general reading and book related things

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by indiansummer » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:02 pm

Naive. Super is ok... i wouldn't say it's essential, but it's certainly a pleasant read.

Everyone's right though - ...Wallflower is absolutely fantastic. It doesn't look like Chbosky has any plans to follow it up, but i wish he'd write something else. The Smiths and Hal Hartley references were great. Not so sure about the Ayn Rand obsession though. The Fountainhead's a decent read, but it's a struggle to sympathise with the right-wing moral.

Well, i thought it was anyway.
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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by let it ride » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:08 pm

Last time I spoke to him he had been focusing on his television writing (he was responsible for television show Jericho, it was ace) but I'm not sure what he's up to now actually.
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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by crystalball » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:12 pm

That's spooky: I was at the bookshop last week and bought Naive. Super. because the cover looked nice *and* The Perks of Being a Wallflower because I remembered humblebee having mentioned it in the past. Haven't started on either yet though.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by Martijn » Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:14 pm

Did anyone know (or notice!) that in Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things, the girl's chapters all contain nine paragraphs of nine sentences each? And that she has 18 chapters? I listened to a podcast last night in which he told that. And he was kind of surprised that no one notices it. He is just too clever...

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by Carys » Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:30 pm

Am I alone in thinking The Perks of being a Wallflower is utterly dreadful? I thought it was really cringe and childish - I felt pretty cheated having taken the time to order it because I couldn't find it anywhere. It felt very much like an indie Catcher in the Rye, and to be honest I didn't like that much either.

I just tend to find books written from teenage perspectives sort of patronizing, like "I wasn't that stupid/troubled/awkward when I was a teenager", and that feeling somehow invalidates the book. The irony is that, now I work with teenagers, I think many of them are those things.

And don't get me started on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Hate it hate it hate it.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by indiansummer » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:43 am

Cherry Darling wrote:Am I alone in thinking The Perks of being a Wallflower is utterly dreadful? I thought it was really cringe and childish - I felt pretty cheated having taken the time to order it because I couldn't find it anywhere. It felt very much like an indie Catcher in the Rye, and to be honest I didn't like that much either.

I just tend to find books written from teenage perspectives sort of patronizing, like "I wasn't that stupid/troubled/awkward when I was a teenager", and that feeling somehow invalidates the book. The irony is that, now I work with teenagers, I think many of them are those things.

And don't get me started on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Hate it hate it hate it.
Not read Curious Incident... so i can't comment. But i was a teenager when i read (and loved) Catcher In The Rye, and i'm reliably informed that helps.

Hmmm... obviously i'm a fan of the first two you've mentioned, and i guess i was really, really awkward and quiet as a youngster so i identified with Charlie in Perks... to some extent. But then again i'm not entirely sure what point you're making. 'I wasn't awkward as a teenager, therefore no-one was'?

I mean, i love Bukowski now, but it's not like i read him and thing, 'hang on, i'm not that sexist/misanthropic/possibly racist and i'm an adult too'. It's nice when you can relate to a character but i'm not sure it's the be-all and end-all of enjoying a book.

I'm not trying to say you're wrong not to like any of those books because it's not like there's a right or wrong opinion. I just don't really get your reasoning. I'm sure this response looks snottier than it's supposed to. Oh dear.
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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by Carys » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:10 am

indiansummer wrote:But then again i'm not entirely sure what point you're making. 'I wasn't awkward as a teenager, therefore no-one was'?
Firstly, your response doesn't sound snotty at all!

To (attempt to) clarify: I think the particular problem is books with teenage narrators are usually written by adults, and to me they feel somewhat inauthentic, sort of a representation of what they think teenagers are like. And where the above comment comes in is that it feels even more inauthentic because I can't relate, and as a result it seems patronizing to me.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by indiansummer » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:49 am

Fair enough. Maybe it's indicative of my general social ineptitude in my teenage years (before i went to uni and discovered what a brilliant social lubricant beer can be), but i found Perks to be quite an accurate portrayal of what it's like to be a nervous, awkward and generally terrified teen. But i guess it all sorta depends on your own experience.

Equally, i've seen bits of Skins and thought, 'fuck off! Teenagers are nothing like that!' and then spoken to other people and found that it's not always that far from the truth.

Some adult writers definitely remember and convey adolescence better than others though. Personally i think Chbosky and Salinger did a pretty good job of capturing it, although i guess it's not gonna be the same for everyone.
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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by roundbitsofplastic » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:30 pm

Cherry Darling wrote: To (attempt to) clarify: I think the particular problem is books with teenage narrators are usually written by adults, and to me they feel somewhat inauthentic, sort of a representation of what they think teenagers are like. And where the above comment comes in is that it feels even more inauthentic because I can't relate, and as a result it seems patronizing to me.
have you (or anyone) red jack frusciante has left the band by enrico brizzi? narated by a 17 year old, written by a 19 year old. i'd say it's one of my top 2.
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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by bartblueboy » Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:18 pm

I adored "the perks of being a wallflower" when I read it ages ago. It just made me feel so good to know that I hadn't been the only awkward teenager (I wasn't a teenager anymore when I read it, but I could still really relate to it - by the way, I can still be a little awkward feeling from time to time and I always am a little suspicious of those people who claim to have been awkward teenagers but are now super confident and balanced, if not a little arrogant).

I read "Jack Fruscianti has left the band" when I had just started working (so I wasn't a teenager then either, hahaha) and remember really liking it too, cause again it brought back certain feelings and memories of being a teenager.

