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Author Topic: What are you reading  (Read 291375 times)
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Harcamone
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« Reply #450 on: May 25, 2016, 09:59:39 AM »

Finally got Sotos' "Special," but it hasn't yet shown up. Disappointingly, not a single review seems to exist online, even from raving fans. Weird, considering most people love to either gloat about their appreciation for his stuff or pat themselves on the back for finishing despite their revulsion. Must be especially good, or especially bad. We'll see...

Special isn't one of my favorites. Special is most similar to Index, but not as good. Though what I have learned is reading any of Sotos' bookd gives deepening context to his oeuvre as a whole. That's why I'm bummed I sold my copy of Proxy and my copy of Predicate. I have most of his work though.
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Bloated Slutbag
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« Reply #451 on: May 25, 2016, 07:44:18 PM »

If you are going to have a go at Burroughs, I most emphatically do not recommend any of the more experimental stuff. My first recommendation is and always will be The Job. Originally conceived as a series of impromptu interviews, Burroughs “found that I had in many cases already answered these questions in various books, articles and short pieces. So instead of paraphrasing or summarizing I inserted the indicated material. The result is interview form presented as a film with fade-outs and flash-back illustrating the answers.” In other words ostensibly very dry but occasionally prone to lush and spicy experimentalism. Really shows off WSB's quite superior frame of intellect. Paranoid delusions to the nth interspersed with the most insightful... insights what might be had in the written word. Oldy but goody, one I would guess that has been quoted and requoted over the many years since publication (1969):
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Q: The Beat/Hip axis, notably in such figures as Ginsberg, want to transform the world by Jove and nonviolence. Do you share this interest?
A: Most emphatically no. The people in power will not disappear voluntarily, giving flowers to the cops just isn't going to work. This thinking is fostered by the establishment; they like nothing better than love and nonviolence. The only way I like to see cops given flowers is in a flower pot from a high window.


Thomas Bernhard has been mentioned, by myself among others. For power electronics fans, I would have to recommend Woodcutters. From wiki:
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The whole novel is an account of what the narrator sees and hears while sitting on a chair with a glass of champagne in hand and, subsequently, at the table during dinner. Bernhard devastates with the axe of his prose (just like a wood cutter) the world of pretention and intellectual inconsistency, not only related to a certain Viennese scene, but to all that surrounds us

Basically comes off as book-length extended rant. Funny and furious as fuck, just keeps coming and coming, in repetitive hysterium, “I thought in the wing chair”. Several quotes I have often thought could readily apply to our little world here, very quotable but hard to isolate a choice nugget. Sentences tend toward longish and utterly compelling, possibly the only book that I have ever read through straight, no stopping, till the very bitter(?) end.


Recently rereading Mikhail Artsybashev's Breaking Point (1912). Perhaps one of the lesser known Russians of the pessimist tradition. First read when I was fifteen and it made quite the impression-- much like all my favorite writers a reassuring confirmation that in this world there exist others of a similar persuasion. Some wonderful speechifying throughout, particularly this scene at a club in which a particularly dour character declares his intention to kill himself at “a moment when it wouldn't seem particularly dreadful, but at the most ridiculous and futile”. I recite verbatim, as I have on several forums in the past:
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Let others live, if they can...I can't. For my part I won't because to me it's simply uninteresting. That's all. To me life is not a tragedy, nor a horror, nor a senseless episode, but merely uninteresting. Nature and beauty are so trivial, one gets so tired of them...love is so petty...humanity—simply foolish. The mysteries of the universe are impenetrable, and even should one fathom them it would be just as dull as before. Everything is as uninteresting as what we know already. In eternity there is nothing either small or large, and therefore even a match is a mystery and a miracle...but we know the match and it is uninteresting. And it's the same with everything. In the same way God would be tedious if we could see him. Why have a God at all? It's superfluous.
….And then I wanted to say good-bye, because I don't think we shall ever meet again...and if we do—it'll be just as boring as ever.

