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Aside from the many articles I'm having to read on African legislature (why did I sign up for a graduate level political science class?) and the theory for my English class, I'm reading The Crimson Petal and the White and I am Pilgrim for funzies. 

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Bit of a late post here, but worth mentioning: during the January purgatory period of having just finished applying/waiting for acceptances, I read the debut novel by a guy called Will Chancellor, entitled A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall. (It was published last year.) It's about an aspiring Olympic water polo player who loses his eye in a match and has to leave the sport as a result. Since he's built up his whole life to the Olympics, he feels his whole world has come undone, and he runs away to Europe to pursue art -- without telling his father where he's going.

 

His father, a professor of classics, decides to go to Europe to find his son. He starts in Greece, where he holds a speaking event with an utterly delightful fictional depiction of Jean Baudrillard. (There's even a great Zizek joke in there.) From there he goes about Europe in pursuit of his son.

 

Even though I'm lucky to have been accepted to a PhD program, reading the novel was good for me because it depicts someone who feels that all he's spent his life building towards was ultimately a futile enterprise. Of course, getting shut out of a PhD program one year doesn't prove one's ambitions to be a futile enterprise, but it's hard not to take a prospect like that really hard. Liminality is a big theme in the novel (lots of theory/philosophy chat along these lines, if that's anyone's cup of tea -- certainly is mine!), and with this being my year between undergrad and grad the story really connected with me. I imagine it'd be quite relatable for many of us on this here forum.

Edited by silenus_thescribe

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Okay, so super long delay here, but I finally read A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall  and I loved it. Even though (or maybe because?) I know nothing about water polo I found it fascinating. It's the kind of book that makes you want to befriend the author. So thank you, again, for the suggestion!

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6 hours ago, Mattie Roh said:

Okay, so super long delay here, but I finally read A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall  and I loved it. Even though (or maybe because?) I know nothing about water polo I found it fascinating. It's the kind of book that makes you want to befriend the author. So thank you, again, for the suggestion!

Really glad you liked it! For me, it was the right book at the right time.

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Bringing this thread back, now that we're done with the Dec 15 frenzy and will likely need to take our minds off worrying about Application Things that are no longer in our control.

I've got Sara Ahmed's What's The Use on the top of my to-read list. What about everyone else? 

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Monday is the last day of the fall semester for me, and the first thing on my Tuesday free time agenda is to read all the Carson McCullers I can get my hands on (I've read about half of her books so far and I'm obsessed!)

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The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve has been on my to-read list for a good long while! 

I’ve still got a few apps due in Jan and then it’s all about my towering tbr pile. 

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8 hours ago, tiredderridean said:

Bringing this thread back, now that we're done with the Dec 15 frenzy and will likely need to take our minds off worrying about Application Things that are no longer in our control.

I've got Sara Ahmed's What's The Use on the top of my to-read list. What about everyone else? 

Love this idea. I've been looking for book and book series suggestions. I'm more into sci-fi/ fantasy/dystopian tho. I'm gonna do all my fun binge reading while I still can! 

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8 hours ago, onerepublic96 said:

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve has been on my to-read list for a good long while! 

ohh greenblatt, classic! though admittedly, i'm still experiencing a bit of greenblatt fatigue after encountering him So Much across so many of my classes at university. i'll probably get to Adam and Eve much later in the future, but like most of his work, it seems like a worthy read. 

8 hours ago, okonivek said:

Currently reading Rabbit Redux by John Updike

what do you think about updike? i've always tended to avoid his books because of his reputation for misogynistic depictions of women, and because there were always other books that drew my attention more. but now that i've a bit more free time on my hands, i might get into his rabbit series (partly because patricia lockwood's uproariously hilarious review of his work in the lrb got me quiiiite intrigued). 

 

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I'm currently re-reading THE EXPANSE series by James SA Corey (I love the books almost as equally as I love the show, and this *never* happens), OVER THE TOP by Jonathan Van Ness, and THE BODY: A GUIDE FOR OCCUPANTS by Bill Bryson. 

1 hour ago, tiredderridean said:

what do you think about updike? 

 

Updike as a person sucked. I had the "pleasure" of meeting him before he died so I could get my dad's first edition of RABBIT RUN signed. He told me that he was surprised women still read his books. I do enjoy the RABBIT series, though; there's something really magnetic in Updike's prose, and I'm a sucker for middle-class suffering.

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1 hour ago, vondafkossum said:

He told me that he was surprised women still read his books.

oddly enough, this does make me want to read his books more, even if it's mainly out of spite now, just so i can prove... his ghost(??!) wrong. 😂

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I'm reading Rose Cottage, by Mary Stewart. It's a relaxing novel (the blurb on the back cover says it's "soothing as a warm broth on a cold night") and aligns with my research interests! Next on the docket is Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. It's not the most uplifting novel for the stressful app season, but I still want to try it out after loving The Remains of the Day.

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Re: Updike, I picked up the entire Rabbit, uh, quartet at a used bookstore about 18 months ago—a mix of paperbacks and hardbacks in various editions, so it’s quite the eclectic collection—because I’m a 20th/21st century Americanist who’s never read (or taught) any Updike beyond “A&P.” I’ve been bracing myself for the misogyny and still haven’t cracked open Rabbit, Run, but now I’ve been re-inspired to give it a shot. At least now I know I’ll be in good company!

