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OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


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.

EDIT:

An interesting find from Khizan, at the behest of Franchescanado. A mod-challenge and a bunch of essays about subtext.

Khizan posted:

It's a bit late, but I remember this.

GonSmithe's challenge to Baron Bifford.

The OP of that thread has links to the challenge and the submitted essays.

OscarDiggs fucked around with this message at 14:33 on Dec 10, 2018

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OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


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!

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


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

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


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.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!



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.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


I like the way the story is presenting itself. Reading it as a letter to someone is pretty novel way of experiencing a book, at least for me.

I don't know if the author is trying to do something funny or clever with the China bits. Like the character mentions “great respect for the ancient nation of China” and these bit's like, how freedom loving China is and how they were never made servants. Technically speaking I suppose being forced to buy drugs from another nation, twice, isn't by definition servitude. But the guy also seems pretty sincere in all this? So I don't know.

Also, random homophobia in the first few pages. Is the writer the rear end in a top hat here or is the character? I know that sometimes an author who isn't, say, a misogynist can write characters who are misogynists, but how do you tell which is which?

This really does get the feel across of a sleazy used car salesman.

Now I don't know the first thing about books, but it sort of feels like the book is over explaining? “My mothers body had been wrapped from head to toe in saffron silk cloth... her death was so grand that I knew, all at once, that her life must have been miserable.” Isn't that telling, not showing?

“The man with the notebook was not the Buffalo; he was the assistant”. Okay, I like these little comebacks and word plays.

Maybe all the Islamophobia is different for India?

It's very easy to put what I don't like into words but very difficult to find words of praise. Not that it doesn't deserve praise; I'm enjoying it quite a bit but find a way to say that other the "it good" is difficult.

It's bleak and depressing, but not in a “Now this a video wherein you can see the exact moment someone dies” sorta way. I'm disgusted and ashamed (perhaps these words are to strong) but I want to continue.

“Like eunuchs discussing the Kama Sutra, the voters discuss the elections in Laxmangarh.” These little bits are great.

Okay, that's it for the first 100 or so pages. Not quite half way through, but getting through the rest should be a tad faster.

Noticeable themes; corruption, the gap between rich and poor (I especially liked a bit when one of the rich masters and his wife are being driven around and are amazed at how “religious” Belram is being), rural vs urban, moving forward and getting left behind in an advancing world, ignorance and naïvety

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Sham bam bamina! posted:

Adiga is actually "showing", rather than "telling", because he's trusting his readers to understand the significance of how Balram thinks about his mother's funeral instead of just spelling everything out for them.

Misplaced trust when it comes to me then.

But in all seriousness, thank you very much for the explanation. Learning this sort of thing is the exact reason for this thread, because there's no way I'm going to be able to learn this stuff organically. It also highlights just how far I have to go, so, thank you very much friend!

That being said I have now finished the book. Some more thoughts.

- - - -

““If all of us were like that, we'd rule India, and they would be polishing our boots.” Then the drivers got back into their circle. The reading of the story resumed.”

This servility stuff runs deep. Belram is constantly going on about how Mr Ashok was a good master but he's constantly being belittled by him. The sad thing is Ashok is in fact mostly better.

Rooster Coop; powerful stuff.

Belram is a bit like a classical hero. He's not necessarily the good guy, yet he is nevertheless “heroic” in his skill and ability.

The death of Mr Ashok is almost... anti-climatic? For how much most of Belrams life before the letters and after revolved around it? But in a way, that is also on it's own powerful. He was just a man, in the end.

All in all, Belram is a little intoxicating. Even though he's a self-confessed murderer, I can't help but sympathise and even like him. Does that say something bad about me, that the only thing a murderer needs to keep me on side is a degree of charm? And that's even on top of the casual homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia and all the rest of it.

Some more themes

Powerlessness. Fighting back. I'm not sure how to say this next one snappily; acknowledging and not being as bad as others have been in the past?

