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Old 05-01-2017, 08:59 PM   #1
ChloeTzang
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What are you reading this week?

I often come across new books and authors that are outside what I usually read by looking at what other people are reading. Noirtrash having introduced me to 1920's and 1930's Noir style books, I thought it'd be interesting to see what everyone else is reading from week to week. A bit of cross-pollination of ideas, so to speak. Maybe one book at a time....

So, to start the ball rolling and in the hope that anyone else might be interested ...

Right now, I'm reading Dashiel Hammett's "Nightmare Town"



Laconic coppers, lowlifes, and mysterious women double- and triple-cross their colleagues with practiced nonchalance. A man on a bender awakens in a small town with a dark mystery at its heart. A woman confronts a brutal truth about her husband. Here is classic noir: hard-boiled descriptions to rival Hemingway, verbal exchanges punctuated with pistol shots and fisticuffs. Devilishly plotted, whip-smart, impassioned, Nightmare Town is a treasury of tales from America's poet laureate of the dispossessed.
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:12 PM   #2
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Last week I read all of "Hamlet", this past weekend I read "the Hobbit". I do want to reread the entire series "the incarnations of immortality" by Piers Anthony sometime this year and possibly "Paradise Lost" by John Milton. I would love to add "Sleepy Hollow" to that list.
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:19 PM   #3
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I read stuff that virtually no one else reads. Right now I am working on "The Devil's Bride" By Seabury Quiinn which was first published serially in "Wierd Tales" From February to July 1932. This one has it all, abducted bride, ancient cults, ritual sacrifice, crucifixion and general mayhem all in Harrisonville, New Jersey!
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wifetheif View Post
I read stuff that virtually no one else reads. Right now I am working on "The Devil's Bride" By Seabury Quiinn which was first published serially in "Wierd Tales" From February to July 1932. This one has it all, abducted bride, ancient cults, ritual sacrifice, crucifixion and general mayhem all in Harrisonville, New Jersey!
I have a few old Weird Tales magazines, That "The Devil's Bride" story looks a classic

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Old 05-01-2017, 10:59 PM   #5
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Reading? Like fiction or something?
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Old 05-01-2017, 11:15 PM   #6
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Nocturnal Animals, by Austin Wright. Originally published in 1993 as Tony and Susan, now re-issued on the back of the recent Tom Ford movie.

Gritty stuff, even Noir might like it - but possibly not. Amy Adams is excellent as Susan in the movie; she's shaping up as my favourite new actress, got a little of Theresa Russell about her. Now there was a woman who smouldered, serious heat, gonna burn!
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Old 05-01-2017, 11:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kantarii View Post
...and possibly "Paradise Lost" by John Milton...🌹
I've managed to get as far as Satan climbing to the top of the pit a couple of times, but the imagery is so incredibly rich my head explodes and I can go no further. I must try again, one day, I want to know what happens!

When I think of Milton, I think of the last book of Pullman's His Dark Materials, with God feebly pottering about in his wheelchair, up against the magnificence of the fallen angels.
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:41 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by NotWise View Post
Reading? Like fiction or something?
Like anything st all, fiction or non-fiction. Whatever you're reading.
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Old 05-02-2017, 03:49 AM   #9
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I'm currently reading Picture This by Joseph Heller.

The story is mixing ancient Greek and Renaissance Europe history, mainly featuring Aristotle, Socrates and Rembrandt. It features art, philosophy, politics and capitalism. I guess there are analogs with here and now.



The book was given to me, so I really want to finish it; I can see it is very well written, but somehow I just don't have the 'click' with it. Already when reading the first sentence:
Quote:
ARISTOTLE CONTEMPLATING the bust of Homer thought often of Socrates while Rembrandt dressed him with paint in a white Renaissance surplice and a medieval black robe and encased him with shadows.
I knew I was in trouble... I find it depressing to read, but maybe if I open it again next year, I will appreciate it.

Something similar happened with this book:



I bought Stone Kingdoms twenty years ago, tried to read it, but couldn't get past the first few pages. After a few years, I opened it again, still nothing. But then, a few years ago, I gave it one more try and for some reason it grabbed me and I read it in one day - I just couldn't put it away. And now I have all other stories from this author; I really appreciate his style now.

The story is about a girl, hoping for something better. It shifts between three time periods:
her life as a small girl, growing up in a village in Donegal, Ireland, strongly influenced by her father, a protestant pastor in a predominantly catholic environment;
her life as a young teacher, trying to make a difference in religiously disrupted Belfast;
and her life as a naïve humanitarian worker in a refugee camp in Africa.