"Naive, super" is a good read too, though maybe not in the same league as "the perks of being a wallflower".

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by Carys » Sat Apr 11, 2009 8:40 pm

roundbitsofplastic wrote:have you (or anyone) red jack frusciante has left the band by enrico brizzi? narated by a 17 year old, written by a 19 year old. i'd say it's one of my top 2.
No, I haven't, but I'll certainly check it out.

I'm actually fairly shocked that everyone likes The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Until people started mentioning it on this thread, I was the only person I knew who had read it. You know that thing where you're the only person you know who has seen/read/heard something, so somehow you misguidedly think everyone feels the same way as you do about it?

I really like The Wasp Factory. That has a teenage narrator. Actually, so does Vernon God Little, and that's one of my favourite books. So I guess my overall comment before doesn't entirely hold.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by My Melody » Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:45 pm

When I read "The Perks..." for the first time I really loved it. I read it in one go (which isn't too difficult because it is not that long and quite an easy read) and cried and laughed, everything. I thought it was great.
Then I started searching the internet for stuff around this book and actually came across a lot of American websites where this book was completely slagged off for being so fake-emo or whatever. And that's when I started disliking it because I suddenly saw it the same way as the people on those websites. Pretentious and trying to be über-indie.
So, that's a bit of a shame.
Mind, this was a few years back, maybe I should just read it again and hope that I like it again.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by Carys » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:06 pm

Cherry Darling wrote:I really like The Wasp Factory. That has a teenage narrator. Actually, so does Vernon God Little, and that's one of my favourite books. So I guess my overall comment before doesn't entirely hold.
Add The Rachel Papers to that list too. Which is odd, because generally speaking I don't like Martin Amis much.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by Dan » Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:54 pm

I am deeply, deeply distraught that the 20p book stall (which last year put its prices up to 30p, or 4 for £1, but nevertheless) on the market appears to have been swallowed by a competitor who turned up outta the blue a few months ago, selling his books at anything from 5 for £1, right up to something like FOUR POUNDS for anything remotely decent.

This is a terrible disaster. For 20/25/30p I would buy essentially anything that I might have the remotest chance of one day wanting to read, but alas, those days are gone, and it's back to Cancer Research for me.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by squirrelboutique » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:56 pm

I will sell you my copy of Diseases of Man Aquired from His Pets for 25p.

There's pretty much nothing I won't buy from a library book sale.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by roobee » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:49 am

indiansummer wrote:Everyone's right though - ...Wallflower is absolutely fantastic. It doesn't look like Chbosky has any plans to follow it up, but i wish he'd write something else.
I was speaking to his editor just the other day about this and there are no plans to follow it up or publish anything else, unfortunately. It's one of the most frequently recommended books in bookshops - the recommends the booksellers actually write themselves, that is, rather than the ones their HO makes up to look like genuine reviews and then charges the publishers for. The money-grabbing bullies.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by indiansummer » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:18 am

Yeh, i suspected as much. Oh well. At least he's got a 100% success rate!

I don't get why a book about a sensitive kid, whose friends introduce him to The Smiths, a Hal Hartley movie, Ayn Rand and Rocky Horror, is trying to be uber-indie, per se. It might reflect what his own cultural reference points are, but i don't think mentioning The Smiths is going out of his way to out-indie anyone. it's not like referencing... oh, i dunno... Jandek or something, is it?

I've got to stop defending this book... haha...
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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by cuppie » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:14 pm

squirrelboutique wrote:I will sell you my copy of Diseases of Man Aquired from His Pets for 25p.

There's pretty much nothing I won't buy from a library book sale.
Library sales! I once bought a big sort of encyclopedia of members of congress, with lots of useless info about all of them. I think it was 5 cents, or maybe free, and I looked at it twice and then recycled it. I think I was making up for the future times when I'd live in a foreign country where there would be no English books to buy. Not unless I feel like reading the condensed 30 page versions of Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre, with pictures.

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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by roundbitsofplastic » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:04 am

cuppie wrote: I think I was making up for the future times when I'd live in a foreign country where there would be no English books to buy. Not unless I feel like reading the condensed 30 page versions of Oliver Twist and Jane Eyre, with pictures.
i was once reduced to reading such things as: a biography of someone i had never, ever heard of; a biography of ian macgowan; a terry pratchet novel; some magazines about railways, mostly about policy or something.
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Re: general reading and book related things

Post by Dan » Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:51 pm

Dan wrote:I am deeply, deeply distraught that the 20p book stall (which last year put its prices up to 30p, or 4 for £1, but nevertheless) on the market appears to have been swallowed by a competitor who turned up outta the blue a few months ago, selling his books at anything from 5 for £1, right up to something like FOUR POUNDS for anything remotely decent.

This is a terrible disaster. For 20/25/30p I would buy essentially anything that I might have the remotest chance of one day wanting to read, but alas, those days are gone, and it's back to Cancer Research for me.
I take all this back.

Today I bought The Accidental by Ali Smith (I still haven't read Hotel World, shit), Fragrant Harbour by John Lanchester (I like his writing in the LRB a lot but I've never read anything by him beyond that), Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (for my uncle, I read this a while ago, it is good) and, erm, Football My Arse! 'by' Ricky Tomlinson (for a guy at work who gets off on hilarious football anecdotes).

Screw you, Cancer Research!

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