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Custom skater

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2280 on: February 22, 2015, 09:11:16 PM »
Here is a book you should read that is by Chuck Palahniuk



Its basically about a pornstar trying to break a world record by having sex with 600 men on camera. It really is intersting.

oyolar

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2281 on: February 23, 2015, 08:04:53 AM »

Next up is The Crying of Lot 49. My first Pynchon book. I'm through the first two chapters and I like it so far. I have a feeling the plot's gonna get mixed up soon though.


I know some of you (oyolar in particular) are big Pynchon fans. You got any advice for reading the book? For example, symbols to pay attention to? Any help is much appreciated!

Here's a great website to use to catch allusions and references that are obscure in Pynchon works and a little analysis without getting too much in terms of spoilers or ruining anything: http://cl49.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/?title=Main_Page

I'm not too sure of symbols to pay attention to that need to be pointed out. Pynchon doesn't really have a deft hand with that stuff. Most of his symbols are big plot points so you can really miss them. If suggest thinking about the idea of the "play within a play"/"story within a story."  That's a pretty strong concept and framework for the novel.

Remember historical context too. Not just when the novel is taking place but when it was published. It'll help illustrate just how intelligent and skillful Pynchon is. He uses metaphors that make sense to us and are common knowledge nowadays, but would have been very specialized back in 1966. But he makes them still easily understood and very elegant. Sorry if this sounds murky. I don't want to give away the scene because it's awesome and once you read it, my comment will make sense.

AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2282 on: February 26, 2015, 02:27:17 PM »

Next up is The Crying of Lot 49. My first Pynchon book. I'm through the first two chapters and I like it so far. I have a feeling the plot's gonna get mixed up soon though.


I know some of you (oyolar in particular) are big Pynchon fans. You got any advice for reading the book? For example, symbols to pay attention to? Any help is much appreciated!

Here's a great website to use to catch allusions and references that are obscure in Pynchon works and a little analysis without getting too much in terms of spoilers or ruining anything: http://cl49.pynchonwiki.com/wiki/?title=Main_Page

I'm not too sure of symbols to pay attention to that need to be pointed out. Pynchon doesn't really have a deft hand with that stuff. Most of his symbols are big plot points so you can really miss them. If suggest thinking about the idea of the "play within a play"/"story within a story."  That's a pretty strong concept and framework for the novel.

Remember historical context too. Not just when the novel is taking place but when it was published. It'll help illustrate just how intelligent and skillful Pynchon is. He uses metaphors that make sense to us and are common knowledge nowadays, but would have been very specialized back in 1966. But he makes them still easily understood and very elegant. Sorry if this sounds murky. I don't want to give away the scene because it's awesome and once you read it, my comment will make sense.

Thanks a lot oyolar! That site is really helpful! Would gnar if I could!

Yeah, for some reason I always thought Pynchon was relying heavily on symbolism in order to understand complex plot twists. I guess it turns out I was pretty much completely wrong there.

I didn't get to reading much since my last post (only 2 or 3 pages before going to bed), as I've been busy this week. I'll get back to the book this weekend though. Really looking forward to this!

handsclapanin

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2283 on: February 27, 2015, 01:00:37 PM »
Last few months for me:
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Pretty terrible. He is so judgmental, sexist, racist. I'm not quite sure how this book made it onto my list to read. I guess I've just heard it referenced so many times that I figured I might as well check it out.
So what did I do after finishing this book I hated? I got its sequel, Tropic of Capricorn. Not quite sure why. This one was a little better. But not much. Pretty much the same as Cancer. He goes off on these esoteric rants and it just comes off as really fake. If there was a "Books not to read" thread, that is where I would put these 2.
After that, I needed something light, so I got this new age type book The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield. I had read The War of Art by him a year ago or so and enjoyed it. It was pretty good. It's about golf, which I don't play, but there are ideas in there you can relate to skating or anything else. I've seen there is some Slap poster who goes by Bagger Vance. Maybe he really likes this book or the movie.
Next up it was Despair by Nabokov. Second book of his I've read thanks to Oyolar's suggestion of Glory. This book is like reading a painting; if that makes any sense. It's really writing as art. Great book. I'm sure I will be reading all his books at some point.
Currently, I'm about half way through Poor Folk by Dostoevsky. Pretty enjoyable. I got The Gambler by him on an audio book a few years ago. But this is the first I've actually read of Dostoevsky.
If I were to actually recommend a book, it would be Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain. It's been about 3 or 4 years since I read this. But I'm not sure I've read anything better since.

