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Author Topic: 50 books in 2018  (Read 1080 times)

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c-lando

  • Bacon Research & Sparkle Development/Cr0ndog Millionaire
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Re: 50 books in 2018
« Reply #60 on: April 09, 2018, 11:21:18 AM »


I kinda didn't like the gay plot twist.  I feel like the power of the book was getting at the way that people mess up other people's lives and their own in quiet ways.  Just a gradual grinding down over the years.  The book works because you want there to be a reason for things.  It's like a whodoneit where you are waiting for the big secret to be revealed.  But there isn't one.  Things happen because of an accumulation of small things.  There are some things that can't be explained or told.  It was enough to know that Jack had a lot of shit going on that made him the way he was.  Making him gay cut against the rest of the book because then you were like "Oh, of course that's why he was like that.  He's gay!"  There was a secret and reveal.

For me, the reveal was enough to make it a reason to include it into the story. That moment when the little sister,
 who everyone ignores, picks up on the smallest of details while she's invisible in plain sight was HUGE when I read it.


This book will linger around for me as well. Drowning in those emotions and expectations. All the things that people don't say.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: 50 books in 2018
« Reply #61 on: April 09, 2018, 09:21:34 PM »


I kinda didn't like the gay plot twist.  I feel like the power of the book was getting at the way that people mess up other people's lives and their own in quiet ways.  Just a gradual grinding down over the years.  The book works because you want there to be a reason for things.  It's like a whodoneit where you are waiting for the big secret to be revealed.  But there isn't one.  Things happen because of an accumulation of small things.  There are some things that can't be explained or told.  It was enough to know that Jack had a lot of shit going on that made him the way he was.  Making him gay cut against the rest of the book because then you were like "Oh, of course that's why he was like that.  He's gay!"  There was a secret and reveal.

For me, the reveal was enough to make it a reason to include it into the story. That moment when the little sister,
 who everyone ignores, picks up on the smallest of details while she's invisible in plain sight was HUGE when I read it.


This book will linger around for me as well. Drowning in those emotions and expectations. All the things that people don't say.

Huh.  Thatís a pretty awesome point.  I never fully considered how integral that part was to Hannahís storyline.  Sheís the perceptive one, who understands and cares most about other people.  In that way, she serves as a sort of moral compass.  And the way she is treatedó not badly but mostly overlooked and dismissedó reveals a lot about the others.  Namely how far up their own asses they are, though this device lets Ng show us that without being overly harsh.  So Jack being gay makes him a sympathetic character and actually somewhat of a good dude, especially at the end.  But itís really Hannah picking up on that and her response to it that shows how different she is than her family, and Nath finally seems to realize this in the end and thereby achieves a shaky peace.

Objection withdrawn.



« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 09:28:32 PM by Ella Minnow Pea »
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c-lando

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Re: 50 books in 2018
« Reply #62 on: April 10, 2018, 08:59:16 AM »


Objection withdrawn.

And in this corner over here, c-lando, our reigning champion!
(The crowd goes wild)

:)
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Once the bacon's done, all pants are off.  
PANTS PANTS REVOLUTION!!!

luisterpaul

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Re: 50 books in 2018
« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2018, 02:57:02 PM »

1. Playing In The Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination - Toni Morrison
2. Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World - Tim Whitmarsh
3. Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories - Chuck Palahniuk
4. The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon - Tom Spanbauer
5. Snuff - Chuck Palahniuk
6. Collected Stories - Amy Hempel
7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
8. The Three-Body Problem - Cixin Liu
9. Uprooted - Naomi Novik
10. Drown - Junot Diaz
11. Tracer - Frederick Barthelme
12. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu
13. Subtraction - Mary Robison
14. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love - Raymond Carver

I feel ambivalent about this one. Excellent writer, to be sure. He's an insightful observer of brilliant details. But so many of these characters were self-centered, unaware -- or intentionally ignorant -- of their effect on others. Sure, that's pretty much humanity's M.O., but we do have moments of selflessness. I felt that was missing in these stories. Still, I'll keep an eye out for his books when I peruse used book shops.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: 50 books in 2018
« Reply #64 on: April 11, 2018, 06:35:54 PM »

I donít think Carver was trying to set out to capture humanity.  I mean, I think he would acknowledge that he writes about hard-drinking losers and it is a biased sample.

