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I feel like sometimes we Grad Cafe-ers (meaning myself) get so involved in thinking and talking about grad school stuff that we forget about the fun stuff. We're lit majors, so obviously we must like (gasp!) reading for fun, right!?

So what are you reading for fun right now?

I'll start. I've been reading Manhattan Transfer by Dos Passos on my daily commute to and from downtown Chicago.

...Though Tristram Shandy is sitting there next to my bed pleading with me. :)

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I recently finished a 4-work volume of Samuel Beckett's novels, which consisted of Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnameable, and How It Is. I've been a huge Beckett fan ever since I first read Endgame, but that volume was my first exposure to his novels. They were some of the most challenging texts I've ever read (especially The Unnameable...my god!), but I enjoyed reading them tremendously.

Reading those novels solidified my belief that Beckett may be the greatest English writer ever. Or, at the very least, my favorite. ^_^

Edited by Two Espressos
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bdon19, I love love love Tristram Shandy. I'm about to be reading that again -- admittedly for a class -- and I'm so damned happy about it.

What I'm reading for fun at the moment will defeat the purpose of this thread, I think, since I've just gotten a heap of books about the history of plagiarism out of the library. But I swear they're fun.

My perhaps less pathetic attempts at fun reading currently involve watching The Sopranos (which counts because it's one of the best things ever written, good lord) and perusing* Roz Chast cartoons. I'm heading down to the library this weekend to pick up a copy of The Pillars of the Earth, which my roommate's boyfriend mentioned offhandedly as a good read, and which, when I looked it up, happened to take place in my favourite political climate of the Middle Ages. (12th-century England under King Stephen.) I might have squealed a little bit, I won't lie.

*In the actually used rather than the GRE sense of the word.

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I feel like sometimes we Grad Cafe-ers (meaning myself) get so involved in thinking and talking about grad school stuff that we forget about the fun stuff. We're lit majors, so obviously we must like (gasp!) reading for fun, right!?

So what are you reading for fun right now?

I'll start. I've been reading Manhattan Transfer by Dos Passos on my daily commute to and from downtown Chicago.

...Though Tristram Shandy is sitting there next to my bed pleading with me. :)

I love, love, love Tristram Shandy! I may have to revisit again, soon. Right now I'm reading Jack Lynch's The Lexicographer's Dilemma, which explores the development of the English language.

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I'm simultaneously making my way through Tolkien's The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún for this year's International Medieval Conference, as well as reading Jasper Fforde's third Thursday Next book for pleasure. I'd highly recommend reading Fforde to anyone who hasn't read him, because he pretty much caters to people like us.

Edited by Kudrov
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I'm reading various sections from the second edition of Feminisms, which is in part because of its relevance to my current research and writing. I am now awaiting a very recently-released novel called The Family Fang, which is the work of a friend of mine and which has so far received abundant praise from every reviewer I've come across (the NYT evidently adored it, if that says anything in particular to anyone that frequents the book reviews printed in the Times).

Next on my list is Harold Bloom's new book on the King James Bible, about which I welcome any opinions from people that have already read it or know anything relevant about it.

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Next on my list is Harold Bloom's new book on the King James Bible, about which I welcome any opinions from people that have already read it or know anything relevant about it.

Bloom and the Bible. That sounds like my personal hell. B) But more power to ya!

I'm so glad that everyone loves Tristram Shandy! Admittedly, I feel silly that I'm an 18th-centuryist who hasn't yet read it, but I've read parts in various contexts and already adore it. But try and find an 18th-c. novel I don't adore.

Clarissa, anyone? Or even Pamela?

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Bloom and the Bible. That sounds like my personal hell. B) But more power to ya!

I'm so glad that everyone loves Tristram Shandy! Admittedly, I feel silly that I'm an 18th-centuryist who hasn't yet read it, but I've read parts in various contexts and already adore it. But try and find an 18th-c. novel I don't adore.

Clarissa, anyone? Or even Pamela?

I love the ridiculousness of Pamela (and love even more that Richardson just kept updating it over and over again to appease his critics - without success, of course). I haven't yet made my way through Clarissa. One day I'll climb that mountain, but right now I just don't have the time to spare on such a large piece of work.

Edited by dimanche0829
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I'm so glad that everyone loves Tristram Shandy! Admittedly, I feel silly that I'm an 18th-centuryist who hasn't yet read it, but I've read parts in various contexts and already adore it. But try and find an 18th-c. novel I don't adore.

Clarissa, anyone? Or even Pamela?

Joseph Andrews and Shamela were much more enjoyable for me, I have to admit. Also, all those who love Tristram Shandy that haven't read A Sentimental Journey would probably find it worthwhile to read. It's only about 100 pages, and is an interesting work in part because of its slim nature (at least, that specific quality makes it a somewhat unique counterpart to Humphry Clinker, Joseph Andrews, and the other major works from that period that total around 400 pages each).

I too have a fondness for Restoration-era literature, particularly that of Pope (and especially The Rape of the Lock, An Essay on Man, and An Essay on Criticism). Swift has a few poems that I also enjoy quite a bit (my cat's name derives from the several written about and/or for "Stella," or Esther Johnson, for what that's worth). I still hope to get my hands on a decent copy of Pope's edition of Shakespeare someday, though my last online searches weren't very fruitful...

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I love the ridiculousness of Pamela (and love even more that Richardson just kept updating it over and over again to appease his critics - without success, of course). I haven't yet made my way through Clarissa. One day I'll climb that mountain, but right now I just don't have the time to spare on such a large piece of work.

