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What are you reading? the doomed thread of doom 188 replies to this topic Started by aine , Mar 05 2010 11:45 PM · 

#31 Ap2000

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 12:13 AM

I had to giggle at your "Watanabe's Penis". hah

Unfortunately I can't find a way to explain why I absolutely don't feel that way (I tried above) and unfortunately the video I've mentioned above is only available in German. There was also one woman that said Murakami depicts the women in a sexist way, only as phantasms, and the two guys say "You're completely wrong. You misunderstood every single sentence of the book !" (they were talking about South of the Border though).
I don't see the problem in not having the characters being completely rational/realistic and in NW it was the problem for the main character to decide between the new or the old, adulthood or childhood, living in a fantasy or finally letting go of it. That's how I see it.
Also, Midori fell in love with him, you know how people who are in love put up with shit from others just to be with them.

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 01:24 AM

PS. One would be careful to note that Japanese Lit is quite different than any Western lit. "Author insert porn" is the cornerstone of high Japanese modern literature (confessions, or I-novels).

I've heard this said in defense(?) of Norwegian Wood before, and it's put me off reading any more Japanese books at all (aside from the icky feeling I get when reading anything in translation).

#33 eri

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 03:12 AM

I had to giggle at your "Watanabe's Penis". hah

Unfortunately I can't find a way to explain why I absolutely don't feel that way...


Realizing the existence and proliferation of sexism is not a matter of how you "feel." It is fairly evident that the book strongly depends on conservative cliches of gender roles. The issue is if how your experience with sexism interfers with your identification with the characters -- or, as they say, how your privileges in life impact how you "feel" about things.

As I mentioned before, most of my 18-22 year old male students loved this book because, to put it frankly, 18-22 year old men have the privilege of universalizing their youthful angst. Many, though, cannot "appreciate" the novel because they might realize that their youthful angst is PRECISELY wrapped up in the unfairness of things like sexism. I see Midori as a ridiculous, exaggerated character because I know from lived experience that girls like that are never the heroine but will always be judged, disrespected, and mocked as "sluts." When Murakami gives her dialogue about how "modern" she is, I choke when he also makes her a domestic goddess who wants nothing else in life but to cook this random guy dinner. When Murakami creates a traumatized, institutionalized, and sexually vulnerable character like Reiko, I laugh when he writes how she suddenly climbs down the mountain and want nothing else but to fuck the random exboyfriend of her roommate. It reads like a fantasy that only a young man could spin and think could pass as a realistic and sentimental story.

Hence, the sexism in the book ruins the book for me. If you like it, it isn't that the book is somehow free of its problems. It only means that you cannot recognize the problems or do recognize them but find them irrelevant to your own identification with it.

#34 Ap2000

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 10:20 AM

When Murakami creates a traumatized, institutionalized, and sexually vulnerable character like Reiko, I laugh when he writes how she suddenly climbs down the mountain and want nothing else but to fuck the random exboyfriend of her roommate.


You shouldn't leave out the long talk they had before that though, when you talk about this.

#35 DarkRidley

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 10:51 AM

That was actually one of the bits I had a lot of trouble with, if not the most trouble. The discussion started to go seriously downhill when they start talking about Watanabe's sex with Naoko. Is this guy really such an unbelievably good shag? To the point where Naoko didn't ever want to have sex again? It got even worse when Reiko, after trying him out for herself for no good reason, seems to think largely along the same lines. I mean, what the fuck is this guy wielding? I think that's really the part that makes the most compelling argument for Watanabe being a self-insertion.

God, I sound like such a hater. I actually enjoyed this book, too. It's easy for any young guy to relate to Watanabe, and I would probably gotten caught up in the character had I not grown up in the shadow of a former second-wave radical feminist. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it.

#36 eri

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 06:50 PM

I'm telling you guys. NW was all about Watanabe and his penis. Should've been titled "Japanese Wood" :rimshot: :pimp:

But anyway, I still LOVE Murakami! And I did like some aspects of NW - the writing was so lyrical and sad.

