What Book Are You Reading? — Part IV
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#31:  Author: Basilus West PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007
makeitglow wrote:
Can you recommend me something (obviously non-posuerISH) that's related to the theme of the Alchemist?

It's not exactly about alchemy, but have you read The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov? It's about the theme of Faust and it's one of the best books of the XX century (and by the way one of my favourite books). :D Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster is a rather good book too. It's about magic and I think you could enjoy it if you've liked The Alchemist. Another interesting and curious books are Princess Brambilla and The golden pot by E.T.A. Hoffmann (more romantic cause it's german XIX century litterature) and why not? The Swedish Cavalier by Leo Perutz.

All these books are really curious and it sounds like there is a second and spiritual meaning behind them (especially the Hoffman's ones).

In the same style, I think you could enjoy some Hermann Hesse's books, for instance Steppenwolf, Narcissus and Goldmund and The Glass Bead Game which are certainly the books whose "esoteric" content is the nearest from The Alchemist.

#32:  Author: Amused Himself to Death PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007
Bruno wrote:
Ain't that the Russian lady who ran away to the States at some point? I think I've heard those names (the lady's and the book's) before.
Yeah, she was originally Russian, where she got a visa to visit relatives in New York, where she decided to never return to Soviet Russia. She was really affected by the Bolshevik revolution, because her dad's pharmacy was taken by them, so she's really pro-capitalist, which is somewhat refreshing, because I've never really read a book that was so pro-capitalist before. She was apparently big on philosophy, and was somewhat influenced by Nietzsche. Hehehe, what a small world.

Atlas Shrugged...the first 600 pages of it is by far the best book I've ever read. It lulls a little bit after that, but now it's picking back up again.

To be honest though, I'm kind of surprised you haven't read it. You read a lot more than I do on all sorts of topics. I mean, you even read a book about naskh. That's pretty (an f bomb would be useful here, hehehe) obscure.

#33:  Author: wnvoss PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007
We were required to read the Alchemist as a class in Literature last year. Bruno, very few people enjoyed reading it (and not only because we were reading it in school). The writing is so simple, like a children's book, but it's like he's trying to pull it off as clever with the themes mixed with the simple language. It's interesting to hear that a lot of Brazil doesn't think too highly of him... It confirms many of the desperate "Why are we reading this book?"s that were asked last year. eh

Atlas Shrugged - one of, if not the favorite books of my father. He read it during our two week backpacking trip in New Mexico. I agree with Amused, Bruno - you should totally read that book. It's right up your alley. ^^

#34:  Author: Bruno PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007
Well Jon, they don't call me head librarian for nothing


Kidding. lach1 I don't wanna ever sound that arrogant. Seriously, though: no, I haven't read that many books. Especially, I haven't read a whole book about naskh! overspannen It was just mentioned and explained in a couple of "History of the Arabic Peoples" ish books I have home. Even the books I just recommended, haven't read all of them. (Hell, I don't feel I'll be reading Proust anytime in the next 50 years!)

From that list, I read Blake and Huxley, some of the Beats, Burgess, Homer, Dostoevsky, Calvino, Cortázar, Rosa and Eco. That's not really groundbreaking, is it?, I don't think so. Homer aside (I had to read him for my "Introduction to the Study of Classics" classes), I know at least two people who have read all these authors—in the School of Economics! And the whole class is only 50 people. (In Fine Letters, I probably know some five or six others, but students of Letters don't count. )

As for Ulysses, Grande Sertão and Berlin Alexanderplatz, there's a one–year reading circle project in the School of Fine Letters in which, in the first semester, one reads the Odyssey and Ulysses, and in the second, they read Grande Sertão: Veredas and Berlin Alexanderplatz. I'm joining that group, if not next year, in the following one.

I'll have a look at Atlas Shrugged, when I have some free time. smile Thanks for the recommendation.

#35:  Author: Win Laik Pya PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007
as far as Atlas Shrugged goes, WOW i didn't realize how long it was!

I'm not a very fast reader. I've been reading If on a Winter's Night a Traveler at Bruno's request, and if i don't have full concentration i have to re-read paragraphs to comprehend what was said (as i get distracted easily)

but i wonder if anyone has read Anthem, by the same author as Atlas Shrugged. It's really awesome, and VERY short, i read it in a day (in fact, half a day).

Also, fun fact, the videogame Bioshock (which is awesome) is based on Atlas Shrugged wink5, however loosely

My friend recommended a book called Illusions by.. oh i can't remember his name, but i plan on getting that at the library

Also The Vine of Desire by Divakaruni, since another friend of mine said it was good (not nearly as bad as my english teacher made it out to be!)

oh, and Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut.

#36:  Author: Wissam PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007
Bruno wrote:
Especially, I haven't read a whole book about naskh! overspannen It was just mentioned and explained in a couple of "History of the Arabic Peoples" ish books I have home. Even the books I just recommended, haven't read all of them. (Hell, I don't feel I'll be reading Proust anytime in the next 50 years!)

Oh my God, a book about Naskh! God how did you read it? So boring! (well maybe you found it fascinating because you can't speak or write in arabic properly)

I finished Plea of Insanity by Jillian Hoffman about a month ago. Brilliant book, I loved it.

#37:  Author: Liam PostPosted: Sat 03 Nov, 2007
I was reading 'The Catcher in the rye' but i finished it. Now i am reading Angles and demons by Dan brown.

