aaron aaron's Comments

aaron's comments from the Bf2S group.

Note: aaron is no longer a member of this group.

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Open Chat (8 new)
Jun 16, 2011 12:34AM

41950 I know I'm really handsome and all, but if you guys would like a different group picture (not that I selected myself in the first place - it was Kmar with the discerning good taste) then let me know!
Open Chat (8 new)
May 15, 2011 08:11AM

41950 Jens wrote: "Hey guys. I'm not at all well-read by any means (wasn't really brought up in a well-read household), but I've been enjoying books recently and am looking through Amazon for an order for the summer...."

Some sort of 'taste' is really required if you're going to start chipping away at that formidable (and rather ambiguous) group of books designated as 'classics'. Try and think of particular genres you enjoy (a good question is do you enjoy 'literary fiction', books that are written as artistic statements of writing-in themselves, or 'genre fiction', books written to a generic model, e.g. crime fiction); try and think of particular periods (even narrowing it down to a century will help greatly); try and think, perhaps, why you enjoyed certain books more than others beyond the merely stylistic or narrative level (i.e. considering thematics).

Any recommendation would really be a vague shot in the dark without at least some narrowing down. Going from Orwell to Steinbeck to Austen is a fun bit of discovery but there's really no continuity or connection at all; the 'classics' are still just an abstract category that you're reading 'for the sake of reading', rather than for taste or enjoyment (though you may, of course, incidentally just enjoy some of the titles you are prescribed by the canon). Be self-conscious when you read 'classic' literature and constantly question yourself why you're enjoying it (if it all) and why you were provoked to read it in the first place: in being 'well read' it is more important to be a critically engaged reader than to have simply read the clichéd top-100.

Though if I'm really pushed to recommend some titles, I would honestly start right at the beginning of the Western canon and would encourage a 'reading through' of titles that pique your interest. That is really the best way to gain an understanding and proper comprehension of literature both as an art 'form' and as a form of historical expression. Read your Homer and your Virgil and your Ovid and your Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de and your John Milton and your Dante Alighieri and your William Shakespeare and so on. I am not exaggerating or over-estimating their importance - you will really enjoy everything that has followed much better (i.e. the allusion and allegory, the inspiration and influence, the ironising and subversion) if you are versed in the 'proper classics', per se.
Feb 21, 2011 09:27AM

41950 There have been some pretty atrocious efforts by American writers to 'voice' the thoughts, motives and narrative stories of the terrorists on 9/11, too... and also to a lesser degree a few attempts by British authors about the 7/7 events. They all essentially boil down to paint-by-numbers examples of crude orientalism - really horrific stereotypes, complete lack of cultural empathy and laughable levels of cliché. I really have no idea why there's an industry focussed around 'disaster entertainment', or some such phenomenon; 'terrorist thrillers', perhaps! Haha.
Open Chat (8 new)
Feb 18, 2011 06:56AM

41950 Catch 22 is a fantastic book... slow going? Not sure I ever had that problem myself.
Feb 18, 2011 06:54AM

41950 Don Delillo's Falling Man was also sappy, predictable, nationalist bullshit. Book critics spoke a lot about it "being the first book to handle the 9/11 atrocity in fiction", and oodles of theoretical pish-pash have been written about how the narrative technique and fiction frame and encapsulate the disaster so well. Utter nonsense. The book becomes a reduced existentialist drama, focussing on nothing more than individual emotional terror and completely ignoring any wider factors (i.e. political, social, economic, ideological themes)- essentially decontextualising the 9/11 events and turning it into a vulgar piece of emotionally-sympathizing nationalist agitprop. Boring and patronising to read.
Jan 29, 2011 06:01AM

41950 Anything by Acker I found repulsive and vile to read.
Jan 05, 2011 01:32AM

41950 I've accrued a long list of titles that I have heard about or had referenced during my studies-- currently battling with an Amazon wishlist of around 500 books to get through, after I've graduated! However, one of the top ones is A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell. Sometimes I get tired of reading fiction and poetry and just love to tuck into a big 'information' book that gives you lots of theoretical and abstract knowledge to then apply to, well, everything else. This one seems like a top book in that category.

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