The Collaborative Writer Forum For Aspiring and Published Writers
#1

Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:38 am
by Alison (deleted)
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Here is the pile of books I bought the other day... I don't know what it is about not being at home for the summer, but it sure makes it easier to get reading done.

Paul Coelho, The Alchemist. Finished this yesterday, and I know everyone has already read it, but it was lovely. I really enjoyed it. I will be re-reading it soon, because I would like to blog about what it made me think of, the themes, Paul Coelho's life (at 17, his parents forced him to receive electroshock therapy because he refused to submit to their vision of how life should be... middle class Brazilians, they wanted a 'normal' life for their son, and when he showed signs of being creative and rebellious, instead of letting him do what he wanted, which was write, they handed him over to doctors).

Again, Paul Coelho, an anthology called Inspirations: Selections from Classic Literature. This is one I couldn't resist, even though ordinarily I do not like books with "selections" from other, longer pieces, but this time, the selections are from texts chosen by Paul Coelho, and I wanted to see what has inspired him. The fascinating thing is that he has organized the selections according to the ancient element he believes the piece corresponds to, either water, air, earth or fire. I chose this book because I wanted to see how the author thinks, how he organizes his thoughts; what his artistic and cultural values are. He has put Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling" in the "water"section, for example... why? This is what I will find out at some point.

Beatrice and Virgil, Yann Martel's follow-up to The Life of Pi, a book that revolutionized my way of thinking about writing and what one can (and should) write about—and how one can write. If you haven't read it yet, I hope you will. But, it's more likely that you are far ahead of me, and have already read both of these. I am usually too distracted when in Seattle, my current lily pad/resting place that does not feel like home, to ever read fiction, and now I'm devouring fiction, so I blame Seattle and my persistent belief that there must be something I should be doing that's more important than reading when I'm in that house in that grey and otherwise dreary town. Maybe one just simply needs a quiet space without distractions? Probably.

The final novel I found is Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (in English, in a store here in Sweden, which made buying them seem incredibly important and necessary, since finding books in English is not easy here). I bought it primarily because I wasn't convinced I'd find it again back in the States all that easily. It's by a writer I've never heard of, Jonathan Safran Foer, about something I didn't want to read about, a little boy's reaction to what happened after 9/11 and the loss of his father. However, I stood in the bookstore, holding this book, reading it, putting it down, picking it up, for 15 minutes, and finally said, "this is extraordinary, and I'm never likely to see it again or even remember the title" (my memory being what it is these days) so I bought it. Plus, they were having this "big sale" at the bookstore, and the guy behind the counter said, "no, you need two more to get one free," or something equally coercive, so I felt compelled to buy every book I had had my eye on.


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Last edited Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:43 am | Scroll up

#2

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:45 am
by collaborativewriter • 85 Posts

I hope others will add what they're reading. You can and/or should start your own thread, probably, just to create a sense of order. (I'm experimenting with these weird smilies)

I find that reading is so crucial to inspiration, and i'm pretty curious to know what everyone's reading!!


Last edited Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:47 am | Scroll up

#3

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:19 pm
by Northern • 9 Posts

I've been wanting to read Martel for a while but the stack of books in the corner of my room has become like a nasty weed that just doesn't seem to stop growing! I'll have to pick him up when I've cut the stack down to size (and return the couple dozen books I've borrowed over the last year....or 3....hehe...). As for what I am currently reading, I've got Twilight of the Idols by Nietzsche (I really need to round out my knowledge of philosophy) and a collection of stories by H.P. Lovecraft. I also have Bram Stroker's Dracula on my e-reader. I've been trying to tackle some of the classics I missed out on as a child and it seems to be going well. When I'm finished with those then it will be time for Salem's Lot by Steven King. This will only be my second Steven King book (the first being Firestarter which gave me a lukewarm impression) but I figure studying from more successful horror and suspense writers will be of great benefit to me.

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#4

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:41 pm
by collaborativewriter • 85 Posts

I started reading Stephen King with Salems Lot. If you are not into horror, it will not make you happy. The movie or TV movie or whatever it was totally sucked, compared to the book. I found the book truly frightening at the time (I was 17 or so) but I haven't read it since then, which would be ... oh, more years than you've been on the planet. I cannot honestly recommend the current Martel; it got lambasted by the critics, and rightfully so. This does not mean it's not worth picking up, but Dracula, which is a dull read but nonetheless crucial to the genre he created, is more necessary than this Martel. If you have time, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or Prometheus Unbound (a better title, if you ask me) is really worth your time. I have not read a lot of Nietzsche since grad school. Ever since I found out he went crazy and married his cousin (which came first, I don't remember) much like Poe, I lost faith in his ideas. I'm fickle that way with crazy people.


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Last edited Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:42 pm | Scroll up

#5

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Mon Aug 15, 2011 7:02 pm
by Northern • 9 Posts

Haha yes, my professor tells me that Nietzche had pretty much gone insane from syphilis at the time he wrote Twilight of the Idols. I think that adds an element of horror to my mind. The ramblings of a mad man? What's not to love! I am happy to hear that about King's work and am now looking forward to it with more relish. I was hardly unnerved at all during Firestarter but I'm told that that wasn't really King at his best horror. I have had the fortune of reading Frankenstein but not the other. I shall toss that one on the 'vague reading plan for the future' list along with Martel ;)

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#6

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:15 pm
by collaborativewriter • 85 Posts

I have a vague list. I'm trying to think what's on it. No. It's not coming to me. I think it's too poorly defined to know what I was going to read... oh wait, there's a rummage pile in my mind of things I must read before I die. I kept some Agatha Christies for this purpose (ones I deliberately did not read). Actually, I am now determined to read all of Hemingway before I leave this mortal coil, after having been to Paris, but that plan might come to naught, since I've read enough Hemingway to know what I "should" read. That's the problem with having prejudices; they block out what could otherwise be good experiences.

Firestarter was probably one of King's crappiest books. If you were unfortunate enough to start there, it's no wonder you're dispirited. However, I have not, by a long chalk, read "all" of King. I've read... the Salems Lot books (I can't remember how many of them there are); The Shining; Needful Things... what else? Something, but now I can't remember what it was. Not all, by any means. I will pick him up very, very sporadically (which is to say, not often, since he stopped writing about vampires).

I believe I read Dean Koontz for awhile, but put him down. I probably also read Clive Cussler (sp?). This was in my post-grad days, when I was actively avoiding writing my dissertation.


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Last edited Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:16 pm | Scroll up

#7

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:40 am
by Capucine • 14 Posts

I read a lot of history, more or less any that I can get hold of, either in English, French or German. A.J.P.Taylr has always been a tape foe, just as I can read over and over all the Fernand Braudel. Kant and Hegel are too strenuous for casual reading, whereas Nietzsche is clear and entertaining. I read the Antichrist on the train from Montpellier to Paris. I found the digital version on Amazon with a forward by H.L. Mencken. I was certainly the best $1.29 I have spent in a long time. I have found Todorov's works, (Todorov's is a Bulgarian living in Paris who writes in French), to be of very original thinking. He certainly gives one a new perspective on life.


Capucine

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#8

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:44 am
by Capucine • 14 Posts

I forget to check that Apple has not deformed the words that I have written. I am trying to remember what I mean by "tape foe". I would guess that I wrote favorite, but I may have found a better expression which is now lost. Apple's spelling correction function drives me nuts, particularly when I am writing in French.


Capucine

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#9

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:06 pm
by collaborativewriter • 85 Posts

Capucine, I had no idea you are in Paris and are French. That is certainly nice to know. I was in Paris for the first time last month, and it was quite wonderful, even in pouring-down rain. It rained all but two of the days I was there, but you can take incredibly beautiful photographs in Paris no matter what the weather, apparently.

Those sound like wonderful tape foes. Very interesting reading choices... (said tongue-in-cheek)

Ah yes, when I text with my "smart" phone, it translates much of what I say into smart-sounding gibberish... tape foes indeed.


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#10

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:56 pm
by Capucine • 14 Posts

Actually, I am English of origin. I emigrated to France in 1964, as I like to say, to escape the rule of Harold Wilson. I lived in Paris until 1990 when I drifted South to the Languedoc. It is warmer there and for thirteen years I had a reasonably lucrative job which did not overtax me. At this very moment I am in Colorado, where I spend most summers now that I am retired. I was sorry to leave Paris in many ways, but now I pop up for the day on the TGV to go to the Louvre or some other museum with a sculptress friend. Paris is just too expensive to stay for long these days.

I am a very slow reader in whatever language, but eventually one gets through it and works out fairly well what he author is trying to say. I read more now on my iPad than any other format. This is reducing the French and German literature as their downloads are much more expensive than Amazon. It is just so convenient to have such an extensive library with one when traveling.


Capucine

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#11

RE: Summer reading list

in Books, music, movies? What inspires you? What would you suggest others experience, and why? Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:02 pm
by Mary • 16 Posts

I am trying to finish up The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This is something I would have never picked up on my own, but someone told me this may give some insight into some of the archetypes. It is moving a bit slow for me...

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