50 Books in 2011 for my friends around the world discussion

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message 1: by Mia (last edited Jan 02, 2011 08:49PM) (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Is this how we're keeping track?

Look at the Birdie Unpublished Short Fiction by Kurt Vonnegut

Here's my first! (USA! USA!)


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Also tell us if it is good and worth reading and rate it? Rules, rules, rules.


message 3: by Mia (last edited Feb 04, 2011 01:18PM) (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments I hate writing reviews but you're in charge, mister.

Look at the Birdie Unpublished Short Fiction by Kurt Vonnegut

#1/50
Look at the Birdie - Unpublished Short Fiction
Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 3/5

I've been wanting to work my way through some Vonnegut after not reading him for a while and I thought that picking up this collection of his unpublished short stories would be a nice reintroduction. As with any book like this, there are some stories that are stronger than others and in this case, the stronger ones (Confido, Ed Luby's Key Club, The Nice Little People) are those that are packed with Vonnegut's dark humor and/or sci-fi style despite the abbreviated length. Others, I feel, would benefit if they were allowed to develop further and others fell pretty flat but these are unpublished works after all.


message 4: by Mia (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille

#2/50
Story of the Eye
Georges Bataille

My rating: 4/5

Are you a pervert or do you want to know what it's like to be one? Have I got the book for you! Story of the Eye, written in 1928 by Georges Bataille under a pseudonym, follows two teenagers' explorations of sexual fetishism and the obsession and compulsion that drive them. It is utterly raw and filthy and full of piss and blood and eggs. Though this is obviously a pretty pornographic novella on the outside, those urine-soaked orgasms are serving the purpose of taking a nihilistic stance on institutions as well as exorcising some of the author's childhood demons, as explained at the end of the book. Besides that, Bataille succeeds at painting vivid (if disturbing to some) mental images on every page that at the very least make it an entertaining read.


message 5: by Mia (last edited Jan 19, 2011 09:19PM) (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer

#3/5
Tree of Codes
Jonathan Safran Foer

My rating: 4/5

Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes is not just a book, it's more like sculptural abstract narrative poetry, if that makes any sense. Opening up the book and turning the pages is a novel (har har) experience. I found it best to lift the delicate pages gently and read them while they were separated from the other pages. The sparseness of words on any one page makes them seem like floating apparitions but directly behind this will be orphaned words on future pages jumbled up in the background. I think this suits the sometimes eerie, sometimes anxious moods of Safran Foer's story, which was crafted by cutting out much of the text from The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. I haven't read The Street of Crocodiles but it is now going on my reading list.

This is the first book I've read of Safran Foer's and though the original text wasn't his, it has piqued my interest in him. My first thought when I opened it was "Oh! This is beautiful but maybe gimmicky?" but then I read it and was pleasantly surprised.


message 6: by Mia (last edited Feb 06, 2011 03:29PM) (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut

#4/50
Deadeye Dick
Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 3.5/5

Deadeye Dick was more of a typical Vonnegut read and I enjoyed it more than Look at the Birdie but it's not his strongest work. It was quirky in that uniquely Vonnegut way although it was a little on the sad side as he talks about how quickly our stories can burn out. I like how he uses the term "peephole" to describe life and death (i.e. "Her peephole opened" means she was born) because though it's a cute way to put it, it also emphasizes the insignificance of life.

Okay, it's not THAT depressing, don't let me scare you away from this book! It's a good story and worth a read.


message 7: by Mia (last edited Feb 05, 2011 01:48AM) (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

#5/50
Ham on Rye
Charles Bukowski

My rating: 4.5/5

This is my first experience with Bukowski and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It almost reads like a diary of a man's life from childhood to early adulthood as he works his way through junior high, high school and college, slowly building a more and more cynical view of the world.

The story is a dark and misanthropic one and I loved it. There were moments where I laughed out loud while I was reading alone. Read this if you haven't already!


message 8: by Mia (last edited Feb 05, 2011 01:30PM) (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Black Hole by Charles Burns

#6/50
Black Hole
Charles Burns

My rating: 4.5/5

My brother gave me this graphic novel for Christmas a few years back and it's been sitting around until I decided to finally open it up last night. Within the first few pages, there was what I guess you can call a quadriptych of a frog being dissected in biology class, a very vaginal wound on a foot, tearing flesh, and covered up genitals. Whoa, brother, what have you gotten me into?

Actually, it was a pleasant surprise as I went into it not knowing anything about the story, not even reading the summary on the inside flap. Here's my summary, if you want it: Black Hole is about teenagers in Seattle, dealing with your run of the mill teenage love, anxiety, alienation, and awkwardness but add to this sexually transmitted physical deformities that manifest in different ways but are with the bearer for life. The artwork is also beautifully done and only makes the story better.


message 9: by Andy (new)

Andy | 10 comments Of the Bukowski books I've read, I enjoyed this one the most:

Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski

NOTES OF A DIRTY OLD MAN by Charles Bukowski


message 10: by Mia (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Andy wrote: "Of the Bukowski books I've read, I enjoyed this one the most:

Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski

NOTES OF A DIRTY OLD MAN by Charles Bukowski"


I'll put that one on my list. Thanks, Andy!


message 11: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 58 comments I also loved this book.

Mia wrote: "Black Hole by Charles Burns

#6/50
Black Hole
Charles Burns

My rating: 4.5/5

My brother gave me this graphic novel for Christmas a few years back and it's been sitting around until I decided to..."



message 12: by Mia (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Danielle wrote: "I also loved this book.

Mia wrote: "Black Hole by Charles Burns

#6/50
Black Hole
Charles Burns

My rating: 4.5/5

My brother gave me this graphic novel for Christmas a few years back and it's ..."


I was just at Quimby's looking at other Charles Burns books and none of them seemed like they would come close to comparing to this one. I'm tempted to read through it again.


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