what are you reading right now?

Health insurance rip off lying FDA big bankers buying
Fake computer crashes dining
Cloning while they're multiplying
Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson
Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson
You're all fakes
Run to your mansions
Come around
We'll kick your ass in

Postby Seamus » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:23 pm

I bought The Peregrine not so long ago, and I'm excited to read it. I'm reading A Little Life right now though. Last week I read A Balcony in the Forest, which was very good, but not *quite* as good as I'd hoped.
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Postby water, sunbeams » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:15 am

reading,

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up next,

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Postby a long gush from your hole » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:38 am

just started

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and it's already making me feel like a monster, as it should
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Postby Skerple » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:46 am

cooly will you expand on how pinkard is confused? sounds interesting and kinda funny
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Postby vivian darko » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:17 am

What little snippets of Pinker I've read have been pretty disingenuous/deliberately misrepresentative of theory in a way that does not make me want to read more Pinker.

Forgetting Elena by Edmund White was amazing, perfect for the first book of 2018. Completely different from, but slightly reminiscent of, Invention of Morel. Reads like a completely new kind of fiction made from the repurposed tools of older, more conservative models. Much better than, say...

Insel by Mina Loy, which I'd lump together with By Grand Central Station I Sat Down & Wept as disappointingly stilted/clumsy prose poetry. Better than the Smart by a sight, but Loy never really convinced me that she knew what she was doing.

I'm in the middle of a couple things right now, one of which is (for class) this YA sci-fi novella called Binti which is so badly written that I can only do a few pages at a time.
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Postby incoherent grunting » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:55 am

I just read Universal Harvester by John Darnielle - I didn't have too high expectations going in so I wan't disappointed, but I didn't love it. I wish it had been a different story with the same premise?
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Now I'm reading The Art of Freedom by Bernadette McDonald a biography about Voytek Kurtyka whom I know nothing about
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Postby walt whitman » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:00 am

vivian darko wrote:I'm in the middle of a couple things right now, one of which is (for class) this YA sci-fi novella called Binti which is so badly written that I can only do a few pages at a time.

haha. yeah. Binti has been hailed as a masterpiece picking up Scifi awards but oof, the first couple pages are just uninspired. i don't know. maybe it blows the mind later, or maybe i made the mistake of trying to read both Binti and Wells' The Time Machine at the same time
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Postby walt whitman » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:12 am

someone asked for my input on More Than Human...

well. it started really rough and flavorless,i thought sturgeon was a terrible hack who couldn't write a clear action sequence at all. i only kept reading because i was trapped on a plane. but then 70 or so pages in i saw that the brilliance lies in how it how it reveals/conceals character connections with one another, through the awkward, networked structure of the narrative. it gives you tiny fragments, like paragraph-long bits of a person doing a thing, and then hard cut onto someone else,and on and on. and you have to connect all these dots, because *spoiler* the story is about a kind of composite entity, many characters who are existing and living as one....it reads more like dickens than fan-pandering sci fi.

but yeah i can understand someone hating it if only bc, unlike most fiction, the pleasures are not embedded in dazzling prose or cool set-piece scenes, and you have to do a lot of work following the actors, parsing the fragmentary narrative chunks, connecting the invisible edges to diff character-nodes into this bigger thing...
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Postby walt whitman » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:25 am

recently visited a FABULOUS indie bookstore in Salty Utah, got a big haul o books, and am now reading

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could not not buy this

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the closest to a drug induced experience one can get from reading eco-philosophical-anthropology probably. i read bits of this years ago, now its time to dive back in

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this is REALLY good gloss on new trends in literary theory without giving up the guilty pleasures of formalism, and we all need more of that

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god, koch is so deviously entertaining, a mythologizer- chronicler of warhol and his tragicomic film career. must-read.
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Postby cooly » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:36 am

Skerple wrote:cooly will you expand on how pinkard is confused? sounds interesting and kinda funny


vivian darko wrote:What little snippets of Pinker I've read have been pretty disingenuous/deliberately misrepresentative of theory in a way that does not make me want to read more Pinker.


it's been a little while but i remember when i was reading him often feeling like he wasn't taking seriously the consequences of what he was saying in terms of his broader view. the worst example i recall was his treatment of the later wittgenstein, when he starts going into family resemblance terms, and i don't think he sees how radically the wittgensteinian position cuts against the brand of nativism about language that he defends. this goes with what vivian was saying, i think. he'll borrow slices of theories that fit with what he's saying and kind of warp the view to fit what he wants at the moment without paying too much attention of the consequences of those slices and how they would interact with his view as a whole.

a lot of his work sort of rubs me the wrong way in general because he's typically very much on the nature side of nature vs nurture debates, which led to a public embarrassment when he defended the former president of harvard for hypothesizing that there were more male than female engineers because there were more that were genetically disposed to the capacity for that kind of work. in a way that's just an anecdote, but his basic methodology is to use evolutionary psychology to explain some cultural artifact, and i generally feel like those projects are misguided, and in a way it's representative to me.
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Postby warmhouse » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:23 am

foxriver wrote:1Q84


My first Murakami, years ago. Hated it at the time, but I feel like if I were to read it again I'd find it more palatable. Even within the framing of my dislike I loved his writing style.
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Postby warmhouse » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:27 am

incoherent grunting wrote:I just read Universal Harvester by John Darnielle - I didn't have too high expectations going in so I wan't disappointed, but I didn't love it. I wish it had been a different story with the same premise?
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I have a major thing for stories that are like "found footage" novels... the whole mysterious video angle is what made me read this, but it was a bit of a disappointment in the end. I had more fun with NIGHT FILM, which is completely ridiculous, but leans into the spooky Blair Witch vibe a little more.
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Postby incoherent grunting » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:32 am