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I need to read Ishiguro finally, but I'm currently completing a short story collection, so it'll have to wait until I'm in a novelistic mentality. I have so much to catch up on with novels after M.F.A.-land!

I should be reading short stories (and am picking my way through Ted Chiang's lovely Exhalation, a bit) but I'm largely sick of short stories (his are just too good to ignore), so poetry it is. Mostly Rilke's Duino elegies right now, and then I'll go contemporary again. 

Aside from that, I can't wait to get my hands on Carmen Maria Machado's new memoir, In the Dream House. I love her short work and she's described it as something like a fantastical memoir, which I love the idea of, though queer, abusive relationships as a theme is not going to make the going fun, I'm sure. 

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Having read very little in the last couple years not related to my dissertation, I decided to read all of Proust's In Search of Lost Time. I'm on pace to finish the thing about nine months after I started. I've been absolutely floored -- it's no exaggeration to say it's been a life-altering read. Definitely worth the time and effort. 

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2 hours ago, Ramus said:

I've been absolutely floored -- it's no exaggeration to say it's been a life-altering read.

In Search of Lost Time is hands-down my favorite book. You're absolutely right to say it's life-altering.

As for me, I'm reading The Idiot. It's the only one of Dostoevsky's big four that I haven't read (C&P, BK, and Demons being the others of the big four).

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1 hour ago, HenryJams said:

In Search of Lost Time is hands-down my favorite book. You're absolutely right to say it's life-altering.

As for me, I'm reading The Idiot. It's the only one of Dostoevsky's big four that I haven't read (C&P, BK, and Demons being the others of the big four).

Ohh I really enjoy Dostoyevsky. Brothers Karamazov was a favourite of mine for a while but I recently re-read Crime and Punishment a few times over for a paper and I think it’s edged out on top after all. Will be curious to hear what you think of The Idiot!

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Black face white mask; great book that looks at the effects of white colonization on black people in a psychoanatytic way.

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14 hours ago, politics 'n prose said:

At least now I know I’ll be in good company!

a modest proposal: an updike reading group, in which we mostly gasp in disbelief and awe at how ludicrous some of his portrayals of women and sex are. 😂

11 hours ago, merry night wanderer said:

I can't wait to get my hands on Carmen Maria Machado's new memoir, In the Dream House

i've been meaning to read that for so long, but i just haven't been able to drop by the bookstore lately. will definitely update you on how i find the book when i finally get to it (maybe this weekend?) 

9 hours ago, Ramus said:

Having read very little in the last couple years not related to my dissertation, I decided to read all of Proust's In Search of Lost Time. I'm on pace to finish the thing about nine months after I started. I've been absolutely floored -- it's no exaggeration to say it's been a life-altering read. Definitely worth the time and effort. 

one of my two greatest loves in literature, aside from woolf!! 
was there a particular volume that you enjoyed more than the others? and whose translation did you read, may i ask? 

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2 hours ago, tiredderridean said:

one of my two greatest loves in literature, aside from woolf!! 
was there a particular volume that you enjoyed more than the others? and whose translation did you read, may i ask? 

I'm reading the Penguin/Allen Lane translations. I don't know how they compare to the Scott Moncrief translations, but I like them in their own right.

It's hard to pinpoint a favorite volume. On the whole I think I liked In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower / Within a Budding Grove best overall, but each book has its own sections or passages that will stick with me. For example, the party scenes in The Guermantes Way and Sodom and Gomorrah can be pretty dry, but the hook-up scene between Jupien and Charlus at the beginning of the latter is one of the most beautiful passages in the novel. And, more generally, I love all of the ekphrasis scattered throughout -- the descriptions of music in Swann's Way and The Prisoner left me shook. 

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6 hours ago, Ramus said:

For example, the party scenes in The Guermantes Way and Sodom and Gomorrah can be pretty dry, but the hook-up scene between Jupien and Charlus at the beginning of the latter is one of the most beautiful passages in the novel.

I'm in the middle of a multi-year hiatus from Proust because I got bogged down in the part scene of Sodom and Gomorrah. I still think parts of In Search of Lost Time are the best things I've ever read though.

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On 12/16/2019 at 9:21 AM, tiredderridean said:

what do you think about updike? i've always tended to avoid his books because of his reputation for misogynistic depictions of women, and because there were always other books that drew my attention more. but now that i've a bit more free time on my hands, i might get into his rabbit series (partly because patricia lockwood's uproariously hilarious review of his work in the lrb got me quiiiite intrigued). 

 

I'm not sure what to make of Updike to be honest. I enjoyed Rabbit, Run a long time ago, which is why I picked up Rabbit Redux. So far--I'm about halfway through--it doesn't seem as good, which seems to correspond with Lockwood's review. 

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12 hours ago, Ramus said:

I'm reading the Penguin/Allen Lane translations. I don't know how they compare to the Scott Moncrief translations, but I like them in their own right.

It's hard to pinpoint a favorite volume. On the whole I think I liked In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower / Within a Budding Grove best overall, but each book has its own sections or passages that will stick with me. For example, the party scenes in The Guermantes Way and Sodom and Gomorrah can be pretty dry, but the hook-up scene between Jupien and Charlus at the beginning of the latter is one of the most beautiful passages in the novel. And, more generally, I love all of the ekphrasis scattered throughout -- the descriptions of music in Swann's Way and The Prisoner left me shook. 

I can't make it through In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower for some reason. I've tried two or three times. 

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