I read mysterys (Robert B. Parker, Ridley Pearson, James Lee Burke, Ed McBain etal), historical fiction (Michael Shaara etal), offbeat stuff (Dave Barry, Jimmy Buffett or Carl Hiassen) and kids books every night at bed time. Sci-fi is one genre that have always stayed far away from.
"I bought batteries yesterday. They weren't included. So I had to buy them again." -Steven Wright
Originally posted by astrobstrd Next up is Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.. which should consume me until about mid-late March.
Ooooh you're in for a trip. I read Gravity's Rainbow a couple of years ago and I still don't know if I like it as a novel or not. It grabbed my attention, I read it for weeks, it is really a good read ... but somehow it left a bad taste in my mouth. Some parts of it really upset me. And I'm not the only one ... in 1974 it so split the literary establishment that no Pulitzer Prize for fiction was awarded.
In 1974 (Pynchon) received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow. He would have been awarded The Pulitzer Prize as well, but his blatant disregard for narrative sequence led to a rift between the judges and the editorial board. Ultimately, the book was not selected. In fact, no book was chosen that year in the Fiction Category, the first (and only) time a work of fiction did not receive the award.
I just finished reading his novel V., which I enjoyed very much indeed. Next up is Mason & Dixon, which should be quite an enjoyable slog.
If I could fix me up a week of twilight hours we'd sit on the point and watch the sun continually flounder. Bathed in gold we'd plug into some kind of power and connect with those days back before all of this went sour.
I think you'll enjoy Mason & Dixon if you enjoy Pynchon. But I'd recommend trying to read it in long stretches if you're not used to 18th Century fiction. The capitalization of nouns, the language and idiom can be very trying if you're not familiar with it. Hell, it can be trying even if you're used to it. I took a couple of 18th Century Brit Lit courses in college (and had to read Pamela, Evelina and Humphry Clinker and all the others like that), and even with that preparation, I found that it was hard to pick up Mason & Dixon, read five pages, put it down and pick it up later. At least for me, it was a book that was much more enjoyable if I got into a rhythm with it. Like my experiences reading Shakespeare, you have to get into that sort of mindset and cadence, and then everything tends to start to roll around in your mind in a normal way. But, hey, if you're used to reading Pynchon, you're used to weird cadences anyway.
Now this is more like it. Pynchon! My first was Lot 49, and that hooked me. I read V and Gravity's Rainbow in quick succession. I've been putting off Mason & Dixon for a while now, mostly for the reasons you've mentioned, Jeb. It occurred to me that I should read a few more 18th century novels first to get my head around what Pynchon's doing in his book, but mostly I've read a lot of Euro stuff from the 18th cent. Very litte British. If I were to read one novel before Mason & Dixon, which would you recommend?
The Goal: SLACK The Method: The Casting Out of False Prophets The Weapon: Time Control The Motto: "Fuck Them All of they Can't Take a Joke"
After reading the previous posts, I think that I'll need to give Mason & Dixon another try. The last couple of times I've made it about 50 pgs in, enjoyed it well enough, and been distracted by other things.
(Fun, brief, story: When I purchased the book at the Strand, the checkout girl said "You don't want to read that. I mean, are you SURE you want to read that?" When I said yes, it was really clear that she had moved me to the mental list labelled "wacko".)
I just finished Kavalier & Clay, which I ended up enjoying at the begining and then slightly tiring of, and then really getting into it at around page 400. The last third though, I thought was really great - good enough to justify the setup. Conversely, the friend that I had borrowed it from liked the middle best, and found the ending weak - different strokes, I suppose.
Next up is either You Shall Know Our Velocity, or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - I haven't decided which yet. Suggestions?
Edit: AND, I loved Wallace's Brief Interviews, but, man, were some of them disturbing - hideous men, indeed. I needed to take a break about halfway through the book to digest it, you know? Great work, though - Wallace's short stories kick the ass of his novels around the block, IMO.
(edited by Mr. Heat Miser on 5.1.05 1004) -MHM, winner of the 2000 Throwdown in Christmastown.
I've been recently getting into some satirical / comedy writing. I think I've plowed through about half of Christopher Moore's works in the last two weeks (currently reading Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, which is about vampires, but only periphially, really). Recent reads also include High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (also have read Fever Pitch, which I loved) and Jennifer Government by Max Brady.
