• Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
  • This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • all works and biography of Joseph Conrad
  • Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Waiting on the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee
  • Towards Zero by Agatha Christie
  • Sentimental Education - Gustave Flaubert
  • The Accidental Tourist - Anne Tyler
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest - Ken Kesey
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Pretties (series) by Scott Westerfield
  • The Waves - Virginia Woolf
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
  • The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier
  • Ishaeml - Daniel Quinn
  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • The Scarlett Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy

Charles Bukowski

  • Ham on Rye
  • Post Office
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem - Joan Didion
  • Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
  • To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
  • Extremely Loud and Incredible Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Stephen Fry - Moab is my Washpot
  • The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  • The Road - Cormac McCarthy
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
  • Les Enfants Terribles - Jean Cocteau
  • Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Bonjour Tristesse - Francoise Sagan
  • The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion
  • The History of Love - Nicole Krauss
  • East of Eden - John Steinbeck
  • Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  • Life of Pi - Yann Martel
  • Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literature
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, by Erik Larson
  • Running with Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
may 21 2012 ∞
jan 22 2013 +
user picture M: ah you've read the road! what did you think of it? aug 6 2012
user picture L.L.: Cormac McCarthy has a very different writing style. I think it might be the best future dystopian novel I've read. I wish I read it all in one sitting though because I think it would have had a bigger um....resonance? Definitely read! Have you read any of his other books? aug 9 2012
user picture M: That could very well be the case, I read it in one afternoon and it left me emotionally drained to the point where I couldn't stop crying after I'd finished it. I agree that it's one of the best novels in its genre (which is one of my favourite genres, despite the fact that a lot of dystopian/postapocalyptic fiction ends up disappoiting me, e.g., Never Let Me Go and The Children of Men), but more than that, McCarthy is an incredibly talented writer. The Road reads like one long beautiful poem and I think that's exactly what this book needed; the beautiful language standing in sharp contrast with the bleak and gutting reality of the the story. I consider it a touch of genius, really. Blood Meridian and the Crossing are already waiting on my book shelves, and No Country for Old Men is burning a hole in my Amazon basket, but I have yet to read any of them. Have you? So many books, so little time, huh? ;)
user picture L.L.: Oh gosh that's my favourite genre too! Science fiction 1984 and what not. As a kid I really liked reading about what society would become in the future. My favourites are The Giver and The House of the Scorpian. I hear the Pretties series is apparently quite good but I don't think I finished it... Harrison Bergeron (short story) and the Martian Chronicles in high school English and I loved them. One long poem yes that is a very apt description! However I'm on the fence on the ending; I would have preferred it to have ended with the dad's death but that would be an incomplete storyline. My boyfriend's favourite author is McCarthy so that kind of pushed The Road to be on the top of the to-read list but so far it's the only book I've read of his. A ridiculous amount of books I want to get through and sometimes it takes me a while to start a novel because I know I will be in for some emotional turmoil and I have to steel myself up for it.
user picture M: Tell me about it! As a kid I was intrigued by the idea of disaster -storms(!), disease, (nuclear) war, any and every end of the world scenario really- and people’s ability to cope with the consequences. Well maybe not just as a kid, it’s still one of my biggest dreams to “get caught” in a tornado or hurricane and I often have nightmares about nuclear bombs going off. Makes one wonder what a psychologist would make of such fascinations ;) Come to think of it, I’ve actually started writing a post apocalyptic story this spring, but it’s been a while since I last worked on it and I assure you, it’s nowhere near what McCarthy does. Those books you mention I haven’t read, but I’m going to check them out on goodreads right away! And I know what you mean about the emotional turmoil a book can cause. Many times I’ve postponed reading ‘darker’ or ‘dramatic’ books because I know I’ll get too affected by the story’s atmosphere. It’s almost as if the negative emotions characters go through are magically transferred onto myself, which is the last thing I want when I’m already feeling depressed, and is difficult to deal with even when I’m feeling ok.