#37 Ap2000

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 08:24 PM

In German it's called "Naokos Lächeln" (Naoko's Smile), which I prefer over the Beatles song's title. hah

#38 Petit Melon

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 06:27 PM

I finally got to Norwegian Wood on my reading list (thank you thread). The writing style is very beautiful. I love that sort of style. But the lead pisses me off. It's in first person and that makes it worse, ugh. I'm not going to finish it; it feels like it would be wasting my time. I'm reading The Wind Up Bird Chronicle right now though, so far it's interesting. Too bad I probably won't finish it before NaMoWriMo starts.

Oh, the Dexter books are not as good as the Dexter show.

#39 Tsuki

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:38 PM

One benefit to working in a library is reading a whole lot more.

I started reading the Murakami books too, and like Petit I just couldn't understand why EVERYONE seemed to love Watanabe. My impression of Norwegian Wood was a little underwhelming, but I did love Midori even if she was just supposed to be a teenaged male's fap fantasy. I have South of the Border, West of the Sun waiting for me and the Wind Up Bird Chronicle is on hold after that.

Also just finished a bunch of Michael Crichton books: Next, State of Fear, and his last book Pirate Latitudes. I like his books in general, well researched and believable. I'm a firm believer in plausibility in my fiction, if it takes too much to suspend my disbelief, I'll probably end up not liking it. State of Fear especially wasn't the best book for story and characterization, but it definitely made me think.

Right now I'm reading the first Sookie Stackhouse book, since I love True Blood. It's almost word for the word the same as the first season so far, and this author also writes in first person, which is a little jarring. It's not bad, the style is a little stream of consciousness-y except it tends to be Sookie running her mouth. A popcorn book, just like the TV show.

#40 michikodesu

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Posted 28 October 2010 - 02:19 AM

The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory. I'm just really fascinated by her writing style for historical fiction. Her topics don't seem to be too nonsensical or overtly romantic; so I do feel like I'm reading a chapter out of history and not a stupid 'chick lit' book.

#41 freezingkiss

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:28 PM

^ I'm not a fan because it seems anyone who reads her automatically thinks they are an expert on Tudor History. I went to a signing with Alison Weir (a very good non-fiction author) and someone said 'Did Anne Boleyn have sex with her brother? Because in Phillipa Gregory's book it said so!' I was like...'that was fiction..' I didnt add 'you moron' because she was an old lady.

I am currently reading Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (I have never read the entire series before. xD) and Steve Berry's 'The Templar Legacy', also, Michael Caine's 'What's it all about?' found out my dad read it like 15 years ago. =]

#42 Tsuki

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 11:34 PM

So I read South of the Border, West of the Sun, and after that, I actually was wrong: it was Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of World I had waiting for me, not Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.

After reading Norwegian Wood and SotB, WotS, I was wholly unprepared for the science fiction/fantasy elements introduced in HBW. South of the Border I liked, a lot more than I did Norwegian Wood, but it again seemed to focus on this hapless male character who appears to not be in control of his life and victim of circumstance. Namely sexual dalliances. And then reading Hard Boiled, I realized this is pretty much a theme with Murakami. It was far less pronounced in Hard Boiled, and thus I liked it much more as a novel than Norwegian Wood or South of the Border. Hard-Boiled is where I was introduced to his dual storytelling style, I started to fall in love with his descriptions of the End of the World, the stark split between styles of writing in Wonderland (as I'll call 'modern Tokyo') and End of the World made me much more aware of his ability to tell stories in completely different ways. I am still put off by his fascination with male sexuality, however. It's not bad, it's not good, it's just jarring to me.

I am currently reading Kafka on the Shore, and again I am running into that theme of male sexuality, and it's even more amplified with the main character being 15 and host to those raging hormones. I have to say: Hard-Boiled was hard to read, but overall enjoyable. Norwegian and SotB were easy to read, but I was left feeling indifferent. Kafka is much more engrossing (what I have been reading so far) than any of the other books I've read so far, and seems to be a good mix of what I liked from all his books. We'll see how it ends up.