Still, I think itís a valid criticism that while heís remarkable at finding different settings and scenarios in his portraits....theyíre still all some grim-ass stories exploring similar themes.  He happens to write about people in bad positions, but there is a kind of implication that trapped, disconnected and powerless is the unspoken fate of man, even the types of people he doesnít write about who seem to have it together. 

Heís best read one story at a time instead of going through a whole collection, I think.  Otherwise itís a little too same-y and mostly just too crushingly depressing.

Good news:  Here is a Carver short story with good people in it that IMO, shows a sort of hopeful view and the good side of people and even a semi-optimistic ending.  Itís my favorite Carver story.

Bad news:  Itís still depressing as shit. In fact it might be the most depressing story he ever wrote, which is saying something.

http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/sgthing.html
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 06:50:43 PM by Zafer Kaya »
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luisterpaul

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Re: 50 books in 2018
« Reply #65 on: April 12, 2018, 09:03:13 AM »

Agreed about the samey-ness. I liked the first story best -- it seemed lighter, more whimsical. But the rest maintained that tone I described earlier.

I read What We Talk About... in a copy of his collected works, and I thought, "No way am I going to read all these now." Sometimes short fiction needs to be taken in small doses, and this is definitely one of those times.

Having said that, I'm working my way through a collection of Chuck Palahniuk's short fiction. Now, I love Palahniuk (most of the time) and I'm still taking these stories one at a time, reading other things in between. But that's because I'm spreading them out, taking the time to savor them. One caught me off guard. A couple weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't fall back asleep. So I got up, made some coffee, and read the next story. It started off typical dark, sardonic Chuck, but gradually changed direction. The next thing I know I'm crying. He had tapped into a moment of human beauty, of that selflessness I was looking for in Carver's work.

So yeah, maybe short fiction is best taken in small bites, each piece allowed time to stand on its own.
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daytime drinking

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Re: 50 books in 2018
« Reply #66 on: April 15, 2018, 12:03:58 PM »


1- montessori from the start: the child at home, from birth to age three- paula polk lillard and lynn lillard jessen
2- tao te ching- lao tzu
3- smile, you're traveling- henry rollins
4- solomon gursky was here- mordecai richler
5- music for chameleons- truman capote
6- storming heaven- denise giardina
7- the industrial revolutionaries; the making of the modern world, 1776-1914- gavin weightman
8- burning daylight- jack london
9- a life full of holes- driss ben hamed charhadi
10- for bread alone- mohamed choukri
11- one of ours- willa cather

12- antic hay- aldous huxley- high brow humor in debauched post war london.  a dictionary would have been useful.  open ended.  at one point, he leaves one man's impending suicide.   it begins and ends with the invention of pneumatic trousers.  while the novel was about the trousers, they never got a story of their own     
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luisterpaul

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Re: 50 books in 2018
« Reply #67 on: April 17, 2018, 09:08:25 AM »

1. Playing In The Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination - Toni Morrison
2. Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World - Tim Whitmarsh
3. Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories - Chuck Palahniuk
4. The Man Who Fell In Love With The Moon - Tom Spanbauer
5. Snuff - Chuck Palahniuk
6. Collected Stories - Amy Hempel
7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
8. The Three-Body Problem - Cixin Liu
9. Uprooted - Naomi Novik
10. Drown - Junot Diaz
11. Tracer - Frederick Barthelme
12. The Dark Forest - Cixin Liu
13. Subtraction - Mary Robison
14. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love - Raymond Carver
15. There Must Be Some Mistake - Frederick Barthelme

I had read Tracer not long ago, and wasn't impressed, but I wanted to give him another shot. So glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Wry humor, poignant moments, wonderfully written.
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