oyolar

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2284 on: February 27, 2015, 01:08:47 PM »
Stoked you're enjoying Nabokov!  I just finished Laughter in the Dark and really liked it.  Once I read The Gift, I'll have read all of his novels at least once.

Currently reading Inner Experience by Georges Bataille.  It's very difficult so far.  Like most of Bataille's philosophical/critical works, it's pretty disjointed. He was definitely a lot better at finding brilliant insights or comments versus sustained insight so his philosophy works take some time and effort to get through. And on top of that, he's discussing a topic that he himself says is impossible to speak about cogently because it is ineffable and attempts to describe or grasp and share it kind of negate it. However, the translator's introduction spoke about understanding it as a poetic exercise encompassing a critique and analysis of religion, spiritualism, human experience/consciousness and their limits, and all sorts of other things so when I think about it that way, it's a lot more enjoyable and makes more sense.

abudabi

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2285 on: February 27, 2015, 01:12:08 PM »
Last few months for me:
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Pretty terrible. He is so judgmental, sexist, racist. I'm not quite sure how this book made it onto my list to read. I guess I've just heard it referenced so many times that I figured I might as well check it out.
So what did I do after finishing this book I hated? I got its sequel, Tropic of Capricorn. Not quite sure why. This one was a little better. But not much. Pretty much the same as Cancer. He goes off on these esoteric rants and it just comes off as really fake. If there was a "Books not to read" thread, that is where I would put these 2.

If I were to actually recommend a book, it would be Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain. It's been about 3 or 4 years since I read this. But I'm not sure I've read anything better since.
thanks for the comments on Miller, you've probably saved me a bunch of time. people like a lot of bullshit.

i've only read the tom sawyer huck finn Mark Twain stuff, apparently he said the Joan of Arc book was his best work.
i wanna check it out, ive been hearing good things about it in different places on the internet.

AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2286 on: February 27, 2015, 02:34:47 PM »
Last few months for me:
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Pretty terrible. He is so judgmental, sexist, racist. I'm not quite sure how this book made it onto my list to read. I guess I've just heard it referenced so many times that I figured I might as well check it out.

I too didn't like Tropic of Cancer and found it overrated as well. I feel like it's one of these books that you must read in a certain period of your life in order to appreciate it. For example, if you read The Catcher in the Rye or just any work by Hermann Hesse in your twenties, you might not get why people who read them the first time when they were seventeen like these books so much. I guess if you're past a "bohemian" lifestyle, Tropic of Cancer is not for you anymore. If that makes sense.

By the way, I like your idea of listing terrible books. Here we go: Cat and Mouse by Günter Grass. The most boring book I've ever read. Les Belles Images by Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir was an extremely important figure for second-wave feminism, but she wasn't really a gifted novelist. This novella is just super flat. Siddharta by Hermann Hesse. Hesse got me hooked on literature. I don't really enjoy reading his books anymore, but I owe him this. Siddharta is what alienated me from him when I was eighteen. If you want every single cliché about Buddhism, you might want to give it a try.

aleksander

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2287 on: February 27, 2015, 03:12:53 PM »
agreed about the importance of the translator, im bummed on whoever translated my copy of the illuminations. i read them online first and i like whoever translated that version way better. kind of maddening not to be able to read the original. sometimes i am amazed by the difference in translations, like "what the hell did this guy write that it translates to both this and that?"



