What are you reading?

This topic contains 530 replies, has 60 voices, and was last updated by  Richard L. 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • 22 Dec 2017 at 8:56 pm #10031

    Candy Minx
    Member

    Mike, I don’t have any clue how that vibe might change. I think it has to come from the participants. It’s got to be from the inside out.

    Maybe some day there would be more diversity in participants. I suspect that’s what would change. If there was a significant number of people from different genders, disciplines and cultures. I don’t think it will change until then.

    And maybe a little less tone policing. Lol

    I sure wish we had some cultural/gender/economic diversity here though.

    It just might take some more time.


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    23 Dec 2017 at 2:44 pm #10032

    Richard L.
    Member

    Re: “Sausage fest” and what to do about it

    It seems to me that we currently have enough cultural/gender/economic diversity. Many if not most of the best Cormac McCarthy scholars have been women. I speak of “published Cormac McCarthy scholars” not the internet flies who drop into the forum seeking confrontation or innocents looking for answers to academic assignments. Most of the internet flies do seem to be men but since they post anomalously there is no way to tell.

    Be that as it may, if this forum has “a sausage fest” reputation, it is mostly because, as Clem pointed out, Cormac McCarthy does not do well for women in his fiction. Men will be men and women will be gone, as Nell Sullivan’s early essay on this had it. Typical women readers lose interest (yeah, yeah, there is no such thing as a typical woman reader–let it go, Candy).

    We know this much to be true. But even very sophisticated woman readers–such as Jane Smiley (read closely, Candy, I am not defending Tavis Smiley or saying that he is innocent) will acknowledge that Cormac McCarthy is thought great by people whose critical judgement they respect so that he must have merit, but they (meaning Smiley and sophisticated readers like her) find Cormac McCarthy not to their own particular taste.

    I use Pulitzer-winner Jane Smiley as my example here (and I cite as evidence her saying so in THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A NOVEL); and I could easily cite many others but I know how some of you detest my long lists of books.

    Theorem: The most significant reason why this forum might be thought of as a “sausage fest” is that McCarthy’s brutal darkness repels more women than men, or at least is thought to do so in the minds of those women who are repelled by such darkness.

    Smiley button;

    Merry Christmas, to those others that have them.


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    23 Dec 2017 at 3:18 pm #10033

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Mike: where are you ensconced now? Did you change your email address? Drip me an email at my personal addy but if you don’t have it anymore just email may at the “info at cormacmccarthy dot com” address.
    Rick


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    23 Dec 2017 at 8:26 pm #10034

    Candy Minx
    Member

    I imagine when A new novel is published things will pick up and hopefully a bunch of people will come here and post their thoughts. Of course there’s all kinds of fans of McCarthy out there…they are reading writing teaching.

    I repeat it was not me who described this joint as a sausage fest. The concept is not about readership but rather about actual forum posters and comments.

    I am not at all bothered about your book reviews Richard. I’ve often read your recommendations. I’m not sure where you got the idea I didn’t care for your book reviews. I don’t care what you post here….have st it. It’s called freedom. You’re free to write whatever you want. Hopefully you realize other people are free to write what they want too.


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    24 Dec 2017 at 10:41 am #10035

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Folks: on New Year’s day I am going to start up a new “What are You Reading” thread. This one has gotten unwieldy at 53 pages and counting. Don’t worry, we’ll save this thread for posteriority. Meanwhile, keep having fun.


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    26 Dec 2017 at 7:49 am #10038

    cantona
    Member

    I’ve just finished watching ‘A Quiet Passion’ a film about Emily Dickinson and directed by Terence Davies, a true poet of film. Cynthia Nixon is spellbinding in it, as are the rest of the cast. Although a tender portrait of this strangest of souls, and, arguably, greatest of poets, the film is unflinching in it depiction of the illness that killed her. In this sense, as well as the intensity of the acting, it reminded me of Ingmar Bergman’s Cries and Whispers.

    As this is a book thread, I should mention that there are several moments in which the poems are recited in full – not such a feat when one considers that Dickinson was the genius of brevity. Still, listening to them, made me go back to the poems themselves.

    What else? Somewhat belatedly (blush, blush), I’ve finally got round to reading Tim O’Brien’s brilliant ‘The Things They Carried.’ I would recommend all novitiates in the Church of McCarthy to read this book in tandem with Blood Meridian.


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    26 Dec 2017 at 8:29 am #10039

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Cantona: and read Fred Rivera’s stunning Vietnam memoir/novel Raw Man as well.

    Me? I finally picked up Louise Erdrich’s wonderful (as are all Louise Erdrich novels) A Plague of Doves. I’ve tried to read this book on four separate occasions but have been derailed every time by some kind of major distraction – a hurricane, a death in the extended family, my brother getting busted for illegally importing a kangaroo, another hurricane.

    Well, hurricane season is over and sure enough, I’m fifty pages in.


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    26 Dec 2017 at 12:12 pm #10040

    Richard L.
    Member

    Re: Tim O’Brien’s brilliant ‘The Things They Carried.’

    I bought and read this in 1st edition hardcover when it first came out. I marked it up to an ungodly price and later sold it. My beat-up reading copy is in trade paperback, the underlined passages having been reread several times over the years. Tim O’Brien’s later books were pretty good, but never as brilliant.

    Last month, when viewing the Viet Nam documentary on PBS, I was gratified to see footage of Tim O’Brien reading one of the best sections of THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.

    [edit] Cantona, I know how it annoys you when I go on and on about books, but I thought I might mention how I enjoyed the “annotated classics” edition of Emily Dickenson’s poems. Some of them are simple and easy and profound, while some of them require study and helpful background information. Just thought I’d mention it.


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    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  Richard L..
    26 Dec 2017 at 6:30 pm #10045

    cantona
    Member

    Rick: Thanks for the Rivera Rec.

    Richard L: Well, as US Ambassador to the Netherlands, I’m calling this out as fake news. I enjoy your book posts, and have even ordered stuff after reading your descriptions. Seriously. If my posts have on occasion sounded a mite intemperate, blame it on the cooking sherry.

    Yes, a little help with Dickinson is needed sometimes. Have you read Helen Vendler’s ‘Dickinson, Selected Poems and Commentaries’? I’ve heard it’s really good.

    Apropos of my comments on O’Brien and Blood Meridian, here is something that caught the eye: “A true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a war story, you feel uplifted, or if you feel some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil. (The Things They Carried (65-66)


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    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  cantona.
    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  cantona.
    27 Dec 2017 at 4:31 am #10048

    cantona
    Member

    Mike,

    ‘I think the “Spartacus” approach to internet discussion is what social media outlets want.’

    Have you read Dave Eggers ‘The Circle’? Judging by the above remark, I reckon it would be right up your street. Or not. A really good classroom discussion book, too, I’ve found.


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