what are you reading?

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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Zeph » Sat Aug 15, 13:10 2015

rowan wrote:
Zeph wrote:I should be finishing Go Set a Watchman today, by Harper Lee.

What'd you think?

I really enjoyed it! I think there was too much controversy surrounding this book. I always identified a lot with Jean Louise (Scout), because I also grew up with my dad and brother and felt uncomfortable with traditional "female" activities and roles. I identify with her even more now. On one hand, it does seem like a first draft and much of the events in the book are actually flashbacks to her childhood. I understand why the publisher wanted her to write a book surrounding the childhood of Jean Louise instead, To Kill a Mockingbird glorified her father as a progressive defender of Black rights. Go Set a Watchman is a much more realistic view of the way even the most sympathetic white people felt in the South pre Civil Rights. It doesn't make you feel warm and fuzzy, but it's not supposed to.

It focuses on Jean Louise's internal conflict with her hometown. While she has been living in New York City, she has felt sentimental towards her upbringing and her hometown. She misses romping outside with her brother and her father's gentle guidance. However, when she visits Macomb she has mixed emotions. People judge her regardless of how she dresses, her aunt criticizes people that she sees as "trash" because of their family history, and she has nothing in common with the people with whom she grew up. She finds herself in verbal arguments with almost everyone she encounters.

The racial components are what is sparking so much controversy. Atticus is in his seventies and is a member of a whites-only group that focuses on keeping an eye on the black population of the town. This is in the 1950's, leading up to the Civil Rights movement. While the town is majority Black, they were "respected" on a superficial level for years. White people hired them for labor and service, called them by their first name, and were cordial. When Jean Louise returns at the age of 26, she has noticed that racial relations are worse than they have ever been. People are paranoid about the black population seeking legal rights and refuse to hire or associate with them anymore. Atticus has joined this group because he believes it is part of his duty as a well-respected man in his community. While he had always taught Jean Louise to respect all people and never use the N word, he was born in the 19th century and still believes that segregation is the best solution for keeping the races living in harmony.

I think this book is a bit more mature and doesn't present you with a hero of the story. It's about small town life in the South, pride, fear, paranoia, and mass hysteria. Having grown up in a small town where my views were different than the norm, I totally get some of these feelings.

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Re: what are you reading?

Postby rowan » Mon Aug 17, 7:28 2015

I will check it out, then! The only controversy I'd heard was that it was being published maybe without Harper Lee's actual consent.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Zeph » Mon Aug 17, 9:22 2015

rowan wrote:I will check it out, then! The only controversy I'd heard was that it was being published maybe without Harper Lee's actual consent.

I wouldn't be surprised if it were published without her consent. I was wondering why it has taken so many decades to release.

I've heard a lot of people complain that this book "ruined" To Kill a Mockingbird because Atticus is a segregationist. Just because he prevented a mob from killing an innocent Black man doesn't mean he's entirely un-racist. It's not that simple. People need to consider the time period and setting. Also, Harper and even Atticus are popular names right now so I bet there are a couple disappointed parents.

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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Enigma » Mon Aug 17, 15:32 2015

Zeph wrote:
rowan wrote:I will check it out, then! The only controversy I'd heard was that it was being published maybe without Harper Lee's actual consent.

I wouldn't be surprised if it were published without her consent. I was wondering why it has taken so many decades to release.

I've heard a lot of people complain that this book "ruined" To Kill a Mockingbird because Atticus is a segregationist. Just because he prevented a mob from killing an innocent Black man doesn't mean he's entirely un-racist. It's not that simple. People need to consider the time period and setting. Also, Harper and even Atticus are popular names right now so I bet there are a couple disappointed parents.

I read one really interesting article which was saying we really need this right now for that exact reason because to kill a mockingbird was very easy white bread antiracism which actually supported state rights (segregation). And that what we need right now is to be challenged on our own more hidden racism. I'll see if I can find it, it was really good.

I actually know a mixed race 3yo named atticus. Won't be recommending this to his parents. :P
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Meperidine » Mon Aug 17, 16:17 2015

I am now reading The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Sonic# » Mon Aug 17, 16:35 2015

^ I loved that book the last time I read it.

I'm reading the graphic novel Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships by Eric Shanower. It's a retelling of the Trojan War in a somewhat realist mode. It keeps the more intriguing parts of the myths, like Achilles crossdressing to avoid going to war, and the art is great.

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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Enigma » Mon Aug 24, 20:16 2015

I just read You're Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day and it was really good. I honestly only bought it to meet her at a book signing but it was a lot of fun.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Nachos » Thu Aug 27, 10:43 2015

Rainbow Dolphins wrote:I just finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it wasn't bad. Reading the sequel and it is super not as good.


