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Stoner by John Williams, which is definitely one of my favorite things I've read all year. I've always wanted to read or watch something about the mundane life of a relatively unaccomplished teacher, since that's always seemed like such a fascinating career path to me - either it'd be very depressing or quietly rewarding. And John Williams' plaintive, unadorned prose just nails it. Felt so close to its protagonist by the end.
The Day of the Locust by Nathaneal West, a lacerating depiction of the bottom rung of 1930s Hollywood. Great!
The Floating Opera and The End of the Road by John Barth, technically two novels that parallel each other in some interesting ways. I enjoyed them while reading them but can't say that they made a lasting impression.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, the only book that's ever made me tear up. Devastatingly gorgeous.
Make My Day: Movie Culture in the Age of Reagan by J. Hoberman, a pretty interesting examination of the relationship between pop culture and the Reagan presidency. I particularly fascinated to learn about Reagan's pop culture consumption habits. The Camp David screening logs are basically the original Letterboxd diary. The book fell slightly in my estimation because there were quite a few copy and grammar mistakes in it.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, which was surprisingly engrossing.
We also would have accepted, "Tell me what you think of me."
Recently finished Kathy Acker's Blood and Guts in High School, enjoyed it more towards the end.
Making my through The Magical Revival by Kenneth Grant, not really too sure about his style of magick and he's pretty loose with facts and history but the writing style is fun.
Today I've read most of Jack Spicer's Detective Novel, The Tower of Babel. I'm curious as to how and when this will actually turn into any kind of mystery, don't have long left for that to happen.
In the post this morning I received one of two books by Iain Sinclair I ordered this week, going to get started on this one Slow Chocolate Autopsy pretty soon. Flicked through it and it has what seems to be a small comic book section drawn by Dave McKean. Recently got into comic books and finding lots to love there, making my way through From Hell this week which led me to the writing of Iain Sinclair.
rockus posted...I think I might start The Golden Compass next since I've been reading a handful of fantasy books for younger audiences and the like, sort of research purposes for something I've been working on.
I finished that second Peculiar Children book. It's a lot of the same with the first, both more and less so. It's basically just the middle act of a story. And like the first book ends with a climax that isn't even really much of a climax. More "tune in next time" kind of stuff. I have the third one and they're quick reads but I'm more interested in moving on to the next Dark Materials books.
One thing I really like about Golden Compass which I admire a lot relating to trying to work on something at the moment is how active it's able to make Lyra in its narrative, which is difficult to do in an epic conflict like this when your main character is a child. She can't just get into fistfights and overpower people, and though she does have her share of physically capable support (ones a huge armored bear of course), the book still does a great job of having her use her wits and gumption to actively contribute to the narrative, rather than having to entirely rely on the adults (or that giant bear) to do everything important for her (looking at you Wrinkle in Time). The adults do some important stuff still but it does a great job of making her contributions essential as well. The Compass itself is kind of a cheat itself but the book is still a good example of making an active character out of someone who normally should be out of their element.
I also picked up a bunch of books from yard sales and flea markets and the like recently and looking forward to having them sit around for months at minimum before reading most of them. Though I did pick up The Martain and I'm almost finished with it. It's good, though I think I might like the movie more (making all those "the book is always better" people gasp). The film follows the book pretty close except when skimming over or condensing some things that would drag on screen in the second half (we don't really need to dedicate 5 to 6 days of Mark drilling holes in a rover) and the film just benefits from being able to see him solve his problems that come up rather than just read about them after the fact. I just find that more engaging. And plus, while those logs in the book often come off like interesting engineering class lectures where he's basically like "this problem came up and this is how I used equipment/resources on hand to fix it" they're also probably some of the better written sections of the book.
(edited 1 month ago)
Whoops I even had an update I could do too. I read through two graphic novels by Adrian Tomine after having read and loved Summer Blonde forever ago and seen bit and pieces of apparently these two other novels in some graphic compilations. They were Killing and Dying which was effectively low-key and touching, and Shortcomings which honestly was kind of off-putting (if it was an indie film it would be cliched and annoying miserabilism, thank God it's a graphic novel!).
Also self-help books:
The One Thing - Pretty direct and endearingly constructed self-help book on managing tasks and wanting to pursue your passions.
The Courage to Be Disliked - I think I'm too practical a mind for crap that boils down to "will yourself to be happy." Yes, happiness can be a choice in scenarios but when the application is pseudo-philosophy instead of active steps it feels wishy-washy to me. Also, get out of here with this conversation between "Wise and Unbothered Master" and "Cocky but Convincable Student" format. The common theme I've been seeing which I do need to take to heart is not taking life personally though.
I recently finished reading Alfred Hitchcock & The Making of Psycho. I enjoyed reading it very much, but there were a couple of minor errors. He said Herrmann's first score for Hitchcock was The Man Who Knew Too Much, but it was actually The Trouble With Harry. When talking about how the Bates house was constructed, he mentioned the James Stewart film Harvey as being from 1948, when it was released in 1950.
Nothing overly problematic, but for years I had heard about how good this book was, so I was kinda surprised to see easy errors here.
Not sure what I plan on reading next.
Reading The Soft Machine by William S Burroughs and Little Orphan Vampires by Jean Rollin. The Rollin book is really nice and short, I'll probably have it finished by the end of the day. It seems there are 4 or 5 sequels but I can't find anything anywhere about English translations.
Since my last post, I've finished these:
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
I liked all of them. I think the two Russian novels occasionally went over my head a bit. I'd like to reread both at some point. Rings of Saturn was just wonderful. I love the way Sebald's prose suggests the deep history that lies in all, even the seemingly most insignificant, places.
My pace has slowed down a bit from earlier in the year but I think I'll still hit my goal of finishing 50 books before 2019 is through. The Master and Margarita was the 44th book I've finished this year.
We also would have accepted, "Tell me what you think of me."
(edited 1 day ago)