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  • Sonovox
    replied
    Originally posted by eine View Post
    Perservere with Gravity's Rainbow, there's a very difficult section near the beginning which can be a little alienating. After that it soon becomes the best book ever written...
    I have that same experience of tackling it on and off several times before 'cracking' it. I can't agree with the claim for best book ever, but it is like a very majestic spotted dick, a stodge load of weird dotted with sultanas of brilliance that stick in the mind forever. The plot is the custard.

    I have William T Volmann's 'You Bright And Risen Angels' in my inpile which I think may be a similar affair.

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  • ginghamkitchen
    replied
    I haven't got to that bit yet, but it sounds plausible. Wasn't the giraffe also used as an example of natural selection?

    I was in a giraffe enclosure last year. They have a very strong odour, and they feel bizarre. No licking, unfortunately. I find that almost any close contact with an exotic creature makes you start to ponder creation.

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  • eine
    replied
    Is it true that giraffe's were used as a proof for the existence of God, ie who else would have made something to eat the tall trees (or something like that).

    I have been licked by a giraffe, btw. They produce a huge amount of saliva.

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  • ginghamkitchen
    replied
    I've been working through Reaktion Books animal series. Fantastic monograph style books about the history, mythology and reality of animals. The ones about Eels and Gorillas have been my favourites so far, but I've read eight so far and enjoyed every one. Currently on Giraffe.

    ANIMAL

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  • eine
    replied
    Originally posted by giantchicken View Post
    Pynchon: It's a strange one this. When I first picked up 'The Crying Of Lot 49' I was compelled to read the whole thing cover to cover over one sleepless night. My next one was 'V' which took me several attempts over 15 years to get through. Just before Christmas I came to a stop on my first attempt at 'Gravity's Rainbow' and if I don't resume it soon, I'll have to start again...strange because I know I'm going to end up as flummoxed as I was by the others and yet there's this compulsion to persevere with them isn't there? Why is this?....
    Originally posted by emperor tomato ketchup View Post
    I've been tempted by Inherent Vice but haven't fared well with Pynchon before.
    I would personally stay away from Inherent Vice. My experience chimes with Giant Chicken. Crying of Lot 49 is the introduction to Pynchon. Don't bother with V, it's too stodgy and lacks any drive, although there are amazing passages. Perservere with Gravity's Rainbow, there's a very difficult section near the beginning which can be a little alienating. After that it soon becomes the best book ever written (I mean that!). Mason & Dixon is amazing but is tricky too, but you will want to read it after tackling GR. The only one I haven't read/given a go is Vineland - that and the new one, Bleeding Edge, which the last two (Against The Day and Inherent Vice) have put me off trying. I am sure I am getting lazy.

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  • emperor tomato ketchup
    replied
    Originally posted by eine View Post
    Blimey. Tough stuff. I read a book about atrocity in Sierra Leone once and it's still with me.
    It's not as bad as you might imagine as it is about why and how not what. Not as harrowing as a book like "Nothing to Envy" about North Korea which is all about the perspective of ordinary people who survived and got out, and who obviously had reason to do so. On the other hand watching the broad sweep of a nation's fate caught up in dead-eyed cold war realpolitik and power hungry machinations is not pretty. Once the Vietnamese invaded and kicked Pol Pot out a weird alliance of the US, Thailand and China supported him. As Vietnam was allied to Russia it suited them all to drain Soviet via a proxy war. And this is the 80s so everyone knew what the khmer rouge had been up to when in power.

    I have Viv Albertine's book but its the large paperback so not ideal to take on holiday.

    I've been tempted by Inherent Vice but haven't fared well with Pynchon before.

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  • jahshabby
    replied
    Originally posted by ladyboygrimsby View Post
    Just finished reading Viv Albertine's book, finally, after starting in the summer, leaving it on a train bound for Brighton, as I alighted at Gatwick Airport. Muyst say I'm blown away by it, especially the chapters about her trying for a baby. Not that the Slits and punk stuff isn't fascinating, but her yearning for a baby is so well written and so powerful. I'm full of admiration for her writing after this.
    One for the list.

    I'm reading the first volume of Danny Baker's autobiography. I like him anyway, I find him a strangely attractive personality and his writing style is, as you would expect, entertaining, forthright and unapologetically upbeat.