I also read Kite Runner, which was recommended to me. I liked it, it was an "easy" read, and I enjoyed learning a lot more about Afghanistan that I really knew nothing about. Some issues with somewhat implausible plot points, but it definitely made the book a page turner. I recommend it, if only for a good anecdotal snapshot of pre-war (and wartime) Afghan culture and life.

#43 emily

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 11:48 PM

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
http://rebeccaskloot...-immortal-life/

#44 sadude

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 01:59 AM

Hey, I just finished the first Harry Potter book, having never read them before or seen the movies. It was AWFUL...











...That I had waited this long with read it. It was pretty good! I finished it in a day. Not much else to say about it. Looking forward to the next one!

#45 Mukuro

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 02:37 AM

I just finished The Prophecy by Dawn Miller, it was a bit dull at first but it got so much better later on.I finished it in about 2 weeks cause I didn't have much reading time. I also just now started reading The Alchemyst by Michael Scott.

Edited by Mukuro, 22 December 2010 - 02:39 AM.


#46 Tsuki

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 02:56 AM

Hey, I just finished the first Harry Potter book, having never read them before or seen the movies. It was AWFUL...

...That I had waited this long with read it. It was pretty good! I finished it in a day. Not much else to say about it. Looking forward to the next one!

See, a recommendation from you about this might actually spur me to read this (these) damn book(s). Like you, I'd never read them or seen any of the movies; I just had no real desire to, but I may now. THANKS A LOT.

#47 Plum

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 10:21 AM

Hey, I just finished the first Harry Potter book, having never read them before or seen the movies. It was AWFUL...

...That I had waited this long with read it. It was pretty good! I finished it in a day. Not much else to say about it. Looking forward to the next one!

See, a recommendation from you about this might actually spur me to read this (these) damn book(s). Like you, I'd never read them or seen any of the movies; I just had no real desire to, but I may now. THANKS A LOT.


They're not perfect, but they're certainly worth reading. The first few in particular capture a really nice sense of wonder.

#48 sadude

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 03:28 AM

Hey, I just finished the first Harry Potter book, having never read them before or seen the movies. It was AWFUL...

...That I had waited this long with read it. It was pretty good! I finished it in a day. Not much else to say about it. Looking forward to the next one!

See, a recommendation from you about this might actually spur me to read this (these) damn book(s). Like you, I'd never read them or seen any of the movies; I just had no real desire to, but I may now. THANKS A LOT.

:lol: Go for it. They (the first 1.6 books, since I've read 3/5ths of the second book today) are fun reads, as long as you don't go in expecting great literary masterpieces or taking them too seriously. Rowling builds a quirky, fun, and pretty imaginative world. "A sense of wonder" is a pretty good way to describe the books, too, as Plum said. :lol:

Just give the first one a shot. Come on, you know you want to. =3=

#49 Petit Melon

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 04:09 AM

I read the HP books up until 5, and the 5th was only because I was trapped at an uncle's house with nothing to do but read that book XD I didn't enjoy them; I don't like Rowling's style of writing, where she took some characters, and most of all, the repeated plots. It doesn't help that there are other children's lit books I enjoy more (and I prefer to write children's lit) :/ I may finish the series one day when I catch up on my backlog so I can say that I read it. I think I'm the only person on the BBS that's part of the HP Hate Brigade, so I'm going to shut up now heeheehee

I'm reading the book series mL rec'd to me in the chat but I can't remember the name right now. I'm trying to read Wind Up Bird Chronicle with Tsuki and Ap, but I err...need to focus a bit more when I read that book so reading at work is out, and at home I'm watching Korean dramas on hulu or play my DS before I sleep. :lol:

OH! And I finished "Like water for chocolate" by Laura Esquivel. Wonderful, wonderful book. I may check out the movie...or I may not. It made me hungry though. Each chapter starts with a recipe, and it's all my spanish Grandma's comfort food. Chile en nogada is Christmas tradition too loooooooool

#50 sadude

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 05:05 AM

I read the HP books up until 5

How did you get to 4 if you didn't enjoy them??

