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pontalba

Well-Known Member
It will be one of these though I am not exactly sure which. I am leaning toward Sense of an Ending, Sisters Brothers or Snowdrops. Maybe I shall work my way through the entire list, time permitting.

I'd wanted to read Half Blood Blues too, but Amazon U.S. doesn't have it at the moment. Tried ABE and Powell's as well, and no dice.
 

Will

Active Member
To will: You make a good argument for China Mieville, but some of his work is hard to understand. He also reminds me of Dickens, but in the way he makes some invented words seem real. I agree that he is brilliant, although he seems to be writing for William F. Buckley.
Book Reviews And Comments By Rick O

I know what you mean. I think of Will Self myself when I think of overtly verbose authors though, but would note that he too has left some brilliant works in his wake. This raises the question: should an author 'dumb down' ever?

If the only way they can describe a world in a manner suitable is by utilising a catalogue of language that might be beyond certain readers, should they adapt and adjust this, simplifying (if you will) to cover everybody or the majority? Whilst a publisher's dream (as it means potentially more readers) surely the writer is doing themselves a disservice, and potentially crippling their creation should they limit themselves in such a way.

Take Umberto Eco and Foucalt's Pendulum. Or James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. I mention those as they're accepted by many as potentially offering up quite a challenge to some of those who read them; though I've known a few hardy readers give up on some of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle as they found that 'a little too rich'. I'm not saying by any means that I consider Miéville on their level (nor am I saying he's unworthy of comparison), just that those who've read works by the above will know how they can sometimes come across.

The authors daren't change those works surely as they wouldn't be the same? Joyce can't; Eco definitely wouldn't. There's a man who added two hundred pages of history into The Name of the Rose in order to 'discourage the merely curious'. He wants people to work at reading his novels. In a way it's a reflection of himself and his richness of education. The books would be shadows of themselves if they were adapted to make them more readable.

It's no surprise to me then that given the richness of language, and of the world that Miéville creates, his strong education and in particular the anthropological aspects of that. But I think that this book, along with others mentioned, deserves the reader to work at it a little. In that way it's not just pulp/popular fiction, but something else. In the same way that Iain M Banks sci-fi is immensely rich of language and themes (and his contemporary literary works likewise, and respected by the critics), so too are Miéville's creations. And I think that's reflected in Perdido Street Station's reception; it seems to be popular too with those who wouldn't normally dabble in genre fiction, possibly because of how rich a work it is. Not everything is going to be a pulp-fiction read, and personally as someone who consumes a fair amount of pulp-fiction amongst other literature, I definitely wouldn't want it to be.

I think that the potential complexities (depending upon the reader) of these books add to their richness, and are much more strengths than weaknesses. Personally, I quite enjoy the challenge when pushed by a book, either by the language or the varying depths to which the text might be scoured for different ideas.

Here's an interesting story I recall here, about an 'intermediate' reader's version of The Great Gatsby. Does make you wonder what might happen should simplification ever become the norm. And think: with editions of books out there, would it be so difficult to flick a switch and get a different version of a text immediately. Scary, but sad too.
 

shadforth

Member
The Tenderness Of Wolves by Stef Penney. :star4: Set in the Canadian wilderness of 1867,a mix of crime,native folklore,struggle and discovery.
 

beer good

Well-Known Member
Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age :star4:+

Stephenson still plots his novels like a blind man with mittens. Fortunately all the concepts, ideas and characters he stuffs them with are far too interesting to let a little thing like plot bother me.
 

Ghede

New Member
Secret Life of Laszlo, Count Dracula by Roderick Anscombe :star2:

Started out good, then got bogged down in details and repetition. No vampires, just a diary of a sick and twisted guy.
 

shadforth

Member
Blackmoor by Edward Hogan :star4: Bit weird at first,but really enjoyed it by the end. Dark,brooding story with streaks of light set in a close-knit Derbyshire mining village of the 80s/90s.
 

mmyap

Member
I've just finished The Passage by Justin Cronin. I enjoyed it tremendously. One of the best apocalyptic/horror books I've read. :star4:

It's a long book but worth the time investment.
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
Dracula by Bram Stoker

This was a first time reading for me. I hardly know what to rate it. Granted, it's a classic but the prose, surprisingly, is fairly modern. Given the time it was written, I have no basis to complain about the overt sexism, but it was annoying to say the least. I tried to ignore it and appreciate the imagination of Stoker.

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

Interesting, a re-telling of the Dracula story from Mina's pov. Definitely a different cast on the story. Fascinating.
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
I've just finished The Passage by Justin Cronin. I enjoyed it tremendously. One of the best apocalyptic/horror books I've read. :star4:

It's a long book but worth the time investment.

Agreed! I'll probably have to reread by the time the sequel comes out, sometime next year.
 

Polly Parrot

Moderator
Staff member
Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time Vol. 1: Swann's Way
Samuel Beckett, Proust
Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution (excerpt)
Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans (excerpt); "Composition as Explanation".
Dorothy Richardson, Pilgrimage (excerpt)
Percy Wyndham Lewis, Time and Western Man; Blast (excerpts)
Filippo Tomasso Marinetti, "The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism" (essay)
Guillaume Appollinaire, The Cubist Painters (excerpt)
Alain Badiou, "Avant Gardes" (essay); The Century (excerpt)
Susan Stanford Friedman, "Planetarity: Musing Modernist Studies" (essay)
 

Will

Active Member
Dark War by Tim Waggoner - 7/10. Fun, action-packed, tongue-in-cheek supernatural, horror noir and paranormal mash-up. Review here if anyone's interested in more information.
 

beer good

Well-Known Member
Elif Shafak, The Bastard Of Istanbul. Basically, a slightly exoticized take on Jeffrey Eugenides, with a few too many convenient coincidences and symbolic events dragging it down. Not bad, occasionally even quite good, but in the end unexceptional. That Shafak was almost prosecuted for "insulting the republic" for it (the central conflict goes back to the Armenian genocide) says more about Turkish prosecutors than it does about Shafak. :star3:

Magnus Utvik, Med Stalin som Gud (Stalin As God). The author's account of a misspent youth as part of a very small and VERY far-left political group in the early 80s. Essentially Life of Brian without the jokes. :star3:
 
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