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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:38 pm 
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circuitsnake wrote:
The Master and Margarita: Now this is what I call a book. There is so much going on in this book I'll make it short: The Devil comes to Moscow and causes havok. What's more interesting is how this book was written. Apparently Stalin (book is Russian from the Soviet Era) loved Bolgakov (the author). But Bulgakov wasn't to fond of him so he wrote this book as an allegory. Knowing that it wouldn't be published he wrote it for his desk drawer and locked it away. It wasn't published until the 50s in a heavily censored version. Very cool.

Totally, totally agree.


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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:25 am 
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Naked Masks: Five Plays by Luigi Pirandello Pirandello was the Charlie Kaufman of the theatre a century ago, turning stage conventions inside out in plays like Six Characters in Search of an Author, about--well--six characters who are left unable to tell their story when the author has abandoned the project for which they were created. and Each in His Own Way, where the "audience" is brought on stage to comment on the play they've been watching, with the catch that some of the characters in the play were modeled on some of the members of the audience. A new translation would be nice, or at least an adaptation bringing the dialogue up to date, but at least these two plays are, if nothing else, interesting.

The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood by David Thomson A look at the industry from its inception through the early part of this century, containing some thoughts on why the studio system wasn't so bad and why independant filmmaking was so unsuccessful for such a long time. (Hint: the two concepts are connected.)

52 weeks = 52 books. Huzzah!

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:07 am 
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Embarcadero: Being a Chronicle of True Sea Adventures from the Port of San Francisco by Richard H. Dillon. Tales of shipwrecks, mutinies, and piracy on the high seas with a very entertaining chapter on the art of shanghaiing in San Francisco. Who says research can't be fun?

Travesties by Tom Stoppard. Lenin, James Joyce, and Tristan Tzara meet in the Zurich public library during WWI. A tale told by a British civil servant decades later, who gets the events confused with the plot of The Importance of Being Ernest. Stoppard spends much of the play discussing the role of art in modern society, weighing in heavily against its importance, until finally giving the final zinger to Joyce. “And what did you do during the War?” “I wrote Ulysses. What did you do?”

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. Bright men and children, wizards of gray matter, knee deep in navel gazing. Even so, they have a mighty strong pull on the people around them. Favorite titles: “Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut” (I forget what the story's about) and “For Esme, With Love and Squalor”. Some excellent character studies.

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:40 am 
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Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis. The story of an idealistic young doctor who's torn between a career as a successful, if glib, celebrity pill-pusher and one of a medical researcher, involving dedication and sacrifice. While not always drawing blood, Lewis's satirical barbs never fail to hit their mark.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. Deeper, darker, and (metaphorically speaking) deadlier than Lewis, Swift's satire, in stripping society of its pretensions, reveals us (and by us, I don't mean us, I mean the other us) to be gibbering, tweeting, uncouth and treacherous simians with just enough reason to make us the most dangerous species on Earth.

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:15 pm 
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The Three Stigtmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick made me shiver with excitement. He's not a great technician with language, but the scope of his imagination and his ability to draw seemingly disparate narrative threads into a thematically coherent conclusion is stunning.


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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:38 am 
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I just finished Thomas Pynchon's V.

Damn this is one great book. It took me almost two months to read because sometimes I had to backtrack through chapters just to make sure I was understanding what was going on. This book is really funny- the whole thing seems to be a satire on a lot of different genres. There's a spy novel in here somewhere, there is also an adventure novel, some political intrigue, some science-fiction, some romance.

The whole film reads like a montage of different images, but there is a logic here and it makes sense. I haven't read any other Pynchon books. This is my first, so I'm looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about with the Crying of Lot 49. Rumor has that it is much shorter.

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:59 am 
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There once was an author named Pynchon
Who was known from La Plata to Inchon
His prose, I suppose,
Could be dark and morose
But his puns could be fun at a lynchin'


I'm halfway through Gravity's Rainbow for the sixth (or seventh) time.

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:54 pm 
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maxfrost wrote:
I'm halfway through Gravity's Rainbow for the sixth (or seventh) time.

I'm still in my first reading of Gravity's Rainbow.

Three years after I started.


I've been reading other things! I'll finish it.


Someday.


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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:51 pm 
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maxfrost wrote:
I'm halfway through Gravity's Rainbow for the sixth (or seventh) time.


I'm scared to even touch the thing. It's along the same line as Ulysses ('cept I took a class for that one).

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:19 pm 
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circuitsnake wrote:
maxfrost wrote:
I'm halfway through Gravity's Rainbow for the sixth (or seventh) time.


I'm scared to even touch the thing. It's along the same line as Ulysses ('cept I took a class for that one).


I've have in my possession a stained hardcover of Ulysses that once belonged to my father. I've had it for a solid decade, now.

Every couple of years, I find myself looking at the first page -- and every couple of years, I find that I don't feel ready.

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:15 am 
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An interview with Haruki Murakami's translators.

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 10:55 am 
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In watermelon sugar the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar.

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 4:22 am 
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R.I.P., Maurice Sendak.
:cry:

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 5:35 pm 
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Finished the Cryptonomicon. Awesome, just awesome. Neal Stephenson can't write dialogue to save his soul, but his science-fiction concepts are so wholly original it doesn't really matter. This book takes place during World War II and the 1990s each chapter jumping between the two timelines. The book itself is focused on the development of cryptography and it's application in WWII and the early internet bubble. What I really enjoyed about this book was that the science-fiction wasn't in your face, but it still was very much present. It's almost as if Stephenson wants to educate you on how cyper-security really works while simultaneously entertaining you.

Quote:
R.I.P., Maurice Sendak.


If you haven't seen this, see it: Colbert Interviewing Sendak

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 Post subject: Re: BOOK THREAD
PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 11:44 pm 
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circuitsnake wrote:
Finished the Cryptonomicon. Awesome, just awesome. Neal Stephenson can't write dialogue to save his soul, but his science-fiction concepts are so wholly original it doesn't really matter. This book takes place during World War II and the 1990s each chapter jumping between the two timelines. The book itself is focused on the development of cryptography and it's application in WWII and the early internet bubble. What I really enjoyed about this book was that the science-fiction wasn't in your face, but it still was very much present. It's almost as if Stephenson wants to educate you on how cyper-security really works while simultaneously entertaining you.


He spends a ton of time explaining how cryptography works early on (the whole thing with Alan's bike chain, for instance, is a primer on single-rotor cryptographic algorithms) and freaking you out with math, then settles down to tell a series of epic stories that all pile together. If you don't get goosebumps during the dinner in Tokyo--I won't be more specific to avoid spoilers, but those of you that have read it know what I'm talking about--you're not human.

Read the Baroque Cycle next--they're loosely connected. The first half of Quicksilver is incredibly boring the first time (took me six weeks of grinding to get through it, then blazed through the other 2 1/2 books in no time) and full of lush and surprisingly relevant details every time after. Once you get past Jack on the hill (you'll know when you get there) it's all downhill, and the payoff is...wow. It's so sprawling and ridiculous and amazing I always want to pick back up the first book after I finish the third.


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