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Off-season: Let's Talk about...Books?

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Old
09-04-2013, 04:00 PM
  #51
ourobouros
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My girlfriend is looking for french material to read since she's anglophone and taking a minor in french this semester. How difficult would you say it is to someone who isn't very good at french?
Ducharme is really a bad choice for someone not good at french. Is playing with word and have a style of is own. From Quebec, I think something like Chronique de la dérive douce of Laferrière would be a better choice.

For people more fluent in french, I hightly recommend La fiancee americaine and Le petite fille qui aimait trop les allumettes.

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09-04-2013, 04:09 PM
  #52
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Since I see that a lot of people here like sci-fi, I have to mention the master of hard science-fiction, Greg Egan. Perfect for people who like to have headache! In fact, the books of Egan are something like extreme litterature with a lot science in it. To see if you like, you can read one of is short story for free here.

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09-04-2013, 04:16 PM
  #53
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If you're in Montreal any time soon, let me know. You could drop by the shop and we can see if anything interests you.

Bloumeister is the only hf'er to stop by, so far, so it's not like you have to measure up to much.
Oh, in that case I'm sure to be top2. Though Blou and I do have some sort of a bromance going on, I guess he wouldn't mind being behind me after all.

Cheers to dackelljuneaubulis02, I'll check out V asap.

Oh and the book I just cracked open is One Hundred Years of Solitude, so far it's been okay but I'm sure I'll just fall into it sometime soon.

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09-04-2013, 04:16 PM
  #54
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for science fiction, here are a couple must reads :

-Dune cycle
-Hyperion cycle
-Asimov's Foundation cycle
- The Prestige and The inverted word from Christopher Priest
- La horde du contrevent by Alain Damasio (I don't know if they translated it yet, but if you read french it's a superb book)

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09-04-2013, 04:32 PM
  #55
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Originally Posted by Peace View Post
for science fiction, here are a couple must reads :

-Dune cycle
-Hyperion cycle
-Asimov's Foundation cycle
- The Prestige and The inverted word from Christopher Priest
- La horde du contrevent by Alain Damasio (I don't know if they translated it yet, but if you read french it's a superb book)
Im surprise to see this suggestion here, but yeah, that's a really great and quite unique book (except maybe for the end).

Another "must read" for me is The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. It's a mix of fantasy and science-fiction set in the far far future, when our Sun is dying. The main charater, a torturer, and the world he is living in, are quite fascinating.

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09-04-2013, 05:20 PM
  #56
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Oh and the book I just cracked open is One Hundred Years of Solitude, so far it's been okay but I'm sure I'll just fall into it sometime soon.
I am trying to improve my Spanish reading enough so I can eventually read this in its original language.

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09-04-2013, 06:02 PM
  #57
dackelljuneaubulis02
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I am trying to improve my Spanish reading enough so I can eventually read this in its original language.
I can't believe I got within 100 pages of finishing it and thinking it brilliant yet still giving up on it.

Not the first time. Same with C.G. Jung's autobiography which is just amazing and I even proclaimed it my favourite book at the time only to give up with like 60 pages left.

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09-04-2013, 06:36 PM
  #58
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After an unfortunate ~3 months since I last sat down to read a book I went on a spree the other day and got a few I've been meaning to open up.

The Master and the Margarita by Bulgakov, Pale Fire by Nabokov and For Whom the Bells Toll by Hemingway.

I'd absolutely second A Confederacy of Dunces, it is easily the funniest book I've ever read. Most people can't stand it when the protagonist isn't likable (think: less endearing, less aware Micheal Scott from the Office. It's cringe-worthy yes, but also hilarious) but I've read the book multiple times now and it's by far my favorite novel. Catch-22 is also fantastic in so many ways - the wordplay, the symmetry, the irony - just as funny, but much deeper and timeless to boot.

I've heard so much about Pynchon (and Foster Wallace) that I think I should just dive in. After the aforementioned three, I suppose those are up next. I had a hard time with Heart of Darkness earlier in 2013, the language was thorny and dense but I found it to be very satisfying by the end. Is Pynchon similar?
Lots of excellent books! A Confederacy of Dunces was a revelation to me. One of my favorite book with Catcher in the Rye. The Master and the Margarita is also high on my list. I'm also a big fan of Charles Bukowski.

On the French Canadian side, my favourite author is Christian Mistral. If you don't know his work, I suggest you read Vamp. I also enjoy Jean-Jaques Pelletier and the whole "Les gestionnaires de l'apocalypse" serie. Definitely worth reading.

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09-04-2013, 08:02 PM
  #59
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Im surprise to see this suggestion here, but yeah, that's a really great and quite unique book (except maybe for the end).

Another "must read" for me is The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. It's a mix of fantasy and science-fiction set in the far far future, when our Sun is dying. The main charater, a torturer, and the world he is living in, are quite fascinating.
So many outstanding SF authors not yet mentioned (I think). Here's a few.