Yeah, you have to familiarize yourself with the craft of translation. There's different theories, some try to mimic sound qualities while some take many liberties. It's not an exact science. Each translation you read is someone else's interpretation of the work. I'd recommend Varese or Revell for Rimbaud, though.

In one of my translation courses we had this guy come in from the CIA and he said, "A translation is like a French woman. It can be either beautiful or faithful, never both." I imagine he'd catch hell if he said that nowdays but the analogy stuck with me.


Finally read The Sisters Brothers and loved it. 

"Let's just do something stupid and ridiculous and just be as fucking retarded as we possibly can."

oyolar

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2288 on: February 27, 2015, 03:30:51 PM »
Last few months for me:
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Pretty terrible. He is so judgmental, sexist, racist. I'm not quite sure how this book made it onto my list to read. I guess I've just heard it referenced so many times that I figured I might as well check it out.

I too didn't like Tropic of Cancer and found it overrated as well. I feel like it's one of these books that you must read in a certain period of your life in order to appreciate it. For example, if you read The Catcher in the Rye or just any work by Hermann Hesse in your twenties, you might not get why people who read them the first time when they were seventeen like these books so much. I guess if you're past a "bohemian" lifestyle, Tropic of Cancer is not for you anymore. If that makes sense.

By the way, I like your idea of listing terrible books. Here we go: Cat and Mouse by G�nter Grass. The most boring book I've ever read. Les Belles Images by Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir was an extremely important figure for second-wave feminism, but she wasn't really a gifted novelist. This novella is just super flat. Siddharta by Hermann Hesse. Hesse got me hooked on literature. I don't really enjoy reading his books anymore, but I owe him this. Siddharta is what alienated me from him when I was eighteen. If you want every single clich� about Buddhism, you might want to give it a try.

I finally read Siddhartha last year after not reading it in high school because I was in a different literature class than all of my friends and felt the same exact way.  It sucks for Hesse because I knew it wasn't anything he did that made me dislike the story.  It was the fact that everyone basically just mimicked him because he so effectively wrote that type Eastern philosophy exposed to the West story.

weedpop

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2289 on: February 27, 2015, 03:57:12 PM »
Siddhartha is probably Hesse's worst work. I liked the glass bead game when I read it a few years ago but it's really long.

The same thing goes for Miller and the Tropic of Cancer. I think he wrote it when he was pretty young and his style just seems a bit half-baked. If you want to give him another shot then pick up anything from the 'rosy crucifixion' series, although if you're not into his hedonistic wildman schtick then you probably won't enjoy that much either.

Grampa

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2290 on: February 27, 2015, 05:55:13 PM »
I've been picking up any book I can by Jim Thompson. Mainly because I have very little time to read and almost no attention span left. If you want a quick, easy read and dig sleazy mysteries/crime/noir, check him out. Pop 1280 is my favorite, but you've gotta give it a couple chapters because it's not what you think. The Killer Inside Me is up there too. I've heard they made a movie of it? It's most likely awful, so don't let that sway you. Apologies if it's already been addressed in this thread, I haven't made it all the way through.






AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2291 on: February 27, 2015, 05:56:45 PM »
Yes! Never read The Glass Bead Game, but Steppenwolf is also really strong!

I agree with everything said regarding Siddharta and Tropic of Cancer so far!

@oyolar: I'm halfway through The Crying of Lot 49 and I can see what you said regarding the "play within the play." It's an interesting novel so far and different from what I expected. The annotations really help by the way!

abudabi

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2292 on: February 28, 2015, 08:41:47 AM »
starting Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler.
anyone read it? anyone have an opinion on Koestler?

Tufty

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2293 on: March 04, 2015, 05:34:12 AM »
The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord.