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  • giantchicken
    replied
    A couple of thoughts on some above stuff;

    Steinbeck: 'The Grapes Of Wrath' is by no means an 'enjoyable' read, but by crikey it's darned powerful. I last (re)read it around 2008 when the current recession was kicking in and was struck by a) the way he masterfully demonstrates complex economic concepts through a (largely) unsentimental narrative, and b) the completely 'modern' way the story is presented - the little interludes featuring the incidental characters are a stroke of genius - these imbue a mere novel with a sense of true journalism - definitely an essential read. Must re-read 'Cannery Row' and a few others too. Once took a Greyhound bus through the Salinas Valley and it was like the man was sitting next to me...when the bus stopped for a driver change in King City, I looked up the dusty street and fully expected to find that flophouse just around the corner....

    Pynchon: It's a strange one this. When I first picked up 'The Crying Of Lot 49' I was compelled to read the whole thing cover to cover over one sleepless night. My next one was 'V' which took me several attempts over 15 years to get through. Just before Christmas I came to a stop on my first attempt at 'Gravity's Rainbow' and if I don't resume it soon, I'll have to start again...strange because I know I'm going to end up as flummoxed as I was by the others and yet there's this compulsion to persevere with them isn't there? Why is this?....

    Leave a comment:


  • amidar
    replied
    The woman on the cover is Victoria Domalgoski who did a couple of folk albums in the early 70's. I only know as I came across her debut last year and read about her association with Brautigan. Wasn't too enamoured with the first album as her voice is a bit of an acquired taste although the second apparently features Herbie Hancock doing some session work. No one seems to know what became of her.

    Originally posted by Mr Naga View Post
    This was the best book I read last year although Brautigan can occasionally make me squirm with his leering misogyny.

    Leave a comment:


  • eine
    replied
    Originally posted by emperor tomato ketchup View Post
    Spent the weekend reading Philip Short's "Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare".
    Blimey. Tough stuff. I read a book about atrocity in Sierra Leone once and it's still with me.

    As to Pynchon, I couldn't get on with Inherent Vice and passed it on. Same story with Against The Day. Got to a certain point and then got worn out and bored. Haven't bothered with Bleeding Edge. Perhaps I've lost my attention span? Gravity's Rainbow, Mason & Dixon and Crying Of Lot 49 are still untouchable though.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr Naga
    replied
    Not entirely sure how the film will work but I'm enjoying it immensely.

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  • emperor tomato ketchup
    replied
    Spent the weekend reading Philip Short's "Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare".

    I'd been interested after having visited Camodia a few years ago but had somehow not got round to reading it. Perhaps not as depressing as I feared, it isn't focussed on individual survivor's testimony but on a fairly even handed account of how Cambodia's nightmare in the 70s came about. It's focus is on the Khmer Rouge and the various political developments that brought about their regime. It doesn't single out any one cause, there's plenty of interference by foreign powers, venal corrupt local politicians and cultural factors in play. In many ways the saddest aspect is how much us down to sheer incompetence. Pol was a mediocre student who preferred reading poetry to Marx as that was too hard, he seems to have been promoted as much through luck as anything. On the other hand his paranoid purges, obssesion with discipline and secrecy both exacerbated the incompetence and incoherence of the regime and its cruelty. Though what is frightening is that regime was maybe less unique and unprecedented than you might hope.

    Leave a comment:


  • Expiry2011
    replied
    Originally posted by eine View Post
    That Cybernetic Brain book looks lush, Sonovox.



    If flexidiscs were made at flexidisc prices, every issue of the British Esperantist would come with one. Me on one side narrating 17th century English ranters, Gingham Kitchen's senistive, contemporary crooning on the other.
    Now I've bathed in the awesome laxative power of the pyramids I feel renewed
    Who knew that Mr Kitchen had such a soothing voice? Like a young David Attenborough

    Leave a comment:


  • eine
    replied
    That Cybernetic Brain book looks lush, Sonovox.

    Originally posted by medlar View Post
    Give it out free as a flexidisc with the next edition of The British Esperantist...

    If flexidiscs were made at flexidisc prices, every issue of the British Esperantist would come with one. Me on one side narrating 17th century English ranters, Gingham Kitchen's senistive, contemporary crooning on the other.

    Leave a comment:


  • medlar
    replied
    Originally posted by eine View Post
    Last year I went weeeell out of my comfort zone performings excerpts of A Fiery Flying Roll by Abiezer Coppe alongside a noise artist who manipulated by voice. I've recorded it but can't yet bear to listen to it...
    Give it out free as a flexidisc with the next edition of The British Esperantist...

    Leave a comment:

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