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Thread: The Book Discussion Thread

  1. #1301
    What's everyone's current read?

    *halfway through Kiss of the Spider Woman*

  2. #1302
    Whole Sick Crew Benny Profane's Avatar
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    Finished The Raw Shark Texts. Let me know what you think about it, ledfloyd.

    Now moving on to The Plot Against America, my first Philip Roth.
    Now reading: The Master Switch by Tim Wu

  3. #1303
    i am the great went ledfloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Benny Profane (view post)
    Finished The Raw Shark Texts. Let me know what you think about it, ledfloyd.

    Now moving on to The Plot Against America, my first Philip Roth.
    i have like 5 books i'm reading right now, but i should get to it sometime soon.

    plot against america was my first roth as well. it's not as good as american pastoral or portnoy's complaint but it's pretty great.

  4. #1304
    dissolved into molecules lovejuice's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Benny Profane (view post)
    Now moving on to The Plot Against America, my first Philip Roth.
    kf and i had a really bad time with american pastoral. sabbath's theater is a forgivable book. let me know what you think about TPaA
    "Over analysis is like the oil of the Match-Cut machine." KK2.0

  5. #1305
    Too much responsibility Kurosawa Fan's Avatar
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    Finished The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It would have been brilliant had it not been for such an irritating narrator. He was like a vulgar Stewart Scott from ESPN. Not a compliment. Still, quite a story, and a very moving conclusion. I dug it.

    I'm now making my way through The Tipping Point. Gotta love vacations.

  6. #1306
    Too much responsibility Kurosawa Fan's Avatar
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    Finished The Tipping Point. Great read. The bits about crime, teen smoking and suicide, and the three personality types were just fascinating. A fast, illuminating read. Recommended to everyone.

    Not sure what I'll move onto next.

  7. #1307
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting SpaceOddity (view post)
    What's everyone's current read?

    *halfway through Kiss of the Spider Woman*
    Amazing book. Puig is a unique writer and that's his greatest work.

    Me, I'm reading Los Detectives Salvajes [The Savage Detectives] by Roberto Bolaño.

  8. #1308
    Whole Sick Crew Benny Profane's Avatar
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    Jon Krakauer's new book to be released in October is called The Hero and it's about Pat Tillman. Very much looking forward to that.
    Now reading: The Master Switch by Tim Wu

  9. #1309
    Zeeba Neighba Hugh_Grant's Avatar
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    Entertainment Weekly's list of the top 100 new (published in the last twenty-five years) classic books:
    -----------------

    1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
    2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
    3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
    4. The Liars' Club, Mary Karr (1995)
    5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
    6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
    7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
    8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
    9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
    10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
    11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
    12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
    13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
    14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
    15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
    16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
    17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
    18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
    19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
    20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
    21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
    22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
    23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
    24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
    25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
    26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
    27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
    28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
    29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
    30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
    31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
    32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
    33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
    34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
    35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
    36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
    37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
    38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
    39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
    40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
    41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
    42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
    43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
    44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
    45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
    46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
    47. World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
    48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
    49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
    50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
    51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
    52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
    53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
    54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
    55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
    56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
    57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
    58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
    59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
    60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
    61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
    62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
    63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
    64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
    65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
    66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
    67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
    68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
    69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
    70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
    71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
    72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
    73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
    74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
    75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
    76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
    77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
    78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
    79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
    80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
    81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
    82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
    83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
    84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
    85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
    86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
    87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
    88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
    89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
    90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
    91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
    92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
    93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
    94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
    95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
    96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
    97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
    98. The Predators' Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
    99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
    100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

    -----

    Thoughts?

  10. #1310
    Whole Sick Crew Benny Profane's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Kurosawa Fan (view post)
    Finished The Tipping Point. Great read. The bits about crime, teen smoking and suicide, and the three personality types were just fascinating. A fast, illuminating read. Recommended to everyone.

    Not sure what I'll move onto next.
    I thought this book was waaaay too textbook-ishy. My problem with Gladwell, and this was reinforced when I read Blink, is that he repeats himself incessantly. I firmly believe he thinks his readers are stupid.
    Now reading: The Master Switch by Tim Wu

  11. #1311
    Whole Sick Crew Benny Profane's Avatar
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    The most redeeming part of that top 100 list is that it reminds me I need to read Rabbit at Rest to finish off the series.

    Hugh, you ever read any of the Rabbit books?
    Now reading: The Master Switch by Tim Wu

  12. #1312
    Zeeba Neighba Hugh_Grant's Avatar
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    What I've read:
    6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001) (Rightfully placed in the top ten)
    8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
    9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
    16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
    20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
    25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
    27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
    31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
    34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002) (Yuck.)
    35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
    39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000) (My favorite on this list)
    41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
    60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
    67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003) (Yuck.)
    72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003) (I HATED THIS BOOK!!)
    73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
    75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
    77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
    80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
    82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
    86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
    88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)

    I’ve read portions of the following, usually excerpts in textbooks from which I’ve taught:
    64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
    94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
    21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
    7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
    37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)

    On my very long to read list:
    18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990) (Benny, that would be a “No, not yet” answer to your question. I’ve read plenty of short stories from Updike, but no novels.)
    22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007) (I’ve taught one of Diaz’s short stories, which was a bit hit.)
    70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
    19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005) (Can’t help but wonder if this is any better than the fantastic White Teeth)
    10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
    11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
    15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
    29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
    59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
    61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
    33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)

  13. #1313
    Too much responsibility Kurosawa Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Benny Profane (view post)
    I thought this book was waaaay too textbook-ishy. My problem with Gladwell, and this was reinforced when I read Blink, is that he repeats himself incessantly. I firmly believe he thinks his readers are stupid.
    I absolutely agree about the repeating. It was annoying. But I thought the information revealed in the studies was well worth his boring writing style. Freakonomics was a much better book.

