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  •  You read a lot of interesting or challenging books (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest
    I want something to read that is spellbinding, that is compelling . . . is it profound? is it moving? do I have to . . . ponder; does it make me jealous . . . disturbed and explosive
    Those are all reasons that attract me to a book. Ultimately, with books and rock music, I want to try everything, and gauge in what ways it's objectively strong/rich/original. As if I'm mapping out the entire field on a mental map. Then, if it also speaks especially to me, I'll go back for a lot more of it.

    Coetzee I admire for his clear, piercing, flexible mind - especially his criticism.

    I've got a friend who loves Bernhard. Hesse spoke directly to my teenage self, so I read lots of him then. I recently got a newer translation of Glass Bead Game, because that was his biggest and deepest, I believe. Tangentially, Buddenbrooks is on my TBR shelf, and champing at the bit; as is Tin Drum; and I really ought to read more Brecht. Know thyself.

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

    by Brecht on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 09:44:14 PM PST

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    •  LOL (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, RiveroftheWest
      Da wird ein Leben lang das Maul aufgerissen,
      und steht so was dann vor Gottes Thron,
      dann wird in die Hosen geschissen.
      Well, now the Brecht problem is a little bit solved for now.

      I thought I read there was a more recent translation of Hesse's TGBG, as well as of Kafka's The Castle -- I read The Man Who Disappeared (aka Amerika), was quite impressed and I've read the first volume of Kafka's diaries; I'm smitten with Kafka and Rilke.  Buddenbrooks and The Magic Mountain I've admired; I hate to compare the two, or put one over the other, but the farewell to Hans at the end of TMM, well, I admit, I just have to gush, especially taken together with Hermann Broch's The Sleepwalkers and Stefan Zweig's The World of Yesterday.

      Of Grass, I've only read Cat and Mouse, some of the poetry.  I quite enjoyed the film version of TTD so I must at one point read the book.  As for Bernhard, I've only read Woodcutters and The Voice Imitator and I certainly would rather read more of him than say Gaddis for instance; I'm intrigued by the estimation of many of JR but since I've tackled already The Recognitions it's not as high on my list.

      Thoughts on Henry Green?  I've read Caught and Loving, would like to try Party Going.  Just hope that one isn't too Ivy Compton-Burnett-esque.  I've read the short stories of Sylvia Townsend Warner, none of the novels yet; she's a gem, at least in the view of her mastery of the shorter fiction form.

      The Democrats care about you after you're born. --Ed Schultz

      by micsimov on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 05:58:28 AM PST

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      •  "Well, now the Brecht problem is a little bit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest

        solved for now." Oh, if it were only that easy!

        I found a lot to like in Magic Mountain - the near-death Greek reverie was my favorite bit. Mann, like Hesse, is good with psychic dichotomies.

        Rilke, I only know Letters to a Young Poet, and a handful of very fine poems I've come across. Kafka: just Metamorphosis and several stories (The Trial is high on my TBR shelf).

        The Sleepwalkers sounds hard but revelatory. Zweig intrigues. I'll get there.

        Henry Green is revelatory, too - just incredible that, with his strange approach, he tells stories and draws characters so well. I have a volume with Loving/Living/Party Going. I read the first two, then stopped. He felt a bit strange and rich, to digest all three in a row. I expect, when I get back to him, I'll read all three, and diary them.

        Having read no Ivy Compton-Burnett, I'm not sure what too much of her would be. But Henry Green is very interested in capturing the authentic speech and personalities (albeit seen from outside) of his characters, and Party Going is fertile ground for that.

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

        by Brecht on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 07:08:16 AM PST

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        •  Ivy Compton-Burnett (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, RiveroftheWest

          think, drawing-room dialogue for 300 pages.  I enjoy Henry Green though but as you said have to take in doses, same with Bernhard, James Purdy for that matter.

          Rilke: 'Stiller Freund der vielen Fernen ...' I adore him; I've read LTAYP as well, also have read Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge and have the Duino Elegies&Orpheus compilation.

          Broch is masterful with the Sleepwalkers trilogy but each volume is only approx. 150ppgs so quite doable and I just love the pre-Great War era through Weimar, and so another Austrian from that epoch I enjoy and respect immensely is Arthur Schnitzler.

          Brecht I've read quite a bit of the poetry, the Collected Stories, Mother Courage, Caucasian Chalk Circle and have wonderful recordings by Gisela May, Ute Lemper, Lotte Lenya, Dave van Ronk & Frankie Armstrong.

          The Democrats care about you after you're born. --Ed Schultz

          by micsimov on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 02:58:17 PM PST

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          •  If culture is refined, erudite, artistic, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest

            you may well be better-read than me. It appears so, from this thread. Which is fine by me: I'm confident of my knowledge, perceptiveness, and voracity; and it means you have plenty to teach me.

            But I hope that you also explore the lower slopes of literature, and occasionally read Stephen King, J. K. Rowling and Elmore Leonard - just to see what's there.

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

            by Brecht on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 03:40:02 PM PST

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            •  I've read some King, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, Brecht

              it was a story collection I believe or a series of interwoven tales, wish I could remember the title, I rather enjoyed it.  I've enjoyed, too, Harlan Ellison and Ursula K. Le Guin.  When I lived in Holland, I used to borrow and trade books with my Dutch boyfriend's mother, she was an avid reader, especially of Native American and Fantasy literature and her English was rather well so she had many titles on her shelves in English she always tried to read that way when she could, certain things of course, it just depended, was easier for her to read in Dutch translation; it was through her I was introduced to Terry Pratchett.

              The Democrats care about you after you're born. --Ed Schultz

              by micsimov on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:49:01 AM PST

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              •  Glad to hear it. Not that I have any business (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RiveroftheWest

                telling you what to read - but that's not about to stop me.

                All four of those write middlebrow, and also write well (at least, with awareness and notable strengths). LeGuin always writes well and, like Ellison, is generally very interesting. I tried a decent short story collection of King's (Everything's Eventual), but then found far more power in The Shining. One day I'll write an essay on Harold Bloom vs. Stephen King.

                I aim to read everything, but Fantasy is my chiefest comfort-reading.

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

                by Brecht on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 12:47:34 PM PST

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                •  No don't stop, I do like your suggestions, (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Brecht, RiveroftheWest

                  and I'm always looking for things to read that I might not come across on my own.  And I certainly have, like others, various moods in what I want to read, whether I want to plunge and delve, or pass the time in a faraway place or just be entertained/amused.  And I'm not about to lug around on the bus or train Broch, Mann or Woolf ;)

                  The Democrats care about you after you're born. --Ed Schultz

                  by micsimov on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 08:13:45 AM PST

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    •  Interjecting here: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, RiveroftheWest

      Buddenbrooks is not as challenging or powerful  as Magic Mountain .  It is a good, solid read, but does not knock you off your feet with admiration in the same way or leave you pondering deep, philosophical questions.  It sweeps you up in the saga of a bourgeois German family and the pages turn almost by themselves.

      When you are done, go to Netflix and get the German TV series which will prolong the pleasure.  I think it would be the perfect holiday read.  

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 08:02:39 AM PST

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      •  Netflix keep offering me a free month to come back (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Radiowalla, RiveroftheWest

        but I'm pruning back on TV and internet surfing, to make more space for reading novels and writing diaries.

        It's so easy to live on the surface, skittering across the currents like a water skeeter. I need more deep, clear peace and pondering to sustain me.

        I might take up Netflix again, once I feel that I am in charge of my time, and own and shape my schedule mindfully.

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

        by Brecht on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 08:15:03 AM PST

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