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What books are you reading right now?


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Initial post: Mar 18, 2009 4:36:48 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 22, 2009 6:18:31 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2009 4:55:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2009 4:56:05 PM PDT
Thomas E. says:
Currently on the home stretch of the second and final volume of Robert Musil's "The Man Without Qualities". A gargantuan book, so intelligent that I only understand the chapter titles. I asked before deep in another thread, but can't remember if you answered: have you read it, Piso? You like Thomas Mann, so this might be right up your alley. Reminds me of "Magic Mountain".

Next up will probably be Orhan Pamuk's "Snow". I'm determined to read it before the weather turns nicer.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2009 5:01:42 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 22, 2009 6:18:52 PM PDT]

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 5:02:32 PM PDT
Mark Lilla's The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Western World. Then I'll reread Conrad's Nostromo and a Simenon Maigret.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 5:22:25 PM PDT
I'm currently reading Jeffrey Toobin's book on the US Supreme Court, The Nine. Not as gossipy as Woodward's book on the Burger Court, but still very interesting.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 5:26:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2009 5:45:50 PM PDT
p0lyph0nyxx says:
Piso,

On another discussion Skaynan posted a link to a book-length PDF on "Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg", written by Dika Newlin in 1947. You might find it an interesting supplement to your current Bruckner readings: http://www.abruckner.com/articles/articlesenglish/newlindikabruckner/

I tend to read multiple books, and kinds of books (philosophy, novels, poetry...), concurrently; it may be an unfortunate symptom of my social upbringing that I can't (or won't) focus on just one at a time. With that in mind, I'm currently cycling between:

Adorno: Aesthetic Theory -- dense but extremely rewarding. I've heard people say that they find Adorno's writings on specific composers/pieces easier than his writings on general philosophical/aesthetic principles. There is probably some truth to this, but one cannot fully understand these specific works without understanding the general principles underlying them. Hence, the value of trudging through Aesthetic Theory.

Houellebecq: The Elementary Particles -- excellent book. Stylistically less challenging than Adorno, but challenging in the ideas it makes one contemplate. His "Possibility of an Island," which I read a few months ago, is also excellent.

Hölderlin - Sämtliche Gedichte und Hyperion -- this is slow for me because my German isn't quite fluent anymore; but I find Hölderlin's unique poetic style fascinating and worth it. Reading Hölderlin makes me appreciate Rilke and Celan even more. He's also been an inspiration for some of my favorite composers (Nono, Kurtág).

Badiou: Being and Event -- not sure what to make of this one yet.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2009 5:29:42 PM PDT
Armida says:
I've started on Hermann Broch's Tod des Vergil. I've had that book for thirty years - and never got past the first 50 pages (a sentence may well cover 2 whole pages....). Now that I'm older, the topic seems more relevant.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 6:36:53 PM PDT
scarecrow says:
Paul Badura Skoda's book on Mozart Interpretation
Joan Retallack's interviews with John Cage
Jalons by Pierre Boulez
Being and Event by Alain Badiou (Yeah Etha this is an overview of philosophy, politics takes up many threads of 20th Century and beyond, Sartre, Heideggar,axioms, Cantor,Lacan,Spinoza)
2666 (a novel)by Roberto Bolano

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2009 6:37:45 PM PDT
I'm like Etha. I can't just read one book. I'm currently reading "Goedel, Escher, Bach", "Dr. Faustus", the "Mars" trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I've been snowed in at work with pile upon pile of demands, so my reading has suffered. I go on vacation tomorrow, so I will probably finish Dr. Faustus in the next couple of days. I find Dr. Faustus much more interesting than "Magic Mountain".

