Author Topic: Books you try to read but can't  (Read 7078 times)

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #100 on: January 24, 2013, 09:51:09 pm »
I read (and didn't mind) The Silmarillion. It fills in the back story of the Lord of the Rings. Bit turgid.

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #101 on: January 25, 2013, 12:50:46 am »
Catcher in the Rye. Read it on holiday, but only because there wasn't anything else. What was the point?
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven.

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #102 on: January 25, 2013, 12:58:25 am »
The Dice Man, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, were set books on my Degree course.
I had to agree with Persig about shimming out handlebars with offcuts of Coke cans. Sound advice, which has stood me in good stead over the years.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #103 on: January 25, 2013, 01:22:30 pm »
I find Conrad somehow similar to some of Graham Greene, although Greene is both lighter and gloomier. Perhaps you know what I mean but if you don't I'm afraid I can't explain it!  :( I like them both. Hardy I used to hate, from having to read The Woodlanders when I was 15, but have read some recently and quite liked it.
sideways bounding monkey lounging under fruit tree

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #104 on: January 25, 2013, 05:51:32 pm »
I'm also in the 'I seem to have stopped reading fiction' camp.  Not too good on books at all at the moment.  Must do something about that.
But back to the topic...

Dickens.  I like A Christmas Carol, but haven't managed to get into anything else (not that I've tried hard).
Thomas Hardy.  Being a folk musician and living as close to Dorset as I do, this is almost heresy.  I've started the Trumpet Major twice, but again, not really given it a proper go.

Actually getting properly into a book and then just abandoning it: 
Thomas Covenant.  I struggled through the first three, got half way through the first book of the second trilogy and realised I just didn't care about Covenant at all! 
I loved Lord of the Rings, managed the Silmarillion, but failed on Unfinished Tales. 
Enjoyed 'My Childhood' by Maxim Gorky (which was a set book for English O level) but the translation of the next volume of his autobiography I found was an official Soviet one and was completely unreadable.
D H Lawrence.  Mother studied him for OU, and I tried some of the books.  I was probably too young (early teens) to appreciate them.
August 1914 and one other of Solzhenitsyn's.  Gave up on both. 
Glass Bead Game was an 18th birthday present.  I just couldn't get into it at all then, but tried again in my third year at uni and enjoyed it.

Can't think of anything else at the moment.
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

mattc

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Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #105 on: January 25, 2013, 06:14:13 pm »
Moby Dick.

The book is cursed. We chose it as the group read for a group holiday.  As we began reading it, bad things happened, cars crashed, luggage was lost, people got ill. We all stopped reading the book and things went back to normal. We all agreed to never try read the book again, and left our copies in the farmhouse we were staying in. So if you find 5 copies of Moby Dick in a French farmhouse, back away, they be evil!

I agree about Moby Dick although for me it was just hard going rather than cursed.

Also Catch 22.
Maybe the more literary of you lot knew this, but I didn't: Moby Dick was considered unreadable by just about everyone in its day - even the critics thought it was rubbbish [mentioned on some artsy programme yesterday]
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #106 on: January 26, 2013, 06:16:14 pm »
The Trumpet-Major is possibly Hardy's worst book.  Try Far From The Madding Crowd first, then Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

I am having trouble reading the Reg Harris biography.  It's written by someone who doesn't seem to know much about cycling (20mph for the first half of a TT is good?) and Harris is not in the least bit likeable or interesting.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #107 on: January 26, 2013, 09:49:33 pm »
The Dice Man. I need solitary time to get through it and I won't get that till easter.
IIRC I read it on a beach in Goa.
"A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Type-Writer Girl, 1897

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Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #108 on: January 27, 2013, 04:49:55 pm »
Moby Dick here too - got all the story elements I should supposedly like but never been able to get into it, despite about four attempts.

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #109 on: January 27, 2013, 08:26:30 pm »
Maybe the more literary of you lot knew this, but I didn't: Moby Dick was considered unreadable by just about everyone in its day - even the critics thought it was rubbbish [mentioned on some artsy programme yesterday]

I think mixed reviews describe its reception better. But it is worth to remember that many major literary works that now are considered masterpieces, had very bad reviews when first published. Slight deviations in form or content from what was customary could lead to scathing reviews. Melville's style with mixing real facts and tall fantastic tales was disliked by some contemporary critics, but later authors and critics saw it as a strength and began praising the book again.

