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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   100 Greatest Novels Lists (& the 5th best Russian Novel) (153 comments)

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  •  It has nothing to do with belief. (11+ / 0-)

    It has to do literary and linguistic quality. One can read either The Bible or The Quran for those alone without giving the slightest credence to their pretensions. The same can't be said for Beck.

    Or, to put the point in a secular context, the Beats appreciated Celine and Ezra Pound as writers while rejecting their pro fascist views.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 07:59:41 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Fair enough. (8+ / 0-)

      But there's plenty in the Bible that's little more than fervid gibberish without any literary merit.

      Going faster miles an hour, with the radio on.

      by Troubadour on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:03:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (7+ / 0-)

        as opposed to Beck who is nothing but fervid gibberish.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:05:52 PM PDT

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      •  As literature, the Bible's very uneven. (10+ / 0-)

        The Gospels are great. Other than those, the New Testament has a lot of good writing, but it doesn't have the great stories of the Old Testament.

        Genesis is phenomenal. Exodus is very good. Then you have to skim through the rest, slowing down when you hit good writing. I really like the Song of Solomon & Job.

        I've never read the Bible from end to end, so it'd be hard to estimate the timeless prose/fervid gibberish ratio.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:31:36 PM PDT

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        •  Good point vis a vis the ratio (7+ / 0-)

          My favorite Old Testament story is Job.

          Nothing human is alien to me.

          by WB Reeves on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:34:58 PM PDT

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          •  Mine too. Weird and disturbing, but there's a lot (4+ / 0-)

            there to chew on.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:14:27 PM PDT

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            •  Old Testament always makes me think of Dylan.... (5+ / 0-)

              And not Dylan Thomas (whoever he was :)

              God said to Abraham kill me a son
              Abe said man you must be putting me on
              God said no
              Abe said what?
              God said next time you see me you better run
              Abe said where you want this killing done?
              God said down on highway 61

              Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

              by No Exit on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 05:13:25 AM PDT

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              •  That may well be the best opening verse in rock (4+ / 0-)

                not that there can be one, definitively.

                But Dylan was exploding with brilliance from Bringing it All Back Home, through Like a Rolling Stone, the rest of Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, and on into
                the weird Americana explorations ofThe Basement Tapes.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 10:27:19 AM PDT

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                •  I'm a huge Dylan fan (4+ / 0-)

                  My top Dylan albums are

                  Bringing it all back home
                  Hwy 61
                  Blonde on blonde
                  Basement tapes

                  Blood on the tracks isn't quite on their level, but excellent nonetheless.

                  Planet waves is enjoyable, but definitely shows slippage.

                  Slow train coming stinks as does almost everything else that follows.  I haven't listened to any of his more recen albums following his resurgence/re-emergence/recovery in 1994/1995 kicked off by his MTV unplugged appearance.

                  Otoh, all the sixties stuff has good things on them.  I love his very first album.  House of the rising sun, song for woody, talking ny blues, baby let me follow you down... And the youthful quality to his voice all get me.

                  Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

                  by No Exit on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 11:23:31 AM PDT

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                  •  In brief, for now, as I'm heading out the door: (3+ / 0-)

                    I agree with your five top choices. I think the recent albums are very rich music, but I haven't listened enough to them to assess them with confidence. Of Dylan albums pre-1995, these are my other favorites:

                    Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
                    Desire
                    Street Legal
                    Infidels
                    Oh Mercy.

                    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                    by Brecht on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 02:20:50 PM PDT

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                    •  Free wheeling is a great album... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      RiveroftheWest, Brecht

                      Desire has a few good songs on it, but I prefer bootlegs of his rolling thunder revue from that time period.

                      The rest I find to be unlistenable...

                      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

                      by No Exit on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 03:26:22 PM PDT

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                      •  Well, the bootlegs . . . (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        RiveroftheWest, No Exit

                        I mean, I've been in the stores in Greenwich Village, I know there are crates of bootleg Dylan out there. Actually, back at the end of the 60s, his Great White Wonder kicked off the whole under-the-table bootlegging industry.

                        But another way Dylan's been influential is in how his official bootleg material's been handled. That first 3 CD/5 LP box gathering the cream of unreleased Dylan, and all the 2CD live sets that have been released since then, set the industry standard, and the format has since been copied by many other artists.

                        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                        by Brecht on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:26:06 PM PDT

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                  •  I think (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Brecht, translatorpro, No Exit

                    Bringing It All Back Home is the best one of all.

                •  "They're selling postcards of the hanging. (4+ / 0-)
                  They're painting the passports brown.
                  The beauty parlors full of sailors
                  The circus is in town.
                  Here comes the blind commissioner,
                  they've got him in a trance.
                  One hand's tied to the tightrope walker,
                  the other's nailed in his pants
                  and the riot squad is restless,
                  they need somewhere to go,
                  as lady and I look out tonight from,
                  desolation row."

                  Nothing human is alien to me.

                  by WB Reeves on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 09:31:51 PM PDT

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                  •  Epic magnificence. They all are on that album. (4+ / 0-)

                    Queen Jane Approximately is a favorite. I'm not sure I have an all-time favorite. If I do, it might be:

                    Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're tryin' to be so quiet ?
                    We sit here stranded, though we're all doin our best to deny it
                    And Louise holds a handfull of rain, tempting you to defy it
                    Lights flicker from the opposite loft
                    In this room the heat pipes just cough
                    The country music station plays soft
                    But there's nothing really nothing to turn of
                    Just Louise and her lover so entwined
                    And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind.

                    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                    by Brecht on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 10:12:11 PM PDT

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                    •  One of my all time favorites... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Brecht

                      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

                      by No Exit on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:34:03 PM PDT

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      •  Well, sure (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        translatorpro, RiveroftheWest, Brecht

        There are pages of rules.
        There are instructions for building a tabernacle.
        There are genealogies.
        So far, it sounds more than a little like Leaves of Grass.

        But the King James also has glorious poetry and some really haunting stories.  And the New Testament was pretty radical for its time.  Talk about great books being censored.  Hell, Pope Francis washed a couple of teenage Muslim girls' feet, and his handlers needed smelling salts.

        A 47% return on investment--that's pretty doggoned good!

        by deminva on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 06:28:05 AM PDT

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