The 'Currently reading' thread...

Discussion of other topics not necessarily Keats or poetry-related, i.e. other authors, literature, film, music, the arts etc.

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Postby dks » Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:22 am

Oh boy...I could get started on Gatsby here...Fitzgerald--my favorite American novelist Keats equivalent... :shock:
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Saturn » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:08 am

Then please do...

We need someone who actually knows what they are talking about as my rather shallow analysis is too personal and superficial.
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Postby dks » Wed Nov 22, 2006 3:35 pm

Ok, wait. Now just where did Miss Malia's post go? I swore she posted an uber-intelligent comment on Gatsby right along with Credo's...am I hallucinating? Wouldn't shock me.

Ok anyway. Gatsby. Well, the way I read it and the manner in which I've studied it is not very earth shattering--I mean it's a pretty basic standpoint:

The American Dream aspect is an umbrella theme, along with the much favored American topic of 'rags to riches.' Gatsby is a romantic living among a throng of expatriate-like, lost generation-ers whose morals, judgements, motivations, endeavors and ethics revolve around indulging themselves. The mere reason Gatsby goes off and becomes rich is for Daisy--simply to get Daisy--for love. Love is Gatsby's sole motivating factor. Fitzgerald paints the portrait of the lonely tycoon very well--that portrait is him, and his lead female characters all have facets of Zelda (his wife--whom he idealized)--especially Daisy and Nicole Diver from "Tender is the Night."

Like Keats, Fitzgerald integrated his own life directly into his work constantly--that aspect gives his work the aching immediacy which has rendered it so timeless...Gatsby is a burning romantic in a world where that sensibility is all but dead--he can't possibly survive without being openly flayed and nailed to the wall to meet his utter demise...his loneliness and isolation is noticed by Nick--Nick sees good in Gatsby--he sees Gatsby's romantic fragility and seeks to perserve it by shunning Jordan, Tom and, eventually, Daisy along with their entire modern world of meaningless decadence. It's not the money that actually means something to Gatsby (he doesn't even mingle with his party guests when they come almost every night!) but rather it's that next rung on the ladder to Daisy which matters most because it is the one avenue by which he can get to her--that green dock light is the beacon symbol--that green go light beckoning Gatsby--telling him to get her--go for her--go for the moon for love...purely Romantic.

Poor Gatsby's fatal flaw is his inability to realize the idealized-- (think Jake in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"). Gatsby can't get his head out of all those "pink clouds" Daisy notices when she's looking out the window of her mansion...it's just that Daisy simply likes looking at them...whereas poor Gatsby resides there perpetually. He'll never have her because, as Daisy says to him, "You want too much." That dramatic irony is so well done--yes, Gatsby does--but he does not want monetarily--he wants emotionally...

I could on and on--and blah blah blah...I just love Fitzgerald is all...he, to me, is probably the greatest American novelist. :shock:
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Postby Saturn » Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:29 pm

I think I am Gatsby, and Pip from Great Expectations, Jude The Obscure and Goethe's Werther.


Those tragic romantic dreamer characters speak to me intimately.
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Postby dks » Thu Nov 23, 2006 7:19 am

Saturn wrote:Those tragic romantic dreamer characters speak to me intimately.


...ooh, those guys speak to me, too--gives me the arched back fuzzies, so it does... :shock: :lol:
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Postby Saturn » Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:02 am

After years of looking I finally found a copy of Dryden's Aeneid.

And a little book on Petrarch.
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Postby Malia » Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:43 pm

No one's updated this thread in a while, so I thought I might as well :) Aside from the myriad leadership books I've been reading for class (I highly recommend any and all works written by Robert Greenleaf on servant leadership, btw) there are a few I've been reading for fun that I recommend:

1. When life is crazy and you just need a good laugh I HIGHLY recommend anything written by David Sedaris. I've been re-reading my dog-eared copies of "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and, even more recently, "Naked". Sedaris writes in the essay style--short stories that are supposed reminicences of events in his past. His style is self-depricating, bizzare and just plain hillarious. Naked is one of the best collections--and the story "Naked" which details his experience at a nudist trailer park is a riot.

2. On an entirely different note, if you're looking for a moving, tragic, but enevitably hope-filled story, I recommend the biography, Brian Piccolo: A Short Season. I've been reading an old, old $1 copy of this story and it has turned out to be a great treasure. Piccolo was a football player from years back (back in the late '60's) who lived an amazing life, always with a positive attitude, even though he ultimately died of cancer at age 26. You don't have to be into American football or sports at all to be moved by his story and inpsired to see life in a new, positive, and powerful way.