Kind of difficult book. However a very good critique on how the spectacle and the consumer products have conquered our life and use us instead of us using them. I am Half way through.

givecigstosurfgroms

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2294 on: March 04, 2015, 07:20:01 AM »
I read a book about Marcel Proust the point of which seemed to make a bit of a philosophy out of Marcel's way of writhing, reading socializing and especially his anti traditional appreasheation of 'bueauty' (basically he was a great man).  I have bought "in search of lost time" and will read it someday.  pretty daunting tho its really big.
message of love (bring the mean locals cookies)

Smell Good

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2295 on: March 12, 2015, 02:22:35 PM »


I've only ever read Black Dahlia and Big Nowhere so hopefully that doesn't mar the experience, but this is a prequel taking place during the early '40s so I'm not too worried about it.


botefdunn

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2296 on: March 31, 2015, 11:24:29 AM »
AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice, I am also a Roberto Bolano fan and this one is my favs



of course, it is also the one I am reading at the moment. Anybody thinking of reading something of his, just don't start with 2666: it's good, but a serious brick.

AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2297 on: March 31, 2015, 06:06:31 PM »
AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice, I am also a Roberto Bolano fan and this one is my favs



of course, it is also the one I am reading at the moment. Anybody thinking of reading something of his, just don't start with 2666: it's good, but a serious brick.

Awesome! I haven't read Third Reich yet. What makes it your favorite? I'm genuinely interested.

I've been on a tear lately. Within the last week, I read Tres, Distant Star, and am now reading Amulet. I absolutely loved Distant Star. One of the best books I've ever read. Hands down. The two other ones are really good, too. I consider myself an absolute Bolano fan now. I was considering Nazi Literature in the Americas next and will probably make 2666 my project over the summer.

I also finished The Crying of Lot 49 a while ago and really liked it. Thanks for the input and help, oyolar! My favorite scene was the one where Dr. Hilarius goes nuts. Was that the one you were referring to? I read Inherent Vice right after, as it's supposed to be another good introduction to Pynchon's writing and one of his more accessible writings, but totally didn't like it. It has some themes from The Crying of Lot 49 in it (paranoia, dissolution of reality and imaginary, the political climate in/at the end of the 1960s), but I found it neither funny nor interesting in general. I don't know... kind of a letdown after The Crying of Lot 49 and probably why I'm not tempted to pick up another Pynchon book soon. Or is Inherent Vice one of his weaker works?
« Last Edit: March 31, 2015, 06:10:23 PM by AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice »

oyolar

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2298 on: March 31, 2015, 07:46:01 PM »
The scene I was talking about was when Oedipa watches The Courier's Tragedy.  I can't remember exactly why, but that scene stood out to me.

I liked Inherent Vice and found it funny, but it definitely doesn't stand up to The Crying of Lot 49.  I couldn't imagine reading those back to back.  For me, Pynchon is an author that I'll pick up every once in a while but I can't go on binges on.  He sticks to a similar convoluted structure and plays with a lot of similar themes in a lot of his works, so I'd feel that it would get repetitive after a while.  So if you want to give him another shot, I'd say try Bleeding Edge, but definitely wait a little bit.

Chris Hansen is back

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2299 on: March 31, 2015, 07:55:03 PM »
Donald Barthelme is someone who slipped past my radar for years. He's an excellent stylist.  Sixty Stories is a great place to start.





Try before you buy:

http://www.latexnet.org/~burnt/Game.html

AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2300 on: March 31, 2015, 10:31:51 PM »
The scene I was talking about was when Oedipa watches The Courier's Tragedy.  I can't remember exactly why, but that scene stood out to me.

I liked Inherent Vice and found it funny, but it definitely doesn't stand up to The Crying of Lot 49.  I couldn't imagine reading those back to back.  For me, Pynchon is an author that I'll pick up every once in a while but I can't go on binges on.  He sticks to a similar convoluted structure and plays with a lot of similar themes in a lot of his works, so I'd feel that it would get repetitive after a while.  So if you want to give him another shot, I'd say try Bleeding Edge, but definitely wait a little bit.

