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Old 01-18-2008, 05:49 PM   #346
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I don't know if anyone's familiar with Italo Calvino, but I'd heard about him for a while, compared to Borges and Philip K. Dick, and finally picked up one of his books, If On A Winter's Night A Traveller.

This thing is FUCKED UP. It begins with the author writing in the second person how You're so excited to buy this new book and take it home, and he ruminates on the pleasures of buying and reading books, etc. Then the story begins, and is interrupted when the author breaks in saying how You realize that the pages have been misprinted, and You have to take it back to the bookstore to get a new copy.

Anyway, the whole rest of this book is this wild goose chase to find the rest of the first story, and is divided into two types of chapters: the stories You, the reader, are reading (each has its own title), and the sequentially numbered sections where Calvino is describing Your attempt to hunt down what's missing, including meeting a fellow reader who helps You on Your search.

Each time You think you've found the continuation, and start reading again, it turns out to be some other story that has nothing to do with the one before it, and then at a climactic moment you're interrupted by Calvino again.

I don't know if I've done this any justice, but I'm over halfway through the thing and it's quite a ride. It's frustrating at first because some of the stories are cool and you want to read more, but it's kind of funny and becomes a bit of a game.

There's a link on Calvino's Wiki page that has the beginning of the book, if you want to get a little taste:

http://www.italo-calvino.com/ifon.htm

Has anyone heard of this guy or read any of his stuff?
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:55 PM   #347
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Finished Gordon Ramsay's Humble pie, am three quarters through Russell Brand My Booky Wook plus i also just started reading Atonement

Thinking of re-reading Harry Potter soon and also going back over Great Expectations too
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Old 01-18-2008, 05:55 PM   #348
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Wow. Phillip K. Dick doesn't deserve to be in the same chapter as Calvino or Borges.

I really dug If On A Winter's Night a Traveler (especially the vertigo sequence). Its probably his best work, but I also enjoy The Castle of Crossed Destinies
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:17 PM   #349
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Originally posted by lazarus
I don't know if anyone's familiar with Italo Calvino, but I'd heard about him for a while, compared to Borges and Philip K. Dick, and finally picked up one of his books, If On A Winter's Night A Traveller.

This thing is FUCKED UP. It begins with the author writing in the second person how You're so excited to buy this new book and take it home, and he ruminates on the pleasures of buying and reading books, etc. Then the story begins, and is interrupted when the author breaks in saying how You realize that the pages have been misprinted, and You have to take it back to the bookstore to get a new copy.

Anyway, the whole rest of this book is this wild goose chase to find the rest of the first story, and is divided into two types of chapters: the stories You, the reader, are reading (each has its own title), and the sequentially numbered sections where Calvino is describing Your attempt to hunt down what's missing, including meeting a fellow reader who helps You on Your search.

Each time You think you've found the continuation, and start reading again, it turns out to be some other story that has nothing to do with the one before it, and then at a climactic moment you're interrupted by Calvino again.

I don't know if I've done this any justice, but I'm over halfway through the thing and it's quite a ride. It's frustrating at first because some of the stories are cool and you want to read more, but it's kind of funny and becomes a bit of a game.

There's a link on Calvino's Wiki page that has the beginning of the book, if you want to get a little taste:

http://www.italo-calvino.com/ifon.htm

Has anyone heard of this guy or read any of his stuff?
I've read Invisible Cities.
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:23 PM   #350
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Dalton: Philip K Dick wasn't nearly as refined a writer, but his ability to intertwine these mindbending ideas with some real heartbreaking human portraits is still impressive. I think the comparison to the other two was more from a "meta" standpoint than any other stylistic similarity.

NSW: Any comment on Invisible Cities? I think I was looking at that one too.
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Old 01-18-2008, 06:59 PM   #351
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Laz, I loved it. It's not at all about plot or character development, which of course we all appreciate in books....but instead is just about the author's, or, the fictional Polo's imagination. Very rich, very vivd descriptions of all these wonderous cities.

As for Philip K Dick, I'm a huge fan. I came to him late, after reading Sci-Fi from many different authors, and came away impressed. Not my favorite, but, in my top 5 for that genre, for sure...
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Old 01-22-2008, 08:40 PM   #352
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#7 Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman

I heard about this book in the Oprah magazine, in an article talking about how it was this classic. Never heard of it! So I picked it up.

Oh, it was so good. It takes place in the early 1900s, and a teenaged Boston girl with pleurisy is sent to live with her cousin in the wilds of Canada. There, she meets Sargeant Mike, a dreamboat Mountie. They marry and leave for his post even further into the wilds of Canada.

They experience all sorts of things: lots of little bits of joy, but bad stuff like wild fires, bear attacks and the inevitable illnesses like diphtheria and the flu.

I'm glad I heard about the book and read it.
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Old 01-24-2008, 12:54 PM   #353
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I picked up Sarah Gruen's Water For Elephants while I was away for the holidays because I realized I'd forgotten to bring The Satanic Verses. I'm over 100 pages into it and I still can't decide if I like it. It's really well researched and authentic, but I can't say I really like the protagonist, and the writing isn't as strong as I was expecting it to be considering all the fuss I've heard about the book.
I finished this last night, my first book of '08. I'd give it 3/5 stars. As I said, the book is very well researched, but the research doesn't make up for Gruen's faulty craft in places. It's a plot-driven book moreso than a character-driven one, and while many of the minor chracters are developed well, some of the relationships between the main characters feel forced and rushed. The dialogue is unbelievable or contrived in places, and there are more cliches than I can believe an editor in a major publishing house would allow. All in all not a bad book, but the flaws were a distraction.
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:49 PM   #354
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Originally posted by corianderstem
#7 Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman
I read that book about a zillion times when I was 12/13 years old. It's a classic. Very adventurous and romantic. I feel the need to find a copy and reread it after some 15 years away from it.
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:35 PM   #355
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Yeah, that's the thing that struck me in the Oprah article. All these people talking about how many times they read it all those years ago ... and here I'd never even heard of it.

Did you read the sequel? They had a few pages from it at the end of the book, and I don't know that I was all that interested, to be honest. It's from the POV of one of the kids.
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:51 PM   #356
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I'm gonna write a book that uses a flower as the predominant metaphor for the healing of a woman who's ear was molested by her retarded cousin when she was a child.

Oprah will eat that shit up!
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Old 01-24-2008, 09:57 PM   #357
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Had to read Girl with a Pearl Earring for school... that's a big pile of meh. It's well-written, has a strong narrative, and all of the symbols/devices/etc... are done extremely well, but I didn't care about any of it.

It was a frustrating read - probably the Anti-Catcher in the Rye.

Ethan Coen's Gates of Eden is now my next read.
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:05 PM   #358
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Quote:
Originally posted by corianderstem
Yeah, that's the thing that struck me in the Oprah article. All these people talking about how many times they read it all those years ago ... and here I'd never even heard of it.

Did you read the sequel? They had a few pages from it at the end of the book, and I don't know that I was all that interested, to be honest. It's from the POV of one of the kids.
No, I didn't even know there was a sequel. I doubt I would read it though...I kinda want to remember the characters as they were. Honestly, I think it would make a great mini-series.
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Old 01-24-2008, 10:06 PM   #359
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-Finished Children of Men this week...was actually quite good, very different from the movie, but I enjoyed it.

-just started You Know You Love Me (the second Gossip Girl book...all right, I do have a thing for teen lit )
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:19 PM   #360
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How different is Children of Men from the movie? It's one of my all-time favorites.
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