Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

The Glass Bead Game
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Monthly Reading: Discussion > The Glass Bead Game (No spoilers, please!)

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message 1: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3899 comments Mod
this is the no-spoiler thread for The Glass Bead Game


message 2: by Gabi (new) - added it

Gabi | 549 comments Since Antti scolded me (rightly!) that I started listening to it in the English translation (cause this was available on my streaming service) I got the original from the library now. My we-only-have-thrillers small town library managed to get it for me quite quickly.


message 3: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3830 comments Mod
Are there multiple English translations? Does anyone checked, which is the best?


message 4: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (last edited Jul 31, 2020 10:28PM) (new)

Kateblue | 3899 comments Mod
Gabi wrote: "Since Antti scolded me (rightly!) that I started listening to it in the English translation (cause this was available on my streaming service) I got the original from the library now. My we-only-ha..."

I was going to skip this since my library only has the audio. I have trouble keeping track of things when I am reading, and audio is worse. So when you are done, please let me know how it went. Maybe I can participate that way.


message 5: by Kaa (new) - added it

Kaa Z, there are at least two English translations, from 1949 (Savill) and 1969 (Winston). Haven't found any reviews of the first, but the Winston version is supposed to be very good.


message 6: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3830 comments Mod
Kaa wrote: "Z, there are at least two English translations, from 1949 (Savill) and 1969 (Winston). Haven't found any reviews of the first, but the Winston version is supposed to be very good."

Thanks for the info!


message 7: by Gabi (new) - added it

Gabi | 549 comments Kateblue wrote: "I was going to skip this since my library only has the audio. I have trouble keeping track of things when I am reading, and audio is worse. So when you are done, please let me know how it went. Maybe I can participate that way."

I have the printed version now. So I will be reading it. And I think this is necessary here. I listened to some of it in the English version and found it hard to follow. This one is certainly better for the eyes.


message 8: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3899 comments Mod
OK, you guys, have fun


message 9: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Aug 02, 2020 09:15PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
Kateblue wrote: "OK, you guys, have fun"

You would not like it one bit Kate, don't sweat it.


message 10: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)

Kateblue | 3899 comments Mod
Art wrote: "You would not like it one bit Kate, don't sweat it."

So it's that confusing? Because I read some Hesse in college and and I remember I liked it. Can't remember what it was though. :-)


message 11: by Plamen (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments I am turning to someone who will be reading this in the original, i.e. German, (Gabi perhaps??).

I have read reviews that very much of the appreciation for the novel comes from very subtle satirical references which will probably be lost in any translation. Is that so? I'll appreciate any comment on this.


message 12: by Gabi (new) - added it

Gabi | 549 comments @Plamen: I can't tell you that. I haven't read the translation (only listened to the prologue) and only just started the original.

The impression that I get, though, is that the English version I was listening to used a simpler language. The original now is quite dense and needs a lot of attention to follow. This certainly will go slowly for me.


message 13: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3830 comments Mod
Gabi wrote: "The impression that I get, though, is that the English version I was listening to used a simpler language. The original now is quite dense and needs a lot of attention to follow. This certainly will go slowly for me."

Is it closer to the usual language of mid-XX century German prose (if there is such unifying group) or is it quite distinct?


message 14: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments I read the translation by Richard and Clara Winston a couple years ago. I also found it very dense in a thrillingly rich way. I loved the book and felt that it resonated with my perceptions about life and art. It was so good to see my longings and contemplations put into words. Of course, as a woman who grew up as a girl, he was not including me in the picture at all. Apparently women had no role in his ideal world of art and thought outside their necessary roles as mother or devoted lover.


message 15: by Gabi (new) - added it

Gabi | 549 comments @Oleksandr: I'm not aware of such an unifying group. Some months ago I've read some Hans Fallada and his prose is completely different, much more down to earth. Hesse here is very scholarly. Let's see if it only the prologue where he describes the philosphy and the history of the Glassbead Game. Perhaps it changes later.


message 16: by Plamen (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments Gabi wrote: "@Plamen: I can't tell you that. I haven't read the translation (only listened to the prologue) and only just started the original.