#38:  Author: makeitglow PostPosted: Sun 04 Nov, 2007
Goodness! A forum where people actually respond to posts quickly! I'm not used to this. smile Thanks to everyone for all of the suggestions!

I'll get back to you all on what I decide to read first from all of those suggestions. I've heard and read some of the stuff you both mentioned (I'm a huge Huxley and Burgess fanatic), but a lot is new to me. Thanks!

#39:  Author: Bruno PostPosted: Mon 05 Nov, 2007
The ones with a Mohegan beside the title are recommended reads!

Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore :moh: (by Italo Calvino), up to "senza temere il vento e la vertigine." (Something in the lines of "without fear of wind or vertigo" in If on a Winter's Night a Traveler) A romance about you, the Reader, who just bought Italo Calvino's new novel, Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore.

Italo Calvino (quoted from chat) wrote:
[21:44] <Bruno> "È un romanzo sul piacere di leggere romanzi; protagonista è il Lettore, che per dieci volte comincia a leggere un libro che per vicissitudini estranee alla sua volontà non riesce a finire. Ho dovuto dunque scrivere l'inizio di dieci romanzi d'autori immaginari, tutti in qualche modo diversi da me e diversi tra loro."

[21:44] <Bruno> "It's a romance about the pleasure of reading romances; the protagonist is the Reader, who ten times starts to read books that, for vicissitudes strange to his own will, he cannot finish. I have devoted myself to writing the beginning of ten romances of imaginary authors, each in some way diverse from myself and the others."

Asylums (by Erving Goffman), up to half the first essay. It's a sociological treatise on "total institutions" such as hospices, prisons and convents (more examples: boarding schools, marine ships, monasteries etc.). Very interesting book, fascinating study cases. Worth reading, in spite of its technical language.

Historias de cronopios y de famas :moh: (by Julio Cortázar), up to the last section, "Historias de cronopios y de famas." (Stories of cronopies and fames.) A short–story book by famous Argentinian author. It is one blunt storybook, with bold plots and daring ideas thrown together into ten grams of great, anarchically–organized fiction.

#40:  Author: Aikho PostPosted: Mon 05 Nov, 2007
I'm reading (over and over)

Associated Student Bodies. The Yearbook
It's not really a book... It's a comic that was released in a collection of all 8 issues and all the covers in a A4 Hardcover version... It's a really nice story though, not anything like Calvin and Hobbes.. The story is really deep and touching in some way actually.

And I've been trying to get to reading the rest of

The last Templar
I don't remember who wrote it, but it's good, I just don't know where I put it tounge2
It's about templars and a treasure, you could guess ;3

#41:  Author: MatrixManNe0 PostPosted: Tue 06 Nov, 2007
Starting up The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks after Tasyne recommended it. I need light fiction to get into. School's just a tad busy as of late...

#42:  Author: kTFox PostPosted: Tue 06 Nov, 2007
In English we're starting to read The Odessey. This is going to suck so much!

#43:  Author: Scarecrow PostPosted: Tue 06 Nov, 2007
Are you kidding? that's a great story.
I'm reading a biography on Peter the Great!

#44:  Author: Bruno PostPosted: Tue 06 Nov, 2007
The Odyssey is one of the most enlightening books I've ever read. I hope your feelings don't spoil the reading, KT, as it is definitely one of the masterpieces of humankind, one of the most awesome things I've ever read.

#45:  Author: MedO PostPosted: Tue 06 Nov, 2007
I just started reading The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman, which is the second book of Pullman's trilogy "His Dark Materials". I started reading the first one because I heard it recommended somewhere and had never heard of the author before, and I wanted to try something different from my usual reading (which consisted mostly of books by Terry Pratchett).

So I read the first book of the trilogy (The Golden Compass) and, well, I did quite enjoy it. It is a fantasy book playing in a parallel universe comparatively similar to our world (I won't write spoilers here). The world was well thought-out and presented, though some stuff seemed a bit strange. The story was well written, the settings and moods were varied (which I value), the characters likeable, and with good suspense toward the end.

However, I closed the book thinking, ok, that was a nice children's story (it won the Carnegie Medal after all), but nothing overwhelmingly great. Instead of continuing to read the series, I was going to try something different again, "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, which I started reading the same day I finished The Golden Compass. Bad Mistake. I started reading the book, and after a few pages I noticed that I was not really paying attention, my mind was still busy with the last book. It made no sense to continue reading just then. Then I remembered the text on the first pages of The Golden Compass:

"The Golden Compass forms the first part of a story in three volumes. The first volume is set in a universe like ours, but different in many ways. The second volume is set partly in the universe we know. The third volume will move between the universes."

I was very curious to see how that would play out, knowing the end of the first book and the differences of the world presented in it to ours. I was curious what exactly he meant by "our world", how he would present it in contrast to the world of the first book. And I noticed that I cared a lot more for the fate of the characters than I had originally believed. So I decided to abandon Ender's Game for the moment and went to get the second book of the trilogy His Dark Materials, the book I'm reading now, The Subtle Knife. And from the moment I opened it, I was hooked.

This can't be because of the second book alone. Even the best book needs a while to get the reader so involved, but I was glued to it from page one. In fact, I was thrilled, and this doesn't happen to me often when I'm reading. I realise now how good The Golden Compass really is, both on its own and as part of the trilogy, and I can highly recommend the series to practically everyone who doesn't become desinterested when things look a bit childish at first.

Last edited by MedO on Tue 06 Nov, 2007; edited 1 time in total

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