Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Great Book

"Atonement" by Ian McEwan. Highly recommend. Very sad in a strange and removed way, very epic and wonderful. Just thought I'd mention it.

51 comments:

fairy butler said...

someone else was just recommending this also. i will look into. the next bookclub book for me is freakanomics. hmmm. i just finished augsten burrough's "dry". engrossing read - i was sick so read the whole book this weekend.

sloth said...

awesome book, mm. also please please read "Everlasting Love" by same, if you haven't yet. loved it. Will try "Dry," FB. After finishing "Middlesex," the bar has been set pretty high... just doing crosswords, for now.

Mountain Man said...

Augusten Burroughs, I have heard he is a really funny writer but have resisted in the same way I have resisted David Sedaris. Don't know what that's about quite. But I will try it. I started Middlesex and couldn't get through the first 100 pages. I have heard people love it so will try again. But I am definitely reading more Ian Mcewan after Atonement. It was masterful and I was totally emotionally wrapped up in the characters, stifling back crying at the end.

Crosswords are always good in the meantime until you find your next great book. I am just starting also "Landscape and Memory" by Simon Schama. It is totally different, nonfiction, sort of histories of landscape types - starting with woods in Eastern Europe and Germany and how their histories and the way they've been described and depicted change inalterably our perceptions of them. It's part reverie, part crash course in history, which I am always in need of. The brain is a bit porous with factual information - in one ear and within a year definitely out the other.

I am sure that the memory eraser potion I drink each night is not helping.

On that subject, Sloth, thank you for letting me grab at you inappropriately last night. I must see Hyena's pictures from the frenzy. I take comfort in knowing it wasn't only me who was acting nuts!!!

Corny said...

Atonment was increadable and harsh, almost to much to bare... It's an upsetting story that left me feeling gutted by the author. Theres alway a point in his stories where everything gets twisted inside out and things go from bad to worse. I was hesitant to read his newest, Saturday but ended up liking it a lot. Definitely recommend it.

postmoderndebunker said...

I read AMSTERDAM by Ian McEwan and was not into it so I did not read other books. I absolutely loved LANDSCAPE AND MEMORY! So great and dense. I look at it the other day and thought about rereading. LOVED Middlesex too. Just read a boring book called THE LAST PAINTING about finding a Carravaggio ptg.

postmoderndebunker said...

I have resisted Burroughs too, because I am sure the comparison to Sedaris is superficial. I read somewhere that when Burroughs turned in his first book...the editor practically had to teach him how to write a sentence.

krixfort said...

I read both Running with Scissors and Dry. I like Burroughs's style but I have to say Dry made me want eviscerate myself. A little too much pain to endure. I did read it in one night, however.

krixfort said...

Currently reading The Better of McSweeneys. Fantastic short stories. Recommend highly.

fairy butler said...

I really liked Middlesex - and mm, the beginning was certainly NOT the good part so maybe give it another go? A Burroughs is nothing 'literary' and is like Sedaris but they are entertaining reads with nuggets of realness.

I like this book forum. Maybe we should all put together a top ten reads from the last 6 months?

pd said...

Me too. I'm gonna start my list.

rattlecam said...

here are some spy shots from last night. I detect a theme:

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=82835113&size=o

sloth said...

The correct title is "Enduring Love".... whoops. The brain cells are becoming an endangered species.

sloth said...

Thank you Hyena for that correction.

Corny said...

The photo page is private. Bummer, wanna see the pics.
I'm inspired to work on a book list.
I'll put it up on a blog called nowhere tomorrow...

MM the history of Germany/East Europe is so crazy complicated, a revolving door of invading forces, I'm reading a book on the subject now...
Landscape and Memory sounds good

rattlecam said...

sorry 'bout that:

http://static.flickr.com/37/82835113_9abc846227_o.jpg

Mountain Man said...

Freaking Christ. Woah. Those pics are something. A lot of tit grabbing. I take full responsibility. I am an instigator of inappropriateness.

sloth said...

ems, that is one of your many lovable qualities! hugs.

Mountain Man said...

I totally agree about the top 10 books. I am working. And the Redon post is coming this weekend, I swear.

I am thinking, tentatively, in no particular order:

Atonement
Landscape and Memory
The Night Studio
The Human Stain
The Epicure's Lament
A book by Johanna Drucker whose name I forget...
On Pictures and the Words that Fail Them (James Elkins...sorry, I'm a fan.)
The Bell Jar
Don't laugh but Open to Desire by Mark Epstein, it's ok if you want to shoot me...
I Love Dick by Chris Kraus, which I read a few years ago and then re-read. I find it brilliant, entertaining and abject in the most engrossing way.

There's more I can't think of. Definitive list later.

sloth said...

Excellent list!

Johanna Drucker book = "Sweet Dreams."

Now I'm totally curious about "Open to Desire"....

Fish Face said...

Open to Desire is a good book for those who suffer the torment of being themselves, like myself.