And done! First book for the thread, hopefully the first of many. I really did enjoy The White Tiger and it's a drat shame I waited so long before I actually read it. Unlike with a lot of stories I really enjoy where I want more, to see and read more of the characters life, in a way I am happy this has ended. Like a really engaging conversation I had on the train, I have nevertheless reached my destination, and it's time to say goodbye and get off. I'm happy to have read this book, very happy in fact; engaging and witty throughout, I have nevertheless reached my destination.

Books I am planning on reading soonish

All the previous mentions still apply, but we are joined by a few new ones.

The Day Lasts More Then A Hundred Years Recommended a while back by someone on the basis of my enjoyment of Lincoln in the Bardo. I can't remember who did sorry, but it was in the main lit thread.

Something by Jhumpa Lahiri A recommendation by Sham bam bamina! in fact. Not looked much into it at this point, but I am sort of in the mood for more.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez There was a bit of a hoo hah in the recomendation thread about this, but I also remember this one is pretty popular with the book crowd.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini Another one from the recomendation thread. The others looked either slightly to difficult for me or not quite in keeping with what I'm looking for at the moment. This one however caught my eye,

Gonna take a break for a day or two, and then proceed with another book.

Right now the next book I'm settling on will be one of these:
Pale Fire
The Day Lasts More Then A Hundred Years
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
Kim

Feel free to also come up with more suggestions. If there is a serious interest and people want to vote or something, I guess I can be swayed by public opinion.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


As it happens I am being briefly distracted by some Nabokov short stories, but when I'm finished with those and have appraised the thread of my thoughts, I can take a turn into some longer Russian Lit.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


So, The Vane Sisters by Nabokov.

It was a bit hard to swallow; I regularly found myself going back and re-reading sentences and paragraphs because it was a bit hard to fully grasp what was actually there on the first time around. Particulary embarassing for how short it was.

It wasn't like reading poetry (not that I do that l lot either). More like, the lyrics to a song I know really well, where the beat slowly intrudes in, and this came up even when going back to re-read passages.

He really does write pretty. Like, really pretty. There's just so much there, packed in tight. Not even the up front, description type of stuff, but the imagery and what it invokes and other words I would know to use to describe his writing if I knew them. Fake Edit: Kaleidoscopic is a word I want to use here. Nary a wasted word and all of it building toward a specific goal. At least thats what it seemed like.

I think it did a fantastic job of showing us the main narrators personality. In comparison to The White Tiger, in that work even though we're being conveyed Belrams thoughts and feelings directly, via his writing of a letter, there are still... dark spots as it were. Or maybe, he's generic until something is revealed that makes him not generic? I don't have the words to say it. But anyway, The Vane Sisters. In about 10 pages or so, I felt like I learnt more or the same amount about the narrator here, then I did about Belram throughout the entirety of The White Tiger. Chalk that up to the difference in narrative or first/third person or whatever, but that's what it seemed like from where I'm sitting.

So, yes. Quite enjoyable, and for being so short it didn't become a chore.

Now though, it seems the consensus for next book is some sort of Russian Literature Book, of which there are loads of recomendations. A few notables.

Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time, in the Marian Schwartz translation

Death of Ivan Illyitch (Tolstoy) and Faust (Turgenev)

The Brothers Karamazov and Anna Karenina (especially before any AND books).

Special mention to The Gold Bug Variations, by Richard Powers, which isn't Russian Lit, but is rather, the most beautifully written book ever.

Because there are already a load of recomendations (thank you very much people!) I will settle ooooon... A Hero of Our Time. Illyitch and Faust are also supposedly pretty short, so I'll see about making it into a trifecta. From there, we will see where we go.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


derp posted:

So is this the new literature thread or what

Probably not, the old one is doing fine as in.

I've read A Hero of Our Time in one go a few days ago. I'm almost done reading it through a second time a bit slower. I will have my thoughts up by tommorow.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Alright, stop dunking on each other it's time to dunk on me.

Some slightly edited thoughts on A Hero of Our Time

It feels like a Metal Gear game early on with how many times our narrator repeats words and phrases.