Cool, I'll check it out
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Postby Slamwich Artist » Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:42 am

enjoying this a lot, something i should have read a long time ago. very clear and well-argued, and a lot of insights that still haven't become as generally accepted as they should be
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Postby Casimir » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:39 am

Just about finished with:

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Really enjoyed it, especially the historical chapters on the foundation and development of Mormonism. I wasn't at all familiar with this time in history but I liked the context of Smith founding the faith in the midst of the second great awakening where he was just (by far) the most successful of many people who were creating their own faiths and finding receptive ears. Does anyone have any recommendations on books that focus on this, specifically the explosion of prophets and conmen?
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Postby reversemigraine » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:26 am

Hatch's The Democratization of American Christianity is probably the go-to single volume history of the Second Great Awakening, but unless you're interested in Baptists and Methodists and Restorationism, it's not very juicy. Smith was unique -- most SGA figures weren't hawking brand new gospels.
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Postby hey nathan » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:12 pm

Does anyone have any recommendations on books that focus on this, specifically the explosion of prophets and conmen?


The Evangelicals by Frances Fitzgerald isnt only that but I think we loved that Krakauer the same way and this book gave me lots of similar vibes (also his Where Men Win Glory does similar things with Afghanistan)
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Postby jenmichaeljarre » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:23 pm

just started Ellroy's Underworld USA trilogy, i've been reading it once every two years since 2011, still haven't found anything better in this genre
edit : but i'll gladly take reccs
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Postby adam sampler » Sun Jan 14, 2018 1:23 pm

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I think it's good
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Postby warmhouse » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:59 pm

here's a weird one that i probably won't explain very well --

does anyone have any recs for books that talk about how people work in this sort of detail? I suppose diaries or memoirs could work.

I find a lot of comfort, and I guess inspiration, when reading about smart, capable people doing their thing. I've read a lot of "How I Write" books but some of those end up being dull, or clearly bullshit, or both. This Obama profile really somehow hits the spot.
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Postby Christmas Ape » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:58 pm

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Set to finally read Matthew Desmond's Evicted next!
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Postby conductor » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:01 pm

Finished Lincoln in the Bardo today... I love George Saunders with all my heart.
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Postby HotFingersClub » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:35 am

I started listening to a podcast you guys might like called Backlisted. Maybe I even found out about it through this thread? Apologies if I'm biting anyone's style.

It's two quite rah-rah publishing types talking about lesser-known classics from history. Recent episodes have included A Rebours, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Cold Hand in Mine and The Vet's Daughter. The passion is real and the biographical details they supply are extremely fascinating. I've now started listening to episodes about books I haven't even read. I think most people in this thread would find something to enjoy.
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Postby Melville » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:12 am

HotFingersClub wrote:The Vet's Daughter

I love this book. Barbara Comyns deserves more love in general. Her writing is just delightfully mad, simple but completely idiosyncratic, like Emily Dickensen started writing darkly humorous stories of abuse and bizarre childhoods. Sisters by a River is one of my favorite things.
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Postby Kenny » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:12 pm

Are there any good introduction to Hinduism, both/either understanding it as a religion/culture and a history
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Postby warmhouse » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:20 pm

HotFingersClub wrote:I started listening to a podcast you guys might like called Backlisted. Maybe I even found out about it through this thread? Apologies if I'm biting anyone's style.


Do you have to have read the books? Or are they recommendations and not discussions...
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Postby Kenny » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:00 pm

Started reading Catcher in the Rye for the first time in years. It's really hitting me in a new way as an adult
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Postby iacus » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

warmhouse wrote:here's a weird one that i probably won't explain very well --

does anyone have any recs for books that talk about how people work in this sort of detail? I suppose diaries or memoirs could work.

I find a lot of comfort, and I guess inspiration, when reading about smart, capable people doing their thing. I've read a lot of "How I Write" books but some of those end up being dull, or clearly bullshit, or both. This Obama profile really somehow hits the spot.


probably not what you're looking for exactly, but Working by Studs Terkel is a remarkable book.
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Postby warmhouse » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:50 pm

iacus wrote:
warmhouse wrote:here's a weird one that i probably won't explain very well --

does anyone have any recs for books that talk about how people work in this sort of detail? I suppose diaries or memoirs could work.

I find a lot of comfort, and I guess inspiration, when reading about smart, capable people doing their thing. I've read a lot of "How I Write" books but some of those end up being dull, or clearly bullshit, or both. This Obama profile really somehow hits the spot.


probably not what you're looking for exactly, but Working by Studs Terkel is a remarkable book.


That actually looks really interesting, thanks!
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Postby HotFingersClub » Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:34 am

warmhouse wrote:
HotFingersClub wrote:I started listening to a podcast you guys might like called Backlisted. Maybe I even found out about it through this thread? Apologies if I'm biting anyone's style.


Do you have to have read the books? Or are they recommendations and not discussions...


Not necessary to have read the books, but maybe start off with an episode where you have? It leans more towards recommendations. They tend to talk a bit about why the book works, and they read some good passages and supply a lot of really interesting historical context, but spoilers are avoided
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