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One-Sentence Literature Confessions

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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby thelastrewind on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:04 am

Mark Twain is fuckin' terrible.

The fact that we're forced to read six years of Shakespeare and literally no other theatre during our high school education is incredibly depressing.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby NewDarkAge on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:07 am

I can't stand Updike at all. I don't know how much of a confession that is, but this opinion left me in a minority of one at school.

goatlord wrote:I hated The Great Gatsby. Rich people have problems too, give me a fucking break.


Man, if we throw out every piece of literature about rich people having problems...

My problems with Gatsby are more to do with how laboured it feels in parts. I would never diminish its cultural significance or the worth of a book telling that story, I just don't there's a great deal of subtlety in the prose. The man obviously had a way with words, but it's not my bag. This is odd considering how many thousands of words I've spent on this book in the last six months.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby Wood Goblin on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:15 am

The Kindle is great for books you don't ever plan to return to and useless if you want to linger on something.

I've never finished a Dickens novel without being required to, although I've devoured a couple novels by his less-talented chum Wilkie Collins.

I don't care how lush Proust's sentences were, since he devoted almost all of them to tedious court gossip.

And Gatsby rules, you jerks. One of the fun things about Fitzgerald is that you can identify, roughly, the point in his career when he learned how to write. It happens about half-way through The Beautiful and Damned. This Side of Paradise, however, isn't very good at all.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby NewDarkAge on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:20 am

Wood Goblin wrote:And Gatsby rules, you jerks. One of the fun things about Fitzgerald is that you can identify, roughly, the point in his career when he learned how to write. It happens about half-way through The Beautiful and Damned. This Side of Paradise, however, isn't very good at all.


This is a 'confessions' thread, after all. My deafness to Fitz is as disappointing to me as it is to anyone else.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby Wood Goblin on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:23 am

NewDarkAge wrote:
Wood Goblin wrote:And Gatsby rules, you jerks. One of the fun things about Fitzgerald is that you can identify, roughly, the point in his career when he learned how to write. It happens about half-way through The Beautiful and Damned. This Side of Paradise, however, isn't very good at all.


This is a 'confessions' thread, after all. My deafness to Fitz is as disappointing to me as it is to anyone else.


Oh, I know. I feel the same way about Dickens. It's clear he's more talented than Collins on every level, yet I'm deaf to one and not the other.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby i am the smud on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:23 am

Wood Goblin wrote:This Side of Paradise, however, isn't very good at all.


Really? That's a shame, I've been meaning to check it out. A professor I admire told me it's as good as anything Fitzgerald's written.

Man, if we throw out every piece of literature about rich people having problems...


Seriously, I will never understand that position. Might as well throw out all of Shakespeare, too many crowns and robes for my prol sentiments.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby Wood Goblin on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:41 am

i am the smud wrote:
Wood Goblin wrote:This Side of Paradise, however, isn't very good at all.


Really? That's a shame, I've been meaning to check it out. A professor I admire told me it's as good as anything Fitzgerald's written.


There are several bits when a much older man, sort of a mentor, writes letters to the protagonist that are full of wisdom and advice. The problem is that it sounds like the wisdom of a 60-year-old as imagined by a 24-year-old writer.

All his other novels are great. The Love of the Last Tycoon is worth reading too, even though it's nowhere close to finished. There are several striking passages.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby prowler on Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:57 am

welp, i loved Infinite Jest :oops:

might be that i never went through anything like it so i'm clueless, but the soliloquy about the phases of addiction really rang true to me. and it's a really funny book.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby morespaceecho on Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:26 am

i am the smud wrote:
Margaret Atwood write terrible prose and cheeseball, angst-driven "dystopias".


Once again, dave, you are right on the money. I do not understand when my otherwise intelligent colleagues with good taste treat her as anything other than a young adult fiction writer.


sonofabitch. i just read 'oryx and crake' and i loved it. i thought her writing was remarkably non-angsty, considering the post-apocalyptic setting and all.

i just finished 'gone girl' and whilst some of it was great, some of the dialogue was just astoundingly bad.

i thought 'on the road' was impossibly dull. 'junky' too.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby goatlord on Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:02 pm

i am the smud wrote:
goatlord wrote:I have absolutely no interest in Phillip Roth, Updike, Salinger or Bukowski. None.


Fair enough, but that's kind of a strange grouping. Roth and Updike get paired together all the time, characterized well enough on this forum as the adventures of the circumcised and uncircumcised penis. But how do Salinger and Bukowski fit in?


Don't know, just male writers that I don't care much about.

Another confession is that I've been reading a lot of "extreme horror" books lately. They are mostly absolute shit, there are very, very few worthy books about some writter thinly disguising their sadistic fantasies in horror, but it's like I'm addicted to this shit.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby i am the smud on Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:27 pm

That wasn't meant to be a dig or anything. For the record, Roth and Updike I haven't read enough of to make any firm judgement of their work (though from what I have read I doubt I'll ever get around to revisiting Updike). Salinger's solipsism and adolescent view on sexuality creeps me out. And Bukowski influenced Anthony Kiedis.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby i am the smud on Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:03 pm

Ionno about that. I mean, what was 'the joke' in GR? Tyrone gets boners cuz he's in love with war? The punchline to that one isn't even revealed until near the end.

