ghost of miles

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Daniel James Brown  - The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Pretty amazing story that centers on the story of one of the men, Joe Rantz, a working-class teenager growing up during the Great Depression who essentially loses his family several times but...well, you can imagine the rest.  

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I'm in the home stretch of Vanity Fair and should wrap it up later today.  In general, I enjoyed it, though the pace flags at some places, especially in the second half.  I read that at one point Thackeray was planning for 18 installments and then the success led him to expand to the customary 20 installments.  I would have been satisfied with 18, I think.

I'm going to jump to a couple of relatively contemporary novels -- Steven Sherrill's The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time, which is a just published sequel to The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break.

Then Elmore Leonard's Tishomingo Blues (2002).  They are thematically linked, since both involve Civil War re-enactments.

After this, back to the classics -- Smollett's The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, which is generally considered Smollett's best novel.

 

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Another ambivalent, ambiguous, elusive fiction from Ishiguro. 

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Robert Gordon: Muddy Waters bio.

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2 hours ago, Leeway said:

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Another ambivalent, ambiguous, elusive fiction from Ishiguro. 

Have never stepped beyond Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.

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2 hours ago, jlhoots said:

Robert Gordon: Muddy Waters bio.

What's your opinion on the whole book?

I bought it several years ago, started reading it, got though about the first quarter and then put it aside for some reason I no longer remember (but was neither bored nor displeased with what I read) and somehow never got back to continuing my read. So some opinions would be interesting to hear.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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3 hours ago, BillF said:

Have never stepped beyond Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go.

I have still to read Remains of the Day, but I might take a break before I do so. 

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3 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

What's your opinion on the whole book?

I bought it several years ago, started reading it, got though about the first quarter and then put it aside for some reason I no longer remember (but was neither bored nor displeased with what I read) and somehow never got back to continuing my read. So some opinions would be interesting to hear.

I'm about a third of the way through it. It was sitting on a reading pile for 10+ years. It's good, not great. I'm sure I'll finish it. I wonder what the b.s. amount is. 

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2 hours ago, Leeway said:

I have still to read Remains of the Day, but I might take a break before I do so. 

Remains and Never are great books which were both very well treated in the movie versions.

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On 1/15/2017 at 8:30 AM, ejp626 said:

Steven Sherrill's The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time, which is a just published sequel to The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break.

Then Elmore Leonard's Tishomingo Blues (2002).  They are thematically linked, since both involve Civil War re-enactments.

After this, back to the classics -- Smollett's The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, which is generally considered Smollett's best novel.

 

I liked The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time, though it is hard to get past the absurd premise (that the Minotaur wasn't killed by Theseus, and being immortal turns up in the U.S. South).  This book is slightly more introspective and even poetic in places than the first one.  However, I thought the ending was a real cheat (even worse than the ending to The Sopranos), so I'd definitely knock off a star and a half for that.

Just launching into Tishomingo Blues.

As far as the classics, Thackeray's drawing upon Horace and others has convinced me to take a bit of a detour into Roman literature (Horace's Odes and Epistles and thence to Juvenal).  This is definitely a big gap in my knowledge base.

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2 hours ago, ejp626 said:

I liked The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time, though it is hard to get past the absurd premise (that the Minotaur wasn't killed by Theseus, and being immortal turns up in the U.S. South).  This book is slightly more introspective and even poetic in places than the first one.  However, I thought the ending was a real cheat (even worse than the ending to The Sopranos), so I'd definitely knock off a star and a half for that.

Just launching into Tishomingo Blues.

As far as the classics, Thackeray's drawing upon Horace and others has convinced me to take a bit of a detour into Roman literature (Horace's Odes and Epistles and thence to Juvenal).  This is definitely a big gap in my knowledge base.

I'm grateful that my school education between the ages of 15 and 18 had me reading major chunks of Virgil's Aeneid in the original.

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Memoirs of a publishing giant (Simon & Schuster, Knopf, The New Yorker), with enough literary gossip to keep things interesting. Reading this reminded me of how similar Hollywood and publishing can be. Watching a book make it to publication is like watching how sausages are made--not always pretty even if the end result is tasty. 

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I like all the Paul M. Van Buren books I've read. Now reading this one.

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Yukio Mishima - THE SOUND OF WAVES

A lovely, nearly fabulist tale of young love, but with the shadow outlines of some of Mishima's later preoccupations. 

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Though fiction makes up less than 1% of my collection,
the late Harry Mathews is most definitely a part of that.
Long life full of wonderful experimentation. Sorry to see
him go. Will write a tribute text elsewhere later today.

February 14, 1930 – January 25, 2017

Edited by rostasi

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Exquisitely calibrated revelations of an unreliable narrator. One can follow this narrative approach as it develops in Ishiguro's earlier novels, A Pale View of Hills and An Artist of the Floating World," which bear strong similarities to TROTD. The tone of these novels is serious, but it strikes me that there is a fair amount of covert, mordant humor in these stories, although it can be hard to tell given the ambivalence of the narration. 

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On 1/7/2017 at 4:45 AM, BillF said:

I haven't read any of the late ones, but I'll give The Dean's December a try on your recommendation.

Have just finished it - a slow but meaningful read. Considerable technical authorial skills - as you might expect by that stage in Bellow's career. Thanks for the recommendation.

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On 1/27/2017 at 0:42 AM, BillF said:

Have just finished it - a slow but meaningful read. Considerable technical authorial skills - as you might expect by that stage in Bellow's career. Thanks for the recommendation.

Glad you liked it.  I plan on rereading it, though not any time soon.

I've just finished W.P. Kinsella's final work - Russian Dolls: Stories from the Breathing Castle.  It's an odd work with 30 stories (many of them quite short) interspersed with the narrator (a somewhat fictionalized version of Kinsella) discussing his turbulent relationship with his girlfriend, whom he considers his Muse.  The connecting sections are often a bit more interesting than the stories themselves, which tend to be in the magic realist vein (though no baseball stories at all...).

I probably won't get around to it for quite a while, but there is another novel about a poet and how badly his wife reacts when she learns she isn't his sole Muse.  This is The Astral by Kate Christensen.  Has anyone actually read it?

I decided that I didn't like the Raeburn translation of Ovid's Metamorphosis after all, and I'll just stick to Humphries's version.

I'm just about done with my detour from my main reading list, though I will try to quickly wrap up Dino Buzzati's The Tartar Steppe, which was a bit of a Modernist classic in its day, but is on the obscure side now (though it is still in print).

I should finally get back to H. Clinker maybe a bit later in the week.

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Georges Simenon's Red Lights

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Another masterpiece from Mishima. 

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Finally got a bit further into Humphrey Clinker.  I knew it was quite different from the other Smollett novels, but I had no idea just how different.  The entire thing is an epistolary novel, so the plot can only be advanced through one person writing to another.  Sometimes there are only one or two letter writers in these sorts of things, but in this case it is already close to 10.  It may end up being fairly hard to keep track of everyone, but I'll see how it goes.

After this, Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom and then Fontane's On Tangled Paths.

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