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/culture/ - arts & literature

"Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor." - Alexis Carrel
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 No.1

What're your favorite books?

I could perhaps be called an artsy snob for this, but one of my absolute favorite novels is House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. I've always found the concept of labyrinths to be fascinating, as well as that of the inherent uncertainty in the image of reality presented to us by our sensory perception. This book features those two themes quite prominently, and explores them to a depth I've not seen in any other books I've yet read.

This next one might also reflect questionably on my character, but nonetheless I greatly enjoyed American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I've struggled a lot with recurrent depersonalization, feelings of dread, and a general impression of isolation from those around me. Since the book addresses all of that, it resonated with me in that regard–though, not so much with some of the other stuff it describes.

I also love tons of H. P. Lovecraft's and Jorge Luis Borges's work, but those are predominantly short stories, not novels.

 No.2

anything Solzhenitsyn, Bukowski is good, Lovecraft and I've just started reading homer's odyssey which I'm liking very much so far.

 No.3

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Perhaps you should have a look at my recent novel ~ http://libgen.io/book/index.php?md5=cd5b66dd5f1491e73446193f044f5ed3

I explore this concept of our mind's complexity and similarity to a maze through basic code and theories of time travel. Some people have not been able to read further than the first page which indicates to me that my web has been woven well!

I also really enjoyed House of Leaves, I even had 2 copies that have since disappeared - into the abyss…

I'm working through the Necronomicon which is great, and I'd recommend anything by Albert Camus or Hermann Hesse!

 No.4

>>3
And if you haven't read Only Revelations by MZD it is pretty brilliant as well.

 No.5

Right now I'm into the Wheel of Time series. Long, but so worth it!

 No.6

I really loved Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, and I have some of his other books I've been meaning to read.

 No.7

My favorite book of all time is A Scanner Darkly by PKD. I love how there is no judgement in the novel and everyone suffers the consequences for their own actions. Also the feeling of loss of identity and not knowing who you are also feels close to home with myself.

 No.8

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>>6
I have really good memories about this book. Not only because of the weird mix of light 'typically japanese' onirism, lovecraftian horror and crime novel vibe, but as my own reality merge with the one of the narrator at some points. I couldn't explain it properly, but I sank into the book every evenings while into a state of inner peace and maximum confyness, after a day of hard labor, a hot shower and a copious meal, in a yard surrounded by high walls, under a warm breeze, with a dying love but faraway from me. On many levels I felt like my experiences "matched" the ones of the main "two" protagonists. Ending was confusing though.

Couldn't say what is my favorite book. There's so many; Currently reading the 1945-1948 journals of Ernst Junger and it inspires me greatly about many things from war and history to gardening and literature. I'm very fond of this author for how wise, astute he is.

Also, Montaigne is a bro.

 No.12

>>1
oh, lovecraft is amazing. I discovered him as a teenager and I still love his stories, they're so detailed that almost seem like a real event.

Borges is pretty cool as well, even he's my compatriot I didn't read as much of his work. But the story "Juán López and John Ward" really speaks to me.

>>6
I liked Norwegian Wood from him, would you recommend that to me ? :o

 No.27

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Fiction? The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series is a classic. It is the wonderful replacement for grand mythology in today's mythless age. It isn't a sexed-up festival of base pleasures like Game of Thrones, nor is it damningly boring like many of its imitators. It's just an innocent, well-written, original story which taps into the spirit as well as the mind.

Non-fiction? The most recent book I finished which I really enjoyed was 'Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman!' by Richard Feynman. It's a collection of short stories from his life. He's an inspiring guy who thinks very particularly but in a fascinating way.

Besides that, I have recently been getting into mythology. I have dipped into 'A Dictionary of Symbolism', which is simply revelatory in its explanation of mystical and mundane symbols, 'Myths of the Norsemen', which is a run-down of the Norse Gods, and books about the mythology of the British Isles.

Just some things I'd recommend:
http://www.gutenberg.org – lots of free, old books.
https://archive.org – there are quite a few books, in every format imaginable, on here as well.

 No.28

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>>1
It's Hamlet for sure. I've only read it once, in the 10th grade, yet even with me slacking off on all the work I still loved it. The themes of death, insanity, and responsibility are done so well it kind of blows my mind. I have this tendency to think that very old works of art are overrated due to their influence, but Shakespeare kind of shatters all that.

 No.58

Illuminatus Trilogy
VALIS
The Sound and the Fury
Invisible Cities
The Diceman


all excellent

 No.65

Lord Jim
It's the book that's had the strongest impression on me, for some reason

 No.66

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>>1

I didn't manage to finish HoL. The story was fun and all, but the typesetting got realllly offputting after a short while. I guess that, combined with the glacial pace slowly made me lose interest. Something I know I shouldn't have done, because I really was enjoying it.