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 6:48:25 PM PDT
Eutychus says:
Karen Maitland
"Company of Liars''

Rene Leibowitz
"Schoenberg and His School: The Contemprary Stage of the Language of Music"

Joseph M. Marshall III
"Hundred in the Hand"

James McBride
"Song Yet Sung"

Ron Rosenbaum
"The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascoes, Palace Coups"

Will Shakespeare
"Richard III"

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2009 7:08:37 PM PDT
Piso,

I'm almost done with vol 2 of De La Grange's Mahler biography. A fascinating tale that weaves in much from the machinations of the fin de siecle musical world in Europe with the life story of Mahler. What is interesting is how disconnected his life circumstances usually were from the music he was composing at the time. The 6th and Kindertotenlieder were composed during a relatively tranquil time, while the 8th came after the death of his daughter.

This is a huge commitment, but well worth it for a stalwart Mahlerian.

Craig

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 8:29:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2009 8:31:09 PM PDT
I am a lover of books, but for someone who is a lover of books, I'm a really lousy reader. I am easily distracted; can quickly lose concentration and allow my eyes to continue roving over lines without my brain's processing a word; and require nearly complete silence before I'll even crack a cover. Moreover, maybe even worse than Etha and superhuge, I not only read multiple books, but I am also constantly getting seduced by other books and end up cheating on the books I am supposed to be loyally reading. Luckily my books do not get jealous and walk out on me. Oh, and if anyone even thinks about giving away the ending of something to me, I could be driven to commit a homicide crime. (It would not be murder, as I am not fully possessed of my faculties in such circumstances.)

All that said, right now I am in the middle (pretty much the dead middle) of Robert Bolano's "Savage Detectives." For some reason I knew I would become obsessed with this writer, so I started at the beginning. Earlier this year I read his "Nazi Literature in the Americas," then "Distant Star," an expansion of the last chapter of the first book, and now "The Savage Detectives," his first long novel. I see that scarecrow is reading "2666," his last book, posthumously published last year. That'll come later for me I'm sure. So far I've been a better reader of "The Savage Detectives" than almost anything in recent memory. Right from the first line I knew I would love it. In fact, we are such a good match, the book and I, that I was able to start reading it on a short trip the weekend before last -- on a plane, no less! -- and then even a little bit on a subway ride the other night. Getting off the subway I sat down on a bench for a minute just to get to the end of the chapter so I would not have to stick the bookmark in at an inappropriate pausing point.

Bolano, I think I mentioned in Alonso's literature thread (hope you're reading this buddy -- cheer me on!) to me is like the Borges of character, if there could be such a thing. Whereas Borges can create an entire world in a tiny story, Bolano (who apparently would acknowledge a debt only to Borges and Cortazar, among his Latin American forbears) can create an entire life in a few pages, or a fully voiced character (as he does in "The Savage Detectives") in the same span.

Before that I read Jean-Dominique Bauby's "Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and Cortazar's "Hopscotch." Though I don't think I can say I "finished" the latter. Maybe nobody can say that though.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 8:38:32 PM PDT
Umberto Eco: Apocalittici e integrati (1964).

Saludos.

Posted on Mar 18, 2009 9:08:12 PM PDT
snakelavie says:
"Manservant and Maidservant" a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett. And if I can find it amidst all the junk here, Umberto Eco's "Comment voyager avec un saumon" again (bought in Paris).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2009 9:18:18 PM PDT
Dmitri says:
I'm SUPPOSE to be reading "And The Rest Is Noise." Haven't gotten around to it although it looks like a good read

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 3:47:03 AM PDT
Nada says:
I have just finished Doctorow, The March; started now with: Iliya Trojanow, Der Weltensammler (The Collector of Worlds). Being lazy, I just copy the information on the Amazon site (well, they do want to sell, so why should they be against this copying?):
[Product Description: "The Collector of Worlds" is a meditation on the extraordinary life of infamous explorer Sir Richard Burton. The first westerner to make the hajj to Mecca, he also discovered the source of the Nile with Speke. His translation of the "Arabian Nights" is one of the great moments in the encounter between Islam and the West, that scandalised his contemporaries with its salty eroticism. Troyanov's novel does full justice to this great, controversial mediator between cultures. The book imagines his encounter with India as a young officer, and brings to life his trials and travels through the eyes of his Indian servant, the Sharif of Mecca and the former slave who guided Burton to the Nile.
About the Author: Ilya Troyanov was born in Bulgaria. His family fled to West Germany to escape persecution and he grew up speaking German and English in Kenya. He is the author of Mumbai to Mecca, an account of his own pilgrimage to Islam's holiest site. His work has won a number of major German prizes.]

