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Just finished Ask the Dust by John Fante, a slim novel which didn't live up to the extravagant praise I've heard from Bukowski fans. Henry Miller and Hubert Selby did this kind of thing much better.

I'm currently reading Middlesex, has anyone else read it? I remember it being discussed elsewhere and people were criticizing the fact that it won the pulitzer prize. Maybe not Pulitzer Prize worthy

Several of the pieces in Paris to the Moon appeared earlier as Gopnik's monthly Letters from Paris to The New Yorker. His use of adjectives to describe the weather, the neighborhood, etc impressed me

My Friend Leonard by James Frey.

As my wife and I were watching Frey on Oprah she would glance at me and say something like you made that guy look like a amateur in your younger days. :unsure:

 

Then when they got to the dentist part she would comment on how that's nothing remember when you once pulled your own molar. :blush: OK dear, lets leave the past in the past. :( Needless to say she thinks I missed my ship and Frey beat me to it. Maybe shes right.

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I hate to say it Bob...but I really like Frey's style. I really hope he continues writing despite the backlash. Very Kerouac almost, if Kerouac was a tormented addict living from sensation to sensation. Very painful to read and bittersweet and direct. I don't care if everything I read is a goddamn lie...the story from book to book is compelling and well told.

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I hate to say it Bob...but I really like Frey's style. I really hope he continues writing despite the backlash. Very Kerouac almost, if Kerouac was a tormented addict living from sensation to sensation. Very painful to read and bittersweet and direct. I don't care if everything I read is a goddamn lie...the story from book to book is compelling and well told.

Absolutely agree with you. True or not the guy has talent.

That is exactly what I told my wife, even though my tooth pulling story is true I could never express it as eloquently as Frey.

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I'm sorta embarrassed to admit it (I even half hide it on the subway) but I'm reading The Mermaid Chair. I'm almost 100 pages into it and it is shaping up to be a weepy, Oprah style woman triumphing over life and finding true love in the process type of book. I keep on reading it because it was on my library reserve list for so long and yet now I can't even remember why I would have wanted to read it in the first place. :unsure:

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I'm sorta embarrassed to admit it (I even half hide it on the subway) but I'm reading The Mermaid Chair. I'm almost 100 pages into it and it is shaping up to be a weepy, Oprah style woman triumphing over life and finding true love in the process type of book. I keep on reading it because it was on my library reserve list for so long and yet now I can't even remember why I would have wanted to read it in the first place. :unsure:

soon to be made into a Lifetime network movie of the week featuring Sally Field.

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I just finished Broch's The Death of Virgil, which is a novel the title of which comprehensively summarizes the plot. A classic of European modernism, apparently, although "little read" classic might be more precise. A technical tour de force, but he does take five hundred pages to turn his toes up.

 

Annoyingly at first, but then ironically, the used paperback edition I had picked up for a song started to fall apart in my hands as I read, and the book itself died along with its main character.

 

Oh well, cross it off the list.

 

I am now rewarding myself with a wholly purposeless wallow in Angry Young Man diatribes by the young John Osborne, John Wain, etc, collected as Declaration. People were still cross about Suez, and it was still breathtaking to be rude about the Queen. Salad days.

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I just finished Broch's The Death of Virgil, which is a novel the title of which comprehensively summarizes the plot.

How's the ending? Har.

 

anyway, I read the entirety of the New Yorker Anniversary Issue. Rarely are those things good from cover to cover for me but this time it was. Otherwise I am reading such interesting titles as:

 

The Web of Modularity: Arithmetic of the Coefficients of Modular forms and q-Series.

 

The characters are well-defined. Especially Chi. :unsure:

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I just finished Broch's The Death of Virgil, which is a novel the title of which comprehensively summarizes the plot.

How's the ending? Har.

 

Surprise twist (spoiler). He gets better, and goes on to write Aeneid II: The Revenge.

 

Has anyone read any Doris Lessing novels? I was perusing her essay in Declaration this morning (see above), and realised she never got to the top of my to-do list.

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I just finished Broch's The Death of Virgil, which is a novel the title of which comprehensively summarizes the plot.

How's the ending? Har.

 

Surprise twist (spoiler). He gets better, and goes on to write Aeneid II: The Revenge.

 

Has anyone read any Doris Lessing novels? I was perusing her essay in Declaration this morning (see above), and realised she never got to the top of my to-do list.

"the golden notebook". recommend, even though it goes on rather a lot.

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I couldn't get into Golden Notebook; I thought it went on a bit self-indulgently. That was 25 years ago.

 

Currently enjoying Jimmy White's autobiography Behind the white ball. Ordered a second hand copy when we were discussing snooker the other week. Oh, what a sweetheart; he even rescued abandoned puppies when he was eight and truanting from school.

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Also thoroughly enjoying the Lucius Beebe reader. Beebe seems to be remembered as some sort of preposterous foppish grotesque, and perhaps that what the man was; but the writer is refreshingly light-footed, wry and entertaining. Much in this collection on the old American dining and drinking scene, from Le Pavillon and The Colony to Locke-Ober. I will probably skip the section which reflects his passion for locomotives.

 

If I have time, I will post some choice gobbets before returning the book to the library.

To know Luscious Lucius is to love him. I must say, this anthology, edited by an exceptionally close friend of his, Charles Clegg, casts the man in a quite new light. His reputation as a horrifically pretentious, reactionary snob omits the thick and luxurious layer of camp which is, in fact, spread across the entire project.

 

Yes, I had noticed in the New Yorker profile from the 1930s the coy comment that his friends would be very surprised indeed if he ever married. But I had not realised that he spent most of his adult life in a jolly menage with his constant collaborator Mr Clegg. The latter recounts their decision to relocate from New York to some remote part of the midwest: Beebe approved of their destination because he felt it to be a place they could keep "a low profile".

 

And so the true Beebe is much funnier, much more ironic, and much more encased in startled quote marks than I had anticipated. Even his Republicanism - well, if he'd been born English I am sure he would have been a staunch St. John Stevas-like supporter of the Royal Family too. They do the pageantry so well, you know.

 

This should be back in print in one of those historic food and drink paperback editions: very engaging.

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Derrida's On Touching - Jean-Luc Nancy, although whether Professor Nancy minded being touched, we are not told. Actually, the heart of the book (a substantial work) is a tour around the way philosophers have dealt with the sense of touch. And it's an interesting subject, because I think it's long been clear that a whole bunch of quite different sensory experiences are swept in the catch-all category of "touch", just because they are simply not seeing, smelling, hearing or tasting.

 

For example, being struck by a rock, placing your hand on a cold, smooth surface, being prodded by someone, feeling hot, being aware of digesting food, needing a pee and knowing (without looking) where your right arm is: all examples of touch - and what a rag-bag.

 

Derrida, adopting a typical deconstructive strategy, adds to the interest by showing the extent to which the tradition has used touch (in its various senses) to help explain other senses - especially seeing.

 

Not for everyone, I suppose, but this will come to be seen as an important part of the oeuvre.

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