Sloth you are a healing balm, even for someone like me whose face is fishly.

Mountain Man said...

Corny I am curious to know what book you are reading now...Landscape and Memory is interesting because it starts with the woods of Poland, meandering through a little Medieval history, mentioning the resistance fighters who hid there during WW 2 and then to the present day experience of the author's own seeing of the landscape. That's just the very beginning of the book. So it is indirect history, which sometimes is more helpful for me to really absorb, than something that is more informational and thorough.

Corny, FB, PD, Krix, anyone, I am looking forward to your lists.

Corny said...

I just posted my book list... I only posted 5 cause I can't remember what i've read in the past 6 months...makes me wonder what the point of reading. loosely fastened to the stem is a thin slice of lacey swiss cheese waving gently on the soft breeze passing thru the skull cavity. talk about porous brains...

Cheez Wizard said...

Corny, that description of what I am assuming is your brain was poetic and beautiful. I am always grateful when someone uses cheez or even cheese as a metaphor.

Corny said...

hahahahaha the pictures are outstanding. MM Your medical expertise in the field of brest examination is appreciated

sloth said...

Not so much reading going on at Log; poor retention due to tiny sloth-brain. Here are a few recentish books:

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles - Murakami (mysterious and weird, i.e., good read)

Colors Insulting to Nature - Cintra Wilson (bought because of the cover image. kind of falls apart towards the end, but fun anyhow)

The Little Friend - Donna Tartt (loved it)

Headlong - Michael Frayn (about a Breughel painting... really enjoyable book)

HFP has been reading the Patrick O'Brian series; he's up to #16 and dreading the point where he finishes the series & runs out of books. He also just finished "The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth, which he raved about but says is "scary."

fairy butler said...

both that donna tart book - little friend - and the new philip roth were kind of trashed by the critics when they came out if i remember right. and, while i like both of those authors, i avoided. now i am thinking- why did i listen? you are recommending both! right on. i heart philip roth sooo much. just saying. thanks for your lists guys. i will need to work on mine.

Mountain Man said...

Oh good, more books!!! I love Murakami. I got a book of his for Xmas, Kafka on the Shore. Have you ever read his short stories? The Elephant Vanishes is a great collection.

Meanwhile I can't stop blogging and I am supposed to be:

1. writing a recommendation and filling out forms

2. balancing checkbook and figuring out what went wrong - i am completely out of cash, went to the atm and there was nothing in there. very confusing as last time i checked before the holidays i thought i was if not flush then on the ok side. this is mysterious and i hardly want to deal

3. figure out what to do about the fact that i have several months of backed up student loan payments and they are now calling all the time....ooopsy!!

4. clean up clothes that are in piles everywhere

5. clean drool off chin

6. clean self

7. clean up my act

8. cleanse my soul (if i have one, which i may not)

9. blog more in order to avoid the above-mentioned

sloth said...

MM, don't worry about the student loansharks. They are very forgiving, as long as you call them & reassure them once in awhile.

Mountain Man said...

I know Slothy. I am avoidant.

Philip Roth is amazing!!!! I agree FB. Have not read Donna Tartt. This is all very heady and I am glad we are talking books!!!

Mountain Man said...

Speaking of heady, did you know that my head shrunk to a diameter of 5 inches? I have ordered your waffle-rat hat off your blog Sloth. Please send it over soon!! I promise to pay you as soon as I get my clams in order.

sloth said...

oops and ruh-roh.... sorry HFP for misrepresenting your opinion of the Philip Roth book. I guess it started out pretty well, but he says it was ultimately "unsatisfying," and by the end he was "glad to be rid of it" (!!!)

The Donna Tartt recommendation stands.

sloth said...

MM, the tiny-head look is all the rage. You are rad and fashion-forward.

sloth said...

Tried to read "The Great Fire" by Shirley Hazzard, which others recommended, but couldn't get into it.

mountain man said...

I hate when I can't get into a book that others love. Often it is worth sticking it out, but I feel like if I am forcing myself to pay attention and re-focus over and over, why waste the time. Other people are die-hard must finish the book no matter what.

Let's have another list: The Bottom 10 or 5 or however many you can think of...Here is one:

Everything is Illuminated - SUCK UPON SUCK!!!! Started out so promisingly and turned to shit right quickly. Someone I know called it "Shtetl Porn." Ha.

krixfort said...

due to the constraints of NYU and the cubes, the last books I bought were Media and Society along with ASP.NET programming with Visual Basic.net. NOT on the top 10.

Here is what I am trying to read right now between semesters.

The Sound and the Fury - Faulkner
Visions of Cody - Kerouac
How to Breathe Underwater - Julie Oringer
Blink - Malcolm Gladwell

I'll send over the top 10 books later. Way more interesting.

krixfort said...

I hate reading a bad book mm. I always feel so violated after. Worse than bad movies.

mountain man said...