user picture L.L.: I lived a much more exciting life in those books I read as a kid. I didn't really read many doomsday books, more science fiction and what humanity had to become in order to survive. Ah well as a kid I was obsessed with Holocaust stories, I remember reading one where the description got so graphic I had to stop but if I see the plot has something to do with WWII and I WILL want to read. Keep working at your story. Writing is only half the battle. Editing is just as important. Oh the emotions these stories make us feel. I get easily absorbed into the world and when it ends you're left in a daze.
user picture L.L.: I want to finish Anna Kareneia before the movie comes out and also I haven't read any Tolstoy yet. I still have 1Q84 to finish but I need to locate a copy and it's Murakami so you know it will be great . And since I love flow charts there's this one http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2011/09/flowchart_for_navigating_nprs_top_100_sff_books/ that's pretty useful. Do you usually read the books in English or a translation?
user picture M: Thank you so m uch for sharing that chart, it’s fantastic! I’ve read Anna Karenina last month and it was such a hassle to get through but totally worth it in the end. There were times when I thought I’d never be able to finish it, but like you, I too wanted to have read it before the film comes out. Seeing as you say that Murakami will be great I better keep my opinion about his writing style to myself ;) To answer your question, if a book was originally written in English I prefer to read it in English, but whether I actually do or not depends on various factors. Thing is, I have a huge passion for bookhunting at thrift stores, book fairs and flea markets, and living in the Netherlands it’s obviously much easier to come by a Dutch translation than an English one at those kind of places. Same goes for the library. The one I go two has only eight small racks of English literature as opposed to three floors of dutch literature/translations. So basically, when I’m not buying from Amazon, I just go with the flow of what I come across. When it’s a different language I usually opt for the Dutch translation, especially when it comes to Russian literature, unless we’re talking about poetry in which case I prefer English, simply because I think the dutch language is capable of making even the most exquisite poetry sound tedious. Is English your first language? If not, how do you decide on whether to read a translation or not?
user picture L.L.: I've heard Anna Karenina is a painful drawn out book. I couldn't finish On the Road and Catch-22 for that reason. Oh I would love to hear your opinion on Murakami's style. I've only read Norwegian Wood and 3/4 of 1Q84 so I like him based on the small body of his work I've read. Don't worry I'm not a rabid fan who will attack you just because you don't like something. Wow you need to scavenge to find those English versions and also there's the minor problem of waiting because translations take time. Hmm I don't know anyone who speaks dutch but I know how Vincent Van Gogh is properly pronounced. French to me is the most beautiful spoken language. I guess English is my dominant language. My family speaks Cantonese so I can understand sorta but my vocabulary is atrocious and I can't read or write Chinese despite taking chinese school for 10 years. We have to learn a second language for high school and my school only offered French or Spanish and the Spanish teacher was completely incompetent. The French teacher was hard in that she really pushed you to practice and go outside of the textbook phrases. I also spent 5 weeks doing an exchange in Quebec to study french so I WAS good at french but now my conversation skills and listening comprehension have regressed. I was better at reading and writing anyways but I need to brush up for sure. I bought Harry Potter PoA (and Twilight because I read Twilight and my friends and I were obsessed with it until we realized the plot was blinding us from the fact it's badly written) to encourage me to read and one day I'll sit down and finally watch one of those Godard films with the beautiful Anna Karina. The only book I've read in French was for a class and it was Sartre's Huis clos (No Exit) and I ended reading the translation because I had no idea what was being said. The plot was confusing not to mention it's about existentialism which is hard to explain in English let alone in an unfamiliar language.
user picture L.L.: Also perhaps we ought to move this now very long conversation to email format. I am marinierefields@gmail.com aug 10 2012
user picture M: for some reason I didn't get a notification of your responses, hence my late reply, but sure, let's take it to email from here on ;) aug 15 2012
user picture José Mauricio: Me gusta Pablo Neruda. sep 26 2015