I guess the most important message of this book is about how groups of people absorb individuals; how being part of a group takes away the identity of those individuals, takes away their restraints and force them, or perhaps enable them, to perform unimaginable horror.

I promised myself that, if I manage to finish "Picture this", I'm allowed to re-read "Stone Kingdoms" as a reward...
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Old 05-02-2017, 04:33 AM   #10
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I discovered 2 hard crime/noir writers I had no idea existed.

They are ENNIS WILLIE and DON PENDLETON.

Willie published like 3 novels and a few stories. Pendleton published like 40 novels featuring a Mafia assassin, and 6-8 novels of a private eye with a bad attitude. Both writers knew how to write noir.

Also reading a noir novel by Roderick Tghorp. THE DETECTIVE. Thorp created the DIE HARD books.

Plus 2 military memoirs.
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:09 AM   #11
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I'm teaching myself German and comics are great for that. So, zwei deutsches Bilderbücher: "Sieben Jahre mit Garg" and "Varieté Obscur". Both written by Asp* & illustrated by Ingo Römling, but very different styles.

"Sieben Jahre mit Garg" is a cute fun comic about a goth who finds a baby monster on his doorstep and adopts her, with a Calvin and Hobbes sort of feel.

"Varieté Obscur" is about a detective who goes to a creepy magical burlesque club and...I'm still not entirely sure what happens to him. I need to sit down with a German-English dictionary and work through the text.

*my very favourite German musician, along with his band ASP. Do feel free to ask me about them if you enjoy listening to somebody who won't stop talking about how great their favourite band is.
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:20 AM   #12
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"Five forget Mother's Day"
Actually, it's done as "Enid Blyton for grown-ups", with a text by Bruno Vincent.

There are several of these; all terribly 'English'. Timmy must be in his 9th incarnation by now, but the whole damned thing is very funny.
Next up, "Five give up the Booze".
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Old 05-02-2017, 12:14 PM   #13
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Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent

and

Donna Leon's Through A Glass, Darkly
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Old 05-02-2017, 03:49 PM   #14
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Anne Rice "The Witching Hour"

Bought it two weeks ago. Not reading as much as I'd like due to sleepiness before bed, which when I like to read books.
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Old 05-02-2017, 04:03 PM   #15
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Anne Rice "The Witching Hour"

Bought it two weeks ago. Not reading as much as I'd like due to sleepiness before bed, which when I like to read books.
Run while you can. That's the first book in a series of three and although the history of the Mayfair family is interesting...its an uneven train wreck that will make you toss the third book across the room if you manage to suffer through three books of 'wait, its not what you think."
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Old 05-02-2017, 04:06 PM   #16
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I like to 'wax nostalgic' and every so often I go out and find a cheesy book I read as a teen and reread it to see if I still like it or its now just an eye roller.

This is the latest.
Check the price at the bottom $1.50....for a paperback. Dem were the days!

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Old 05-02-2017, 04:32 PM   #17
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Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent

and

Donna Leon's Through A Glass, Darkly
Do you recommend the Bryson book? I really enjoyed Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country.
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Old 05-02-2017, 04:37 PM   #18
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I am not sure I honestly can say that I am reading it "right now," but I have the Marquis de Sade's Justine in the drawer in my bed stand, and I pull it out from time to time and read it in bits. It is interminable, and I don't think I'll get through it, so I need to find something more easily digestible. It definitely would not get past Laurel's content standards.
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Old 05-02-2017, 04:49 PM   #19
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I am not sure I honestly can say that I am reading it "right now," but I have the Marquis de Sade's Justine in the drawer in my bed stand, and I pull it out from time to time and read it in bits. It is interminable, and I don't think I'll get through it, so I need to find something more easily digestible. It definitely would not get past Laurel's content standards.
What's disturbing about Desade's Justine and 120 days of Sodom is that was BDSM in its infancy and with no rules. This was before safe sane and consensual and pretty much abuse and non con.

That in itself isn't disturbing as we evolved past that, but these days BDSM has been plunged back into rape and abuse and non consent by authors writing non con and hiding it under BDSM and worse, a faction of abusers who are trying to remove consent from BDSM as a lifestyle.

And don't kid yourself about what gets through here.
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Old 05-02-2017, 04:57 PM   #20
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Do you recommend the Bryson book? I really enjoyed Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country.
For most of his books, you have to be prepared for his disparaging almost everything he encounters. The humor with which he does it gives a chuckle as long as it's not your ox being gored. I thought Sunburned Country, which I read while I was visiting Australia, was great. The Australians might not think it's so, but I didn't notice the disparaging aspect all that much in it. I enjoyed Walk in the Woods, but it's more happenstance built on stupidity than a primer in hiking the Appalachian trail. The Lost Continent that I'm now reading is pretty testy and he's gotten some of his geographical positions of this and that wrong. Like maybe he didn't take detailed notes and didn't do proper research later. If you like his humor and have a thick skin on your own places and time, he's enjoyable. With that caveat, I read his books. I'm seeing a lot of small town American now, so the book fits the travel.
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:38 PM   #21
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What's disturbing about Desade's Justine and 120 days of Sodom is that was BDSM in its infancy and with no rules. This was before safe sane and consensual and pretty much abuse and non con.

That in itself isn't disturbing as we evolved past that, but these days BDSM has been plunged back into rape and abuse and non consent by authors writing non con and hiding it under BDSM and worse, a faction of abusers who are trying to remove consent from BDSM as a lifestyle.

And don't kid yourself about what gets through here.
I don't especially have a concern about that. I draw a very bright and clear line between the real world and the fantasy world of online erotica, or fiction generally. Laurel's exclusions work just fine with me because I have no interest in the things she excludes, but in theory I don't think it's any more objectionable than the sadistic violence you can see on television almost any night of the week.
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:40 PM   #22
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For most of his books, you have to be prepared for his disparaging almost everything he encounters. The humor with which he does it gives a chuckle as long as it's not your ox being gored. I thought Sunburned Country, which I read while I was visiting Australia, was great. The Australians might not think it's so, but I didn't notice the disparaging aspect all that much in it. I enjoyed Walk in the Woods, but it's more happenstance built on stupidity than a primer in hiking the Appalachian trail. The Lost Continent that I'm now reading is pretty testy and he's gotten some of his geographical positions of this and that wrong. Like maybe he didn't take detailed notes and didn't do proper research later. If you like his humor and have a thick skin on your own places and time, he's enjoyable. With that caveat, I read his books. I'm seeing a lot of small town American now, so the book fits the travel.
Thank you for the response. I have a thick skin and it wouldn't bother me if he wanted to gore any oxes I hold dear. I enjoy his neurotic sense of humor even though I'm not that way.
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:01 PM   #23
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I don't especially have a concern about that. I draw a very bright and clear line between the real world and the fantasy world of online erotica, or fiction generally. Laurel's exclusions work just fine with me because I have no interest in the things she excludes, but in theory I don't think it's any more objectionable than the sadistic violence you can see on television almost any night of the week.
You obviously have not read de Sade's 120 days of Sodom. LC was being kind. The writing itself is chaotic, nothing like any of his other works. There's no cohesion, simply manic thoughts scribbled to paper. The more he writes, the worse it gets. The violence puts today's severely psychotic serial killers in a class of "maybe he wasn't such a bad guy after all." Honestly, none of de Sade's works were pieces of brilliance. I much prefer DH Lawrence or Henry Miller.

My most recent reads this week were ironically by authors on Lit. (one recently posted, and another, still a work in progress. Both far exceeded my expectations and no doubt will be well received by readers)
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:37 PM   #24
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You obviously have not read de Sade's 120 days of Sodom. LC was being kind. The writing itself is chaotic, nothing like any of his other works. There's no cohesion, simply manic thoughts scribbled to paper. The more he writes, the worse it gets. The violence puts today's severely psychotic serial killers in a class of "maybe he wasn't such a bad guy after all." Honestly, none of de Sade's works were pieces of brilliance. I much prefer DH Lawrence or Henry Miller.

My most recent reads this week were ironically by authors on Lit. (one recently posted, and another, still a work in progress. Both far exceeded my expectations and no doubt will be well received by readers)
You're right, I haven't read it, but reading it probably wouldn't change my opinion. I don't defend de Sade's views. My sense from reading what I've read is that he probably wasn't entirely right in the head. There's a lot of philosophizing in Justine. I don't agree with any of it.

My point is that as a fiction reader I don't care. I can appreciate the works of authors who have created universes with whose moral or scientific or aesthetic premises I totally disagree. And above all I support the right of authors to write their fantasies, however objectionable they may be to someone else.

What were the works you read that you liked on Lit?
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:47 PM   #25
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I'm currently reading Johannes Cabal the Necromancer



It's the first of a series. I think I'm a bit late to the party, but it's weirdly funny and well written.

The blurb: "A charmingly gothic, fiendishly funny Faustian tale about a brilliant scientist who makes a deal with the Devil, twice."
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