The impression that I get, though, is that the English version I ..."


@Gabi, thanks for the reply, and I am interested exactly in the original, which I cannot read because my German is currently mostly vestigial. I will also be looking forward to reading your review in the end.

I really like Hesse (Siddharta, Steppenwolf, Narziss and Goldmund), but I have never managed to plow through The Glass Bead Game, despite three attempts in two languages.


message 17: by Allan (new) - added it

Allan Phillips | 2175 comments Mod
I’m only about 10% in, but it seems like this is going to be one that I’ll get through gradually rather than just plow through, so I probably won’t get it done inside the month. I’ll keep plugging away, but I do want to get through it, so we’ll see.


message 18: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3830 comments Mod
Allan wrote: "I’m only about 10% in, but it seems like this is going to be one that I’ll get through gradually rather than just plow through, so I probably won’t get it done inside the month. I’ll keep plugging ..."

Yes, it is that kind of book :)


message 19: by *Tau* (new) - added it

*Tau* | 106 comments Reading the reactions of Gabi, Allan and Oleksandr, I wish all of you courage to read this book till the end and (as this one is on my TBR-list) I'm looking forward to your reviews ;-)


message 20: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new) - rated it 2 stars

Art | 2546 comments Mod
*Tau* wrote: "Reading the reactions of Gabi, Allan and Oleksandr, I wish all of you courage to read this book till the end and (as this one is on my TBR-list) I'm looking forward to your reviews ;-)"

I've read the most of it and just had to quit because I would not have made it for the 2018 Hugo nominations otherwise. Not did I want to rush it. As a scifi novel it is really hard to digest, but as literary work it has many merits.


message 21: by *Tau* (last edited Aug 18, 2020 11:39AM) (new) - added it

*Tau* | 106 comments Art wrote: "As a scifi novel it is really hard to digest, but as literary work it has many merits."

Good to know, Art ;-)
I already wondered if this book was really SFF.
But as I've never read something of Hesse I wasn't sure if that assumption was correct.


message 22: by Allan (new) - added it

Allan Phillips | 2175 comments Mod
Oleksandr wrote: "Allan wrote: "I’m only about 10% in, but it seems like this is going to be one that I’ll get through gradually rather than just plow through, so I probably won’t get it done inside the month. I’ll ..."

Well, I'm still "plugging away" at Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell after 8 months, so maybe I'll get there in a couple years............


message 23: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Wheaton | 169 comments I seem to have lost the will to read during isolation at home. Probably just lost my easy reading time during my 1 hr each way bus commute. Anyway, it now takes me about two months to get through a 350 page book, reading in bed until I fall asleep. LOL


message 24: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3830 comments Mod
Cynthia wrote: "I seem to have lost the will to read during isolation at home. Probably just lost my easy reading time during my 1 hr each way bus commute. Anyway, it now takes me about two months to get through a..."

yes, it is possible that shorter reading periods allowed to 'digest' the book during pauses, and longer reading, esp. tired before bedtime leads to lower digestion of the already read part


Antti Värtö (andekn) | 816 comments Mod
I've now read 60 pages, and I like it so far. The prologue was really dense, but after that's over the book seems easier - at least for now.

I'm reading Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time in another book group right now, and there are some similarities in style: the long and winding sentences, florid description, lack of dialogue, etc.

I love the way this book talks about music. I feel like I should pick up an instrument and start practicing.

And how Hesse keeps praising Bach! He's has never been my favorite composer, but I felt listening to Goldberg Variations while reading this book was appropriate. I got to say, Bacj is really starting to grow on me.


message 26: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3830 comments Mod
I'd say the book overuses "the wall of text" approach, I'm about 30% and I want to finish it more to know that I've read it than because it engulfs me. It is not bad, the story is interesting, but I don't care about the protagonist or the setting

I like Bach even if in the recent years I listen to Mozart more.


message 27: by *Tau* (last edited Aug 22, 2020 09:05AM) (new) - added it

*Tau* | 106 comments Do you guys know The Glass Duo from Poland?
(I couldn't think of a name more appropriate, both for the musicians as for music accompanying this specific book title ;-p)

@Antti: Maybe you could learn to play this instrument?
As you start to appreciate Bach more and more, I suggest you listen to:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rmFl...
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkjGk...