I thought it was very good when I read it some decades ago; a little heavy with its Christian symbolism, and very long of course, so I can see why not everyone likes it.

--
Regards

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #110 on: January 27, 2013, 08:37:56 pm »
Another +1 for the Silmarillion.

I have read all of Moby Dick, and, apart from a few amusing chapters on whaling, and why whales are clearly fish to any right-minded person (sure, they have lungs, give birth to live young which they suckle, have horizontal flukes instead of vertical, and all that stuff, but they live in the sea, so they must be fish!), I regretted it. I only read it because I was trying to find the source of a quote for a Guinness advert (the one with the surfers, and the horses/waves, and the voiceover saying that "This one waits; tick follows tock...") and "everyone" said it was from Moby Dick. I can assure Everyone that they are Wrong. I checked.

I've found Dickens a lot better since I borrowed a lot of audiobooks (I listen to them as a bed-time story). Hugh Laurie as Pip led to a confusing mental crossover with Bleak Expectations one dozy evening. :-[

Have you seen my blog? It has words. And pictures! http://ablogofallthingskathy.blogspot.com/

mattc

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Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #111 on: January 28, 2013, 10:33:41 am »
tick follows tock ... I've been meaning to find this out for years. Google gives the blurb from the agency responsible:

"
Set to techno-punk rhythms of Leftfield. Since the client felt the envelope could be pushed further, a new prose was created by a literary concoction of Moby Dick with influences from Coleridge's Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. The last line was inspired by James Joyce from his novel Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man where he goes on to talk about how man must rid himself of social trappings before he can become a true artist.
"

So everyone is right :P

clicky
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #112 on: January 28, 2013, 10:45:44 am »
My son has been reading Lord Of The Rings. It's hard to get a teenage boy to read but he's generally quite enthusiastic when he finds something he likes - he raced through The Hobbit. He's been struggling with LOTR though and finally admitted to me over the weekend that he was finding it boring. So I had to explain to him that it was perfectly OK to feel like this and he shouldn't struggle on with it when he's not enjoying it. You should have seen the look of relief on his face... Poor thing.  ;D

He's now switched to The Picture Of Dorian Gray instead and is loving it.  :thumbsup:

d.

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #113 on: January 28, 2013, 10:53:08 am »
tick follows tock ... I've been meaning to find this out for years. Google gives the blurb from the agency responsible:

"
Set to techno-punk rhythms of Leftfield. Since the client felt the envelope could be pushed further, a new prose was created by a literary concoction of Moby Dick with influences from Coleridge's Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. The last line was inspired by James Joyce from his novel Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man where he goes on to talk about how man must rid himself of social trappings before he can become a true artist.
"

So everyone is right :P

clicky

I've read that before in various forms, and yet I disagree. I've scoured all of Moby Dick (how ironic) looking for any of the phrases from that advert, and they just aren't there. No-one can give a chapter reference, or anything more specific than the quote you posted above.

I think the truth of the matter is it was made up by an advertiser, who claimed that it is "based on" or "inspired by" Moby Dick to try and make it sound deeper than it actually is.

Remember kids - just because it's on the internet doesn't make it true. I once did loads of research into Victorian Nipple Piercing, because "Everyone" said that Victorian ladies pierced their nipples, and they included citations to books to back up their claims. I wondered what said jewellery looked like, so I tracked down the books, tracked back loads of references, and eventually found that all the Victorian nipple-piercing tales originated with one book which was published in the 1960s. This book had no references to any of its sources, and also claimed that Victorian ladies had ribs surgically removed to wear smaller corsets and that Roman Centurions wore heavy woollen cloaks which they held in place by attaching them to nipple piercings. In short, it was a crock of made-up nonsense, but because it was written down and referenced with proper citations, it was a Fact.
Have you seen my blog? It has words. And pictures! http://ablogofallthingskathy.blogspot.com/

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
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Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #114 on: January 28, 2013, 11:03:07 am »
Kathy, your life sounds like one long stream of disappointment!

Citoyen's post has reminded me: The brightest kid in my school had peculiar parents. each of the 6 kids was given a reading list (I think it was 100 books to read by age 16?). I can only remember that it was quite an interesting mixture - but totally lacking in modern stuff - and included the Willard Price books. (Which I happen to think were pretty good adventure yarns for perhaps a 12yo, and probably had quite a lot of educational content). I don't recall Silmarillion being in there.