After which he pulls the fucking trigger! Class all the way. This is followed by a rash of suicides, from the character who preaches a gospel of universal annihilation, "Whenever I see a pregnant woman, I feel inclined to kill her..." to the idealistic student who trusts in the future of humanity, "He does not himself know in what, but he believes! Full of grief, full of tormenting agonies he believes without hope!" The only real "survivor" is the old and indifferent doctor, "drunken and decaying, murmuring rubbish to himself, ' I have been dead a long time' -  perhaps the only sympathetic, even lovable character, whose only reply to the anguish of those whose pain he strives in vain to relieve is that he does not know.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2016, 01:49:22 AM by Bloated Slutbag » Logged

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« Reply #452 on: June 11, 2016, 03:07:48 AM »

I've been reading a couple notes from "the book of disquiet" a day, by fernando pessoa. It's amazing. This is more than reading, this is like experiencing your own mind. I've never read an author I relate to so much. His simple story about walking into a cafe and feeling better when he was leaving and someone noticed he wasn't feeling good, after the waiter told he she hopes he feels better. I know that feeling, to have your whole mood changed on a dime because of a random act of kindness from another person. It was beautiful, reading that from someone else. It takes a little while sometimes to grasp what he's saying, but I do get it eventually.
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Andrew McIntosh
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« Reply #453 on: June 14, 2016, 02:54:06 PM »

I see you have Cioran quotes on your tumblr. I love Cioran. I have 3 of his books next to my bed, I pick up and read a random page of On The Heights Of Despair a lot.

I've come to Cioran only recently. A couple of years ago I discovered a documentary on him that raised my eyebrows to put it mildly. I invested a few bucks into a great deal of his bibliography and have been addicted ever since. Technically, I suppose, he is a philosopher, in the broad sense of the word. But he doesn't present any novel system of thought (much less play with the meaning of words as some modern philosophers seem to feel the need to do). I appreciate the fact that he claims he writes the same book all the time, and that it is largely autobiographical. An insomniac ex-pat shuddering in his garret in Paris, rejected nearly every honour the intelligentsia try to heap on him, venting his spleen over and over from his typewriter, dying of Alzheimer's - there's very little not to like.

I particularly love his attack on any form of action. Work, political activity, anything that involves getting off your arse, the usual sort of thing just about everybody takes for granted is the right thing to do, he puts to the blade eloquently and mercilessly. My own sentiments exactly except that I have no words for it, Cioran provides them.

Anyone who hates existence as much as he did, and was able to say so in the way he did, is alright by me.

PS - I read on that bastion of intelligent debate, a YouTube comments section, someone calling Cioran a "poor man's Pessoa". I had a copy of "The Book of Disquiet". My first reading, I thought it was okay. Second reading, nah - too flowery, too delicate, too much grasping for hope, human all too human.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2016, 02:56:01 PM by Andrew McIntosh » Logged

"Unless suffering is the direct and immediate object of life, our existence must entirely fail of its aim." - Schopenhauer.
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« Reply #454 on: June 14, 2016, 04:04:21 PM »

Hmm. That's peculiar you felt that way about Pessoa, he's often seen as being very dark and melancholy, although I agree that he is very flowery in a sense. I see that as beauty though, and I am definitely one who loves melancholic nostalgic beauty, as I'm sure almost anyone is. I admit that before in this thread I said I read Cioran and I felt that I was reading pages of my own diary. There's something very endearing about that though, reading someone else's work who is simply speaking out of their head (that's called prose, right?). I definitely like Pessoa a bit more, because he's able to provoke a bit more emotions of beauty inside of me, but Cioran's pessimism is refreshing too and I enjoy reading what he has to say. I'm often weary of living, I often don't like waking up in the morning because I feel that I'm reminded immediately that I'm awake and that there's truths that invade my conscience until I go to sleep again. I like writing and artwork and literature that seems to sympathize (excuse my upcoming use of nonsense words) telepathically with my mind.

On another note. I am currently reading Nausea by Sartre. It's a very confusing book, I started it yesterday mid day and woke up and read a few more pages. I am now on page 11. It's taken me a while because it's so confusing and disorienting sometimes, because the character is very vague and I often get tired and lose my concentration, having to constantly back track and make sure that I'm understanding everything that's being said.

My reading of Pessoa has lead me to become interested in modernist poets, because Pessoa is apparently a modernist. I read a little bit of a poem of T S Elliot and I am very much sold, I will be ordering his complete poems when I feel I can safely spend some more money on a book.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2016, 04:09:37 PM by oOoOoOo » Logged
david lloyd jones
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« Reply #455 on: June 16, 2016, 09:56:23 PM »

massive Guido Crepax anthology from fantagraphics of loads of 70's cartoons in the vein of story of o and valentine.
arty erotica to the max.
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« Reply #456 on: June 21, 2016, 01:16:49 AM »

Finished a second reading of Watchmen graphic novel. My understanding of English has been improved a little bit than years ago, so decided to re-read this. Very good story, excellent writing. Even for someone not familiar with the medium, this will be an enjoyable read, i think.
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« Reply #457 on: June 21, 2016, 06:37:06 AM »