I don't like Rowling's style of writing, where she took some characters, and most of all, the repeated plots.

I'm sort of fearing repeated plots, but I haven't hit that yet, obviously.

It doesn't help that there are other children's lit books I enjoy more

Which? Any recommendations?

I'm trying to read Wind Up Bird Chronicle with Tsuki and Ap

There's a BBS book club?!? :lol:

OH! And I finished "Like water for chocolate" by Laura Esquivel. Wonderful, wonderful book.

What's it about, and why was it good?

#51 Ap2000

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 02:08 PM

I'm trying to read Wind Up Bird Chronicle with Tsuki and Ap

There's a BBS book club?!? :lol:


Not really, but I'm a Murakami fanboy (except for Kafka On The Shore) and plan on reading all of his books anyway and the others are intrigued too, thought not fanboys.
Tsuki reads it for the dominating penii.

#52 eri

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 03:00 PM

It doesn't help that there are other children's lit books I enjoy more

Which? Any recommendations?
...

OH! And I finished "Like water for chocolate" by Laura Esquivel. Wonderful, wonderful book.

What's it about, and why was it good?



Second the request for good children's lit.

And, oh I loooove "Like Water for Chocolate"! If you like any magical realism, then you'll love it but it has a foodie twist to it.

There are so many books that I want to read but cannot. I really really wish I was back home with my great big research library and thousands of literary books. I guess I haven't gotten used to the library systems here but they always feel like slim pickings. I've been wanting to read Ishiguro's recent book and Joan Didion's old "Year of Magical Thinking" and some Edogawa Ranpo.

#53 Petit Melon

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 12:45 AM

If you haven't read the classic authors like Judy Blume or Roald Dahl I'd start with those first. I particularly love Dahl's works (his adult writings are amazing too). My favorite trilogy is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (The movie did not do the book justice) though the last book is a bit preachy at the end.

A recent release is "The Search for Wondla" by Toni DiTerlizzi which is a nice read. (He also cowrote (with Holly Black)/illustrated the equally good Spiderwick Chronicles.) DiTerlizzi also illustrates his own works, which is really really cool (and what I always wanted to do XD).

A couple of other recent reads of mine were "Starling" by Jerry Spinelli and "Graceling" by Kristin Cashore. Both were pretty good.
Those are off the top of my head, I can look through my books at home if you want more recs.

#54 Tsuki

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Posted 24 December 2010 - 01:00 AM

I'm trying to read Wind Up Bird Chronicle with Tsuki and Ap

There's a BBS book club?!? :cryalot:


Not really, but I'm a Murakami fanboy (except for Kafka On The Shore) and plan on reading all of his books anyway and the others are intrigued too, thought not fanboys.
Tsuki reads it for the dominating penii.

So much penis in the Murakami books. So much. Also yeah, we just happened to be reading the same book at the same time.

There are so many books that I want to read but cannot. I really really wish I was back home with my great big research library and thousands of literary books. I guess I haven't gotten used to the library systems here but they always feel like slim pickings.

I don't know how Virginia's system works exactly (I have to imagine it's better than Maryland's) but Maryland allows you to borrow any book from any library in the state, you only have to order it (usually online) and they'll ship it to your closest library. It may take a while (it took three weeks for Wind Up Bird Chronicle to come from a library up near Pennsylvania) but I can't imagine Virginia wouldn't have something like that either. I feel library systems are really under utilized by the public, who often don't realize that your "local" branch is not the only library whose collection you have access to.

If you haven't read the classic authors like Judy Blume or Roald Dahl I'd start with those first. I particularly love Dahl's works (his adult writings are amazing too). My favorite trilogy is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (The movie did not do the book justice) though the last book is a bit preachy at the end.

I'd have to second Dahl's books, they were always my favorite as a kid. And I've been meaning to read His Dark Materials at some point, but I had heard the 'atheism' preachiness critique before, and it slightly turned me off.

