Sign in to follow this  
misswonderly3

Somewhat Off-Topic: What have you been reading lately?

507 posts in this topic

to like or admire DICKENS usually means you embrace some of his shortcomings because the overall talent is undeniable.

he has a compelling style- a lot of barbed humor and innuendo concealed therein- and he nails people. and in the best instances- ie DAVID COPPERFIELD or OLIVER TWIST or A TALE OF TWO CITIES, he manages to pull off a story that feels complete and not overlong or underdone.

and in those other cases like BLEAK HOUSE or LITTLE DORRIT or OUR MUTUAL FRIEND where he maybe goes on for three hundred pages too long or ends a long story in a way that may seem heavy handed or underwhelming- the journey he takes you on and the voice he speaks as ones guide through the world of his novel is one that i find very compelling, even soothing at times.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Gershwin fan said:

Let me guess. You dislike him because of the Perdicaris Affair? lol. Roosevelt was right that Dickens can really be a bit of a bore. Dickens could have really benefited from a better editor. 

In non-literature matters, I dislike him because he was a loud mouth, clueless imperialist. I don't

know his tastes in fiction, but I would guess Dickens was not enough of a he-man writer for TR.

Dickens, like most great writers, had his flaws, but Roosevelt's criticism sounds more like that of

an ignorant spoiled child that that of a serious critic. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, laffite said:

And i as well. With the advent of CD audio books I sometimes get antsy that there are enough discs for the length of the book and go through any trouble necessary (including bothering librarians who don't know either) to nail it down.. The notion that if there is no indication, then it must be unabridged, does not always satisfy. That's a good rule of thumb but sometimes I'm not convinced. Now that I have access to the Library of Congress (due to some vision impairment) and am sensitive to time (number of hours) rather number of discs, I am immediately en garde when there are more than one item per book (or oeuvre) and ensure discrepancies in time duration are ironed out before choosing. In other words, only unabridged will do.

One would think that unabridged would be straightforward, but I imagine that that is not always

the case. I saw the 1931 version of An American Tragedy on TCM a few nights ago. The bare bones

of the novel are there, but that's about it. The details of what made the book what it is are pretty

much missing, though given the time constraints of the movie that's understandable to a degree. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Vautrin said:

One would think that unabridged would be straightforward, but I imagine that that is not always

the case. I saw the 1931 version of An American Tragedy on TCM a few nights ago. The bare bones

of the novel are there, but that's about it. The details of what made the book what it is are pretty

much missing, though given the time constraints of the movie that's understandable to a degree. 

Agree entirely, and I would say to a considerable degree, especially for 1931 when they were just learning to make movies that talk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/31/2019 at 4:05 PM, laffite said:

Agree entirely, and I would say to a considerable degree, especially for 1931 when they were just learning to make movies that talk.

A Place in the Sun also left out large chunks of the novel but I prefer it to the 1931 version.

It has a certain energy that the earlier version lacks for me. More assured direction and of

course Monty Clift and Liz Taylor instead of Philip Holmes and Frances Dee. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am reading some of Nietzsche's work on Einsamkeit/ solitude and quite liking it. Very relatable to in our modern era of disgusting mass culture and collective thinking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I SURVIVED HENRY JAMES

This is a great idea for a T-shirt. It will make millions. Maybe.

I had a lot of trouble with about the first third of Portrait of a Lady and then settled in and thought, "Hey, this ain't so bad" but by the time it was done I was ready to throw the book against the wall. About 3/4 through the book one of the characters actually does something. In real time, that is. Isabel is walking toward the drawing room and she suddenly stops because in the room is her husband and Madame Merle caught in a certain tableau. It isn't nearly what one might think. He is sitting and she is standing which is odd in itself (for the times) but Isabel is struck by a certain mood, not of course because they are having an ongoing affair or anything so modern as that, but because they look as if they are plotting. The point is that Isabel was at least moving as she entered the room. No one moves much in Henry James. The characters are either analyzed to death by our omniscient narrator (even though he keeps addressing us as "dear reader" or other chummy ways) or placed in a common lieu with others and getting engaged in marathon conversations. Conversations chez James seem to be little (sometimes not so little) set pieces, rife with highly refined and ornamental language that are milked to the absolute hilt. It soon become less a realistic conversation that you might find the real world and more just a prolong affectation and/or fanciful exercise from an author who likes to "hear" himself write. And it gets depressing to continually have a character go, "Ah ... " "Why, Isabel, did you marry that salau d?  "Ah, I'm sorry, I can't answer that , I don't speak French."