@Orhan Pamuk readers: May I ask you to please comment on his books when you've finished reading them? Last year I read "My Name is Red" by Pamuk. The subject, the plot, the insight, the structure of the book: everything was very, very fascinating. But quite often my patience was 'stretched' with repetitions and dry, overlength parts. So I'm still not sure if I dare handle another book by Pamuk.

Regards/Nada

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 5:03:34 AM PDT
Unlike some readers here, I can't read more than one at a time. If I don't stick with one until I finish, I'll only read the first fifty pages of book after book and never finish any.

I'm trying to finish Clea, the last volume of Lawrence Durrell's prose poetry tetralogy The Alexandria Quartet. I've had a lot of fun reading these philosophical novels, full of political and erotic intrigue in pre-WWII Egypt. I don't want the experience to end.

I recently read the Ivy Compton-Burnett volume listed above. I had heard great things about her satirical wit and ingenuity, but aside from a few great running gags I was disappointed.

I've had my eye on 2666 by Bolaño since reading a glowing review of his oeuvre in the Nation last year.

I don't know whether Henry James made it over to the Cambridge post office last sunny Sunday for the book sale, but my wife and I took away a couple of armloads of books for cheap. My haul included Sven Birkerts essays, an Evergreen Reader compendium, a novel by Ishmael Reed, the best of S.J. Perelman, a book of sailing stories for my son, and Joel Lester's book on 20C musical composition.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 7:45:50 AM PDT
Kelly E. says:
I'm stuck right now in 19th century fiction. So far this year I have finished Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) and Middlemarch (Eliot). I am now in the last pages of Emma (Austen), the triumph of love over reason. Next up, one of the granddaddies of them all: War and Peace (Tolstoy). I can't wait.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 7:56:51 AM PDT
Auntie Lynn says:
All that Trollope/Barchester stuff - finishing the last of it. Also, the Grand Horizontals - and, of course, the first one on the list was Marguerite Duplessis (Violetta Valery for the purposes of this site). But I gotta get that sort of new Kennedy (1999?) bio on Richard Strauss - problem is, I have read all those BIG three volume (plus other) bios on Mahler and they were so close, it's like killing two birds, etc. And I have to get (probably off Amazon) that bio of Johann Strauss, Jr. that lists all the opus numbers...HELP!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2009 8:10:04 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 14, 2010 9:21:34 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2009 8:13:06 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 14, 2010 9:21:34 AM PST]

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 8:54:54 AM PDT
Anyone aware of Daniel Heartz and his mammoth books about 18th century music?

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 9:16:54 AM PDT
down2erth says:
Still plowing my way through "The Early Medieval Balkans" - almost ready to start on "The Late Medieval Balkans". What a turbulent history they've had, and I'm only up to the Twelfth Century!

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 9:32:29 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 22, 2009 6:20:03 PM PDT]

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 12:17:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 19, 2009 12:18:08 PM PDT
Charade says:
Judah Halevi's "Kuzari." Just started it and am still enjoying the introduction.
Prior to that I read Strauss' essays "How to study Medieval Philosophy" and "Progress or Return."
I am a very slow reader. I enjoy the sounds of words too much to move ahead unto another pager until I teased out enough aroma of these beautiful symbols dotted on the paper my hands touch.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  178
Total posts:  5260
Initial post:  Mar 18, 2009
Latest post:  5 hours ago

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