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Here it is... the book thread!

Started by scatcat, November 30, 2007, 03:55:17

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SueC

If anyone here is interested in a good "whodunnit" - say if you've been reading / watching Wire In The Blood and that's your thing - and / or you're interested in the psychology of what makes people tick, then I highly recommend JP Delaney's The Girl Before.  It looks at psychological dysfunction in individuals, but also on an organisational level and a cultural level - constantly getting you to consider what you think is healthy and not, and how far is too far, and what is really going on in a relationship.  The main story is about a woman called Jane who moves into a unique architect-designed home that is affordable to rent, but also requires you to stick to pages and pages of special rules about how to live in this house, and to be a guinea pig under the microscope.  Jane falls for the architect, and finds out the woman who lived in the house before also had a relationship with the architect, and looked eerily similar both to herself and the architect's deceased wife.  The previous tenant died in the house after falling off the staircase, and the coroner recorded an open verdict.  Murder? Accident? Suicide?  Jane is determined to find out.

Really good books ask more questions of the reader than they answer, and this is definitely one of them.

Reviews here:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-girl-before-j-p-delaney/1123670928#/
SueC is time travelling

SueC

Just finished Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and I'd have to say it's my favourite out of all the novels I read so far this year - so superbly written in every respect, plus showing so well how adverse childhood experiences affect people, while making you laugh at every turn, and cry a good few times as well.  Fabulous left-field heroine who holds up a magnifying glass to the absurdity of much of what we perceive as "normal" as well!  Highly recommended.
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MeltingMan

The book about Péladan was actually the start for a new collection. I found this
interesting video about the publisher. It's in French language and from 2006, but I
think it doesn't matter. A nice weekend...😉

Virtuellement, la pensée pure est absente de l'univers.

Amphithéâtre des sciences mortes V. p. 130

Ulrich

Oh my, I've been trying to re-read "Der Steppenwolf" by Hermann Hesse, which I was forced to read back in school (1987 I believe) - didn't like it much back then (one of the reasons was the teacher, who was "difficult" at best).
I'm getting on slowly, I can see what fascinates people about it, but I still can't sympathise with the main person very much, which makes it difficult. (Also, the use of alcohol, tobacco and such plus "free love" makes one wonder why they put this on school tables...?)
Still, at times you'd think he describes our "modern" world, which is no small feat for a book written in the 1920's!

In parallel, I'm re-reading Hugo Race's "Road Series", which is a good one.
If only I'd thought of the right words...

SueC

Quote from: Ulrich on September 30, 2019, 11:35:42Oh my, I've been trying to re-read "Der Steppenwolf" by Hermann Hesse, which I was forced to read back in school (1987 I believe) - didn't like it much back then (one of the reasons was the teacher, who was "difficult" at best).
I'm getting on slowly, I can see what fascinates people about it, but I still can't sympathise with the main person very much, which makes it difficult. (Also, the use of alcohol, tobacco and such plus "free love" makes one wonder why they put this on school tables...?)

I'm not sure what the policy is in German education, but here in Australia there's all sorts of stuff like that in books on the high school literature lists of both secular and Catholic schools, especially for the senior years - social realism, etc.  The most disturbing thing we had to read when I was at school was John Fowles' The Collector - about a psychopath who kidnaps a girl off the street and keeps her in a dungeon, where she eventually dies.  The idea of reading stuff like that in a senior class is so that social issues like that will get confronted and discussed head-on, but in a supported and safe environment.

Macbeth is about plotting fell deeds, murder, mayhem etc - quite horrific when you think about it, but because it's Shakespeare, it often gets away with more violence than less famous and celebrated authors do.  On the other hand, it's not gratuitous violence with this playwright, because he's always trying to examine people's reasons for doing things, and where they might have started going wrong - which is instructive - and if you don't confront the dark aspects of your own personality and realise that it's not just monsters who do horrible things, you're more likely to do horrible things yourself.

I've never tried Der Steppenwolf - I wonder should I give it a shot?  I'm not that au fait with German authors but found Goethe quite tedious in comparison to Shakespeare, with the minor start on that author I got in Germany - I was really young - do you like Goethe?  I'm sure you had your head bashed with that quite a bit in your senior school education?

Ever tried reading Ulysses;)

SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: SueC on September 30, 2019, 15:48:22The idea of reading stuff like that in a senior class is so that social issues like that will get confronted and discussed head-on, but in a supported and safe environment.

Ok, that does make sense. However, I remember nothing about how/what we discussed back then... (maybe better, because that teacher was a bit of a madman, in fact we thought he was a bit of a "Steppenwolf" himself...)!

Quote from: SueC on September 30, 2019, 15:48:22I've never tried Der Steppenwolf - I wonder should I give it a shot?  I'm not that au fait with German authors but found Goethe quite tedious in comparison to Shakespeare, with the minor start on that author I got in Germany - I was really young - do you like Goethe?  I'm sure you had your head bashed with that quite a bit in your senior school education?

To be honest, I don't remember much about Goethe (or what we did in school about him)... I know a bit more about Schiller, maybe because there are towns here in the south which claim to be a "Schillerstadt".

Funnily enough, Goethe is mentioned in the "Steppenwolf", here is a quote from a summary in English (click the link if you wanna read the whole thing):
QuoteAt a professor's house, Harry gravely insults his former colleague about the way Goethe, the famous German poet, is represented in a portrait that hangs in his home...
https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/steppenwolf/summary/
If only I'd thought of the right words...

piggymirror

I have the Steppenwolf book on the shelves. Always have. Not opened yet.

Ulysses I have not read (but I seem to have some James Joyce as well? I'll have to check...).

Right now I am reading several things, on and off.