@Oleksandr: As you have a slightly preference for Mozart nowadays, I can recommend you these ones:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8nyA...
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcZdq...


message 28: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3830 comments Mod
*Tau* wrote: "Do you guys know The Glass Duo from Poland?
."


I haven't known. Wow! Even seeing them playing I cannot fully believe this is true


message 29: by Allan (new) - added it

Allan Phillips | 2175 comments Mod
That’s pretty crazy, but then Frank Zappa once played a bicycle on television.


message 30: by *Tau* (last edited Aug 22, 2020 11:00AM) (new) - added it

*Tau* | 106 comments Oleksandr wrote: "Wow! Even seeing them playing I cannot fully believe this is true"

That would be my first reaction too, Oleksandr :-)
But I saw them in real in 2008 at Odegand, a festival for classical music in Gent (for which I won tickets as one of the nominees in a sms-poetry contest).
As their name made me curious, I went to listen to their fabulous concert. The songs that I recall most are these pieces of Grieg (who was one of my favourite composers at the time): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptrxr...

Just found this TED-talk of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGym2...
Going to watch it myself now ;-)
Edit: only music there, but no interview as I expected.

A short report can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5llIR...


message 31: by *Tau* (new) - added it

*Tau* | 106 comments Allan wrote: "That’s pretty crazy, but then Frank Zappa once played a bicycle on television."

Don't know about that, but definitely going to check it out, Allan!
Oh, there are lots of special musicians I really adore because of their originality. Will look up some interesting links ;-)


message 32: by Kateblue, 2nd star to the right and straight on til morning (new)


message 33: by *Tau* (last edited Aug 26, 2020 01:02PM) (new) - added it

*Tau* | 106 comments Also in the glass theme of this book thread, here is my absolute favourite boysband from Denmark: The Bottle Boys!
Even for the men under you, following links are really worth seeing (and hearing!):
- for the Disney-fans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=771in...
- for those you like YMCA (where they lift a tip of the veil about how they're working): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4z1S...
- for people who like classical music like the Radetzky Mars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUxVt...
- for those who like the beat of Lady Gaga's Pokerface: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHHPS...
- for the (older) people (like me) who enjoy a trip down memory lane with the dance hits from the '80s and '90s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oY4v...
or with the 90s hit song medley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKEIp...
- more music can be heard via their YouTube-channel or via their website


To stay in the glass (and bottle) theme: here is a very famous filmsong played by one of my most favourite groups ever: Grupa MoCarta (look at the name, Oleksandr ;-)).
Just like The Glass Duo they're also Polish (lots of talent there apparently!) and I was lucky enough to see them playing live about 15 years ago. Although I'm not a big fan of string instruments like violins and cellos, they really opened my eyes and showed me the countless and humoristic possibilities these instruments offer.
Be sure to watch till the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsbT7... ;-)

If you liked this, you may also be interested in:
- this very original classical rap song (watch the musical use of clothes!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfoYM...
- for those who also like sport (never knew a pingpong-bat could be so musical): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpr8l...
- many more (watch their website or YouTube-channel


There are way much more original musical talents out there, but as I'm not feeling very well atm I'll leave it by this for today. Also I don't want to spoil this thread too much ;-)
Have a nice evening everyone!


message 34: by Gabi (new) - added it

Gabi | 549 comments I'm shoveling some space for eye reading cause I'm so behind with the reads. I'm about 15% in and I'm a bit taken aback by the belief in authority that's been idealised here. I guess that's a 'typical' German trait of that time, but it feels so cringeworthy.
The prose and textwall isn't bothering me since I can read it in my own language.


message 35: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new) - rated it 3 stars

Oleksandr Zholud | 3830 comments Mod
I was more surprised that there are mostly men, but no M/M romance... I'm spoiled by modern SFF :)


message 36: by Gabi (new) - added it

Gabi | 549 comments Oleksandr wrote: "I was more surprised that there are mostly men, but no M/M romance... I'm spoiled by modern SFF :)"

LOL! You're right, Oleksandr. :D


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