  14. #1314
    Too much responsibility Kurosawa Fan's Avatar
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    On that list, I've read:

    1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)
    2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
    3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
    5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
    10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)

    13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
    17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
    22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
    28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
    40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
    50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
    53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
    72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
    79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
    82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
    87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
    88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
    96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
    100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)


    I didn't care for the ones highlighted in green (though I only read the first part of the Dark Materials trilogy). There are a few on the list I own and am planning on reading soon (Heartbreaking Work, Remains of the Day, Lovely Bones, Clockers, Possession, Blindness, Into Thin Air). For the most part the list is pretty good. Harry Potter up that high, especially my least favorite of the series, is absurd, and I can't help but think that they picked unorthodox titles from certain authors just to make the list look a bit less typical.

  15. #1315
    Zeeba Neighba Hugh_Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Kurosawa Fan (view post)
    For the most part the list is pretty good. Harry Potter up that high, especially my least favorite of the series, is absurd, and I can't help but think that they picked unorthodox titles from certain authors just to make the list look a bit less typical.
    I agree on both counts. There are some oddball choices balanced with the populist fare (Dan Brown, etc.), but overall, the list isn't too bad, especially compared with the other lists in the same issue (movies, TV, music).

    KFan, what did you think of the Haddon book?

  16. #1316
    Too much responsibility Kurosawa Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Hugh_Grant (view post)
    I agree on both counts. There are some oddball choices balanced with the populist fare (Dan Brown, etc.), but overall, the list isn't too bad, especially compared with the other lists in the same issue (movies, TV, music).

    KFan, what did you think of the Haddon book?
    I actually quite liked it. It was gimmicky, but I thought the gimmick worked pretty well and found it fairly affecting. It's nothing to get excited about, but I found it to be a solid read. I give Haddon credit for trying to create something different, something completely outside his range of understanding.


    Oh, and major credit to the EW list for not including Running With Scissors, one of those critical darlings that will forever baffle me. What a completely emotionless book that was.

  17. #1317
    Too much responsibility Kurosawa Fan's Avatar
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    This list inspired me to read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius next.

  18. #1318
    dissolved into molecules lovejuice's Avatar
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    i hate acting a part of a snobbish but da vinci code included in any best book list doesn't inspire much faith.
    "Over analysis is like the oil of the Match-Cut machine." KK2.0

  19. #1319
    Producer Lucky's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting lovejuice (view post)
    i hate acting a part of a snobbish but da vinci code included in any best book list doesn't inspire much faith.
    Regardless of its actual content, the list would be incomplete without its inclusion. That book is not going to be forgotten by the masses anytime soon. I actually applaud EW's ranking of it at the bottom tier, knowing they had to put it somewhere.

    EDIT: I think the other thing to consider is that this isn't a "best" list it's a "modern classics" list. That makes the pill a little easier to swallow.

  20. #1320
    Too much responsibility Kurosawa Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Lucky (view post)
    Regardless of its actual content, the list would be incomplete without its inclusion. That book is not going to be forgotten by the masses anytime soon. I actually applaud EW's ranking of it at the bottom tier, knowing they had to put it somewhere.

    EDIT: I think the other thing to consider is that this isn't a "best" list it's a "modern classics" list. That makes the pill a little easier to swallow.
    This.

    I was actually surprised it wasn't ranked higher. And yes, this is a modern classics list, hence the reason why popularity has such pull, and why Harry Potter is ranked so high. I'm actually pretty surprised that the only Stephen King inclusion is his book on writing. I figured there would be more pop entertainment stuff.

  21. #1321
    I'm in the milk... Mara's Avatar
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    I'm really not sure about this list. But here's what I've read:

    2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
    3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
    7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
    9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
    16. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
    20. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
    25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
    27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
    28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
    31. The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien (1990)
    34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
    36. Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
    40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
    41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
    45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
    50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
    53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
    55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
    65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
    67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
    72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
    77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
    82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
    84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
    88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
    93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
    96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003) ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
    100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

    I bolded selections that I didn't think were very good, or at least not good enough to be on any "best" list.

  22. #1322
    Too much responsibility Kurosawa Fan's Avatar
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    Atonement? Say it ain't so Mara! I thought The Corrections was passable (I've voiced my complaints a few times here), but I agree it would be far from a "Best of" list.

  23. #1323
    Winston* Classic Winston*'s Avatar
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    You two take exception to all those but not America: The Book? So many awful jokes for every half decent one.

  24. #1324
    Too much responsibility Kurosawa Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Winston* (view post)
    You two take exception to all those but not America: The Book? So many awful jokes for every half decent one.
    To me it seemed like a token "hip" inclusion on the list. And again, this is going by popularity, not necessarily quality, so it makes sense on there. It did have it's down moments though. I was disappointed, and that disappointment led me to skip Colbert's book, which I've heard is about the same as far as laughs go.

  25. #1325
    Zeeba Neighba Hugh_Grant's Avatar
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    I recommend The Line of Beauty to any fan of Henry James (and Thatcherite England).

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