#55 sadude

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Posted 26 December 2010 - 11:03 PM

And, oh I loooove "Like Water for Chocolate"! If you like any magical realism, then you'll love it but it has a foodie twist to it.

Thanks for the double recommendation. I'll have to put it on my list. I haven't read much magical realism, but I've loved what I've read from Marquez (speaking of whom, I haven't re-read his stuff in a while).

If you haven't read the classic authors like Judy Blume or Roald Dahl I'd start with those first.

I've read a lot of Dahl, though not particularly recently. *adds to list*
I know Judy Blume, though looking through her bibliography I was surprised to realize I haven't read anything by her. I'll have to find some brief descriptions of her works to see which I'd like to read.

A recent release is "The Search for Wondla" by Toni DiTerlizzi which is a nice read.

I looked that one up, and it looks great. I'll have to look into the kindle edition for that one. Is that the edition you have? The illustrations looked great on the hardcover edition page at Amazon, but I'm not sure how those have translated to the kindle. (I'll also have to read up on how to remove the DRM from it.)


I'm still slogging through the HP books. I finished the third one on Friday night; I had started the first one on Tuesday, so that's the first 3 books in 4 days. I've liked them all so far. Some cliches, some unexpected twists (which you can turn around and say "oh, it's kind of expected that those are there, otherwise it'd become too predictable and formulaic. But they're still not fooling anyone"), but all have been enjoyable so far. p.s.: Somebody save me. :weeeh:

#56 freezingkiss

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 05:32 PM

If you haven't read the classic authors like Judy Blume or Roald Dahl I'd start with those first. I particularly love Dahl's works (his adult writings are amazing too). My favorite trilogy is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (The movie did not do the book justice) though the last book is a bit preachy at the end.


I enjoy the atheist undertones in his books, but I do agree that the last one becomes quite obviously militant. Philip Pullman is amazing though. :weeeh: I am currently reading 'Anansi Boys' by Neil Gaiman, it's very good! I can't believe it's taken me so long to read one of his! ^^

#57 Petit Melon

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 05:34 PM

A recent release is "The Search for Wondla" by Toni DiTerlizzi which is a nice read.

I looked that one up, and it looks great. I'll have to look into the kindle edition for that one. Is that the edition you have? The illustrations looked great on the hardcover edition page at Amazon, but I'm not sure how those have translated to the kindle. (I'll also have to read up on how to remove the DRM from it.)


I have the real book because I loved the illustrations so much (I impulse bought it at B&N).

After watching (and loving) the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" I'm going to look up the book at a store. In more "serious" book reading, I'm going through book 1 of a series mL rec'd in the chat when I wanted more ASOIAF.

I forgot to mention that any book tagged with the Newbery Medal is bound to be a good (and ageless) read.

#58 eri

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 05:38 PM

If you haven't read the classic authors like Judy Blume or Roald Dahl I'd start with those first. I particularly love Dahl's works (his adult writings are amazing too). My favorite trilogy is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (The movie did not do the book justice) though the last book is a bit preachy at the end.


I enjoy the atheist undertones in his books, but I do agree that the last one becomes quite obviously militant.


As opposed to CS Lewis' militant Christianity :weeeh:

This thread is exciting - I will go to the library as soon as this wind dies down and temperatures and back to a human level.

#59 eri

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 09:30 PM

I just picked up The Golden Compass (among other things) at the local library.

#60 freezingkiss

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Posted 27 December 2010 - 09:33 PM

If you haven't read the classic authors like Judy Blume or Roald Dahl I'd start with those first. I particularly love Dahl's works (his adult writings are amazing too). My favorite trilogy is His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (The movie did not do the book justice) though the last book is a bit preachy at the end.


I enjoy the atheist undertones in his books, but I do agree that the last one becomes quite obviously militant.


As opposed to CS Lewis' militant Christianity :lol:


Lol yes, Pullman is the anti-Lewis. Northern Lights is incredible! That trilogy is so brilliant! :lol: