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A Watcher's Reading Club. Any interest?

 
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peter
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2022 5:27 am    Post subject: A Watcher's Reading Club. Any interest? Reply with quote

It's been a thing for me for a while now, that my reading achievements are considerably lacking in terms of 'quality literature' and I'm keen to remedy this shortfall while I still have vision enough (and hopefully mental capacity to match) to do so.

To this end, I wondered if there would be any interest in starting up a low intensity reading group - and by low intensity, I mean not such as to be too onerous in terms of time requirements or indeed the length or complexity of works studied (think say, Finnegan's Wake) as to be a disincentive - to tackle agreed upon works a few chapters at a time, and then have brief discussions on what we think about them.

I don't know if there are sufficient of us left to make this work, or if there is any inclination among those who still come here to join in such a joint endeavour - but nothing ventured nothing gained.

I think we'd need probably six or seven of us to make it work, so let's see if we can still muster up the numbers. If we can get this many together then perhaps we can begin to look for a title that we'd all like to have a go at.

Probably not going to work, but here's hoping!

Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2022 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The book I took out from the library last week thinking to give it a go.




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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2022 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm game.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2022 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Finnegan's Wake is not a title that I'd readily tackle Damelon - if for no other reason than based on the experience of the New York Joyce society, that met monthly to discuss it over the course of seven years by the end of which time they'd reached the bottom of page five.....

But in the spirit of democracy if six people wanted to read it, I'd so so if with a slightly heavy heart. I've read up to the end of chapter two myself, after which time I questioned whether it was actually worth the effort. (And there would of course be the attendant kudos of being in the tiny proportion of people who, having started the book, actually finish it.... Wink)

Good man Sarge! You are on board then. Damelon - will you give it a trial run even if another title was chosen (and would 'the Wake' be your nominated title if you do come on board)?

To save you (both?) from having to keep coming back here to check if we can raise the necessary half dozen, I'll keep an eye on it and pm you if and when we reach the threshold. Then perhaps we can get around to looking for a title.

A way of choosing one might be for each member to post a title and then subsequent to this choose one other person's title and see if a consensus emerges? Or we could simply put the titles into a hat and pull one out randomly.

I'd suggest that the nominated books be relatively short - or at least not mighty thousand page tomes - and recognisable classics, either modern or older. And perhaps we could post weekly(ish) on our thoughts and have a bit of a knock about on each others postings?

How not to spoil in respect of others reading might be a bit of a problem, but if perhaps we designate chapter points beyond which we would not reveal details or something like? Perhaps divide each title into thirds and post subsequent to completion of each third or something?

Anyways, this can be worked out if we get sufficient numbers to make it viable.

I think it might be difficult, but if we can it could be fun. Communal reading is by accounts a really good way of approaching literature and trust me - I need all the help I can get. Let's say we'll try to get things going by the start of 2023, just to see if a few other people drop in and pick up on the idea.

Here's hoping and thanks for the replies guys.

Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2022 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to add just a little to what I've said (in the hope that perhaps the assurance might bring a few other Watchers on board) in that I don't see this idea of a reading group as being terribly demanding on either ones time or patience. In short, I wouldn't want it, for myself let alone others - to be too onerous in its demands.

I'd think in terms of maybe a couple or three books a year, perhaps more if the selected books were really short; just enough so that people could read them as leisurely as they choose, and feel that they are doing the 'enriching' part of their reading justice.

Because that's what makes the classic literature , well, classic. These books are ones that enrich the soul for the reading. At best they add to the sum of our existence and even change our lives. They are not chewing gum for the brain, as are most books, fun though they might be. The books we are talking about will stay with one for a lifetime, will request a return and always with pleasure.

On my own particular choice, I'd like to select John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces but I've read it before.

If it's deemed acceptable to choose books one has already read I'd go with it; firstly because I believe it now qualifies as a modern classic and secondly because I simply love it and want to reread it in the company of others.

If we decided that only unread (by ourselves - not necessarily everyone else in the group) books were admissible, then I might go for Mann's The Magic Mountain or Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther.

One of the reasons I'm trying to set this up is that I'm struggling a bit with the general sense of finality, of gloom, that pervades my country at the moment. Some will know that I immerse myself in the politics of the UK pretty much on a daily basis and (I'm not going to lie) it's taking its toll.

I saw a guy on YouTube talking about the redemptive power of great literature and confess, I wanted some. He spoke of the power of reading in groups as a means of entry into literature and again I thought he made good sense.

Not being a Twitter or Facebook user - in fact only being a Watch user and nothing else - where else would I go but here to look for some fellow travelers into the world of classic literature?

So Cross Fingers Here's hoping.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pm me when you know.
I can get the book from
Half price.

I've read none of your
Suggestions. So I'm for any.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m interested peter
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terrific StevieG!

As with Sarge, I'll pm you when or if we reach the half dozen.

I'm not going to kick the thing off too quickly because I know that we have a number of fairly irregular visitors who might just catch this thread randomly in the next few weeks.

As I said, I'll think in terms of around Christmas time or the beginning of the new year and hopefully then we may have picked up a couple more readers.

Big thanks to both of you. You have my gratitude.

Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2022 9:57 am    Post subject: Re: A Watcher's Reading Club. Any interest? Reply with quote

Damelon wrote:
The book I took out from the library last week thinking to give it a go.


Why would you do that to yourself? Very Happy

Joyce himself said they would be arguing over that book for 1,000 years.

It is literally a literary joke. Very Happy

More has been written about that one book than Joyce ever wrote in his life.

peter wrote:
It's been a thing for me for a while now, that my reading achievements are considerably lacking in terms of 'quality literature' and I'm keen to remedy this shortfall while I still have vision enough (and hopefully mental capacity to match) to do so.


In my experience, "quality" literature is often over-rated. I've read a bunch of books because "they're books one should read" and have rarely been enthralled by them. Very Happy

We should get LuciMay in here. Very Happy

Anyway, Let me know what you decide on and I'll see if I'm in. Very Happy May depend on how easily I can get whatever book etc.

--A
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2022 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's great Av! Very Happy

I'm thinking that the books we select should if possible be pretty easily available stuff; I'd recommend staying away from anything too obscure (or indeed that may be too 'difficult'), but having said that, we shall make suggestions as we see fit and try to choose our books either by consensus or by a 'draw' if this can't be achieved.

And yes, yes, yes - get LuciMay on board if you can - and anyone else who might be interested. The more the merrier!

I'll give it a week or two into December to try and get a few more bods on the books, and then start (about midmonth) canvassing for titles. If we each throw in a suggestion, then I will post a list of these and ask if everyone will drop in and pick someone else's of that list...and then hopefully one will emerge as winner. If this is not practical because of too few choices or whatever, then I'll just do a pieces of paper from a hat draw, and see where we land.

Obviously, the idea is for us to have a bit of a chat about what we are thinking, and on the idea that most books worthy of the name classics are highly re-readable, I don't think we need to worry too much about spoilering - but let's see if we can come up with a choice and then take it from there.

And obviously, if a book is chosen that you simply don't want to read then hey - don't read it! Come back for the next one! This is the Watch; we post where we want to!

Chow for now guys!

Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2022 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So we have me, Sarge, and StevieG who are game. Av and Damelon are maybe's - and if you can't tell, I'm doing this post so as to 'collate' who has to be contacted at decision time. My memory isn't worth a dime anymore and it'll just help to have the names on one post.

Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
T
And yes, yes, yes - get LuciMay on board if you can - and anyone else who might be interested. The more the merrier!


Sorry, I meant in terms of a discussion about what "quality literature" was. Very Happy

That said I'll send her this link. Very Happy

--A
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hysterical


yeah you really DON'T wanna get me started on the whole "literary fiction" discussion!!! hahaha!!!

i have never really been a book club type person, mostly because i'm so opinionated and have very little tolerance for idiocy and literally NO filter when i'm intolerant!!! yes...in short, i'm an asshole! lol. howEVER, i like all of you and don't feel i would be an asshole to any of you! Very Happy so i could participate if i like or am interested in what you're intending to read.
having said that, i think Finnigan's Wake might be a great first outing for me.
i've always wanted to read it...well not always, really i've just wanted to read it since a friend of mine wrote it into one of his short stories and i read that. well really i *heard* him read it. see i met my friend at an open mic poetry reading. his name was K.L. Hill and he was 20 year older than me when i met him. we eventually found ourselves in a group of the open mic regulars and started performing our work at different open mics all over the city (san francisco.) anyway... K.L. passed away in 2001 not too long after 9/11. i can still hear him reading that short story at the open mic. it was called "A Blues for Jeff"
here is a link to the whole story (it's really very short) that i posted on my old blog in 2005.
https://cspeak.blogspot.com/2005/10/blues-for-jeff.html

and here's that quote from the story:

"Jeff asked if I ever read Finnegan's Wake.
I told him I started reading it once, but then put it down.
"Because I have a hard time reading stuff I don't understand," I said.
Jeff said I should just read it, and don't try to understand it.
"Just read it, man," he said, "and absorb the words.
Like the way you listen to music." "

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably not bad advice for FW to be honest. Very Happy

(I wonder if it was some sort of inspiration for Dhalgren, which was famously written on stacks of 3"x5" index cards....(Cue WF... Wink ))

Never occurred to me before but I can see similarities...