I thought the endless little digressions were annoying at first, but they're actually quite fun and ACTUALLY a bit important as we move past the prologue. I also like the little details that show just how much better the narrator thinks he is compared to Maxim. An "Ecstatic narrator" indeed.

"Here's what happened." "Here's how it happened."

"We might not have arrived; but nevertheless we did." I read this book twice and I'm still having difficulty parsing this.

My god, this book nails whigey prat with a high opinion of himself to a Tee. Both through Maxim talking to the narrator and from the "re-publishing" of Perchorins notebooks.

My very first thought when I finished the book was how the little side stories, like with the blind boy and the nymph were a bit pointless to the overarching story. It took me a reread to understanding that they are the overarching story here.

Byron appears more then once, so I looked him up on Wikipedia. Did you lot trick me into reading some Russian guys fanfiction about a Byronic hero? No judgement here if you did, I still liked it a lot.

A lot less thoughts overall; on my first run through I had a lot more, most of which were small complaints; on my second read through I came to understand most of those were invalid and just me missing the point. Overall, enjoyable. Not like, an epic masterpiece, but still good. Glad I read it.

At this point it's a matter of whether I continue with Russian Lit or move on to something else. I think I want to stay, and try to tackle The Brothers Karamazov. I tried once, but I found myself stopping because I really wasn't enjoying it. While were on Russia it might be a good idea to try again. I'll see how it goes, both with my feelings a few days from now and what everyone else thinks. There were two short Russian Lit stories suggested to me earlier which I might dive into beforehand, as well.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!



I like the concept of "The Superfluous Man" but I'm sure you can guess I've never encoutered it before.


Throw a stone somewhere and the first person it hits will probably have a better chance of understanding the argument of Literature vs Genre better then me, and it's probably slightly beyond the scope of this thread. I've talked to a lot of TBB Goons over the years and many (including Hieronymous Alloy ) have said literature fiction is just a genre of fiction, so I am open to the idea. I mean hell, if I had been asked I would have said Frankenstien and works by Poe ARE lit books, especially since Poe wrote a lot of poems. (And I know Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstien, before anyone says anything.)

But erm... the point I'm trying to make is, I've had a lifetime of reading genre books, and I'll have a lifetime more after all this. This is simply a chance to expand my horizons a bit more! So, I'm not ignoring what you say or you're suggestions, or anyone elses for that matter, but they are sort of being tallied with and against everyone elses.

God Of Paradise posted:

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O'Toole

An Uncle of mine has that! I might be able to borrow it soonish, after the Russian crop get's brought in.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Looking into it, "Death of Ivan Illyitch" by Tolstoy is easily less then a hundred pages. So, I'll pick that up and try to finish it off before the end of the weekend. From there I can decide whether to stay in Russian Lit land for some longer books, or to move onto some of the other fine recommendations that have been made.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Big Mad Drongo posted:

Do people consider stuff like Gentlemen of the Road, The Yiddish Policemen's Union and Summerland to be non-genre just because Michael Chabon wrote them?

This is an honest question, I am dumb and mostly poorly-read so I have no idea how actually smart people categorize those books.

This is absolutely the thread for you, friend! THough you may also want to ask in the actual literature thread because it get's more traffic.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Franchescanado posted:

An example of this from CineD*, from about a year ago, a goon couldn't comprehend how to interpret film beyond what the film presented or reading about the filmmaker's intention. Symbolism, interpretation, themes, motifs, all of it was beyond their own creative interpretations. It became such an issue that they were given a Mod Challenge to come up with any interpretation of any aspect of Alien. All they had to do was pick one or two signifieds and then discuss their signifiers; it could be bat-poo poo insane, as long as it was an original interpretation. They were even given examples of how to do so. Their result? An essay detailing the art director's intention, the cinematographer's intention, the writer's intention, and Ridley Scott's intention. They were incapable of anything other than reading imdb trivia and wikipedia articles. Heavy reliance on author intention creates goons like that. (If I can find a link, I'll edit it in, because it's a great argument for Death of the Author.)