Canadian William Gibson - the originator of Cyberpunk, John Brunner - who wrote many of the best genre novels ever ( Squares of the City, Stand on Zanzibar, Shockwave Rider, The Sheep Look Up) and Harlan Ellison - maybe the most clever SF writer ever.

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09-04-2013, 08:30 PM
  #60
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Anybody knows a great/easy book or series to read for a college freshman (me) who only finished 10 books in his entire life, including the Harry Potter series.

I want to read something that will change my life!

Thx

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09-04-2013, 08:40 PM
  #61
dackelljuneaubulis02
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Originally Posted by MaxHabs24 View Post
Anybody knows a great/easy book or series to read for a college freshman (me) who only finished 10 books in his entire life, including the Harry Potter series.

I want to read something that will change my life!

Thx
Catcher in the Rye is a great novel to start with. Pretty much my intro to great books.

Bukowski's easy to read.

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09-04-2013, 08:52 PM
  #62
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Originally Posted by dackelljuneaubulis02 View Post
Catcher in the Rye is a great novel to start with. Pretty much my intro to great books.

Bukowski's easy to read.
Catcher in the Rye seems more than interesting. I think it's what I was looking for, actually.

Thank you once again

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09-04-2013, 09:04 PM
  #63
dackelljuneaubulis02
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Originally Posted by MaxHabs24 View Post
Catcher in the Rye seems more than interesting. I think it's what I was looking for, actually.

Thank you once again
No problem! Hope you like it.

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09-04-2013, 09:09 PM
  #64
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Originally Posted by MaxHabs24 View Post
Anybody knows a great/easy book or series to read for a college freshman (me) who only finished 10 books in his entire life, including the Harry Potter series.

I want to read something that will change my life!

Thx
If you liked harry potter, try the inheritance series.

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09-04-2013, 11:12 PM
  #65
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Originally Posted by MaxHabs24 View Post
Anybody knows a great/easy book or series to read for a college freshman (me) who only finished 10 books in his entire life, including the Harry Potter series.

I want to read something that will change my life!

Thx
Flowers for Algernon, pretty easy read but had a deep impact.

On another note, I never finished Harry Potter. Stopped after book 6; I just got bored of fantasy I guess.

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09-05-2013, 08:14 AM
  #66
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The GSP Book is pretty good. And for people who don't read a lot, its easy to read and not too long. Verry interesting on many different aspects.
wow...didnt know he could write. And he makes grammatically correct full sentences? -

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09-05-2013, 08:40 AM
  #67
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I'd like to mention Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Very good book too

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09-05-2013, 09:36 AM
  #68
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Originally Posted by dackelljuneaubulis02 View Post
I didn't mind Lot 49 but it's not really 'Pynchon'. Apparently, he slagged that one off but I don't know how anybody knows he did that because he's a J.D. Salinger level recluse.

Except for his cameo on the Simpsons.

I'd read V first. Wish I was more articulate in talking about him but he really does defy description.
I had heard it gives you a taste of his style without being completely impenetrable...plus it's supposedly nowhere near as dense as V or Gravity's Rainbow, and not nearly as long, so I figured it would be a good "sampler" before I tried some of his heavier stuff.

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09-05-2013, 10:03 AM
  #69
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Another novel I forgot to mention in my post yesterday is The Secret History by Donna Tartt, set in a remote college in Vermont, the only "roman noir" type that I really liked.

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09-05-2013, 10:09 AM
  #70
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If you like Sci-Fi, here's some books that I really liked:

The whole Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card. As a bonus the movie for the first book is coming out soon! The first book is fairly short (I think I read it in 2 days) and I found it very entertaining/interesting, and then the serie kinda split in 2, half of it being more in the ethic/xeno range (very good imo) and the other half is more futuristic politics/wars (good and entertaining, but not as 'deep').

The 4 books series of Hyperion by Dan Simmons is my all-time favorite book series, and I read a lot. It's a really good sci-fi series, incredibly well thought-out. Makes me think a little bit of the Matrix in term of stories, although much more subtle (it's not a dream world or anything). The first novel is a big 'wtf' and you don't really see where he's gong with this, but it,s worth reading in full. His books Illium and Olympos are also very good, but quite weird.

All the old Isaac Asimov stuff is actually very good, especially imo the original Foundation trilogy. The Robots stuff is good too (the book I, Robot has absolutely NOTHING to do with the movie...)

If you want some more classic novels that are not sci-fi, the Count of Monte-Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is an awesome book (and really had quite an impact, it's referred to in countless other movies/books). Les Rois Maudits (there must be an English translation, don't know it) is a more historical novel series (really is historical, it's not fictional characters) that is very interesting, very well-written and will actually teach you some actual history at the same time!