Finished a second reading of Watchmen graphic novel. My understanding of English has been improved a little bit than years ago, so decided to re-read this. Very good story, excellent writing. Even for someone not familiar with the medium, this will be an enjoyable read, i think.
Easily the best comic ever in my opinion. I've read it 20+ times and still find nuances I've overlooked each time. Sheer brilliance.
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« Reply #458 on: June 21, 2016, 11:21:14 AM »

Finished a second reading of Watchmen graphic novel. My understanding of English has been improved a little bit than years ago, so decided to re-read this. Very good story, excellent writing. Even for someone not familiar with the medium, this will be an enjoyable read, i think.
Easily the best comic ever in my opinion. I've read it 20+ times and still find nuances I've overlooked each time. Sheer brilliance.
It's certainly one of the best. So many layers and different interpretations can be taken away from it. Definitely worth many re-reads
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« Reply #459 on: June 21, 2016, 03:36:55 PM »

Hmm. That's peculiar you felt that way about Pessoa, he's often seen as being very dark and melancholy, although I agree that he is very flowery in a sense. I see that as beauty though, and I am definitely one who loves melancholic nostalgic beauty, as I'm sure almost anyone is.
Interesting, gonna have to check it out, I have a copy of Disquiet lying around somewhere.
Are you a fan of Roberto Bolaño or Kazuo Ishiguro? They fit that description well.
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« Reply #460 on: June 26, 2016, 05:15:56 PM »

@Pax Chetyorka I have heard of those but I haven't read them.

@Andrew McIntosh That's also interesting that you say that Cioran was against work (or exerting effort in general?). I'll admit that I've only really read a few of his writings from on the heights of despair, which I guess is his earlier work. His later works such as the temptation to exist, I am still trying to break into. It's one of those writers like Nietzsche who when I read it, it just doesn't seem to really make sense because the writing style is densely worded.

I would love to hear his points of view on actions. I find that our world is incredibly obsessed with things like making money, and having a job and doing things, people seem to blindly laud these things as if they were the be all end all of living. I despise the idea of making a living and I see no glory in working your ass off for some stupid job, just to give back to a society simply for the sake of keeping society afloat. In my opinion, these things don't really enrich your life, money is a necessary EVIL which corrupts and consumes our lives. It's like a curse, because without money you wouldn't be able to really live, but with money you get more freedom and you have to work for it.

But what do you really gain from working and moving your muscles? You may gain knowledge in your field if you're doing something interesting, but what more could you gain from working some dead end job than you could from reading a book, or simply doing anything more invigorating than working at some fucking gas station or super market? Masturbation itself sounds more invigorating than stupid endeavors like that. Most days I think about how much of our lives are committed to work and school and eventually becoming the proverbial cog in machine. That is what a life of work boils down to, is simply giving back to a society you never asked to be born into, simply for the sake of keeping humanity afloat. Why keep humanity afloat? Don't ask me, ask the people who seem to laud work and getting paid as some heroic deed. There's nothing heroic about work, it's as cowardly and stupid as people who worship god. What a farce, this age we live in, where people make up some bullshit purpose for themselves to be alive, it's false and intellectually dishonest.

Life shouldn't be filled with worry, you should forget worries and go to bed with a clear conscience, to forget about the day and transition smoothly into your dreams, and wake up well rested, and go about your day without worries. Work hinders this, ambitions and struggles and deadlines and pressure, these things wear you out and physically age your skin.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2016, 05:28:57 PM by oOoOoOo » Logged
Bleak Existence
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« Reply #461 on: June 27, 2016, 03:47:04 PM »

that's the truth !
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« Reply #462 on: June 29, 2016, 10:01:40 PM »

+1
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« Reply #463 on: June 30, 2016, 08:08:55 PM »

the world turned upside down-radical ideas during the English revolution' by Christopher hill.
hot on the heels of 'bash the rich' the history of class war by Ian bone.

both interesting reading in light of the UK vote to leave eu and a pundit description of the vote as voter vandalism.
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david lloyd jones
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« Reply #464 on: July 06, 2016, 10:05:10 PM »

thanks for the prior Jamie Gillis / peter sotos book review.

currently reading,

 great Britain? the secret destiny of the British and their isles.

picked this up in Atlantis in London, too soon to evaluate, hut given the brexit vote and it's fallout, a non linear approach seemed a  non linear way forward/to deconstruct the issues.
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