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What are you reading?


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#31 whitelight

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 06:28 AM

I picked up a signed copy of Yvonne Rainer's new autobiography/memoir collection, Feelings are Facts. It's terribly interesting, and very easy to read, though it does skip around a bit, and it's hard to keep all of the people straight.

#32 miliosr

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 07:04 AM

I just finished rereading Patti Smith's Early Work: 1970-79. As the name implies, this volume is a collection of her writings from the 1970s, when she rose to prominence as punk rock's "poet laureate".

Since its release in 1994, I've returned to this book every so often to see if the writings contained within it have become more accessible in the intervening years. Sorry to say that they haven't -- much of her 70s output is still very difficult even for someone like me who is familar with her recorded output. I think many of these pieces only work in performance -- hearing Smith perform them in that ultra-distinctive South Jersey drawl of hers is a more rewarding experience than trying to read them on the printed page.

#33 kfw

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 11:19 AM

I've been reading Czeslaw Milosz's little book "The Witness of Poetry," reading poems by Jane Kenyon in "Otherwise," plus dipping into Antonia Fraser's "Marie Antoinette: The Journey" and redipping into Lincoln Kirstein's Thirty Years: The New York City Ballet." My father recently gave me "Celtic Dawn: A Portrait of the Irish Literary Renaissance," but first I have to read the manuscript he's just sent me of his Revolutionary War novel. Oh, and my wife and I are reading aloud G.K. Chesterton's "Everlasting Man." Yikes!

#34 dirac

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 11:03 AM

Thanks to all of you for keeping this thread going.

whitelight writes: It's terribly interesting, and very easy to read, though it does skip around a bit,

A common and very helpful evasive tactic when composing a memoir. :blushing:

miliosr writes:

I think many of these pieces only work in performance -- hearing Smith perform them in that ultra-distinctive South Jersey drawl of hers is a more rewarding experience than trying to read them on the printed page.


Agreed. They’re meant to be set to music or spoken aloud – there are no echoes when you read them to yourself.

kfw writes:

my wife and I are reading aloud G.K. Chesterton's "Everlasting Man."


I’ve never read any of Chesterton’s apologetics save in snippets but I did enjoy his Father Brown stories in the long ago, and of course his memorable versified rebuke to the future Lord Birkenhead. I'm sure your father did a fine job. On what aspect of the era does his novel focus?

#35 papeetepatrick

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 06:46 PM

DeLillo's 'The Body Artist.' This is a small, fierce thing (124 pp.) Dancers should find it fascinating, as it is written in an extremely stylized way and details very highly charged space and minute movement within it. The body artist character Lauren Hartke suggests somewhat those performance artists like Orlan and Stelarc, although without the extremes of mutilation. Many DeLillo fans did not care for this 2001 pared-down and very abstruse style, which he continued in 'Cosmopolis' from 2003, because of the previous lush books like 'Underworld'. I just read this and tend to still think that DeLillo can do no wrong; I am not alone in thinking that he is the most powerful living American fiction writer.

#36 sandik

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 09:42 PM

I was heartened to see the mention of Sarah Vowell -- I just finished reading Partly Cloudy Patriot to my 12 year old for bedtime reading (that is actually where I do most of my non-dance reading). I liked her Assasination Vacation very much.

I read On Photography while I was a grad student and was swept away Sontag's respect for the act of looking, which stays with me today as I watch dance. I don't know that I would feel the same way if I were to re-read it, though it stays in a very prominent place on my shelves.

#37 dirac

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 04:56 PM

I'm revisiting Marilynne Robinson's "Housekeeping" currently, and dipping into a book on heraldry.

#38 Rosie

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 12:12 PM

I´m reading the sixith Harry Potter book, harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it´s exiting but my favorite one is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
I love to read books about ballet :beg: and enjoy books about baking.
I love baking it´s very fun :beg:

#39 kfw

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 05:42 PM

I'm revisiting Marilynne Robinson's "Housekeeping" currently, and dipping into a book on heraldry.

I'll have to try "Housekeeping" someday. I loved "Gilead" at first, with its ever so wise and humble and affable first person protagonist, but after awhile as he just went on being So wise and So humble and So . . . I put it down for awhile and had to force myself to finish. I admire her creation of the character more than I enjoyed much of the book, and a friend felt the same way.