Of course, I don't know who else would have read those, so I'm just throwing them out there. Any takers?
Originally posted by StiltonIt occurred to me that I should read a few more 18th century novels first to get my head around what Pynchon's doing in his book, but mostly I've read a lot of Euro stuff from the 18th cent. Very litte British. If I were to read one novel before Mason & Dixon, which would you recommend?
Errr, that's hard to do, because there are a lot of good ones; worse, a lot of them are comments on other books. Henry Fielding's Shamela and Joseph Andrews are both shots at Samuel Richardson's Pamela, an epistolary novel about a maid who spends all her days toiling and avoiding being raped by her master. Fun! Off the top of my head, though, I'd say that Tobias Smollett's Humphry Clinker would be a fun option, and it works on its own.
The other thing I'd seriously recommend is getting an annotated edition to help you with the antiquated definitions of certain words, common brands and allusions, just general stuff that Pynchon's going to be leaning on. (And he's leaning on a lot. His book is set during the period where the novel was still being invented in the English language. Richardson didn't write Pamela until 1740, and this book is only set about 20 years later. You could say that Pynchon's rolling novel language back to its infancy and unpacking all the potential that didn't get used these past 260 years. I wasn't planning on getting all didactic about it, but I did anyway. Sorry) I went ahead and checked it out on Amazon.com, and they have an annotated Norton Humphry Clinker, with a special two-for buy with a Norton annotated Joseph Andrews, which is also a fun book. We used the Nortons in my class, and I thought they were excellent. My Russian lit prof also almost exlusively used Norton editions because they almost always had the best combination of quality notes and translation. Anyway, here's the Amazon link:
Originally posted by TheCowI think I've plowed through about half of Christopher Moore's works in the last two weeks (currently reading Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, which is about vampires, but only periphially, really).
Can you recommend a good Moore book to start out on? I've had his books recommended multiple times, but only from fans who say, "They're all awesome." Thing is, I think everything from Hiaasen is awesome, but there are definitely a few of his books that are superior and would convert fans better than others. I want to get the book that makes me a fan.
Well, I can tell you the book I started out on was Lamb: the Gospel According to Christ's Childhood pal, Biff, which was - I thought, at least - a good place to start. Don't start on The Stupidest Angel - it's a riot, but a lot of the characters appear in other books.
I'd say start with either Lamb or The Island of the Sequined Love Nun, which is incredibly twisted, but probably closer to how Moore usually writes. Actually, twisted describes Moore more often than not, now that I think about it. Also, Fluke is another good one to start with. Any of those three would be a good place to start.
I took a recommendation from "Positively Fifth Street" where James McManus suggests poker players should read "Master of Go" by Yasunari Kawabata. I found myself fascinated by his style (sparse and haunting) and his ability to make this Go match seem like the most important battle ever. I went on to read a few more of his works and found them to be extremely engaging reads. I'd recommend his stuff, particularly "Master of Go" and "Snow Country".
Originally posted by Mr. Heat MiserNext up is either You Shall Know Our Velocity, or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - I haven't decided which yet. Suggestions?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is an excellent book. I highly recommend it.
I just finished The System of the World by Neal Stephenson, in the vein of the 18th century-esque fiction. The awkward spellings and seemingly arbitrary Capitalization do take a little getting used to. Of course, now I'm re-reading some Shakespeare (currently about halfway through Hamlet). I find it's actually easier to understand what the hell is going on if I actually say the parts out loud.
Originally posted by Mr. Heat MiserAfter reading the previous posts, I think that I'll need to give Mason & Dixon another try... I just finished Kavalier & Clay... Next up is either You Shall Know Our Velocity, or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - I haven't decided which yet.
If that's the way your tastes run, do yourself a huge favour and read something by George Saunders: CivilWarLand is in Bad Decline, or Pastoralia.
You'll be glad you did.
PS. Been reading Derek McCormack. Awesome. Freaky, but awesome.
(edited by Stilton on 7.1.05 1338) The Goal: SLACK The Method: The Casting Out of False Prophets The Weapon: Time Control The Motto: "Fuck Them All of they Can't Take a Joke"