Vonnegut, Palauhniuk, Tolkien, and King

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Sin
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Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:40 am Post

I tend to read multiple books, so my bedside table is usually crammed with half-finished novels (much like my Scrivener folder).

I expect to finish up "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut tonight. This is the first book I've read by him, and it is a strange story, both funny and heartbreaking. I've enjoyed his prose, and will definitely read more of his books. So it goes.

I've also commited myself to tackling Tolkien's epic story by starting with "The Hobbit", though I confess that it only partially had kept my interest. During my reading of "The Hobbit", I've also managed to three other books (four after tonight), so I can't promise to even get to "Fellowship" anytime soon. Still, it is on my bucket list. :|

I've just begun "Invisible Monsters" by Chuck Palauniuk. I've never read anything by this author either, but he comes highly recommended by a friend, and I did enjoy the movie, "The Fight Club", so I thought I'd give it a try.

I'm about to start the second book to Stephen King's Dark Tower series. The first one was interesting, though I felt it had quite a sluggish start.

I just finished up "Brother Odd" by Dean Koontz. They are light, fun reads, and Odd Thomas is a compelling character.

One of my favorite books that I recently read was "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" by Charles Yu. He is a gifted writer with a wonderful imagination, and his novel is clever, funny, and insightful. After reading a book like this one, it forces me review my own writings and say to myself, "You're doing it all wrong."

So that keeps me busy at night, and I have a whole stack of books behind these ones on my waiting list. I accumulated a few of them while I was plowing through my final semester in college, telling myself I'd catch up on my reading when it was over.

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KB
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Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:16 am Post

Thanks for the recommendation of "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" - that looks interesting, and I've just ordered it from Amazon.

I tried reading several books at once but could never quite finish anything when I did; even as it stands I often don't finish books. As I get older, I seem to have less patience - there's too much to read and if I've got 100-200 pages into a book and am still not interested, I figure it's time to move on to something else. (Actually in a way I am reading two books at once at the moment, seeing as along with my own reading I am reading my son the entire Harry Potter series and rather enjoying them myself, much to my surprise.)

I love Kurt Vonnegut. He was the author that really turned me on to being an avid reader - I read Dostoyevsky at university only because of Mr Rosewater's comments in Slaughterhouse 5, and suddenly realised the classics weren't as dull as they'd been made to seem at school. It was also Slaughterhouse 5 that made me want to write in the first place (as noted in Scrivener's credits). I've read all of Vonnegut's novels, and re-read Slaughterhouse 5 last year for the first time in years. I was nervous about doing so, as I recently tried re-reading Franny and Zooey and The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which were among my favourite books when I was in my early twenties, but the older me found them a little twee and precious - but Vonnegut's classic was every bit as good as I remembered it.

I've only read Fight Club by Palahniuk - because of the film, of course - and I enjoyed it; it reminded me of a cleaner Irvine Welsh in a way.

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

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Sin
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Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:30 pm Post

I hope you enjoy the book. If you love Vonnegut, then I'm sure you will like this one. It might've been something I read from you that encouraged me to read Vonnegut, and S-5. It seems too much of a coincidence otherwise.

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Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:30 am Post

I have a hard time reading multiple books, myself. I can usually get away with one book for school, and one for fun, but I've never managed even two at once for fun. I just get sucked in to one and put other(s) away, often for months.

I just finished the Dark Tower series, myself. I'm obviously not going to spoil it, but I was disappointed in the ending. There's a really baffling part, too, where Stephen King comes out and talks to the reader about the end--right before you actually read it. It's like an afterward...before the "after" (and then there's a real afterward later...). He basically gets really defensive about the end, and I actually found those two pages somewhat insulting. I wish I were making this up; it was really bizarre, and I've lost a lot of respect for him as a result.

It's an interesting series, though. Especially because the writing of it spanned from the 70s to 2004. You get to see his writing style change and improve over the course of the books, which is cool. The 2003 version of The Gunslinger has been updated to make it less "dry".