Anyway, those are two books I've been reading. My family calls me "totally random" and I guess those two book choices reflect that aspect of my character :) Anyone else reading totally random books they might recommend to the group?
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Postby Saturn » Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:47 pm

I haven't read a book since the end of last year :(

That's the longest period of not reading since I was at university nine yeas ago :?

Its just too much effort for me now, I can't concentrate :(
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Postby adonais » Sat Mar 10, 2007 8:42 am

Well I can probably qualify for the "totally random" club....guess I'm split about 5- or 6-ways right now. The ones that I'm still reading with any frequency (I may have dropped a few that were simply too boring :lol: ) include another Dawkins, this time "The Exetnded Phenotype" (no poetry in this one, just science stuff.. :? ); "Suns of God" by Acharya S (that's her pseudonym - what's with people still writing under pseudonyms???), the "Zen Fool" by Ryokan (only poetry I'm reading at the moment!), and "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" by philosopher Daniel Dennett. And now I feel like striking up the philosopher's song, come on every one: "Iiiiiiiiimanuel Kant was a real pi$$ ant who was very rarely stable; Heidegger Heidegger was a boozy beggar...."
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Postby Malia » Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:25 pm

adonais wrote:Well I can probably qualify for the "totally random" club....guess I'm split about 5- or 6-ways right now. The ones that I'm still reading with any frequency (I may have dropped a few that were simply too boring :lol: ) include another Dawkins, this time "The Exetnded Phenotype" (no poetry in this one, just science stuff.. :? ); "Suns of God" by Acharya S (that's her pseudonym - what's with people still writing under pseudonyms???), the "Zen Fool" by Ryokan (only poetry I'm reading at the moment!), and "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" by philosopher Daniel Dennett. And now I feel like striking up the philosopher's song, come on every one: "Iiiiiiiiimanuel Kant was a real pi$$ ant who was very rarely stable; Heidegger Heidegger was a boozy beggar...."


Wow, reading science books for fun? Amazing! I must admit, I don't generally read science for fun unless the book is written in that "Alan Alda hosing Scientific American Frontiers" kind of way--i.e. written "soft and cushy" for the English major to understand. One scence-type book I had to read for one of my leadership classes is actually super intriguing and it has to do with quantum physics. Basically how new understanding of quantum physics can be applied to leadership in our modern times. It's amazing to think that everything is connected and that there is a pattern even to what looks on the surface like pure chaos. This book is called "Leadership and the New Science" by Margaret J. Wheatley and I highly recommend it for an eye and mind-opening read :)
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Postby adonais » Sat Mar 10, 2007 11:17 pm

Malia wrote:Wow, reading science books for fun? Amazing!

Oh I don't know that that's too uncommon....but it's probably just a phase I'm going through. I got into this whole evolution debate a while ago and started reading Dawkins. These are interesting times to be living in the US.. ;) This'll be the last of his that I read though, think I've had about enough!

I must admit, I don't generally read science for fun unless the book is written in that "Alan Alda hosing Scientific American Frontiers" kind of way--i.e. written "soft and cushy" for the English major to understand. One scence-type book I had to read for one of my leadership classes is actually super intriguing and it has to do with quantum physics. Basically how new understanding of quantum physics can be applied to leadership in our modern times. It's amazing

What I think is amazing is how authors keep churning out new books on old topics, and the extremes they go to in order to come up with somehing novel. Leadership and quantum physics sounds about whacky enough that someone had to write a book about it :lol: (no offense - I believe you if you say it was a good book). Usually, the way to get attention these days is to have a fashionably spunky title that's just a little bit out there....stuff like "What Einstein told his Dentist," or "Gallileo's Midwife: Watching the Balls Drop," or "Feynman's Lost Toe-clippings And other Stories," or whatever. So much junk these days...just makes it harder to find the good stuff!
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Postby AsphodelElysium » Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:53 pm

Currently reading:

Into the Forest by Jean Hegland

and

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
"Let me not wander in a barren dream,
But, when I am consumed in the fire,
Give me new Phoenix wings to fly at my desire."
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Postby Saturn » Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:25 pm

Two books at once?

I never do that.

Am I the only person that devours books one-at-a time without interruption?
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Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:53 am

I prefer to do the one-book-at-a-time thing, Saturn, but sometimes it's just not possible. :?

I'm currently reading. . . a bunch of stuff about flute history and/or taiko drumming and/or Aztec ritual dance. :P

My life is not my own. :(
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Postby Saturn » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:18 am

You're not a number...you're a free woman!!!

Sorry - totally obscure reference to the 60s TV series The Prisoner with Patrick Mc Goohan haha.
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