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Old 01-31-2014, 03:18 AM   #391
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First though I'm finishing Vineland my first Pynchon. I like the way it moves, he's a fantastic writer, creative and blah blah blah my biggest problem is that it isn't nearly as funny as it's trying to be. There are fucking hundreds of jokes in here, from actual jokes, to word play to sly comedic descriptions and so on, and maybe one out of every 10 lands. Haven't laughed out loud once yet, but usually it's completely inoffensive. There are a few moments though where I just want to be like ugh fuck you, which stop me in my tracks, but whatever. Compared to Infinite Jest, which I'm not sure I actually like more as a novel... well, at least that one is fucking hilarious.
If you scroll a couple of pages back, you'll find my thoughts mirroring yours regarding Pynchon. I'm reading Gravity's Rainbow though. The humor is so infantile at times - I realise Pynchon is a film fan and my impression is that some chapters attempt to convey the slapstick humor of Keaton and Chaplin, but a lot of it is ridiculous and cartoonish and does not apply to the book format too well. Plus I was never that big on the kind of humor that is supposed to be silly and stupid - the songs being the primary example of this.

However, I don't know if it's me being more in sync with his style, or the humor just getting better, but I do find myself laughing out loud more at some of the uniquely absurd and preposterous situations Pynchon comes up with. When he just lets his (drug-induced) imagination roll and does not rely on crappy jokes, the humor feels more natural and charming. I'm two thirds into the novel and I'm finally getting really excited to get back to it.

The writing is perversely brilliant, the themes and metaphors are fascinating and yes, it is getting more entertaining and funny. But I still feel much more connected with DFW's writing, since I've read Infinite Jest before this and found it far more compelling and the humor being so superior it's not even funny (heh).
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:18 AM   #392
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Yeah, pretty much precisely my feelings towards Vineland as well. It's funny you mention Keaton and Chaplin, are those quoted influences on his work? I feel the whole cinema thing too though, and yeah, even without those exact touchstones, parts of Vineland fall seriously flat because certain kinds of visual humor don't translate as well to prose. Timing and sight-gags are really easy to fuck up when you're only reading them and forming the scenes mentally. I'd agree too that it's the more general circumstances he throws his characters and plot curves into that get the biggest chuckles from me.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:18 PM   #393
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I started reading The Crying of Lot 49 last night and I'm somewhat underwhelmed after a couple of chapters. Perhaps I'm just not in the mood for Pynchon's prose right now, but I share some of your sentiments. I don't find it particularly funny, although the story is interesting enough. Some of the puns probably escape me as a non-native speaker, but that's not a deal breaker, I just find it quite mundane and not necessarily original in that particular style.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:38 PM   #394
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I don't enjoy his writing at all. I'm probably not intelligent enough to glean whatever enjoyment from it that I'm supposed to. And, to be honest, at this stage of my life reading is for enjoyment or learning, not for me to struggle through a book for over a month just because really learned people think I should. The turning point for me was probably when I decided it would be fun to read Le Morte d'Arthur in Middle English. I got through it, and upon immediate reflection considered it a complete fucking waste of time that would impress nobody but people I'd rather never speak to anyway.

So it's not like I'm sitting around reading Twilight but I probably am not busy reading Proust either.

I should list the last few books I have read followed by my in-depth 3 sentence reviews.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:39 PM   #395
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Lot 49 has an intriguing storyline and I really enjoyed the way it resolved itself, but Pynchon's prose seemed willfully difficult. For such a seemingly light and compact novel, it's extraordinarily dense. And yeah, a lot of the humor slipped past me.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:57 PM   #396
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I'm trying to read Les Miserables, but I don't think it's doing it for me. I'll give it a bit more time.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:15 PM   #397
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I read that not all that long ago. I actually enjoyed it.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:32 PM   #398
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I started out enjoying it, but then it went on about the bishop for 50 pages and I started to find myself frequently checking how far I was from the next part.

Though, now that Jean has entered the story, I'm more into it.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:36 PM   #399
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SCUBA once had to……..eliminate, let's say, a bishop in a foreign land. It was a lot like chess, except chess pieces don't actually sell American secrets stolen from the consulate and sell them to our enemies, and of course chess pieces don't bleed and die.

But, yeah, how about that Jean Valjean, huh?
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:20 PM   #400
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I bet if SCUBA existed, and it were a long line of individuals who, over time, took on its persona, Jean Valjean would've been SCUBA.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:53 PM   #401
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I'd actually apply the "willfully difficult" descriptor to Wallace before Pynchon judging only by Vineland at least, though the former typically pays off better for the work.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:16 PM   #402
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I'm trying to read Les Miserables, but I don't think it's doing it for me. I'll give it a bit more time.

i was going to do that. but then i remembered there's no music in the book, so i lost interest.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:03 AM   #403
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I've never watched the musical because I just can't for the life of me understand how that story gave someone the idea to stick some music with it.
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:47 AM   #404
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i was going to do that. but then i remembered there's no music in the book, so i lost interest.
I don't think I could read it because all the singing going on in my head would distract me too much.
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Old 02-01-2014, 12:34 PM   #405
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I started out enjoying it, but then it went on about the bishop for 50 pages and I started to find myself frequently checking how far I was from the next part.

Though, now that Jean has entered the story, I'm more into it.
I read the abridged version in high school and really liked it. Apparently the original has a lot of pointless commentary that has nothing to do with the story, which is why it's the size of a brick.
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