Maybe I'll pick it up again.

My favourite books are the Culture novels by Ian M. Banks. I think my favourite would either be Hydrogen Sonata or Look to Windward.

Another close contender for favourite is Three Comrades by Remarque. I've never cried because of a novel before, but the ending to Three Comrades was honestly one of the saddest things I've ever read. Besides that, the he paints 1920's Berlin as such a comfy place.

 No.69

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>>66
What a coincidence! I just finished Excession myself.

 No.70

>>69
yess my sushiroll

Excession has some of the best ship banter out there.

 No.80

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My favorite book has to be A Humument.

The sad thing is that I've only read it all the way through once. It is perhaps a difficult book…

 No.81

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I really like the books by Alastair Reynolds, especially his "relevation space" series. He's got a PhD in Physics and Astronomy which is noticeable in his books. He does some great worldbuilding and the plot is always very unpredictable.

 No.82

>>12
Norwegian Wood is probably his least abstract book, it's the one which is grounded the most in reality.

If you're interested in something more dream-like and absurd, his other works would fit the bill nicely. I'd personally recommend Kafka on the Shore, as well as what's already been mentioned. IQ84 is very long, and it can be a slog sometimes, so I'd personally save it for later, and look at works like The Wind Up Bird Chronicle which are more approachable.

 No.83

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Has anyone used a Kindle Paperwhite before?
What's it like for reading in the dark? The backlight seems like it'd blind you, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a backlight in the first place.

 No.84

>>80
That is really beautiful, thanks for sharing.

 No.85

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>>83
I bought one recently. When I'm in the dark I usually drop the brightness a little, but it's not that bad.

 No.110

The hitchhiker's guide is one of my top 5
Lord Jim is one that left a deep impression on me
1984 also marked my view of the world when I read it in my early teens
100 years of solitude, it's just a very nice book.
Crime and punishment was also a very good book. I particularly like books with that tragic tone.
Ringworld is another very good book, full of very nice sci-fi ideas

 No.143

>>110
I'm reading 1984 right now and really liking it. I'm planning to read Animal Farm afterwards, I hear it's just as good.

 No.144

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>>4
such memories. read that all the way through, trading parts, with boy when we were 16. so long ago
*revolutions, though

>>1
lovecraft feels so clunky and repetitive. nice experience for the first short story or two, though.

>>12
>Norwegian Wood
>oh i'm such a NAUGHTY NAUGHTY boy =DDD
>*fap* *fap* *fap* *fap*

>>58
faulkner an calvino so pretty

cosmicomics best, though

>>69
prob best in the series. his prose was still improving, but sort of expended most of his ideas with that book, and the books after felt half-hearted and forced. wonder if he would've moved on to a new flagship if he hadn't disappeared early… )=



as for a me:
rabih alameddine. his books sort of use stories to tell his own story, and his story is worth telling. things pop up here and there wearing new clothes. kind of detective-y feeling. I, The Divine best

willa cather and marguerite yourcenar are both beautiful, though they take opposite approaches

currently on an ali smith binge, though. basically candy for 20-something-girls-who-think-they're-artists. love so much, though

maybe a little more attractive to this crowd, though, would be Ron Currie Jr. God is Dead is really nice, though be prepared for "wow, what an edgelord" assumptions on the bus :P

 No.145

>>144
oh, and looking to try 岩井俊二's book versions of things to see how they measure up to his films. has anybody looked into those before?

 No.146

>>85
I may get one soon.
Is it possible to get it to display books that are not from Amazon? Like if I have one in storage, can I somehow get it into the device and read it?

 No.149

>>145
In my mind there is only static when I read "岩井俊二"

 No.160

>>6
Was going to post this as well. His "A Wild Sheep Chase" is magnificent as well.

 No.161

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I find it quite embarrassing for only reading tech books

 No.162

>>161
You're not alone sushi roll, I only read tech books as well
I should probably read some literature too.

 No.191

My favorite book is without a doubt Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. The man has a way with words, his descriptions of nature are truly beautiful.

 No.192

>>161
Same. I have a long to-read list (mostly cyberpunk and anti-utopias), but can't make myself read non-technical books… The hardest part is to start though. Now after 2 years without literature reading “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy”, it's nice.

 No.194

>>1
the stand

 No.195

Just finished Fahrenheit 451, it's on the list, I liked it more than 1984. Also, Snow Crash. It was hilarious and interesting. The Neuromancer was also great in terms of atmosphere, but I'm not a huge fan of the abstract, and some of the AI fuckery going on is pretty abstract IMO.

 No.196

>>195
My favorite Novel without a doubt is Fahrenheit 451, second only to Death in The Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway.

Both chaged how I live my life. Fahrenheit 451 got me memorizing poetry, relying less on technology.

 No.204

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I have fond nostalgic memories of HP Lovecraft. I had many sleepless nights in my teens brought on by nightly RLS, that I spent reading from a leather bound tome with collected stories by him.

Philip K. Dick is wonderful.

Burroughs as well, but more in that creepy rapey old man way. The literary hobby doesn't get much weirder than reading through Naked Lunch accompanied by necessary rations of cannabis.

And Burroughs got me into "In Youth is Pleasure" by Denton Welch. I lack the words to describe how well it paints the awkard, just slightly abnormal teen.

And to finish it off, Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami. It maintains a very satisfying proportionality between grittyness and beauty, written from the perspective of someone who's mostly just a spectator, someone who merely sits by and rarely intervenes.

 No.206

>>1
I think The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Tolstoi was the best book i've ever read.
I love Lovecraft too, The Shadow over Innsmouth is my favorite story by him.
The only Jorge Luis Borges story i've read was Tlön Uqbar Orbis Tertius, and i liked it a lot. I also have a book by him thats a collection of fantasy short stories.

 No.276

Infinite jest :3

 No.277

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>>27
The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy is pretty great. For short stories I enjoy Cordwainer Smith's stuff. "The Game of Rat and Dragon" is the first story of his that I read. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/29614

 No.278

>>146
Yes.
But why don't you buy an ebook that's drm-free? Kobos and Pocketbooks aren't bad.

 No.279

I found myself enjoying this one tone I desperately search for. Satirical writing with a lot of self-aware deprecating of its characters that criticizes how people tend to be, generally with a dark sense of humor.
Catch-22 is the best example. I have also enjoyed Slaughterhouse-5 (obviously), Waiting for Godot, Ionesco's The Leader, and Welcome to the NHK. Tatami Galaxy would also fit, but I have only seen the adaptation.
Almost fitting could be The Cremator by Ladislav Fuks, but that is much darker.

 No.280

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>>279
see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menippean_satire

in addition to the stuff listed there (The Circle is a bit of stretch imo), Don DeLillo's earlier works come to mind. I personally love Ratner's Star but this is not an easy read at all. David Foster Wallace is another whose name comes to mind.

 No.282

My favourite is Moby Dick. Never read it in school and only recently read it but I really like it.

 No.283

Everything Everything
Genius
Let it Snow
Nekropolis
Shadowrun
A Wrinkle in Time

 No.284

There's a series of graphic novels called Bone by Jeff Smith. While its technically for kids, its remained one of my favourites since I read it (not for nostalgia reasons, just because its good).

Some books I'm enjoying at the moment are Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco and Mort by Terry Pratchett (which I would recommend to the people saying they like The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy). If you have some cash money, I would recommend the folio society edition of Mort for its illustrations and general quality.

>>1
>I also love tons of H. P. Lovecraft's and Jorge Luis Borges's work
So do I. Have you read any Edgar Allen Poe? The Tell-Tale Heart is a good place to start if you haven't (its not what it sounds like). If you're into poetry then The Raven is good.

 No.285

>>282
It's funny how much more I enjoy something when it's not assigned for school. I would never have enjoyed Paradise Lost if I was forced to read it, but it's got the most beautiful poetry I've ever read.

 No.287

>>285
To be honest, I've never had to read any of those major default school books
And I'm quite grateful for that. This way I can enjoy everything so much more.

 No.292

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
I wasn't the only edgy middle schooler that Metallica tricked into reading books.

Hanta Yo by Ruth Beebe Hill is another favorite. Translating the book from English to Lakotah and back was a great literary choice. Really felt immersive, which was good because the plot spans generations and the reader really can't lean on a character throughout the duration of the book.

 No.306

My favorite books are those that I haven't read and are next in my reading list.

 No.307

Heart of a Dog is my favorite. Its a common cliche to say that you couldn't put a book down but this was one of the very few that did it for me. It was also very funny, Sharik is probably the funniest character I've found in literature

 No.345

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Long time fan of HP Lovecraft, Jack Kerouac, and Hunter Thompson. The wave speech in Fear and Loathing had me me feel some type of way I never got over.

But my latest favorite has been The Unnoticables by Rob Brockway. Despite being very modern and simply written at times, the story is both gripping and strikes a chord with my inner punk rocker.

Brockway's story is both a look at life's evolution since the 70's to the 2010's and does so with a hint of comedy and a heap of cosmic horror that pleases the Lovecraft fan inside me.



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