So after our book group discussion, one James enthusiast scheduled a Literary Circle Meetup on the subject of Henry James. I was so fair-minded that I signed up for it and even resolved to eddicate myself by doing a little of unassigned reading. I tried Daisy Miller and threw the book against the wall after a few chapters. Then I tried Washington Square. This I got through but just barely. First, it is another story about a man who marries or wants to marry a rich woman. That was definitely a minus but I was egged on by the fact that I have seen both movies and I wanted to see the original. I say this for Henry, he is a lot easier on poor Catharine that the movies are. The movie Washington Square (1990s) has poor Catharine publicly **** (pee ing) at a birthday party because she is anxiety-ridden for having a father who so overtly despises her. In The Heiress (1948), there is the early scene where Catharine dons a beautiful new dress to show to her father, who says it looks nice but no where close to looking as it would if his now-deceased wife had worn it. This scene is in the book too, but the father makes no comparison like that. In fact, there is hardly a mention of this dastardly comparison between ex-wife and daughter. But it still clear that Sloper does not like her much. I tend to see him as a sympathetic character in some was (given the times) but in the book, as he is dying, he tries to make Catharine promise not to marry Morris Townsend after his death, which is just plain beastly. Oh, and Catharine does not get stood up in the book, that scene never happened. Morris Townsend just fades away. Catharine turns him away when he tries to come back to her years later, but she doesn't go all-out mad crazy as she does in the movie. And she doesn't even say, in defense of the new meanie Catharine, "I have been trained by masters." She never gets that mad in the book. And embroidery is only mentioned once or twice. Although Mr Sloper was nicer to Catharine than in the movies, and the book not being nearly as agonizing as  Portriat, and because the book avoided being thrown against the wall, it was still painful and I have decided to cancel the Literary Circle on Henry James.

I know you're dying of curiosity, so let me explain the Literary Circle. The Circle represents a round table that seats about 12 people comfortable that is located in an up=scale pizza parlor in an up=scale part of town (I have to travel a long way to get there) that is used during a happy-hour where by the group has a glass of wine or a mug of beer or a Diet Coke (me) and has small-portioned happy hour food dishes of which my favorite is the ____ meatballs. (There is fancy word there I can't even remember right now, that shows you how high-classed I ). Calling it the Circle is a take off on the Alonquin Circle which will forever get more fame that we ever will. It's much less structured and much more social and discussions about a literary subject or perhaps a small-scale work, like a short story.

I wonder what it might have been like to be Gabriel Garcia Marquez after having written a book full of nonsense and have it hailed as a masterpiece of the ages. That's facetious but I can't say I'm thrilled with it. I suspect it might be somewhat of a put on (in a way) but I might be just saying that because I can't really nail it down, at least not on the fly. But I'm trying, The book has not been thrown against a wall ... yet.

And you're all dying to know the upcoming books for discussion ... next The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo, and another is A Visit to the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan (a PP winner).

ps one of the word censored above was s a l a u d, I didn't know the autosenselessor spoke French.

Thanks for reading ... if you're still there ...

hello?

hello?

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, laffite said:

I know you're dying of curiosity, so let me explain the Literary Circle. The Circle represents a round table that seats about 12 people comfortable that is located in an up=scale pizza parlor in an up=scale part of town (I have to travel a long way to get there) that is used during a happy-hour where by the group has a glass of wine or a mug of beer or a Diet Coke (me) and has small-portioned happy hour food dishes of which my favorite is the ____ meatballs. (There is fancy word there I can't even remember right now, that shows you how high-classed I ). Calling it the Circle is a take off on the Alonquin Circle which will forever get more fame that we ever will. It's much less structured and much more social and discussions about a literary subject or perhaps a small-scale work, like a short story.

I wonder what it might have been like to be Gabriel Garcia Marquez after having written a book full of nonsense and have it hailed as a masterpiece of the ages. That's facetious but I can't say I'm thrilled with it. I suspect it might be somewhat of a put on (in a way) but I might be just saying that because I can't really nail it down, at least not on the fly. But I'm trying, The book has not been thrown against a wall ... yet.

And you're all dying upcoming books for discussion ... next The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo, and another is A Visit to the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan (a PP winner).

ps one of the word censored above was s a l a u d, I didn't know the autosenselessor spoke French.

Thanks for reading ... if you're still there ...

hello?

hello?

 

I've never even heard of Egan before but a quick view of her novel's article on the wiki makes me think you will be begging for the days of Henry James. :lol: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gershwin fan said:

I've never even heard of Egan before but a quick view of her novel's article on the wiki makes me think you will be begging for the days of Henry James. :lol: 

This book discussion isn't due until October but by chance just picked it up from the library today. After reading your warning I picked it up and read the first chapter. I liked it but it's no guarantee. A prior blurb on this book said that it was made up of short-story like chapters that seem independent but taken together mean something even more. It;s very contemporary and maybe even a little hip. The writing is sharp and impressive. You never know, but I don't think the Egan book will make me long for the days of Henry James. I'm encouraged. I am a little worried about this Hugo thing though. I'm glad we're not doing Les Miseables at any rate. I've enough of that story for one lifetime, considering all the movies that have been made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Master--confounding readers, hanging fire, and scuffing walls since 1875. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished Lorna Luft's ME & MY SHADOWS, her memoirs of her life as Judy Garland's daughter. I didn't like it very much, it wasn't very well written, just OK. Her Mom died when she was around 12 y/o, obviously devastating to anyone. She brings up how awful it is when strangers say, "I loved your Mother too, her death was a great loss for the world" which is how we feel, but so inappropriate to SAY to her daughter. 

