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Everything posted by Dan

  1. To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway tells the story of Harry Morgan, an erstwhile deep sea charter boat captain, who turns to smuggling various contraband when his fishing business dries up during the depression. It is told in 3 sections titled spring, fall and winter, each detailing events of Harry’s downward spiral. This was a mixed bag for me. The story itself was interesting, but Harry, a murderous bigot as well as a man trying to take care of his family, was not a sympathetic character. And it really bounces around in the third section, bringing in a lot of characters, many of which only get a page or two. But those brief sketches were well done(well, the men were; the women never seemed flesh and blood), even though I have no idea what part most of them played in the book. Overall I’m glad I read this. But if it had been my first Hemingway I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been my last.
  2. Dan

    Rest in Peace

    This makes me sad From what I’ve heard and read she was not only a brilliant writer, but a really good person too!
  3. Really glad I read this. It was a much more satisfying read than Motel Life. The story was compelling to the point where I gave up sleep to finish it. Charley was well drawn and very realistic. Lots of damaged people, but no one that was one dimensional or actually evil. 4stars
  4. This was indeed a fantastic novel, as good ,in its way, as Wasp Factory, which is my only previous experience with Banks. I was particularly impressed with the layers of meaning, from the title to the murders, from the various relationships Colley has to his various addictions. My only problem with it was that it was so well plotted and consuming that I couldn't always slow myself down enough to appreciate the glorious and clever prose, and the spreading ripples of simile, metaphor, and allusion😏😉 . 5 stars!
  5. I'll have to give this a shot, iff, since you said you liked it better than Motel Life, which showed promise but didn't deliver. Thanks for reminding me of this book!
  6. Sure thing. I'd be ready to start in a couple weeks.
  7. Doing all three would be a real project! 1065 pages all together! But it could be done, as long as we didn't put tight time constraints on it. Maybe @Binker would like to join in?
  8. That's cool! Found this handy edition in a thrift store a few years back. Sad to say it is still collecting dust upon a shelf😑
  9. Freelance Pallbearers by Ishmael Reed is a surreal satire on religion, politics, the American Dream, and anything else you might think of. It is told with the rhythm of improvisational scat jazz, and has an internal and infernal logic which has no counterpart in the so called real world. There is no particular plot, but there is a very loose framework ; SAM, dictator/fat cat and anti-messiah of HARRY SAM, has ensconced himself in the royal commode for 30 years. Only his minions and underlings have any contact with him. Bukka Doopeyduck is a wannabe acolyte of SAM's twisted religion, who constantly proselytizes for SAM. Eventually they meet. But even that summary probably detracts from this book. This is a glorious mishmash of a hilarious nightmare straight from the brilliant but disturbed subconscious of Ishmael Reed, and as such, really defies description. I found it best to just enjoy the ride and not get caught up in linear expectations. But if anybody else has, or does, read and understood this book, please tell me. Though my lack of understanding really didn't detract from my pleasure in immersing myself in Reed's world. It did help that it was only 154 pages long. 4 stars
  10. This was a good book, for what it was. There were some interesting parts about the development of Quantum physics, and some fun details about the people involved; Who knew Einstein was a horndog😂😏 But I wish it would've been more about ideas and less about personalities, especially since the author didn't delve deeply into those personalities. As non-fiction I wish this had been written by Sarah Bakewell instead of Sheilla Jones. But that is the reason why I don't read non-fiction very much. I really wanted someone who understood the people and the concepts so well that they could write dialogue between Einstein and Bohr, for example. I wanted interactions that felt true, even though they were imagined. I wanted depth that is simply not possible at this remove without moving away from dry 'facts' and into speculation and imagination. But I am glad I read it and I thank you for the recommendation, Binker!
  11. Keening klepto winds stealing heat from all they touch
  12. Glazings of glare ice gumming up traffic
  13. Apparently I missed some of the additional editions of this. Received a copy yesterday through interlibrary loan. Will be starting this today. Looking forward to to it!
  14. Wittgenstein's Nephew by Thomas Bernhard is a semi-autobiographical account of his friendship with Paul Wittgenstein, the son of Ludwig Wittgenstein's (the philosopher) first cousin. The book, written in one 100page paragraph, is a sustained rant, often funny, and always acerbic. It's targets are legion, though it's primary sacred cows are Viennese society and the medical profession. But he does give an interesting and well rounded assessment of Paul Wittgenstein, whose mental illness paralleled Bernhard's physical (primarily pulmonary) ailments, and he shows great honesty in his portrayal of both of them. There is nothing earth shattering here, but it is a thoughtful book, and to my lights an entertaining one. And a quick read to boot.