I found that too, but still wanted to get to the end! It all ties in somehow :)
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Nachos » Thu Aug 27, 10:44 2015

Just started The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden. Let's see what happens.....
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby octarineoboe » Thu Aug 27, 17:04 2015

I just finished Decomposition: A Music Manifesto by Andrew Durkin. It offered a really interesting take on the concept of creativity - that it is always collaborative and that our notion of the genius author obscures that fact and ultimately inhibits musical creativity. I really liked it, except the almost-offhand remark about swing music and dancing which utterly ignored the collaboration inherent in swing dancing, which really pissed me off. In arguing that musical experience is subjective (it is!), he dismissed a dancer's concern about people being "lost" to another style; why can't we all like what we like? Durkin basically asked. And the answer is simple: swing dancing is partnered, not to mention the interaction between dancers and DJs, bands, event organizers, etc. If other people don't like what I like, it directly decreases my chance to dance to the music I like!

Okay I'm overreacting because this was like one page, but it seemed like a major oversight in a book about collaboration.

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Re: what are you reading?

Postby rowan » Sat Sep 5, 12:03 2015

I just read the last Discworld book.

I cried.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby octarineoboe » Sat Sep 5, 13:40 2015

^ Ahh I can't decide if I absolutely have to read it or if I really, really shouldn't. But I'm sure I will eventually, and I already feel like crying just thinking about it.

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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Nachos » Sun Sep 6, 16:59 2015

Started rereading Trudi Canavan, the Magician.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Nerd1987 » Thu Sep 10, 23:13 2015

The only interesting thing I'm reading is "Darth Plagius" (Emporer Palpatine's dark-jedi mentor from star wars). I just bought it like an hour ago.

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Re: what are you reading?

Postby rowan » Fri Sep 11, 9:21 2015

I just bought Neil Gaiman's humble bundle so.... now I can read all those. :D

Oh I read... um... oh yeah I read the Hawley Book of the Dead by Chrysler Szarlan over my vacation, I really liked it. I think there will be more, maybe even there are more already.

I also started to read Un Lun Dun by China Miéville over my vacation but it was a library book (from where I was) and I didn't quite finish it before leaving. It's like, middle grade, I think. It was only ok. I may finish it though, if my library has it.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Nachos » Fri Sep 11, 14:43 2015

rowan wrote:I just bought Neil Gaiman's humble bundle so.... now I can read all those. :D



Jealous! Might need to dip into my savings a little more this month to get that :)
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Enigma » Fri Sep 11, 18:43 2015

I'm just finishing up Raising Cain by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson because I kept hearing it was the definitive book on boys. Its quite good and well done although there were certainly points where he implied some things only happened to boys which are human experiences. Anyways I have about 30 pages left and would give it 4/5.

I just took a new biography on Stephen Harper (our semi-evil prime minister) which is supposed to be well written and balanced. So I'm excited to read that. I also took out Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein which looks good.

Libraries are the best.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Meperidine » Sat Sep 12, 0:03 2015

Okay, I just finished One Hundred Years of Solitude last night. There was a lot of upsetting stuff in that book that no one ever mentions when they talk about its beauty and stuff. It does have beauty, and I really like how it's constructed, but jeez...(spoiler tags for aforementioned upsetting stuff and also for spoilers).
There is a lot of child rape in this book. That's mostly what I was uncomfortable with. Even when adults have sex, consent is usually ambiguous and even when it isn't, wow, these are the most unappealing and even horrifying depictions of heterosexual sex I think I have ever read. It...it must be intentional, right? There's no way this super master author man was not aware that it evokes horrible things to describe penetrative sex as basically rearranging a woman's internal organs with your dick, so I'm having trouble figuring out why I had to read all those extremely anti-sexy sex scenes.
Also, he pulls out some gory and upsetting stuff right toward the end, so I had trouble falling asleep after staying up well past bedtime to finish the book..

Part of me feels like I should read it again because I probably missed a lot, but most of me does not want to deal with that again for awhile.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison is next on my queue.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Enigma » Sat Sep 12, 9:17 2015

Meperidine wrote:Okay, I just finished One Hundred Years of Solitude last night. There was a lot of upsetting stuff in that book that no one ever mentions when they talk about its beauty and stuff. It does have beauty, and I really like how it's constructed, but jeez...

Really! Interesting. I read this about a decade ago and loved it but remember basically nothing about it. I should reread it before I continue recommending it to people. I do remember that the translation I read was kind of awkward and had almost no punctuation. Maybe some of it is bad translation? Ok I'm putting this on my read list for revaluation.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Meperidine » Sat Sep 12, 9:48 2015

Enigma wrote:I do remember that the translation I read was kind of awkward and had almost no punctuation. Maybe some of it is bad translation? Ok I'm putting this on my read list for revaluation.