As someone who only knows what signified and signifier means is because they googled it as a result of this post, let mejust say that would be an amazing thread to read. Especially where it concerns my own difficulty with theme, symbolism and what have you. Though I would hope in my case it's more lack of experience then total inability.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Seldom Posts posted:

I read At the Mountains of Madness and it reminded me of the time I took a trip to the mountains, so it is a happy book for me. This is a strong reading of the text.

I think, if I am understanding the point, that yeah, sure. If you read At the Mountains of Madness as a happy book, congrats; more happiness in the world for you. You might have been drunk off your tits or hallucinating stuff up as you were reading it, or you may have been at your most perceptive and cogent, picking up on things no one else ever has. You can read At the Mountains of Madness in such a way because you are an autonomous human who has had your own lived experiences. And those expereinces are the lens through which you interpret the stuff in the book.

So, just as someone with schizophrenia might interpret something on the radio as a sign from God to start the harvest, you can read At the Mountains of Madness as a happy book. Because the life you have experienced thus far up to that point has led you to interpret it as such. And indeed, in 20 years time you may re-read it and with the additional 20 years of lived experience you have gained re-think and say "Actually, At the Mountains of Madness is about migratory Penguins!" and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. And 10 years ago you may have read it and thought "I am so sick of these allegorical books about wheat farming during the Civil War."

But people may be skeptical of your reading, and may ask you to back it up with an argument why you think that is the case. Which is why Mel could say your interpretation of At the Mountains of Madness as a happy book because it reminded you of a trip you took once is a weak one.

I think so anyway.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Seldom Posts posted:

Missed this in my response to Mel.

I mean, yes this is completely the point I was trying to make, using the literary device known as Irony. So I'm glad you got it, even though you think I'm a dunce.

Sorry!

If it's any consolation I wasn't sure if I was right or not until you said so, so it's definetly me who's the dunce.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Well, that was a fun series of disasters, upto and including a torn ligament and hair line fracture. Nonetheless The Death Of Ivan Ilyich is done. So, my stream of consciousness thoughts while reading.

- - - -

I like how up front the book is with the casual awfulness of people. 'Ohhhhh I might be the one to get a promotion! But, ah poo poo, I've got to waste my afternoon at the widows house.'

"His face was handome and above all more dignified then when he was alive.' It seems like this is mostly going to be about death and the living. Living well, regrets and so on.

Okay, I don't know if this is intentionally funny or unintentionally funny, but the idea of Pyotr just bowing and crossing himself to every little thing is hilarious.

"There was no reason for supposing this incident would hinder them spending the evening agreeably." Cold, man.

I feel like this is what would happen at a funeral by and for middle managers. Little substance and endless bowing to convention.

Haha. The worst Pyotr feels during the whole thing is when it turns out he might not be able to play bridge today.

"Ivans life had been most simple and most ordinary, and therefore most terrible." I'm sensing this will be a theme.

I'm really not sure what to make of Ivan. He really does seem like the avatar of middle management.

"Matrimony... was not always conductive to the pleasures and amenities of life." Another theme? Selfishness or something like that?

A lot of the langauge used is beautiful in it's starkness. "These were islets at which they anchored for a while and then set out upo that ocean of veiled hostility."

"In reality, it was just what is usually seen in houses of people of moderate means who want to appear rich." Ice burn. Also, yeah definetly a theme.

This got depressing in a hurry.

It's a bit similiar to Lincoln in the Bardo in a way.

"Whenever the thought occured to him that it all resulted from his not living as he ought to have done, he at once recalled the correctness of his whole life and dismissed so strange an idea." Ouch.

- - - -

I liked it, despite how depressive it was. It was satisfying in a way to have the bullshit of such a life fully examined and shown to be ludicrous in it's way. Buuuut... I don't know, it also felt a little... propaganda-y? Like the author was sitting on his high horse and lecturing me. Maybe that's unfair and cynical though.