Ahh Pamela. I will forever have the fondest memories of the ridiculousness that ensued after my English Novel class read it. I feel ya about the length of Clarissa--actually, I read the bulk of it one summer when I got stuck on jury duty, spent the entire day there, and was never called. Those hours were a lot more enjoyable spent with Richardson. :D

Of course, I adore Shamela and Joseph Andrews, too, and Haywood's Anti-Pamela is enjoyable, too (if slightly darker). And, while we're on the subject of works inspired by Pamela, has anyone read Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Fanny Hill)??

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I recently read Jonathan Saffran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which I very much enjoyed. I also liked the film version of Everything is Illuminated. I need a few more great contemporary reads to pull my head out of the dust on occasion, so I'll definitely be checking this thread as days go by.

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I love, love, love Tristram Shandy! I may have to revisit again, soon. Right now I'm reading Jack Lynch's The Lexicographer's Dilemma, which explores the development of the English language.

I have The Lexicographer's Dilemma sitting on my bookshelf; I've been meaning to read it for the longest time. Right now I'm reading Getting Medieval (more for academic purposes), but on my commute to work, I just finished The End of Alice by AM Homes, and I've started State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I thought I'd give it a chance because I thoroughly enjoyed Bel Canto.

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oh this is nice, I stalked the application thread and got afraid about how behind I was. This one is less scary.

I'm reading Bleak House, which is beautiful, and Harry Potter in German, to try to reintroduce reading fluency slowly. :D

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I'm reading Bleak House, which is beautiful, and Harry Potter in German, to try to reintroduce reading fluency slowly. :D

Yay for translated Harry Potter! That's exactly how I plan to brush up on my Spanish. :)

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Update: I'm now reading a wonderful collection of Vonnegut novels, including Cat's Cradle, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions. I've actually never read Vonnegut before, so I'm very excited.

Here's to hoping I can read all four works before the fall semester begins! :P

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I recently read Jonathan Saffran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which I very much enjoyed. I also liked the film version of Everything is Illuminated. I need a few more great contemporary reads to pull my head out of the dust on occasion, so I'll definitely be checking this thread as days go by.

I loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close -- the voice of the narrator was beautifully realised and only occasionally overwritten. On the contrary I found Everything Is Illuminated very affected and irritating. I'll be interested to see what this author is doing in maybe ten years time.

Timshel, I absolutely loved The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. Something about it really seeped into my physical memory, somehow -- I didn't just read it, I felt it -- such a powerful experience. I haven't been engaged in a book in quite the same way before. I also liked Norwegian Wood.

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I loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close -- the voice of the narrator was beautifully realised and only occasionally overwritten. On the contrary I found Everything Is Illuminated very affected and irritating. I'll be interested to see what this author is doing in maybe ten years time.

I'm inclined to agree about the novel version of Everything is Illuminated. I couldn't get to the second half. The story lends itself very well to film and was actually fairly moving at the end. I was pleasantly surprised.

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Update: I'm now reading a wonderful collection of Vonnegut novels, including Cat's Cradle, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions. I've actually never read Vonnegut before, so I'm very excited.

Here's to hoping I can read all four works before the fall semester begins! :P

I LOVE Cat's Cradle, and Breakfast of Champions is pretty great, as well. Those four novels you mentioned are definitely ones most any Vonnegut aficionado would recommend as "jumping-off" points, and if you like them then I'd suggest Galapagos for a quick, relatively easy read.

Have fun!

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I loved Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse Five but i really couldn't get along with Galapagos, personally.

I'm currently in the middle (of the end) of my MA thesis so i've been reading a lot of comic books (because words are too much right now, if that conclusion was too oblique). Have just started The Tale of One Bat Rat by Brian Talbot and i'm loving it.

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I LOVE Cat's Cradle, and Breakfast of Champions is pretty great, as well. Those four novels you mentioned are definitely ones most any Vonnegut aficionado would recommend as "jumping-off" points, and if you like them then I'd suggest Galapagos for a quick, relatively easy read.

Have fun!

I only got to read Cat's Cradle (I wanted to return the book because classes start 8/29), but I didn't really like it. I didn't find it to be very funny, and it didn't seem to have much substance. Granted, there were aspects of it that I liked; the novel was also quite short, so it was an easy read. But I was disappointed overall. Whenever I have some free time, I plan to borrow that 4-novel collection again and read Slaughterhouse Five as well as Breakfast of Champions. I feel like I must read those novels at least before I can pass judgment on Vonnegut. ^_^

Edited by Two Espressos
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I only got to read Cat's Cradle (I wanted to return the book because classes start 8/29), but I didn't really like it. I didn't find it to be very funny, and it didn't seem to have much substance. Granted, there were aspects of it that I liked; the novel was also quite short, so it was an easy read. But I was disappointed overall. Whenever I have some free time, I plan to borrow that 4-novel collection again and read Slaughterhouse Five as well as Breakfast of Champions. I feel like I must read those novels at least before I can pass judgment on Vonnegut. ^_^

It's been a while since I've read Vonnegut, but I recall not really enjoying Slaughterhouse Five. It was one of those books I forced myself to get through on a long train ride. However, the only other Vonnegut I've ever read was Player Piano, and I loved it! I had to read it for a bs class on technology in high school (ITGS, any IB folks out there?), and the novel was the best thing to come of that class!

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Update: I'm now reading a wonderful collection of Vonnegut novels, including Cat's Cradle, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions. I've actually never read Vonnegut before, so I'm very excited.

Here's to hoping I can read all four works before the fall semester begins! :P

Those are quick, but very fun reads; I think Cat's Cradle took me a night or two!

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