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Book I'm reading!

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ten0rman
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Book I'm reading!

#128447

Postby ten0rman » March 27th, 2018, 8:30 pm

I'm not what you might call a discerning reader; unless it's a text book, 99% of my reading is what I call bedtime reading - Wilbur Smith, Alexander Kent, Dick Francis, Clive Cussler, Nevil Schute etc. But occasionally I do try what is supposedly "better" reading. For example I have read the Jane Austen books, and following a recommendation from someone with a degree in English Literature, two books by D.H. Lawrence. Now whilst I found the Austen books palatable if bland, I was somewhat disgusted with Lawrence, although to be fair, my recommendee, if that's the right term, did say that I had chosen his worst two books - Lady Chatterley's Lover and either Sons & Lovers or Women in Love, the end result being that I have no inclination whatsoever now to try any other of his works.

I'm currently halfway through a book by another author, one which I had thought to try some time ago, and which Mrs T recently borrowed from our youngest. I have to say that I find it peculiar. The writing appears strange, full of thee's and thou's etc and much use of the word obscenity to avoid actually using bad language - why not write it without recourse to such language, other writers manage quite well? The story does seem reasonable, but frankly if this is an example of his writings, and this is supposedly his best work, then this is another author I won't be reading any more. The book? For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.

Where am I going wrong, if indeed I am?

ten0rman

AleisterCrowley
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#128457

Postby AleisterCrowley » March 27th, 2018, 9:58 pm

I've not read much Hemingway, but he's renowned for his clean, simple, economical style. Not yet got to 'For Whom..' but surprised the language is 'an issue'
I have recently enjoyed his fragment of autobiography, "A Moveable Feast" - covering the years he spent in Paris in the 1920s

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Re: Book I'm reading!

#128461

Postby TedSwippet » March 27th, 2018, 10:14 pm

Maybe try The Old Man and the Sea?

Entirely readable. And most importantly, short -- I read it in one sitting, something I very rarely do.

JMN2
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#128528

Postby JMN2 » March 28th, 2018, 10:41 am

Check out Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, it is about beer drinking under the hot Spanish sky.

Slarti
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#128643

Postby Slarti » March 28th, 2018, 4:19 pm

I've read 3 of Hemigway's and, in my opinion, For Whom the Bell Tolls is the worst of them.

I would also recommend The Old Man and the Sea.


Oh, I find that I have to be in the right mood to tackle "better" books, but they can be well worth the effort. Sometimes

Slarti

ten0rman
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#128695

Postby ten0rman » March 28th, 2018, 8:35 pm

Thanks for the comments.

Strangely, last night I read a couple of chapters from the middle of the book, and found them reasonably well written. Maybe it was just the first few chapters. Anyway, I shall keep plodding on, but with a certain amount of misgiving.

ten0rman

ten0rman
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#129674

Postby ten0rman » April 3rd, 2018, 12:28 pm

Right then, I've actually managed to finish the book (Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls). Not impressed is the end result.

The language. Full of thees & thous and the use of the word "the" before a person's name, eg the Maria. Now somewhere I've read that this was an attempt to make it look like a translation from the Spanish. Sorry mate, if a translator translated something like that for me, I'd be up in arms as I would expect the translation to take account of the differences, if any, in grammar between the two languages. Using "thee", "thou" & "the" simply makes for awkward reading.

Obscene language. Ok, we all know it happens in real life, but I really do not want it shoved at me through reading or audibly eg via the television. Don't forget, plenty of other authors manage to write books without using such language. and the idea of using "obscenity", or "muck" to hide it is just laughable. Does Hemingway really think that people will be taken in by it? Incidently, this is one of my objections to D.H. Lawrence.

Maria's rape. Ok, it happened, but was there really any need to describe any of it? Yes, I know that conquering armies have raped women as part of the spoils of war, a way of subjugating the losing side perhaps, but do we need to go on about it? Surely a simple bald statement to Robert from Pilar along the lines of "Be gentle with her, she's been raped" would have been sufficient.

And whilst we are about, the sex. Or rather the lack of it. Or to put it more bluntly, the hinting at it. Again, other writers manage to convey the information that the couple have had intercourse without using euphemisms etc, and without making a song and dance over it. But maybe I'm being over critical, the book was, after all, first published in 1941 and perhaps the mores of the day would have severely frowned upon the phraseology used today.