Okay, that's another dive into Russian Lit over and done with. I now need to settle on the next thing to try. Hopefully something a little more light-hearted.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


immolationsex posted:

This post is going to be spoilerrific.

Interesting stuff.

I'll take the fact that I was able to pick up on as little as I did as suitable improvement for my level, because I didn't get much if anything of this from my first reading. But thinking on it, it does make a lot of sense!

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Okay.

This dip into Russian Literature has (EDIT: Very much so!) been interesting and eye-opening, and I'm eager to go back to it again at some point, but right now I think it's time to dip back out and try another new thing.

At this moment I am considering "A Confederary of Dunces" quite heaviliy, with the other options still there in the back of my mind. Also, I managed to get my hands on a few books from family, which included "A Scarlet Letter", "To Kill a Mockingbird", "Heart of Darkness" and 2 different versions of "The Oddysey".

As always, feel free to tell me my chosen book is a bad choice and to suggest something different. I'll decide good and proper some time tommorow.

OscarDiggs fucked around with this message at 16:19 on Nov 28, 2018

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Mel Mudkiper posted:

says the guy who pulled a "sorry that was my little brother using my account"


I mean, those are very different directions. I would recommend identifying what wore you out with Russian lit and trying to read something that contrasts with it

The Russian stuff was very... grand, I suppose. Even the short stories were deep and weighty. I wouldn't say it wore on me exactly, but starting another Deep and Weighty book right away would have started to. And I am not necessarially saying I'm going to read them all those options straight away; just that they are there if people think they might be better to read.

In that vein though, Dunces looks like it's going to be slightly more upbeat and funnier, a bit like a Twain book, which is why I'm think of settling for it right now after the Russian stuff.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Oh wow I meant it was! It was interesting and eye opening!

It must have autocompleted as hasn't. My bad for not checking! I definitely intend to go back to Russian Lit at some point!

EDIT: I just need a short break is all.

OscarDiggs fucked around with this message at 16:22 on Nov 28, 2018

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!



Well I am here to improve my reading ability. Reading what I write is as good a place to start as any .

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Alrighty. Dunces it is, then maybe/probably followed up by Heart of Darkness because it is pretty short. Dunces is a bit longer so expect my responses to it to be up in several, shorter posts.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Mel Mudkiper posted:

Dunces is long but its surprisingly easy to read

Franchescanado posted:

Whereas Heart of Darkness is short, but the prose is dense and the pacing’s much slower.

So in short, books are a land of contrasts.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


I can always slot in To Kill A Mockingbird sooner. CoD, TkaM, HoD. Or it can be something entirely off base after Dunces is done. They were just examples of books I can now easily get my hands on.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Ignatius is such a weirdly unpleasant and unpleasantly weird dude, it's great. I'm about a hundred pages in and I'm thinking I'm going to read the whole thing through before putting my thoughts down in the thread; every so often I have to reread a sentence or paragraph over and over and each time, a new layer id revealed, its great.

One thing, I am sort of getting the feeling I'm missing a core detail. Is there some important context I should know before getting to far in or can I safely take it at face value?

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Sham bam bamina! posted:

I don't quite understand the question. The only thing I'd really point out is that the book is less about Ignatius than it is about the people connected through him, but I'm sure that you already picked up on that yourself.

It was more I was worried that I was missing the forest for the trees so to speak; allowing myself to get distracted by the to obvious stuff.

Mel Mudkiper posted:

It should be noted that Ignatius is a mix between people the author saw while working for LSU and the type of person the author worried that he was

Interesting! Thanks.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!



Huge, if true.

Khizan posted:

It's a bit late, but I remember this.

GonSmithe's challenge to Baron Bifford.

The OP of that thread has links to the challenge and the submitted essays.

I'll add that to the OP at some point.

EDIT: Done

OscarDiggs fucked around with this message at 14:54 on Dec 10, 2018

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Okay. All done with Confederacy with dunces.

There was a moment, toward about... page 30-40, where we're with Ignacious, his Mother and the Police Officer. He's watching a clearasil commericial. I became terrified. A Condfederacy of Dunces was no longer an amusing book about an absolutely wretched person; it was a cursed mirror, reflecting back at me some of the worst aspects I ever saw in myself throughout the years. I couldn't continue and yet I couldn't put it down.

That terror passed, and I went on again appreciating it as a picaresque walk in absurdity, but I never forgot it. In a way it was the perfect book to read on the run up to New Years Day.

So, very enjoyable at the end of the day, with a brief walk into existential dread. I'm going to take a few days before moving onto something else. I'm thinking of delving back into something Russian, either this time or next. I got Crime and Punishment from a family member who knew I was reading "Hard Books" so, that's now an option.

Of course, suggestions from th peanut gallery are more the welcome.

I hope everyone had a merry christmas and a happy new year!

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


vyelkin posted:

I'll narrow my suggestions for Russian literature down to two short but excellent novels, so you can keep putting off the lengthy "and" books:

The Captain's Daughter by Pushkin
Heart of a Dog by Bulgakov

Thanks! I'm pretty interested in the concept of Heart of a Dog, so that may be what I pick.

Mel Mudkiper posted:

I am just touched someone finally read a link I posted

I read them! I don't always understand them and usually need to do a bit of further background reading, but I read them.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Normal Adult Human posted:

read something happened by joseph heller.

Well I loved Catch 22, so it's not like you have to try to hard to convince me.

Then again with all the conversation around it currently, maybe I should try To Kill A Mockingbird so I can be a part of it.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Mel Mudkiper posted:

I would recommend reading something like Native Son or A Lesson Before Dying or The Good Lord Bird along with it

Its hard to understand the hegemonic white perspective taken in most fiction about race without reading fiction that critiques and resists it

Hmm. I did want to take a tour back to Russia at some point...

Okay, tentative plan is:

Something Happened by Joseph Heller.
Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov.
+1 Russian Book, Maybe.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
One of the following: Native Son or A Lesson Before Dying or The Good Lord Bird.

Unless someone has a good argument or reason against this, this is what I'll go with.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


To be fair to Mel, they have been a fairly constant fixture in this thread and has spent a lot of time, both explaining these concepts in thread as well as providing some recommended reading for our individual improvement in the area.

If anyone has earned the right to condescend it's him.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Something Happened has that same wonderful, bizarre feel that Catch 22 had, where it seems like we're following someone that's not quite all there. Of course, Bob Slocum isn't quite there it seems like.

I'm only a few hundred pages in, but I have a bad feeling I'm reading someone's slow descent into going postal, as his confessions and benign naivety and confusion at the world turns into how much he longs to be rid of his idiot son.

There's also the unfortunate fact that I can read a lot of myself in him That same "I don't know what's going on but if I sit here pretending everything is fine eventually I won't have to worry about it" reaction to things is something I've done myself quite a bit.

It's not got the same existential terror aspect that CoD had, but again, in only part way through it so far.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Okay, wow. This started to get dark(er) way faster then I was expecting.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


"how can I tell my daughter she is the most marvelous, beautiful teen-age girl in the whole world when we both know she isn't"

Jesus christ.

I think I need a break from this. Is Something Happened going to level off at some point, or is it just gonna keep getting worse?

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Okay.

That was, one hell of a slog.

I can't even put my thoughts down properly, even though I finished it a few days ago now.

All I know is, the next book I read better be god drat light hearted, or else!

Still though, I'm taking a short break.

OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


Break is being extended a few weeks because I am now currently reading "Bad Science" which is about how the media misrepresents science etc. Will let the thread know when it's back to Literature.

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OscarDiggs
Jun 1, 2011

Those sure are words on pages which are given in a sequential order!


I have managed to get a hold of a copy of "Love In The Time Of Cholera", as some goons suggestion that it was uplifting and not as bleak as "Something Happened." I shall start getting through it and post some thought on it as soon as.

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