There's plenty more, but I think that these books are all very much worth reading and accessible for someone who's not necessarily used to spend hours reading. Maybe the Hyperion stuff requires a bit more 'work' to get through, but it's also imo the best of the bunch.

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09-05-2013, 10:11 AM
  #71
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I can't believe I got within 100 pages of finishing it and thinking it brilliant yet still giving up on it.

Not the first time. Same with C.G. Jung's autobiography which is just amazing and I even proclaimed it my favourite book at the time only to give up with like 60 pages left.
I've tried reading 3 books by Garcia Marquez, and I just can't. I love reading, a lot. But I can't read his books. I'm physically unable to like them, and I don't know why... it saddens me because everybody talks about how amazing he is and all, but I can't.

On the other side, if you're more into thinking while you read, Kundera is amazing. I read almost all of his books, and they're amazing. Especially the ones he wrote originally in Czech (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Life is Elsewhere, The Joke).

In french, I just finished reading "Le Ciel de Bay City" by Catherine Mavrikakis, and I gotta say, it was amazing. So smart, and so beautifully written. I highly recommend it.

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09-06-2013, 01:53 AM
  #72
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I had heard it gives you a taste of his style without being completely impenetrable...plus it's supposedly nowhere near as dense as V or Gravity's Rainbow, and not nearly as long, so I figured it would be a good "sampler" before I tried some of his heavier stuff.
It is and it isn't. Pynchon's density and impenetrability is kind of what makes Pynchon Pynchon.

There's just crazy odd sensations you get while reading V and Gravity's Rainbow that for me were inexplicable.

Saying all this there's really no right or wrong way to go about reading Pynchon of course but 49 just isn't quite in the same league and that's not snubbing 49 at all. Very few books in general are in their league.

The reward of patiently reading and absorbing these 2 books is very very high. The ending of Gravity's Rainbow is really just one of the most mind bendingly awesome things ever.

Like I said though before, reading him slowly is really the only way to go unless you're some crazy genius. I'm a pathetically slow reader as it is. It took me like 5 times of trying to finally finish one of his books but once you get his rhythm it's not hard at all I found.

William Gaddis who some call the proto-Pynchon is amazing as well. The Recognitions is just unrelentingly brilliant. One (really simplistic) way of describing him is if Pynchon never read Naked Lunch (which I'm not a big fan of). They are different writers though.

It's just so fricking weird without it forcing it's weirdness in your face but slowly just gets weirder and weirder. If you like V and/or GR then you can definitely not go with Gaddis' Recognitions.

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I've tried reading 3 books by Garcia Marquez, and I just can't. I love reading, a lot. But I can't read his books. I'm physically unable to like them, and I don't know why... it saddens me because everybody talks about how amazing he is and all, but I can't.

On the other side, if you're more into thinking while you read, Kundera is amazing. I read almost all of his books, and they're amazing. Especially the ones he wrote originally in Czech (The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Life is Elsewhere, The Joke).

In french, I just finished reading "Le Ciel de Bay City" by Catherine Mavrikakis, and I gotta say, it was amazing. So smart, and so beautifully written. I highly recommend it.
Unbearable Lightness was a really good book from what I remember which is very little except there was lots of sex.

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09-06-2013, 08:18 AM
  #73
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It is and it isn't. Pynchon's density and impenetrability is kind of what makes Pynchon Pynchon.

There's just crazy odd sensations you get while reading V and Gravity's Rainbow that for me were inexplicable.

Saying all this there's really no right or wrong way to go about reading Pynchon of course but 49 just isn't quite in the same league and that's not snubbing 49 at all. Very few books in general are in their league.

The reward of patiently reading and absorbing these 2 books is very very high. The ending of Gravity's Rainbow is really just one of the most mind bendingly awesome things ever.

Like I said though before, reading him slowly is really the only way to go unless you're some crazy genius. I'm a pathetically slow reader as it is. It took me like 5 times of trying to finally finish one of his books but once you get his rhythm it's not hard at all I found.
Have you read Inherent Vice? I'm thinking of reading that one next/soon because Paul Thomas Anderson is making it into a movie.

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09-06-2013, 10:23 AM
  #74
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Have you read Inherent Vice? I'm thinking of reading that one next/soon because Paul Thomas Anderson is making it into a movie.
I've read The Crying of Lot 49 and Inherent Vice and liked them both. Inherent Vice is set in 1969-1970 and the protagonist is a chronic pot-smoking private eye in LA. It was much more readable then Lot 49 and has been reviewed as 'Pynchon-Lite'. It's not a very long book either.

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09-06-2013, 10:50 AM
  #75
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For anyone reading french books, i strongly recommand all the books of Patrick Senécal. My favorite are:

- Le Vide
- Hell.com
- Malphas ( the 3 books )
- Alyss
- Oniria

IMO hes the Stephen King from Quebec.

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