I did enjoy the several essays I've read from her collection, "The Death of Adam."

As for my father's novel, it begins on Saturday, April 8, 1775 and ends on Tuesday, June 6, 1775.

#40 dirac

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 01:06 PM

I bought 'Gilead' but haven't begun it yet. It received glowing reviews, but I had the impression they weren't so much for the book (or only for the book, let's say) as they were for Robinson -- everyone was so pleased to have her back. :) 'Housekeeping' is a beautiful book. Robinson also has a piece in the current Harper's, reviewing Richard Dawkins' latest book.

#41 richard53dog

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 07:09 AM

I'm reading Saving Fish From Drowning right now. I know, I know it's a book from last year, not new but I'm always lagging behind anyway.

After that I have The Confession by James McGreevey. I don't know how much national interest there is in this one, but here in NJ , it's a hot book.

A second bio of a NJ gov was also recently published, Governor Tom Kean. I wonder if the publish date was timed to coincide with his son's bid for one of the NJ Senate seats??

#42 bart

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 08:44 AM

Still proceeding slowly through Claire Messud's "The Emperor's Children." It's very intelligently written, but the topic -- centering on a number of young-ish Manhattanites immediately proceeding 9/11 -- seems that it could apply equally well to the mid-1960s, when I was one of a similar group of people.

I actually had a great deal of identification, and could remember individual friends at the time who seemed to be well "caught" here. However, she does not handle male characters at all as well as female, something not often noted in reviews of this kind of literature.

So, I've taken a break to read three short novels about ... Napoleon. (Maybe the word "Emperor" in Messud's title gave me a subliminal idea.) They're translations of Patrick Rambaud's trilogy: The Battle (about the Aspern-Essling battle outisde Vienna in 1809), The Retreat (about the invasion of Russia in 1812), and Napoleon's Exile (on Elba, not the one on St. Helena).

Rambaud, who has won a Prix Goncourt, combines historical characters (very accurately, it seems to me) and fictional participants. There are wonderful insights into Napoleon's character and personallity -- and into the process by which his associates, although becoming more and more appalled by how out of touch with reality he was becoming, and how unwilling he was to adjust his preconceptions to new realities, remained fatally in thrall to him nonetheless.

Rambaud led me back to Alan Schom's biography of Napoleon, certainly the most overtly hostile of the really serious scholarly books about this topic. Schom, who considers Napoleon to have been the most destructive European political figure since Attilla, relies rather undiscriminately on some hostile and possibly inaccurate memoires of those who knew Napoleon, but makes a pretty convincing case.

Napoleon in power showed a truly imperial disregard for human life -- an inability to be self-critical -- a contempt for and unwillingness to consider any reality that countered his prior judgments -- and a tendency towards maudlin self-pity when faced with criticism or hostility. These qualties make him seem a rather "modern" national leader indeed. :clapping:

#43 dirac

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 03:09 PM

I'm reading Saving Fish From Drowning right now. I know, I know it's a book from last year, not new but I'm always lagging behind anyway.


I read relatively few new books, myself. I tend to come to them a year or two later, at least, and I don't rush out and buy something because it's selling well and getting great reviews -- I'll likely check out a library copy, unless I'm in a bookstore and make an impulse purchase, which happens regularly.

.

#44 richard53dog

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Posted 23 October 2006 - 06:03 PM

buy something because it's selling well and getting great reviews -- I'll likely check out a library copy, unless I'm in a bookstore and make an impulse purchase, which happens regularly.

.



I now WORK in a college library and process all the books that come in. So I know just what will show up on the "new books" shelves

:tiphat: :devil: :devil:

#45 vagansmom

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 10:56 AM

I just started rereading Paul Scott's The Raj Quartet . I first read the four books in this series at the time that PBS was airing its miniseries, The Jewel in the Crown (first book in the series).These books taught me all I knew at the time of British imperialism in India and I remember that I loved the prose. Now, all these years later, with many more years of Middle Eastern events having occurred and, hopefully, with my own increased awareness and perhaps some wisdom, I realized it's just the right time to revisit the series.


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