What are you reading?

This is me trying to read Infinite Jest.
Reading Infinite Jest is like reading two books at once, but you want to rip out the second book and completely ignore it while simultaneously wondering "Why is a 15page footnote a literary device?"

Just thinking of Infinite Jest again reminds me of what I wild time it was reading it. Certainly still my #1 book involving tons of drugs, a new world order and handicapped Canadians.
 
A decent enough description of The Road as well. Which is more bleak?

Tough call. Blood Meridian is by far more brutal. I think the difference is that The Road is pretty personally and emotionally bleak, whereas Blood Meridian is existentially bleak. It's very post-modern in that the characters are very clearly symbols and meant to convey meaning, not so much exist as humans with feelings.
 
Reading Infinite Jest is like reading two books at once, but you want to rip out the second book and completely ignore it while simultaneously wondering "Why is a 15page footnote a literary device?"

Just thinking of Infinite Jest again reminds me of what I wild time it was reading it. Certainly still my #1 book involving tons of drugs, a new world order and handicapped Canadians.

This is me trying to read Infinite Jest.

It's funny, I just finished re-reading Infinite Jest last week. It is still by far my favorite novel of all time.

Pro tip: literally tear the book apart. My copy I split into four pieces: the first half of the novel, the second half of the novel, the first half of the footnotes (corresponding as closely as possible to the first half of the novel), and the second half of the FNs. Then I got it re-bound with the first halves and the second halves. It's so much easier to read that way.
 

Litheum94

Title Earner
It's funny, I just finished re-reading Infinite Jest last week. It is still by far my favorite novel of all time.

Pro tip: literally tear the book apart. My copy I split into four pieces: the first half of the novel, the second half of the novel, the first half of the footnotes (corresponding as closely as possible to the first half of the novel), and the second half of the FNs. Then I got it re-bound with the first halves and the second halves. It's so much easier to read that way.
I cut my Kindle into quarters but can’t find anyone to put it back together for me. Help?
 

OceanOfMead

Moderator
Staff member
After I finally finished this monster:
9DD30AA1-0A1F-416B-8AAF-46DAE1AC1C81.jpeg

Fear wanted to have a lengthy conversation about what I meant by “we deserved this” and the history of DHS, which enters the story in the final 20 pages or so.

This book comes across as harsh on the CIA but I think the author tries to make it clear that when the CIA has gathered intelligence correctly, and the intelligence is interpreted with proper context there isn’t a lot to talk about. Whereas when intelligence is misinterpreted, either by the gatherer or by those at the top meant to receive the message, things tend to go poorly, then there are consequences, some quite severe, investigations, etc. Consequences have included Saddam Hussein, embassy attacks, Al Queida, Iran Contra, etc. and so on. We have meddled in a lot of elections, aided in a number of coups, published a lot of propaganda, so earlier this week, I rather defeatedly said “we deserve this” even as I hoped for the best possible outcome. I did actually rather enjoy the book. For a big history book that took me multiple years to finish, I plowed through many pages at a stretch most times I sat down to read it. The author is (was?) an investigative journalist and writes in an engaging manner. He covered 60 years of CIA history in under 800 pages with footnotes, and it did actually seem to go fast when I took the time with it. I did enjoy it, even if it has made me a tad cynical. I snapped a few photos from the foot notes I found of interest but if you find random US history topics worthy I recommend giving it a read.
728704A5-6565-44D6-832F-5FC44034841B.jpeg
92F7977A-44B4-49DF-923B-5C549D890FEF.jpeg
9CE2D9E2-AF94-42AD-8085-24E730813D19.jpeg
 
After I finally finished this monster:
9DD30AA1-0A1F-416B-8AAF-46DAE1AC1C81.jpeg

Fear wanted to have a lengthy conversation about what I meant by “we deserved this” and the history of DHS, which enters the story in the final 20 pages or so.

This book comes across as harsh on the CIA but I think the author tries to make it clear that when the CIA has gathered intelligence correctly, and the intelligence is interpreted with proper context there isn’t a lot to talk about. Whereas when intelligence is misinterpreted, either by the gatherer or by those at the top meant to receive the message, things tend to go poorly, then there are consequences, some quite severe, investigations, etc. Consequences have included Saddam Hussein, embassy attacks, Al Queida, Iran Contra, etc. and so on. We have meddled in a lot of elections, aided in a number of coups, published a lot of propaganda, so earlier this week, I rather defeatedly said “we deserve this” even as I hoped for the best possible outcome. I did actually rather enjoy the book. For a big history book that took me multiple years to finish, I plowed through many pages at a stretch most times I sat down to read it. The author is (was?) an investigative journalist and writes in an engaging manner. He covered 60 years of CIA history in under 800 pages with footnotes, and it did actually seem to go fast when I took the time with it. I did enjoy it, even if it has made me a tad cynical. I snapped a few photos from the foot notes I found of interest but if you find random US history topics worthy I recommend giving it a read.
728704A5-6565-44D6-832F-5FC44034841B.jpeg
92F7977A-44B4-49DF-923B-5C549D890FEF.jpeg
9CE2D9E2-AF94-42AD-8085-24E730813D19.jpeg
Not a big nonfiction guy, but this is added to my list. Will pair nicely with Tree of Smoke, which I'm current working on.
 
Just finished reading Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. The prose was super approachable and I thought that Wilkerson did a really fantastic job of framing our current state as a country as a product of caste vs. merely systemic racism. I say "merely" but it really more explained how systemic racism comes to be within a caste system and how our caste system parallels two other predominant caste systems in history: India and the Nazi Regime. Some of the more impactful chapters discussed how insidious caste can be when it comes to the people on the lower end of the dominant caste (think poorer lower class white people) doing everything they can to stay above the people on the higher end of the lower castes (think richer, more successful black people) and what happens when those worlds collide. It's an easy read that I'd recommend to anybody who likes to have more tools at their disposal during those real-life conversations around race and power that seem to be more and more common these days.

Next up is a book I recently received off a Kickstarter I backed called Weapons of Reason (https://weaponsofreason.com/). The gist is that it tries to tackle and discuss complex global issues that can't really be distilled into simple solutions. From the Kickstarter:

Do you ever struggle to understand the complexity of the world around you? Right now, are you worried about how Covid will affect climate issues, and how climate issues are exacerbated by inequality, and about how the people in power aren't planning to make the world more equal anytime soon?

I'll probably need a lighter fiction read after this one for sure.
 
No Country For Old Men - Cormac McCarthy

This book was awesome. My paperback is 309 pages and I tore through it in 2 days, which is unusual for me.

This is my first time reading Cormac McCarthy. I've been interested in reading him for a while now and picked this one as I was told not to read The Road. Actually, it went something like, "You should read The Road. Oh wait, you have a young son, never mind, don't read The Road". So I took that person's advice. I guess Blood Meridian would be next? Anyway, is this book typical of McCarthy? It was a quick and compelling read.
I’ve read all his books and I really enjoyed The Orchard Keeper, Suttree and Child of God.
The Road is an excellent book, but it defeated me. I didn’t read a book for a long time after that.
 
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