I think I didn't enjoy it because I made it a purpose to try to understand every reference made (w/ Weisenburger's companion), making the whole endeavor dreadfully exhausting. I didn't even want to look at another book for a month after I finished it. I think you're treating Pynchon's difficulty too lightly. There really is an astounding amount of research that went into that book; rumor has it he hadn't even been to Europe before he wrote it.

Also some of the chapters in it were so incomprehensible I started to wonder if I had dyslexia.

That being said, the section with Pokler and his daughter at the test sight is really marvelous. And I love Crying of Lot 49 - y'know, entry level Pynchon.

And give Delillo another chance. The end of the prologue to Mao II is a thing of beauty.

My girlfriend, who doesn't really have much of an interest in lit, read GR after she saw me struggle through it. She got through it way quicker than I did, but stopped around the infamous scene where Slothrop fucks the child actress. She eventually continued but only after we had an argument on whether or not it's ok to write stuff like that (we still disagree).
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby i am the smud on Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:35 pm

So...don't do that when I read Ulysses then? cuz i have the reference guide to that one too...
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby i am the smud on Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:44 pm

Hell, I'm going to Dublin in a month. I'll just walk around the locations. Not doing Bloomsday though I hear it's just old people doing cosplay.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby i am the smud on Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:51 pm

References and details are tools for making literature, not reading it.


God, I wish someone would've told some of my professors this. It really can be a joyless task, putting down a book to go look up an obscure reference to Giordano Bruno or whoever. This is probably what puts me off reading some of the more daunting works of lit. Part of why I love Goethe is how surreptitiously he plants symbols in his work.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby ::: on Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:39 am

big_dave wrote:I think Vineland is great, the best book of its type that I've ever read. I laughed on nearly every page.

The dumb jokes, the sleaze, the stupid thriller plots, the character names, the endless preaching to choir about early 20th century leftism...I love it all. [...]

You have to find a particular voice/attitude funny, and have a distaste for cynicism or misanthropy, but if you do you'll probably take any amount of it forever.

I adore Vineland. IIRC Harold Bloom or someone like that went off on it in a review as if it was the worst thing ever to happen in literature. Couldn't care less; it's a delightful read. I would aspire, if I were to attempt to write a novel, to write one a tenth as intricately weird and entertaining as Vineland.
Last edited by ::: on Sun Apr 19, 2015 6:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby ::: on Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:49 am

Oh, and apparently it's uncool to stan for DFW now, or the fiction anyway. I don't think about DFW -- by which I mean both his work and what I know of his life -- so much these days (though I expect I will revisit it all in the future); his suicide upset me terribly, far more than the death of any other public or semipublic figure in my lifetime, and has the potential to continue doing so if I dwell on it. Anyway I'm confident that his shit'll still be read and taught well after we're all dead, so the fluctuations of literary fashion are irrelevant AFAIC.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby Angus Jung on Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:35 pm

::: wrote:Oh, and apparently it's uncool to stan for DFW now, or the fiction anyway.

No, it's still quite cool. He becomes more and more canonized with each passing year. Too bad, as he was a pretty terrible writer of fiction.
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby i am the smud on Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:15 pm

My friend Tommy, who lives in a hip section of Brooklyn, has two copies of Infinite Jest on his apartment's shared bookshelf - one his, the other his roommate's. This got us wondering how many copies of that book were probably in his building. We settled on 50.

Part of me feels this nagging obligation to finish the god damn thing before I turn 30, considering how 'important' it is to my generation. Sections of it are unbearably dull. Like that part in the tennis academy's towel room where they're all laying around talking about how tired they are. If I was his editor I would have put a big red x through it.

Hey, at least he's better than Brett Easton Ellis, who is without any redeemable quality. Tired misanthropy in a cool leather jacket.BEE is maybe a shade better than Chuck Pahlahniuk, who writes like he eats his boogers.

EDIT: DFW is several leagues better than fucking Pahlaniuk
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Re: One-Sentence Literature Confessions

Postby ::: on Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:35 pm

i am the smud wrote:this nagging obligation to finish the god damn thing before I turn 30, considering how 'important' it is to my generation.

i am the smud, without knowing exactly how far under 30 you are, I humbly submit that Infinite Jest, though its appeal isn't limited to any single age group, probably meant way more in that immediate-zeitgeisty sense to people who were young adults when it was published 20 years ago, and that your own generation's obligatory Huge Badass Novel That Gets All the Critical Attention for Years So That Eventually People Start to Resent It is yet to be published.

he's better than Brett Easton Ellis

WHY YES, YES INDEED

maybe a shade better than Chuck Pahlahniuk

I'm just gonna stare at these words on my screen for a little while.

Palahniuk is so utterly full of shit.
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