I'm sure that there was one of these threads before, but I can't find it.
I've been spending a fortune on books recently, although I won't get around to reading most of them 'til the summer after my exams.
The books I've finished recently are White Tiger, The Bell Jar and The Picture Of Dorian Grey. I've been reading a slightly wider range than normal for no other reason than I bought a book mark with a list of "50 books to read before you die" on it. Some of them I've wanted to read for awhile (Life of Pi, Grapes of Wrath, The Catcher in the Rye), some of them I can't be fucked with (Lord of the Rings, The Harry Potter series).
I'm currently reading Moby Dick, which is pretty good. It's odd in that the narrative doesn't always seem accurate i.e. the story is told from Ishmael's perspective, but some chapters have him talking about other characters with future perspectives. Every so often though, there is a paragraph with a genius insight.
I'm also reading Alan Moore's From Hell graphic novel, which is already infinitely better than the film, a quarter of the way in.
I haven't decided what to read next, but I have The Catcher in the Rye, Crime and Punishment, and War and Peace on my shelf.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my all time favourites, I have to be honest, it's so good that I've read it several times rather than checking out any of Wilde's other books. I will get around to it eventually though. By the way, has anyone seen the film version of The Picture... it's from the 40s, so I'm slightly hesitant to check it out. At the risk of sounding a bit of a philistine I find a great majority of films from these eras date horribly.
I'd recommend you DO check out Lord of the Rings, though if you've seen the films, maybe you shouldn't waste your time as the experience will be tainted by those pieces of utter tripe.
I'd also recommend Of Human Bondage by Maugham. Some people think it's a bit girly, I would dare say it's the best book I've ever read.
I like the LOTR films for what they are, haha. The reason I was planning on ignoring the books is that a written trilogy is a considerable investment of time, and nowhere near as casual as the films. I've read a few samples of Tolkien, and whilst I understand that the history and language which he created is an achievement, his actual writing is far less impressive. My problem is that through China Mieville I read a lengthy rebuttal of Tolkien's works as an epic 'Winnie the Pooh'. The appeal of reading them somewhat faded after that.
Of Human Bondage sounds good, I'll add it to my list!
I understand what you're saying, Tolkien certainly had his faults in terms of actual writing, there's more filler stuff than you can shake a stick at, but the overall story I think is fantastic, and far better than the films. The films to me were hugely watered down, and commericalised, with loads of stuff taken out, and loads of pointless dross added. I know it's totally over-rated, but I read the books as a kid and so it will always be something special to me.
However... FUCK Harry Potter. That talentless bag should have stayed poverty stricken. It's not the fact that I hate stuff like Harry Potter and all these worthless celebrity autobiographies because they soar in the book charts, more the idiocy that for 90% of book readers they are all people aspire to read.
Anyway, I've got a few on at the same time at the moment. I finally got round to starting "The Dreams in the Witch House" Lovecraft compilation. After getting past the very hit and miss early stuff, I'm really enjoying it now. I'm also reading Maugham's first collection of short stories, these range from inexplicably dull, to genius. Also I'm battling through a MASSIVE collection of all Dunsany's short stories. I tend to only read short stories when I'm reading several books at the same time, otherwise I get horribly lost. Along with that I'm currently reading a book about Qabalism, some of it is really facistinating, but the author seems to apply the practices all to new age hippy bullshit.
Don't be offended Dan, but I'd have never thought of you as a Wilde fan! .... Dorian Gray is one of the best books I've ever read. Henry is such a fantastic character, always says something that makes me laugh or think.
Right now I'm on a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories and Scarlett Thomas' 'The End of Mr. Y'. The Holmes collection is great, none of the tales so far have been a let down though I get the feeling that Watson would quite like to bum him.
Scarlett Thomas seems to write some sort of science based fiction (note I didn't say science-fiction haha) that at times seems complicated but she always has a way of making you want to understand it, and when it does become mind-boggling she always finds a way of getting a laugh from you. The best author I've read since Ed recommended/insisted I read China Mieville last year.
I've just finished reading Halting State by Charles Stross, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's told from several different perspectives, set in the fairly near future in an independent Scotland. It's science fiction, of a kind.
I'm currently working through Female Chauvinist Pigs: The Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy and a book about Palmistry.
First time on this forum in a while and it seems oddly fitting I should start here.
Currently reading Jacques Derrida - On Grammatology
It's a book full of really difficult linguistic concepts to wrap your head around. Anyone who's read The End of Mr. Y will be vaguely familiar with the concepts, and you sort of need to keep bearing them in mind while you battle through this book. On the side, my slag fiction is a book called The Contortionist's Handbook. It's written by someone who may as well be Chuck Palahniuk after a week of taking ecstacy and drinking scotch, it's that nihilistic. Good stuff.
I might check out the new book, Popco. I wondered what Thomas' stuff was like.
PopCo is fantastic, mate. The End of Mr. Y is even better so far! Must check out her other books too.
Ed, if you know of anything I HAVE to read then fire away, I like your book recommendations.
It'd have to be Clive Barker, if you've not tried him. I think that Mieville tops him in terms of pure demented invention, but Barker's writing style verges on poetry to me, I'd read a shopping list if he wrote it. I think that Imajica is the one to go for, but you won't go far wrong with Weaveworld either.
It's just occured to me that I went to Paris and forgot to visit Wilde's grave. At least thats another thing for the return trip. I did visit Notre Dame though, an amazing building.