywhere with it. Perhaps now is the time?

A Darkhorse Candidate by Who Knows? – Think any of the above will be a bit to difficult for me? Got a suggestion that might be a bit more my speed? Want to try and trick me into reading Babyfucker? Go ahead and make a suggestion. I reserve the right to ignore you, though.

Augustus by John Williams - Suggested by Alhazred because I liked I, Claudius.

Pale Fire by Nobakov - Suggested by my bony fealty because it's the most accessible of Nobakovs books. Also a ton of fun.

I will settle on a book sometime next week (probably around Wednesday) and then start recording my experiences in thread.

How this will work

When I settle on a book, I shall read it, and then record my experiences. That might be a play by play of various chapters and pages, or it might just be a review when I finish. It depends on how much it grabs me. Books also occasionally have things called “Themes”. If I notice any I'll let the thread know. I may take a break here or there to read something light and easy, especially if a particular book was quite difficult, but I'll try to keep that to a minimum.

Oh and NO SPOILERS FOR BOOKS I AM READING THROUGH OR HAVN'T READ YET.

OscarDiggs fucked around with this message at Oct 14, 2018 around 11:53

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Ccs
Feb 25, 2011


Good luck on your reading journey! If you want books that are considered good literature and also very entertaining to read anything by Nabokov is a safe bet.

I really should read Lincoln in the Bardo.

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011





If you liked I. Claudius then you should try Augustus by John Williams.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011


Ccs posted:

Good luck on your reading journey! If you want books that are considered good literature and also very entertaining to read anything by Nabokov is a safe bet.

I really should read Lincoln in the Bardo.

Thanks! I have been told by others that Nabakov is good, but I get the feeling that it's a bit to high level for me to "get" properly. Maybe when I'm a few books in. Like I said in the OP, I liked Lincoln. But if you read the OP then you should know my opinion isn't one with a lot of weight.

Alhazred posted:

If you liked I. Claudius then you should try Augustus by John Williams.

And we have our first dark horse candidate!

my bony fealty
Oct 1, 2008



Did I, Claudius spoil itself by revealing that Claudius becomes Emperor after Caligula gets shanked? I forget but I mean, that's kinda been known for 2000 years. The sequel is pretty good too.

Re: Nabakov - read Pale Fire first imo, it's only "hard to get" in that what happens is open to interpretation but it's mostly just a ton of fun.

Spoilers: Augustus becomes Emperor too

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011


my bony fealty posted:

Did I, Claudius spoil itself by revealing that Claudius becomes Emperor after Caligula gets shanked? I forget but I mean, that's kinda been known for 2000 years. The sequel is pretty good too.

Re: Nabakov - read Pale Fire first imo, it's only "hard to get" in that what happens is open to interpretation but it's mostly just a ton of fun.

... I was actually referring to the prophecy from the Sibyl but I'm a moron who only just got that it's historical fiction about the actual Roman Emperors. Well no; like I knew it was about the emperors but I didn't find it relavent at the time? I guess if I knew anything about Roman history I would have pegged that way faster and not revealed myself to be a loving moron. Maybe I should go back to grade school books.

But anyway, Pale Fire can be dark horse number 2.

my bony fealty posted:

Spoilers: Augustus becomes Emperor too

Mel Mudkiper
Jan 19, 2012

This is cyber bulling and I will not stand for it.


Spoilers for I, Claudius

He's Claudius

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011





my bony fealty posted:


Spoilers: Augustus becomes Emperor too

Also, Caesar dies.

incredible flesh
Oct 6, 2018

when they said
repent
repent
repent
repent
REPENT

i wonder what they meant?


read my rear end. it has a twist! fart

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Gravy Boat 2k

I hope you're reading the real versions of those Twain books, with the illustrations. It's disgusting that they're so often left out.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011


Sham bam bamina! posted:

I hope you're reading the real versions of those Twain books, with the illustrations. It's disgusting that they're so often left out.

Alas no, I have yet to see a single illustration. I'll be on the lookout for versions with them specifically!

Also, unless someone comes up with a brilliant suggestion, or an argument otherwise I will either settle on The White Tiger, because if this is about self-improvement then surely the first thing to do is to start finishing what I start, and The White Tiger has been sitting in my library longest, or A Connecticut Yankee because it seems the most fun apart from Huckleberry, but the goal is to expand my reading habits not to read adventures of young boys over and over.

xcheopis
Jul 23, 2003
Furat emptor



Robert Graves has written other historical fiction, as well. The ones I've read, I've liked:
Homer's Daughter
Hercules My Shipmate
Count Belisarius
King Jesus, and, of course, the sequel to I, Claudius.

It is my opinion that Orwell's essays, reviews, and the 'As I Please' columns are superior to his fiction. They're available online for free and you might like to read his essay on Dickens just before or after reading Dickens himself.

If you find you like that sort of period piece (so to speak), Thackeray's Vanity Fair is chock-full of assholes and dimwits. It's also a hefty book, good for long bus rides and weekends or clocking someone who won't shut the gently caress up and let you read.

e: Twain's The Innocents Abroad had me crying from laughter during the Europe portion.

xcheopis fucked around with this message at Oct 14, 2018 around 14:59

Chuck Buried Treasure
Dec 27, 2010

He'll never be the head of a major corporation


OscarDiggs posted:

Alas no, I have yet to see a single illustration. I'll be on the lookout for versions with them specifically!

Also, unless someone comes up with a brilliant suggestion, or an argument otherwise I will either settle on The White Tiger, because if this is about self-improvement then surely the first thing to do is to start finishing what I start, and The White Tiger has been sitting in my library longest, or A Connecticut Yankee because it seems the most fun apart from Huckleberry, but the goal is to expand my reading habits not to read adventures of young boys over and over.

The White Tiger is great. I think it’s the last time I read a whole novel in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down.

Sham bam bamina!
Nov 6, 2012

ƨtupid cat


Gravy Boat 2k

OscarDiggs posted:

A Connecticut Yankee because it seems the most fun apart from Huckleberry
Hoo boy.

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OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011



Alas, we will have to wait to see how wrong I am because starting now I am reading The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.

Over the next few days I will read the book and note down any thoughts and feelings I have about it. Depending on how thought provoking it is, I will either share them with the thread during the read at set intervals (Every chapter, every 50 pages etc. Whatever works) or at the very end of the book. Then I'll take a quick break while deciding on the next book, and maybe discuss it with people in the thread that want to partake in that sort of thing.

Bear in mind I am slow and very bad at reading in general, so it may take a bit.

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