Yeah, that was really good, too! Apart from that, the sex scene in the beginning is pure gold. I liked the whole book though. However, Dr. Hilarius stood out to me, especially considering the book was written in 1966 (i.e., right before young people in Germany started looking into their parents' generation's positions during the Nazi era). I don't know, that just struck me as really interesting.

That actually makes sense. Reading both books back to back was probably a bit too much Pynchon at once. Especially since Inherent Vice is not on par with The Crying of Lot 49. Bleeding Edge might be more interesting. Or Vineland? Anyway, you're right... I probably won't be reading any Pynchon anytime soon.

abudabi

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2301 on: April 01, 2015, 09:08:38 AM »
i ended up reading 2 other books and had to restart it, but Cannery Row by John Steinbeck was one of the best books ive read.
what's the next Steinbeck book i should read? is there anything similar to Cannery Row?

botefdunn

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2302 on: April 01, 2015, 12:05:48 PM »
i ended up reading 2 other books and had to restart it, but Cannery Row by John Steinbeck was one of the best books ive read.
what's the next Steinbeck book i should read? is there anything similar to Cannery Row?

I recommend Tortilla Flats. It has that humourous, humane treatment of homebums that makes Cannery Row, but with a more sustained storyline. Both are set in Monterey, same feeling.
Tortilla Flats was written 10 years before Cannery Row, and in some ways I feel like the later book is kind of a postcard written on the occasion of a return visit.

Apparently there's another book set on Cannery Row called "Sweet Thursday", which I have not read: anybody read it, I'd be interested to hear about it...

botefdunn

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2303 on: April 01, 2015, 12:16:39 PM »


Awesome! I haven't read Third Reich yet. What makes it your favorite? I'm genuinely interested.


In some ways it's a lot more even than his other books, set in a specific place, with a single narrator, and even a set literary device to carry the story (it is presented in the form of journal entries). The intangible, poetic and disturbing qualities are still all there, as well as the esoteric and exhaustive lists, they just seem more smoothly incorporated somehow. I feel like with this book, maybe Bolano had a clearer idea of the overall shape and details before he started it, and probably banged it out over a shorter period. Third Reich is not his most unique work (it reminds me a bit of Camus or Paul Bowles), but it's really tight. Even just the subtlety of the narrator's German-ness is a treat.

abudabi

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2304 on: April 01, 2015, 12:48:20 PM »
i ended up reading 2 other books and had to restart it, but Cannery Row by John Steinbeck was one of the best books ive read.
what's the next Steinbeck book i should read? is there anything similar to Cannery Row?

I recommend Tortilla Flats. It has that humourous, humane treatment of homebums that makes Cannery Row, but with a more sustained storyline. Both are set in Monterey, same feeling.
Tortilla Flats was written 10 years before Cannery Row, and in some ways I feel like the later book is kind of a postcard written on the occasion of a return visit.

Apparently there's another book set on Cannery Row called "Sweet Thursday", which I have not read: anybody read it, I'd be interested to hear about it...
cool, i appreciate the info.
never heard of that Sweet Thursday book, i would be really interested in reading that too.

AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2305 on: April 02, 2015, 01:44:54 PM »


Awesome! I haven't read Third Reich yet. What makes it your favorite? I'm genuinely interested.


In some ways it's a lot more even than his other books, set in a specific place, with a single narrator, and even a set literary device to carry the story (it is presented in the form of journal entries). The intangible, poetic and disturbing qualities are still all there, as well as the esoteric and exhaustive lists, they just seem more smoothly incorporated somehow. I feel like with this book, maybe Bolano had a clearer idea of the overall shape and details before he started it, and probably banged it out over a shorter period. Third Reich is not his most unique work (it reminds me a bit of Camus or Paul Bowles), but it's really tight. Even just the subtlety of the narrator's German-ness is a treat.