So there we are. I've read it, and as I say, not impressed. But one must not assume that one book is an indication that other books will be similar. Maybe it is, as Slarti says, the worst of the bunch. It looks as if "The Old Man and The Sea" might well be the next one to try.

Watch this space.

ten0rman

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Re: Book I'm reading!

#130947

Postby JMN2 » April 9th, 2018, 4:16 pm

ten0rman wrote:...

Obscene language. Ok, we all know it happens in real life, but I really do not want it shoved at me through reading or audibly eg via the television. Don't forget, plenty of other authors manage to write books without using such language. and the idea of using "obscenity", or "muck" to hide it is just laughable. Does Hemingway really think that people will be taken in by it? Incidently, this is one of my objections to D.H. Lawrence.

...

ten0rman


Considering the age when the book was written I find this very hard to believe. I very much doubt f***, c*** or c**ksu**** were you used, perhaps bastard or son of a b****but I don't really find these obscene. Hemingway's language was very mild when it came to cursing.

AleisterCrowley
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#130953

Postby AleisterCrowley » April 9th, 2018, 4:37 pm


JMN2
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#132408

Postby JMN2 » April 15th, 2018, 11:25 pm

I am still waiting for a clarification on how Hemingway's language was obscene, Tenorman,I put it to you Sir you are a prude! I read Hemingway in my late teens and don't remember a single swear word.

midnightcatprowl
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#132639

Postby midnightcatprowl » April 16th, 2018, 7:30 pm

JMN2 wrote:I am still waiting for a clarification on how Hemingway's language was obscene, Tenorman,I put it to you Sir you are a prude! I read Hemingway in my late teens and don't remember a single swear word.


Yes I'm a bit puzzled by this discussion too. I've never been a big Hemingway fan - apart from as with so many people 'The Old Man and the Sea', but I've certainly read more than one of his books and don't remember them as full of bad language.

I suppose one issue is that someone reading in their late teens (which was very probably when I first read Hemingway) may be less sensitive to the issue than someone reading before that age or well after that age?????

The other issue of course is that what the reader finds 'offensive' and what society in general finds 'offensive' shifts considerably over time and society 'shifts' may be more rapid than individual reader 'shifts' (or not of course as the case may be). Words and phrases regarded as 'normal' in the first half to three quarters of the 20th Century may now really shock the reader - as I was recently if not exactly shocked certainly startled to realise/remember when re-reading one particular author the vocabulary and comments that mainstream well regarded authors of that era thought it perfectly okay to use in the most casual way. I'm thinking of comments relating to race, religion, social class, sexual orientation, children born out of 'wedlock' as it was termed and so forth. People get upset by swearing in the media today - and I'm not claiming I like it myself - but they forget that in some ways it is much milder than the viciousness of vocabulary used in earlier days?

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Re: Book I'm reading!

#132897

Postby Slarti » April 17th, 2018, 6:41 pm

midnightcatprowl wrote:The other issue of course is that what the reader finds 'offensive' and what society in general finds 'offensive' shifts considerably over time and society 'shifts' may be more rapid than individual reader 'shifts' (or not of course as the case may be). Words and phrases regarded as 'normal' in the first half to three quarters of the 20th Century may now really shock the reader


My first example of that was with the first series if Till Death Us Do Part, where my parents were horribly shocked at Alf calling Else a cow.

In the world they came from, calling a woman a cow would call for instant physical retaliation by any other man present, on the low life who used such language.

Luckily we'd just moved from the North-East to Basildon and they were able to ask Londoners about this, who were surprised at my parents attitude.


So place as well as time matters.

Slarti

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Re: Book I'm reading!

#153078

Postby JMN2 » July 18th, 2018, 7:53 am

John le Carre is back to form after decades of boring books I could not always finish. A Legacy of Spies. The Circus is back with Smiley, Guillam and Leamas, DDR, Berlin, old Guillam is brought back from retirement to revisit an old case from the early 60's. Most of the book is structured as Guillam reading the old files he stole and doctored. Cracking read, about time!

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Re: Book I'm reading!

