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I just finished reading...

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Squire Jons, Jun 1, 2004.

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  1. jay

    jay New Member

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    Hmm, I may have (stupidly) mixed terminology. With Chuck I was moreso talking about his very annoying tendency to break a line
    mid-sentence, as if
    he were
    trying to achieve some
    kind of poetic
    metre.

    But yes, observing not just the story but the way the writer chose to tell it can be interesting.
    Or annoying.


    I was still pondering _The Namesake_ a few nights ago…I have to believe she had that particular end of the story in mind as she was working up to it, and just fleshing out a mid-story. I still stick by my theory that it would have worked extremely better as a short story (or a ‘novella’, a dying term) and either eliminating the Maxine subplot and/or the wife subplot.
    Gogol’s father diees, after all the ceremony stuff is over, the mother decides to go back to India and then Gogol finds the book. The End.

    If you can’t track any Gogol down let me know…

    See you,
    j
     
  2. sanyuja

    sanyuja New Member

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    Oh, ok. I will keep my eyes wide open, anyway.

    Really? I never felt that way. Rather, the ending came as a surprise for me. Because I thought there was more to come.

    Well, tastes differ. If you think this should have been a short story, try her first book 'Interpreter of Maladies.' Have you read it? I have read only the first story and I loved it. Short and succinct. I think she just took a short story and went on adding pages to it and ended up with 'Namesake.' I am sure you will agree!

    Sure!
     
  3. jay

    jay New Member

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    More The Namesake spoilers

    I never ‘saw it coming’ [the ending], frankly I thought maybe she’d go down the baby-route like we previously mentioned. (I’m glad she didn’t)
    I’m just guessing that *she* had the idea that that is how the story will end.
    Some writers know the ending and just write into/up to it, others have premise for a story and let it ‘write itself’ and are sometimes as startled by the character development or ending as the reader.

    Only a few of the shorts that appeared around (The New Yorker, etc). Pretty good, yes.
    If anything, it was nice to see a collection of short win an award such as the Pulitzer.

    That was a bit of my thinking but I didn’t want to outright accuse her of that.
    Knowing she was comfortable with the short form may have been in the back of my mind when creating my particular critique (although I can’t think of the last book I read that I didn’t think could use a big edit, I am under the firm belief that any story, with very few exceptions, can be told in 300 pages).

    It’s a rare thing for someone working mainly in short stories to not attempt a novel, many, like Raymond Carver, totally abandoned it as an uncomfortable thing.
    Amy Hempel, someone who works _very_ “small, concise, precise”, at first thought she had a novel in-progress but it wound up being a ‘novella’.

    I can think of very few writers who excel(ed) at both. Maybe William Faulkner. James Joyce.
    Hemingway was great at shorts, less so at novels. Same with F. Scott, and John Cheever. And Ann Beattie and TC Boyle, to drop a few current names.

    Reality is, a short story needs to be combined with (around, at least) 8-10 _other_ stories for the writer to be able to release it in book form (journal and periodical publishing is nice, but doesn’t pay the metaphorical rent), whereas an overwritten story can be a novel and thereby have potential at film rights, etc.
    The art of the short story, as Frank Zappa once said about jazz, “may not be dead, but it smells funny”.

    j
     
  4. Harry Gamblor

    Harry Gamblor New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Hayduke Lives
    Walden; Or Life in the Woods by Henry D. Thoreau

    It's an amazing read. Not just a normal description about how he lived, but more importantly it's an extreme honest insight into his mind and character. He lets us know what's really important to him, what matters to him etc.
    For me it's always hard to write about a book that had such a huge impact on me, like this one definitely had (just like The Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine had).

    Walden; or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau is one of my favorite books and i would recommend it to absolutely anyone!
     
  5. Pearl

    Pearl New Member

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    The Lunatic Cafe by Laurel K. Hamilton. The Fourth book in the Anita Blake series. As always, it could have been a lot better, but still great.
     
  6. hay82

    hay82 Active Member

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    Currently Reading:
    The Gathering Storm
    Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. I really liked the book and there were some ideas to think about. Could have done without the 76 page long introduction, made by someone who didn't really impress me.
     
  7. Harry Gamblor

    Harry Gamblor New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Hayduke Lives
    Yesterday i finished **** Machine by Charles Bukwoski.
    Many of the short stories were pretty good, some were even great. Sometimes it gets a little repetitive, but most of the time the stories are fun to read. Some stories are quite unusual and weren't actually what i expected from Bukwoski, but it was a positive suprise.
    All in all i would say it's a good, easy, entertaining and fun to read.
     
  8. StillILearn

    StillILearn New Member

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    Anything I can lay my hands on
    I picked up my first Amy Hempel today -- The Dog of the Marriage , and I didn't put it down until I'd finished it.

    She's good.
     
  9. jay

    jay New Member

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    Glad to hear you liked her.
    She simply blows me away...
    j
     
  10. Tom

    Tom New Member

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    Tobacco Road by Eskine Caldwell. It was okay.
     
  11. Peronel

    Peronel New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    'Sense and Sensibility' - Jane Austen
    I don't know if this counts as just finished...but I'm finished WITH "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" for now. I got about halfway through and found that the main character started getting a bit preachy for my liking. Might give it another go later.
     
  12. StillILearn

    StillILearn New Member

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    For Jay, re: Hempel

    ;)

    So... which one would you recommend next?

    :)
     
  13. jay

    jay New Member

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    Well, sadly, you only have 2 easy options:
    _Reasons To Live_ (1985)
    and _Tumble Home_ (1997)

    both of which define "excellence in writing"

    If you're lucky you can track down _At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom_ (1990), but copies -even paperbacks- generally go for over a hundred bucks, so even library copies are scarce as people steal them and sell them on eBay.

    Now that I finally have the 'biography' written I will spice up the site a bit more and write up all the jacket copy and blurbs and also write the first line to each story on the respective page...

    shameless plug:
    www.amyhempel.com

    Good luck and let me know what you think of the other 2 (or 3) books.
    j
     
  14. RolandOfGilead

    RolandOfGilead New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    I need to find something...
    I just finished reading Song of Susannah by Stephen King (#6 in the Dark Tower Series)
     
  15. wilderness

    wilderness New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Seven Types of Ambiguity - Elliot Perlman
    honeymoon - james patterson

    lani
     
  16. Summerfey

    Summerfey New Member

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    I've just finished 'The Falls' by Ian Rankin. I haven't read any crime books for ages and a friend loaned it to me. It was the first Rankin book I've read and I really enjoyed it. :) So I think I probably will try another one of his later on.
     
  17. pwilson

    pwilson New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Crime And Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky
    Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay and Of Mice And Men by Steinbeck. Both excellent!
     
  18. ions

    ions New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
    Just finished The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. All 6 books including the short Young Zaphod Plays It Safe. I think I enjoyed Mostly Harmless the most.
     
  19. choson

    choson New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    About John Grisham

    His earlier books were much better than the last three or four. There's a reason his name is so big ... don't waste your time on his newer books, he seems to have joined the club that puts out a book a month. Read his first novels, A Time to Kill and The Firm. The characters are not so predictable and molded.

    "A book should be read with the same level of dedication as it was written."
    Henry David Thoreau

    Choson
    http://www.copperpresspublishers.com
     
  20. muggle

    muggle New Member

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    I have read most of Grisham's and tend to agree with you. However, one of my favorites was The Painted House.
     
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