Do you remember what translation? I read this edition, which is the one I'd usually seen around before.
Image

I didn't notice glaring punctuation issues, and I usually notice because after doing proofreading work I can't turn it off, heh. I don't think the issues I had with it were related to the translation, but I'm sure the original is gorgeous and I wish I'd known enough Spanish to attempt it.

But yeah, kinda glad I first read this as an adult and not a high school student. As I read I would remark aloud about the upsetting stuff I encountered to my boyfriend, who read it in high school and remembered it as beautiful and incredible and all the usual strong positive adjectives, and he said he had no memory of most of what I pointed out.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Enigma » Sat Sep 12, 17:54 2015

Meperidine wrote:
Enigma wrote:I do remember that the translation I read was kind of awkward and had almost no punctuation. Maybe some of it is bad translation? Ok I'm putting this on my read list for revaluation.


Do you remember what translation? I read this edition, which is the one I'd usually seen around before.
Image

I didn't notice glaring punctuation issues, and I usually notice because after doing proofreading work I can't turn it off, heh. I don't think the issues I had with it were related to the translation, but I'm sure the original is gorgeous and I wish I'd known enough Spanish to attempt it.

But yeah, kinda glad I first read this as an adult and not a high school student. As I read I would remark aloud about the upsetting stuff I encountered to my boyfriend, who read it in high school and remembered it as beautiful and incredible and all the usual strong positive adjectives, and he said he had no memory of most of what I pointed out.

The one I read definitely had a white cover.

I think this one? Image

According to Google though there's only been one English translation. I'm not surprised if I skimmed over some messed up sex though. At the time I also read a fair amount of 80s sci-fi. So I had a tolerance. Definitely going to stop recommending it though if it's like that.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Gnarlbanya » Sat Sep 12, 19:50 2015

rowan wrote:I also started to read Un Lun Dun by China Miéville over my vacation but it was a library book (from where I was) and I didn't quite finish it before leaving. It's like, middle grade, I think. It was only ok. I may finish it though, if my library has it.


I found the same thing with Un Lun Dun, I really like a lot of Miéville but this just didn't work for me - it seemed like an inferior version of Gaiman's Neverwhere. But I just loved Perdito Street Station and I thought Embassytown was so clever. I do think he's a little hit and miss as an author, though.

Enigma wrote: I read this about a decade ago and loved it but remember basically nothing about it.

I had exactly the same experience with One hundred years of solitude. I read it when I was younger and loved it. When I reread it, I was really surprised (and a bit shocked) at the sexual content, I had no memory of it at all. I do wonder if perhaps it was a bit over my head the first time I read this. I've taught some books to my literature classes (17-18 year olds) that I thought had very clear sexual content, and much of the time the kids just seem to miss it, even intelligent and mature kids.

All I've been reading lately is parenting books about establishing good baby sleep habits. They're pretty boring and preachy, so I need to start reading something fun again. It might be time to revisit the Discworld series as I know them so well it won't matter if I'm a bit sleepy when reading. Any other recommendations for fun, lighthearted and worthwhile reads?

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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Meperidine » Sat Sep 12, 21:45 2015

Enigma wrote: Definitely going to stop recommending it though if it's like that.


Idk if I'd go that far. I still think it was worth the read and might try it again someday, I was just like, woah, nobody has ever mentioned this when they talked about this book.
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Re: what are you reading?

Postby Sonic# » Sat Sep 12, 22:01 2015

^ I've had the same experience with One Hundred Years of Solitude. I read it in early college. The weird sexual descriptions didn't really stick in my memory directly. It is probably one of the books that has led me to see sex in literature as often weird or awkward. Also, like Enigma, I was going through some other material that treated sex similarly.

I did like it on the whole.

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Re: what are you reading?

Postby rowan » Mon Sep 14, 13:33 2015

Gnarlbanya wrote:
rowan wrote:I also started to read Un Lun Dun by China Miéville over my vacation but it was a library book (from where I was) and I didn't quite finish it before leaving. It's like, middle grade, I think. It was only ok. I may finish it though, if my library has it.


I found the same thing with Un Lun Dun, I really like a lot of Miéville but this just didn't work for me - it seemed like an inferior version of Gaiman's Neverwhere. But I just loved Perdito Street Station and I thought Embassytown was so clever. I do think he's a little hit and miss as an author, though.

Yeah, I agree with all this. I should point out that I don't think it's "only ok" because it's a middle grade book. There are some really fantastic middle grade books out there. But definitely the comparison to Neverwhere does not help its cause. ;)
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