Lorna has very loving memories of her Mom, Dad, sister & brother often punctuated my her Mom's irrational behavior. Lorna is talented in her own right (I often see her name as vocalist in liner notes) and it was crushing to hear her first shows she was billed as "Judy Garland's daughter & Liza Minelli's sister:" Oy, Lorna's a tough cookie.

Very sad to hear of Judy's irrational behavior in her later years due to drugs. We all know it happened, but it's especially tragic when it happened to someone as talented as Judy and all those in her life.

I'm re-reading the Gerald Clarke book about Judy, GET HAPPY to see if her later years corroborate with Lorna's first hand experience.

I started reading second hand book David Skal's THE MONSTER SHOW and within a few chapters realized I had read it before from the library. Wish I had known that when I had met Skal at a horror festival!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well since last posting....

Recently read The Fabulous Clip Joint and The Dead Ringer, by Fredric Brown featuring the nephew/uncle team of Ed and Am Hunter. Then I read The Gulf Coast Girl aka Scorpion Reef by Charles Williams, followed by his completely different toned The Girl In The Diamond Bikini a sort of Beverly Hillbillies's outsmart everyone type tale. Currently reading Jim Thompson's The Grifters, which I had avoided seeing as how I'd seen the film first. So far the only omission from the film has been the Carol character.

Next up is Nothing in Her Way by Charles Williams.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm reading Lorne Greene's bio written by his daughter. It's pretty good, although I wish it were bigger. He was a hellova guy, a very nice man. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Books which I should read soon:

Basics of Lateral Dissection. I am told that it is side-splitting.

How to Be the Smartest Person in the Room. This is the new: For Dummies publication.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last week in London, I had a main course which included "Arnold Bennett sauce." Now I think I'll finish Anna of the Five Towns, which I started reading 30 years ago.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SANS:

They both sound interesting to me too.  But for the moment----

I'm going through again one of my favorites;  "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten." by ROBERT FULGHUM .  It contains what I gladly placed among my favorite quotes---

"Liberation finally amounts to being free from things we don't like in order to be enslaved by things we approve of." ;) 

Sepiatone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm reading Finding Zsa Zsa. A new book about the Gabors by Sam Staggs. Fun book that's hard to put down and well researched. Cuts through all the mythmaking and stories they weaved over the years. Also, Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen, about Audrey Hepburn's childhood in Holland during the German occupation.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finished recently:

 

The Winter Fortress

Code Girls

Transcription

 

A mix of fiction and non-fiction, though this batch is heavily WWII-related.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/1/2019 at 4:44 PM, Vautrin said:

A Place in the Sun also left out large chunks of the novel but I prefer it to the 1931 version.

It has a certain energy that the earlier version lacks for me. More assured direction and of

course Monty Clift and Liz Taylor instead of Philip Holmes and Frances Dee. 

I remember reading A Place In the Sun in my late teens, then later seeing the movie. The movie script pretty much removed any backstory about the Clift character, which I thought hurt it a lot.  All of his early life was purged and so we had little idea about why he was so intent upon "rising above it." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, overeasy said:

I remember reading A Place In the Sun in my late teens, then later seeing the movie. The movie script pretty much removed any backstory about the Clift character, which I thought hurt it a lot.  All of his early life was purged and so we had little idea about why he was so intent upon "rising above it." 

Yes there was very little about his family and employment background which certainly

explains quite a bit about his ambitions and his actions and was a significant part of the

novel. Other, later sections were also edited down. In a way I can understand that because

An American Tragedy is a very long book. The edition I read was 800 +/- pages. I no

longer look on a lot of films adapted from novels as really adaptations but as two separate

works of art. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Hibi said:

I'm reading Finding Zsa Zsa. A new book about the Gabors by Sam Staggs. Fun book that's hard to put down and well researched. Cuts through all the mythmaking and stories they weaved over the years. Also, Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen, about Audrey Hepburn's childhood in Holland during the German occupation.

I didn't know that there was a book about the Gabors.  I bet that would be a very interesting story. I'll have to look for it. I've been wanting to read the Audrey Hepburn book you mentioned. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, there've been several Gabor books over the years, but this is the best of the lot! Very entertaining and I learned some stuff I hadn't known. The Hepburn book is very good too.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Yeah, there've been several Gabor books over the years, but this is the best of the lot! Very entertaining and I learned some stuff I hadn't known. The Hepburn book is very good too.

I got the Audrey and Bill book about Audrey Hepburn and William Holden's relationship during Sabrina, but I haven't read it yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, that was ok. Nothing in it I didnt know already. I remember in his later years when interviewed he said she was the love of his life.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us