Delta of Venus? Not sure if it’s any good but it’s considered a classic of the genre I think.
Yeah, no I was thinking of a more historical overview looking at a range of women writers through literary history. Something comparative. Would be an interesting PhD + anthology hardback I reckon
Obviously Anais Nin is great writing on sex but it’s been a while since I’ve read her and my recollections seem to be more on her ruminating on the nature of her sexual liaisons as she moves between them rather than describing actual explicit scenes - like the sex is the stimulator of reflection rather than the centre of action
I’m halfway through GR. My value judgement is it’s 70% stoned ramble and 30% bravura. Just as I’m getting bored I’ll read something impressive, and that’s enough to keep me going but I’m not sure I’m gonna say I like it after I turn the last page.
I’m a big fan of Victorian smut, in particular - The Pearl, A Magazine of Facetiae and Voluptuous Reading, etc.
Carrying on from the Pynchy discussion above, I finished my re-read of Bleeding Edge last night. Enjoyed it so much more this time round (which was also the case when recently re-reading V. and The Crying of Lot 49; planning to immerse myself in GR and its sheer holistic achievements this Winter 1*); and again I’m left with the thought “people who say Pynchon is all postmodern detachment and no emotion / character are totally wrong imo”. E.g. I’m often struck how, post-Vineland, there’s the pretty prominent and recurring (and, to my mind, wicked sincere) theme of parenthood / parental love.
*how many DiS memes did you spot? answers on a postcard to the usual address please
I don’t get that either - 2/3 of the way through Vineland and the sense of loss of parents, friends, the “love revolution” and hope, crushed by Nixon and Reagan, is so strong! They’ve also probably never read the latter stages of Mason & Dixon either…
haven’t had much to do for the past 2 weeks or so, so I’ve read a bunch of short things:
Marguerite Duras - The Lover
this was brilliant. I pretty immediately went out and bought another thing by her (the Sea Wall) after finishing it. Duras hated it as well, she thought it was shit, called it ‘train-station literature’ and said she wrote it while drunk, etc. with eric away and fydb long gone, I don’t think there’s anyone on here who cares about the nouveau roman, but whatever
Jeanette Winterson - The Passion
kind of a Napoleanic era vaguely fantastical / magic realist thing, some of it was really good, some didn’t really work for me. I don’t know anything about Winterson - Oranges is not the Only Fruit is her most famous but that’s a coming of age thing, right? anyone a fan?
Han Kang - the Vegetarian
wasn’t really what I expected. the last section occasionally strayed too close to ‘here’s an explanation of the themes of the novel’ but it didn’t go to far over the line. still, thought it was really good overall.
Ivy Compton-Burnett - Pastors and Masters
another author fydb liked. as did Virginia Woolf. most of her books appear to be about snide, rich Edwardians bitching about each other and written almost entirely in dialogue. this is her first ‘proper’ novel, and feels like it. still quite entertaining though
Anonymous - The Diary of An Oxygen Thief
mostly just a guy being a boring misogynist. quite readable but didn’t really add up to much
Flavia Company - The Island of Last Truth
this is approaching a classic adventure yarn things (pirates, castaways, deserted islands), but with a mildly interesting framing device, a couple of layers of unreliable narrators, etc. pretty enjoyable, this appears to be her only novel translated into English.
John Berger - Ways of Seeing
I know nothing about art criticism or art but I can’t wait to bore people about how oil paintings were mostly about wealth, ownership and material goods. some surprisingly trenchant feminist criticisms for a book written by 5 men in the 70s as well.
also finished off - Roland Barthes - Mythologies - which I was reading on the train but was taking awhile since I don’t go anywhere. it’s pretty entertaining, surprisingly accessible.
this is quite a long post
halfway through New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson, somehow never read anything by him despite Red Mars being on my wishlist for years.
600 page ensemble novel set in a flooded future New York. really recommend it if you like detailed anti-capitalist climate change fiction stuff. talks about finance a lot but manages to not feel too dry, e.g. there’s a bit where one of the characters is relocating polar bears from the north to the south pole in an airship and they escape
Nearly finished A Visit From The Goon Squad. Been on to a winner with these last two re-readings of books.
Dunno what to go onto next: thinking maybe another re-read (this time maybe of The Big Sleep to fit with the noir mood I’ve been in), mainly cause I’d have to wait till at least Monday to get a new book from t’ library.
The Sellout: wasn’t a huge fan. Bit repetitive; when he’s had a good idea he likes to ram it home. Quite fun at times. Sure I missed all the cultural references through my own ignorance, and that may have lessened my enjoyment.
Had read Mysteries by Hamsun prior to this and thought it was one of the best books I’ve read for a while. Thanks to the person who recommended it in this thread. Next Hamsun to read if I manage to get through Mason & Dixon? Reaching page 50 of M&D I’m not having to read every sentence twice, so progress may speed up a bit.
Might pick up Flannery O’Connor’s Collected Works from the library (depending on whether the 1000+ page tome will fit in my bag)
How are you finding it? (Sorry if you’ve mentioned upthread somewhere) It’s definitely one of my favourite novels ever. I find it surprisingly easy to read, despite Pynchon being notoriously inaccessible (this reputation is not entirely deserved imo) and him writing in a very specific style in M&D
Finished Ethics by Spinoza properly mind bending stuff but and a seriously impressive exercise in determinism. Couldn’t help but think if you tried to write a book in that style now it’d never survive the editing process.
Most underrated post of the year
The second one related to the Sugababes’ “Overload”, I mean.
I’m enjoying it. Didn’t have much time to read over the weekend so it’s still early days. Lots of little lines and turns of phrase making me smile. It’s got a lot easier to read now I’ve adjusted to the style.
Not sure what I’m going to read now. Commuted in mainly to get a book from the library… but left my library card at home.
Maybe re-reading The Big Sleep it is, then
is it possible to read this for fun? got a strong feeling I would literally have no idea what he was talking about 99% of the time