Anyway, I'd try read Wake if nobody tried to make me think about it. Very Happy

--A
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2022 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hide


(Actually, it reminds me of a long passage in RADIX, another of my all-time-favorites, where the narrator goes on and on and ON in a multi-page paragraph consisting of sentences that seem as if they might make sense but which are actually random phrases strung together. Attanasio pulls it off excellent well ... you spend a long time feeling like you are reading something, something just a bit too over your head to grasp. One's natural tendency in that circumstance is to just keep reading, and so you do. Until you smack yourself. It's brilliant.)

((And Dhalgren makes perfect sense. Razz ))
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2022 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to join the Reading Club.

My preference would be any book available in Kindle (even if it is available for a price and not "free" or "discounted")

But willing to try find a book if not available in that format
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2022 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar wrote:
Probably not bad advice for FW to be honest. Very Happy

Anyway, I'd try read Wake if nobody tried to make me think about it. Very Happy

--A


i'm pretty sure that the story Blues for Jeff is from actual personal experience and we used to call KL "the adverb king" because of his liberal overuse of adverbs which, when you're listening to him read it out loud, makes a cadence, has lovely rhythm to it. I mySELF can't do it. i'm adverse to adverb!! Laughing but KL did it beautifully and it WAS like listening to music to hear HIM read so i'm betting that scene with jeff actually happened (KL never confirmed nor denied) and that was real advice jeff gave him. consequently, i vowed, that if i ever DID read FW i would follow that same advice. Very Happy

and yeah, if y'all do decide on this one, or whatever you decide on, and i don't see it quickly enough, just holler at me on discord like you did Av.
the new WoW xpac has just dropped and i'm feverishly leveling to 70. (i hit 66 last night and gave up the grind. heh. bout to start back soon as i hit the submit button on this post. Very Happy )
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you're more advanced than a cockroach,
have you ever tried explaining yourself
to one of them?
~ alan bates, the mothman prophecies



i've had this with actors before, on the set,
where they get upset about the [size of my]
trailer, and i'm always like...take my trailer,
cause... i'm from Kentucky
and that's not what we brag about.
~ george clooney, inside the actor's studio



a straight edge for legends at
the fold - searching for our
lost cities of gold. burnt tar,
gravel pits. sixteen gears switch.
Haphazard Lucy strolls by.
~ dennis r wood ~
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2022 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucimay, samrw3, maybe even wayfriend! Now we're farming (as an old boy on the farms used to say when we were testing cattle for tuberculosis and got a rhythm going; I just love the expression Very Happy )

I've deliberately stayed away for a week But....

Have some new ideas for books I might propose. Dostoyevsky's The Idiot was one..... I like the idea of the freedom that true 'not caring what people think' gives. Also, Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier looks interesting.....

But time enough.

Point taken re the kindle samrw3; I'm not thinking of anything too obscure and would guess that most of what we might consider would be available - and quite possibly on the free list.

I'll start asking for individual book nominations in about a week's time. And then we'll see who might want to stay in for the ride.

In the meantime, gratitude to each and everyone who has posted. I'll speak to you soon!

Smile

(And peter gets down on his knees; please, great architect of the sky, don't let it be Finnegan's Wake! Wink )
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2022 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
maybe even wayfriend!

To be honest, I can't even claim to be sitting on the fence here.
My feet are firmly grounded on the other side, but I do look over from time to time to see if there's something I would climb over for.

I haven't even yet started my re-read of The Seventh Decimate and The War Within so that I can finally read The Killing God. Somehow, somewhen, "reading time" has been removed from my daily routine, which I greatly lament. I need to fix this. Like exercise, it can't be "squeezed in", it must be built into your day.

Never had any interest in the classics. Assigned reading of assorted Dickens novels (is "meganovel" a word?) and the like have left me with a firm opinion against them.

You couldn't go wrong if you picked Dhalgren for your club. Now there is a great book that people dismiss too easily, and which contains full measures of achingly beautiful writing, well drawn characters, surprising interactions, suspenseful plot, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, and deep ponderings on being human. Ten pages into it, you are thoroughly lost. Only some will wander further and discover what it all means. [See this post.]
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