1793, by Victor Hugo

Viaje a la Alcarria, by Camilo Jose Cela

I never seem to be able to finish them!!!

Then I also have another book officially started...

The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri (tough read, original version... started but could not finish, so the next time I'll have to start again)

I've taken a liking to read original versions if possible.
As not only you have more fun when reading them, but you also learn more of those languages.

SueC

A few years ago, I learnt a useful new word:  Tsundoku

It's the term the Japanese give to a pile of books as yet unread and intended to be read. :)

At our house we have a tsundoku on each bedside table, as well as four tsundoku on the coffee table. :lol:

In 2019 I made lamentably little progress on my bedside tsundoku, only getting through three volumes.  :1f62d:  Still sitting there part finished are The Secret Garden, The Soul Of An Octopus, Silent Spring, The Shipping News and Small Farm Success, as well as back issues of independent magazines I write for.  I did, however, also read several books on an e-reader, as well as a plethora of forum and blog posts, and do a lot of writing.

Since this is a Cure forum, I might also mention that last week, my husband finished Albert Camus' The Outsider (/The Stranger) and transferred it from his bedside tsundoku to mine.  I realised, when I saw that the title in Australia is The Outsider, that I had actually read it before, under much duress, as a 14-year-old, as part of the middle school curriculum. I remember thinking, "This protagonist is such an android, why should I care what he thinks or does?"  I had enough androids at home to want to read about more of them.  I generally prefer protagonists that are in some way inspirational, rather than shitty examples, who are just depressing.  But a good friend of ours loves shitty protagonists, and relishes dire things like Gould's Book Of Fish:-D

When I told Brett what I thought of The Outsider as a 14-year-old, he said, "Yes, that's a fair summary!"  I am very interested to see if I will feel any differently nearly 35 years later, but yeah, I doubt it.

Haruki Murakami is usually good value, if someone hasn't tried him yet.  The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was excellent.   :smth023  I also really recommend Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of PilgrimageNorwegian Wood wasn't bad either, but I'm stuck halfway through After Dark at the moment.
SueC is time travelling

piggymirror

Quote from: SueC on January 12, 2020, 01:35:43A few years ago, I learnt a useful new word:  Tsundoku

Sounds like a mix of tsunami and sudoku.  :lol:


SueC

...and that fits very well, @piggyinthemirror:  Sometimes it feels like there's a tsunami of books you want to read - with lots of sudoku-like (and lots of other) brain stimulation awaiting!  ;)

Or maybe it's a bit of a (sudoku) puzzle how one should keep the ever-growing tsundoku from turning into skyscrapers, falling over and turning into a tsunami...
SueC is time travelling

Ulrich

Quote from: piggymirror on January 11, 2020, 23:50:40I have the Steppenwolf book on the shelves. Always have. Not opened yet.

Keep it there. It looks good on the shelf.  :cool
If only I'd thought of the right words...

piggymirror

Quote from: Ulrich on January 12, 2020, 09:58:06
Quote from: piggymirror on January 11, 2020, 23:50:40I have the Steppenwolf book on the shelves. Always have. Not opened yet.

Keep it there. It looks good on the shelf.  :cool

Now it's too late.  :winking_tongue

So... in one tome, came:

1) Demian, which I devoured, read it all in one day.  :smth023

2) Siddharta, which took me longer.
It's the second time that I've finished it, and at first I didn't understand it at all, I suppose, as I was a kid and I read it at primary school.
I retried not long ago, but I wasn't in the mood for much, to be honest. So I put it down by 3/4 of it.
Third time, started from the beginning again, and slowly but surely to the end. Pleasant read.
Certain things take time...

3) The Steppenwolf, which has taken me a bit longer, and it's not a very enjoyable read. I suppose Hesse made the stylistic choice to split the book in just three chapters that are very uneven in length, which made it a not very easy read. But by the end it went faster.
I've actually had a flashback with it, as I've remembered that I had already had it in my hands while at school, and I actually wanted to read it, but it was mere bad luck which kept me from being able to read it as a kid, because for some reason, other classmates were faster than me and it was always taken.
I've also remembered that it was not what I wanted to read in the first place. But I remember being intrigued back then by the signs of the masquerade ball.
What I actually wanted to read (and ended up reading) was Jack London's White Fang. Woof, woof, bark, bark.

SueC



This is the most grown-up looking certificate I could find.  You'll have to insert your own name into it!  :cool

Did you ever catch The Cat That Walked By Himself?  Kipling short story, but excellent in so many ways.  http://telelib.com/authors/K/KiplingRudyard/prose/JustSoStories/chap11_catwalk.html  Was the first proper story I ever read in the English language, for which I thank my lucky stars (or whatever) - it's one hell of an ambassador for the English language!   :heart-eyes   :cool   :)

It was in Richard Adams' Favourite Animal Stories, which I bought somewhere near Hastings when I was 11 and on a brief visit to England.  It also had a story by Jack London.

I'm currently reading mere crime fiction (one of Val McDermid's); and continuing a few other things I've started, like The Soul Of An Octopus.  I've removed 30 ancient back issues of our hippie magazine from my bedside tsundoku to encourage the finishing of half-read books.
SueC is time travelling

piggymirror

Ok, so now... a risky sport.
Through the tsundoku to the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri... again. Let's see if this time I can manage to finish it...
Nella lingua toscana di origine, btw.

Have you read it? In English, I mean?

Btw, I've just detected that Hesse did read the Comedy too (or bits of it), it shows in the Steppenwolf...

EDIT: can't find it...  :unamused: So the Divine Comedy will have to be postponed YET AGAIN.
In retaliation, I'll have a go at Alice In Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll... <off with his head!!!>

SueC

No, I've not.  So many good books, so little time!   :1f62d:

Do you speak Italian?
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