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I'm currently finishing Amulet and got a similar feel, although dream and reality are sometimes blurred. That being said, jumping back and forth between different narrative perspectives and blurring dream and reality is one of the characteristics I love about Bolano's fiction. To be clear, a lot of writers have similar approaches, but he really perfected these techniques in my eyes. The Savage Detectives is the perfect example for that I think. Still, it's nice to read a more straightforward piece of Bolano that still incorporates a lot of his themes.

The Third Reich sounds really interesting! This will probably the book I'll pick up after Nazi Literature in the Americas. To be honest, so far I was sticking more to writings that were set mostly in Latin America, as I'm somehow going through a "Hispanic period," but, especially being German myself, your account of The Third Reich sounds really interesting.

One thing that struck me though... where do you see esotericism in Bolano? I'm not disagreeing with you here; I just find this notion interesting, because this escaped my attention so far.

botefdunn

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2306 on: April 02, 2015, 05:42:48 PM »
I don't mean Aleister Crowley type Esotericism, however that might be defined, I was referring more to the esoteric research/knowledge aspect of Bolano's books that often manifests itself in lists.
In 2666 you have these detailed police records, in Savage detectives and many other books he refers to minor characters in various literary scenes,  in Third Reich it's war games strategy.
It's the type of information that will be known to almost no one, sort of like he was describing Simon Evans contribution to skateboarding.

Overly researched books are a pet-peeve of mine, there's something unpleasant about thinking of the author as an interloper, sucking the juice out of something to make art with it, but not actually being dedicated to the discipline they write about. Bolano doesn't comes across as an interloper though, it never seems like he's trying to convince you of anything, just relating experiences and information that means something to him.

AnotherHardDayAtTheOffice

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2307 on: April 02, 2015, 06:31:10 PM »
I don't mean Aleister Crowley type Esotericism, however that might be defined, I was referring more to the esoteric research/knowledge aspect of Bolano's books that often manifests itself in lists.
In 2666 you have these detailed police records, in Savage detectives and many other books he refers to minor characters in various literary scenes,  in Third Reich it's war games strategy.
It's the type of information that will be known to almost no one, sort of like he was describing Simon Evans contribution to skateboarding.
Overly researched books are a pet-peeve of mine, there's something unpleasant about thinking of the author as an interloper, sucking the juice out of something to make art with it, but not actually being dedicated to the discipline they write about. Bolano doesn't comes across as an interloper though, it never seems like he's trying to convince you of anything, just relating experiences and information that means something to him.

Yeah, my bad. I didn't even know about that meaning of 'esoteric.' I thought it was restricted to the Aleister Crowe type of esotericism... You're perfectly right about that though. I guess the difference is that, at least as far as The Savage Detectives is concerned, Bolano was actually a part of all that. To me it always seemed like he's giving credit to "forgotten" poets and people rather than exploiting them for art's sake. Kind of like an Epicly Later'd episode that focuses on overlooked parts of skateboarding history if that makes sense.

I guess after Amulet I'm gonna give Bolano a little break though and read something else. I'm probably gonna start Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth next.

oyolar

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2308 on: April 08, 2015, 10:13:32 AM »
Finally finished Inner Experience by Bataille.  It was not an easy read by any means so I'm taking a break and finishing



After that, I'll probably start My Struggle: Book 2 by Knausgaard.

Nosferatu

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Re: books to read
« Reply #2309 on: April 08, 2015, 07:52:15 PM »
^I'm trying to finish Confederacy of Dunces before my trip to New Orleans in a week and then I'll probably start My Struggle Pt 2 as well. Gonna see Knausgaard get interviewed at the beginning of May.
I thought it wasnt just him solo, shouldve stuck with my og thought.
R.I.P Rusty. One of us.