#153088

Postby Dod101 » July 18th, 2018, 9:02 am

I think I have read all of le Carre's books and sadly I have to disagree with JMN2. I thought it was boring and predictable, simply a regurgitation of the past. I do not blame le Carre because he still writes very well and it obviously keeps him occupied. Not bad for a man who was born in 1931.

Dod

AleisterCrowley
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#153094

Postby AleisterCrowley » July 18th, 2018, 9:28 am

I'm currently reading Le Carré's "The Pigeon Tunnel", his autobigraphy: it's a good read and he's had a pretty interesting life (certainly by my standards)

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Re: Book I'm reading!

#153100

Postby bungeejumper » July 18th, 2018, 9:47 am

Holiday reading is always a bit of a dilemma for me. My daily work involves reading vast amounts of stuff, on paper and onscreen, and by the time I eventually get to relax the last thing I normally want to do is bury my nose in a book. (I watch less than an hour of TV in the evenings, for much the same reason.)

So, what to do when I'm heading for some green and pleasant campsite and I want something to occupy the odd hours when I'm not doing more active stuff? I've never been much of a one for doorstop or airport novels, and although I do generally try to make sure there's at least one Booker shortlister in my luggage (I have to keep up with the times somehow!), I often surprise myself by turning to simpler stuff that doesn't pin me down for three days on end, but which I can read in shorter bites.

There are always the soft-option-but-intelligent books (Bill Bryson, etc), and then there are the old Ray Bradbury books that I loved as a teenager. I am re-reading my way through Alan Bennett's letters and essays, which are still incredibly effective, and I've rather enjoyed David Attenborough's diaries.

This year I'll probably re-read Peter Carey's Illywhacker, which I found rather irritating back in the eighties because its picaresque plot spends hundreds of pages going round in rather pointless series of short-story episodes and only gradually gets to its eventual point. Being thirty years older, maybe it'll make more sense to me?

Big surprise of two years ago was a scientific book, Steve Jones's "Y - The Descent of Man", which is a bit of a page-turner. Starting from the thesis that human cloning and other medical advances threaten to somewhat sideline the male sex's reproductive role - and with it men's role in future society - he launches off into a very long and often excruciatingly detailed examination of every aspect of male sexuality - behaviour, psychology, and of course hormones and suchlike. (There are whole chapters of scalpel-detailed knowledge that I for one couldn't read because I was too busy wincing and crossing my legs!) But for most part, it was fascinating and informative. And really excellently written.

Reading the online reviews show that feminists, on the whole, absolutely hate this book, but Germaine Greer adores it for its knee-clenching honesty. (She says he's harder on his own sex than women have ever been.) Go figure. :lol:

BJ

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Re: Book I'm reading!

#153101

Postby bungeejumper » July 18th, 2018, 9:49 am

BTW: WRT Hemingway and all those swear words, I can only think of two novels that were overloaded. One was Across the River and Into the Trees, which was too strong for me me as a thirteen year old, and the other was For Whom the Bell Tolls, where he is being obscene deliberately because that's the way his character behaves and it wouldn't be authentic otherwise.

Any more?

BJ

AleisterCrowley
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#153177

Postby AleisterCrowley » July 18th, 2018, 4:44 pm

I'm terrible for having several on the go at the same time (books, not women, sadly)
Currently;
aforementioned Pigeon Tunnel/ Le Carré
Dixie City Jam - James Lee Burke (great summer reads, crime novels based in Louisiana)
The Cornish Coast Murder - John Bude (one of the minor Golden Age crime novels reprinted by the British Library) https://www.bl.uk/shop/books-and-media/ ... |=1&page=4

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Re: Book I'm reading!

#153813

Postby JMN2 » July 20th, 2018, 7:47 pm

I bought the Pigeon Tunnel to my kindle, and inspired by Le Carre's Legacy of Spies I bought the old combined novel spy who came.. and the satire book Looking Glass(?) after that, for £2.60 for two novels, should probably cross-post to the scrooge board - World of Books website, books for 2-3 quid all in. I sometimes buy older nostalgic novels from there, like Cincinnati Kid etc. Cheap as chips.

https://www.worldofbooks.com/

AleisterCrowley
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Re: Book I'm reading!

#153821

Postby AleisterCrowley » July 20th, 2018, 8:19 pm

I tend to buy used on Amazon, usually sub £3
I'll be taking a load to charity shops tomorrow as I need to get rid of most of my stuff.


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