Wow Krix, that's a brainful of book between semesters. Faulkner was one of my favorite writers in college, it's been so long since I've read anything by him. I loved Light in August. He's a good one to re-visit. Gnar, too much to read out there, too much to do, too much life to be lived and here I sit at the frigging computer. Must chop hands off and stop this damn blogging. CEASE!!!

krixfort said...

I never read the Faulkner. Going for it now though. I'm going to bookmark your post so I have good lists to refer back to when looking for new material.

nardlet said...

I have a weakness for a certain stripe of brit writers... Julian Barnes, Martin Amis, Nick Hornby. Can overdose on same, though.

sloth said...

HATE: Paul Auster

mountain man said...

Wow Slothy, you hate Paul Auster. Interesting. You are a world of furry surprises.

I think I am going into breast withdrawal.

All the signs are there - shaky hands, porpoise-like movements of the thighs, drooling, the desire to squish...

sloth said...

Elaboration: he is probably not a "bad" writer, just annoying, plus it was an irritating person who insisted that I "must" read his books, plus he is a fawning poster-boy for NPR, which is a huge mark against him, in the Book of Sloth.

Corny said...

I hate Paul Auster too. Mrs.Cub likes him and it's something we've gotten into nasty scraps about on more then one occation.

Donna Tart's book The Little friend is BRILLIANT.

Mountain Man said...

I am a fan of Auster, I have to admit. Moon Palace I really liked, a book that was all about timing for me, having just moved to New York. There might be books I'd read now and think were shit that back then had all kinds of special resonance.

Here's a guilty admission, although I loved The Crying of Lot 49, V was impenetrable to me, unreadable. I wished otherwise. My ADD gets in the way.

One of my absolute favorite authors ever is Donald Barthelme, his collection 60 Stories is so self-consciously strange and embarrassing, wish I could come up with a better description but here's a quote from his story "On the Steps of the Conservatory":

-C'mon Hilda don't fret.
-Well Maggie it's a blow.
-Don't let it bother you, don't let it get you down.
-Once I thought they were going to admit me to the Conservatory but now I know they will never admit me to the Conservatory.
-Yes they are very particular about who they admit to the Conservatory. They will never admit you to the Conservatory.
-They will never admit me to the Conservatory, I know that now.
-You are not Conservatory material, I'm afraid. That's the plain truth of it.
-You're not important, they told me, just remember that, you're not important, what's so important about you? What?

Mountain Man said...

Wow that's so great to me I think it should be it's own post.

fairy butler said...

ok. here is a list of sorts. books read recently that i dug. this is hard. I can't remember anything that i read. looking at bookshelf to remember.

1. Reefer Madness - Eric Schlosser (author of fast food nation). discussion of drug laws, illegal immigrant-fueled farming in CA and porn. The porn section is least interesting. The book makes one shake with indignation/rage the entire read.

2. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell i can't even describe this - literary sci-fi maybe?

3. Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norell - susanna clarke. this is where my namesake is from. story of magicians through time and evil faeries - for those with weakness for harry potter-adult

4. Heaven Lake - John Dalton Story of midwest missionary in taiwan who gets embroiled in a mess that takes him all over china.

5. deKooning bio - for all my irritation wih this at times I still really enjoyed it.

6. The Kite Runner - It gets overwrought at moments but I was surprised how much I like this book afterall - arthur as well.

7. Running with Scissors - Augusten Burroughs. - mostly an entertainment read but still compelling. wacked out story of kid with dysfunctional family - mom is narcissist poet who sends her kid to live with her crazy shrink in a freak house. etc. etc etc.

PS. MM. I HATED that stupid everything is illuminated so much but i dutifully read it to the end like an ass. still hated.

nardlet - i too like those brit writers. they are good.

mountain man said...

I just got the Kite Runner for Xmas. Curious but somehow intuited preciousness within its covers.

DeKooning bio is next up for me after the Schama. I read some of it over UF's shoulder on a plane once and it seemed totally suck-you-in...I like to pretend I could start a brawl over art someday. All fists, bloody eyes, drunken drooling, etc.

mountain man said...

Thanks for your list FB. I would like to know which one of your fairy strangeness, sci-fi books was your favorite, which one you could recommend to someone who is not too familiar with this genre. I am curious.

fairy butler said...

yes, mm. kite runner has preciousness/pedestrianess - but still i liked it anyway. i am an easy lay with the books. just so you know.

for the sci-fi hmmm. i really liked cloud atlas although some hated. it's not really sci-fi but has the future element. hard to explain.

for straight- up classic sci fi i recommend bruce sterling's schismatrix. Or... Neil stephenson. (snow crash)

fairy butler said...

note: I am a secret geek of geeks. i read all the harry potter books and see the movies in the theater. i am scary this way.

for good sci-fi - philip k dick. anything by him. but i am sure you have read.

mountain man said...

I love Philip Dick!!! Yes to that. But thanks for the ideas. I can be a sucker too for hopalong narratives, even if they are of the precious/pedestrian type.