The kids are all ex-Oxbridge doctors and stuff, I don't think their odd parents did them any harm.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #115 on: January 28, 2013, 11:05:17 am »
Kathy, your life sounds like one long stream of disappointment!


 ;D

I'm just bitter about all the time that Moby Dick stole from me...
Have you seen my blog? It has words. And pictures! http://ablogofallthingskathy.blogspot.com/

Torslanda

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Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #116 on: January 28, 2013, 11:06:08 am »
Life, The Universe And Everything. Convoluted nonsense to the power n. Switched the radio adaptation off after 5 minutes, too.

Catch 22. What is the big deal?

Wiggins, My Time. That's been on the bathroom floor since Christmas Day. Stuck at page 120-something. I suppose I don't want him to turn out like Lance.

Weighty tomes I've just never started (attention span of a concussed squirrel). With the possible exception of Pirsig, reading Tolstoy, Dickens, Solzhenitsyn etc. never helped me to true a wheel or finish a build. If it's relevant or interesting it will get read. If it isn't it won't.

What?
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #117 on: January 28, 2013, 11:42:54 am »
Maybe the more literary of you lot knew this, but I didn't: Moby Dick was considered unreadable by just about everyone in its day - even the critics thought it was rubbbish [mentioned on some artsy programme yesterday]

I think mixed reviews describe its reception better. But it is worth to remember that many major literary works that now are considered masterpieces, had very bad reviews when first published. Slight deviations in form or content from what was customary could lead to scathing reviews. Melville's style with mixing real facts and tall fantastic tales was disliked by some contemporary critics, but later authors and critics saw it as a strength and began praising the book again.

I thought it was very good when I read it some decades ago; a little heavy with its Christian symbolism, and very long of course, so I can see why not everyone likes it.
I have read all of Moby Dick, and, apart from a few amusing chapters on whaling, and why whales are clearly fish to any right-minded person (sure, they have lungs, give birth to live young which they suckle, have horizontal flukes instead of vertical, and all that stuff, but they live in the sea, so they must be fish!), I regretted it. I only read it because I was trying to find the source of a quote for a Guinness advert (the one with the surfers, and the horses/waves, and the voiceover saying that "This one waits; tick follows tock...") and "everyone" said it was from Moby Dick. I can assure Everyone that they are Wrong. I checked.
Going way OT here - but not only whales, also ducks, swans, even beavers were considered fish in the middle ages, as the Church forbade eating meat on Fridays and certain other days - so first fish were exempted, then gradually just about every creature that comes into contact with water was classified as a fish in order to allow obedient Christians to eat it.

I've never even tried to read Moby Dick, but I do know that the ship's first mate does not make good coffee.
sideways bounding monkey lounging under fruit tree

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #118 on: January 28, 2013, 04:55:49 pm »
I rather like Moby Dick.  I've probably read it two or three times and think it has stood the test of time well.  It's a great big tale contained within a really well described world, complete with erroneous science.  I quite often pick it up and just start reading it anywhere, as I know the story well.  Same with Catch 22 and The Dice Man.

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon has been on my Kindle for a while waiting to be read.

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #119 on: February 03, 2013, 07:36:12 pm »
Going way OT here - but not only whales, also ducks, swans, even beavers were considered fish in the middle ages, as the Church forbade eating meat on Fridays and certain other days - so first fish were exempted, then gradually just about every creature that comes into contact with water was classified as a fish in order to allow obedient Christians to eat it.
There's been a discussion on another forum I'm on about whether beaver (or possibly just beaver tail) counted as fish during the middle ages. 
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #120 on: February 03, 2013, 08:21:25 pm »
It did.
Have you seen my blog? It has words. And pictures! http://ablogofallthingskathy.blogspot.com/

Re: Books you try to read but can't
« Reply #121 on: February 03, 2013, 08:34:32 pm »
That wasn't the conclusion arrived at on the other forum.  It seems to be a set of reports which go along the lines of "have you heard about those people in a-place-far-away where they're so stupid they consider beaver tails to be fish". It's all second hand reports.  All the documented evidence (such as the 'rules' of the various monastic orders) do not seem to mention beavers and seem to be fairly explicit in stating that anything with four legs is meat.
Quote from: Thomas Aquinas
The animals that are forbidden during fasting are "animals that take their rest on the earth, and of those that breathe the air and their products, such as milk from those that walk on the earth, and eggs from birds."
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."