ghost of miles

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Closing in on Pride and Prejudice.  While it may be somewhat heretical, I definitely preferred Sense and Sensibility, in large part because I preferred the secondary characters.  Emily Bennet's younger sisters are a bunch of annoying simpletons.  Also, for a man who didn't care much for his wife, Mr. Bennet sure had a lot of children, though I suppose they were desperately trying for a male heir. 

After this, a bunch of short stories from R.K. Narayan (Lawley Road and An Astrologer's Day) and probably The Guide as well.

 

 

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I'm nearly done with Bove's A Singular Man.  Too long for what it is, sort of a nothing burger.  It's about a man, dependent on others for charity most of his life, who marries far above his station, but the happy couple never gets their share of the family fortune.  While he is "singular" in that he doesn't really rail against fate or go around begging for help (like the self-indulgent Tommy from Seize the Day), he also does little in the way of work.  For instance, he seems to give up a job in advertising without any kind of a back-up plan.  I'm kind of allergic to Bove's characters and their way of thinking.  (I really detested the main character of A Man Who Knows; here I am more indifferent.)  I probably ought to just stop reading him.

Another odd novel about a dissolute character who doesn't really want to work is English, August: An Indian Story by Upamanyu Chatterjee.  The main character is a young man who has won a position with IAS, but seems to want to do nothing but laze around all day smoking weed and occasionally reading Marcus Aurelius.  There is a lot here about the absurdities of trying to govern India through a civil service that is thoroughly corrupt, but it is still a novel centered on a callow young man, and the narrative/plot doesn't do much to challenge his self-centered view.

After this, I am changing it up and reading Death by Black Hole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  I picked up an autographed copy at the Hayden Planetarium on my last visit to NYC.

Then Gerard Reve's The Evenings, which was only recently translated into English.  I think it is somewhat in the same vein as the other novels I just read, but perhaps I will like it more.  Or I may just be fooling myself.

 

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Allen Eskens: The Deep Dark Descending

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Ta - Nehisi Coates: We Were Eight Years In Power

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woodyhermanbook.jpg

Recently finished this excellent book. As usual, it was the anecdotes that most appealed, e.g:

DON RADER:
As I recall, we were in Charlie's Tavern in New York City, it must have been 1960, and I think the band had a night off. We were all in there just drinkin' and Woody got kind of "out of it", and walked out of this bar, which was a long bar with no tables. He walked straight out, and parked out front was a NYC police car and Woody got in the back seat. The cop turned around and said, "What do you want?" and Woody said, "Just drive, I'll tell you where to go!"

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On 30/11/2017 at 1:47 AM, ejp626 said:

Then Gerard Reve's The Evenings, which was only recently translated into English.  I think it is somewhat in the same vein as the other novels I just read, but perhaps I will like it more.  Or I may just be fooling myself.

I had to read that in high school, and I found it excruciatingly boring. My teacher claimed there are two kinds of readers for this book: those who find it boring beyond belief, and those who are impressed by how the author manages to convey mind-numbing boredom so convincingly. I suspect most of his students fell into the former camp, though he claimed to fall into the latter.

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2 hours ago, lipi said:

I had to read that in high school, and I found it excruciatingly boring. My teacher claimed there are two kinds of readers for this book: those who find it boring beyond belief, and those who are impressed by how the author manages to convey mind-numbing boredom so convincingly. I suspect most of his students fell into the former camp, though he claimed to fall into the latter.

I would be more impressed by the former. 

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94EA23D7-29A8-4081-AAD5-81247205CD58-XL.

Just finished this tonight, a novel of the Spanish Civil War, told from the Republican side, and principally written in epistolary form. 

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On 11/20/2017 at 5:50 AM, ejp626 said:

Closing in on Pride and Prejudice.  While it may be somewhat heretical, I definitely preferred Sense and Sensibility, in large part because I preferred the secondary characters.  Emily Bennet's younger sisters are a bunch of annoying simpletons.  Also, for a man who didn't care much for his wife, Mr. Bennet sure had a lot of children, though I suppose they were desperately trying for a male heir. 

After this, a bunch of short stories from R.K. Narayan (Lawley Road and An Astrologer's Day) and probably The Guide as well.

 

 

I read P & P a couple of months ago and will be reading S & S soon.  Mr. Bennett is almost a side character but who can’t sympathize with his plight. Although certain of his daughters are annoying, none can compare with Mr. Collins. A truly annoying man!  The book’s opening line is a classic. 

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5 hours ago, Brad said:

I read P & P a couple of months ago and will be reading S & S soon.  Mr. Bennett is almost a side character but who can’t sympathize with his plight. Although certain of his daughters are annoying, none can compare with Mr. Collins. A truly annoying man!  The book’s opening line is a classic. 

Part of the appeal (or not) of Mr Bennett is that he is also kind of foolish: he fails to look after his daughters and mocks his wife mercilessly for wanting good matches for them.

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6 hours ago, lipi said:

Part of the appeal (or not) of Mr Bennett is that he is also kind of foolish: he fails to look after his daughters and mocks his wife mercilessly for wanting good matches for them.

I agree P & P has a killer opening line.

Mr. Bennet is correct in knowing that his wife is very foolish and her idea of what makes a good match is shallow.  He rightly blames himself for making a very bad match with his wife.  All that said, he basically abdicated raising the girls, so it isn't that surprising that several of them turned out poorly.  What is odd is how much antipathy Mrs. Bennet has towards Elizabeth, which allows her to seize the opportunity to move her out of the household when she suggests Mr. Collins marry Elizabeth (and then shuns her for months after she refuses the match).

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12 hours ago, ejp626 said:

I agree P & P has a killer opening line.

Mr. Bennet is correct in knowing that his wife is very foolish and her idea of what makes a good match is shallow.  He rightly blames himself for making a very bad match with his wife.  All that said, he basically abdicated raising the girls, so it isn't that surprising that several of them turned out poorly.  What is odd is how much antipathy Mrs. Bennet has towards Elizabeth, which allows her to seize the opportunity to move her out of the household when she suggests Mr. Collins marry Elizabeth (and then shuns her for months after she refuses the match).

(Agreed on the opening line, too, of course.)

I don't think I quite read it like that. Agreed he blames himself for making a poor choice of wife. Agreed that he abdicated on raising the girls (and I claim that's one of his foolish failings). I do think his lack of concern about a match of any kind is foolish. Yes, his wife's (and Lydia's) ideas of what makes a good match are wrong from our (and his) point of view, but his ignoring the issue completely is also silly.

I haven't read the book in a while, but I don't recall Mrs. Bennet being particularly anti-Lizzie before the latter turns down Mr Collins. Was she? Did she incorrectly blame Lizzie for alienating Jane and Mr. Bingley?

You lot have made me want to re-read Austen for the Nth time. Thank you.

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Mr. Bennet is probably not too different from many of us, who want a little peace and quiet from the commotion in his house and probably couldn’t say no to his wife, who is truly annoying.  Mrs Bennet probably is not fond of Elizabeth because she has more of an ambition than simply getting married. 

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9781910924532

This book is incredibly sloppily put together (can't say poorly edited since I doubt it was edited at all), but Stamp is an interesting character and compelling story-teller. I finished it in less than 24 hours.

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Went back to my old copy which looks like this. Though I have never been to southern Spain and its favourite holiday destinations for Brits, I was surprised to find I've been to almost all Orwell's civil war places - Barcelona, Tarragona, Lerida, Zaragoza - as a result of a visit last year to my daughter, who was teaching English in the last-named city. 

As you might expect from this master of English prose, there are some spectacular action episodes, though the lengthy passages of political debate drop the temperature considerably.

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On 12/7/2017 at 3:40 PM, lipi said:

I do think his lack of concern about a match of any kind is foolish.

I haven't read the book in a while, but I don't recall Mrs. Bennet being particularly anti-Lizzie before the latter turns down Mr Collins. Was she? Did she incorrectly blame Lizzie for alienating Jane and Mr. Bingley?

You lot have made me want to re-read Austen for the Nth time. Thank you.

I agree that he is a bit too disinterested in the whole situation.  He really abdicated his responsibilities, and it is quite a wonder that any of these marriages come off.  He certainly had nothing to do with them.

Actually, yes, Austen says a couple of times that Elizabeth was her mother's least favorite child, probably at least in part because she was her father's favorite.  Also, Elizabeth shares her father's perspective that her mother (and youngest two sisters) are empty-headed ninnies, and even if she holds her tongue (which she doesn't always), people generally don't like other people who hold them in contempt.

I'm definitely glad that I returned to these, particularly Sense and Sensibility.  I'm going to try to get through Emma and Persuasion in 2018.

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On 11/30/2017 at 4:47 AM, ejp626 said:

Then Gerard Reve's The Evenings, which was only recently translated into English.  I think it is somewhat in the same vein as the other novels I just read, but perhaps I will like it more.  Or I may just be fooling myself.

 

I actually decided to delay The Evenings a bit.  Not because it is exceptionally boring, but because it is set in the last week or so of Dec 1946, and I might as well sync up with the calendar.

I'm nearly done with Narayan's The Guide.  While not a particularly complicated story, it is still a bit of a departure for Narayan in that it alternates chapter by chapter between the present and the past in telling the story of a tour guide turned mystic.  I'm enjoying it, as I did his early short stories.  I do somewhat regret not sticking to my earlier plan of reading one Narayan novel (and perhaps 2 by Mahfouz) to get through the whole lot in a year.  But I'll still get there, just on a delayed time table.

I'm about to launch into Trollope's The Way We Live Now.  I'm somewhat familiar with the characters from watching the first episode of the BBC version, but then I decided I really did want to read the novel first.  So the main challenge will be to try to get through this by the 22nd.  Fortunately I do have some time off from work...

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