  15. Dark, dank days, downpour dumping deluges
  16. Very much enjoyed the experience of reading this book. I was captivated and intrigued all the way through each of the three novellas. And there isn't much to add to the excellent reviews upthread. I do wish there'd been more clues as to the true nature of the Stillman case, and as to why Fanshawe opted out of his life. Not because I expected the mysteries to be resolved, for early on it was clear to me that that wasn't the aim of the stories. But merely to give me some additional jumping off points for my own speculation. All in all a fascinating read! 5 stars!
  17. Thanks Luna. I'll be sure to post on Wittgenstein's Nephew
  18. Glad to hear you liked this, Luna. I'll definitely be looking to read it. What are the other books in the trilogy? Interesting to note the brevity of this work. Bernhard's first novel, Frost, my only previous experience with this writer, was at least a 1/3, maybe 50%, longer than it needed to be. And it told no discernible story. My next read will be Wittgenstein's nephew by this author. Thanks for the review!
  19. I thought it was particularly funny and especially symbolic when K visits Brugël and But this book seemed more concerned with human foibles and bureaucratic ridiculousness than it was with metaphysics, and thus was less interesting to me than The Trial. And it would've benefitted greatly from judicious and unstinting editing. But it was, if anything, more absurdist than the Trial, and made many valid points about the human condition. But I'd be lying if I said that I felt like I'd understood it.
  20. 1-I always have a book with me. I have them stashed in both cars and in my backpack. I'm more likely to leave home without food, water, or wallet, than without a book. 2- My only habitual reading time is before bed, which isn't always the best time to read. 3- I always know what I plan to read next, and about half the time that actually happens😉 4- I've tried audiobooks but I don't hear that well, and frequently miss words. Plus, it seems harder to focus when it's just another voice in my head 5-Joining BGO really broadened my reading horizons, but I don't often get the level of discussion I'd like, mostly because we aren't all reading it at the same time. A real life book group would cure that, but would demand time that could be better spent on actual reading. 6- I go back and forth on this. The only time I seem able to just walk away from a book is if I actually feel dread at the prospect of continuing to read it. But I would read a lot more books I really enjoyed if I was willing to give up more often. It's those occasionally rewarding books that weren't particularly pleasurable to read that confuse the issue. The original trilogy of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever, is the best recent example of that. Or, for very different reasons, Creation by Gore Vidal. 7- A lack of distractions is paramount, at least if the book is at all complicated. But random noisiness isn't nearly as troublesome as voices, whether they are actual people or TV or radio characters. In fact street sounds and other white noise can actually help me to concentrate on my reading. 8-Setting reading goals really upped my volume in 2016, but it did, as Clavain mentioned, start to feel like work. And it also interfered with other activities that I really enjoy. But lowering goal expectations would probably fix that. 9- No way in heck I'm putting a book down when it gets really good! But I will sometimes stop when I know I'm getting to a key section, if I'm not sure I'll have time to get through it. Or if my concentration is flagging. 10- For me, the topic doesn't matter as much as the writing. I would much rather read Stegner on Knitting, than Grisham on Fishing.
  21. The problem with that interpretation, Luna, is that it invalidates the purpose of the book. I can guarantee you, having read almost everything that Vonnegut has written, that the ideas promulgated by the Tralfamadorians via Billy Pilgrim are ideas that Vonnegut believes himself. You are certainly free to say that those ideas represent mental illness to you, but you can't say that that was Vonnegut 's purpose. Which was undoubtedly to say that the concepts of free will and the linearity of time are the insane products of delusion.
  22. The Second Coming Launch Audio in a New Window BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again; but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its Hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
  23. I am finding this to be far more frustrating to read than the Trial. I felt like I understood Joseph K's motivations, but I don't understand K's arrogance. It seems he'd have a better chance of success if he'd go with the flow and try to fit in. Seemingly everything he does, from hiding in Klamm's carriage, to breaking into the teachers woodshed, and especially his refusal to be 'examined' by the secretary, only lowers the chances that he'll be granted an audience. But this book is definitely funnier than the Trial. I'm about halfway through now.
  24. Love the Steinbeck, curious about the Golding. Just bought Golding's The Inheritors.
  25. Dan

    Rest in Peace

    Used to read her books while waiting for my mother to complete her chemotherapy sessions. They were well plotted and pacy, with liberal doses of humor. I'm sorry to hear she has passed away
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